Reboot!

There have been many changes in my life recently and surely and hopefully there will be more.  As I continue on my journey, I look for new and exciting ways to reset when I get stuck in a rut.  One rut I was stuck in was beginning to show up in every area of my life.  I was not eating the way I should.

Since returning to the workforce a little over 2 years ago.  I slowly began trading my healthy clean food for quick and easy solutions.  A few pounds started to find there way back to the places I had worked so hard to keep them away from. My skin started to break out again, I was tired and irritable, and I was catching colds.  It was clear that I needed to reboot!

A couple of days ago I purchased another juicer.  I gave my old juicer to my brother.  I remember when I got my first juicer and made my own juice everyday with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I felt great and I didn’t have those annoying cravings for junk.  Now I am back on track and my son has jumped on the bandwagon with me.  I have so much energy and I am getting back in the groove.

I have also made meal plans for the week and beyond.  What a difference!

Now that I have so much more energy and a renewed spirit, I will also be writing more blog posts (another thing I had quit doing in my slump).  I have so many wonderful experiences to share.

I would like all of us to find little ways to reboot.  We should search for those things that make us happy and do what it takes to add them in our lives.  Sometimes you need to reboot or build a tribe to help you along the way.  Whatever the case my be, renew and refresh!

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Is Instagram helping me lose weight?

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As I mentioned in my last post, I am very open to new experiences.  The most recent new experience has been with Instagram. My cousin loves to cook and so do I, but cooking was one of the things I stopped enjoying when during my season of unfortunate events.  Fortunately, with some inspiration from the culinary artistry of my cousin, I revived my joy of cooking.

Recently, my cousin  has also been challenging me to learn more about social media.  I had opened several accounts in the past, but rarely attended to them.  One social media outlet neither of us  had tried was Instagram.  So, we both opened accounts and began learning what it was all about.  I can’t speak for him, but I was hooked. He suggested that I post some of the food I was cooking on Instagram.  I couldn’t wait.  So I posted my first dish.  I made sure that every morsel was placed perfectly, that the lighting was just right, the plate was attractive, but not so much that it over shadowed the food.  Then I posted my culinary masterpiece. The whole staging process took about 15 minutes.  It was beautiful and I was so proud of it.  The portion was adequate, but not too much.  There was a lot of greenery to make it pop and the presentation was lovely.  Then I ate it and was satisfied.  Now the amazing thing was the portion size.  The portion I staged for the photo was about half the size I would have chosen for myself had I not planned to photograph it.  Also, from plate to mouth there was at least a 15 minute time span. As I mentioned, the portion was adequate and I was satisfied after eating it.  I took time to really savor the food before I ate it.  I took in the beauty of the creation before consuming it. Taking that time quelled my appetite and I was able to enjoy and be satiated with a much smaller portion.  I supplemented part of my desire for the food by taking the time to prepare and admire it.  Additionally, the need to add color and visual interest to the dish caused me to add more vegetables.  In a sense, Instagram is helping me eat healthier.

So far I have only posted two dishes to Instagram, but I have still been preparing my meals as if they are going to be posted to Instagram.  I take time to prepare it, admire it, and eat it.  Taking to time to truly enjoy the experience satisfies me. A larger portion of food only filled my belly, but savoring the experience fills my soul.

I would like to challenge all of us to stop, admire, and savor all of our creations. Use all of your senses. Allow your soul to be fed.

Is “That” Making You Fat?

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The majority of my life I have considered myself a relatively healthy eater.  Aside from my brief slip into the fast food drive-in abyss after the birth of my child, I was always a fan of fruits and vegetables.  I never had a sweet tooth.  Certainly, I had the occasional craving, but I never stocked candy, chips, and sodas in my home.  When I started to retain fat, I was baffled.  After getting over my dependence on the drive-in restaurant, I lost a few pounds, but I still retained a considerable amount of fat.  So I began to examine my diet closely.

