Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eating Healthier To Get Fit

We Are What We Eat

Or so the old saying goes. I haven't always been so aware of what I was eating.  As I look back, I can see periods of my life where I was quite in tune with my body, or so I thought.  I've always been careful to eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. And to stay away from the sugary drinks like soda pop and the cool-aid type drinks.  My children always drank; 2% milk, 100% juice and water.  I always felt that my children had the best nutrition possible on the budget that I had to work with.  Corners where cut here and there, but never on the food budget.

Today as I write my blog I am sipping on infused water.  I have come up with a recipe that I love.  You can experiment with your favorite fruit and vegetable flavors or find some suggestions here.   Give mine a try it is quite refreshing and filled with metabolism boosting ingredients.  The infused water at the right has:  1 lemon cut into wedges, 1/2 cucumber (sliced), 1 1/2 inch of fresh ginger root (sliced thin) and several sprigs of fresh mint.  I can usually use the same fruit for 4-5 days.  In the morning I top it off with ice and water, stir with a wooden spoon enough to bruise the fruits/veggies to cause a release of flavor.  Enjoy!  I try to drink a whole gallon everyday.  We all need to drink more water.  First step to getting fit, get hydrated and stay that way.  People who drink more water lose more weight.

Second step is... Never skip breakfast, or any meal.  If you choose to count calories, or points like they do with Weight Watchers, then you will really want to take my advise on this one.  Make your points or calories count.  This is the meal that sets the mood for the whole day.  Don't start the day hungry!  All of the sources that I have read on the subject say to eat within an hour of rising.  When you skip breakfast it tells your body that there is a famine and to store fat.  I haven't always followed this rule, it may be the reason that I am needing to lose over 60 lbs.  I am sure that it is not the only reason.... but I do know it is one of them.  I have been eating oatmeal with cinnamon and honey topped with mango or blueberries.  Excellent way to start your day, and it will stick with you for the entire morning.

Step three... Snack.... Yup you heard it!  Snacking tells your body that there is plenty to  eat.  Don't store fat!   Now, come on.... be reasonable, not ice cream, not chips, not donuts.  Nuts are good snacks though, so are raw fruits and veggies.  You can use this link to find some healthy high protein snacks that will keep you full longer.

I shouldn't have to say it, but don't skip lunch either.  I really like to enjoy a large salad for lunch.  Yes, I do like my salad huge.  Lots of greens, does a body good.  This is the salad that I had for lunch today.  It was so yummy.  This salad has romaine, spring mix and baby spinach, some shaved carrots, sliced cucumber and a small tomato.   Then I topped it with blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.  Get creative with your salads.  I usually add some type of fruit in my salads as well.  Grapes, oranges and apples are wonderful in salads.  Dried cranberries, black beans, raisins, red or green onions and olives as toppers are excellent too.  Comment below with some of your favorite salad toppers. 

Don't forget to have an afternoon snack, remember to grab healthy snacks.  Snacks that will help power you through until dinner.  If I don't have my afternoon snack, then I will snack the whole time that I am cooking dinner.  (You know girls... munch on this carrot, some of that cheese, test the sauce, test the sauce, test the sauce again.  You can almost get a whole meal in just testing. Or at least I can.)

Over the last three months I have introduced more fish and chicken into our diet and totally eliminated pork and all the bad oils (corn oil, canola, vegetable oil and margarine).  I use olive oil, grape seed oil and butter.  The only beef that we have been eating is very lean.  I would like to find a local source for lamb.  Maybe next year my husband will get a deer so that we will have venison too.  Protein doesn't always have to be meat.  Try making a meat free dinner sometime soon.   One of our favorites  is restaurant style tortilla chips with black beans and cheddar cheese topped with black or green olives, jalapenos, and fresh salsa, pico-de-gio or guacamole.   Try one of these recipes for salsa, pico and or guacamole, I'm sure that your family will love them.  They are quick and easy too.   So, step four.... No testing (eating) while cooking.

+Bob Harper's skinny rules have really helped me to get my perspective.  That is why I am going to say that step five is... Go to bed hungry.  Never eat less than 3 hours before going to bed.  Night snackers?  Stop it!!  Yup that's right, get some self-control, you can do it!  You know there is a skinny girl stuck in there! 

Step six... Get up and move!  This is the hardest one for me.  I was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) a year ago in April.  Really, I believe the diagnosis came two years earlier in 2009 when I had a severe case of pneumonia and pleurisy, but I just wasn't hearing it.  Exercising with COPD can be very difficult.  I can't speak for everyone with the disease, but when I try to exercise anything that raises the heart rate also raises the difficulty breathing.   As I lose weight it is becoming easier to get up and move. 

I have a set of 3 lb. weights that I use for my arms and shoulders.  I also use them for stretching the waist area.  Stretching is very important.  You want to have long lean muscles.  I stretch my legs and waist with all sorts of leg lifts and stretches.  I find it impossible at this point to do a push-up, however, I can do them against the kitchen counter.  Running is out of the question, but walking at a pace that is comfortable for me without getting out of breath is what I am doing.  I have pinned some inspirational quotes on my Pinterest boards, the one that really keeps me going is:  Just do it...  no matter how slow you go... you are still lapping those on the couch!!

Oh, yea, forgot to tell you I have lost 16 lbs. in less than 3 months just eating healthier.   To sum it all up...  Drink lots of water, always eat breakfast, healthy snacks, only eat dinner when it is ready, get up and move, and go to bed hungry.  Enjoy life!!  Smile!