Another Case of Why You Need to Read Food Labels

While I was steaming a half dozen apples that had gone soft, I noticed an apple pie on the kitchen counter.  Mother bought the pie.  Now you know I had to examine the label.

All I can say is damn! Even this label surprised me.  I counted the number of ingredients in this supermarket (who shall remain nameless) freshly baked apple pie and I am floored!!

While the first ingredient is apples, what follows ought to be a crime. Also, notice that sugar isn’t far from the top.  Come on now!  A good apple is naturally sweet and requires NO sugar.   Other UN-NATURAL ingredients include:

While the pie does have “milk,” Eggs,” and “apples,” the bad far outweighs the good. Preservatives digested in the body converts to dangerous carcinogens that studies have shown can cause certain cancers, tumors, and other major illnesses.

I know.  Realistically, to 100% avoid harmful chemicals, one would have to live in a bubble.  However, if you care about your body and your overall wellness, try to minimize the number of toxic chemicals you put in your body or on your skin and hair, as much as possible.  I am not perfect but I continue to educate myself and make smarter choices about the products I consume.


Instead of consuming a preservative filled store bought pie with over two dozen ingredients opt for a cleaner and a healthier version by cooking your own at home.  I cooked my organic Fuji apples on low and I added only TWO ingredients; cinnamon and nutmeg.  My “chunky applesauce” was naturally sweet with NO preservatives and delightfully appealing. 🙂

 

It Was Good While It Lasted

The decision to give up coffee was kind of spontaneous.  Nearly two months have passed since I gave up my freshly brewed java.    Fresh coffee was a nice early morning treat and part of my morning ritual.

The decision to give up coffee was sudden and random.  One day I just noticed that I didn’t  feel like myself.  The feeling was more than the typical jitters from too much caffeine.  Aside from the increase in hot flashes,  I felt sick from it.  The taste changed too.  It was nasty.   That’s not supposed to happen. What the heck is going on?  Hormones I suppose.  Or maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me it’s time to give it up.

Anyways my current morning ritual now includes organic loose leaf green tea. And guess what?   It’s working well.  I actually feel better, more energized and I don’t get the dragging feeling after the caffeine boost. Yay!

So imagine my delight when I stumbled on a Green Tea Latte at Starbucks.


 🙂 Aaaaaaaah!  The heavenly gates opened up.   I tried the latte and loooooooved it!  Although I like the vibe of Starbucks, they’re too pricey for me.  This day was an exception because I was on the road and ran in to get some oatmeal.  I ended up with the oats and the green tea latte.  I substituted regular milk for coconut milk.

Fast forward to my third one.   😦

You know I had to know the nutritional content, so I went to the company’s website.

“Smooth and Creamy.” Yes.

“Lightly sweetened.” NOT!!

Check out the sugar content!!  Oh my gosh!  I was devastated then I realized the whopping 27 grams of sugar was for a Grande.  Uh oh. I’ve been drinking the Venti, which is even larger. Ugh!

The Venti is loaded with even more sugar!  36 grams!!  This is ridiculous.  Starbucks has to do better. They got that one off on me.  This is yet another example of why we have to stay diligent in researching all that we eat and drink.  250 Calories. 9 grams of saturated fat. 90 calories from fat.  When I read the label, I became sad and angry. Who would think green tea would have so much sugar?  Yup. They tricked me.  

Whelp.  It was good while it lasted.  I just can’t and don’t consume sugar like that. Speaking of sugar, if you’re trying to lose weight or maybe trying to reduce your sugar intake, check out the video, The Truth About Sugar that I recently watched. It may change the way you think about your favorite sugary snack.

I’ve got a lot going on these days.  When things settle down, I have tons of good stuff to share.  So hang in there with me.  If you like this post, please like, share and follow me.

Smooches!  🙂


He Went In Hard

Late December 2014, I received a random and unexpected text from a friend.  My friend was taking on a self-imposed 30 day challenge. His decision inspired a few others in our circle of friends to do the same.

The challenge was to merely live healthier for 30 days.  The goal was to avoid alcohol for the whole month of January and to eat healthier foods.

I don’t know what sparked his interest, but I was pumped and excited for my friend.  When someone makes a mindful choice to aim at living healthier (for whatever reason), I become overwhelmed with happiness. Why?  Because I know the benefits that await them. 🙂

Although working out was not part of the equation, I knew that if he remained committed for the entire month, he would certainly feel better, but also lose weight and inches.

My friend does not work out, but is active and rarely stays home.  He is active year around with sports and loves to travel. We also share an appreciation for good food.

