One Day at a Time

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It has been such a fun end of the year for me. My family and I went on a cruise the week before Christmas and I did very well with all the walking and activities (thank you physical therapy!). I definitely noticed that my cardio is nowhere near as strong as it used to be and I even got a little winded going up and down stairs (just like at home). My breakfasts (yes, I ate breakfast every day) were healthy high protein and there was no time for unlimited snacking (like I do when I home) because we were so busy with all the activities and fun things to do on the ship. I was surprised that I didn’t gain weight after the holidays and cruise; in fact, I lost three pounds. However, I was so winded from walking and using the stairs that I quickly realized that it is time to add some exercise back into my life, especially cardio.

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This new year I have decided to take a different approach to getting healthy, much different than the past four years.

I am not going to stress about counting calories or what the scale says or fad diet plans or anything at all. I am going to focus on my body; feeding it healthier alternatives, healthy snacks, and lots of water and green teas. I will be using all the information and knowledge I have gained over the past four years and continue to find new healthy recipes to keep the variety.

I am going to start exercising with the lower impact exercises until my leg is fully healed and ready for my normal exercise routines again. I will start with the elliptical and try doing the T25 (following the low impact modification) and/or OrangeTheory to push myself a little bit in order to get back into the swing of things with my exercise routine.

I am not going to beat myself up if I miss a workout or overindulge/eat unhealthy foods on occasion. I’m not looking for fast results. I am looking for a consistent routine that will develop into good habits and hopefully wonderful results.

I will continue to keep you posted on my progress and any new items to post but mainly I am just going to live and enjoy each moment. It is time for me to just…be.

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HOLD: My 17 Day Diet Adventure

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Well ladies and gents, I am going to have to hold off on The 17 Day Diet for a bit. I have been fighting with (what I think is) the stomach bug since late last night and I am absolutely miserable. If you want to continue with the plan by all means go for it and let me know your thoughts and results. I will update you upon my return.

My 17 Day Diet Adventure

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Cycle 1: Accelerate: Day 1

  • Breakfast – strawberry meal replacement shake and I use one cup of TruMoo chocolate milk and one cup of ice in my shake.breakfast-day1
  • Lunch – turkey sausage, chicken breast, onions, and quinoa with steamed cauliflower that had a little hot sauce on them. I mixed all these items in a pan together and ate until I felt comfortably full. (The book has a guide on “fullness meter” and “hunger meter” to assist in overeating or not eating enough). I had two cups of hot green tea with lunch.

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  • Snack #1 – six ounces of Greek Gods Greek Yogurt Honey with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. The six ounces (or 3/4 cup) is a LOT of yogurt, so I took my time eating it.

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  • Snack #2 – Yoplait Lite Key Lime Pie Yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Dinner – my leftover’s from lunch, salmon filet, chicken breast (which I wasn’t able to finish), and spinach sauteed with garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil. I had two cups of green tea with dinner.

My first day was a good day. I did not get my fruit servings in before 2:00PM so I skipped the fruit servings. Mild headache for most of the afternoon but I ate slower and drank a lot of water. I tried to keep my hands busy (because I get bored) so I crocheted when I was sitting. I wasn’t hungry but still had cravings; cheesy enchiladas and chips LOL It was mind over matter.

I got 30 minutes of mild swimming for my exercise. The book requires 17 minutes of mild to moderate exercise per day so I am ahead of the game today.

I am not counting calories, which is nice, so I am not using My Fitness Pal during this time. I will still be getting my weight and measurements but at the end of each 17-day cycle. I am anticipating reaching (or getting very close to) my goal weight after the first cycle, but we will have to see how things go and if I need to move to the second cycle before going to maintenance mode, I would be okay with that too.

I am hoping the rest of the cycle continues to go smoothly.

A New Direction

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Jump Start the Body

I need to seriously jump start this weight loss process. I haven’t had to lose this much weight in a really long time and the traditional measures I have used in the recent past are not working as effectively. This is probably because the amount of weight I need to lose as well as my body has become very comfortable on the nutrition plan.

Many years ago I purchased a book, The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno. At that time it did not apply to me because I was already very close to my goal weight so I stored the book and just rediscovered it yesterday when I was rummaging through boxes under our stairs. I reread the box to refresh my memory and this nutrition plan is definitely the wake-up call my body needs to get going and stay on track (fingers crossed).

The 17 Day Diet is four separate cycles of 17 days per cycle. Each cycle is different to keep the body guessing and prevents plateaus. It is focused on nutrition and putting the right foods into your body. Each cycle adds different foods gradually. This plan specifically targets belly and visceral fat (which is where I carry my stubborn fat). Visceral fat is very unhealthy and my large amounts of belly fat is creating a high BMI that I need to lower to be healthier and maintain the low rates on my health insurance.

