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Archive for the ‘Health and Fitness’ Category

It has been quite awhile since my last health-related post (23 November), so let me bring you up to speed, dear reader. I successfully completed JOB1 which I REALLY enjoyed. I loved the schedule, the length of the workouts, most of the exercises, and the instructor, Jennifer Jacobs. I have not committed to a new fitness program through Beachbody on Demand, yet. I am time-tracking next week, starting on 09 January. Time-tracking is a wonderful way for me to see how I am spending my time. Then, I will choose a program. In the meantime, I will be researching the programs I am interested in and walking for exercise.

Back in November, I visited my OB/GYN for my annual well-woman visit where we also discussed menopause and the symptoms I was experiencing. I had brought a list of labs (ordered by Dr. Bone for her menopausal patients) with me to my appointment. Dr. Robin Bone is the OB/GYN that Molly Kimball interviewed on her podcast, FUELED: wellness + nutrition with Molly Kimball. My doctor ordered the following labs from the list (see below) but added Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy and D2. A word of caution, make sure that when requesting labs for Vitamin D 25 -Hydroxy, D2 + D3 that it is coded as medically necessary and covered by insurance because it is very expensive. I did NOT know this until after my bloodwork was done, and my insurance company processed my claim. Fingers crossed that I will not have to pay the difference since I only requested Vitamin D3.

  • Thyroid panel
  • Lipid panel
  • CBC
  • C-reactive protein
  • Vitamin D3
  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • Hormones include FSH, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone or free testosterone

I scheduled a follow-up appointment when I received my results, and we discussed them. Most of my results look great, but there are areas in need of improvement. I am postmenopausal (ovaries no longer producing eggs); however, I have to go all the way through 19 June of this year without a cycle before I can say I am finished with menopause. I am considered prediabetic; however, diet modification, less processed carbs, and more movement can help me improve this area. My liver function is slightly elevated, so my doctor ordered a hepatitis panel, and it came back with no hepatitis. Thank goodness! While my calcium and albumin are also slightly elevated, my LDL (cholesterol) is very high and concerning. Even though the rest of my cholestorol components are terrific and the high LDL may be genetic, it needs to be addressed. Therefore, I have an appointment scheduled to see an endocrinologist in February, who will address the cholesterol, as well as the liver, calcium, and albumin results. I plan to ask him if he can run the C-reactive protein lab (determines inflammation in the blood) which my OB/GYN doctor was unable to order.

My doctor prescribed hormone replacement therapy which I started on Monday. She also recommended I check out Dr. Mary Claire Haver on Instagram. She is a board-certified OB/GYN who helps women dealing with perimenopause and menopause. She has a new book, The Galveston Diet, coming out on Tuesday, 10 January, which I preordered. We shall see if she has some helpful information that will benefit me on my health journey.

HEALTHY RECIPE

I have another recipe to share with you that I found on Molly Kimball’s Facebook page. It is a healthy Creamy Fruit Dip. Even though Molly featured this recipe during the summer, I made it during the holidays. Delicious, in my opinion! It requires four ingredients and is SUPER easy to make. This dip also pairs well with a variety of fruits.

Blend the following ingredients in a bowl.

  • 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 8 ounces of reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • your choice of no-calorie sweetner (1/2 cup of Swerve Confectioners Style Sweetner recommended)

Pair this healthful and flavorful dip with your preferred fresh fruit. If you decide to try it, please let me know.

It is a new year, and I am ready to CREATE a fresh start, dear reader. CREATE is my one-word theme this year. The definition of create that is connected to my health goals is cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions. The way I am going to sow the seeds of a healthy life is by developing lifelong healthy habits by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. I have taken initial steps by getting my bloodwork done, seeing all of my doctors in 2022, starting hormone replacement therapy, and buying The Galveston Diet book. My last weigh-in was Monday morning at 154 pounds. I have gained 1/2 pound back since 23 November; so my overall weight loss is 8 pounds since 01 June 2022. January 2023 is my official reset date.

