Monday, July 02, 2012
I was making up my menu this morning and decided I was going to have kale. I love mixing kale with other veggies. I have this recipe where you take onion, chick peas, and ground cumin and sautť it until it browns. It's delicious. So I was thinking I would add the kale to that recipe. I had some leftover sweet potato and thought that might be really good, too. I like to use whole cumin seeds instead of ground. You throw the cumin seeds in some hot oil and stir once they become fragrant. I put the cumin seeds in with the hot oil first and it spit all over. Next time onion first, then the rest. I used Smart Balance just to add salt and because I think it makes the sweet potatoes taste sweeter. It seems like a lot of oil, but once you add the chick peas, kale and potato it's not.
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, strips or chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 cup Bush's Best Reduced Sodium Garbanzo Chick Peas
1 cup steamed kale
1 cup cooked sweet potato, cubed
2 teaspoons Smart Balance made with olive oil
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion. Sautť 2 to 3 minutes. Move onion to one side of pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil allowing it to puddle. Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds. Once it becomes fragrant, mix into the onion. Add chick peas, stir and cover. Once the chick peas start to brown, add steamed kale and sweet potato. Add 2 teaspoons Smart Balance. Stir and cover, allowing the flavors to meld and all the ingredients to heat through. Makes 2 servings. 363 calories a serving. One serving has 318 mg sodium.
To me, whole cumin seeds add a different flavor profile than the ground cumin seed you buy in the store. My husband and I use it in chili, curries, and stew. We also love it in sautťed cabbage.
I steam my kale in a stoneware baker in the microwave. Clean the kale, put it in the baker, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook on High for 5 minutes.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
When you think of me, how old am I?Ē My mother asks when she phones me one day. Thereís no good way to answer this. Ever the diplomat, I say: ďGee, Mom, why do you ask?Ē
She goes on to explain that sheís never minded getting older. Sheís never seen herself as a number, not her age, or her weight. She can remember how she felt and thought at age twenty as easily as she can remember fifty or sixty. (Really?) She is just herself. However, that morning she looked in the mirror and what she saw startled her. When did THAT happen? How did she get so old? How could she not have noticed?
I know how she felt. I've been avoiding mirrors for years. And when I looked in the mirror I didn't like what I saw. I know what itís like not to notice how I look. A couple of months ago I looked in the mirror and thought, when did THAT happen? How did I get so big?
This morning I looked in the mirror and I thought of that phone call. I really looked in the mirror. I could see changes. Not big changes, but, well, Iím a little bit thinner here and there. Oh, those crunches with a twist that I truly despise seem to be making a difference. I can see it in the mirror. I look a little taller, which means my posture is better thanks to strength training upper body exercises. My face is thinner. Even my legs and arms are thinner. Itís happening! Itís really happening!
Now that Iím actively involved in changing myself, my body image has improved. I am consciously aware of what Iím eating, how Iím exercising and how I look in the mirror. Iím still not at the point where I love everything Iím seeing, but I do love the person I see in the mirror.
As for answering my Mom, how do I explain to her that to me sheís not any particular age? Sheís just herself. Sheís Mom. And no, she wouldn't let me get away with THAT answer.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Iím searching for balance. Not just a balanced diet or a balanced fitness program, but a balanced routine. I see it all in my mind as a naturally flowing energy . . . oh forget that. I just want to be able to get up in the morning and exercise and get on with my day without feeling chained to the treadmill and the computer. Itís just so easy to get sidetracked. I can spend hours visiting SP!
For the first seven weeks of what I've been calling my new SparkStyle, I've been obsessed. I fill out trackers. I read SparkBlogs and member blogs. I go to the SparkPoints page and do all the things Iím required to so that I can get lots of SparkPoints. I read articles. (Well those A-Z health articles always concern me because I canít help neurotically thinking that I might have some of those things. And, as my grandson would say, some of them are just ewww.)
I spend so much time at the computer, lost in the SparkWorld that I forget to check the time. Oh, itís ten oíclock in the morning and I havenít eaten breakfast and I was going to walk. Or itís seven oíclock in the evening and I havenít even started dinner. Well, at least I know what Iím going to eat. And suddenly I find the days just slipping away from me.
How I hate to admit this because I am/used to be a very organized person, but I canít manage my time well anymore. I've lost my balance. Who needs balance when it would be much more fun to take the day and read all I can find at SparkPeople? Well, that just doesn't work anymore. It may be fun, but itís not smart. Iím not saying I canít read. Iím just saying I've got to move more.
