Sunday, January 25, 2015

Year 3: Day 58: Helpful Food Advice

Have you ever noticed that when you choose to start making healthy changes everyone and everything has an opinion on how to do it?

I swear, every time I strive to eat better there are more articles in my news feed - be it Yahoo! News or FB or articles in a magazine - and a ton of friends/family with great ideas! So many ideas, in fact, that I always feel completely overwhelmed.

I saw an article once that listed every bit of advice for new mothers with newborns...the list was long and very contradictory. It was this list (and darn it, I wish I remembered where I read it so I could link to it), that made me start looking at healthy eating rules....

High Fructose sugar is bad. All sugar is bad. Here is a long list of names for sugar. All sugar operates the same. Eat sugar in moderation. Avoid all processed foods. Make sure there are only 5 ingredients on the label. Make sure there are only 4 ingredients on the label. Make sure you can read/pronounce/understand all the ingredients on the label. Sugar can not be one of the top 5 ingredients. Sugar can be on the label, just at the very bottom. Yogurt is great for you. Greek yogurt is best. Added sugar to yogurt is bad for you. Add honey, fruit and other things to sweeten the plain (Greek) yogurt you are eating. Eat your calories. Have a smoothie. Cereal is bad for you. Cheerios is pretty good. Whole grains are best. Quinn is best. Brown rice is good. Raisin Bran is healthy. So is Special K. Drink skim milk. Drink whole milk. Drink only organic raw milk. Do not use any condiments, full of sugar. Mustard is okay. Condiments that are organic are okay. Make your own condiments to control the amount of sugar. Salads are great. Salad dressings are bad. Salads at restaurants are to high in calories. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Eggs are too high in cholesterol. Eat meat. Don't eat meat. Eat complex carbs. Don't eat carbs. Eat apples. Make sure that the fruits and vegetables you eat are high on the glycemic chart. Make your food from scratch. Replace all your oils with applesauce. Olive oil is good. Canola oil is good. Canola oil is good. Coconut oil is good. Different oils are needed for different types of cooking and baking and at different temperatures. You need protein, fat and carbs at each meal. Fats are bad for you. Good fats are okay.

My head hurts, I am sure there are more...in fact, shout out the ones you've heard below!

Me? Starting today, I am making my own decisions on what is healthy...and you know what? It might change over time. Starting today I am eating Stonyfield's Low Fat French Vanilla yogurt. Why? Because I can't find the whole milk version. Because I don't like the last of yogurt, but I like the taste of French Vanilla. Because I like the Stonyfield company and what they are attempting to do (be a successful organic yogurt company). Because French Vanilla yogurt tastes better with Post Raisin Bran then the YoKids tubes I buy for my children. Why YoKids for my children? Because it has less sugar than other brands. Why Post Raisin Bran? Because a doctor once told my sister to eat Raisin Bran every day and Post Raisin Bran has one of the highest  amounts of fiber with one of the easiest to read labels. Why Post Raisin Bran with Stonyfield's Low Fat French Vanilla yogurt? Because I really like the combination and it stays with me longer than milk. But here is the thing - I eat like a snack. Yep, 1/4 cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of raisin bran. Yummy and filling with lots of digestive benefits. Are there other solutions to make this meal healthier? Maybe...but I am not ready to go down that road yet.

And this what eating healthy should be all about. Finding a starting place, find what works for you and move forward. Ignore the advice and good intentions of others. Listen to your own body...you are the expert of you.

Happy Journey!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Year 3: Day 49: 5 Gratitudes for Friday, 56

1. For the opportunity to home school my children. I love being with them each day. Sure, sometimes we need a break from each other (that is why park days were invented!), but I truly love home schooling. It has given me an opportunity to see my children blossom into their own personalities, to see their strengths and weaknesses...and how they choose to over come those weaknesses. I find it an amazing journey.

