Thursday, April 29, 2010

Taking Baby Steps

After months and months of saying we were going to, Ronnie and I have finally started walking together.  We went to the local park, let the six-year-old loose on the playground, stuck the toddler in his stroller and started walking the track.  The track is .16 mile.  About six times around the track is a mile.  I only made it four times around on Tuesday.  I was so disappointed in myself.  Of course, I know that for an almost 300-lb woman (I can't believe I just told the world that) that's really nothing to sniff at, but I know I can do better.  I know I can make that mile.  That is my goal today.  To walk an entire mile on that track.  That's six times around.

That leads me to another point. It's important to make goals. When we don't, we have nothing to strive for.  And without that, what's the point?  We need to set goals every day to be successful.  A goal might be to walk for 15 minutes or to drink four glasses of water instead of two.  Even to incorporate a fruit into your meal plan for the day, or eat a salad.  Small goals can make HUGE changes. Here's the thing though - don't go too grandiose with it.  Sometimes people make the mistake of making goals that there is NO way they can reach.  Such as a person that has never exercised in her life making the goal to run a 5K the next day.  Or a person to completely change their eating habits 100% that week.  Those goals aren't attainable for most people (don't start throwing stuff at me - I said MOST people.  If you are one of those people that can do these things, then bully for you.  Please email me your secret). Small goals - baby steps as Fly Lady Marla Cilley says.  One baby step a day.  For me, I had one baby step on Tuesday.  To walk.  I didn't give myself a limit on how long or far, just to do it.  Today, my baby step is to set that goal of length.  I was able to walk four laps Tuesday, there's no reason I can't walk at least five today - but my real goal is six.  Tomorrow, my baby step will be something else.  Day by day.  Hour by hour.  Minute by minute.

Change takes time.  It won't happen overnight. It CAN'T happen overnight, or it won't stick.  This is a problem I've had in the past, and one that I still struggle every day to overcome in so many areas.  Baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps.  Eventually, I'll get there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

When the GOOD cravings kick in . . .

You know, every so often, I CRAVE healthy food.  Like this weekend, for example.  DH and I were camping with a few of our best friends, one of which takes over the cooking for everyone.  He is an amazing cook.  But what he choses to cook isn't exactly the healthiest of foods.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE his sausage and potatoes, hamburgers, sausage and beans, and so-on. But this weekend, I was actually CRAVING healthier fare - fruit, turkey burgers, salad . . . THAT'S what I wanted to eat. Not so good for me this weekend (although the food, as always, WAS amazing), but it made me realize something. When faced with the prospect of not having a choice in the matter, I CRAVED the healthier things.  This tells me something about my body - I want NUTRITIOUS food - not junk (although I did crave a Twix today like you wouldn't believe).  I am starting to hear what my body wants and needs and relate to food from that perspective, rather than from the perspective of comfort or boredom.  I like this change.  I welcome it, and thank God for it.  I am ready for it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So . . . What CAN we eat?

I am food-obsessed.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that. I love to cook, I love to write, read, and re-write recipes, I love to research food trends and fads.  And, obviously, I love to eat.  Recently I've gotten on a kick of watching documentaries about food.  Lately I watched "Food, Inc.". This movie really got me paranoid.  Then I started REALLY thinking . . .

Experts are all different.  And they have different viewpoints.  One expert says to not eat fat, one to not eat carbs.  One says to only eat whole, organic foods, while another one will tell you that processed foods are not only okay, but good for you.  There's the south beach diet, the Atkins diet, weight watchers, spark people, the grapefruit diet, the Eden diet, and so on, and so forth.  The point is they all say something different.  If you look at what all these doctors say and put it all together you are left with only one question.  So . . . What CAN I eat?

Bread and pasta are a given now days.  Unless it's whole grain, don't eat it.  So, no white anything.  Oh, wait a sec . . . Wheat gluten is bad for a lot of people now . . . okay, so only products made with corn, rice, or soy products . . . Oh, can't do that b/c all these farmers are using pesticides and genetic enhancement on their corn and soy beans! Hmm . . . well, meat isn't bad, right?

