Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meal PLANNING Worksheet

Adapting Diane's worksheet for my weekly meal planning.
(Click image to enlarge).

Planning. Planning. Planning.

The need for planning has been repeated over and over throughout the many blogs I've read. Successful people say that planning is one of the biggest contributors to aiding them to achieve their goals. It helps avoid hasty, unhealthy, expensive decisions when you are hungry/bored/emotionally drained/(your reason here).

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I realize the meals I was making at home needed an overhaul. Sometimes...a lot, actually...I didn't even make time to prepare the meals and would opt for fast-food. I wish I could say that happened once a week, but sadly, it had become almost daily. Why? Because I had not planned. I usually winged-it. And usually the wings came with pizza.

Before I began my own blog, I poured myself into Diane's blog Fit to the Finish. There, amongst inspiration, I found a meal planning worksheet (click there for a blank, printable version of the above). I printed four sheets and put them in a binder. It's taken some time, but I have almost 4 weeks of meal-planning and healthier recipes my family actually likes.

I really like it. Preparation has become easier. I'm saving money, time, calories (as long as I stop buying those *&%$ eclairs and creme horns...old habits die hard). I'm feeding my family more nutritionally-dense foods. Cooking isn't as overwhelming as before. I look forward to it, and as I become used to the recipes, I can teach my kids. And I hope it helps me to stop my binge habit.

Other changes I've made:
Sundays: I try not to cook at all. I prepare a slow-cooker meal Saturday and put it into the fridge until Sunday morning where I transfer it to the heating unit. When we come home from church, we have a meal ready, and it's there the rest of the day if anyone is hungry.

For lunches and dinner: I make enough for dinner, too, then all I have to do is reheat and maybe add a salad or veggie. I'm usually wiped-out by dinner time and busy doing other things with the kids. I think this new approach will be very helpful.

This journey is one step at a time. I have a lot of muck to undo (like portion control). With these changes to my family's meals I hope to nourish us all and replace bad habits with good. That's the plan, anyway.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Don't Want This Gift To Myself

Being pink does not make it any more fun.

When I turned 40, Jan. '09, I told myself I was going to get the works in medical care: blood tests, gynecological exam, dental, physical, stress test, skin test, etc. Last year, I only took care of the skin exam. Both of my grandparents had skin cancer, and I grew up in Arizona hardly using sun screen. So I had that done, and results were fine. But I put off the rest.

It just stresses me out to have to make appointments and go. Then to have to get naked...ugh. Well, I guess I wouldn't have to get naked for the dentist, but that's besides the point. Insurance kind of played a roll in my putting things off, too.

Here's my gift to myself (except I'm not the one who gets to open the box) -- Today I made my GYN appointment. It's in a couple of weeks. I really should have done it a few years ago.

I have a question for you: What blood tests would you recommend I request? Iron levels, thyroid... I'm not sure what to ask for.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dr. Oz and Diane, Fit to the Finish

Our blogging-angel, Diane from Fit to the Finish, was recently a guest on Dr. Oz (2-16-10). I took a few notes to re-cap her and other guests' weight-loss tips. As a bonus, Dr. Oz provides 100 additional tips.

Diane, aka Wellness Warrior, will also blog for Dr. Oz. See here.

{After typing in the info below, I finally found the link for that day's episode. Click here. I'll just include both.}

1. As you lose the weight, purge the larger clothes, get rid of them.
2. "Cheating" will happen. For every time you cheat, do 10 minutes of physical activity.

(She had counted calories and watched portion-control. She loved food and hated exercise but did it to continue enjoying her food. The exercise brought good feelings, and she's now a personal trainer. If she can learn to love exercise, then anyone can).
1. Don't skip breakfast; make it the largest, healthiest meal of the day.
2. Know your trigger food and tweak it to make healthier versions of it.

[Losing the weight actually created more time for her because she was healthier (had the energy and ability to do more).]
1. Two words for us: Patience and Persistence
2. After eating, and you want more, set a timer for 15 minutes and get busy doing something else. If you are still hungry, then have something else. More than likely, the hunger would have subsided.
3. For juice: use the small bathroom cups (i.e. Dixie cups) for portion control. Sometimes she pours it into bottled water for flavor.
4. Rate food 1-10. If it's a "10" then go ahead and have a bit of it. If it isn't, then pass it up. (This is especially helpful when going out or to parties/potlucks, etc.)

(Do it today. Don't lose out on the next 10-20 years).
1. Prep day: She makes 5 lunches for the week and puts snack in bags.
2. Sugar-free fruit pops for her treat.

Also: there was a lady in the audience in her 70's who recently lost over 100 pounds. It's never to late to start making good habits for yourself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life is Hard Quote and Monthly Report

Life is Hard;
It's Even Harder When You're Stupid.
(Do What Works In Life).

