Monday, January 28, 2013

Planning Ahead

 Do you ever find yourself running out the door, almost late for work, and realize that you don't have anything packed for lunch? So either you throw something together really fast or you have to go out to lunch that day, right? If you opt to go out for lunch how easy is it to make a healthy choice when fast food is just begging you to come through the drive-thru?

Or maybe it's not lunch that is the problem, maybe it's dinner time. Maybe you've had a really hectic day and you are just too tired and don't have enough time to cook and make a healthy meal, so once again that fast food drive-thru calls your name?

I have been there! When I was single I found that I often fell back on the same unhealthy choices because I don't enjoy cooking and I especially don't enjoy cooking for just one person. Finally someone suggested a solution. I don't remember if it was my mom or who exactly it was but someone suggested that I make some meals, divide them into single portions and then freeze them. That way I could just pull one meal out each day for lunch or for dinner and I could still eat healthy. I tried that for a while and it really did work great!

Then I got married and I thought "yeah! No more fixing meals for just myself!" However, when my husband and I were first married he worked swing shift. I didn't have to pack my husband lunch, or dinner because his work provided his meals. So, I was still needing to cook just for myself! I found that frustrating and for a time I went back to cooking all day once a week and making several meals to freeze. About a year and half after we were married my husband's shift changed and he was home every night and so I stopped freezing meals and started just cooking normally.

 I hadn't thought much about in the years since even though he did end up going back to swing shift for a couple of years. But by then I had children to feed it wasn't exactly the same. At the beginning of this month things changed again, when he changed jobs. He is now home every night again which is great, but he now has to take a lunch each day! At first I thought this wouldn't be any real big change, I would just pack him left overs from dinner the night before. But as the weeks went by I noticed that we don't have left overs very often! He said it was no big deal to take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just like my son usually takes to school, but one day last week I felt guilty for falling back on a sandwich yet again.

So instead I grabbed some noodles and started boiling them and then I grabbed some fettuccine sauce and dumped that on top. In the process of throwing the lunch together I was reminded of my past lunch/dinner preparations and decided to give it a try again. I spent the entire day cooking 5 different meals, portioning them into single lunch servings, and then freezing them. I am happy to say that I now have enough meals in the freezer for him to last at least 2 1/2 weeks, and that's without using sandwiches or left overs! I'm sure that occasionally we will have left overs (we did last night in fact!) and so those meals in the freezer will actually last a little longer. And I know there will be days that my husband wants a tuna sandwich or something. So one day of cooking is going to equal at least 3 weeks of good lunches for him and no guilt for me!

I know this picture of them doesn't look all that appetizing, but that is just because I put each serving in a food saver bag and vacuum sealed it before putting it in the freezer. Believe me, when they are opened and heated they taste just as good as when they came out of the oven!

The great thing is that I can also send them in my son's school lunch occasionally!  And did I mention how much money this can help you save too? I think it's a win-win situation! Healthy meals, portioned correctly, and less expensive than eating out!

Planning ahead can make a huge impact not only on your weight, but also on your pocket book!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Diet vs Life Style

My future is bright and clear like this picture! Let me tell you why...

Recently I heard someone say that they think "Weight Watchers is a great program (but I) think it’s not really a life long program". This statement really bothered me. First let me remind you that I am not and have never been a member of Weight Watchers. I do however follow the old Points program. When I called my friend and asked her to teach me the Points program (she has been a Weight Watchers member and has successfully lost more than 100 pounds on this program) I knew this was not a diet. I absolutely knew this was going to be my new way of life. There would be no end to this program for me unless I had given up my goal of losing weight. For me this is a "life long program" and I don't see any reason that it can't be a life long program for anyone. The program is not hard to follow.

Truthfully I think if you approach any weight loss program as a "diet" and not a life style change you are not going to be successful in the long run. In my opinion you have to change more than just the kind, or amount, of food you put in your body. I have been intrigued about what this "new Weight Watchers 360 program" is and since I'm not a member of Weight Watchers I went to the website to find out. I found this statement by the CEO of Weight Watchers, Dave Kirchhoff, which said "something changed the last time I lost weight on Weight Watchers. For the first time, I started to change my lifestyle in a much more fundamental way. I stopped treating Weight Watchers like a diet and started using it as a path to a new way of living. I finally took charge." To read the rest of his article you can go here.

