Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 3: The BIG one + Weeks 1 & 2 Recap

I started writing about my goals for being healthy over here, but I decided this morning that I really want a space dedicated to this Year of Living Healthy, so I dusted off this old blog that I started and neglected last spring.

Okay, to recap, my goal to be Healthy in 2014 involves mind and body health. I was very vague and a little complacent when I originally wrote about my word for 2014 and what that's going to mean for me.  I am not putting a weight number on it, but after thinking about it, I realize that I work very well with measurable goals, so I have revised my original intent and I do have some very loose weight goals in mind.  I am confident that if I'm vigilant, I will make it.  I know that it will take starting over every single day, not getting complacent, and pushing through the tough stuff (so much tough stuff).  It will also take small changes every week - nothing drastic,  like never eating pasta or cake again, because I am also smart enough to know that I can't live my life like that.  

Here are the small changes that have been rolled out over the past two weeks:

Week 1:
Baby steps to the elevator, right?  I started by adding 3 small changes to our days.  First, track all calories/exercise using the My Fitness Pal app.  I can get over confident in my counting abilities and if I don't immediately track, or better - pretrack my meals for the day - I end up significantly over my calorie allotment for the day.  Second, I resurrected the Fruit Bowl from last summer.  Easy snacks or addition to dinner.  Relatively low calories.  No brainer.  Third, I implemented After Lunch Rest Time. One half hour of quiet reading on the couch, sleeping optional but not frowned upon!  I have found this to be the most amazing 30 minutes of our day. Finn has his books at one end of the couch and I have mine at the other end. We don't talk to each other, sometimes I put on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical station and we re-juice our batteries for the afternoon. Even Uriah rests with us on his days off during the week.  Additionally, a good rest is a prerequisite for Finn watching a show on Netflix later in the afternoon.  He has to earn his tv time by being a good listener, finishing his chores, and above all - having a good rest!

Week 2:
This week we started getting our water bottles out daily.  Finn has a small pumpkin shaped water bottle with a straw that he likes to have a couple of ice cubes in.  It follows him around from room to room and sometimes gets lost amid the flotsam that surrounds 3 year old play time, but usually he knows right where it is and he happily fills it up himself (such a big boy).  I try to drink at least half of my body weight in fluid ounces a day.  It helps to keep me full and my snack cravings in the afternoon at bay.  Some days I get all of my ounces. Someday's, not that close.  But the point is that, from the time I get up until the time I go to bed, I have water at the ready and so I don't even really have to give it a second thought - I just sip on it all day. And I've almost completely cut out diet pop and iced tea.  This week also brought on the daily multi-vitamin for everyone.  Finn asks for his every morning, Abby has some sort of tracking list so she remembers to take hers in at breakfast and I take mine before bed.  Uriah is a hard sell on the multi-vitamin, but I'm confident that I'll be able to get him on board soon enough.

And so that brings us to Week 3, which technically starts today.  I weighed myself yesterday because I knew that I needed a base-line, although based on how well my fat-pants are fitting, I think I knew where this was going.  It's just a number and a starting point and that's all the more thought I'm giving to it.

The big thing that this week is bringing will be replacing a meal with a shake, for me that's going to be breakfast most days because I live with a body-conscious 14 year old girl and so I have to be careful how food is portrayed and talked about and how weight is addressed.  At this point, I know that Abby could use some help in the weight category.  She is abysmally inactive and although I send her to school with a lunch (usually leftovers from the night before in a smaller scale) and we all eat the same dinner (I'd say we're pretty healthy on that front in that we don't prepackaged meals/fast food/eating out, we're just maybe not balanced or portioned appropriately).  Anyway, I have no control over her snacking during school and after school.  I know she does it, I'm guessing a lot, I'm just not sure how to address it.  I guess that's another issue for another time. I'm still mulling it over.

So...the shakes.  I spent about half an hour yesterday portioning them into freezer bags.  Now all I have to do is pull a bag out in the morning and throw it in the blender with some milk.  I wrote the calories on the bag and what's in them, so I'll be able to re-use the zip-lock bags again.  Green bags for my green smoothies.  There were a lot of different smoothie options out there, but I knew that I didn't want to do a pre-packaged shake, nor did I want to do something like Slim-fast.  I wanted these breakfast shakes to be healthy and calorie conscious.  And above all, they need to take me from breakfast (which ranges anywhere from 7am to 9am depending on our morning) until lunch (we at noon on the nose - Finn let's me know when he hears the noon church bells ring!).  We do not snack in the morning, but we are busy and so I need to not be watching the clock, counting down to lunch time.  I did a little of my own research on these smoothies.

I like to work in measurables, so that's why I count calories.  I have found that shakes can blow calorie counting way out of the water if you're not careful.  One shake I looked at, when you put in the numbers, was 810 calories!  I about fell off my unicorn, because that's more than half of my daily allotment of calories...for breakfast...which I'm drinking!  I did some careful balancing of what I wanted in my smoothies, and this is what I put in my freezer bags:

  • 1 tablespoon nuts (I had pecans, so that's what I put in; other nuts would change the calorie count) = 52 calories
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds = 60 calories
  • 1/4 cup dry oatmeal = 75 calories
  • 1 cup fruit, any combo
    • 1/2 cup strawberries = 39 caloreis
    • 1/2 cup blueberries = 40 calories
    • 1/2 medium peach = 20 calories
    • 1/2 cup raspberries = 30 calories
    • 1/2 medium banana = 54 calories
    • 1/2 cup pineapple = 40 calories
    • 1 cup cantalope = 25 calories
    • Orange (medium) = 60 calories
  • Add to the bag at the end one cup of greens (about a handful)
    • spinach = 20 calories
    • kale = 34 calories
I stuck all of those in the freezer.  Dump in a blender in the morning and add 1 cup of milk (mine are caloried out with 2% milk, which is what we drink in this house.  I don't drink enough milk to justify buying 2% for the kids and skim for myself.  It would go bad very, very quickly!).  

You could probably add more milk (more calories) but if it's too thick, I think mine out with a little bit of water.  I don't like crushed ice in mine, so I don't add ice to my smoothies, but you could probably do that, too, if that's your thing.  I have also considered adding vanilla whey protein powder to my smoothies, but until I feel like I need an extra boost of energy to get me through my morning, I'm holding off on adding that to my smoothies.  

All of my fruits are frozen.  When raspberries went on sale last summer (when they were in season) I bought a bunch and froze them in gallons sized bags.  Same with strawberries - when we picked strawberries, I had enough left over to fill 5 gallon sized freezer bags - and that was after making 3 batches of strawberry jam, a strawberry pie and strawberry ice cream.  We picked a lot of strawberries.  I am not complaining!  My blueberries are from Sam's Club, and I'll have to wait until peaches come in season again before I have those stock-piled in my freezer.  The point is - if you plan ahead a little bit, it's easy (and cheap) to have fresh fruit for whatever - in cereal, as a snack, in smoothies.

Additionally, this week's menu has been planned out - breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even scheduling my gym time.  I know that I can do some exercises at home - I have some free weights and a large ball.  I hate doing exercise videos, they do not motivate me in the least.  I went onto Pinterest and found some exercises that I think i can accomplish and printed them out, with reps, on one sheet of paper (front and back).  It will go to the gym with me and I will modify if I need to, but I've got something for every muscle group so I'm giving it a month.

3 weeks of making positive steps toward being healthy.  And they aren't crazy huge and really, at some point I won't be making any more changes, just plodding along every week doing all these things like they're second nature - exercise, vitamins, water consumption.

I can't wait for that day.

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