Last Sunday's speaker at church is a high school coach, and he has a sign in his office with John Wayne's quote and the addition "Do what works in life" underneath. He spoke about coaching the kids and having them answer, "What does work in life?" He said they come up with a long list including kindness, respect, integrity, honesty, dependability, prayer, hard work, etc.

What works in life on a fitness journey? Kindness to self, planning, patience, persistence, prayer, lots of water, exercise, portion control, more veggies and whole foods, less sugar and processed foods, rest, balance, gratitude, getting support, giving service, quality gym shoes.

Am I stupid?

Okay, that's not very kind to myself, I know, but the only thing I have persistently done is have quality gym shoes. Today's monthly weigh-in shows me at 207#. I'm not surprised. I haven't been doing what works.

Let's look in this box of silver-linings {'s gotta be here somewhere...ah, here it is}: I see a difference in calf-definition. The c25k is making a difference in calf tone. I've always seen my right calf, but my left calf hid in fat, had no definition and was an inch and a half larger than the right. (Yeah, someone kindly pointed out to me 20 years ago that my left leg is larger than my right). So, I'm developing muscles. Yay!

Another silver lining is my meal planning is almost complete with new, healthier recipes.

About my couch-to-5K training: I was doing well the first few weeks. Then MWF turned into MWS, then just MW last week. It's been a week w/o it. Again, I stay up too late and dread getting up early in the cold.

A lot of my journey is just breaking bad habits, but there's a little stupid mixed in there, too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Morning Dream

Image Credit:

5:30 A.M. - Just woke from a dream. I was watching an animated statue of a young mother and her 1 year old. She was on her knees playing with the infant. The child would crawl away, she'd hold on to his/her leg and gently pull him towards her. In one sweep the baby was being held to her shoulder where she'd rock, sing, and pat him on the back. Then, in one sweep, he was crawling away from her, and the cycle would repeat.

I stood there watching, and my heart ached because I'd never get those days back. Then an image of my current 4 year old, Skye, appeared, and words vividly said, "Enjoy him NOW."

This part is fuzzy, but I received the impression, "Get healthy NOW if you want to play with your grandchildren."

Then I was fully awake.

Holy cow.

Skye, 4

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Thank you for the support you showed me last week. It was very helpful, and I keep it to my heart during these times.

I looked around my home a few days ago and realized I have many unusable areas, areas that are stuffed with items we didn't know what to do with when we moved in a little over a year ago. We have grown accustomed to these stagnant spots and simply overlooked them.

I am typically an organized person and don't like to collect things. We have had to move several times, giving away unnecessary items. I thought I had kept pretty much just what we needed. Now I wonder what is in those corners, shelves, and cabinets. I guess I don't need them if I can't really remember what's there. It could be sentimental, I suppose. I do know some boxes are empty. Yet, they are there taking up space and some sort of energy flow, a feng shui chi thing I read about a while ago.

Why am I discussing this? I need to de-clutter for my mental health. There is something calming knowing these knots-of-stuff have loosened and the items have a place. I need to make space for the important things. I like being able to find what I am looking for. I'm also hoping this will have a positive effect on my physical health and emotional eating.

I may not be blogging/commenting much, again, but I feel really good about how I will be spending my time. I'm going in the right direction. C25K, upper body resistance, re-booting mini-fitness goals, and meal planning continues (also happy about this). Additionally, I'm finding ways to be with my kids (and giving myself a break from the guilt).

Just trying to be better than before.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Mother's Anxiety (and C25K Reports)

I managed to do all three C(omputer)-to-5K challenges the week before last (along with upper body resistance) but only did one challenge this past week with the plan of doing one today.

See all those "Mini Fitness Goals" on the right (and down a bit)? I haven't been doing any of them. No thankful journal, dancing, water (barely), no stop-eating-after-7, no going to bed early. I've only managed the C25K and upper-body resistance.

It's been rough lately. I've had a lot of anxiety and moments of darkness. No doubt that if I consistently did my little goals I'd feel better. However, one of my darkness times was after a C25k jog. I remember wishing I could just cry or something (I have a hard time crying but wish I could because it releases tension and clears the mind). Then I was going over my to-do list in my head when I thought about my children and how they are growing so fast, and I feel like I'm missing it. The guilt of all of my shortcomings as a mother flooded me: my lack of patience, the junk food I was/am in the habit of feeding all of us, the lack of activities, spending too much time on the computer (blogging), I'm not teaching them all the things I imagined teaching them when I was pregnant, I should be reading to them more. I wish I had a pause button so they would stop growing until I could get my act together and have a perfect healthy menu, everything is finally unpacked from our moves, home repairs made, appointments made and finished, the dog trained, an exercise routine I can include them in, and good habits to pass on to them. I just want to freeze my kids in time until I can be a better mom.

Then I cried. I just sat on the bathroom floor and let it out. I composed myself but for the rest of the day I'd get choked up when I thought of my kids, those precious spirits entrusted in my care.

