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Category Archives: Food

Nutrition + Groupon = A New Goal!

I decided I needed a new project to keep me out of trouble outside of work, so today I purchased a Groupon for an Online Nutritional Theraplogo_Health_Sciences_Academyist Certification Course from the Health Sciences Academy.  It pairs my struggling desire to lead a healthy lifestyle with online deals, it was a match made in heaven.  Armed with a coupon code for an additional 20% off the deal plus 6% cashback through Ebates, I saved 94% off the enrollment cost.  Being fully aware I am on a strict budget, I came to the conclusion that it was worth the money to educate myself on nutrient deficiencies and learn to build nutritional programs that can better my quality of life.  I’ve been tracking my own nutritional intake without any formal training and lots of Googling, MyFitnessPal, and common sense guessing for years.  I still have no idea what I am doing.

If this program can give me any sort of guidance and applicable information to better my vegetarian lifestyle without becoming an insane health nut (I want to be a sane health nut) and possibly help others on their journey towards wellness, than it will be worth every penny.  If not, I shall pen a strongly worded letter to the Academy.

I plan to update this blog with my experiences throughout the course.  I hope you will follow my progress with positive support, constructive feedback, and questions!

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Busy Day? It’s OK to Stray!

When you are running around trying to deal with whatever life throws at you, sometimes the last thing you are thinking about is the quality of food you grab on the go.  Your choice may not be the healthiest of options, but it may be the only thing available a midst the chaos of your life.  You wouldn’t be the first person to finish your kid’s plate of chicken nuggets and french fries. And guess what?  It’s ok!  If you forgot to pack your healthy lunch for the day and you only have time to wolf down a high caloric meal because it’s cheap and easily accessible, you can wipe the slate clean tomorrow!

katysammich

Grabbing a quick bite on the go!

In the past, I’ve felt that a momentary set back in my diet means I should give up in fear of “falling off the wagon”.  Not all of us make perfect food choices every day, and some days we crave that big fat juicy burger or delicious cheesy pizza.  Giving into temptation every now and then doesn’t make you a failure.   The key to success is getting back up once you fall.  The strength is in moving forward after you’ve had a day when healthy food was not on the top of your list.

My primary care doctor has to remind me that it’s all about the big picture, so I’m here to remind you.  I feared that my year long battle with food would show very unhealthy lab results at my physical the other week, but surprisingly my labs were within normal range and extremely improved over the past year.   I owe my healthier lifestyle not only to the health care professionals, but to myself for remembering to continue forward on this journey and not give up.  It’s been a wellness journey that is full of ups and downs and will be a constant ebb and flow for the rest of my life.

I try to eat my best daily and stay away from fast food, but when life gets in the way I remind myself it’s OK to stray.  The important part is getting back on track the next day.

 

 

Perfectly Imperfect

This past year has not been without it’s challenges.  I went through a heart-wrenching breakup and my dietary self-discipline was touch and go.  The thing that kept me moving towards a positive goal was finally focusing on myself.  What did I need?  What did I want?  Health, yes.  Happiness, of course.  But overall, I wanted to accept myself as I was: perfectly imperfect.

I admire those who lead a strict disciplined life of impeccable health and physique, but I know that is not in my DNA, and that’s ok.  Recently learning from my physician that my metabolic blood tests were within a healthy range despite my being “obese” makes me want to share that it’s possible to reach that healthy balance without being perceived as perfect.  You can lead a healthy lifestyle without making the right choices all the time.

The Smart Ones© message of wiping the slate clean has been a running theme on my blog and it’s one that resonates strongly with me.     Giving in to unhealthy food choices at events, family gatherings, and any sort of environment you find yourself within reach of food temptations doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you human.  If you are able to say no to the extra slice of cake, that’s great!  But in my experience, deprivation of certain foods can lead me down a slippery slope of gluttony.  I’ve learned to take desserts home if I am full, wrap up half of my plate of excessively portioned restaurant food before I start eating, and most importantly I listen to my stomach.

Occasional food slip ups are part of your journey to wellness, and it may be difficult but not impossible to keep from starting at square one.  Schedules get busy and unhealthy food makes it past our lips.  As much as I wish I had the money for a personal trainer and private chef, that’s just not the case.  Try not to let momentary set backs become permanent by realizing that it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t making the best food choices for a day or even weeks.  It may seem impossible if you are in a viscous unhealthy food cycle, but with a little help and inspiration you can get back on track.