Dear reader, have a wonderful Wednesday! What are your plans, goals, or dreams that you have set for yourself in 2023? I wish you nothing but the best as you strive to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality. Just remember to enjoy the journey along the way. Happiness!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle.

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It’s Wednesday, dear reader! And, in the United States, it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. There is a great deal to be thankful for in my life, including you, dear reader. I appreciate you being a part of my blogging adventure.

The last three weeks have been hectic for me with daily commitments and appointments. I had a procedure done on my dental implant which caused some mouth soreness for almost a full week. A follow-up appointment with the oral surgeon has been scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon. If all looks good, I will schedule an appointment with my dentist sometime in December to make an impression to order my implant crown. I also got my annual mammogram which came back with good results. Gals, it’s important to get your yearly mammogram despite having your boobies squashed. In addition, I had to take my dog Comet aka Tooty to the vet for his annual visit which involved senior bloodwork. It looks like additional testing will be needed to rule out a few issues.

After three weeks, I have finally started a new 4-week program on Beachbody on Demand called Job1. The instructor and creator of this program is Jennifer Jacobs. I have only completed two workouts this week, but I already like Jennifer’s instruction, energy, and attitude. There are five workouts per week, and each workout is literally 20 minutes. There are three strength training days, a HIIT day, and a cardio day. If any of you are like me and did not know what HIIT means, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Oh boy, it has earned its name! HIIT was my workout yesterday, and it was intense for me, but I loved it. Of course, the only exercises I cannot do are ones where my wrists are bearing my weight. There has only been one so far, and I substituted the move with squats.

The program does require dumbells and resistance loops. I purchased the 12″ resistance loops, which comes in a package of three, from the shop on Beachbody.com’s website. Thus far, I have only used dumbells, but anticipate using the resistance loops at some point in the remaining workouts for this week.

I should also mention that there are five additional Overtime Workouts (20 minutes each) that target the upper body, legs, glutes, and the core. There is a recovery stretch as well. These workouts can be done after the daily workouts or on their own. I have not done any of these workouts, yet. Finally, the program also has four 20-minute Cycling Workouts for anyone who has a stationary bike which I do not, so I will not being doing those workouts.

My last weigh-in was this morning at 153.5 pounds. I have gained 1 pound back since 02 November; so my overall weight loss is 8.5 pounds since 01 June. What a bummer! I did track my weight for six days (11/07-11/12), and my weight fluctuated between 152-154. For the most part, I am eating clean, in moderation when I indulge, and following the intermittent fasting guidelines. As I mentioned in my last post, I think menapause is contributing to my weight-loss issues. Thankfully, my annual well-woman visit is next Tuesday morning, so I am hoping to get bloodwork scheduled and some answers regarding menapause and my weight-loss issues.

Knockout Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are my new favorite vegetable. I hated them growing up; however, I have learned, as an adult, that it is not the Brussels sprouts I hate, but it is the way my mom prepared them. I have tried a couple of different ways to cook Brussels sprouts, and the recipe in Ian K. Smith’s book, Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance, found on page 282 is one of my favorites.

Gather the following ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts (1 pound)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  • Balsamic vinegar (1/3 cup)
  • Honey-optional (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to taste)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees while prepping. Make sure to trim the ends of each Brussels sprout and remove any outer leaves that look yucky. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and place in a bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss, so all the Brussels sprouts are coated evenly. Spread them apart evenly, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the leaves of the Brussels sprouts are caramelized (dark brown and crispy).

In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey. Add the roasted Brussel sprouts into the vinegar-honey mixture and toss, so all the Brussels sprouts are coated evenly.

This recipe requires minimal ingredients, is easy to prepare, and is yummy. Let me know in the comments if you try it. If you have any delicious Brussels sprouts recipes that are easy to prepare, please email me at katloyacano@gmail.com.

Dear reader, have a wonderful Wednesday! Whatever the plans, goals, or dreams you have set for yourself, I hope you intentionally strive to enjoy the process by focusing on the journey and not the outcome. Happiness!