The thing is, Iím not sure it matters how much time you have or how little. I think finding a balance is hard to do. I thought that by week seven Iíd have found that. Logically, I would like to exercise in the morning. And every morning itís my intention, honestly. Except, Iím finding myself walking on the treadmill and doing strength training at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. That means I've been sitting around in my exercise clothes all day! Of course, thatís better than my pajamas. I decided to get out of bed in the morning and immediately put on my exercise clothes, thinking that this would help steer me in the right direction. Ha! I could say I have a good excuse for not exercising in the morning. I suffer from insomnia and three hours of sleep are not conducive to walking in the morning, but really thatís just an excuse. I've been sleeping better and when I eat dinner at an earlier time I donít have as much trouble sleeping. Thereís that balance thing again.
Iím going to have to set some goals. Make a conscious effort to watch the clock so I know when itís time to fix the next meal. Exercise first thing in the morning unless there is a VALID reason not to, i.e. a doctorís appointment or space aliens are holding my treadmill hostage.
When I started SP I decided that I was not going to battle myself on eating right or exercising. I was just going to do it. Balancing time has become my battle. Of all the things I thought Iíd have problems with, this never even entered my mind!
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I wasn't going to have a SparkPage or a Blog. It took me a while to realize that these are great motivational tools, and that, in itself, is a gift. So here I am.
I've struggle with my weight all my life; I'm 56. Twenty-two years ago I weighed 220 and I lost 90 pounds. It took me years to gain it all back and then some, but I did it. So when I started SparkPeople on May 9, 2012 I weighed 230 pounds. Wow. Today, eight weeks later I weigh 220. I am so pleased. I was aiming for five pounds a month and I did it. Oh, I know it won't always happen that way, but I'm amazed that I could do this.
Six years ago I fell down the stairs and injured my knee. When I went to the orthopedic doctor he said that I already had chondromalacia, that eventually I would need a knee replacement, but the knee wasn't ready for that yet. Well, at first, I had to keep it elevated and be very gentle with it. The doctor told me that I should be able to walk, (no hills, no jogging). He gave me synvisc shots which helped. However, I didn't consistently exercise. Well, the synvisc wore off after eight months and I sat around waiting for the pain and swelling to go away. Not the smartest thing to do.
When we moved to North Carolina five years ago I became more active, but then my blood pressure went up and I started having problems with sodium. Funny, it coincided with the fact that we were eating more fast food than ever! So my doctor put me on medication and I tried to diet and stay away from sodium. I could not lose weight! I would lose five pounds then be starving and go back to eating unhealthy foods. Every summer my feet would swell and the pain was so bad I couldn't move. This May I had had enough!
So I found SparkPeople on a Google Search and joined. I started tracking what I ate and realized that when I was dieting I wasn't eating enough and I was literally starving myself!
I started walking. The first day I walked for 15 minutes at 2 mph. My knee was fine and it didn't swell so the next day I walked at 2.3 mph for 20 minutes. I kept increasing the speed and the time. One day I actually walked 3 mph for 25 minutes. I haven't been able to do that again, but I'm working at it. I started strength training four weeks ago. I can feel the difference. I can see the difference, as well. Between the ST and walking I am losing inches, as well as losing weight.
The best thing about walking has been that my blood pressure is now normal. Yeah! I'm still on a diuretic because it's summer and my feet still want to swell even with my sodium intake lowered. I keep it below 2000 mg, averaging between 1500 and 1600 mg per day. With the heat and humidity here in southern North Carolina I might have to drop that average down lower.
I can go up and down stairs without pain. I can get down on the floor and while it still not as easy as I would like, I can get off the floor without assistance. I have more flexibility and fewer aches and pains and I've stopped getting muscle spasms.
I've noticed that I'm happier. I was depressed and turning more and more inward. Not going out of the house even to go grocery shopping. My attitude was so negative. I was depressed just being around me! But for the last eight weeks (oops, it's really been seven) I've been happy. I don't ever remember being happy on a diet, do you? Well, I'm not really on a diet. I eat meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts. I don't eat fast food, but we do go out occasionally. I've found that most of the time restaurants add so much salt to their food that it makes the food unpalatable. Dairy is not on my list of foods because I am allergic to the proteins in dairy. I can manage a limited amount of hard cheese but that's it for the moment.
I joined SparkPeople because I wanted to use the nutrition tracker. I didn't realize I would be getting this amazing flow of positive energy from all these amazing people. I found a place where I can get emotional support. A place where I can find motivation. Here are all the tools I need for my new healthy lifestyle. I can find all the information and expert advice I need.
The people I've met here are more than amazing. They write things that have made me laugh and made me cry. I've been awed by their courage, their honesty , their dedication, and their perseverance. They've taught me gratitude. They've taught me to be more kind to myself. They've shown me that if they can do this, so can I. They've made me go outside my comfort zone and try harder for the things I want to achieve.
I can do this. I can set goals and reach them. I can become the person I want to be. I can't thank SparkPeople enough for giving me back my life.
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