Saturday, May 30, 2015

Soup's On!

This is my favorite soup recipe.  In fact, I made a a pot of it today.  And...delayed my lunch time just to wait for the soup to be finished.  Mmmmm...it was SO good.

In one of my earlier blog post's I talked about The Doctor's Diet, a book written by Dr. Travis Stork.  It's chock full of information about health and nutrition.  Maybe I shouldn't tell you this.  But, I don't lend out my copy of the book to anyone.  Maybe that's a bit selfish, but I want to be able to refer to the book at any time.  Sorry.  It's mine.

I haven't yet bought The Doctor's Diet Cookbook, by the same author.  But I got the chance to borrow it from a co-worker last winter.  The recipe I'm sharing today, is from that cookbook. 

"Not Just Chicken" Chicken Soup  (I just call it Chicken Veggie Soup)
Here's a pic of the batch I made today.




I've tried to determine the best way to share this recipe, since I don't have a link to the recipe.  Since it's in a cookbook, it isn't posted online.  I typed up the recipe in MS Word, then scanned it to convert it to a .jpeg file.  So.  Here it is.  I don't know what size it will print or how clear the print will be.
Give it a try, then please let me know in the comments...or email me through the "contact me" area in the blog sidebar.  I'll figure out something else if this isn't working well.
I usually make a slightly larger batch than this original, so that I can share.  I simple add extra broth and veggies (love my veggies!) and maybe 1 more chicken breast.  In fact, even if I make a single batch I always add more veggies than the recipe calls for.  Always!


This soup reheats so well.  In fact, I think it's tastier the day after I make it.  The seasonings and flavors have time to blend and get, well...yummier.
This soup is one of my go-to work lunches.  I enjoy having a hot lunch at work and it feels like comfort food, without the guilt.  Low-fat, low sodium and full of vegetables, chicken and whole grain.


I hope you'll give this recipe a try.  If you do, please let me know what you think of it.
Later!

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Salad Recipe, a FitBit surprise and a personal record

I'm sharing a recipe today, that I've made a couple of times.  It's a nice light summer-time salad.

Skinny Broccoli Salad
Follow the link above to get the recipe.

That's a photo of the salad I made last week for a family gathering.  This salad keeps well, surprisingly.  The leftovers didn't get soggy or water-y in the fridge.  That's important, since I enjoy leftovers!

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I love to prep ahead.  I don't mind eating the same foods several days in a row, as long as it's something yummy.  This is.

By the way, I've been logging the food I consume, using my FitBit app.  Among other things, FitBit totals my intake of carbs, fats, protein and calories.  I've been surprised at my carb totals.  It's been a little higher than I thought it actually was.  Since I usually stay away from simple carbs, mine are complex carbs, for the most part.  Still...I was surprised.  It can take some time to log in everything I eat, but having the information at my fingertips helps me to make better decisions about what I eat.

FitBit also shows me a comparison of the calories I've consumed and the calories I've burned that day.  Sometimes I realize that I'd better get moving and add more steps!  Once in a while I have a calorie deficit.  That hasn't happened often, though!

That reminds me that I wanted to share something fun with you.  Last Friday, I walked on my treadmill before heading out to shop, then to the family farms (my brothers-in-law farms).  After lunch, one of my sis-in-law had to run an errand. I asked my other sis-in-law to walk out towards the woods with me, since the weather was SO perfect.  Sunny and in the 70's with a light breeze.

Later, after I got home I decided to add some more steps to my day.  I headed outside again.
After a while I realized how close I was to setting a personal record for me.  So, pushed a little further.

I walked 24,043 steps that day. If I remember correctly, that was just over 10 miles.
My previous record was just over 21,000.
That was so exciting for me and it was fun to compete with...me!

Hey, til next time...


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sweet Potato and Spinach Skillet

I was given 4 large sweet potatoes a couple of days ago.  So, I needed to find a good way to use a couple of them...soon.  The next day I happened upon the following recipe and last Sunday I tried it.