“The groundwork for all happiness is good health.” ~ Leigh Hunt

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Happy Weigh-In Wednesday, dear reader! I have finished another round of Clean & Lean and 4 Weeks for Every Body. I did skip one week of the exercise program between Week 2 and Week 3. I will be honest, the instructor for this program is not my favorite of the three instructors I have experienced thus far. I needed a break, so I pretty much walked that whole week. I also had a bunch going on during that week and weekend. With that being said, I liked most of the exercises, the format of the program, and using the core ball. As I mentioned in my last post, the instructor goes a little too fast between floor exercises and standing exercises. I am still having issues with my wrists doing some of the weight-bearing floor movements, especially pushups and planks. I modify the movement or do another exercise working the targeted muscles.

I did NOT lose the amount of weight I set my sights on by the end of the 30 days. I was hoping to get down to at least 149 pounds. In this moment, I need to give myself some grace and remind myself to focus on the journey and not the outcome. My journey is about being healthier not hitting a certain number on the scale. The reality is my journey is never going to end because eating healthy and exercising regularly is a lifestyle, not a chore, not a quick fix, and certainly not a means to an end.

My last weigh-in was this morning at 152.5 pounds. I have lost 1 pound since 03 October; so my overall weight loss is 9.5 pounds since 01 June. Losing weight this time around is going much slower than past attempts. I do think I am building muscle which weighs more than fat. My clothes are fitting better, especially in the belly region. However, I also think menapause has reared its ugly head and might be interfering with my weight loss efforts. I recently listened to Molly Kimball’s podcast episode, “Menopause, Hormones, and Weight Gain – Oh My!,” with Ochsner Health OB/GYN Robin Bone, MD. They discussed that menapause is more than hot flashes and night sweats. There is research about the connection between hormone shifts and weight gain. Therefore, I figured it could not hurt to get some blood work done and see what is going on with my hormones. I scheduled an appointment with my gynocologist for the end of November. I have included Molly’s interview with Dr. Robin Bone below for anyone interested in this information.

So, what’s the next step? At this moment, I have not started a new fitness program on BOD. This weekend, I plan to research a new program to start next week. In the meantime, I will keep walking. The last couple of weeks I have been striving for 10,000 steps per day, and hitting the mark more than not. I will continue intermittent fasting and eating clean but adding in more foods besides the 30 specific foods listed in Clean & Lean.

I have another recipe to share from Michelle of Pocketful of Primary. It is a Buffalo Chicken Dip that is a healthier version and tastes great. My hubby and I ate it a couple of weeks ago while watching a horror movie off my Halloween Movie Marathon list. In addition to being quite tasty, it has minimal ingredients and is easy to prepare. The best part is you can pair it with veggies, pretzels, chips, or crackers. We opted for carrot chips, small sweet peppers, thin pretzels, and tortilla chips. I focused more on the veggies.

We had some leftover baked chicken that we used for this recipe. I also chose a buffalo sauce with a “comfortable heat” which basically means medium heat.

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl and top with shredded cheese (40 grams). Place mixture in a baking dish. Bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

  • 150 grams of cooked shredded chicken
  • 150 grams of non-fat cottage cheese
  • 100 grams of fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 50 grams of buffalo sauce
  • 50 grams of onion

If you decide to try this recipe, dear reader, please let me know in the comments how you liked it and what finger foods you paired with the dip. Healthier finger foods are better!

I am a big proponent of time tracking. It is a wonderful way to see how I am spending my time. I am considering keeping a diet/exercise journal and weighing myself each morning to see how my diet is affecting my weight. I have kept this kind of journal in the past, and it can be time-consuming. However, bringing this kind of information with me to my doctor’s appointment may be helpful. I will think about it this weekend along with choosing my next program on BOD. Happiness!

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” ~ Robert Tew 

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It’s Hump Day, dear reader! I want to share an update with you about the current exercise program that I started last week, what I eat in a day, and a new recipe I tried this morning. Currently, I am on Week 2 of 4 Weeks for Every Body. According to the workout calendar, today is a REST day; however, since I have a busy weekend ahead of me, I opted to complete Workout #3 this morning and plan to complete Workout #4 tomorrow morning. This leaves Friday-Sunday for either walking/biking or resting. I will walk or bike at least two of those three days.