He wanted to make better food choices, but he did not know how to do so, and that’s where I came into the picture.

I figure a big part of the obesity and unhealthy lifestyle culture in this country, is that people are unaware of the long-term effects that food has on the body and overall health.

Education should be ongoing and is vital to living in good health.

“When you  know better, you do better.”

At least that’s the premise from Dr. Maya Angelo and Oprah Winfrey.  I agree.

Year after year, I learn new facts about the food I consume, which I previously thought were good for me, and am forced to cut them from my diet.  And really, this is what the process is all about. Continue to educate yourself so that you can take a proactive approach to making smarter choices for you and your family.

While considering what kind of advice I would give him, I knew that I had to be realistic.  I needed to give him suggestions that he could manage and incorporate as part of his daily nutrition plan. The last thing he needed was to be overwhelmed by a long and complicated list of foods to eat and to avoid.

Lifestyle adjustments begin with small and subtle changes.  Studies show that taking on too much too soon can lead to failure, and failure was the last thing I wanted for him.

In addition to eliminating alcohol, my advice to him was to:

  1. replace soda and juice with lots water
  2. Avoid anything white (bread, flour sugar potatoes, sugar, etc…)
  3. reduce his sugar intake, i.e. sugar in coffee
  4. don’t skip meals
  5. eat breakfast (oats)
  6. plan meals
  7. When dining out, substitute cream sauces with tomato based sauces & replace fatty sides with extra vegetables.

He was open to trying new foods, which is half the battle of learning to eat better.  With the help of his girlfriend, he was delightfully overwhelmed with all kinds of new foods.   Here’s a list of some of the new food he incorporated into his diet.  It’s freaking amazing!

  1. Brown rice
  2. turkey burgers
  3. asparagus
  4. turmeric milk tea
  5. smoothies with kale, avocado, and almond milk
  6. zucchini spaghetti
  7. 1-2 gallons of water daily (he’s BIG guy)

He went in HARD and I love it!

Superbowl Sunday, the first of February was the official weigh in but, as soon as he took his coat off, I could see results. He lost inches in his midsection and his pants were unintentionally sagging.  Wow!

Without even incorporating an exercise program, he lost 14 pounds in January and 9 pounds the first week of February!

Most important to me is that my friend noticed his energy levels improved and ongoing joint issues improved.  He was flabbergasted by how changes in his diet improved how he felt.

Honestly, it’s no surprise to me but I am ecstatic that he has made the important connection between diet, nutrition, and overall wellness.  I’m doing cartwheels!  His attitude toward food is evolving…

from eating to feel full…

to eating to nourish the body…

Throughout the month, our group randomly checked in, via texts, to encourage, post meal pictures, and for daily and weekly progress reports.

Several friends in our group added exercise to the mix and experienced weight and/or inches loss.  Their journey to starting better lifestyle habits have begun. Yay!! I am so proud of all of them!  🙂

Developing new habits take time and “is not an all or nothing process.”

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. [1]

Contrary to popular brief, it takes more than 21 days to form a habit.  The 21 day habit myth evolved from  study done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. Anyways, my friend is on his way to adopting new habits of improving his lifestyle. How do I know this?

Well, he decided to extended the practice of making better food choices in to February AND…. drum roll……  he is considering….

A gym membership!!!  I’m screaming this!!!!!!  

 It’s never too late…

You’re never too old…

You’re never too fat…

You’re never too far gone…

To take control and responsibility for your health. Start small, don’t quit, and go big!

You have what it takes!  🙂

Make it a great day!

 

10 Things To Try Instead of Making A New Year’s Resolution

beauty-isnt-measured-in-pounds-quote-1The scale says I weigh 151.1 pounds. So what! I have weighed less but looked worse. Lol!

At 49 1/2, I’m fit, healthy, and am in the best shape of my life. 🙂

IMG_7390

Women are obsessed with their weight. Each day thousands of women choose to skip meals, pop diet pills, or start some fad diet.  And why? For the sake of seeing a magic number on a scale that falsely suggests they are… umm.. somewhat in shape. Or maybe it’s for bragging rights to share with peers? Oh wait I know!  The big one is to slip into “the gown” or “that dress” for a wedding, a high school reunion, or some other big event.

I dunno, but it is ridiculous and it needs to stop because unless a lifestyle change is made, the pattern will never end.

no one step

ATTENTION LADIES!!

Why not make today your last weigh in…  for a least a month or two. Go ahead– first thing in the morning hop your butt on the scale and record the number.