I'm always on the lookout for more healthy recipes to add to my collection.  Happily, this dish was a success.  So...it's a keeper!  I'll be taking a bowl of it in my work lunch each day this week, along with a boiled egg, since it's important to include protein as a part of each meal.

Sweet Potato and Kale Skillet
Click on the link above to go to GreenLiteBites website for the recipe.

Actually, I should call my version...Sweet Potato and Spinach Skillet. Here's a photo of my version.

I substituted spinach since I didn't have any kale in my fridge and truthfully, I have yet to try kale.  I know that it's supposed to be a "super food", so I really should try some.  Have you tried it?  If so, what is your favorite way to eat it?  Please share.

Once I did all my chopping (my husband says I can probably chop in my sleep, since I do so much of it!), things moved right along.  Since the potato is chopped into such small pieces, it cooked quickly.

That's it for today.  I'll be back soon to share a broccoli salad recipe that is a favorite of mine.  A great summer side dish!
Later,


Monday, May 25, 2015

Crustless Veggie Quiche...yum!

I'm sharing another of my favorite veggie recipes today.  It takes a bit of prep time, as most healthy recipes do, but it is so yummy.  Nutritious and low in calories, too.

110 Calorie Crustless Veggie Quiche.  Just click on the recipe name to follow a link to the blog post where I found this recipe last August.  Sally's Baking Addiction is the website.  You'll find lots of other recipes there, too.  You'll want to pick and choose the recipes you find on her website, as some are healthy...but many are not.  All of them look yummy, of course.  :)

The following photo of the quiche, from Sally's blog post.
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction
I just have to say...yum, yum and yum.  This is so good!  I've used a variety of different veggies each time I'm made this.  I always include spinach, onion and usually mushrooms along with the zucchini and peppers.  Use whatever your favorites are and experiment.  The recipe calls for 3 eggs & 3 egg whites, but I use 6 whole eggs and it turns out just fine.
As I read through other veggie quiche recipes, I saw that someone added 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and a pinch of cinnamon.   So, I also add those and find that it adds just a little more depth to the flavor.  Tasty!

Another food blog that I like is The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman.  I found her blog recently and loved it right away.  She follows a practice that I've been doing since I began my weight loss/getting healthy journey in August of 2013.

Weekly meal prep.  She calls hers "Meal Prep Friday".  Mine is usually on Saturday, but it doesn't matter what part of the weekend you choose.  Prepping ahead has helped immensely in staying on track with the foods I eat.  As I've talked about in a previous post, when I have foods already prepped and in the fridge I can grab it whenever I need it.  No digging through the pantry or staring in the fridge hoping something will magically jump out at me...already prepped.   I know that it's time consuming to do all that prep during some of my valuable weekend time (it goes SO quickly, doesn't it?), but when I consider the trade-off of eating fast food or boxed/pre-packaged foods, well...for me I know what I need to do.  Meal Prep Saturday.

Once I've completed all my meal prep, it's so satisfying to open the door to the fridge and see all of those storage containers full of nutritious and tasty foods.  And after a long work day, it takes so little time to pull out those containers and have a great meal on the table in very little time.  Not to mention how easy it is to grab containers of food for my work lunch, and be ready to go.

Each Friday after shopping for groceries, I see my fridge full of fresh produce.  By Saturday afternoon, I see containers full of prepped food.  Ready to eat!

As I've said before, I'm sharing what has worked for me.  I'm not saying that it is right for everyone else.  Only you can decide what works for you.  I just hope the info I share is helpful for a few others.
Let me know what works for you, because I always want to learn more!
Later!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Quotes that caught me eye!


Hi all, just a short post today.  I'm sharing a few quotes that I found on Pinterest, that really rang true for me.  I hope you like them, too.

If you're interested in following me on Pinterst, HERE is the link.

