Saturday, February 21, 2009
My quest for balance of mind, body and soul continues. Today I joined a new Spark Team called Pennies for Pampering. Since I need to continue to work on my self esteem and positive self dialogue, this team looks like it may be a very good fit. The idea is to use positive rewards for doing positive behaviors as a way to motivate yourself. You set up your own target, daily, behavior goals for a period of a week. Then you attach the number of pennies you would like to reward yourself with for each goal that you achieve. I have mine set up where if I achieve all my goals on any given day during the week, I will get a bonus for that day. My ultimate goal is to achieve all goals on all days and receive a bonus everyday of the week. You save up the pennies you earn in a jar. I haven't decided what kind of jar I'm going to use yet but I do know that it will be decorated to reflect pampering of some kind. (perhaps I'll take a picture of it and put it on my page) As you save the pennies, you can get a visual idea of how much you have achieved. Since I lean toward being very concrete when it comes to achieving my goals, this should work well for me.
The first step is to set up a list of goals that you want to achieve every day of the week. Here are the seven goals that I have set up for myself along with the reward amount that I will pay myself for achieving each goal daily:
1.) Eat 5+ fruits and veggies per day $.10
2.) Drink 64+ oz. of water per day $.10
3.) Sleep between 7-8 hours per night $.10
4.) Do some form of exercise daily $.10
5.) Take vitamin pill, 2 calcium and vitamin D3 daily $.10
6.) Write in my journal daily $.10
7.) Stay within calorie range daily $.15
Achievement Bonus $.25 on every day that I do all seven goals successfully
The second step is to decide what you'd like to pamper yourself with. I haven't decided on a specific item yet but here are some possible ideas:
Romantic weekend with my sweetie
DVD (probably a chick flick)
New workout clothes
Once I've made my jar, set up my weekly/daily goals and decided what to pamper myself with, all I have to do is achieve as many of my goals as possible every day. It is set up to be a win/win situation for me. I get rewarded for doing things that are good for me. How fantastic is that? I get my goals organized and set up (finally) and the only way I can fail to achieve is by not to do anything at all. (which, by the way, I'm not going to let myself do) I am using Spark People's idea of small goals, Coach Dean's idea of saving money in a jar, I'm taking time to pamper myself and it all ultimately leads me to achieve the long-range goal of becoming healthy.
This new approach is just the shot in the arm that I needed at this point on my journey. The message here is never give up on yourself, you are worth the effort it takes to get and remain healthy. I feel re-charged and ready to approach my journey with new enthusiasm.
[ If this team appeals to anyone reading this blog, you can take a look at at my page and click on this team under My Spark Teams.]
Friday, February 20, 2009
Just last week I was sitting in the doctor's office, at the bone clinic, going over how many vitamins and minerals I was getting from my food. I realized that calcium, potassium, vitamin D3, vitamin C and sodium need to be watched closely. I'm trying to do at least part of my eating by vitamin and mineral content. I had been tracking everything before but I wasn't paying close enough attention to the balances of vitamins and minerals in my diet. The sodium tracking is getting easier and I've reached a fairly good balance with sodium. This week I have added more root veggies to my dinners and today, I added more whole grains to breakfast in order to have enough carbs for the day. I am watching my calcium and potassium intake more closely by eating low fat dairy and potassium rich fruits/veggies. However, I was having trouble seeing the big picture. Suddenly up popped the new Daily Nutrition Feedback Report on my Spark Points page. Talk about getting a clear message from the Man upstairs about what I should be doing - wow! Now I see what I'm getting in a more graphic way plus, I'm getting suggestions for foods to eat to help me balance the amounts of vitamins and minerals I'm taking in every day. This whole process has caused me to rethink why I've been eating the way I have and what the consequences are for me in the long term. Something that I've considered but was afraid to look at too closely, in the past, is whether or not the lack of certain nutrients in my diet can cause me to have or develop health problems in the future. Obviously it does or I wouldn't be in the bone health clinic trying to prevent osteoporosis. I am very deficient in vitamin D and calcium which has put me at risk for developing osteoporosis later in life. (Yes I am lactose intolerant and yes I wear sunscreen to prevent skin problems (not getting vitamin D from the sun) but I have to work around that.)
