October 26, 2011

But, I’m too busy to work out.

Sure you are. I know the feeling very well. Wake up late, work a full day plus some, scramble around for dinner, kids or errands, collapse on the couch at an obscene hour and become a Facebooking, Pinteresting, television watching zombie until it’s time to fall asleep and start all over again the next day. I know. I’ve said it myself a million and one times. However, if you want to be fit and healthy every day, you need to make it a priority, every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to be obsessed with health and wellness. It doesn’t mean that you should be in bondage to your body image. It DOES mean that you need to make it manageable for your life. That may mean getting up at an hour earlier than you’d like or treadmilling it up at lunch, but you’ll get used to it AND the results will be worth it. In most cases and if you’re healthy, 30 minutes will do; Read the American Heart Association’s guide on that here. You just have to evaluate your circumstances, priorities, and go from there. Treat working out like an appointment. Put it on your calendar, with a scheduled reminder even. :) As one of my dear friends says, “If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.”

I know some of you aren’t early-risers, but I find working out first thing in the morning to be incredibly helpful for a few reasons.

  1. I’m not interfering with anyone else’s schedule.
  2. I can wear workout clothes to sleep in and head right to my workout without all of the “where are all my yoga pants?” problems.
  3. I’m more cognizant of what I do the rest of the day (food wise) because I don’t want to screw up all of the exercise work I just did.
  4. I don’t have to shower and fix my hair at some weird hour of the day or night (which also interferes with my family’s schedule). I just hit the shower right after the workout.
  5. I can workout in peace without someone saying, “mom…mom….mommommommommommom…” the whole time. I love my kids, but that’s distracting to the workout intensity.
  6. I’m set for the day! No pouting about working out at 9pm after doing about 500 other things after work. I get my Facebook and Pinterest time – guilt free – after all my other stuff is done.

SO, while crack of dawn workouts may not be for you, consider all of the things that stop you from working out and schedule around it. Make it something you have to do, like eating. You wouldn’t skip dinner, would you? Me neither.

October 25, 2011

Why I took my motivational “skinny” photos off the fridge…

…because I’m not 22 anymore (ouch); I know it and so does everyone else.

Everyone has those photos; You know, those that make you go, “oh, I thought I was fat then!”  Yeah, those pics. I had a little fridge photomontage going of me, at age 22 when I was pretty scrawny. After listening to some great audiobooks and reading some truly inspiring blog posts about health and fitness, it’s come to my attention that I have been in spiritual bondage to…guess what?…my 22 year old self. What a surprise. It’s always a good thing to set goals when you’re on a fitness mission; however, those goals should be geared to the best of YOUR current ability (not your ability a lifetime ago).

No matter how hard I try  I will never, ever, ever, go back to looking (or acting, by the way) exactly like my 22 year old self. I’ve had three children, over seven years of marriage, a bunch of time in the sun, a ton of laughter, some great days, some not so great, and about seven different hair colors since then. It’s not happening, and, that’s cool.

It’s my desire to be in the best 30 year old shape I can be  in, and to keep moving on with life – to do what I was put here to do! Chances are, I’ll be healthier than I was at 22. Though I have pregnancy (aka: for me, emotional eating) weight to lose, I have much better eating and exercise habits now. I  don’t remember caring about being healthy back then, just the skinniest of them all. I do remember starving all the time and being in bondage to every food choice, though, even though I was a size 4. It was still a battle, every day. Me and the scale. Me and the jeans. Me and the fridge. Me and the fat grams. Me and the Diet Coke vs. Coke Classic. You get it. Don’t think smaller folks have it any easier.

So, even more than being ready to finish up this weight loss mission and move on with life, I’m THANKFUL not to think about it every second. I seek God in all things. Staying fit is one of my struggles and is certainly worth praying about. My prayer is NOT to be restored to a size 4. It’s to be released of all obsessions related to food and fitness – and to just do what I need to do to be healthy and fit. I pray for strength to persevere, wisdom to make good eating and exercise decisions, a sound voice of reason to  help others, and peace with the number on the scale and the tag in my jeans – no matter what. I pray that for you, too!

October 20, 2011

TILT – Made to Crave: Satisfying your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

How about a good old Things I Love Thursday post?

I have been listening to a bunch of audiobooks lately. I love to read, LOVE IT, and I have a “books to read” list a mile long; Sadly, I can’t seem to get through one of them. Not one. So, as a compromise, I’ve been listening to audiobooks on my iPod. And, btw, I’m sending a million and one thanks to the person that developed downloadable audiobook technology.

