Monday, January 30, 2012

What to do when it hits the fan?

Today my sh*t hit the fan.  I usually have (relatively) easy going days and I'm not bogged down in crap...thank you Jesus.  Today, however, was an exception.  And no, it's not PMS related...I'll just squash that notion right now.

I realized, despite my 'do-good' intentions some people are just plain evil.  In my everyday life, I'm a social worker.  I thought I finally found a path that would allow me to help people share my passion for healthy living.  What I got caught up in are a bunch of legal road blocks.  For all of the wonderful people out there who need my help, I'm letting the few b*stards get me down.  Hopefully my funk will be just for one day.  I need to keep my chin up and press onwards.

But I had a funny thought come into my head - what to do when upset?  My immediate thought was to give up all my hard work and question everything.  Adopt a 'who cares' mentality and dig into a giant plate full of mac n' cheese with a large side of french fries.  Yup...that was my first thought. Then I looked at myself in my 'skinny jeans' and got a grip, real quick.

Why am I sharing this?  Well, my fellow savvy foodies, it is to confess that NO ONE is perfect.  I have learned so much information about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and there are moments when you just want to throw in the towel and say, "It's too hard to be good".

My alternative to throwing my car into drive and speeding to the nearest grocery store to re-stock my pantry with processed crap (with cheese)...I'm writing.  There in black and white staring me in the face, I have figured out a healthy channel for my frustrations.

So thank you for reading because writing, for me, is re-affirming my commitment to being a savvy foodie.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reality bites

I love this cartoon because it's the truth.  Most of the people we can ask "Is my butt getting bigger?" usually say it ain't so.  I believe they shelter us from the ugly truth for two reasons.  First, because it puts them in a very awkward position.  Secondly, they love us so they don't want to hurt our feelings.

The usual responses: "Oh no, you look fine" or "You know, we could all use some toning up" and my favorite "Are you PMSing?".

I only had ONE friend who would tell me, "Honey, I've noticed there is more of you to love and it doesn't look good."  She herself was a tiny little thing who was obsessed with running marathons.  Our friendship started out on this note and I never took her statements personally.

This is the thing...although we feel incredibly bad when others notice we are expanding, they need to tell us.  Our brains can distort our image when we look in the mirror.  Some people see 'flab' when there isn't an inch to pinch, and others are so delusional they think fat is normal.  Then there are some of us who know we're creeping up the scale and we just hope others aren't noticing.  Honest friends (and pant sizes) won't lie.

Conversely, when people (friend or foe) start noticing your efforts to take up less space in the world, the thrill beats any slice of chocolate cake.  Once you start retraining your brain and make a conscious effort to make some positive choices, the results are contagious.    Everyone wants to hear, "YOU LOOK GOOD".

In previous posts I have talked about (accidentally) buying maternity pants when I wasn't preggers and how I had to creep up into bigger pant sizes just to breathe....well I am happy to report as a result of making positive changes in my lifestyle my 'fat' pants are now too fat!!  I'm doing a little happy dance because I am now comfortable back in my size 6 slacks.  No more crying in the fitting room because I was nearly sizing out of my favorite stores.

I've got the moves like Jagger and I'm ready to stay strong in this life. I don't diet and I love it!!   I don't have to ask anyone if I look 'big' in my clothes anymore.  People can tell I've slimmed down and I will do everything I can to help anyone who needs some friendly assistance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amazing documentary!

If you have Netflix, the documentary Forks Over Knives is free to watch instantly.  If you do not, make friends with someone who has it and watch it, NOW!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Make it about the veggies!

Meals do not have to be centered around meat every night.  Even if you are not a vegetarian, you can go a few days without it!  Trust me.  In the Mayo Clinic Diet Book the authors suggest basing your meals around the veggies instead of the meat.  Most of the portion sizes for the meat part of dinner, is large enough (in some countries) to feed a family of four!!  Here in the US, where portions are gigantic, we tend to gobble up the meat (and potatoes) first and then semi-pick at the veggies.

Here's a habit to try your veggies first and then the meat.  What will happen naturally... the veggies will automatically provide enough fiber and other good micro-nutrients in your stomach so that the meat, which is secondary, will not be consumed in its' entirety.  If you're still worried about the 'starving children' somewhere in the world and insist on not throwing anything out...take it home.  If it's still appetizing the next day, go ahead.  At least you are beginning to re-train your brain and fill up on the good stuff instead of the meat.

Here's a shot of my usual breakfast/lunch-
It consists of: blueberries (very high in antioxidants), black berries, unsweetened coconut milk, water, fresh mint, kale (my personal fav), celery, swiss chard and hemp seeds.  I hit blend and VOILA!  My tummy is so filled up with all of these awesome nutrients that I do not crave non-nutrient food.  It's a win/win!

Here's a shot of dinner-
This is prior to roasting them. I put them
to roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
I flip them then I put them back in for
another 20-25 minutes.
Roasted vegetables are so delicious!  Here I cut up brussel sprouts, onion, red and green peppers, yukon gold potatoes and mixed in some olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  It's so easy to make and it will leave your family happy and full.  The onions and peppers, when roasted, become very sweet tasting.  I could go on and on about how yummy this is, but I'll let you see for yourself.

