I've never cared much about my weight. I've never thought of myself as a skinny person but never really saw myself as someone unhealthy or overweight either. It's not just weight though; my husband gives me a hard time because I don't tend to care about normal girly things. Besides weight I've never been one to care about getting my nails or hair done or wearing brand name clothes; I'm just never been an overly conscience body image person. I've seen the mental toll it can have on people that are so it's one of those things where I'm glad I'm the way I am because the body image issue is a huge social concern for girls and women today. However, as I approach 35 in the Fall I do have some weight loss and health goals I'd like to reach, but realize just like with everything else I am very much a do it my own way on my own terms kind of person. I'm not looking for huge, drastic change here. I just want to get back to some good habits and change a few bad habits.
Looking back I would say I eat healthy foods but I also splurge on foods I shouldn't way more than I should. I've always been active. Now since I've had kids I'll admit I'm way more sporadic with it than I was eight years ago before I had kids. Then unfortunately when my thyroid disorder, depression, and crazed stressed period of my life hit abour three ago now I ended up 35lbs outside that healthy BMI I had always maintained prior to that point. It was more than I gained pregnant with both girls, and I had no baby to deliver to get rid of the weight. So as much as I say I don't care much about weight that was a bit of a hard hit. So I ate more chocolate. Just kidding. Kind of.
Do I want to get back to that acceptable BMI range I was comfortablely in eight years ago? Yes so maybe for the first time I do care about my weight. I enjoy exercising and have found it to be just as beneficial for my mental health as my physical health. It didn't matter if I was walking, running, in a gym, or doing a workout video. I've done them all. There are things I like about each and things I hate. I like workout videos and their convenience. I also love how it's more of a whole body workout. However, I LOVE getting outdoors and exercising outdoors has greater mental health benefits for me than videos. So before I got pregnant this last time I was doing both. I like the combination of both, and I know the die hard Beachbody people will disagree but I don't follow any program to a T (in other words some days I get my exercise inside, some days outside) I've never been a big rule follower and have always insisted on doing things my own way. I want flexibility and my only commitment is to be doing something active again on a consistent basis, which I can do because I've done it many times in my life.
I was an athlete in high school, and in my high school at that time if you wanted to compete on varsity you not only had practice with conditioning every day but you were signed up every year for weight lifting and in the summers you attended camps, lifting, and played on competitive club type teams so I got my daily exercise in. In college my exercise was intramural teams and walking/jogging with my two closest college girls. The first two years out of college it was walking/jogging with Bettis when we lived in apartments. When we bought the house after that I joined Gold s Gym for three years. Then I had my first baby while still finishing grad school and coaching so this is where I started to lose consistency. I couldn't keep up my commitment to the gym anymore so I went back to just walking. I did that on and off for three years in which I added the second baby. Post baby #2 I was only about 5-10 lbs more than I was before babies. Not skinny but right on the edge of a healthy BMI. That was 2012. From the Fall of 2012 to the Summer of 2014 is when I quit exercising altogether for the longest stretch ever. A month or two would pass in the dead of winter or the busy of the summer where I wouldn't exercise much if any at all prior to this almost two year hiatus which I guess did include a short stint with Planet Fitness in there for a bit and probably some inconsistent walks on the dirt road behind our house. Somewhere between the Fall of 2012 and Summer of 2014 though the domino effect of me losing and refinding myself happened. We moved but in that process I threw out our scale (wouldn't do that again) but besides that between facing extreme burnout and frustration with my job, facing our biggest financial strain which included some paycheck to paycheck living and late payments which in turn lead to marital tension, along with my thyroid disorder occurring I was in a constant bitchy depressed state and by the time I stumbled my way out in 2014 rather than being 5-10 lbs from that pre baby weight I was 35 lbs from there! I'm pretty sure I kept Reeses Peanut Butter Cup in business during that time. And the Milky Way company. So for the first time I did kind of care what the scale said as much as stubborn old me hates to admit.