Source: skinnyms



Source:indulgy.com
Source: buzzfeed.com


Source: chattingoverchocolate.com



Source: bodyrock.tv

Source: livefitnadbehappy.com




And this final one.  It just called out to me.  I began with such small steps.  Those steps turned out to be some of the biggest steps in my life...in my health...in my self confidence.  In just plain, making me feel GOOD, and good about me.

Hope you're feeling GOOD, too!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How about a snack?

Snacks.  Actually, healthy snacks.  It's important for me to have healthy snacks available.  You know...so I'm not tempted (well, I'm still tempted!) to grab something very yummy that is NOT healthy.

At home I tend to be so busy that I seldom think about snacks.  I know...surprising!  At work, it's a whole different story. I have a desk job, so I'm sitting in my office for much of the day.  I use most of my breaks to go power walking, so no eating then.  But, all those hours at my desk tend to make me think of snacking.

I always bring a container of sliced, fresh apple as a snack.  Very nutritious and easy to grab while I'm working.  The problem is...an apple doesn't seem to quite fill the void.  My work mornings are very long, so I bring a second snack.  This one is more filling and is delicious with a cup of coffee.

I call them Snack Pancakes, but the woman who created the recipe has 2 names for them.

Super Healthy Pancakes OR The How-Many-Healthy-Things-Can-I-Put-Into-a-Pancake Pancake.
Whatever you call them...I LOVE them.  When I make these pancakes I make a double batch, then freeze them between layers of wax paper in a freezer bag.  Each evening when I'm making my lunch for the next work day, I grab a pancake from the freezer and put it into a small plastic container.  So easy.

The website where I found this recipe is GreenLiteBites.com.  Just click on the web address to follow the link.
To go to her blog post where you'll find the recipe, click on Healthy Pancakes.
Photo from GreenLiteBites website.

One of these little pancakes is very satisfying and keeps me going until lunch...along with that cup of coffee.  :)
I eat mine cold, from the fridge.  It's easy and not messy at all.  But, of course, they're delicious heated in the microwave.  You could even drizzle a little honey on them, or a dab of applesauce.

Other snacks I like are String Cheese (lower fat version) or a mix of walnut halves and dried cranberries or raisins.  The only problem (for me) is that I tend to eat too much of the walnut/cran or raisin mix because it's SO tasty.  Walnuts are very nutritious, but be mindful of the sugar content of dried fruits.   I try to go heavier on the walnuts and lighter on the dried fruit.

Something else that I enjoy as a snack is a hard-boiled egg.  I peel it at home then drop it into a container to bring to work.  I avoid the hassle and mess of peeling it at work, that way.  Another good option is yogurt.  To avoid artificial sweeteners, I prefer plain Greek yogurt to which I add my own fresh fruit.

There are so many pre-packaged snacks available in the supermarkets.  I've tried quite a few of them, but it seems that so many of them contain high levels of sodium, artificial sweeteners, etc....that I've returned to simple whole foods most of the time.

Oh.....I just remembered something!  Last Saturday I was busy in the kitchen for several hours doing food prep/cooking/roasting for this work week and I needed a quick but light lunch.  Remember...that was the day after I over-indulged at the fundraiser/garage sale?  You can read that post HERE.
Anyway, I looked through the fridge to see what I could toss together.  I found a small bowl of pineapple chunks.  So....I combined that with the last avocado (it was ripe and really needed to be eaten soon), then topped those with plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of chia seeds.  How was it?
It was yummy! Easy and quick, too.   Hmmm...those blueberries that are in my fridge right now, would have been a great addition.  Next time, huh?

I'm always looking for other healthy snack ideas.  Please share any other snack ideas you have!

By the way, feel free to leave a comment in the section below.  If you'd rather contact me personally, I've included a "Contact Me" form in the right side bar of this blog.  I would love to hear from you.
Later!

Susie



Monday, May 18, 2015

Food prep and cooking - It's worth the time!