They just keep growing. Life keeps happening. If I'm going to be a better mom, I have to take better care of me. I have to put my oxygen mask on first so I can better help them. Time is valuable.

I'm going to reinstate my mini fitness goals, one at a time. This past week I've been working on a four-week rotation menu plan with healthier food options. I'll post about that later.

Well, I have a Sunday school lesson I will be teaching tomorrow, and I need to finish preparing. The subject is the Abrahamic Covenant.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Hand For Haiti: Fundraiser by Celiac Teen

It's another one of those I-can't-breath weeks, but, hey, at least my home and family are in one piece (even if my mind isn't).

Lauren of Celiac Teen has collected many bloggers' recipes (87), compiled them into an ebook, and it's ready to sell as a fundraiser for Haiti. The funds go to the Canadian Red Cross. You can purchase this recipe ebook any time, but if you do before February 12 the Canadian government will match all donations. Minimum donation is $10.00. Click here to get to her blog and more detailed information.

Love to you all,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Sugar Is Healthy For You and Makes You Wanna Dance

Bring on the nostalgia!

Do you remember The Archies? The song popped into my head today (all this talk about sugar). I looked it up on YouTube and was so happy it was there. I've never seen "them" it one guy? Anyway, I had the 45 when I was a little girl and would play it over and over and over just dancing around in my room. (sigh:)

{A 45 is a small record, usually a single from the bigger LP record (we used to listen to music on them before tapes). Tapes are what we had before cd's. (oh, I feel old).}

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For A Limited Time Only: Real Sugar!!!

These are pictures my husband took at our local grocery store. There is a mountain display of soda, snacks and other junk for Super Bowl weekend coming up.

I've been amazed about how many items have high fructose corn syrup in them (as well as partially hydrogenated oil/aka hydrolyzed/aka trans). Under my "Expensive Chocolate" post I wrote about American soda having HFCS, while European soda stayed with sugar.

Now, there's this "throwback" marketing campaign advertising real sugar in soda. What a concept! Not that sugar is great for you by any means, but at least it's something the body can sort of deal with. Don't get too excited. If you'll notice the package, it's only for a limited time. (Hurry! Get sugar while you can...before it runs out!) Then it's "hello, hfcs" again, unless of course, you make the wise decision to substitute water for soda as a regular practice.

I pulled the following from an article I've been reading about dangers of sugar:

Fructose undermines these normal satiety signals, increasing caloric consumption both directly and indirectly:

  1. Fructose does not stimulate a leptin rise, so your satiety signals are diminished.

  2. Glucose suppresses ghrelin (the hunger hormone—it makes you want more food), but fructose does not.

  3. By raising triglycerides, fructose reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier.

  4. Fructose increases insulin levels, interfering with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus, so your pleasure signals aren’t extinguished. Your brain senses starvation and prompts you to eat more.

  5. Fructose decreases the production of malonyl-CoA, which may help promote a sense of energy adequacy.

Along with causing insulin resistance, fructose alters the hedonic response to food thereby driving excessive caloric intake, setting up a positive feedback loop for overconsumption.

So, have you managed to eliminate all of the artificial stuff from your meals? That is going to be my focus over the next week. I'm going to plan my meals and prepare so I'm not tempted to eat out and grab that soda. I want to live a healthy, full-of-energy life. After all, I'm here for a limited time only.

HFCS and Baby Formula: Can you believe it?!

Do you ever get this feeling you want to move forward but are pulled by opposing forces? I have been very dismayed lately about how high fructose corn syrup is in EVERYTHING.

I've been reading an article and watching the accompanying video about the hazards of sugar. And this shocked me: "Tragically, many infant formulas are more than 50 percent sugar -- 43 percent being corn syrup solids. You might as well be giving your baby a bottle of Coke or Pepsi."

I went grocery shopping yesterday and checked out formulas. Sure enough. The FIRST ingredient was corn syrup solids. As if that wasn't enough, sugar was listed. One even had partially hydrogenated oil. FOR INFANTS! There was one brand that said "sugar-free." I was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed my children, but I was so angry that other parents are offered this garbage. Why?!!!!!

Greta from Big Bottom Blogger introduced this link for the article here: This Common Food Ingredient Can Really Mess Up Your Metabolism. It's lengthy, but worth the read. Bookmark it.

It's challenging enough for us adults to avoid the stuff, but babies don't have choices, and young parents may not be informed. HFCS is illegal in some other countries. How can we make it illegal here?

Update: I just returned from the pediatric's office to get my 4 year old ready for kindergarten. I asked the doc if she new about it. She said no and then began looking in the exam room cabinets where they store the samples. She was shocked! Similac- 43% corn syrup solids. She had another brand, Isomil (or was it Enfamil...sorry, I didn't write it down), that was better and didn't have it.