With vegetables, you do not have to worry about counting calories/carbs/fat/protein.  Those are what Dr. Fuhrman describes as the macro-nutrients.  The micro-nutrients are vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which are all calorie free and super amazing for our bodies!!  I've skipped the meat and I piled on the micro nutrients that our bodies need in order to live longer, healthier lives.  Bon appetite!!

--Dr. Fuhrman is the author of Eat for Health.  I'm currently reading his first book.  I welcome and comments by fellow readers and addicts of his method of eating!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Creepy Creeperson

Greetings my savvy foodies!  Next month will mark my one year anniversary of being a diligent gym goer.  I joined last February because I was buying maternity pants simply because non-baby loving pants were cutting off circulation.  I was beginning to sport some serious muffin top wasn't pretty.

I had my own 'COME TO JESUS' moment right there in the Target parking lot.  Don't cut me any slack, I was not with child so the pants were purely a (large) mistake.  I stopped the *creeping process right there in its' track.  I honestly remember thinking, secretly, "I haven't been a member of a gym in years and I look pretty good."  I look back and admire my deluded self-confidence, for I was lying to myself.

When I joined my gym, I signed up for the two complimentary sessions with a personal trainer.  What I discovered on that chilly February afternoon were two things: how completely out of shape I had become AND my 'diet' consisted of fake food!!

I was eating things that weren't even food.  By this I mean highly preserved 'meals' because they were cheap and easy...HA!  A common occurrence so many Americans fall victim to.  I would make protein shakes (made up of who knows what?!?!) and use 'low fat' chemical infused products to fill my tummy.  Does any of this sound familiar?

"Look at that Millie, that food has
been preserved since the year we were born!"
The trainer looked me square in the eye and asked, "Why are you not eatting real food?".  I honestly had yet to ask myself this question.  So I promised her I would eat naturally occurring foods and only things the good Lord gave us to nibble on.  I had a lot of bad habits to break and it wasn't easy to do.  No one wants to be told the things they enjoy are actually detrimental to their health.  

I started consuming green smoothies and incorporated more fruits and veggies into non-smoothie meals.  I got rid of the white and fried stuff and vowed to make green and brown (with the exception of rotten fruit) my new favorite food colors.  The more colors there are on your plate the better the meal.  This does not allow for Cheetos, you stinker ;)

I took up new group classes and began to rotate my routines.  I began training for a 5K and accomplished a handful of them last year.  But I kid you not, there were moments of extreme disappointment.  I had to realize my body did not adjust to change like it had in the past.  My 32 year old self was not as springy as my 20 something self used to be.  I had to work harder and practice patience.  I'm not creepin' into larger pants anymore!!  That's the best news!  Aside from eating REAL food. I am now training for a 10K.  I am leaner, stronger and now I do not have a delusional sense of self.

Where are you on your savvy journey?

*Creeping: when a foodie goes from one size UP to the next larger size

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How will I know?

We are now eleven days into the new year.  For most of us, we're also 11 days into our resolutions which means we only have 3 more days of misery.  If you're anything like the majority of Americans, you've given it your best shot.  You joined a gym, vowing to go before or after work 3x a week.  You tried a new class.  You've been starving for the past 11 days and quite frankly you're getting sick and tired of 'trying'.

The masses are trying to sell more sugar in the form of Valentine's Day candy.  I mean....the Christmas crap isn't even off all the shelves yet.  The 75% off candy is next to 'A New Year, A New You' self-help book!! And for cryin' out loud, it's just too hard to stick to your resolution.

Something in the universe is working against you and you're slowly slipping into your old patterns and seriously questioning your resolution.  What's a few more pounds?  Isn't life too short to not enjoy?  Don't you miss the taste of crap?  It's time to get off the treadmill.  You have no desire to stand on your head in that God forsaken Yoga class with those weirdos and weight lifting is just for meat heads.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
It's only the rest of your life!

Do you want to enjoy it?  Or just find yourself on the merry-go-round of mediocrity?  Giving into your taste buds?  Who's stronger?  Big wonderful YOU or little stinking them?  Do you know it's possible to re-train your buds?  Just because it's green does not mean you'll gag.  Just because it's not doused in sugar does not mean it won't be yummy.

Here's the giant elephant in the room...if you want the NEW and IMPROVED YOU there are no resolutions.  When the clock ticks away to a new year, there is no vow to make yourself miserable.  Instead, it's all about just getting back to YOU.  Figuring out what works for you to be savvy and healthy.

I have found it's not about counting calories or hopping on the scale.  By living a healthy savvy life, pounds drop and diets are a thing of the past.  I love my yoga classes.  I look forward to my weight training sessions and I can now safely run a 5K without stressing out.   It's not a goal.  It's not a resolution.  It's my life!