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What I like about this plan (so far) is the diet is thoroughly researched and developed by a doctor who has been involved in his patients’ weight loss for many years. He designed The 17 Day Diet to promote eating healthy, focus on foods that promote weight loss and removal of visceral fat, and so you can see results quickly. He even has considerations for different cultural diets, PMS week, and carbohydrate sensitive individuals (like me). So far, I cannot find a way out of this nutrition plan (other than not doing it or giving up). It really is simple; there are grocery lists, menus, guides, considerations, etc. The only thing I do not like about this book is the weight guide. I disagree with the chart. I am 5’3″ and small framed/boned. The chart says I should weigh 109 – 115 pounds. Not a chance that I even want to weigh that much and I know I would be uncomfortable weighing that little. So I am going to keep to my goal weight (125 pounds) and when I feel great in my skin I will move to the maintenance mode. That is the good thing about the plan as well; you can move through the phases as you see fit. It is a flexible plan.

The first cycle starts with unlimited lean proteins and cleansing vegetables with two servings of low-sugar fruit, two servings of probiotic, and one to two tablespoons per day of friendly fats. Also, three cups of green tea and at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

The second cycle adds additional protein (lean cuts of meat), some natural starches (i.e. grains), and some starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes).

The third cycle adds additional protein, some different natural starches, some more starchy vegetables, and new friendly fats. This cycle adds portion control and varies the calorie intake daily to keep your body guessing.

The fourth cycle is all about maintenance. There are many tips and guides on how to maintain your weight loss.

I am going to document and track my experiences with The 17 Day Diet and you will see those posts every day going forward. Keep checking back every day to see my progress and join me if you like!

Staying Strong

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One Day at a Time

My first week was really great! It wasn’t always easy but I stayed strong and kept at it. I lost 1.4 pounds and 2.5 inches throughout my body (one inch of that was belly fat!).

Food: I had no intense cravings, headaches, or other issues related to decreasing my calorie intake and eating more healthful foods. I had to remind myself to eat breakfast, which has always been a struggle for me. My favorite breakfasts are:

  • One piece of whole grain toast, 2 ounces turkey sausage, one egg, and half of an avocado cup (only 300 calories for this breakfast);
  • Sometimes I substitute the toast for one serving of Kashi Waffles;
  • I like to add a Yoplait low-fat yogurt or fruit.

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My favorite lunches are:

  • Romaine (2 cups) and baby spinach (1 cup) salad with one can of tuna, 1/2 cup of quinoa, and two tablespoons of Italian dressing; OR
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1 cup baby spinach sauteed with a splash of hot sauce and 4 ounces of salmon (baked with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper).

I made sure to have a light snack between meals and I think this really helped with my cravings and headaches I normally go through when transitioning back to healthy eating. My favorite snacks are:

  • Townhouse Pita Chips or carrots and Sabra Hummus or Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip;
  • Fruit;
  • Popcorn;
  • Pumpkin seeds;
  • One Kashi Waffle;
  • One tostado with half of an avocado cup;
  • Two turkey breast slices.

One item that I cannot live without is Simple Truth Digestive Herbal Tea. I have at least three cups of this tea per day. I haven’t had any tummy issues, bloating, and I feel more “regular” since drinking this tea.

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Dinner time is all about portion control, moderation, and creating healthy alternatives. I don’t make the entire family eat what I eat. I try to find recipes everyone would like (we have four children) and with four children it can be difficult to make something everyone will eat so sometimes I will cook a separate meal for myself.

I did well this past week; I only went over my calories once this week (I really wanted Qdoba LOL). I had a few indulgences but made sure to manage my food intake properly to allow for some Milk Duds and a glass of wine this week. Overall, food was a success!

Exercise: I was able to walk without crutches this past week. I started off slow and used two crutches, then went to one crutch. Now I’m walking without crutches, just in my boot. I started off walking for 20 minutes at a time. I walked for three hours straight yesterday and about died, so I will tone it down to an hour per day. I am just so proud of myself that I am finally moving around and getting a little exercise in my life. One step at a time (literally).

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Here We Go Again

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I’m Back!

Hello ladies and gents! Wow, a whole lot has happened in five months. Let me give you the run down; I gave up on exercise and continued to eat healthy after the adrenal fatigue fun and then I started to feel better and gave up on eating healthy. When May came around, I told myself “who cares? I am going to LIVE!” Well, I lived it up and never stopped eating junk for months. On July 2, I broke my leg (fibula right above my ankle) which required surgery. I have been 100% non-weight bearing and laying/sitting for two whole months while continuing to eat junk all. day. long.