Once I got my head back on straight I was ready to start taking control back. I changed jobs which still two years later has been a huge positive change for my mentality. Besides switching tenants and having to play catch up on that mortgage in the Fall of 2014 I tackled our finances differently including splitting our accounts and putting more financial responsibility on my husband which has been a huge plus in our marriage and three years later after paycheck to paycheck when we first moved we're probably the most comfortable we've been (there's still some credit card debt that'd be nice to cut down but we're getting there). Last but not least I decided it was time I bring exercise back into my life. I took to jogging/walking the two mile dirt road behind my house and discovered the convenience of at home workout videos with Beachbody's Insanity. That was 22 months ago.
In those 22 months I have been pregnant three times for a total of 13 months. I was a slacker with the second and this third pregnancy because I didn't keep up my exercise routine so of those 22 months I was only consistently exercising for ten months. At one point I had lost around 15 lbs of that 35; however at nine months pregnant I was 45 lbs away from that pre baby healthy BMI goal of eight years ago. Here I am almost six weeks post partum and after a month and a half of eating better with cutting out the sugars (that's my big diet plan change goal) and back to walking 1-2 miles since one week post partum I am down 28 lbs from that 45 at nine months pregnant course I delivered a baby so that was quite a bit of it but I am not only back to the weight loss headway I had made prior to getting pregnant but loss a couple more pounds to put me 17 lbs away from my original goal of losing 35 to get back to that BMI weight range of pre baby eight years ago.
I hope to return to my busy working mom of now three life in a couple of months with the goal of just maintaining. Which I've always been able to maintain before with 3-4 workouts a week. I'm not a hard core health and exercise nut, but I have seen and know the mental and physical benefits of having regular exercise in my life. I do believe in the benefits of having exercise as part of our lifestyle habits. However I also know the reality of my life. With my commute I am gone ten hours a day with a wake up time of 530 just to get out the door by six. We have no family for extra help or babysitters for the kids and my husband works in educational leadership which leaves me as parent 1 most evenings with what's getting ready to be two school age kids in sports and activities. However I'm a pretty capable person when I set my mind to something so I know my biggest obstacle in committing to staying consistent with exercise after these four months is me. I like to think in the last almost two years I've gotten much better at mentally checking in with myself before things get as out of control as they did over three years ago.
Getting on track with consistent exercise is where I feel the most confident in my ability to follow through though. Eating or dieting, which I hate that word, is something I've never put much care or thought into. However not only for the purpose of getting back in the normal BMI range both my husband and I would like to get better at putting better foods in our bodies. Honestly our kids, particularly my oldest who I call the family health nut already at 7, have always eaten better than us. Even though we all eat veggies at dinner, they eat fruit on a daily basis too. Even though we're awful about drinking soda they only drink milk and water with juice occasionally. My oldest won't even touch soda when we have it as a treat at the movies. My youngest unfortunately, already has a sugar addiction. Luckily we all like cereals low on sugar. To start thinking about this I first thought where do our current eating habits fall on the side of good and bad. Cutting back on sugar is my big change goal I want to work on food wise.
My breakfast during the work week for years has been fiber or protein bars or yogurt. I don't drink coffee so will either have orange juice or some of the water from the two bottles a day I bring to work. My lunches tend to be those smartone or lean cuisine frozen meals not because again I was ever dieting but because they're easy and don't taste too bad but this is something I could look at changing (suggestions?). Again for lunch water is my drink of choice. My weakest point of the day is my afternoon snack. I leave work at three starving and with an hour until I get home this is the habit I need to change. I stop way too often for a soda and candy bar, ice cream, or breadsticks and soda. I recently discovered two things though that has helped in the last six weeks of changing this habit. One I discovered a new better protein bar that's a chocolate peanut butter (would need to do fiber bars or yogurt for breakfast then). Second if I can make it home we've discovered making our own smoothies with fruit, veggies, what they call superfood seeds, yogurt, almond milk or coconut water, and with a few ounces of aloe vera juice which also has great health benefits. Not only does this replace my poor snacking habits but those smoothies put healthy benefits into my daily diet that I've been lacking before. Those fruits my girls were getting that I wasn't I will now have on a daily basis and below is a breakdown of the benefits of the ingredients we put in ours. Our dinners have a history of good choices and poor choices. Poor choices happen when we eat out too many nights in a row. We rarely eat fast food but almost always drink soda when eating out and love our fattening appetizers. Our other poor habit at home is frozen process foods which for us is usually a bunch of appetizers and for the girls corn dogs and pizza rolls. When we're cooking though our meals tend to consist of our meat, veggies (at least once a week favorites are broccoli and asparagus), and some type of starch with potatoes or noodles or we do rice a lot too. We eat lots of fish and chicken already, but we do like our beef and pork too. I'm not a huge fan of pork besides bacon on weekend mornings so I could go without, but I do like my red meat and don't plan on eliminating our occasional hamburger or steak. We also like our pasta and wings. I know those can have their negative health benefits but my bigger changes I want to focus on are eliminating my sugar in take with the poor soda and snacking choices and incorporate some beneficial healthy things we've been missing in our diets. During the week I only eat about four times a day. Sometimes we have after dinner snacks. This is where I would sometimes get in my fruit with raspberries or strawberries and lately while pregnant yogurt. But sometimes again this is when I'd go for something sweet so thinking I better have more of my favorite berries and yogurt on hand or this would be a good time for one of those dessert smoothies we found. Our weekends tend to include two meals with a late homecooked breakfast and then dinner. The worse part of this is probably the bacon or sausage and white toast in the morning. Snacking can be the same struggles on the weekends as it is during the week so the goal would be to turn to those smoothies, protein bars, and berries.