2. I love that answers to prayers are good no matter when they are received. When my children were very little and had their struggles, I prayed and got very distinct answers for each child. Those answers still apply to their struggles. They still apply as to what I, as their mother, can do to help them over come their struggles. I mean, how cool is that?

3. I love sharing my passions with my children. Whether it be studying conference talks or reading books or making our home a place of peace, I love that my children are a part of the process. I share, they share, we learn and grow together.

4. I am thankful Steve, the children and I are taking a year to read excerpts from C.S. Lewis' books. I have a book that provides a new excerpt for each day of the year. We have had some fantastic discussions (only one heated debate between Steve and I....still feel bad for that one) and, I, for one, have seen the positive changes in my life already as I apply the lessons that I am learning.

5. I am really glad for the experiences of my life. No journey is complete without lessons learned, failures, successes....which all adds up to experiences. And in my case, the experiences that I cherish the most in my life are the ones that bring my closer to God. The good, the bad, and the ugly have all helped  me know God and to slowly become more like Him (trust me, I still have a long way to go).

Happy Journey!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Year 3: Day 46: My Anchor

I have fallen in love with The Rock's (Dwayne Johnson) new reality show, Wake-up Call.

I watched the first episode as a joke because when I saw promos for the show, I told my husband to sign me up! The Rock could wake me up anytime!

I guess the joke was on me, the first episode blew me away and I have been faithfully watching ever since.

Each week, I gain a new nugget of knowledge or inspiration. Simple things like "Success starts early." Not early as in age, but early as in time. If I want to be successful than I have to get up early and put the time in. It's that simple.

In last week's episode, The Rock talked about how weight lifting became his anchor during a time in his life when there was nothing else he could do to help or control a suggestion. He said everyone needs an anchor.

I've thought about that a lot.

I'm a christian so it would be easy to say Christ is my anchor (which he is), but I think finding your anchor means something more.

I have friends who find a way to run every day. Every. Single. Day. It doesn't matter how many kids, the ages of the kids, the husbands schedule...nothing gets in the way of that run. That is an anchor.

Writing use to be my anchor. No matter how busy or how tired or how chaotic, I wrote. I wrote in my journals. I have close to 20 old journals (I just buy spiral bound notebooks). I love putting down my thoughts, my ideas, my frustrations, my triumphs, my questions, my discoveries, my hopes and dreams. I love writing.

I want writing to be my anchor again.

I know it works. I wrote. I walked. I walked. I wrote. That first year was blissful. If I wanted to write a post, I had to walk because I can't lie in my writings. I just can't.

I stopped writing and I stopped doing a lot of other things.

I forgot my anchor.

And I want it back.

Happy Journey!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year 3: Day 32: New Year's Week

Sorry haven't written much but with the holidays, family visiting, us traveling to visit friends...well, blogging was low on the list.

It has been a wonderful holiday week and I know I am going to enjoy New Year's Eve as well...but why is it every year I feel an overwhelming compulsion to make resolutions????

Resolutions rarely hold. I set a goal, work on it for a week or two and then it slowly fades away. I recently read somewhere that week 3 is the hardest week for people attempting to stick with a goal like exercising more or eating better. I find that fascinating...why week 3? Don't have an answer on that one...oh, well.

What I do have is a lot of musings in my head.

I know that simply setting a goal is not enough to motivate me.

I know that setting a goal and putting a reward (carrot) at the end is not enough to motivate me.

I know that setting a goal, having a reward and having a way to mark off the accomplishment (like writing this blog or simply putting a check box on a chart) is not enough to motivate me, but it does keep me going once the motivation wears off.

If you throw in a competition - some kind of point system than that is sometimes enough to motivate me, but it helps a ton to keep me going (even past that elusive 3 week hump).

I've decided that each person is probably motivated different (duh, we are all unique!) and each of us have our preferred way to keep ourselves on track (again, duh!).

The trick is knowing what works for you.

Some people like carrots. Ex: If I lose a certain amount of weight than I will treat myself to a new outfit.