I was eating what I considered a balanced diet with all the major food groups.  I was exercising daily, but I still retained an undesirable amount of fat.  I wasn’t eating “junk” (candy, chips, sugary drinks, desserts, etc.), but I was still very giggly.  I even cut back on my calories and portion sizes.  Beneath the fat I could feel the hard muscle underneath so I knew the exercise was strengthening my body and I felt better, but didn’t look toned.  I had to figure out what was keeping me fat.

Although I rarely ate sugary foods I loved starches.  I loved potatoes.  I didn’t eat them fried or smothered in cheese, but just plain with the skin on for extra fiber.  I also loved pasta, but I felt I was doing a good thing by only getting the multi-grain variety and eating it with tons of veggies.  I believe I had a starch with every meal.  I needed a starch with every meal for it to be complete.  I could not eat beef  without a potato.  I couldn’t eat chicken or fish  without pasta or rice.  If I didn’t have pasta, rice, or a potato, I had to have some kind of bread.  I realized that the one thing  I felt I could not have a meal without was making me fat.  I was consuming too many carbohydrates.

I realize that carbohydrates are necessary in your diet, but I was over doing it.  I had to have a bite of  potato with every bite of steak.  I had to have a spoonful of rice with every bite of fish and and a mouthful of pasta with every bite of chicken. If the starch on my plate ran out before the meat, I had to get more before I could finish.  I was saying things like “I have to get some more rice to eat with the rest of this fish”.  So I needed more of “that” (starch) just to finish my meal.  I had a dependency on starch.  Have you ever said while eating a meal,”I just need a little more potatoes to eat with this steak”?  If you feel that need something just to finish a meal, “that” may be making you fat.  It may not be starch like it was for me.  It could be a glass of wine or a beer or maybe a big cold glass of iced tea.  It is the  common factor in all your meals and you may be over doing it.  If you feel that you are doing all the right things to maintain or achieve a healthy weight and not seeing the results, take a good look “that”.

Once I realized that I had a carb dependency, I began to cut back.  I put myself on a carb budget.  As I had hoped, I started to lose fat.  All of the muscle I had been working on was becoming visible.  My carbohydrate dependency was making me fat.

I still eat carbohydrates and I feel that we all should, but I have learned how to eat them effectively.  Carbohydrates now work with me, not against me.

What I would like to challenge all of us to do is to find out what our “that” is.  We are all different.  I know plenty of people who can eat tons of pasta, rice, and potatoes and don’t gain fat.  I am not one of them.  We have to find out or own personal diet plans and not be discouraged when something that seems to work for everyone else does not work for us.

Are you really overweight?

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I recently found out about height-to-weight ratio being more accurate that BMI.  It really made sense to me. Before I decided to change my eating habits to live a healthier life, according to my BMI, I was obese.  Even at my heaviest I didn’t look obese.  I will admit I was out of shape, but obese? No.  Then I was told to check out height-to-weight ratio.  When I did it proved that I was at a healthy weight for my height and build.  This made me feel a whole lot better, and took a lot of pressure off of me to get down to what I felt to be a healthy weight.  I still had some major changes to make, but I did not have to loose a ton of weight to be considered healthy.

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We have to use a little common sense when it concerns our health and well being.  Deep down we know what is best for us even when we choose to dismiss it.  Had I believed that I was overweight because of my BMI, I would still be trying to loose extra pounds and thinking that I was not as healthy as I was supposed to be.  There are so many healthy people who are much heavier than what is often considered a healthy weight.  There are many factors to consider, but what I would challenge all of us to do is to take an accurate assessment of  your health.  Regardless of what is on the scale, if you aren’t sick, you are doing something right.  Work on what is on the inside and the outside will naturally follow.

Get Naked

How often do you look at yourself naked?  Take a minute and think about it.  I’m not talking about a quick glance before you get in the shower.  I mean a long hard look at everything.  I you can’t remember the last time you did it, make a point to do it.  Get a mirror or two if you have to so you can see EVERYTHING, front, back, over and under.Titian_Venus_Mirror_(furs)

For a long time I hardly ever looked in the mirror at my body.  After getting older and having a child, it didn’t look the same, and I didn’t like it.  I even turned my back to the mirror in the dressing room.  It was not until one day right before a doctor visit that I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror.  I really didn’t recognize myself anymore.  I had gained a lot of weight.  Not good weight, but excess fat.   My once toned abdomen was puffy, my skin was blotchy and I was now realizing why I chose not to look at my body in the mirror.   Seeing how my body was begging for some lifestyle changes, I new I had to make some serious adjustments to the way I was treating my body.  Getting naked was my reality check.

