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Tracking Sodium

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Last night, watching The Biggest Loser, I heard Jackson talking about what a huge impact excess sodium can have on health and weight retention. He mentioned how frozen foods are very often super high in sodium. That struck home with me, because we eat a LOT of frozen foods - so much that we've been thinking of adding another freezer.

This morning's Spark Coach lesson was about adding one more healthy habit to my lifestyle. Among the suggestions was tracking sodium intake. I decided that two reminders about the same thing so close together must be the universe telling me to take notice.

I never really thought much about sodium intake until now; because I don't have a heart condition, and I thought I was being smart by not adding salt to the cooking water for pasta, for instance. It didn't occur to me to be watching foods that don't even taste particularly salty.

So, starting today, I'll be adding a sodium tracker to my SP nutrition tracker. I have a feeling I'm in for a nasty shock, but it will be one more step in the right direction to get healthy again.

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JOHOWELL 3/5/2013 9:05PM

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My All or Nothing Attitude

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Over the past week, I've really been struggling with my food choices and exercise. After a disasterous holiday, which I spent so ill that I could eat barely anything, I felt shaky and weak for the entire following week.

Feeling that way interfered with my exercise, although I did push myself to do some exercise most days. Sometimes the only way I could get through it was by chanting "pain is temporary, quitting is forever" to myself. I didn't do anywhere near my usual amount, however. I also ended up napping in the afternoon most days, because I didn't have the strength to get through a normal day.

This frustrated me, but the worst was that I began interpreting the weak feeling as hunger and cravings (particularly for chocolate). I ate lunch out almost every day (which came close or past blowing my calories for the entire day to begin with) and then struggled all evening against snacking mindlessly. Most evenings I did not come out a winner.

Having to bypass clicking that "Didn't snack mindlessly" checkbox every day was disheartening and affected my motivation for the following day.

TODAY that changes. I ordered a Fitbit last night (I'm hoping that constant reminder/fitness challenge will help to focus me once it arrives. Meanwhile, I have pledged to myself that I will put in at least an hour of exercise today (this won't be hard - I'm going to move directly to the elliptical machine for a half hour workout after I finish on SP this morning, and then I'll have to do at least a half hour of dog walking later in the day), and I will NOT snack mindlessly.

I can do that for one day. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself.


Phone Call from my Future Self

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today I visualized my future self. It's 2023, and I'm 60 years old. I don't feel "old," though. I'm happy, vibrant, and physically fit. I live with my DH and our two dogs (who may be 11 and 12 years old, but regular exercise has kept them active). We live in a beautiful home in Golden Oak (inside Walt Disney World).

When I wake up, the first thing I see is the beautiful Florida sunshine on the walls of my bedroom. My DH, in the best shape of his life, is beside me. We get up and clip the leashes on the dogs for an early morning jog around the trails of Fort Wilderness campground. The sun is warm, but the shade under the trees is cool. We can hear campers waking up and smell breakfasts cooking.

Back home again, I make us a healthy breakfast with all the food groups - Canadian bacon and fresh fruit star on the plates. After breakfast, DH and I spend the morning at our desks. We are semi-retired now, working only a half day and letting the business run itself for the most part. Dawn is our General Manager now, and is doing a super job.

After a delicious, healthy lunch, the afternoon is ours. Will we go swimming today, drive to the coast for some scuba diving, or stay close to home and wander through the theme parks? Just then, the phone rings, and it's my grand daughter calling to tell me about something wonderful that happened at Kindergarten. We decide to celebrate together this afternoon by going rock climbing.

Before she comes, I just have a quick phone call to make. I had diarized to call my past self (the one in 2013) today. She's been working very hard to try to lose 50 lbs and succeeding well. She's also been overworked and a bit stressed about finances over the past year.

I tell her not to worry - everything works out even better than she can imagine. DH and I are happy and active in our lovely new home. We see a lot of DS and his family. He's married a terrific girl who I love like my own daughter, and their little girl is the sweetest thing imaginable. The business is a booming success. The employees don't really need DH and I to work at all, but they like us to stay involved. So, we keep our hands in during half-days when we aren't away travelling the world.