Results of these “fabulous” decisions? My GI tract is miserable, constant headaches and fighting days of migraines, a LOT of extra weight gain which makes it very difficult to move around on my crutches and knee scooter, sluggish, fatigued, acne, moody, cranky, nothing in my closet fits (yes, that includes my fat sweatpants), and pretty much an overall sense of ickyness and misery.

When I weighed and measured myself I realized how out of control I have allowed things to get and I say “NO MORE”. I am getting back on track starting immediately. I have updated my Resources page with new information and my Progress page with new goals and measurements, so be sure to check out those pages.

I am going back through this blog, day-by-day, to get motivation and more ideas for shopping lists and creating weekly meal plans. I’m going back to the basics because I know that everything I have done previously has worked, so I am going to start at the beginning and create a new life for myself. My nutrition is going to be the biggest component of this journey since my exercise plan will have to be highly modified.

Since I have a broken right leg, I will use a foundation of push-ups and sit-ups as well as my stress relieving yoga video to get things started. I have Googled “exercises to do when you have a broken leg” and there are dozens of videos for me to use including CARDIO! No way, so cool! Cardio for crutches. So happy that I have options.

If you find yourself in a situation like mine, stop making excuses (this was so hard for me but I did it) and get yourself in a positive mindset. You’ve got this! Let’s do this!

Adrenal Fatigue

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Your Adrenals are Important

I never knew how important. After months of exercise and healthy eating, I was not getting any better, in fact, I was feeling miserable and gaining weight. In two weeks, I gained six pounds. I couldn’t get rid of my cold and cough (since December). Finally, I decided to go to the doctor (ggrr, not my fave). I was diagnosed with pneumonia and she addressed my other concerns as well. After all was said and done, I learned the value and importance of my adrenals and thyroid.

Adrenals sit on top of the kidneys and produce hormones that control blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, react to stress and illness in an effort to alleviate the stress, and burn protein and fat. When you put your body under significant stress, your immune system is compromised (I was sick all the time) and your adrenals can become very tired of trying to alleviate your stress and illness.

Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenals have very little activity because they cannot keep up with your body’s stress since your body is going through chronic, long-term stress.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Extreme fatigue and exhaustion, especially in the afternoon. I was passing out at around 2:00PM and could barely get out of bed to pick up my daughter from school. I struggle to find any kind of energy throughout the day.
  • Inability to handle any stress. Since my adrenals are not pushing out hormones in response to stress, I am not able to focus and find my strength to handle any type of stress. Instead, I feel overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. Therefore, the more stress that comes my way, the more it piles up, the more cortisol builds up in my body (that nasty hormone that holds onto fat for emergencies and my body thinks it is in a constant state of emergency). It is a vicious cycle.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Mental fogginess, forgetfulness.
  • Severe PMS including high and lows, intense cravings for salt and fried foods.
  • Extremely low to non-existent libido.
  • To add to the fun for me; also included is dizziness, panic attacks, numbness and tingling in my hands and/or feet, very cold feet and/or hands, shakes from low blood sugar, headaches, and a complete lack of desire to do anything except sleep.

There is hope. My doctor gave me some great advice on how to lessen the symptoms and improve my overall health. My body needs to reduce inflammation, build up my immune system, and take better care of my body through food and mild exercise.

Helpful Hints:

  • Strengthen your immune system and gut. Take a daily probiotic and eat yogurt daily.
  • Do not over-exert yourself; including exercise. A daily walk is enough to boost your hormones and improve the fatigue. Also, being outside helps decrease the mood swings and depression.
  • Eat every two hours and NEVER skip breakfast.
  • Eat a LOT of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat a LOT of lean protein (chicken, fish).
  • Eat the Superfoods for Adrenals: salmon, avocados, coconuts, olives, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, kelp, seaweed.
  • Eat one avocado per day.
  • Drink water (and only water) like a fish. I am still drinking green tea and my digestive health green tea (3-4 cups per day).
  • Avoid sugar and (at least for a bit) avoid white bread, white flour, etc.
  • Avoid fried foods and processed foods.
  • Stick to a low(er) sodium diet.
  • Be in bed no later than 10:00PM and get at least 8-10 hours per night.

For more information, here is a great infographic on healing adrenal fatigue including herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals.

I am hopeful (although it can take up to 24 months to heal my adrenals) and at least I know what is wrong with me and how I can fix this issue. If you have (or had) adrenal fatigue and you have any advice/suggestions/information please feel free to comment.

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