Getting naked is very important.  You have to know your body.  Even if you are satisfied with the way you look, you still have to keep a close watch on things.  I have tons of moles and even freckles.  I have to pay special attention to them to make sure that none of them show signs of melanoma.  Your body tells you a lot of things.  If you don’t look at it, you may miss something.  The most important thing is that you should be comfortable with yourself naked.  I still have a few goals that I plan to meet concerning my physical fitness, but I have found several good things about myself that make me happy.  So when you are naked appreciate the good things, take note of things that my need some attention, and get used to yourself.

Get it in Where You Can Fit It In

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I truly believe that you can be fit and healthy without doing strangely unnatural things with your body.  I no longer lift weights, run, (unless I have to) or anything else that does not mimic something I do in my everyday life.   The heaviest thing I lift throughout the day may be my son.   I don’t get chased very often, so I only run in short bursts to the mailbox when if I am still wearing my  pajamas and mud mask. It is important for me to find ways to fit exercise in my life in the form of  daily activities.  I do practice Iyengar yoga and I am a huge fan of Pilates because I feel they really prepare the body to handle the everyday wear and tear of life, but to stay in shape and healthy, I focus on clean eating, and exercises that only use my body weight.  This is a personal decision and I have found that it works for me.  I have tried weight-lifting, running, and fad diets, but my body told me that these things were not for me.  After listening to my body’s needs.  I realized that I was needlessly spending money on workout DVDs, protein bars, specialty shakes, and workout equipment (not to mention the all the clutter this accumulation caused).  All it takes is good old common sense.So I started doing exercise that only used my body weight.  These exercises seemed natural to me in ways that bench presses don’t.  Plus, I don’t need all that extra equipment cluttering up my house.

I was killing myself with in the gym, on the track, and sweating in front of my television only to get  minimal short term results.  I often wondered how other people could do exactly the same DVD or workout plan or diet plan and get amazing results.  It was very frustrating until I realized that I may not be like everyone else and that I really needed to get to know myself and figure out what worked for me.

I first looked at my body.  I almost never gained weight in my midsection, but I carried a lot of weight in my thighs even when I was very thin.  I have naturally muscular arms and calves.  I tried to figure out what that meant.  I still don’t know.  I realize that genetics may play a part in it.  I remember my doctor telling me that when you breastfeed women store fat in their thighs.  So I wondered if I had some type of hormonal imbalance as my thighs have always been the fattiest part of my body.  This lead me to look at the things I was putting in and on my body.  So I cut out processed foods, started making my own cosmetic products with natural ingredients (deodorant, lotion, conditioners, etc.) or only using products that used natural ingredients.  I realized that fitness started on the inside.

Once I made these changes the results were immediate.  My skin cleared, I actually started to lose weight, and I felt amazing.  I am still a work in progress, but I feel that I have finally found a way to work toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I do not have a plan to share that I can guarantee that will work and neither does anyone else, but what I can do is point you in the right direction.

This is what I did:

  • Listen to my body — I started a journal and documented my mood, cravings, and skin and weight changes
  • Researched reasons for those particular feelings, cravings, etc.
  • Used only natural ingredients in my food and on my body
  • Drink plenty of good clean water
  • I found a good exercise plan (this is a personal plan and it is something that works for you.  If going to the gym and lifting weights make you feel great, do it.)

Here are some of the resources that aided me in my fitness revelation:

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

NaturallythinYou may have some reservations about reading a book by a RHW cast member, but she offers some really good common sense tips in this book.  Like everything in life take out of it what is beneficial to you and discard the rest.

Here is a link to the Lush Cosmetics website.  The only cosmetics that I have been able to find that show a true concern for applying only the best and natural ingredients in their products.