Tuesday, February 09, 2010
I spent yesterday studying what was going on with me and carefully reading and thinking about all the kind comments and excellent advice my fellow Sparkers gave me. Thank you all for the support.
It is time for repair, but also for celebrating what I have been doing right. I created an Excel spreadsheet of my cardio exercise for January yesterday that summed up the minutes and calories spent in the month. I found I had exercised 30 hours during the month of January only missing one day. I burned 11,366 calories which I calculate equated to a loss of 3.25 pounds of the 6.5 I lost in January. This is more exercise than I have done for a long time and I'm sure is what contributed most to my success in January. In February I have continued this exercise pattern. Exercise has been a very positive habit that I have developed that I hate to miss and plan to continue for life.
While studying February and the lack of progress the last week I can see that the problem is with nutrition. I have grown lax in logging in what I eat. Now that I see the problem I plan to fix it. No more pieces of birthday cake at work, sample snacks at Costco, or anything that I can't log because I don't' know what it contains. I need the accountability of the nutritional report for everything I consume.
Just like I have leaks in my plan, I also have a large leak in the roof of my exercise room. It probably had something to do with my less than optimistic attitude yesterday. Anyone that knows me knows that I am usually the ultimate optimist.
It's hard to watch the work you have put into something turn into mushy sheet rock and dripping water off the ceiling. The first impulse is to curl up and be miserable in the non leaky portion of the house or life, but that doesn't stop the damage. I know it's time to fix the leaks. This afternoon when I get home from school hub and I are going to put a large tarp over the roof. We've already covered the flat screen TV with a smaller tarp so the water drips off of it and into a pan on the floor which I will empty when I get home from school. These are immediate solutions to the problem but the real solution will be to replace the roof as soon as the rain stops.
Just like with the roof I need to find out where the leak is in my food intake, find immediate solutions, and plan for the long term solution which will build habits that will take me to a time when it will no longer be a problem.
I have a tendency, I must admit, of being a perfectionist. I want to do it perfect every time. Wanting to doesn't fix the leaks though and I have to realize that. Funny that I recognize this tendency and how it hinders progress in my students, but often fail to realize it when I do the same thing. As several of you have mentioned I need to stop and reflect, rest, and plan how to improve gradually instead of expecting myself to be perfect immediately. That and visualize how good it will feel when the leaks are finally gone for good.
Thanks again for all of the support and accountability that everyone has offered to me. It is great to know that you are out there to help when I have a leaky roof day.
Monday, February 08, 2010
I find myself watching my spark flickering and getting smaller. This is not a good thing. I don't want it to die out. I need to find a way to keep the flame going. I'm not giving up but just being honest.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I am posting another blog today because I have a recipe I want to share with everyone that I think is great. I have added the link below. This recipe would make a great choice for a romantic breakfast on Valentine's Day.
I often watch Ellie Krieger's cooking show, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, and get many great new healthy ideas. I usually watch the new shows while I run on my treadmill. I then go online and print out the recipes to pdf so I can try them.
Yesterday's show was Chocolate Surprises. It included a very delicious looking roast beef tenderloin with rosemary, wine, veggie, and chocolate sauce that I plan to try on Valentine's Day for dinner, Devils Food Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing (which I will also try at a later date), and a recipe that I tried this morning that I had planned to do for breakfast on Valentine's Day. I purchased the ingredients yesterday and my hub talked me into doing it today. He didn't want to wait. The recipe was for Chocolate and Strawberry French Toast.
I didn't have any strawberries on hand yet so substituted frozen raspberries. I cut the crusts off as Ellie suggested and kept them to broil with some herbs for croutons on a salad later in the day so will log it in my nutritional logger now even though it is not in the recipe.
The recipe proved to be really delicious. I paired it with a small bowl of freshly steamed spinach (I took to heart my earlier blog and thought why not veggies for breakfast and knew I loved to have spinach at a local restaurant for breakfast) and half an orange broken into sections. We added in a freshly roasted cup of dark coffee. Even my husband felt satisfied and probably had no idea how healthy it was. I feel like I have had a large indulgence and all at a healthy price. What a way to spoil myself.
I urge everyone to give the recipe a try. Substitute any fruit you like. There is no need to load the toast with syrup. It is delicious and extremely light on it's own. I plan to have it for breakfast again on Valentine's Day, this time with strawberries instead of raspberries. Enjoy. Let me know what you think of the recipe if you try it.
