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Social Events and Food Temptation

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I recently attended a wonderful baby shower full of friends and family at a restaurant donned with a brunch buffet of french toast, fresh bagels, and more delicious breakfast items.  Most of all, let’s not forget the huge piece of pudding filled cake and real whipped cream icing for dessert.  Cake is my downfall but I was able to eat only half then make sure to have the remainder taken away so it was not tempting me on the plate.  I realized in keeping with my calorie logging I had already gone over my daily allotted allowance by 3pm and I would not have time to go to the gym that day.  At home that evening, I had a grumbling tummy but I just wanted a light meal.  I chose to eat a Smart Ones® South West Style soup for dinner at only 120 calories. Once again, Smart Ones® meals saves the day in helping balance out my meal choices.

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Whether it’s a baby shower, wedding, or another holiday celebration booking up your calendar, there will always be the temptation of high caloric foods at a party.  Most social engagements include an array of rich food  that you may not normally eat so your eyes may become bigger than your stomach.   I go to a social event with the attitude that “I will choose to eat the right amounts of foods and I will stop eating when I am full.”  This does not always go as planned.  I plan ahead if I know there will be the types of food I tend to to avoid.  Sometimes you get caught up in the party atmosphere and you end up overeating.  If a party has carbs and cake, I am like a kid in a candy store!  That’s why the day before a party I eat clean and exercise as normal, and the day after I plan to do the same.   I don’t starve myself, I don’t beat myself up for overindulging on the day of the event, and I don’t overexercise.  I just do my best to get back on track the next day.

Get Up and Go!

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We all have our own unique ups and downs while paving our path to wellness.  It could be a setback because you are momentarily unwell or other time vortexes (work, family, travel) may derail you from your typical health regiment.

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been sick with an Upper Respiratory Infection and unable to get to the gym. After a week of rest and drinking enough water to cause a drought in my state, I finally got my appetite back but my energy was still missing. I realized I was overindulging in food with the awakening of my taste buds where EVERYTHING TASTED DELICIOUS and I had no energy to burn off the extra calories.  I’ve been tracking my calories regularly and finally after a few days of reassessing my meal choices I was able to stay within my daily weight loss goal of 1400 calories thanks to the decision of choosing Smart Ones® as one of my daily meal choices.

If you’re unable to balance life and your calories on a daily basis, it’s empowering to know that you can start fresh with a clean slate the next day, or next week, and not feel you have to go all the way back to square one.  Occasional slip ups are part of any health journey, whether it be overindulging in calories or physical set backs, and tomorrow you can choose to get up and go!  Move forward from the crappy day or weeks you’ve been having and start fresh! Just be sure you are not overdoing it with physical activity after being sick and try not to limit your calorie intake in the extreme in order to to make up for a recent overindulgence in food. My advice would be to try and choose the right foods next time.  Life is all about finding that healthy balance, and some days the scale may be tipped against you but there is always a way to even the scale over time.

katywoods

Out for a short brisk walk after being sick for 2 weeks!

 

You Are Not Alone

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elliptical

I have been on an amazing roll as far as portion control and exercise, I can honestly say I am very proud of myself!  I’ve tried all the crazy machines at the gym to try and switch things up, but I will always end up on the elliptical.  The elliptical runner burns major calories and it’s heaven on your joints while feeling natural to my running gate. If I can’t get to the gym, I do yoga or Pilates at home or if it’s above 30 degrees out I’ll go for a walk outside.  I am in the beast zone!  If I don’t get at least 30 minutes of cardio, I feel off.  Naturally I am worried about my addictive behavior and exercise becoming an obsession as I attain the endorphin “high”.  I also fear falling off the wagon as my social and work schedule pick up.

The thing that keeps me hanging on is that I am not alone.   Knowing that there are others out there who don’t have time to spend hours working out at home or at the gym puts my mind at ease.  It’s been refreshing to learn about others who may fall off the wagon with their portion control as well, but are encouraged and supported to get back on.  I am one of many who struggles with knowing when enough is enough.  Having a clean slate mindset has helped me stop beating myself up for losing control once in a while, and start fresh the next day.  When others confess to me that they overindulged, I’m the first one to not make a big deal out of it.  No judgement zone here!  You are not a horrible person for losing control.  Knowing you overdid it is the first step to getting back on track, but you must want to get on that healthy track or it can just become a vicious unhealthy cycle.  But always know, you are not alone and tomorrow is a new day!