I tell her not to sweat the small stuff. The little things that vex her now (e.g. not exercising one day, going over her calorie count one day, losing one customer) mean nothing in the long run. The secret is to consistently move in a forward trend. Tiny back steps are inevitable. Just roll with them, and don't let them paralyze you.

I thank her for having the courage to start out on this journey and the tenacity to keep slogging away at it, even when life got in the way.

I tell her IT'S ALL BEEN WORTH IT!!!


My Journey in Review

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

I'm taking a few minutes today to think about how far I've come and what it's been like to get here.

At time of writing, I've lost 21 lbs in a bit more than two months. Although I've had a couple of challenging days; in all, it really hasn't been that difficult. The changes in my lifestyle have been coming on so gradually that they haven't been painful.

I started out just tracking my food intake to see what I was eating. My daily calories were consistently way too high; so I started cutting back and finding things to eat that I enjoyed, filled me up, but stayed within range. The motto "Don't drink your calories" really helped with that.

When I started staying within calorie range, I noticed that my protein intake was consistently way too low, so I started making an effort to boost that. That resulted in my feeling fuller and more energetic.

Meanwhile I started doing at least 10 minutes of SP video exercise each day, beyond my minimum 30 minutes of dog walking. As I got stronger with the videos and more energetic with my better nutrition, I felt more inclined to exercise. The more I exercised, combined with the better nutrition, the lighter I got and the easier it became. Enter new motto - "It's not getting easier; I'm getting better!"

This encouraged me to increase the exercise, which made me start craving fresh water and more fruit/veggies, which made me lighter and more energetic, which encouraged me to increase the exercise... Before I knew it, I was exercising a minimum of 30 minutes, but often up to 90 minutes in a day and eating/sleeping well.

Looking forward to the next 21 lbs, and the next...


Learning from my Mistakes

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yesterday, I was doing everything right. I had done stretching, cardio, and strength training (and lots of it), drunk my eight glasses of water, and was close to a perfect day for food (just needed to get a bit more protein in, but I had calories left to do it). I chose to eat 3/4 c of cottage cheese as an evening snack, which would have given me the protein I wanted and still left me within my calorie range.

Then, life (in the form of DH and DS) stepped in. When I got back from my last cardio (walking the dogs in the cold and dark), DH had hot chocolate waiting for me. It was a sweet thing to do. I knew it would put me over my calories and not give me all the protein I wanted, but I drank it anyway so that I wouldn't hurt his feelings.

Later in the evening, after swearing that was the last thing I was going to consume, DH and DS started eating cashew laden snacks on either side of me while we watched TV. I could call them saboteurs, but neither of them tried to tempt me; and I could have just ignored the snacks, but I didn't. Grabbing several handfuls of those snacks, while certainly getting me the protein I wanted, shot my calorie count out of the water.

So, do I cry about it and think I'm a failure? No. Who has time for that? What's done is done. It didn't make a dent in the scale (probably because of all the exercise I had yesterday); so I have decided to just pick myself up, dust myself off, and start on a good day today. I've already had a healthful breakfast and finished one glass of water. I have another active day planned.

Can I take anything forward from this for the future? Yes, I think I have to distract myself when DS and DH are snacking in front of the TV. I could make myself a pot of tea - that's often all it takes to make me feel like I'm snacking, too. I could also trade seats with DS so that they can sit together on the couch and snack, whereas I would be further away (more effort to get to the snacks) and not physically surrounded by the sounds and smells of them snacking.

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    I feel like I have to snack when DH and DD are, too! emoticon So I usually grab a yogurt, some pretzels or some frozen blueberries. I also always meal plan for the lower end of the calorie range so I have a few hundred calories to play with, if that helps! The nutrition (other than sodium) hasn't been a problem for me, it's getting that extra 10 minutes of strength training!

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