I’ve listened to several amazing books lately, but one is really sizing up to be my new favorite. Lysa TerKeurst’s book (and Participant’s Guide and Devotional) Made to Crave: Satisfying your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food may be the last “how to lose weight” book I ever buy. This book doesn’t address a particular eating plan, but more our motives behind healthy living/eating. Lysa’s words dig into the meaning of emotional eating and things I never thought about until reading this text – she speaks to our hearts, not our fat.


As someone who is a Christian and has used food as a quick-fix to feel better (and celebrate) on a million-and-one occasions, this book has already changed the way I “do lunch” (and dinner, and breakfast, and snacks…). In addition to the reading guide, there’s Bible Study material available. Ms. Terkeurst (who’s also the leading lady over at Proverbs 31 Ministries) is spot-on with her instruction, humorous, and very “real.” I can identify with her  in so many ways. Reading the book is almost like syncing up with a good friend. If food is keeping you down (or up) – definitely check out this book.

Some of the highlights of Lysa’s book:

  • Break the cycle of “I’ll start again on Monday,” and feel good about yourself today.
  • Stop agonizing over numbers on the scale and make peace with your body.
  • Replace rationalization that leads to diet failure with wisdom that leads to victory.
  • Reach your healthy goals and grow closer to God through the process.
As I get further into this read, you’re going to see Daily Ups and Pounds change face a little. I haven’t decided on everything, but I plan to get on a posting schedule and submit at least one “emotional eating” post a week. I hope that will be helpful to some of you – I know it will help me to stay on track. :)
September 16, 2011

A Tribute to Great Grandma

Sometime during my awkward, “please just let me get through Junior High,” days my classmates and I were each asked to do a presentation on a person who inspired us. Though I thought I blocked out most of those dumb years of pre-algebra, tight-rolled jeans, bad hair, and diagramming sentences, I still remember picking my great grandmother as a person who truly inspired me. I can’t remember everything I wrote on that brightly colored presentation board, but 15 years later she still inspires me.  She passed away this past Saturday – most peacefully – just a month and a half shy of 103 years old.

In our real-time, “gimme-gimme” world, we often fret about things we’ve seen or had happen through our lives. The slightest affliction causes many of us to curse at the world, obsess about how it makes us “feel,” stomp our feet and proclaim injustice. When I think about great grandma and all she must have seen over nearly 103 years while maintaining a happy demeanor, I step back and ask myself, “is it really that bad?” If so, I wouldn’t have known it by watching her.

She lived through major upsets and times of glory in American History; she saw tragedy and victory; births and deaths; love and sorrow; pain and healing.  Great Grandma had many friends and family members pass before her . Through all of these ups and downs, she maintained purity, perseverance, and happy heart filled with love and kindness. For as long as she was able, she hugged, kissed, gave smiles, and “I love yous.” She snickered at jokes and her laugh was most memorable and often contagious. She observed quietly and took in all she could. She was a kind soul who loved children and even played with mine – from her chair in the nursing home – during the last months of her life.

She was always a good example of  how a lady should act. Though quite proper, she never hesitated to speak her mind or fight for her independence. Those who knew her will undoubtedly remember her fondly. Her smile, her hearty grandma laugh, her dresses, her homemade chocolate cake, coffee can fudge, Parcheesi game, and her trademark red hair were all things we loved about her. My five-year-old, who only ever knew Great Grandma in her nursing home years, thanks God for her at prayer time. That says something about Great Grandma’s character, does it not?

So, as we count our blessings and remember this lovely lady, I hope that all who knew her and loved her can see past the sadness and be happy and thankful for SO many years with such a wonderful example among us.

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September 15, 2011

“I never had an answer. I guess that’s why I’m working at Initech.” -Peter Gibbons

My all-time favorite movie is Office Space. I can reference this flick all day and it never gets old. I even have a red stapler taking up residence on my desk at work. That’s mostly because I love the color red (and because it matches my red yoga ball/desk chair), but I’m not going to lie…the fact that a red Swingline is part of the movie’s plot ups the awesomeness quite a bit.