Overall, I like the exercise program and most of the exercises. At first, I did not think I would like incorporating the core ball, but I actually like it. Each week there are 3 days that include a total-body workout, targeting different muscle groups (2 days-upper body and 1 day-lower body). A 4th day is cardio, but weights and the core ball are still a part of the total-body workout. The exercises are challenging, but totally doable. My only complaint with the program is the pacing. Sometimes, the instructor goes a little too fast between exercises which is fine if you are not going from a floor exercise to a standing exercise or vice versa.

My last weigh-in was Monday morning at 153.5 pounds. I have not lost any additional weight since 28 September; so my overall weight loss remains at 8.5 pounds since 01 June. I am basically maintaining my weight. Be that as it may, I am making strides in building up my strength. I feel terrific overall because I am eating better, sleeping better, and exercising better. Eating clean coupled with intermittent fasting is working well for me. With that being said, I did splurge a little on Saturday. I drank a beer at Gnarly Barley’s Ocktoberfest mid-day on Saturday. Then later that evening, I had two hotdogs (on buns) with chili, some Cheetos, a 12 ounce Sprite, and a Hocus Pocus cocktail. However, I did eat clean for breakfast (Burner Smoothie) and lunch (Salad with Shrimp).

Speaking of eating clean, I thought I would share with you what I eat in a day. I documented with photos this past Monday. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, one snack (can have up to 3 per day), plus drank two cups of coffee (morning/afternoon) and plenty of water. Clean & Lean is about eating 30 clean foods for 30 days. Therefore, these 30 foods are basically assigned and repeated throughout the daily menus for the month.

I do not like to cook. When I have to cook, it is simple and requires minimal ingredients. I use olive oil spray to cook my eggs and anything I fix in the air fryer. My husband is a sweetheart and will grill whatever I may need for the week, which for this week was turkey burgers. He also made a crock pot of red beans which I can eat on this plan. Although, I cheat a little when I eat the sausage he puts in the beans. I will eat brown rice with my beans if I choose beans for lunch, but I will eat beans with no rice if I have it for dinner.

Even though, I am not a fan of cooking, I do like trying new recipes if they are easy and do not require lots of complicated ingredients. Son #1 and I tried Pumpkin Overnight Oats this morning. We have never fixed overnight oats before, but after watching Michelle on Pocketful of Primary prepare them, I figured I could handle it.

My friend Rita, who lives in the UK, suggested I share some recipes. So, I am including Michelle’s recipe. Last night, I filled two mason jars (one for me & one for Barry, Jr.) with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (NOT quick 1-minute oats)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 50 grams of pumpkin
  • 3-5 ounces of Almond Milk
  • Cinnamon (optional)

I put all of the dry ingredients in the jar first, added the Almond Milk, stirred everything together, and sprinkled cinnamon on top. I capped the jars and stuck them in the refrigerator. I am going to be honest, dear reader. I was a little nervous about trying these overnight oats this morning, especially since they were going to be cold. I love hot oatmeal! Is it possible for me to love cold oatmeal?

Goodness! The answer is YES. Both my son and I thought the overnight oats were delicious. Fixing oatmeal this way is a game changer for me because it is quick, easy, requires minimal ingrediants, and the flavor possibilities are endless. I plan to make them again tonight; however, I will use 2% milk and see what happens. Sometimes, we do not have Almond Milk on hand, so I want to make sure I have another option. Honestly, I even think water can be used as the liquid ingredient. I use water when I cook oatmeal.

Admittedly, getting back in shape can be arduous, but when you discover the right workouts tailored to your needs and healthy foods (appetizing, available, and affordable) that can be easily prepared, the health and wellness journey is actually quite enjoyable. If you are fortunate enough to also have a support system of family and friends cheering you on along the way, the journey is exponentially better. Have you ever tried overnight oats, dear reader? If so, please share what you put in your jars. Happiness!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” Jim Rohn

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Happy Wednesday, dear reader! I finally have a moment to catch my breath after having a busy September. During this month, I took a break from Beachbody on Demand, walked when I could fit it into my schedule, and ate clean about 80% of the time. I did not do any DVD workouts.