It’s A Veg Head Life

Being a (picky) vegetarian, having options while grocery shopping will always be a plus.  When I first became meat free in 1996, the easy and cheap food options for my very selective personality were also not the healthiest. I lived on pizza and pasta.  Over the years I have noticed that grocery stores and food companies have embraced vegetarian culture and provided more well rounded nutritious meatless meal options.  Today, if I realize I haven’t been eating the best by going back to my old ways of carbohydrate overindulgence, I know I can always get back on track and wipe the slate clean with the help of portion controlled vegetarian frozen meals like Smart Ones®.

If you read my blog post earlier this week about couponing to save money, you know I try to shop for healthy items that also provide coupons.   Just the other week the Smart Ones® meals were on sale at ShopRite for $1.77 each.  After printing two $2 off 7  Smart Ones® frozen meals, I was able to get 14 Frozen meals for $1.48 each!  The best thing is that they weren’t 14 of the same meal!  Smart Ones® provides variety not only for carnivores, but for those who prefer meatless options.  They also often have coupons available on their website which is music to my penny pinching ears.  My freezer is consistently packed with their signature red boxes:

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As you can see from my hoard of frozen meals, I am a big fan of practically all Smart Ones® vegetarian dinner options.   Italian, Asian, Mexican, I will take it!   After popping one of these in the microwave after a day of caloric overindulgence, I can mentally prepare to get back on the road to wellness the following day.  I have learned to not waste time lambasting myself for making poor food choices and instead aiming to make better choices next time around.

All in all, I am definitely someone who appreciates a second chance as well as any financial assistance when trying to eat well while on a budget.  Bonus points to Smart Ones® for including such affordable and delicious selections of healthy vegetarian meals for the picky veg heads like myself.

Couponing Queen!

I’ve noticed a lot of my Facebook friends really tightening their belts in 2014 and I wanted to share my secret to saving!

Everyone likes to save a dollar and I am no different.  I started clipping coupons last spring to save and now some may say I am a bit obsessed with my alphabetically filed coupon binder and designated couponing tote bag.  Every day I check the top couponing blogs to see if there is anything worth a trip.  Two sites missing from the list that I refer to often are LivingRichwithCoupons and TheKrazyCouponLady.  All you have to do is choose the store you want to shop at and the sites gather the coupon links and sale data on your behalf.  All the grunt work is done for you, just click and print!

One things I found while clipping coupons is there are ways to find discounts on healthy foods.  There are certainly coupons for unhealthy items but if you search a little you can find coupons for healthier products as well both at Coupons.com and SmartSource.com.  Pair them with store sales and rebate websites like SavingStar and you can save so much money on your groceries that your electric may stay on this month.

Some months I coupon every week, others I coupon only once per month!  It all depends on my budget and how busy I am.  Cutting coupons while watching my evening TV shows makes me feel more productive than if I was stuffing my face with snacks, so I also see it as a good distraction for my poor eating habits when I’m bored.  Couponing also allows me that control over what I plan to eat over the month.  I avoid the coupons for crap cuisine and focus only on what I can afford that is somewhat healthy (like hummus, guacamole, pickles, soups, and rare vegetable and salad items).  In fact I just printed a high value coupon today for $3 off of any 16oz. Yucatan Guacamole from the product Facebook page!

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You can find a coupon for almost anything so even if it’s not listed on one of the coupon sites just do a search online for the product you want to buy and you may find a printable coupon! Just remember to check the expiration date.

I encourage everyone to try their hand at clipping coupons.  It may not be for everyone, but the pennies add up in the end and you can see a difference in your bank account!

Thoughts on Addiction.

I have a pretty serious addiction.  It may be arguable but it’s actually in the Top 10 Most Common Addictions in America.

I find myself constantly thinking about one of the things that gives me a high, which is food.  Whether I’m happy, sad, complacent, or bored, I’m always thinking about my next “fix”.   Moreover, it’s usually unhealthy sugar or carbo loaded food that I know is poison to my body and will make me feel physically and mentally horrible afterwards.  It may also be an urge to eat any food (healthy or not) and feel that extremely full where it’s almost painful food coma, also known as overeating.  Both of these acts to be followed by shame and disgust.  I also find in trying to control my addiction to food, I tend to fill my “need hole” with a behavioral addiction in the form of exercise or shopping.. The only downfall is that exercise is work, shopping can cost too much money, and eating food is cheap & easy.  I am the type of person that likes cheap & easy!