Time is not always on my side.

Time is not always on my side.

 

Obese & Healthy

Last Friday was my yearly physical and today I got the blood test results.

According to every BMI chart out there, my 5’9″ 231 pound solid self falls on the obese side of the algorithm.

According to my primary doctor’s observational evaluation and “superb” blood test results with “good, if not better, numbers than my previous results,”  I am metabolically healthy.

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I am more than a number.  I am an ongoing work in progress. I’m not saying weight doesn’t have anything to do with your health, it clearly does.  But, it is not everything.

I stand by the belief that not every thin person is healthy, and not every obese person is unhealthy.  There are many factors that play into health, but numbers on a scale and coordinating charts do not define your lifestyle.  You define your lifestyle and the blood tests confirm it.  What you put into your body and how often you move your body is ultimately what makes you “healthy” or “unhealthy” as far as diet.  It’s a pretty simple formula.

There is a little debate about the term “metabolically healthy obese” but more and more people are starting to understand that it’s not all about weight.  “It’s much easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get a fat person thin,” states Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., an exercise and wellness professor at Arizona State University.   My experience focusing on weight alone has led to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and depression, fueling my hatred for TV Shows like The Biggest Loser.  Since changing my mindset to focus on strength and fitness, I’ve never felt better in this “obese” body and I’ve tried to make it easier for others to accept their own natural healthy size.

haters

I dreaded these annual physicals in previous years due to my elevated weight, poor eating habits, and fear of needles.  2 years ago and 48 pounds heavier, I knew it was time to change & take control of my health no matter how difficult.  I wanted to feel better in my skin while improving my overall quality of life.  My primary doctor’s tactful bedside manner and compassion for my weight struggles had a large part of helping me get started in making the right food and exercise choices.    Being lambasted by primarily older doctors in the past about my weight would send me spiraling deeper into a depression and avoiding check ups on the regular in fear of “failing”.  With my current physician it’s a team effort and I never feel judged.  That’s the way it should be.

This is why I cannot express enough how finding a support system that you trust, and who builds you up instead of tearing you down, is very important in reaching your health goals.   I tried to do it on my own in the past, but I knew that I needed guidance from someone who I could be completely honest with this time around.  Not only did I find a wonderful Primary doctor, but I found an excellent therapist who I saw regularly over these past years.  I now only call her if I need her and I have not seen her in over 2 months.  It’s nice to know professional resources are there when I need a little extra support, ongoing or temporary, and that they will help guide me back into a positive and encouraging mindset.

I understand not everyone has access to these resources but sometimes we all just need to find that one person in your life (a partner, sibling, parent, child, co-worker, friend, blogger, etc.) who will be there to urge and support you as you transition your existence into something meaningful and long-lasting.  I want to let you all know that it’s OK to ask for help and you are not alone in your struggles to find that healthy balance in your life.

 easybalance

 


					

Fighting the Bloat

I have been trying to watch my sodium intake lately since I’ve been feeling a bit puffy. It can be difficult to keep your sodium consumption down if you lead a busy life where eating packaged foods keeps you from passing out because you aren’t able to find the time to make three fresh meals a day from scratch. As much as I try, I don’t always keep fresh fruits and veggies constantly stocked in the fridge.  Planning & making meals ahead of time is great in theory, but my plate is full in other areas!

I have made little changes in my habits to fight the bloat and noticed positive results over the past month. I drink lots of water to offset any higher sodium content in my diet and stopped drinking soda! I love my daily diet sodas for a caffeine kick since I don’t drink coffee. After a week or so of kicking the habit, I already felt less bloated and shed a few pounds in the process.   Even just cutting back your soda intake instead of quitting cold turkey can lead to feeling a little better in your skin.

One thing I love about Smart Ones® meals is their reasonable sodium content. Their website even has a list of products under 500mg of sodium.  How handy is that?!

For the busy vegetarian bee on the go, try planning three meals with Smart Ones® under 500mg products to stay well within a healthy day’s dose of sodium. Start your morning with the mouth watering, sweet and hearty Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal made with delicious steel cut oats. Spend your afternoon indulging in the filling and zesty Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans for a fiesta lunch. Then end your day with a light yet flavorful sauce over crisp veggies and cute bow tie pasta with Pasta Primavera for dinner.

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Your tastebuds and waistline will thank you if you add these lower sodium dishes to your menu.

Social Events and Food Temptation

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.

baby shower

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!

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!

 

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