Afterwards pick up the scale and put it away where you will not be tempted to step on it for at least 30 days. If you haven’t had a checkup in the past year, schedule a visit ASAP and, with your MD’s blessing, for the next 30 – 60 days try the following:

  1. Eat breakfast every day!  A smoothie, oatmeal, or an egg white omelet.
  2. Don’t drink any alcohol (it’s only 30 to 60 days, you CAN do it). *Alcohol has sugar.
  3. Replace soda and juice with water.  Increase your daily water intake to 32 – 64 ounces (flavored bottled water doesn’t count).
  4. Avoid unhealthy and processed snacks such as, chips (all of them), Doritos, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, donuts, etc…  Snack on nuts, non sugary fruits like apples, strawberries, and blueberries.
  5. Eat fresh leafy and green veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale, broccoli rabe, asparagus, zucchini and avocados.  Avoid canned veggies like the plague but frozen veggies will do.
  6. Reduce your sugar (including honey) intake.  Read labels on everything you eat.
  7. Hold off on white anything and drastically reduce your  Bread, rice, cheese, pancakes, pasta, grits, cereal, etc… Replace with sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice, or whole grain pasta (in moderation).
  8. Coffee!  Skip the fattening latte’s with heavy creams and milk. Switch to a non-dairy milk like plain almond milk. I get the caffeine fix! Drink the coffee, but skip the sugar and watch your cream.. less is best!
  9. Get movin at least 4-5 days per week.  No, you don’t have to join a gym, you can start out by walking.
    1. Wear a good walking sneaker.
    2. Time your walk and distance. I like the FREE app MapMyRun, but there are tons of options out there.
    3. Each day try to increase your pace and distance.
    4. Don’t talk on your cell phone while walking!  Doing this will slow you down.  Listen to musics that makes you wanna dance–that should keep you moving. 🙂
  10. Get a good night’s sleep every night. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Specific hormones and the metabolism are linked to weight loss. Sleep deprivation may increase your Ghrelin hormone, decrease your leptin hormones and will have you eating more– of the bad stuff you should be avoiding.

Skip the annual New Year’s Resolution; they come and go. Instead commit to a lifestyle change and do it now.

During the next 30 or 60 days, keep a journal. Pay attention to how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day. Record your findings. You might as well record how you feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

healthier Lifestyle

This post is inspired by a close friend who decided to take on a challenge of avoiding alcohol and eating better for 30 days.  🙂

After your 30 or 60 days are up, if you so wish, step on the scale.  You may or may not have lost weight, but I guarantee (barring any healthy issues) that you will feel 100% better than you did before the change.

For healthier meal ideas, visit my healthy eating board, soup board, or crock pot meals on Pinterest.

Not a day passes that I am not asked by someone about my lifestyle or seek advice about how to look like me, so that is another reason I wrote this post.

If you are at a place in your life where you feel compelled to make some positive changes, I hope and pray this post helps you.  Are you up for the challenge?  I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.  🙂

DM-Motivation-vs-Habit

 

Got Water?

plant

Looking at this picture, it is obvious that my plant is thirsty and dehydrated. Inwardly, the body responds the same way.

While I chug close to a gallon of water every day, I’m not always so kind to my plants. It’s a good thing that I own plants that are hard to kill.  You know, the type that can survive longer than a week without water, but bounce back after being nourished and fed.  I know, shame on me!

Do you drink water daily?  How much?  A glass? An 8 ounce bottle of water?  Well if you are on a weight loss or get in shape journey, a good start is to drink more water.

Experts estimate that water makes up about 60 percent of the body’s composition. The body uses water every day for regular body functions such as breathing, urinating, and more. Our body needs water to maintain balance and for our organs to work properly.

Did you know that drinking water can increase your energy level?  Yup!  It’s true.

Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer.       –WebMD

To meet your fitness goals, you must quit drinking soda, juices, and other sugar laced beverages and commit to drink more water. By eliminating your sugar intake, you’re going to drastically reduce your sugar and calorie intake. Did you know that…

 A typical 16-ounce bottle of soda has 44 grams sugar, or about 11 teaspoons (or more).