One of my favorite scenes is when the Peter, Samir, and Michael are standing around discussing what they would do if they had a million dollars and didn’t have to work. The question is followed by some friendly conversation about doing this and that and the famous line about “PC Load Letter” that I can’t repeat here because this blog is family friendly and all that good stuff. Whatever the response to that question is, theoretically, equates to what you should be doing as your profession. I don’t know how accurate this theory is, but it probably means something more times than not. It does to me, anyway.

All of this turning 30/list-making stuff has me asking the same question lately. “What would I do if I had a million dollars and didn’t have to work? My response to this question actually does align with my profession (kinda); so, I guess I’m okay! It would be a little different if I wasn’t employed – I’d be enjoying the sun with my family and friends at the beach all day. I’d also be sitting on the balcony of a beach house reading and writing books while watching the sunset each night. Since I haven’t won that big million yet, I’m working on technical documents each day; taking care of the family in a place far, far, away from the beach; and writing away on my couch…with my snuggie. That’s close enough for now and i have no complaints. :) When I consider what I *would* be doing if I could, it gives me a little extra motivation to keep chipping away at the dream; you know, in the event that Publishers Clearing House doesn’t show up at my door with a big fat check.

We live in such a right-now / my way or no way environment that it’s often hard to see that there is time past this moment and things can work out most of the time, if we’re patient. Oh, who wants to be patient, really? Patience is a virtue and it’s one that I have the WORST time with. So, atop my list of things to do this year, 1.) Be more patient. If it works, I’ll hopefully *finally* realize that I’m not going to work out for a week and lose 40lbs the next; maybe I’ll also grasp the fact that I can’t pull an entire book out of one all-night writing marathon; and, most importantly, I can also be more patient with my kids and realize that all things take time and they are learning just as I am – patience, flexibility, respect, listening, and determination – all required elements of life, refined over time, no matter how old you are.

So, what would you do if you had a million dollars and didn’t have to work? Leave me some comments. I’m anxious to hear.

If you don’t know, give it a thought. :)

September 9, 2011

- 30 – It only signifies the end in journalism, friends…

My much anticipated 30th birthday is finally here. I’ve been thinking about this day periodically since I turned 29. While some people are bummed out about turning the big 3-0, I’ve just come to accept it as another calendar year gone by. I wake up most mornings wondering how it’s even possible that I have a husband, three children, a house, and a to-do list 12 miles long because I don’t feel 30. Despite some periodic insomnia and other dumb little quirks, I feel like I’m still in high school most of the time.

While 30 is just another tally mark to me, I do realize that it’s a commonly recognized milestone in life and a good opportunity to evaluate my goals and priorities. Of course, how would I evaluate without my two essential thinking tools?, 1.) a pen in my hand to help me think (I know), and 2.) a checklist. I’m a huge list advocate. If I don’t make a list, it’s not getting done (or not getting done right, anyway). It’s not really a “bucket list” per say, it’s more of a: What am I doing, now?  Where am I going, now?  What are my problems now? How am I getting there, now? type list. This list could have to do with anything – career, home projects, kid projects, faith, relationships, overcoming fears, weight loss, hobbies, etc. Everything goes.

I think these periodic life evaluations are great and quite helpful no matter what you’re facing. You may even have several lists. Write yours out and keep it in a place where you’ll see it everyday. Constant reminders help keep you centered and moving in the right direction. Accountability helps keep you consistent. You can stay accountable by trading lists with your spouse, friend, or family member. Ask each other about your list items periodically to keep motivation up.

I haven’t finished my list, but there are some weight loss (e.g., the baby is 18mos old and your, ‘I just had a baby,’ excuse is about to expire); some writing goals (outline that book, blog more, and drum up the freelancing); pray more, and, use any dull moment to go adventuring with friends and fam. It’s not a laundry list or anything, but it’s still a generous amount to ponder considering all of the other to-do items coming up this year.

A final note on list-making…sometimes we’re a little too ambitious and there’s no way humanly possible to complete everything on our list. That’s okay! Nothing says that we can’t start a new list with the remaining items, make revisions, or add more. It’s a live document and should be modified as needed.

I hope you find the list-making technique helpful. What are some of the goals on your list this year? I’d love to know. Btw, it’s my birthday, you’re basically obligated to comment today. :)

-30- <— Not the end, today, just another reason to make a list.