So why do I still feel this urge to eat such horrible foods when it’s been proven from experience and SCIENCE that eating healthier not only makes you feel better but live longer?  Is it the taboo?  Is it depression?  Or is it addiction?

It’s a constant cycle no matter what your drug of choice.

I recently read a short article about how impulsive personalities are linked to food addiction, stating that while their “study shows that impulsive behavior was not necessarily associated with obesity, impulsive behaviors can lead to food addiction.”  It made me wonder if I have this type of personality or if I have an addictive personality, or if all of them are rolled up into one!  In doing some self analyzing I concluded that I just might have an impulsive personality but I struggle to contain it in accordance with social norms.  I do things that make me feel good, even if it may be defined as “unhealthy”, as long as it does seem to be hurting another person.  I’m not stealing from or attacking people because of my addiction.  This is how I justify my actions.  But in doing this I fail to take into account myself, and how my demise may effect those who love and care about me.  This is something I’ve been trying to figure out in therapy for the past year.  Addicts don’t realize how their decisions effect other people emotionally, because the need of getting that next high is too powerful.  So we see addiction as selfish and stupid.  This is why the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman struck a cord with me as people ridiculed him for overdosing on heroin while he had 3 children and a lucrative career.  I may not have an illegal drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, but food is my drug of choice.  And food is available almost anywhere and at any age so I don’t have to walk into a dark alleyway to buy a loaf of delicious crispy Italian bread for $50.

I strangely identified with this tragedy, which I thought was crazy since I’ve never been around any sort of illegal drug activity in my life.  Then I read that a study suggests “in some people’s brains high calorie foods can elicit cravings and trigger responses similar to those caused by addictive drugs,” and I felt compassion and sadness that his addiction got the best of him.  It must be great that some of those who spoke out angrily against Mr. Hoffman don’t have an addiction, good for you!  But for those of us who constantly have that feeling of needing something we know may kill us or make us unhealthy, whether now or over time, it’s not as simple as “he just didn’t care about anyone but himself.” It is more than that.  Addiction is a complex disease that changes brain chemistry in the user.

Addiction also comes in many forms aside from illegal substances & food, including the internet/technology, caffeine, pornography, sex, prescription drugs, gambling,  smoking, alcohol, video games, hoarding and yes even shopping!  The list does not stop there either.  There is that fine line between having a healthy relationship with these things and having a problem, and personally I feel no one should be judged for how their addiction controls them. Addiction may be difficult for those who don’t understand, I get that, I just hope people can find compassion in themselves for those who may not be as strong or as disciplined as they are.  I’m constantly wrestling with my addictions and though I feel I’m in a much better place than previous years, I will always struggle with unhealthy impulses.

All I can do is try to live better each day, work on being emotionally stronger, and ask for help.

Never be afraid to ask for help.  Please take time to read this compelling article by actor Russel Brand about his own struggle with addiction.  No words can describe the thoughtfulness and rawness of his words.

Happy Blog Birthday, Baby!

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On February 5th 2013, I started this blog because I needed an outlet to talk about the difficult task of reaching a healthier weight, staying motivated, and living a fit lifestyle in a world full of unhealthy temptation.  I figured if i could help some friends and strangers along the way connect with my stories, then that would be a wonderful accomplishment in my life.

67 posts and 16,761 views later, I would officially consider myself a blogger!  Perhaps I don’t blog as regularly as I should, but I do think that documenting my journey for a year has helped me deal with my daily food and exercise struggles and hopefully aided in some type of “you are not alone” support for my readers.

I want to thank any new visitors (Hi & welcome) as well as my amazing regular readers for coming back time and time again and taking away from it what is needed for you at that moment during your journey.  I’m not perfect, I’m not a professional, and sometimes I’m too ashamed of my actions to write everything down in a public forum. But the outpouring of support and encouragement from my readers fueled all of my entries and helped me to maintain a regular voice, and for that I will be forever thankful.

If you are entertained, inspired, or feel less hate towards yourself then my job here is worth every revealing entry.

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