Since I made the decision to begin eating healthy in August of 2013, I've set aside time each weekend for food prep and cooking.  I prepare food for the coming week, for my breakfasts and lunches. I usually prep veggies to go with my dinners, too.

Yes, this is time consuming.  But it is SO worth it.  Because my work days are long and begin very early, I have to have nutritious foods that I can pull out of the fridge or freezer. 

I've already shared 2 breakfast recipes that I alternate between.  I make those on the weekend and a batch will last me all through the work week.  I love them both and it's so easy to scoop some out of the container, heat it and add my yummy toppings.  Easy, nutritious and yummy.  Perfect for me.
It may be hard to believe, but I never get tired of these two oatmeal breakfasts.  Even after this long.

Something else I've been eating for most of these months is Roasted Veggies.  You can vary the veggies each time, but the basic recipe (if you can even call it that) is simple.

Roasted Vegetables
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Chop vegetables into 1" to 1-1/4" cubes (roughly, no need for precision)
I use any combo of the following veggies:
  - broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, brussels sprouts (cut in half), rutabaga, zuchinni, baby carrots
My faves are those first 3 veggies listed!

Place all in a large bowl, then drizzle with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).  Stir to coat evenly.
Pour onto a large baking sheet, then sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.
My favorites are Mrs.Dash Chipotle or Mrs. Dash Tomato, Basil, Garlic.  Other good options are onion powder or garlic powder.  I don't use onion salt or garlic salt because of the added sodium.

Bake for about 25 minutes.  If not quite tender, bake a few minutes longer.

I made a batch yesterday.  Here's a photo.
Yum.  I reheated some this afternoon to go with a baked fish fillet.  Speaking of fish, I usually top a fillet with salsa before popping it into the oven.  Easy and very tasty!
Each week I buy baby carrots and radishes, to pull out of the fridge to go with our dinner each evening (along with whatever other veggie we're having).  Dipped in just a bit of fat-free or low-fat ranch dressing, it's another way to add fresh veggies to your meal.

The whole point of this particular blog post is that (for me) weekend food prep and cooking is essential!!!  Without food that I can just grab out of the fridge and put in a bowl, or into my lunch bag (for work snacks and lunch) it would be very difficult for me to stay on track...to stay healthy.

If I didn't have those foods ready to go, I would be searching through the pantry or fridge for something easy, but probably not nutritious.  Or foods from the vending machines at work.  Fast food.  Junk food.  Easy food.  You know...those foods that helped to get me 76 pounds overweight.
No, I don't want to go there again.

Figure out what works for you.  Experiment.  Search online, like I did, to find healthy recipes that appeal to you.  With the right seasonings and food combinations healthy foods can be delicous!

Everything I'm sharing is what has worked for me.  I'm certainly no expert.  But I hope that some of the info or recipes I share will work for you, too.  Please comment with any tips and information you've found, too.  I would love to know!
Before I go, I want to share a graphic I found on Pinterest.  Love it. :)
Source

Til next time!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

About indulging, occasionally. A recipe, too!

I originally hadn't planned on writing about the topic of indulging in treats, just yet.

But.....since that's what I did yesterday, I figured it was the best time to discuss it.  I volunteered at a fundraising garage sale yesterday and I knew that each year Joanna includes a bake sale as part of the event.  Also, I knew that she would be treating us to lunch.  Since I was going to allow myself to eat some foods I don't normally eat, I planned ahead.
I ate super healthy all week, leading up to Saturday's fundraiser.  For breakfast I still had my baked oatmeal, as usual.

Then.  I had a mid-morning treat.  A Dunkin' Donuts glazed blueberry donut.  No, I don't think the bits of blueberry count as a serving of fruit!  Mid-afternoon, we had lunch from Portillo's.  They're know for their awesome Italian Beef sandwiches.  You guessed it, I ordered one.  Topped with mozzarella and sweet peppers.  I resisted ordering their delicious french fries.  Do I get credit for that, at least?  THEN, all those hours of standing near the check-out table (which happened to be the bake sale table, too!) staring at the sweets...well.  I had a few more sweets.

