Well, it could’ve been worse!

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You know what they say about the “Best laid plans”; they only work when you do!  This week was, well not a total bust, but a lesson in what I need to do better to be living a healthy life.

 

I started out on a good foot by doing food prep and thinking about when I could exercise. But, I didn’t write it down and make a commitment to it. That in and of itself would have made a great difference on how the week progressed. Way back when I was doing the Weight Watcher program I wrote down everything I planned to eat, right down to each snack. It didn’t matter if that was what I wanted to eat that day, that was what was planned and that was what I ate. It wasn’t that I had this great source of willpower but I just found it easier to not have to think about food and what I was going to make. It took a level of stress off by planning once a week, buying what I needed and leaving it at that. Now the idea of planning every mouthful gives me more stress than less and I don’t want to be ruled by food choices.

I did exercise but not as consistent as I would have liked.

 

So the things that went well this week?

Water!! I found this great reusable water bottle this week! I usually use the kind of water cup with a straw but they are hard to take places and are just sometimes a pain to deal with. This new one (I actually bought 2) comes apart at the neck to add fruit or ice and then you drink out of it like a traditional water bottle. I adore it! I love that I can bring it in the car or down to exercise. I found myself drinking way more than I thought I could and felt much better and less dry during the day. I even have it by my bedside and start the day off with lemon water, something I would not try with the straw cup.20150311_183631

Salads/ Veggies! As part of my food prep I made a huge bowl of romaine and iceberg lettuces (I was out of spinach) which I put about 2 good handfuls in 6 containers and added shredded carrots and celery. I also had diced up red and green peppers to put in when I was ready. It was so nice to only prep and clean up once but be able to eat some salad every day. My daughter came home from college this week and actually made good use of having them available.

Grains! I had made my oatmeal jars  (see prior post) and I brought these to work as well as having them at lunch for a quick grab and go. Instead of traditional whole wheat bread I got this wonderful rye bread and a rye/pumpernickel mix.  Both are great options when you want to change up your grains in bread products.

Okay, so I need your ideas and success stories on how you made (or are making) living healthy work for you in these areas. These were some of the challenges I dealt with this week.

Fatigue. This is a hard one for me. I work nights (12.5-13 hours) usually 2-3 times a week as a nurse. Staying awake and not eating crap at work has been something I’ve dealt with for many years now. For me its the day after a night shift that I struggle with. The first day I’ve slept a good part of the day but there are days that I am so tired that I give in to the choice of an easy food like a toasted roll rather than make something healthier for breakfast.

Exercise (traditional kinds) also tends to fall by the wayside when I am tired. I am thankful for the days my husband is looking to go downstairs and exercise but if he chooses not to I don’t push myself even though it is planned.

Family. Like many women I tend to put myself last in terms of priority when time is short. I will run errands or go out of my way and cancel my exercises plans if they need me to do something. My husband took a day off this week and we did go and exercise by walking outside for 3.29 miles. It was great being outside and having an exercise companion but then we went shopping and ate out so the rest of my day was taken up instead of doing my core work and weights.

Work and work related. I made a mistake of sorts by scheduling myself to work 3 out of 4 nights and I was wiped by the last night. I try not to schedule 2 in a row but I wanted some time off since my daughter was coming home from college for the week. I also had some education that I did during the week that was a “lunch and learn” which broke up my day but also had me eating out.

I am treating this week as a learning one. Not great, not so bad. I have already started writing down and will be pushing to stick to my exercise commitments this week!!

I look forward to hearing from you!

In good health–Janice

 

 

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Getting ahead of the game: Overnight oatmeal

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I love oatmeal but my favorite version has become “overnight” or “fridge” oatmeal. It so easy to make and it keeps in the fridge for several days.

I got my original recipes from the Yummy Life webpage but its been adapted a few times from the first time I made it. I think that is the sign of a great recipe– it adapts to your taste and dietary needs.

Before you get started I would suggest finding some wide mouth jars. Mine are actually Ball jars but anything that makes it easier to eat out of is fine. I use a 1 pint size jar but depending on how much you add to the basic recipe you can use a smaller jar. I generally make 4-6 jars at a time.