Well, for years "experts" have been saying to not eat fat, so we'll start with that.  No fat.  That means only lean meat such as poultry breast, lean beef, fish, and lean pork. Oops!  Wait, can't eat that because it's processed in factories that support cruelty to animals and their products are all genetically enhanced.  Leaves meat off the list. Fruit and veggies!  Surely THOSE are good for me!

BUT only non-starchy ones which leaves off potatoes, bananas, plantains, apples, corn, beans, and peas.  Oh, yeah, those silly pesticides are back.  And the genetic enhancements.  Well, dang, leaves off vegetables.

So, to solve this we can just eat all organic right?  WRONG!  Guess what?  Those "organic" companies are still allowed to use a certain amount of chemical pesticides, and for the ones that use only organic pesticides, well, some of those are just as dangerous as the chemical toxins!

So, that leaves us at square one.  What's a girl to do?

Some advice?  Fuggitaboutit.

If we spend all our time worrying about what we're eating and where it comes from, we'll go crazy.  I'm not saying that you should stock up on Twinkies and totino's pizza.  But I'm saying that when it comes to healthy food, you can't worry about that kind of thing or it will sabotage your efforts.  Great rule of thumb is this, "If it grows in the ground or you can pick it off a tree, chances are it's good for you."  That's a great place to start.  Focusing on that, and on the foods that God provided us is far better.  God gave us wonderful meats, vegetables, and fruits to love and enjoy.  He blessed us with the knowledge to create things such as flours and cheeses out of these.  Eat what God gave us.

Sure, you should still stay away from the really processed foods most of the time, but every once in a while a girl's gotta have a slice of Meat lover's pizza or a piece of four layer chocolate torte. If you eat well most of the time, and splurge every once in a while, you'll do so much better.  Don't limit yourself to what you can eat, what you should eat, or what you NEED to eat.  Focus on your hunger and God's bounty.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sleeping . . . ENOUGH

We hear all the time about the importance of getting enough sleep in our lives.  It makes us healthier, happier, and helps us live longer lives. Something that most people don't think about, however, is the fact that we can actually get TOO MUCH sleep as well. Sleep deprivation (too little sleep) and sleep inundation (too much sleep) can affect us in many ways, sabotaging us to our paths of health and happiness.

The symptoms of both problems are quite similar - you're over tired throughout your day, you may have headaches or be irritated, some people even experience weakness and stomach pains.

So, how much is ENOUGH?  That is, believe it or not, relative to the person asking.  Most doctors suggest getting around 6-8 hours a DAY (24 hr period) for adults.  This is including naps. That being said, some people thrive on 5 hours, some 9 - it depends on how your body works.

How do you know if you're getting too much or too little?  Simple.  If you are over tired during the day, look at how much you slept the night before.  If you slept fewer than six hours, chances are you got too little sleep.  If you slept more than 8 or nine hours, you probably got too much.  If you think you got too much, try waking an hour earlier the next day.  If you think you got too little, try going to bed an hour earlier. Adjust your sleeping patterns over the course of a few days to see what works best for you.

Now, some of you are reading this thinking "I don't have time for sleep".  STOP IT. You HAVE to MAKE time for your body and your health.  If you don't think you can do that or don't want to, then you're reading the wrong blog. If you don't think you have time, try scheduling your day.  Go through your typical day and see what you're doing at any given hour or half hour block of time.  Important things such as work (typical work day - 40 hrs a week), family time, church/bible study, college or high school course work are mandatory so should take priority over all else. Once those are blocked, look at what you're doing during other times - watching TV, having a drink with friends, going out dancing . . . These are things that can sabotage our sleep.

Try this for a week - limit yourself to one to two hours of TV a night.  This will give you time to watch one or two shows that you really love.  Feel free to record any others you might want to see and watch them another time. Now, make a conscious decision and set a bed time and a wake up time. Set your alarm!  Next, STICK WITH IT for 7 days.  If you have chosen the right amount of sleep, you will feel better and more well-rested than you have been feeling.

If you are having trouble sleeping, try having a glass of milk (no, it doesn't have to be hot) or herbal tea about an hour before bed. Make sure you get enough water through your day and are exercising at least 15 minutes a day as well.  All these factors will help ensure a good nights' sleep.