A few of my strategies to drink more water include:

  1. Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning.
  2. Add fresh fruit such as a lemon, cucumber slices, or orange slices to your water.
  3. Set goals throughout the day such as 1 liter before work, another liter by lunch time, and another liter before and or after dinner.
  4. Carry a water bottle and drink from it  everywhere you go.
  5. If you feel adventurous and are seriously committed to drinking water, buy a gallon bottle.  Use a marker to show your hourly goals on the jug.
  6. Drink water before each meal; you will eat less.
  7. When you are away from home, strategize so you know where the clean bathrooms are.  Be ready for hourly bathroom visits.
  8. Not to be gross or anything, but the clearer in color your urine, the better.
  9. Drink water before, during, and after every workout.
  10. If you use a journal to track your food intake, include water intake as well.
  11. When you find a system that works for you, stick with it.

Don’t think about the water, just drink it! 🙂

Read More About Water

10 Life-Changing Reasons To Drink More Water

Your Muscles Are Thirsty

12 Unexpected Reasons To Drink More Water This Year

10 Ways to Drink More Water

Balancing Fitness

Just when I think I have this balance thing down something else gets added (by me of course) to the mix!  Lol!

If you follow Lexa’s Journal, you know that in May I competed in my first, and what I thought would be my “only” figure competition. “One and done,” is what I said.  Whelp!!!  Ya know, I’m already focusing on competition #2.  Ha! Ha!!  Will this be the last time I walk on stage??   Truly, only God knows! Lol!

Anyways, with this 8 month goal in mind, I must be careful about indulging in two of my favorite summer activities:

  1. CrossFitShape.com research estimates an average of 12.3 calories burned per minute in CF.  That’s just over 738 calories in one hour’s time.
  2. Running – According to the folks at sparkpeople.com, if I run 10 miles (which is a summer average for me), I’d burn close to 1,000 calories!!

If your goal is to burn calories and simply to lose weight, great, but…

 That is waaaay too many calories and muscle mass burned.  That’s a no-no for my fitness goals.

Does strength/weight training burn calories?  Absolutely, but it depends on the type of exercise, the weight, and the duration, but typically, you won’t burn as many calories as CF and running.

For now, balancing my fitness regimen focuses on my current goals (competition #2). Weight training four or five days a week and CrossFit one or two days and at least one rest day. Sounds like a lot?  Well…

Hard work pays off and I’m willing to put the time in. Are you?

So, I looked at the WOD for today and decided it wasn’t too bad. (I’m smiling)  I was sore from yesterday’s shoulder workout and Monday’s back, so this WOD was perfect:

SWOD:
rope climb practice

I am a work in progress when it comes to the rope climb.  Technique gets you up the rope, so I worked on my foot positioning.  I sweat like something crazy doing this, but I loved working with my favorite instructor Lisa.  She’s detailed oriented and never allow you to compromise on form.  Look for that quality in a CF instructor.  It matters. You’ll be thankful when you avoid injuries.

WOD: 20 min EMOM (every minute on the minute)
min 1 – 2 rope climbs
min 2 – 25 abmats (situps)
min 3 – 10 kbs swings + 10 kb push press 5l/5r 53/35
min 4 – 7 burpee box jumps

I did the modified rope climbs… 4 ground to standing. Everything else was cool. Sore shoulders prompted me to go lighter on the kettlebell exercises, so I used a 26lb KB.

While the workout wasn’t intense, it served as my cardio day and took one hour. Tomorrow is leg day, they’ll be ready and refreshed.

I’m going to try to get to the gym early tomorrow because we’re having a yard sale on Saturday and I have a lot of work to do.

garage

I’m all about de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff we don’t use.  I want to simplify everything in my life.  During the 10 years in our current home, we’ve accumulated too much and I just have to get rid of it.

I also need to get rid of clothes that no longer fit. About four to five months into my training, my body composition began changing.  My blouses grew tight around the back, shoulders and arms.  My pants started sagging in the rear, while others grew tight in the thighs.  My beautiful Calvin Klein winter dresses suddenly looked like they belonged to an older sister.

I no longer fit 99% of these clothes.

pants

I can put these pants on and off without unzipping or unbuttoning them. I had no idea this was going to happen!

dresses and tops

Look at this lovely pile of mostly spring and summer dresses and a few blouses!  It’s not like I lost 50 pounds or anything.. heck I didn’t really lose weight… I just developed muscle, loss fat, and sculpted a new physique.  Jeez!!  I’m still amazed.:)

CK dresses

This pile makes me want to cry!  I’m not a brand name person, but here lies beautiful designer suits and dresses.  It would cost more to pay for alterations than to buy new ones.  Sheesh!!

What doesn’t sell, I’ll give to a charity. Then come the fall, I have much shopping to do and I am going to have a blast shopping!

It’s getting late and I have a busy day.  Sweet dreams and thanks for stopping by! 🙂