August 28, 2011

I love apples…

…with natural peanut butter on them. I never thought I would say that. In fact, I used to hand out a little all-in-good-fun harassment to my friends and family who ate that tasteless, crunch person, all-natural peanut paste. It turns out, by the way, I was wrong about the PB. I was wrong about a lot of foods. You see, once upon a time (three children, seven years of marriage, and four years of college ago), I was in great shape AND I ate like a gorilla. I’m just assuming gorillas eat a lot, btw. I figure something that big has to. Once “life” started happening (I love life, btw, I’m not hatin’ on life just to be clear), my metabolism was like “hannnnnnng on a second, you’re not getting away with this anymore.” My bad eating habits caught up with me. The problem then was, I was still addicted to all of the garbage food that I loved.

Once I surrendered and took the trash out of my diet (e.g,. snack cakes that are preserved from here to eternity, cookies bigger than my head, chewy candy eaten by the pound, my morning gallon of pop, and fru-fru adult beverages) healthy food started to taste a heck of a lot better. Once I was released from my chronic state of sugar intoxication, I started to see new foods all around me that I once swore off as bland and boring. Once I straightened my attitude up, I found that my body started acting better, too. With the offending items listed above removed, I no longer have chronic heartburn, no upset stomach, and no total gross-out: “oh my goodness, I’m never eating that again” feeling. Now, this is not to say that I don’t give in to a cookie craving now and then – I totally do – but I don’t go buy a box just for myself and eat them in a matter of two days. I also don’t drink a 400 calorie girl-coffee every afternoon either. I have found that those things taste MUCH better when taken in moderation AND the healthy food tastes much better, too. I’m going to make some  healthy suggestions below that you may have not considered. What’s holding your healthiness hostage? Why don’t you join me in kicking bad eating habits to the curb in exchange for some new ones?

  • Sweet potatoes with rosemary and olive oil instead of white potato anything.
  • Natural PB on an apple instead of a candy bar
  • Cheese stick instead of a bag of chips
  • Grilled chicken breast with a spicy poultry seasoning instead of fried chicken
  • A double dose of seasoned green beans instead of mac & cheese
  • Hot tea instead of a calorie laden coffee
  • Fruit smoothie instead of a milkshake
  • Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
  • Hardboiled eggs instead of chips or pretzels
  • An egg white patty with cheese, tofu sausage, green onion, salt, and pepper on top of an English muffin instead of pizza
  • Sushi with veggies instead of a sandwich
  • Brown rice instead of white
August 25, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Powdered Peanut Butter

I see that there’s an hour and a half left of Thursday so a “Things I Love Thursday” post is better late than never, right?! If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know that I’m all about protein shakes and smoothies. Basically my food rule of thumb is this: if it’s something good for you that tastes like it should be bad for you, I’m in. Thanks to my awesome Beach Body Coach, Heather, I was introduced to Powdered Peanut Butter (PB2) by Bell Plantation this week. I’ve been mixing this stuff (which has a fraction of the calories per serving as opposed to regular PB – without compromising flavor) into my Shakeology (which Heather can hook you up with). Oh…my…word! It tastes like a Reese’s PB shake, not exaggerating. Let me tell you something else. I was drinking my PB Chocolate Shakeology today in the presence of a giant box of cookies – I didn’ t even entertain the thought of picking one up. The PB is still low in sugar and has a decent amount of protein – so important to fend off those sugar cravings. It’s super good and I’ve lost 3lbs this week; so, double hooray. I’ll give you a Shakeology review in the next day or two – the results are looking good (and not just on the scale).

Here’s what Bell Plantation says about their awesome product:

PB2 has the same consistency as full fat peanut butter with all of the natural roasted peanut flavor, but with nearly 85% less fat calories. PB2 is made with high quality peanuts that are slow-roasted to our specifications and pressed to remove the oil. All natural with no artificial flavors,sweeteners, or preservatives.
PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter is mixed with water to create a traditional peanut butter mixture. It also works and tastes wonderfully in recipes that call for the use of peanut butter. Check our recipes section for great ideas on how to use your PB2.
If you love peanut-butter, I highly suggest this product. I know it sounds funny, but trust me…it’s delicious! Let me know if you decide to try it.
August 19, 2011

More work fattness and what you can do about it…

I realize that this is redundant, but when I got into work today there were three boxes of donuts in the very near vicinity of my cube. Really? Donuts two days in a row AND last Friday? What’s happening here? In fact, I was thinking about it, I’ve gained approximately 20-25lbs since starting my job back in November (Ten of those I lost a few months ago, then I gained them back. So, 10-15lbs twice). What’s the deal with that? It really doesn’t have anything to do with “where” I work or the particulars of my job, it’s how the day rolls while I’m there. I’ve been known to binge out on some serious candy bars, cookies, and cupcakes during my 8-hour daily stay at the office if I’m feeling stressed. I’m also more inclined to make bad decisions at lunch – food “on the go” or over done lunches with soup, sandwiches, fries, pop, cookies and coffee, etc. For some reason, I feel like I “deserve” to eat bad food while I’m at work because I’m working. I know…that’s so messed up.