Yeah.  I hadn't planned on indulging THAT much.  Yikes.  I already knew what I needed to do.  Exactly what I've done before.

Get back on track immediately.  Today I cut back my caloric intake and upped my activity level.  Fewer calories consumed, more calories burned.

There may be a few people who can always, always stay on track and never, ever indulge.  I am not one of them.  So I indulge occasionally, so that I don't feel deprived then want to chow down on lots of junk food.  It would be so easy for me to do that.  It would be so easy to return to eating junk, and lots of it.  So easy.  I won't even tell you how MUCH I could eat.

Anyway, since I know these things about myself, I already know to get back on my healthy eating plan right away.  Just do it.  One, or several indulgences, during one day does not give me permission to just tell myself "oh the heck with it, I might as well eat _________ too."  Fill in the blank.

Sometimes I even stop and ask myself "is this unhealthy, yummy food really more important than maintaining my weight loss and letting my health go downhill again?"  Because if I allow it, time after time, those things will happen.  There are consequences for eating those foods over the long term and I remind myself what those consequences are.  And I think about the health problems that run in my family.

I'm back on track today.  Feeling good about it, too!

On a side note...I did my power walking outdoors this morning.  We had rain earlier, but it looked like we weren't getting anymore for a while.  You probably guessed it already.  I had only about 1/8 mile to go.  Yup, it started to rain.  Lightly at first.  Then it poured down!  Remember me saying that I'm not a runner (in one of my earlier posts)?  I became one this morning!  It didn't do me much good as I got soaked anyway.  Oh well!    I just waited until this afternoon to go back out and I added even more distance than I had planned to.   Sweet!

Alrighty now.  I wrote a more lengthy post than I intended.

On to the recipe I promised to share.  Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats.  It is SO yummy.  Each week I alternate between this recipe and the Baked Oatmeal recipe that I shared in my previous post.
I scanned this recipe in order to include it in this blog post.  I hope you're able to enlarge and print it.
This is before cooking, after mixing all ingredients together.

After cooking...yummy!
I've shared this recipe with quite a few friends.  If you try it, please let me know what you think!
Later,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The next steps, acually lots of steps!

A couple of weeks before I participated in that first 5k, I decided that I wanted...and needed, to keep track of how many steps I was doing each day.  The general consensus is that one should try to walk 10,000 steps a day.  I had no idea how many steps I was doing.  So, I started looking for a pedometer.
I can highly recommend this one by Ozeri.  It's been through a lot with me, over the past 21 months.
I bought mine from Amazon, but you can probably find it elsewhere.
HERE is the link to my pedometer on Amazon, if you're interested in checking it out.
It's very affordable and reliable.  I picked up the spare battery pack when I purchased mine.

All that being said, last weekend I went a step further.  I was ready for an upgrade.
I bought a Fitbit Charge.  I'm am REALLY liking it!  You'll pay quite a bit more for a Fitbit, but if you're looking for something that will track more info (much more) this will do it.  I'm glad I made the investment.  But, of course, buy what suits your needs.  It's a personal choice.

Next, let's talk water.

We've all read how important it is to drink plenty of water. There is an 8 x 8 rule...eight, 8 ounce glasses a day (1.9 liters).  Or...other experts say 9 cups, which equals 2.2 liters.  Hey, not much difference there.  Whatever is easiest to remember, the important thing is to stay hydrated.

It REALLY does make a difference. I've learned that by experience.
One Saturday recently, I was on the go all day (as usual) and wondered why I was so tired.  I shouldn't have been that tired.  Then it dawned on me.  I hadn't drank any water since breakfast.  Yes, even mild dehydration will drain your energy. Without a doubt...it makes that much difference!  Once I re-hydrated my energy level came back up.  Water is also important to help your digestion.  Helping your digestion function properly is so important if you're losing weight, too.



