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Archive for September, 2019

PandemoniumMy life is pandemonium right now, and I’m surprisingly happier because of it. I have a bunch of irons in the fire. Some are way more enjoyable than others. I’m working on making my dreams a reality. It is awesome to set goals; however, I must remind myself that the satisfaction of achieving those goals comes from the journey or the process in fulfilling them.

I’ve started rehearsing for the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee show. I’m taking an Acting for Film and Television Workshop on Saturdays. I’m working full-time as an instructional coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School. I’m blogging. And, I’m trying to lose 19 pounds by December 31st, all while taking care of my fur babies and meeting the other demands of my personal life. No two days are alike which makes trying to successfully balance it all interesting at times.

Last week was challenging because I had a work commitment every day (except Friday) after school. Needless to say, I did not get in any extra exercise. I had to choose between exercise and rest. I chose rest, so that I could be my best during rehearsal and at Saturday’s class. Thankfully, eating clean and being active at work is helping to keep my weight in check. I am currently in the reemergence period of The Clean 20 program which will last another two weeks. At the end of that period, I will post an update. I do want to share that I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 7.5 pounds since September 2nd. Woot-Woot!

In Other News:
Four Tendencies#8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve always been fascinated by personality assessments and learning how personality influences decision making, job performance, etc. While those assessments share some specific aspect of human nature, Rubin’s framework is based solely on meeting inner and outer expectations and how people respond to them when making decisions, reaching goals, and handling relationships. A variety of personality types can share a tendency. As I have mentioned previously on my blog, I am a Questioner. According to Rubin, “Questioners question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe its justified, so in effect they respond only to inner expectations” (6). Finding out my tendency has been helpful to me. It has helped me understand why I am unable at times to complete a task or make a decision, or it explains my resistance to meeting someone else’s requests. If you, dear reader, are interested in finding out your tendency, visit Gretchen Rubin’s website to take the Four Tendencies Quiz. Let me know your tendency if you decide to take it!

My life feels like a whirlwind at the moment. Unlike a season of sacrifice, it is challenging in a way that is both energizing and exciting. I love learning, and I’m beginning to love getting myself out of my comfort zone and seeing how far I can push myself creatively. At times, it feels exhilarating, and other times it feels terrifying. The one constant, though, is the support and encouragement that I receive from you, dear reader, along with my awesome friends and family. Happiness!

“When we understand ourselves and how our Tendency shapes our perspective on the world, we can adapt our circumstances to suit our own nature – and when we understand how other people’s Tendencies shape their perspectives, we can engage with them more effectively.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

 

 

 

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I have officially completed the clean eating portion of The Clean 20 program. I lost a total of seven pounds in the 20 days. Was I perfect? No, of course not. Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of the accomplishments that I have made during the last 20 days. My biggest accomplishment which has given me the biggest payoff is quitting added sugar. Except for the small slice of chocolate cake that I had at my mother-in-law’s house a couple of weeks ago, I have not eaten anything sweet. No candy, no cupcakes, no Happy Tracks ice cream, no cookie cake. These were all offered to me during the program, and I turned them all down. No sweets coupled with eliminating soda or eating products with a high sugar content (ketchup, BBQ sauce, juice, etc.) has made a huge difference. I can think more clearly, my joints feel better, and I don’t feel as tired throughout the day. The other accomplishment worth mentioning is my increase in eating more natural foods, especially vegetables. I’ve never had a problem eating fresh fruit on a daily basis, but eating fresh vegetables daily is another story. Now, I eat them every day.

Salmon

Baked Salmon with sautéed spinach and mushrooms

One of my favorite meals is baked salmon with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. It is very easy to make. I spray a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Then I place a piece of salmon in the dish, top it with a pat of butter, and sprinkle it with Tony Chachere’s seasoning. I bake it at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. While the fish is baking, I put some light olive oil in a pan with some minced garlic. I add fresh spinach and fresh mushrooms. I add some salt while it is cooking. That’s it! The meal is quick, easy, and tastes yummy.

