Monday, March 26, 2012

The Bad Blogger

Ok, it’s truth time.  Between our busy schedules and some recent kitchen disappointments, I don’t have a recipe to share for this past weekend.  However, I thought I would share one of my inspirations for this blog: improving my health.
At the end of last summer, I began to experience some asthma issues that I hadn’t dealt with in almost 17 years.  After multiple trips to the doctor and a variety of attempted treatments, I finally found a prescription combination that has almost completely controlled my condition.  Unfortunately, almost 6 months passed while I was struggling to breathe, and that made it impossible to stay in shape.  As a result, I about gained 20 lbs.
This is the third time I’ve battled weight issues.  The last time, I found a simple system that worked efficiently.  This time, it’s been more difficult to get my shape back.  I’d like to share some of the tips that have worked for me, as well as some I would still like to try.
The last time I lost the extra 20 I kept a weight journal.  In it, I recorded the following:
  • I allowed myself one “bad thing” per day (For me, usually this meant soda or sweets)
  • I required myself to spend 30 minutes per day or 3 hours per week of activity (Anything that increased my heart rate or made me break a sweat)
  • I recorded my daily weight before breakfast (I also measured my waist on a weekly basis)
I also started paying attention to calories.  I only “counted” calories in snacks, but I learned to portion certain foods like cereal.
Since starting my weight loss plan, I’m also trying to do some of the following:
  • Drink water or Crystal Light instead of soda. (Even though juice contains sugar, I am also a fan of it because of the nutritional benefits you get, unlike with diet soda.) You could also add fruit juice to carbonated water to help wean yourself off soda.  In addition, coffee is a better option for caffeine than soda as well.
  • Always eat breakfast; eat smaller, more frequent meals; and taper off your meals throughout the day (You can also suppress hunger by eating snacks that are high in protein)
  • Make simple substitutions like choosing vegetable spread instead of butter, sandwich wheat bread instead of white sandwich bread, or baked chips instead of fried chips (However, I can’t bring myself to substitute corn instead of flour tortillas, black beans for chocolate in brownies, or applesauce for vegetable oil in baking)
  • Eat fish one night a week, and eat vegetarian one night a week
  • Avoid sodium-filled prepackaged foods, and limit your added sugar intake to 3 tbsp. per day
In addition to these diet tips, it is highly recommended that people who are fighting their weight take 10,000 steps per day (which is the equivalent of walking approx. 5 miles).  While walking can give your legs a great workout and help you drop inches overall, you can carry 3 lb. weights to help tone your arms.
And finally, don’t look at pictures of supermodels for inspiration.  Use pictures of yourself at your most fit, or look for healthy body images like Christina Hendricks, Beyonce Knowles, or Kim Kardashian.  Know that these things take time, and what might work for one person might not work for another (even in the same family).  Check out Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis program to determine your body type, and look for programs that target your specific weight issues.
I know that my genetics determine that I will always have to watch my weight, but I don’t plan to stop enjoying food.  I don’t want to develop an unrealistic body image, but I do want to be around to see my future children and grandchildren grow up.
Next week, I will resume posting recipes, but until then, here are some weight loss tools you might find helpful:

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