This past Monday, I started Round 2 of Clean & Lean. I will follow the clean eating guidelines as closely as possible. In addition, I started a new exercise program on Beachbody on Demand called 4 Weeks for Every Body taught by Autumn Calabrese. Each week consists of four workouts with three rest days. Today is a rest day, but I will walk after dinner for at least 30 minutes. And, I plan to walk or ride my bike the other two days. Yesterday’s leg workout was so tough that my legs felt rubbery afterwards. Terrific workout!

I weighed in this morning at 153.5 pounds. I have lost 1/2 of a pound since 31 August with an overall weight loss of 8.5 pounds since 01 June. I have basically been maintaining my weight the last few weeks. Personally, I think intermittent fasting along with staying away from soda, fried foods, and added sugar helped me maintain. When I do indulge, it is in moderation. I choose the treat for one meal or snack instead of an all day affair. I would love to see 149 pounds by the end of the 30 days.

Since cooler weather arrived this week, it finally feels like autumn. Cooler weather makes it more comfortable to walk outside, and I can fit it in my schedule earlier in the day. As always, dear reader, I am excited to see what I can accomplish in the next few weeks concerning my health and well-being. What are you doing to improve your health? Happiness!

“Food can be fun and exciting, but never forget that it’s your body’s most important fuel.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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Happy Hump Day, dear reader! I officially completed Clean & Lean yesterday. Overall, I am satisfied with the results of this month-long challenge. I like intermittent fasting, and the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule works well for me.

As I mentioned in my last post at the start of this program, I did not use the Workout Plans in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan. I knew I could not commit to the step count (walking) or the staircases (no access) during the month of August. As for the exercises, I used Beachbody on Demand (4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom) and walked most evenings after dinner (at least 20 minutes). Thankfully, I had started my BOD program in July because my life got a bit hectic between 19 August and 28 August (no workouts), and I was able to complete that fitness program which I enjoyed.

While I did not strictly follow the book’s eating plan, I followed the Clean & Lean guidelines as closely as possible. I drank plenty of water but no alcohol. I ate as many of the 30 clean foods as possible. I stayed away from fried foods, artificial sweetners, and MSG. I limited added sugar, soda, condiments, processed foods, and white flour. We celebrated Andrew’s birthday, so there was cake and ice cream. I have been eating fruits and veggies, but could be eating more of both on a daily basis. I am eating a moderate amount of dairy and taking my daily vitamins.

I weighed in this morning at 154 pounds. I have lost three additional pounds since 03 August with an overall weight loss of 8 pounds since 01 June. Considering how busy I have been lately, I am pleased with my results.

With all of that being said, I have PLENTY of room for improvement. I am the worst when it comes to time management. I am terrible at meal prepping even though I know it is effective. I overextend myself because I want to be involved in everything. And, I do not sleep well which I think is tied to menapause. I love a good routine if I can stick to one; however, throw one monkey wrench into my routine, and it all falls apart. Then, I get down on myself which causes me to shut down, and then I procrastinate like a rock star.

So, what’s the next step? At this moment, my plan is to not start any new fitness programs on BOD. A holiday weekend is approaching with Barry starting vacation this Friday. We have plans to do a bunch of tasks around the house. The weekend after, I go into dinner theatre mode for an entire week because I got a role in Murder! At the Disco at the Columbia Theatre. In addition, I have all my reading projects for the month, my weekly improv class, and I am supposed to be launching my YouTube channel in September. Presently, I do not want to start anything new or add anything more to my already overflowing plate. Therefore, my plan for the next 30 days is to continue following the Clean & Lean guidelines and exercising (walking and DVD workouts) daily.

Before bidding you farewell, dear reader, I want to share the results of my nerve test and update you on my hands and wrists. Good news! I have NO nerve damage. My right wrist is feeling much better; however, I am tentative with how I use it, especially with lifting things (or Tooty) and doing certain exercises. I think a combination of meds, exercising, and adjusting my sleep position has helped with the numbness in my fingers. Hopefully, I am turning a corner with this issue. I am ready to move on and jumped into September with both feet. Happiness!