Some people like the buddy system where everyone is encouraging each other - which is why online sites are so popular because lets face it, not everyone has a circle of friends & family that will be a cheerleader.

Neither one of those work for me.

I know, weird, right? In fact, I have not found a carrot shiny enough to get me to do what I know I should do when I don't want to do it.

Also, when I start to reach a weight goal and am looking good (yeah, I'm a little vain...so sue me), if someone is kind enough to compliment me on it....well, I stop working toward the goal. It is like my brain hears the compliment and thinks, "Oh, I'm done. I got the notice. Okay, back to eating junk food!"

I have thought about the times in my life where I was able to keep a goal a long term....even to the point of completing a goal (like finishing college or walking for a year).

I have to be stubborn about the goal and feel like I am showing someone I can do it even when they think I can't do it.

Dated a guy in high school that flipped out I wanted to go to college. He became a real pain. Even went to far by telling me I couldn't go to college & he would stop me. Um, yeah. Dumped the guy, but also basically said, "Hell, no. I'm not giving that up for you or for anyone else." So, put myself through college (with mom & dad helping) and got my bachelors degree.

Another time I was working a job as a reporter. My particular job title was a rotating type job - meaning there were a ton of people who started & quit. Now, almost twenty years later I realize the real problem was the Editor and other management staff for not doing a better job of training/mentoring the new reporters, but at the time....well, I was determined that the other reporters would not run me out the door until I was good & ready to leave. I stuck it out for an entire year. Pretty proud of myself for being the kind of reporter I wanted to be and I left on my own terms....not theirs.

Even walking for a year started out as a way for me to prove my doctor wrong. In this case, he was more right than me, but the point is I started the goal & kept at it to prove something.

I've concluded that I do far better with negative motivation.

I hear all the time, you can never have the body you had before children. Okay....but I see and know people who are in great shape after having children. Why can't I be that person?

I hear all the time that because I am chesty (and I am rather large in that area) that I can never be slim. Why???? I was slim in my 20s and had a chest then? Why should it be different know that I am in my 40s?

Basically, I realized this past week that I really want to prove people wrong about me and my body.

One, I am tired of people making comments about my body like that is an okay thing to do. It has been happening since puberty and I am, quite frankly, tired of it.

Two, I am tired of people making general statements and applying them to me without finding out the facts about my life, my body, my health, my history first.

Third, I am tired of people projecting their own insecurities, their own fears, their own problems, shortcomings and downfalls on to me. I am my own person.

I jokingly asked my husband to not compliment me anymore and to occasionally give me some negative motivation. He politely declined. Okay, not surprised that he decline. So, instead, I am writing out everything that has ever been said to me and posting them on my closet mirror (I have the sliding kind, so my list will be the back mirror that stays hidden for the most part). Whenever I feel complacent, lazy or that I have "made it" and can quite trying, I am going to read my list.

It might not be ideal, but I am hopeful it will work....work long enough to get me past week 3 and month 3 and well into another year.

Happy Journey!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year 3: Day 24: Christmas Week

What is it about the week of Christmas that is so dang hard???

Don't you miss being a kid where every day before Christmas was full of longing and anticipation for that glorious moment you were allowed to open your presents????

The two best days out of the entire year for a child is Christmas and their Birthday. Seriously. The. Best. Days. Ever.

Now, I'm an adult, a mom of three and...Christmas is a great day, but it so dang stressful leading up to the day. And sometimes stress during the day and after the day... Yeah, Christmas is just not the same.

To add to the stress of the Christmas spirit is the two very different messages floating around out there.

Message one: Christmas time = gifts, parties, and lots and lots of food and goodies. What better way to share the Christmas spirit than with a plate of sugar cookies, a tub of fudge or a tin of chocolate?

Message two: Christmas time = intense pressure to look your very best (which for most of society means skinny). I'm sorry, I can't enjoy the entire month of the Christmas season if I have to constantly worry about what is going into my mouth, what I might look like in my sweater (ugly or not) and if the scale will be "kind" the day after.