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“Overnight Oats”

Base 1 (dry):

1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned oats ( you can use steel cut but I prefer this texture)20150308_115034

1 1/2 tsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Base 2(wet):

1/2 cup milk (almond, “cow” or alternate)

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Fruit and sweetener:

This is where you can play with flavor and options. I generally use bananas, apples, berries, and dried fruit. About 1/2 an apple or banana is about right but adjust to your liking. For the sweetener– I like real maple syrup but honey is also a nice choice. I add it when I am ready to eat but you can add this at the same time as all the ingredients if desired.20150308_115800

Once you’ve got it all in the jar give it a really good stir and put it in the fridge overnight or at least 3 hours to thicken and absorb the wet ingredients. I normally re-stir it when I am ready to eat and maybe add another splash of milk if needed. I eat mine cold from the fridge– its great in the warmer weather and very refreshing after exercising!20150308_120331

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another week, another challenge!

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This past week just flew by and I really found myself having more fun looking for ways to be healthy. Working, however put another spin to my getting it actually done. Normally I work night shifts but this week I had some education and Nursing Council  during the day. Not big challenges to deal with but it still required some planning.

Planning is a huge factor in living a healthy life for me. If I don’t plan ahead at least a couple days for meals I find myself falling into the “easy but not great” rut of grabbing a protein bar. If I don’t plan out exercise I definitely find other things to do and I fall into the trap of couch sitting with my husband in the evening.

consistancy

Courtesy of #Healthy Monday

 

20140601_144230 20140601_144243How do you keep on track? Do you use a planner, a training plan, an online site? I’m more of a paper and pencil girl for the actual planning but I am liking the online site of Sparkpeople for tracking the actual food I eat and Map My Run for my activity.

 

 

These are what my typical planners look like. Its taken a while and many adaptations to fit it into something resembling my life but it makes it easier to look back and see where things went wrong when they invariably do.

So aside from the challenge of working day shifts I also got a challenge of an extremely busy night at work. I work in a fairly busy “OB” unit and you just never know what might happen on any given shift. Unfortunately being busy and finding time to eat don’t always go smoothly. And then you find yourself eating whatever is quick in the break room in lieu of actually sitting to eat your meal. I love that patients give us homemade goodies and generally I can resist but someone made us a basket that included Irish soda bread. Bread, especially homemade, is my weak link. And I had not one but 2 slices of the soda bread. With butter.

Keeping in mind the saying about getting back on the horse I did a major food prep on Sunday. I prepped veggies for salads, made jars of Overnight Oatmeal and baked my eggs (hard “boiled) and defrosted shredded chicken. This made working Sunday and Monday so much easier both at work and eating between shifts. I also tried to keep in mind my findings from last week that needed improvement. My calories are a much better range and the carb/protein/fat balance is becoming more balanced.

The thing that really was a high point was being able to use last week’s reward of the Aasics– I ran twice this week and just was so very happy and energized afterward. I also started doing my floor core work and I can say I definitely felt muscles that had been on hiatus since December. It was such a good feeling though; having sore muscles showed I am improving.

warning-health

 

While I love coffee I did find myself reaching for water first when I felt tired which is a great thing for me. I put wedges of lemon in the water which made it go down much easier when I was not totally thirsty. I bought oranges, lemons and limes to experiment with this week.

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Fruit is great for adding flavor to plain water!

So overall a great week. Although the getting healthier was my main goal I also found more room in my clothing and I am down 2.4 lbs this week. Now that I have started running and adding strength training I hope that will continue as well!

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Have a great and healthy week! Let me know how YOU are doing!

Best wishes–Janice

My thanks to #HealthyMonday for giving me permission to use their image!! The other images (aside from my own) were found on Google images– my thanks to their creators!

 

Health(ier) Living– the Week in Review

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actSo the first week has been a great learning opportunity for getting back on track. If you didn’t see the last post I started using Sparkpeople.com again to keep track of food and fitness. I’ve used it before so I had a decent base of “favorites” to make logging easier but it really is very easy to use if you are just starting as well. I really just tried to be more observant and not really go crazy changing anything drastically to to see where my habits need changing.

So what did I learn this week?

water4

I don’t drink enough water. I drink lots of coffee and tea but not enough plain water. Some of it may be the cold weather, some may be just poor habits. Or I just really like coffee. Once I started drinking more water I noticed that I had more energy  and I could actually feel that I was thirsty.

water2

Goal for improvement: Drink a minimum of 2 sport bottles of water or 48 oz of water in my refillable cup. Limit coffee to 2 mugs a day. Drink more unsweetened brewed ice tea if needed. Add lemon or some fruit to flavor as needed.