You can read more info about the importance of staying hydrated HERE on the Mayo Clinic website.

Next steps ~

Now I was walking every day...and I DO mean everyday.  I decided that for me, I had to have a structured routine of walking every day.  It had to become a habit for me.  A regular part of each day.  If I skipped days, here and there, it would be too easy to skip just a few more days.  And a few more.
You get the picture.
On the weekends I walk (either on the treadmill or outdoors) first thing in the morning.  I'm a morning person anyway.  But getting that workout done early feels like such an accomplishment!  Check that off my to do list!  If I have time later in the day for another walk, it's a bonus.  Doing more "good" for me and my body.  My body will thank me when I step on the scale.
Oh yes, the scale.  I used to drive myself nuts by weighing myself every day, during the time I was losing weight.  It didn't take long for me to realize that this was crazy.  Your weight can vary every day just because of fluid retention.   I decided once a week made a lot more sense for me and that's what I continue to do.

I know that this routine may not be for everyone.  It's a personal decision.  Only you know what will work for you.
I walk, others run.  Many others work out at gyms or go to zumba classes.  There are so many ways to get your body moving and burning calories.  Just find what you enjoy and if you enjoy it, you're more likely to stay with it.  Getting your body moving, getting your heart rate up and your muscles working will do more than help you lose weight.  It's good for your health, in general.  I guess we all know that fact, but can sometimes forget and just focus on weight loss.

By combining my powerwalking with healthy food choices and portions, I improved my blood pressure, cholesterol levels and thyroid function.  That resulted in my doctor taking me off 2 medications.  That made me SO happy.  I was finally making choices that made a positive impact on my health.  My doctor is happy and so am I!

Before I finish this post, I'll share one of the recipes I've using since nearly the beginning of my weight loss journey.  Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal Bake from the website Fabtastic Eats.
Source: fabtasticeats.com

I LOVE this for breakfast!  I tweak the recipe a little, by cutting back on the brown sugar by half.
When I'm ready to heat a bowl of it in the microwave, I add a little non-fat milk and a srpinkle of whole ground flax seed.  After heating I add a dollup of plain greek yogurt and about a teaspoon of chia seeds.  Oh...and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon.  Heavenly!

Ok, I've gotta' go.  I hope some of this info has been helpful.  I'll be back soon with another oat recipe.  Steel cut oats cooked in the crock pot.  Mmmm.  :)
Susie

Monday, May 11, 2015

The 5k day and what was really important

September 7, 2013...the day of  the Curesearch 5k Fundraiser Walk in Chicago.  The weather was forecast to be sunny and humid.  But, during our drive into the city there were light showers and the temp stayed fairly cool.  Until we got to Soldier Field. The sky cleared and it got hot and HUMID.

This is the kind of weather that I don't handle well.  Ick.  During the time leading up to the walk, standing in the open grassy area outside the stadium, I just got hotter and hotter.  I was happy to be a part of this fundraiser.  Just not happy about the weather.  What if I got overheated and passed out?  Yeah, listen to that internal dialogue.  Thinking about ME instead of the real reason I was there.

Childhood cancer research funding.

CureSearch is a leader in childhood cancer research.  I learned about this organization during the time our nephew Matthew fought ALL (a type of leukemia).  Research for children's cancers is severely underfunded and the statistics are frightening.  Unless your family has lost a child to cancer (as our family did) you likely don't know just how many children die each year from cancer...or the serious complications caused by treatment.  I'll provide a link HERE to the CureSearch site, where you can learn more about the kids fighting cancer.  I hope that raising awareness will lead to increased funding and then to more research.  Awareness + funding + research = higher cure rates and more kids surviving and thriving.

Yes, I survived the 5k.  Concentrating on the real goal helped me to stop thinking about me, and just DO it.  I was certainly glad when we had completed the walk.  But what really made me feel good, was being a part of something so important!

