Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I have been an on-again, off-again, Spark member since 2009. Recently, I have picked up interest in continuing working towards my weight goal and leading a healthier life-style. As part of this renewed interest, I’ve become a more active Spark member.
I have read The Spark and have joined a number of community teams. I am a lover of internet games and have, to my delight, discovered an addiction to Spark points and trophies. I try to log on to the site daily and gather as many points as I can. Not long ago, one of my team leader’s mentioned a community team that they had joined. It was called the Healthy Cooking Challenge.
My interest was piqued and I decided to join the team to see what it was all about. To my delight I discovered that this team was all about goal setting and that if you were successful, at the end of four weeks, you were rewarded with a trophy. Now I had been accumulating trophies – some for perfect attendance, some for collecting points during the month, reaching exercise goals etc. But I did not know that some of the official teams were also handing out awards. I decided to give it a try.
The first challenge I tackled was to create a menu for the upcoming week. I could relate to this, as it reminded me of a cooking show I used to watch with Sandi Richards' Fixin' Dinner.
I have to admit that the blank menu template that sat in front of me was quite intimidating and, of all the challenges, was the most difficult one for me to complete. I worked on it for an hour or so and finally came up with a game plan for the week. Breakfasts and lunches were easy for me, as my husband and I always eat breakfast at home and lunches are prepared and brought with us to our place of work. It was the evening meals that had me stumped. We quite often would eat out once or twice a week, usually fast food. As part of my own personal challenge with the Healthy Cooking Challenge, I dared myself to eliminate the eating out and to prepare home-cooked meals with lowered sodium and fat content.
Once the menu plan was created, a trip to the grocery store was in order and then the game was on.
Menu planning became part of my next four weeks and by the third week, I even had my husband interested in what meals were planned and he was giving me suggestions! I did find that I wasn’t always able to stick exactly to the weekly plan. Some nights I interchanged with another night on the menu, but overall I got pretty good at following the plan.
I continued through the next four weeks completing the different challenges as they came up. Some of the suggestions that were given I liked, some not so much. But in the end, the weekly menu planning became my favourite – which was really weird, because of all the challenges it was the one I had initially found so difficult. And at the end of the four week’s I received my coveted trophy.
When I first joined the team, the trophy was my end goal and I believed that it was the most important thing I would get from joining. How wrong I was! Its been a few weeks since the challenge was completed. Needless to say, I went back to my old habits, which I didn't think were that bad. I usually decided before leaving for work what was for supper. But all of a sudden I was starting to find that figuring out what the evening meal was going to be was becoming a chore. My husband noticed that our menus were not as creative as before and it seemed easier and easier to decide in the morning that maybe tonight would be a good night to eat out. So, I’m going to go back to the menu planning. It definitely works for me.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The title of this rant says it all!
Starting on Friday I listened to my cravings and not my head. Friday for supper went out to A&W and had the new Grandma burger and shared an onion ring with my husband. And instead of asking for a bottle of water I had a real cola product.
Saturday I ate at Tim Hortons for lunch and had a Ham Swiss sandwich. I forgo the sauce and refused to have the donut they were pushing towards me. But once again, I had a Pepsi. Later in the day we stopped at Tim Horton's (again) and had a Pepsi and tried their new donut - banana and strawberry. I need not mention that even though the donut 'says' bananas and strawberries, it really has nothing to do with either of these.
Sunday my son was home and, even though we seldom have dessert with our meals, I decided we would. And instead of choosing something fairly healthy, I once again made a pitstop at Tim Hortons and picked up 6 donuts. I only had one, but boy was it the high calorie one - a blueberry fritter.
All this fast-food eating paid an immediate price with upset stomach, etc. This morning was my weigh-in and instead of being down a pound, which I know I could have been, I am up .2. Guess I should be thankful that's all I went up!
I need to buckle down and stick to menu plans. I know I feel better when I stay away from restaurant and take out food and it sure makes my bank account look healthier. So, back to the plan - stay away from eating out and the cola.
To end my rant, I'll say it again - I'm old enough to know better!
Monday, October 18, 2010
And they’re NOT kidding! I purchased a pair of ShapeUps by Skechers at the beginning of September. I’d previously been wearing an ‘athletic’ shoe made by Naturalizer for about a month. Unfortunately, when I purchased the Naturalizers I made the error of assuming that I needed the same shoe size I usually wore. They were a little tight, wearable in small doses, but not comfortable for any serious walking.
To make a long story short, I was lured into a shoe shop at our local mall in September and ended up buying the ShapeUps by Skechers that day in a half size larger than usual. Obviously I had had some experience in walking in this type of shoe already, so I didn’t bother to read the manual or watch the video that came with them – just started walking.
After my first walk around the neighbourhood, I realized that they were definitely giving me a workout. It wasn’t as easy to pick up my pace and the first few walks were slower than I was used to, but I definitely was feeling muscles that hadn’t been used in quite some time. After reading the manual and watching the video I realized that everything they proclaimed was true! Muscle groups were being put into play just by the simple fact that these shoes were forcing me to walking differently.
Since that first walk around the block in September I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds and dropped two sizes in jeans. As a matter of fact, the pair I was wearing on the weekend are getting quite baggy as well.
On Saturday I needed a pair of shoes quick to do some outdoor work and put on an old pair of ‘regular’ runners. My feet noticed the difference immediately and I have to say my mind did as well. The month of walking in the ShapeUps has redefined how I walk!
Don’t know what I’ll do when the snow starts to fly around here, but for now I am devoted to my ShapeUps!
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