This just expresses my feelings so well! It is reality for me. I will always count points, every day for the rest of my life. I will always exercise 4-6 times a week. I know without any doubt that if I stop counting points and stop exercising I will gain the weight back. Most likely I will gain more weight than I lost and where does that leave me? Worse off than where I started! I have taken "days off" and yes I have gained weight, so I know this is true!

This is not a life sentence though! There is no reason to be negative about sticking with a program for the rest of my life. This program gives me the tools I need to have the life I want. This life style change is a good thing. A very good thing for me! So this program will be my life, forever. Unless a better program comes along you can check in on me in 30 years and I will still be counting points and exercising. I am confident that the longer I work this program the easier it will be to stick with. I've found that is already true.

This is now just part of my every day life. I not only accept it, but I embrace it! There is an incredible amount of power that comes with making the decision that this is a new and positive life style, one that you can be excited about. No matter what weight loss program you choose, embrace it! Some people may be able to simply diet once in a while and still maintain a healthy body weight. If you are one of those people then congratulations! But if you are like me and you need a real life style change, then take it as such!  

Accept it! Embrace it! Be positive about it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Realization

When my husband and I were first married he started trying to lose weight, again. He told me that previously a body builder friend of his had helped him lose weight and had put him on a "diet", although really I would say it was more of a meal plan. Anyhow, he lost quite a bit of weight apparently and he wanted to start eating on that meal plan again. This meant that he would eat a baked potato with only a touch of ranch dressing on it (and when I say touch I mean less than a Tablespoon, maybe a  1/2 Tablespoon) for breakfast and then again for lunch. For dinner he was to have a boneless, skinless chicken breast. In addition to that he had a couple of snacks but the potatoes and chicken breast were the main components to his meals.

At the time I couldn't even imagine eating the same thing every day! I am not suggesting that this is a meal plan for anyone else, but it worked for my husband at the time. The point I am trying to get to is that I realized a few months ago that I have absolutely become a person who can eat the same thing every day, almost! Just about every morning I have a home made pancake. Some mornings that pancake has zucchini in it, some mornings it has bananas or applesauce or pumpkin or some other fruit in it, but about 5 days a week I have a pancake. Then for lunch I almost always have a baked potato. Now I don't limit myself to just a little ranch like he did, I put fat free sour cream and a little cheese and usually a few sauteed mushrooms...and ketchup on it and I love it. I probably have that at least 3 or 4 days a week. Dinner varies because I do still cook for the family and eat with them and there is no way they are going to eat the same thing every night. I don't think I would like to have the same dinner every night either. Breakfast and lunch is enough.

For the past few months I've figured that I'm just lazy and I've gotten in a rut that's why I don't spend the time thinking of and making something else for breakfast and lunch. But today I realized that isn't the case. Ok well maybe it has a little to do with it, but I think the main reason I have settled into this pattern is that I am using food more as a fuel than as an emotional boost. I still LOVE food, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love yummy food and I enjoy every bite of the food I eat. However, when I am deciding what to make, especially for breakfast and lunch, my main consideration is what is going to give my body the energy that it needs and also fill me up for the longest time possible. Pancakes fill me up more than cereal and baked potatoes more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

So there is my realization for this week! :) It makes me happy to realize that the choices I make for those two meals at least has more to do with fuel than emotions!

Monday, January 14, 2013


So yesterday was a tough day for me. I didn't get much sleep Saturday night and when I got up yesterday I just felt, well I don't know how to describe it other than "blah". By evening I was craving anything and everything! Ok not exactly, but I was craving both salty and sweet. Usually when I get cravings it's for chocolate, but not yesterday! Yesterday I wanted french fries, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, corn, chocolate, popcorn, even water! Oh it was bad! I know I ate more than I should have. I tried really hard to keep control and stay within my points but I did not succeed!

I have learned that when a craving hits that hard there is no sense in denying myself completely. The harder I fight against the craving the more I crave it! So I allowed myself to "splurge" just a little. I tried not to completely over-do it, but I'll admit that I felt so stuffed by bedtime that I felt very guilty! All I could really do though was let it go and start again today. I am not craving anything so far today so hopefully those cravings are gone! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Your Opions and Experience Wanted

I didn't really have anything specific to say today, except that today has been a hard day! I was doing so good at being stubborn and getting up and working out even though it meant I had to get up an hour and a half earlier than normal. But things have changed in my schedule again and I only had to be up an hour early...and that made it HARDER to get up instead of easier!! I thought for sure that the extra half hour I was "allowed" to sleep in would make it easier to get up and exercise, but the exact opposite happened! I did finally drag myself out of bed and I did my 15 minute ab routine...but I didn't feel as good as the days that I got up earlier. This is surprising because I actually got more sleep, and it was uninterrupted sleep, last night too!