Ok, maybe it's time for me to share a couple of photos.  Not that I really want to, but I need to be real here.
The photo on the left was taken the day of the 5k in September 2013.  That's me in the middle, between my niece and sister-in-law.  The photo on the right was taken in September 2014. Again, I'm in the middle.  Even more important than the difference in how I look now, is the difference in how I feel.  Now that I've gotten much healthier, I feel SO much better.  I have a lot more energy, too.  I'm still surprised how much more energy I have.  It's a lot easier (and more fun) to do the things I enjoy.
 Over a 10 month span, I eventually went down 6 sizes.  I guess I might as well talk pounds, too.  Seventy-six pounds.  Oh boy.  That wasn't easy to admit.

Alright now.  I'm feeling kinda drained after all this.  Enough for now...see you next time with a recipe or two!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Taking those first steps

Well, now what to do???  I said yes to walking a fundraiser 5k, but could I even walk that far?

The first step was to start walking.  I began by using my breaks at work to head outdoors and walk. When I began, I walked on alternate days.  After a couple of weeks I began walking every day.  During that time I also made small changes to what I was eating.  I knew from experience that this would work better for me than one huge change.  You know...as of (insert day here) I'm changing everything about the way I eat.

I had to educate myself about healthy eating.  It was something I'd not done in the past and I knew how well that had served me.  Not well at all.  I used websites I trusted, to learn as much as I could about eating well.  Not just what to eat, but the reasons why I should eat them.
Here are just a few sites I used.
Mayo Clinic
NHLBI
Fitness.Gov



There is a LOT of information out there, just do your research and use websites you trust.  We all know you cannot believe everything you read on the internet, right?!
I eventually decided that I needed to increase the amount of protein I was eating and limit my carb intake.  You can read all about simple carbs vs. complex carbs and how your body uses them.
It was also important for me to limit my sugar intake.  VERY important, since diabetes runs in my family.  Again, I learned how my body processes sugar.  Once I learned, I realized just how dangerous it was for me to consume a lot of sugary foods and simple carbs.

I found one book that explained to me, exactly how the body uses all of the different food groups. Explained in plain, everyday terms that really made sense to me.  All the information I read to that point finally "clicked" and made sense to me.  The book is titled The Doctor's Diet, written by Dr. Travis Stork.  Here's a link to the book on Barnes & Noble, if you're interested.  I'm sure you can find it at most any book store, though.

SO...from all the reading I did, I finally learned HOW I was potentially setting myself up for developing diabetes and/or heart disease....both simple carbs and sugars were not my body's friends.  Nor were all those extra pounds.

Many years ago I got rid of my bathroom scale.  I didn't like what it told me.  Yes, I knew how overweight I was.  But that scale just confirmed what I knew.

Well, nearly a month into this healthier life style, I could tell that I had lost some weight.  I still wasn't ready to buy a scale.  About this time, I had an appointment with my doctor for something routine and, as they always do, they weighed me.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn the number of pounds I had lost.  This encouraged me to make even bigger changes in my eating and activity level.

I CAN do this.  I AM doing this.

The day of that 5k walk was getting very close.  Yikes!







Sunday, May 3, 2015

Working up the courage to change

I knew I needed to lose weight.  Of course I knew it...and thought about it a lot.  But it took me a long time to finally work up the courage to do it.  It's so much easier to just stay in that rut of unhealthy eating and no activity.  Just give in to those habits I was so familiar with.  Change is hard.
After all, my family still loved me no matter what size I was.  No one was telling me to lose weight. 

There were several things that got me thinking more about my weight.  My parents are both gone, so now I'm part of the older generation of the family.  I thought more about the health problems my parents dealt with.  And, I was already taking prescription meds for a few health issues.  Hypertension and an underactive thyroid were the ones that really caused me some concern.  I thought "what if I could improve my health by changing my lifestyle?"  Do I really have any control over those issues?  If I made changes, could I avoid some of those other medical problems my parents developed?