I don’t eat enough calories. When I pay attention to what I eat and focus on fruit and veggies I tend not to have enough calories, especially those from protein.  I was really surprised at this one. I thought for sure I would be much higher in calories but unless I ate more carbs in forms of bread my calories were down.

Goal for improvement: Add in a little more calories to breakfast and lunch in terms of whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat bread with Peanut butter.

I don’t eat enough protein consistently.While I am not a vegetarian I tend to be a “Flexitarian” where I don’t eat much meat except for chicken.  My husband and I decided on having a burger on Tuesday– both of us felt so sluggish afterward that we decided not to exercise that night. We definitely digest chicken a lot easier it seems.Cajun Shrimp

Goal for improvement: I will have to make an effort to  add in more protein like seafood, nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt and beans.

I actually love vegetables more than fruit.  I made a bunch of salad at one time this week (new habit) and really enjoyed having a salad ready to go. I prepped a bunch of carrots, celery and cukes then added them to a prepped romaine/spinach/ iceberg mix into separate “grab and go” containers. All I needed was some dressing, protein and any other veggies I wanted and I was ready to eat.

No real improvement needed except to add some fruit daily and expand the variety of the veggies I do eat.

fruit5

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I do like to exercise–but I tend to delay until I have someone to do it with. I will exercise with anyone; walk, run, hike, bike. I love to exercise with someone else but need motivation to actually use the treadmill or bike by myself. I never had an issue doing exercise solo until this past year or so. I started hiking with a small group of friends and ran with a couple of ladies. Now solo exercise feels almost like a punishment, not a joy.

Goal for improvement: Make plans to meet up with people for exercise despite the weather. I will also try out exercising to videos to see if that helps to change the motivation.walk1

 

and now there are 4

and now there are 4

 

 

 

So overall a really good week . I learned a lot about my habits and what I need to do to get healthier. I definitely earned this week’s reward and hope they will help motivate me back into running.

 

DSCF6018

 

If you have made changes toward eating healthier what are you doing? Do you have a reward system in place or how do you keep yourself motivated?

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go...including changing the plan as needed.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go…including changing the plan as needed.

Committing to be Fit–Better later than not at all

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So I kinda missed the New Year’s resolution thing to get in shape. Actually it was on purpose and I am not sorry I waited.

Any Monday will do!

Any Monday will do!

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. It wasn’t that I thought I was in great shape. The reason I delayed is because I knew I would fail.  I was not ready to commit to it. My older daughter was heading to France and my younger daughter back to college within a week of each other. I knew with those demands and deadlines in place I wouldn’t be able to keep up with eating well and exercise. So I chose to wait.

You know when you are ready...and when you are not!

You know when you are ready…and when you are not!

I gave myself a date to prepare mentally so I could go at this with a committed heart and mind. Also so my husband was aware of potential changes in eating and activity. It is so important if you can get your family on board with your plan, even if they choose not to participate.

My deadline to start was  Monday February 23. I got my plan in place with the first week just getting back in the routine of planning to be active and more conscious of my eating. This way I can see where my short comings are and work on improving specific things next week.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go...including changing the plan as needed.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go…including changing the plan as needed.

Food Journaling is a great thing to do when you are looking for patterns. From past experience I knew Sparkpeople was what I needed. It has all kinds of tracking options from food and fitness to dietary needs. And its FREE! I know other places like Weight Watchers have online services but you are paying for something you might not use. Maybe its just me but I never enjoyed sitting in a meeting hearing things I already knew just to make use of the weekly fee.

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I use a general planner for the week so I can jot down work and meal plans; a work sheet of sorts. Sometimes what happens looks nothing like I plan but at least I made a plan to be prepared.

Something you also can do to keep you motivated is buy your self a reward or two and earn it by keeping on track. I was able get all my rewards on sale at TJMaxx (my favorite place for fitness clothing) and Kohls (sale + 20% off). I will get one item for each week I stay committed, not whether I lose weight.

Planning your rewards keeps you motivated!

Planning your rewards keeps you motivated!

Weight loss- or lack there of- does not equal committing to a goal. You can bust your butt and not lose weight. A better way to measure progress is by how your clothes fit. Muscle takes up less space than fat does but both weigh the same. Measure your body prior to starting and then every week or so.

Need more motivation and accountability? Find a fitness buddy or someone willing to remind you (with your permission) that you are working toward a goal of being healthy. Gentle reminders and encouragement, not criticism are perfect for keeping each other going.

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hc3

Reality versus desire?

Okay– so check back next week to see how it went. Share with me your insights, suggestions and comments.

