Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Obvious Essential

The fourth 'Essential' is....

Eat Nutritiously

"Food has a powerful impact on your body. Every day, food, in large part, determines how you feel and how your body functions. A balanced diet, rich in whole foods, combined with quality nutritional supplements created to meet your specific needs*, will give you the energy you need today, and the disease-fighting strength you need to build a healthy future."

*note: This quote is taken from material from a company that sells quality supplements

This point is a given if you are seeking a healthier, lower-weight lifestyle.


Are we REALLY eating nutritiously?

Or are we falling for the 'low fat' or 'diet' or 'low cal' lables?

Low fat, low sodium chips are still chips.....sorely lacking in nutruition and usually triggering a craving for more of the same.

No fat yogurt is usually high in calories because of the sugar added to make up for the lack of fat.

Many 'diet' foods (especially the frozen meals) are high in sodium.

Don't fall for the fancy, attention grabbing labeling.......go for real food. (Or at least, read the lables carefully)

Sometimes it is better to eat more calories that are loaded with real nutrition than it is to eat a 'diet' plate that is mostly empty calories - or worse, calories that contain chemicals, sodium, or refined sugar.

The fresher the real food is, the better it is for you.

Grow your own.

Go to a farmer's market.

Find a source, if possible, of locally grown produce - as opposed to mass produced.

I came across a quote awhile ago that I remind myself of often....."Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."

Make sure that what you are putting into your mouth is actually FOOD.

Real food.

Not processed calories.

Eat more plants (vegetables, grains, fruits) than meats, or dairy.

Don't stuff yourself.....limit your servings.

My husband and I began to notice the affects of food on emotional health many years ago when he was battling clinical depression. We had found that extra doses of Vitamin B helped, but when he began to work away from home and be responsible for his own meals, we noticed a deffinite difference. At first, because he was not eating regularly and when he did eat it was quick, processed foods, he struggled more than usual with the negativity that comes with depression. When he began to be regimented in his eating (cooking more real foods) and his sleep, things were much better.

Another (doubious) benefit which I've mentioned before......eating healthier has made a noticeable difference in my nails and hair growth (something I could have done without because of the costs involved in 'fills'and 'coloring').

Real Food also satisfies, fills you up better than processed food.

Yes, real food is a bit more costly in some ways.....and you have to prepare it....but the benefits far outweigh the extra cost. Besides, you will probably have to buy less in the way of medicines if you are eating healthy.

For an excellent post about the so called costs of eating healthy, Go to this post by my friend Lyn.

I am reading a book about sprouting (just started) and I am going to experiment in this area - some day I'll report about my efforts - I expect that growing my own greens (which are extra nutritious) for my salads will cut down on some of the 'real food' expenses. I have not explored where to get the seeds and grains for sprouting so do not know the costs there (yet). Anyone out there doing this?

I challenge you to think twice about whether or not you are eating REAL food that is nutritious.


Reporting on myself......I have not lost any weight and over the last several days have found it difficult to even keep track of what I am eating. We have been super busy.

However, I have been doing very well on my water intake and because I've focused on it, I now crave water regularly. This is a good sign to me....when I want water it means that I've managed to get past the stage where I have to make myself drink it.

I've been going to bed at a good hour, but have been waking up most nights at 4 a.m. then tossing and turning for a couple hours before falling asleep again. I have been using the time to pray about specific things that are on my heart at this time....actually, specific persons. Still, it means that my sleep is interrupted and I am quite tired by evening.

I hurt my foot mysteriously on Saturday so even my walking around for normal activity has been slowed significantly. As soon as it is not so painful, I will be using my treadmill each day. I am going to challenge my daughter to a competition....who can walk the longest/farthest each day? Should help us both - we are both rather competitive....her more than me, but I would be quite motivated if I felt that I was helping her.

So....end of post....time to go get myself some FOOD and then take care of the tasks I have set out for myself for the next couple hours.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Essentials to feeing Your Best, Every Day - point 3

The third essential I want to mention is...