So, now that the facts are before me, how am I to handle this? I have a few little ideas that I’m going to list out below. If you have some amazing trips from avoiding the vending machine 15, comment this post up! I’d love to hear them. Also, note…some of these are courtesy of my super fabulous friends and co-workers who are on my case love me enough to help see me through this.

1.) No candy or cookies allowed. If I have an all-access pass to a bag of cookies or candy, you can BET YOUR LIFE that I’m going to over eat. I can’t just eat a serving of cookies and put them away for a few days, I will eat three or five servings and then maybe go back and sneak some more later. Know your temptations and keep them away – at all costs.

2.) Keep  some healthy/filling snacks around – but watch your portions. Even if something is “healthy” you still need to watch the calories consumed by paying attention to portion size. One of my favorite afternoon snacks is almonds. I love them for a couple reasons: 1.) I get 28 of them. 28! To me, more is better. They come in a variety of awesome flavors. Some of the flavors are so great you may forget you’re eating something healthy and mistake it for a chip. They’re also quite filling. You might also bring in some hard boiled eggs to keep around. They are so delicious.

3.) Drink water. I know…it stinks…do it anyway. You will feel better.

4.) Chew gum. Yes, most gum is artifically sweetened. However, chewing gum like a chain smoker burns through cigarettes has saved me thousands of calories that I would have used on candybars and pop. So, you know, it seems like a decent alternative.

5.) Get up and walk around the building (assuming it won’t get you in trouble). Sometimes when I want to start snacking, it’s only because I’m bored. I get up and make conversation with a few folks, get a drink of water, and go back to my desk. It takes your mind off the snack and helps you break away from the 8hrs of sitting that you likely do a day.

6.) If it’s okay with your employer, use a Yoga Ball as a desk chair. I have been doing it for six months or so and love it. Keeping the balance gives you something to do while you’re working AND it gives you an opportunity to stretch now and then (when no one is looking, btw) using the ball. It also makes some pretty awesome gas noises that will likely entertain your co-workers. I know that part sold you for sure.

7.) Bring your lunch (and eat somewhere other than your desk if you can); go home for lunch; or, scope out the menu ahead of time. All of this pre-planning will allow you to make better decisions when it comes to food time.

That’s all I know for now. I hope you have an awesome weekend!

August 18, 2011

I kid you not…

There were two big boxes of TimBits (donut holes for those of you who aren’t Tim Horton’s groupies) parked on the bookshelf right outside my cube this morning. It’s almost like the second I start watching what I eat, food temptations show up everywhere. People start making my favorite pies, buying my favorite candy for no reason, eating food in front of me that I love, but they don’t normally eat. It’s okay and I understand that gifts of food = love to most everyone I know. Actually, I know best because I LOVE to feed others and buy special snacks. However, it’s like a constant test of diet dedication when it happens to me. Thankfully, I just kept ignoring those delicious donut holes and I didn’t even consider taking the fifteen that I usually eat one. I sure could have wiped out one of those boxes myself – in no time, mind you.

Let’s rewind a second and I’ll tell you about what happened before I spotted the TimBits. I had an awesome Turbo Jam workout in my family room – at 6:30am.  I love starting the day with a workout. It’s hard to leave my comfy bed, but I’m NEVER sorry that I did it once it’s done. I have to tell you something that my super-fit/super-awesome friend Katie said last week that’s really been sticking with me…she mentioned that I will probably eat better throughout the day when I start the day right with a morning workout. I can’t believe I never thought of it that way before. I’m absolutely going to eat better during the day because I don’t want to ruin my workout and I sure as heck don’t want to (read: not going to) work out again after work, dinner, kids’ bedtime, etc. Not happening.  That’s a great perspective and I have been thinking about that every morning when the alarm goes off (and when snacks show up in unexpected places). Tomorrow will be Turbo Jam Day 2 and I’m weighing in for the first time on Monday.  Hoping for some good results. :)

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