You'll find, as with any addict, people who enable and discourage you.  'Just eat it, who cares?' or 'Why be miserable?'.  My answer to these enabling statements: Because it's my life!  The choices I make today will have a lasting effect on the rest of my days.  I don't want to be at the doctors for high blood pressure and type II diabetes.  I don't want migraines or other common aliments.  I want to be the best I can be and I want to feel good!  I want to be able to fit into my normal size pants and not creep up into 'fat pants'.  I want all the good stuff and I know it's worth it.  Who wants to feel miserable/depressed/fatigued/moody.  Bad food, over processed food can cause all of the aforementioned lousy side effects.

It's also important to figure out what type of exercise doesn't feel like exercise.  By this I mean, if you do not enjoy running, for example, don't rely on that form of exercise to burn the calories.  If the treadmill makes you cringe, no biggie!  Try a bicycle!  Try a stair master (for buns of steel!).  If you're afraid of bulking up from weight lifting, trust me unless you're going hard core the likelihood of looking like the 'Incredible Hulk' are slim to none.

Stop letting YOU get in the way of YOU!  Imagine an angel on one side and a devil on the other.  The angel will push and motivate you, the devil will tell you 'it's too hard, stop'.  Which do you listen to?  Don't misunderstand something as being painful with something that requires training your muscles.  If you have not done yoga before, some of the poses will freak you out (they did me!).  But by building muscles, the poses become easier.  If there's pain involved, stop.  That's not the devil, that's common sense.

Get in touch with your body.  You are the expert.  Challenge yourself, but don't hurt yourself.  If you fall off your wagon, there is no shame in getting back on it.  If you're in an exercise class and you can't do something, don't worry.  We weren't born knowing how to do it all.  Learn.  Be patient.  Be committed.  The results will make you smile.  Take yourself from goals to a way of living.  The benefits will blow your mind.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Better get your armor!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  Here we go, yet again.  We know what time of the year it is based on the parking lots at the gym.  We all jump on the resolution band wagon and hang on for dear life.  We watch the morning news and we're given 'helpful' healthy tips as to how to slim down.

Being a savvy foodie, this time of the year is nothing short of a solid reason to do a happy dance!  This is the time when we can all make the change we've been dreaming of.  It's time to make this resolution stick and come next year we'll be able to say, "Eh...I'll just go to the gym as if it were any other day".

If you arm yourself with the right armor, the resolution becomes a way of life.  I implore you to adopt a new way of living!  This is your life and it's time to take it back!  Download a few new inspirational tunes.  Subscribe to SHAPE magazine.  Get some new workout wear.  Whatever it takes for you to realize this is not a choice, it's a way of living!!

As of today, there is no more sitting on the fence.  Commit to the healthy side and haul ass towards a new you!!  Fight for YOU!  Be the true YOU!  Forget the past.  Forgive yourself and move on!  When you know better, you can do better.

I don't believe in the scale...shocking, right?  I believe in the power of the pants.  Last year, I ordered a pair of jeans from my favorite on-line retailer ( endorse me!!).  I wanted to get a pair of 'fat pants'.  Don't judge.  There are certain days when I want to continue blood circulation to all parts of my body.  So I ordered a size up.  Zappos (LOVE YOU!!) sent me my actual size, despite my request for a higher size.  Instead of sending the wrong size back, I took it on as a challenge.  I emailed them to alert them as to their mistake.  I received a, prompt, email back with an offer to save on my next purchase.  I told them I took the mistake to be a challenge.  They commended me and guess what...I need to order a new pair, now.  I need a size DOWN!!  I mean....WOO FRIGGIN' WHO!!!

I took my fear of running and made it a curiosity.  I NEVER thought I'd actually enjoy running.  I dreaded it every year in school when they MADE me run.  I, thank you God, was never the over weight youngster in my class, but I would always run along side them in my youth.  I WISH I could run that stupid mile now!  I'd surely show my gym teacher!!  I conquered my fear of running and accomplished several 5K runs last year.  As of New Year's Day 2012 I'm now training for a 10K set to run this Fall.

It's C-R-I-T-I-C-A-L to set goals for yourself.  Competition was never something I enjoyed.  But when it's just me, myself and I competing...something wonderful happened!  I had a 'bring it on' attitude when I'm trying to beat my last time, mile, weight, etc.

I'm a visual person.  So when I see something I want, I keep it in the back of my head so as to push through the rough spots.
Here's what I keep in mind when the tough gets going:

Lady Gaga has the best abs, butt and the girl is a well oiled-machine!

Yoga positions can be so incredibly beautiful, when done properly.  I strive for a new pose each time I enter a studio.  Maybe someday I'll achieve this one.  But I have come so far, so I'm proud of my accomplishments :)

When you think 'ballet dancer' this is the only one that should come to mind.
Mikhail Baryshnikov is the most insanely beautiful athlete in the entire universe.  Period.

Jennifer is not just a pretty face.  This woman is a complete package of what healthy looks like.  She is not emaciated looking.  She has curves and she looks totally healthy!  Her muscle tone is perfection.

So these are just a few of my favorite things.  When I think I can't go on any further, I bring these images to mind and realize they have to work just as hard.  If they didn't push themselves, I (and you) would most likely never have heard of them.  Dust off your old suit of armor and get ready to take on the new you.  It's amazing what can be done, with a bit of will power.