Sleep Peacefully

Sleep is the only time your body has to repair and rejuvenate every organ and system in your body. Sleep deprivation causes cellular damage, and limits the production of enzymes and hormones you body needs tokeep your cells healthy, and prevent premature aging. Sleep also has a powerful impact on your emotional health - it eases stress and helps you cope with the ups and downs of your day.

In all my years of dieting, I had never heard of the relationship of sleep to weight loss until I joined LA Weight Loss. At that time, they told me that I needed eight hours of sleep every night in order to maximize my efforts. I was sceptical, but began to be more disciplined in that area. To my surprise, I DID lose better when I was getting enough sleep.

Later, I read an article about sleep and weight loss detailing the effects sleep (or lack of) has on certain hormone production. I wrote a post about that article which you can read here.

The surprising truth is that if you get good sleep for at least 8 hours a night you will find it easier to lose weight.

Of course, being well rested also means you can work harder, think more clearly, and handle difficult situations better as well.

As for me, I love to sleep but I find that if I make my sleeping time begin after midnight and then sleep late in the morning I do not function well. I work best if I am asleep before midnight and up before 8 a.m. I've also noticed that when I go to sleep by midnight I feel more rested on 8 hours than if I go to bed at 2 a.m. and sleep until 10 a.m. (I realize that most of you have jobs and responsibilities that demand you get up long before 10 a.m. - I`m just saying where I am at right now)

As with anything that is good for me, sometimes I let myself stay up too late- 'playing' on my computer, reading, scrapbooking, or watching movies. I can easily fall into this habit since it is what I have done most of my life BUT this is one area that I find easier to correct - probably because I hate starting my day late in the morning.

How about you? Do you give yourself a restful sleep every night?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back to the 10 Essentials to Feeling Your Best Every Day

Hey ..... I haven't forgotten about this - really!

Have you been remembering to breathe deeply? I've been making a conscious effort to take 5 deep breaths several times a day. I usually do feel more energetic after those feasts of Oxygen.

The second essential is one of which we are all aware....


Ok, that is no surprise, right? We all know that part of any weight loss strategy is the intake of at least 8 cups of water every day.

Do you know that water is needed for everything your body does? The human body is more than 70% water. Nutrient absorption, blood flow, respiration, elimination, and your ability to see and hear require adequate consumption of pure, clean water. Your body cannot effectively store the water you need throughout the day.

So drink water often. Don't try to guzzle it all at once so you can move on to coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Drink water often during the day.

I seem to go in cycles on this point....I'll do real well for long time - in fact, after just a few days of discipline, I crave water over any other beverage. But then, I'll 'fall off the wagon' for a few days and I'm back to needing to think about it and discipline myself.

Which leads to a question.....WHY do I need to work so hard to do something I know is not only good for me, but which I know I will enjoy? I have proven to myself that drinking lots of water absolutely helps with the weight control. I have proven to myself that water quenches my thirst better than anything else. I have even noticed that I feel better and more energetic, generally, when my water intake is up.

It is the age old question.....why do I do the things I know I should not and do not do the things I know I should?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 Essentials

My husband heard a radio program a couple years ago about a Vitamin B supplement developed by a Dr. Libby. It is sublingual...that is, you place it under your tongue and it is dissolved directly into the blood stream.

The benefits of sublingual Vitamin B complex are many - the main one we were interested in is the fact that a lack of Vitamin B (and Folic Acid, which is included in this supplement) is directly related to heart disease.

Jim had been told he had high cholesteral and been put on Statin drugs which affected him negatively. We began some research on cholesteral and its connection to heart disease and found that there is a large amount of research that points to high homocystine levels caused by a lack of Vitamin B rather than cholesteral as the main culprit. Since the Statin drugs were causing more problems than he was willing to deal with, we worked at changing his diet and adding a GOOD supplement. This is what led to our ordering Dr. Libby's Tri-Vita Vitamin B supplement. I can tell you that we both found a new level of energy when taking it - and that Jim's cholesteral count began to come down (a combination of diet and supplement).