The thing that scared me the most was the thought of developing type 2 diabetes.  It scared the hell out of me.  My Mom was diabetic and for many years she did not control her blood sugar levels.  In her later years, I saw what damage that did to her body.  Kidney failure, which led to hemodialysis 3 times a week.  Damage to her eyesight.  Decreased circulation in her legs, which led to even scarier problems.  Mom and Dad both had heart problems, too.  Everyone knows the many issues related to heart disease.

Anyway, you get the picture.  The older I got, the more real it got...I could be on my way to developing those same, scary diseases.  It was a very real possibility.  Gulp.  Lump in my throat, right now.  It scared me.

Ok, let's lighten the mood a little here.

There are a few things that moved me closer to making changes.

My friend Kris M.  Besides being friends and crafting buddies, we're co-workers.  The window of my office looks out to an aisle that runs along several offices and a printer/copier room.  Kris makes a LOT of trips to the printer, so she walked past my office often.  Every time I noticed her walking by, I also noticed the lift and bounce in her step.  And she walks fast.  I hadn't had a bounce to my step, or been able to walk fast, in many years.  I really, really wanted that bounce back.

Kris had begun running, so that was something we talked about.  I admired (and still admire) her commitment to being as healthy as she can be.  I was also learning about the foods she was eating.  Those conversations really struck a chord deep inside me and the conversations stayed in my mind.

Soon after those conversations began, one of my sisters-in-law asked me to walk a 5k in Chicago with her.  This particular race was a huge fundraiser for CureSearch, which is a foundation that is near and dear to my heart.  CureSearch is a leader in childhood cancer research.  So, of course, I said yes.
I was so excited to participate in this walk!

Then it dawned on me.  Am I physically able to walk 5k?  That's 3.1 miles.  In the heat of summer.
Oh crap.  What have I gotten myself into?

I have to make some changes.  Like.....now.  No putting it off,

Thank you M.W. for the nudge that finally told me "now is the time".  August 2013.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Why start this blog?

Well.  Where do I start?

I've struggled with my weight for so many years.  Yes, I've managed to lose the excess weight several times as an adult.  Looking back now, I always seemed to think that those "diets" were temporary.  Just get to my goal weight, then slowly I would return to my old eating habits.  Of course, the weight slowly came back.

I didn't like the way I looked , nor the way clothes looked on me.  Of course, shopping for clothing was NOT fun.  You know...shopping in the "Plus" sizes.  I would look around and see such cute clothing in the misses departments.

Then, there was the way I felt.  Looking around a room to see if I was the heaviest one there.  Wondering what people thought when they met me.  The weight also restricted me from doing the things I wanted to do.  Not to mention my health.  I was on a prescription for hypertension and another for an under-active thyroid.

And here's something I've shared only with my husband (who has loved me, no matter what size I was!).  So many mornings I would wake up and think "what if I could just wake up one morning and all those extra pounds would be gone".  No...they were not gone.

After several years of trying to talk myself into "dieting" again, I decided to really do my research and learn how to change my lifestyle.  No dieting.  I wanted and had to make really big changes to the way I think about eating, what I eat and I had to get moving.  Eat and move like my life depended on it...because it does.  I now know that these changes are for the rest of my life.

It's not a diet.  It's my life.  And it feels so GOOD to have taken charge of my life, finally!

On this blog I'll be sharing how I started making changes in my life to get to where I am now and I'll share some of what I've learned (so far) and of course, I'm still learning.  I'll also share some of my favorite recipes.

A lot of friends and family have asked why I made these changes and how I've done it.  So, I'll be answering those questions.  After all, that's the reason I started this blog.  Just last week, one of my co-workers told me that I should write about what I've learned and how I've gotten healthy.  That was when I began to consider starting this blog.

And so it begins.  Oh, isn't that a dramatic ending to a blog post?