I can't go back and correct my past mistakes. In life there are no "do overs". What I can do is take care of myself now. I can't spend my time wishing I was different or the weight I was ten years ago. That was in the past. This is now. I can eat for health and take care of my body as it is now. That means tracking vitamins and minerals in my food, taking the appropriate doctor approved supplements, exercising without overdoing it (really hard for me since I tend to be a compulsive exerciser) , drinking adequate amounts of water and getting an adequate amount of sleep on a daily basis. I need to also address my spiritual and emotional needs since I am a composite of physical, emotional and spiritual. I need to become as strong emotionally and spiritually as I am physically because there needs to be a balance among the three components. The emotional component can affect my eating choices if I let myself be an emotional or impulsive eater. The spiritual and emotional components can affect my stress levels. They can either reduce or increase stress. I don't want stress to cause my body further damage. My journey for health should be all about this balance. Right now my primary focus must be on getting the emotional and physical parts in line - my spiritual side is already well established. I will continue my food and exercise tracking and continue with writing in my journal. I continue to be a work in progress, making good progress, but a work in progress none the less.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I am loving the new feature, Daily Nutrition Feedback Report, that is on the SparkPoints page! Since I have to watch certain vitamins and minerals in my diet, this feature is going to be ever so helpful. I can see via several modes ( pie charts, line graphs and written recommendations for my diet) what foods I'm eating too much or too little of. It really gives me some guidance. Thank you Spark People for adding this feature.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I've been reading labels recently and was shocked at how many of the things we normally eat contain high fructose corn syrup! While I'm not giving up ketchup yet, I am going to be much more careful about the products that I buy and use. I've also noticed that the sodium content of many foods is sky high. From salad dressings to whole wheat bread, the sodium content is getting out of control. Home cooking is looking better and better to me. Besides the fact that I'm enjoying home cooking, I can control the fat, sodium and additives to some extent. I no longer eat processed food or fast food if I can avoid it. (The last fast food I had was fruit and yogurt at McDonald's) I believe that the key to avoiding certain foods is to cook/make it yourself, so that you know what is in it! I now buy fresh fruits and veggies, no salt added or low sodium foods and I'm letting a little fat back into my diet. (I seem to have a problem with getting enough fat every day) I've noticed that the fat free products often have increased sodium and sugar. I guess it's turned into a pick your poison situation for certain things. If salt, sugar and other additives are being used to prolong the shelf life of food, it sure is having the opposite effect on us isn't it?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Last night I made chicken spinach soup from the SP recipes. Since I was making it for a main course, I added extra spinach, chicken and potatoes. It was a little bland so I added some spices. I used skim Lactaid milk (lactose intolerant) and sprinkled some parmesan cheese on each bowl before putting it on the table. It was already thick from the added veggies so I skipped the cornstarch too. It was a hit with my family! So yummy - in fact, I'll have a bowl for lunch today.
Tonight I'm going to make homemade pizza. I use whole wheat thin crust (156 cal. for 1/4 of the whole crust), reduced sodium pasta sauce, loads of veggies, lean, browned, ground turkey, lots of spices and part skim mozzarella cheese. I make it usually once a week. It is so yummy that we actually prefer it to Pizza Hut, Domino's or Poppa John's. I have trouble with just standing, so most of my creative cooking is done from sitting on a bar stool that I drag up to the kitchen counter. I'm loving trying new things and using more unprocessed ingredients. The taste of fresh foods is so much better - better for us too. It helps me control my sodium intake and ups my veggie intake. Already I'm looking for something good to make for the other nights this week. This is actually a lot of fun!
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