Along with our first order, we recieved a little booklet that outlines what they call 'Ten Essentials to Feeling Your Best Every Day'. I would like to share from this list over the next while.

BTW.....You can order the Vitamin B complex at the TriVita website or by telephone (1-800-991-7116) If you do, please mention my name and my ID # 13082335.......we will both get a discount if you do. (note: I am not writing this post to sell the product and the TriVita people did not ask me to mention them on my blog.....I simply wanted to share the list, which I think is helpful for focusing on healthy living)

Now, on with the first essential....

First, ask yourself these questions and answer with Always, Sometimes, or Never.

  1. Do you yawn frequently?
  2. Are you a shallow breather - your abdomen rarely expands when you breathe?
  3. Do you feel 'light headed' or experience a shortness of breath?

The first 'essential' is....BREATHE DEEPLY.

"Air is the cornerstone of life. Every moment of every day, your body exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen to keep each cell in your body alive and functioning. A rich supply of oxygen can make the difference between feeling tired and stressed and youthful and focused. Take at least five deep breaths from your abdomen several times a day."

I think sometimes we get so focused on sticking to plan, what the scale says, how many times we can make it to the gym (or not) that we forget that there is more to a healthy, happy lifestyle than those big things......

I am going to try to remember to breathe deeply 5 big breaths at a time, several times a day - beginning tonight.

I will be posting the other 9 essentials over the next couple weeks.

I did not have a very successful day today - didn't have breakfast, didn't drink all my water, didn't do any excersise, didn't stick to plan.

But....I'll never give up. Today can be an anomoly.....in fact, it IS an anomoly for the most part. Tomorrow will be better.

BTW....there is a link under the words "TriVita website" I do not know why it did not show up as a link and do not know how to fix it. But I tried it and it works.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year

I know it has been forever since I've been on here, and I do not know if everyone has given up on me or not, but.......I'm b-a-a-c-k.....

Happy 2010 to anyone who is still around this little blog.

Well, not that I need any MORE reasons to get into shape through exercise and weight management, I have another one. The Christmas season has emphasized to me how OUT of shape I am. Three solid days of shopping and I was exhausted....complete with sore muscles - as if I had been working out. It was embarrassing! I mean, I did do a fair bit of walking, but it was not at a FAST pace or anything. A couple days to recuperate, and it was Christmas Eve.....I was still wrapping gifts and getting the house in order and doing whatever pre-prep I could for the next day.

By the 27th of December I was again exhausted - my whole body ached with fatigue. My hubby (who was also exhausted for other reasons having to do with too many days working in a row, including one 36 hour shift) and I spent the entire day in bed - mostly sleeping.

The 25th, we had 11 for our traditional brunch. My SIL and her family (5) arrived shortly after we finished our meal. My oldest son and his family (6) arrived before supper. So, there was a houseful of people all day and into the late evening. I prepared a full turkey dinner - of course, I had helping hands here and there, but I had to tell everyone what to do.....my main helpers (that is, those who do not need to be directed) are usually my husband and to a lesser extent, my daughter. My daughter was not home at Christmas this year - they were spending the holiday with my SIL's family in Europe - and my husband was WAY past tired after working 18 hour days since Sept 11 with only 6 days off during that time (one day at a time). He just didn't have it in him - it was all he could do to stay in the living room and visit. Anyway, we had 22 for supper - including the 6 grandbabies that were present - and no dishwasher. There was plenty of pitching in to clean up, most people helped at least some. I was in charge of putting food away and keeping things going and not dissolving into 'towel wars'. LOL

The 26th was our 'family gift exchange' and was also the only day my niece and her family could visit us - so we had 19 for brunch that day. Our gift exchange takes all day - we open ONE gift at a time - and is very relaxing and fun. Since we have more in our family, we have found ways to shorten the process a little bit and this year we were done early enough that the boys could go into town to play a game of hockey. My SIL brought over the turkey for this night - to go with the leftovers from the night before (there were no turkey leftovers). This proved to be a challenge since there were not alot of vegetable leftovers either....but I pulled some things together and set out PAPER PLATES.