I have many friends it seems like that are on board the get healthy train, and even though I've learned many things from following their journeys one of the things they say that gives me hope with being consistent with changing my eating habits is they stress making good eating choices 80% of the time. So as I told Nate as much as I want to eliminate my love for soda, candy, ice cream, cake and cookies giving in to it occasionally is not the end all be all. If we're out somewhere for a party or wherever it's not the end of the world or my goals if I treat myself. If the girls still want to make our Glenn girl chocolate chip cookies it's not the end of my commitment to eat better. As I've learned from them just get back on track the next day; it's not that big of deal. Which is good because I can't think of chanign my eating habits as a diet or I'll never stick with it. Planning ahead is the other beneficial thing I've learned from them. I'm not the type that will plan or bring alternative food somewhere that is serving something else; it can't feel like a diet where I'm punishing myself or I won't do it. Those moments will just have to be part of my 20%. But I do see the benefit in thinking about or planning what I will eat in the day or upcoming days even if it's just mentally in my head. It's when I don't think there's anything else to eat that I turn to poor snack choices or we end up choosing something crappy for dinner. The third thing I've learned from them that I like is their "Never miss a Monday" motto. This is so true. I remember this from all my times of consistency and lack of consistency in the past. If I got in a workout on Monday I was so much more likely to get in my sought after 3-4 for the week; if I missed and it was Wed before I knew it I usually gave it up for the whole week with the plan to get back on track the next Monday. If I don't get one in Monday I should force myself to get up by 5 on Tuesday before work as a consequence to make sure I don't screw myself up for the whole week.
This is my check in/accountability for myself. I'll check back in with myself here sometime over the summer and definitely in Aug to see where I got on my goals before switching gears with returning to work.
If interested here are the health benefits of the additional ingredients we put in our smoothies on top of the fruit, yogurt, and either almond milk or coconut water we use to blend it.
Flax seed: 1 tablespoon
#1 source of lignans, a phytonutrient associated with prolonged survival in cancer patients but also an excellent source of omega 3 s, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. such as iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, folate, soluble fiber and even boron.
Improves digestion, gives you clear skin, lowers cholesterol, reduces sugar cravings, balances hormones, and fights cancer and promotes weight loss
Chai seeds: 1 tablespoon
Rich in omega 3s, fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Improves cholesterol and blood pressure, digestive health, skin and aging, boost energy and metabolism, dental health, bone health, and helps fight breast and cervical cancer and diabetes, and helps with building muscle and weight loss
Aloe Vera juice: 4 ounces or less a day (going over can actually cause negative side effects)
Improves digestion, regulates blood sugar, detoxifies the body, strengthens immune system, regulates blood pressure, retards the growth of cancerous tumors, increases metabolism to help with weight loss.
Kale the king of healthy greens, among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet loaded in antioxidants, great source of vitamins and minerals
Improves cholesterol which lowers heart disease risk, can be a cancer fighting substance, helps with weight loss,
We also have added cocoa powder and/or PB2 when we've wanted that chocolate sweet boost or dessert treat.
*All nutritional facts from http://nutritionfacts.org and https://authoritynutrition.com