During this last week, I did drink more water. Except for yesterday and today, I drank between 9 and 11 glasses per day. Drinking cold water seems to help me drink more of it. I also exercised more this week. I walked three days after work. Each day, I walked for an hour. According to the program, my total number of steps to reach was 86,000. I walked 59,855. I was also suppose to climb 27 flights of steps. I climbed a total of 29 flights of steps. My classroom is on the second floor, so meeting this goal is relatively easy. I had several other exercises to complete (jumping jacks, squats, planks, jog punches, ice skaters, high knees) throughout the week. I did NOT complete any of these exercises. There is only so much time in a day. And, with after-school meetings and play practice for two hours in the evening, as well as taking care of personal tasks at home, fitting everything in each day can be a challenge. It’s not perfect, but a good start in the right direction. In my opinion, anything is better than nothing.

So, what’s next? The next part of The Clean 20 program is the reemergence period which is also 20 days. This period of time is where you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the 20 days of clean eating. However, it is definitely not adding back the sugar, soda, potato ships, fried foods, etc. that can be harmful to your body when consumed on a regular basis. Dr. Ian K. Smith recommends creating a list of banned foods and a list of reintroduced foods. He also recommends reintroducing foods slowly. My goal is to continue eating pretty much like I have been eating for the last three weeks. One item that I have missed while eating clean is Blue Plate mayonnaise, so I will probably sneak in a little here and there.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits Cake

I must admit that yesterday I ate perfectly clean for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner, I did treat myself. My hubby and I stayed in New Orleans last night to attend a play. We ate dinner at Café at the Square in the Blake Hotel. I ordered the Shrimp and Grits Cake with a salad. It was happy hour, so I ordered a glass of red wine. My hubby and I also split an appetizer which was Mozzarella Croquettes. The meal was fantastic! Since I could not eat all of my entrée, and we did not finish the appetizer, we took it back to our room. We happily split the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

I’m feeling positive about my health and fitness goals, dear reader. Eating clean these last couple of weeks has gotten me closer to my goal of losing 19 pounds by the end of the year. It is doable. It is important to my health. And, it is necessary for me to live my best life. Happiness!

“To keep the body in good health is a duty; otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha

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Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I completed Week 2 of The Clean 20. Overall, I am feeling successful even though I am still a work in progress, for sure. The good news is I have lost an additional three pounds this week which brings me to a total of six pounds lost since I started eating clean. I have stuck to my plan of eating clean 98% of the time. Last night for dinner, I ate a thinly cut piece of steak with no condiments and a baked sweet potato. There is no beef on Smith’s plan, yet there are health benefits from incorporating it in your diet. For example, he mentions that beef is among the best sources of foods that contain zinc which is important for our brains. So, I am not going to beat myself up too much for having my beef. The victory is that I did not eat it with BBQ sauce which is laden with sugar. Also, during the week, I did eat a frozen organic meal for dinner. It was one of Amy’s Bowls (Mexican Casserole made with organic corn and beans topped with enchilada sauce and cheese). I liked it! It was quite tasty and convenient. The meal is gluten free, contains no GMOs, includes 12 grams of protein and only 4 grams of sugar. It does have 780mg of sodium, so if sodium intake is an issue, this may not be a good food option. Nevertheless, it is a processed food that is not listed on The Clean 20.

Let’s talk about processed foods for a minute because not all processed foods are equal. When a food is processed, it is undergoing a deliberate change to the food before it is eaten. Freezing, drying, cooking, and canning are ways that foods can be processed. Some processed foods go through minimal processing (bagged spinach) while others go through heavier processing (granola bars). Therefore, it is imperative to read labels on any foods that are processed to discern if these foods can be a part of a clean eating diet.

Processed FoodsSome processed foods that I have incorporated in my clean eating repertoire include: Wholly Chunky Avocado minis (only one ingredient, Hass Avocados), Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt (terrific substitute for sour cream), Sargento Balanced Breaks snack pack (not thrilled with the 8g of sugar that comes from the golden raisin medley), Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, Primal Kitchen Ketchup (organic and unsweetened; no added sugar); Amy’s Organic Soup: Black Bean Vegetable (does contain 5g sugar; organic and gluten free; I get two servings (3/4 cup each) out of a can and pair it with a sandwich), Amy’s Bowls (Mexican Casserole), Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I also made kale chips this week. It was interesting. I burned my first batch even though I followed the directions carefully. I received confirmation from co-workers that my second batch was successful. So, I can add kale chips to my clean eating list and add a little more crunch to my life.