Understand one thing - my kitchen is small. My dining table seats 12 (10 comfortably) and fills up the dining room area, but in order to seat the whole family (including the extended family that share our holidays) we have to move furniture in the living room in order to set up an extra table or two. This also includes scouring the house for chairs or something else to sit on. This job is usually overseen by Jim, this year, I put one of my boys in charge. The result was not what I wanted, and had my granddaughters sitting in the kitchen at a children's table.....my oldest is 9 1/2 and is nearly as tall as me! Putting them at a kiddie table was NOT an option, to I set three more places and found 3 more chairs.

Every year, Jim says...."We HAVE to turn the (attached single) garage into part of the living area!" This becomes more and more evident as our family expands. Maybe this year. LOL. Seriously, though.....part of the exhaustion comes from having so many in such a small space. Our small space, BTW, is the largest area available within the family.

By the end of the evening on the 26th, I was tired enough that I was not even sorry for the celebration to end. The next day, as I said, we stayed in bed all day (except to get up and eat a couple times). I did not even put the living room in order again until Jan 1 when we did it all again for my daughter and SIL.

My point here, is that if I had been on the treadmill every day for the last year I would not have gotten so tired (at least, not as quickly) and I would have enjoyed the party a little more. If I had ALSO been doing strength training or some kind of workout, I would have had even MORE energy. I really do not do all that much ...... I don't even do as much as when my kids were little. For example.....when I had 4 or 5 little kids running around my legs, I baked for Christmas....cookies and squares and candies and (much more time consuming) the Scandinavian traditionals of Lefse, Flatbread, and Rosettes....each of which requires a full day of work. I also MADE ornaments for everyone I would be seeing at Christmas. (to be fair, this is the first year I have not made ornaments). I cannot believe how much more I could do while managing babies, toddlers, and young ones. Of course, I was in my 20's and 30's then - age does have an effect, after all.

My goal for this year is to focus on being in shape so that next Christmas I can come out of the 2 day celebration without having to spend a full day in bed to recuperate.

We do have regular family days during the summer, days when everyone (sometimes extended family as well) gather at our home for a day of just being together and sharing a meal.....but those happen when Jim is home and rested first of all, and secondly, there is always at least some of the day (if not all) that we are outside - a much bigger space than my little 1300 sq ft house.) Those days do not take as much out of me.

So......I need y'all! I need to be accountable and encouraged and even to have my hand slapped here and there.

As far as my weight goes....today I weighed in at 218.2 - I had been hovering around 213 - 216 for the month before Christmas, so that is not too much of a gain - especially considering that yesterday I ate two large plates of corn chips with cheese and salsa! I did get up as high as 220 over the past week, but that only lasted for one day. Still, 218 is a 10 pound gain from my lowest weight last spring. I can feel it in my clothes, too. My first goal is to get back to 208.

Another motivation.....my daughter and SIL are moving (with my grandchildren) to Zambia in June. They will be there indefinitely. My husband has told me two things.... I can go live with them for as long as I want during the winter months when he is working.....but I have to have my weight to 180 or less in order to go (he is concerned about the fact that I have high blood pressure.....flying raises blood pressure, and heat (such as the Zambian summers) also affects it. If I have dropped my weight that significantly, my blood pressure should have dropped as well).

This morning I had a smoothie made with FF, SF vanilla yogurt, a banana, and frozen blackberries. I also drank a cup of green tea (a special weight loss tea that I cannot say 'works' but at least tastes good.) I also took my multi-vitamin pack and my Vitamin B.

I WILL be back, to report on my efforts to make next year's Christmas celebration a little less exhausting.