The images here, except my own, were found on Google images. My thanks to their creators! (Please claim them if they are yours!)

Best wishes for a great week!

Janice

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Really? I don’t have to be responsible for the whole world?

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I hate to admit it but…..I am a control freak!

Ok, maybe freak is too strong a description but I really do feel so much better when I think I am in control of things around me, people included. Realistically I know this is a fantasy but I feel so much less anxious when I think things are going according to plans.

The funny thing is that once you start dealing with other people and outside forces you have to willingly give up control for things to become less anxious and nerve wracking. Sometimes you just need to present the information or opportunity and let it develop on its own. Sometimes it will go the way you hope and other times you are amazed or surprised on how things develop….kinda like the weather.

Example one:

For a long time I actually wrote out a planned menu based on work schedules and activities. When my children were still under my control (well at least in need of chauffeuring) and my husband also worked night shift  I could do it.  Enter driver licenses and job changes and that planner just flew out the window.  Both daughters drive now and the younger one is often out with friends or at the gym. The older one has college related stuff going on. Hubby now works a “Monday to Friday 8-4”  job that often extend to 6 or later and is “on call”  24/7 unless we are out of state.  These days I am happy if I can plan the night before so I can defrost something ahead of time.

Flexibility has a strong learning curve!

Example two:

Exercise and being healthy has been in my life for a very long time. I understand the benefits of being active and eating well and love to share my knowledge.  Its hard when you try to share those things and people just nod their head and do things they way they want to despite agreeing with you.  Sometimes it is even taken to an extreme you had not imagined. My older daughter thrives on information and once convinced of something she is hard to dissuade– she has taken eating better farther than I have and became a vegetarian. Some I think is ethical based but some of it she just finds to be more nutritionally sound based on her own research. Still there are days when she surprises me and I find her eating things I would not normally see her eat like ice cream and oreos.  My younger daughter, hubby (and I) vary in our active/eating  habits but generally we fall back into seeking out the good food I buy and not looking for the junk.

You can fill a pantry with good food, you just can’t make them eat it!

So I guess what I am trying to articulate, and maybe not as well as I can is that “Being in control”  is usually just a figment of our imagination. Even our thoughts take wild trips on their own….but that is what makes Life an adventure.

“Grazing Buffalo Burgers”

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Eating Healthy does not have to be a boring tasteless existence–in fact, by replacing ‘processed food’ with healthy ones I have opened my taste buds to ever widening experiences! When you replace fat with flavor you can really enjoy eating real food again!

OK, lets face it, for most people eating a burger means a big thick juicy beef burger full of fat and toppings.  For many people looking for a healthier alternative it might mean a turkey burger…and I have to say it: it really can’t compare as a true alternative if you are buying the pre-made kind from the store. The Jennie-O seasoned one is not bad but it still lacks something that would make you want to say ” yea I WANT a turkey burger” despite wanting to eat better.

So I’ve been on a hunt to find more appealing alternatives . This is one of my finds–a Buffalo Turkey burger. The original recipe was found at Skinny Taste but I’ve adjusted it just a bit for my preferences.

So– Option 1 for a Burger Alternative:

Grazing Buffalo ( Turkey) Burgers

1 package lean ground turkey (usually 1.25 lbs)

1-2 grated carrots,shredded (about 1 cup packed)

1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

2-3 Tbs red onion, minced

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce (more or less to preference)

1/2 cup whole wheat bread bread crumbs or Panko crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

Optional-cheese slices of choice (I use cheddar)

Whole wheat rolls–burger or kaiser

In a large bowl combine well –this is easiest with your hands. It does get pretty messy so you may want to use plastic/ latex-free food gloves if you have them.

Mixing it with your hands is best but messy!

Form the mixture into 8 patties (about 5.5 oz each).

If I am freezing it for future use I actually use plastic container lids (from butter/ 15 oz yogurt/ricotta)

to form and stack them in the freezer.

Use old container to hep form the patties. They are great for stacking together in the freezer.

To Cook–Preheat a pan with a little nonstick spray on medium heat and cook on one side 4-5 minutes and then flip. Cook an addition 3-4 minutes and if using cheese  top with cheese and cook until melted. (I use cheddar)

If using a frozen burger then add 1-2 minutes per side or allow to defrost prior to heating.

Note: If grilling make sure the grill is well oiled because it tends to stick on the grill.

This is great topped with blue cheese dressing and/or coleslaw.

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