I’m sure you are wondering, dear reader, how well did Kat do this week with meeting her water intake and exercise goals. Both were still challenging. On average, I am drinking about 6 glasses of water per day. As for exercise, I did none beyond my walking and climbing stairs at work. I am NOT meeting the exercise goals outlined in The Clean 20. Planning and prioritizing are the key with both of these challenges. Smith writes on Day 9 of The Clean 20, “As you embark on a journey to better health, you need to understand that making perfect decisions in what you eat and how you move is not a requirement and, in fact, could be a self-defeating goal. Try your best to remain true to your purpose, but remember that there’s more to life than what’s on your plate or in your cup” (122). Sometimes, we need to make decisions that can be hard because of our circumstances. Surprisingly, I passed on pepperoni pizza at the staff meeting on Tuesday afternoon. I LOVE pepperoni pizza! I planned accordingly and ate my carrots with hummus instead. And, it was fine. Does this mean that I will never eat pepperoni pizza again? Of course not! It means that I made a commitment to eat clean for 20 days to improve my health.

That’s a wrap, dear reader. Since starting my clean eating journey, I am feeling better both physically and mentally. And, I need to feel my best because I start play practice tomorrow afternoon which means my life is about to get crazy…in an exciting way. Happiness!

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” ~ Anthony Robbins

 

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Clean 20This week I decreased added sugar, reduced process food, reduced consuming unnecessary additives, and incorporated most of the foods recommended in The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith. I lost 3 pounds. One of the main observations that I have made so far is that I do not feel as bloated as I have been after eating meals. Surprisingly, I do not miss the added sugar; however, I do miss the convenience of processed food. Thankfully, I like the foods on the clean eating list because I eat many of them already.

While I am following The Clean 20 rules and taking suggestions from the program’s menus about what to eat, I am not eating the meals in the exact order that Smith has outlined in the book. It is just not realistic for me. I do not like to cook, so preparing Baked Apple Oatmeal Cups for breakfast and Herb-encrusted grilled skinless chicken breast with salad greens for lunch is not going to work for me. However, I will eat my cup of oatmeal with blueberries mixed with a 1/4 cup of reduced fat milk for breakfast and a turkey sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread with 5 ounces of turkey, a slice of pepper jack cheese, a tomato, and mustard with a 3/4 cup of black bean vegetable soup.

Let’s discuss coffee for a moment. I LOVE coffee! What I do not love is drinking black coffee. Therefore, when I prepare my 10 ounce cup of coffee in the morning, it includes the coffee (K cup), one packet of Truvia, a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar (cuts the aftertaste of the Truvia), and 1 tablespoon of half & half. My coffee contains about two grams of sugar. According to Jackie Warner, who wrote This is Why You’re Fat, “Choose foods with five grams of sugar per serving or less. The body doesn’t register anything five grams and under, so that is optimal” (35). Many afternoons, I enjoy a second 10 ounce cup of coffee. Even with my miniscule amount of sugar that I add, I am within my sugar limits.

The clean eating challenges that I faced this week included not drinking enough water, not being able to eat perfectly on a schedule, and eating dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. When I am home, I come close to consuming the recommended amount of water (between 8 and 10 cups per day) suggested on the program. When I am at work, not so much. I have always struggled with consistently drinking enough water during the work day. I’m not sure how to solve this issue; however, I’m not giving up. As for my eating schedule, I had a couple of long meetings this week that interfered with me eating my morning snack or lunch on time, and I attended an afternoon swim meet with no afternoon snack and eating a late dinner. Being overly hungry can lead to overeating or reaching for the wrong food choices. I prevailed, but there was a time or two this week that I wanted to consume something extra and not so clean or take a trip through a fast food drive-thru. Also, eating out or having someone cook for you can be a challenge on any clean eating program. On Friday evenings, my mother-in-law is kind enough to cook dinner for my family. And, she cooks well. Unfortunately for me, dinner this week was fried catfish, mashed potatoes, carrots, and chocolate cake. I ate it all in moderation.

As for exercise, I failed miserably this week. I only walked on Monday (off). I do walk a bunch around the school’s campus and climb a fair amount of stairs while working, but I am not hitting the recommended amount of steps or completing the exercises in the program. All excuses, but here it goes: too hot, tired (probably from not drinking enough water), no working earbuds for phone, lack of motivation.

I am a work in progress, dear reader. Even though I did not follow the program this week to the letter, I did make more positive than negative choices to improve my health. And, I’m not giving up because my desire to be healthier outweighs my desire for eating bowls of Blue Bell’s “Happy Tracks” ice cream. Happiness!

“What’s important is that you make the leap. Jump high and hard with intention and heart.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

 

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