So now the question is what am I going to do tomorrow? I don't "have" to get up at 5:30 tomorrow. I can still get the full 30 workout in by getting up at 6...but would I be better off to get up early and do it? Is it going to be as hard to get up at 6 tomorrow as it was today? Would it have been hard today no matter what time I was trying to get up? I can't believe 5:30 was actually easier than 6!! What is wrong with me? Hmmmmm...what to do....

What do you all think? Have any of you had this experience? I think this requires more thought (and hopefully some input from you) before I can decide what tomorrow morning will bring...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Being Stubborn

I have been told that I'm very stubborn. It's true, I admit it. Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing, sometimes it's not. It all depends one what you are being stubborn about, and why. For example, this morning I was really struggling with getting out of bed and exercising. I just did not want to get up! Sleep sounded so good that the thought of crawling out of bed had me hitting my snooze button more than once. I didn't want to get up and exercise yesterday either because I had been up with kids a lot during the night and I was tired. But I knew that exercise would make my day go better and I reminded myself of my goal. This morning was different. I had not been up most of the night, in fact I had slept really good. My bedroom wasn't even freezing cold like it was last winter. I had no "good" reason to want to stay in bed and sleep longer except that it felt so good! I told myself that I would take today off, that exercising 3 days a week is enough and so if I worked out tomorrow I'd be on track still. I even had a moment of motivation where I got up and headed to the closet to get dressed...then I looked back at my bed all warm and comfy, and my husband still sleeping...and I made a conscious decision to climb back in bed and enjoy the warmth and the silent house. So I did.

But then my brain woke up a little more and reminded me that I was supposed to be working out and that if I didn't get a move on I wouldn't have time for any workout at all! I decided I had just enough time to do my ab workout, Slim in 6; Slim & 6 Pack. At this point my stubbornness kicked in. At first it kicked in on the wrong side though! I kept thinking: "I will do it tomorrow! It's warm, I'm tired, I'm resting today!" Have you ever had those thoughts? They seem rational, even right...but that was the little devil sitting on my shoulder!

Luckily for me my little angel chimed in and said: "you are just being stubborn. You are a very stubborn person when you set your mind to it and you can decide what to be stubborn about!" If I had been in a cartoon you would have seen the light bulb turn on over my head at that point. Hahahaha I decided to be stubborn about not skipping my workout instead of being stubborn about staying in bed. I didn't waste a minute either! As soon as I decided I was too stubborn to skip I got out of bed, turned on the dvd and got dressed while I waited for the menu to come up. I did my ab workout much to the dismay of my abs I may add, but I did feel good afterward. :)

So what are you being stubborn about? Are you on the right side of the argument or do you need to change your stance and put that stubborn streak to better use?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Day

Boy this last week has been busy! Isn't that the way this time of year always is though? It seems to start right before Halloween and doesn't slow down until the middle or end of January! At least that's how it is for me. I had planned to "take Christmas down" today, but I am not feeling very energetic and motivated for all that work. So instead I am sitting on my bed typing this and watching "Camelot"! I love the movie musical. My husband was searching the guide on tv last night for movies to watch today and since he loves history and older movies he chose to record this one. I don't think he realizes it is a musical. Hahahaha. The joke is going to be on him because he inadvertently recorded one of my favorites that I don't own, so he must watch it with me later! hahaha It's recording right now. So here I am sitting on my bed with a big grin on my face, watching this wonderful movie. Oh how I love good musicals! Sometimes I wish I lived in New York so I could go see Broadway shows! But then again that would be a totally different life so I think I'll stay where I am, for now anyhow!

Tomorrow I return to "normal" life. Larry starts his new job and that means no more sleeping in. I was so good last week while at my parents house to exercise first thing in the morning. I was going to bed and getting up at the same times I need to here at home. But since returning home I have been sleeping in! Bad, bad! I am going to have to set an alarm tomorrow I think. :(

For today though I'm going to relax and enjoy this last day of my vacation!

What are you doing today?