Here is the link to the recipe.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
This is a healthy habit that I take to heart and have been most successful at. Produce is loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants, the nutrients that have been shown that may lower blood pressure.
There is a DASH study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that outlines a way of eating that I adopted many years ago when I found I had hypertension. It was extremely effective in lowering my blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. When I saw the great progress I gradually strayed from some of the diet eating a little less fruits and veggies and low-fat dairy products, but still did increase my intake of these nutrients. When I strayed my great results reversed and I lost some of the progress that I had made earlier.
I am finding that this is a pattern with me. I have great focus and great success initially, but when I reach one of my minor goals I generally slip. I have to realize that these goals are only minor and guard against this tendency. I will have faster success this way because these slips slow my progress and can result in my giving up. Keeping my eyes, and my focus, on my major goals is a very important for me.
The "New Habits - New You" article in the March 2010 Prevention magazine reports that "upping produce intake and switching to low-fat dairy products lowered systolic blood pressure (higher number) by nearly 6 points and diastolic (lower number) by 3 points in 2 WEEKS -- almost as much as medication can achieve". (caps are my addition) If paired with a reduction in sodium intake as well (just 1,500 mg per day, or about 2/3 teaspoon another 5 and 3 points can be shaved off.
High blood pressure causes damage to blood vessels and arteries which can lead to kidney or heart disease. The article reports from a study that "individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had roughly a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared with people who ate less than 3 servings per day". A Nurses' Health Study shows that following a diet that lowers blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly may help prevent 53% of new cases of hypertension in women at risk.
With facts like these why not eat the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Not only are they tasty, they are also so good for us. Fruit and veggies often take little time to prepare. How hard is it to peel a banana, wash off an apple, crunch a mini carrot, or even steam a pot of veggies. They are tasty even without additions.
While I am concerned about sugar intake, and it's effect on my health, I am not going to cut out my consumption of fruit. Fructose content in the fruit will make me aware of the level of consumption, but I plan to get the recommended servings of fruits and veggies for the rest of my life. I will eat a little less of the high sugar fruits and stick to serving sizes but will not cut them out.
The Prevention article has suggestions on how to get started with this habit. It suggests keeping your favorite fruits visible where you see them regularly. This is key for me. I will choose them if I see them. I keep a fruit bowl highly visible on my counter for those times I want a snack.
It also suggests that half of your plate if filled with a vegetable at your meal. This is a good visual for us to follow. I don't always follow this at breakfast when I have a fruit smoothie, but if I have an egg white omelet I follow this pattern in my fillings. I always have a serving of fruit at breakfast.
If you would like more information of the DASH diet which recommends six servings of whole grains, three to six of lean meat, poultry, and fish, and two of fats and oils for 1,600 calories a day go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/hear
On this Prevention link page you will find many other valuable health links so you might want to bookmark it.
You can also put the term "DASH diet" into the search box at the top of the Spark Start page to see information listed on Spark.
Remember, we can improve our health in just 14 days by eating more fruits and veggies!
Saturday, February 06, 2010
I am not a smoker, and have never been one, but I have to say that I am a little jealous. Of all the New Habits - New You in an article in Prevention magazine quitting smoking is the only one that improves health in one day.
The article states that "within 20 minutes of finishing your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure (revved by the nicotine in tobacco) start to drop. Within 12 hours, toxic carbon monoxide, or CO, in your blood from the cigarette smoke decreases and oxygen levels increase, improving cell health and circulation. This is the key because just a 1% rise of carbon monoxide in your blood ups your risk of tobacco-related death by 22%. Stay smoke free for about 2 months and , research shows, you can lower CO levels by up to 17%).
Lung function improves in about 2 weeks. . . .Within 5 to 10 years, the risk of dying from respiratory disease is cut by 18%; from lung cancer, by 21%. . . . Among nearly 6,000 middle-aged smokers with mild lung disease, quitters had a 46% lower death rate lighting up, according to a 2005 study."
I have heard that quitting is very hard, but the article shows the benefits are very great. Many have tried before, but the promising thing in the article is that it said "it takes most people seven to nine tries to succeed."
How do you quit? The article suggests a combination of relaxation techniques, setting up a support system, and medication. for a support system there are 21 quit smoking teams I found at Spark. One can find these teams by search the Spark Teams with the keywords quitting smoking.
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