And really, what are we telling our children, especially our girls, when we are constantly flip flopping between these two messages?

This is probably the one area where I am a bit of Scrooge. We do not make a ton of holiday treats, if any. I do not attend cookie exchanges. I do not give goodies to friends and relatives. I just don't.

Now, if I am invited to a party or given a plate of goodies, I eat them. I sure with the family. We eat a little every day to make one plate last a good week, but I don't go crazy over trying to stay any certain size. Life is life. You know what I mean?

Share smiles. Share cards. Share season's greetings. And if baking is your thing, then by all means bake and share those goodies.

Just don't make me feel like a Scrooge for not baking and don't make me feel ashamed for eating the cookie that was brought to me. Life is way to short to add the stress of food to the Christmas holiday (I got enough stress ensuring each of my children feel loved & special throughout the month, but especially on Christmas morning as the gifts are being opened).

Thankfully, Christmas is just a few days away and the stress will magically disappear. Ah. Looking forward to it.

Happy Journey!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Year 3: Day 19: Stopped Cold in my Tracks

The children have been passing around a cold for sometime now....I finally got hit.

I hate getting sick.

I know healthy foods, healthy liquids is the way to go when sick, but all I really want is hot chocolate, Top Ramen and grilled cheese sandwiches....all are warm and just glide down my very sore throat.

Hope your day is going better!

Happy Journey!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Year 3: Day 15: The Water Question

I love water. This love; however, was not always there. Growing up I drank milk, chocolate milk, strawberry  milk when my mom would let me, apple juice and orange juice...and the occasional soda (always a HUGE treat growing up).

I fell in love with water when I was in college because...well, because I had to. I had no money. Water was free and I needed every dime for food.

I do not like my water flavored by fruit or veggies. No cucumber, lime, lemon, strawberry slices for me. None. I can drink my water with ice cubes or with out. I can drink it cold, room temperature and sometimes I can even drink it warm or slightly hot (gotta be really thirsty though).

The only time I don't like water is when I am sick. Especially when I have a cold. Ugh, water tastes so gross when I have a cold. Then I want something with a strong taste - I usually go for orange juice or hot chocolate, but sometimes I will drink soda.

Since 95% of my life is now spent drinking water, I have (smugly) felt that I was pretty healthy. I mean drinking water is on like every advice list on how to improve your health. So, I'm good, right? Um, yeah, nope, not at all, not even close.

For the last two weeks I have been a participating in a clean eating challenge. The first week, the focus was on eating 5 or 6 small meals and making sure every meal was as clean as possible. (Read clean to mean as whole & unprocessed as possible).

It was a hard week for me. Breakfast, snack and lunch I can eat pretty clean, but dinner through me every single time. When I couldn't figure out how to make something more "clean", than I just ate a smaller portion with more veggies. Pretty good compromise. I really liked how I felt at the end of that first week.

The second week, the focus was on drinking a gallon of water a day. I did not drink a gallon of water a day, I was shy by 8 oz (2 cups) each day, but I still drank a ton of water! And I love water!

I'm sure everyone else in the challenge did a great job of eating clean AND drinking water, but for some reason I didn't. At first, I felt really guilty, but now I am glad for the mistake. Why? Because I got to experience for myself in a short amount of time the difference between eating healthy with some water and eating not so healthy and drinking a ton of water. Want to guess which week won? Which week where I felt my best?

Yup, you guessed it! The first week. With all that water I drank in the second week, I was forced to eat smaller meals, but the meals were not healthy and I felt (feel) like crap.

Huge wake up call to me that eating healthy trumps everything - trumps sleep, trumps drinking water, trumps exercise. Now, I know I have to do all of those things together, but if I am having a rough day and can only put my time & energy into one, then it needs to be my food. Clean, healthy, unprocessed food.

Happy Journey!