“Regardless of what you accomplish, always consider yourself a work in progress, for this humility will allow you to accomplish even more.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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Happy Wednesday, dear reader! It is time for me to finally lean into Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith. I actually started the 30-day plan on Monday of this week, and it is going well so far. My health and fitness journey actually started back in June; however, I am taking small but intentional steps to ultimately reclaim a healthier version of myself once and for all. As I told Simon, mon frere, “I have a date with Europe.” I want to be healthy and physically in shape to acquire the most out of traveling to all of the places included on my List of 100 Dreams. I experienced a taste of exploration when Andrew and I visited New York City in June. We walked everywhere, and it was exhilarating for me. Of course, I love walking! Honestly, it is not only just about traveling, but also being healthier in general and feeling good about myself. When I am eating healthy and exercising regularly, I have more confidence and energy which benefit me in every area of my life.

The foundation of this program is based on the Clean 20 eating plan with 10 additional clean and lean foods along with intermittent fasting and exercise. For intermittent fasting, I have chosen the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule. Some of the components I really like that Smith provides in his programs are the daily meal and snack suggestions, health-related information, encouragement, recipes, and a great deal of flexibility. Planning and preparation are the key to success on any program. As with his other plans, there are clean eating guidelines.

Clean Eating Guidelines

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Drink only freshly squeezed juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Eat dairy foods.
  • Try canned and frozen options (packaged in water/natural juices).
  • Focus on the 30 clean foods.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda (regular of diet)
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods
  • No white flour
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (there are clean versions in the grocery store)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar

Regarding the fitness element of the plan, I am not using the exercises in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan; however, I will be using Beachbody on Demand (subscribed for one year) or my own fitness DVDs for workouts. In addition, I am walking every evening after dinner (at least 20 minutes). I am currently on the second week of a 4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom. It is a low-impact beginner program that focuses on cardio and strength training. It is fantastic, and I love the instructor!

I mentioned in my last post that I am having an issue with my right wrist (tendonitis) and both my hands. I saw my orthopedic last Friday, and opted to get another cortisone shot in my wrist (last shot – 02 November). It has given me some relief. My hands are a different matter and started bothering me at the end of May. Many mornings, I wake up with numb hands. Once I get out of bed and flex them, the numbness goes away pretty quickly. It is annoying and a bit concerning. I think it is related to the position of my hands/arms while sleeping. Somehow, I am pressing on a nerve and cutting off circulation to my hands. What the heck! Truthfully, I really do not know the cause; it is just my theory. I have been trying to sleep with my arms by my side which seems to help; however, it is not the most comfortable. Needless to say, I am scheduled to have an unpleasant nerve test done next Wednesday. I appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts that you can send my way, dear reader, that it is not anything more serious than “at 53 years old, I cannot sleep correctly.”

Before wrapping up, I have to share that I weighed in this morning at 157 pounds. I have lost two pounds since Monday with an overall weight loss of 5 pounds since 01 June. I know the workouts are helping because my balance is improving, and I am feeling more elongated when walking which means my core is getting stronger. I still need to drink more water. I want to develop a better schedule for my workouts. Time tracking is in my near future. HA! In the meantime, I need to keep high 5ing myself and showing up. Happiness!

“While tangible goals such as weight loss, muscle strengthening, and body sculpting are important, so is the goal of making sustainable lifestyle changes that will keep you feeling healthy and fit.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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Howdy, dear reader! It has been a hot minute since I have updated you on where I am on my healthy lifestyle journey. Back in June, I decided to do a round of The Clean 20 to start cleaning up my diet and walking again on a daily basis. I had joined Beachbody on Demand, had my colonoscopy, and felt good about starting over on a journey to take back my health. Fast forward 20 days, and I had not done one Beachbody on Demand workout, drank enough water, or walked daily. It is not to say that I was not successful in the intention that I had set for myself; I just took baby steps instead of strides. For me, starting anything is hard, but starting over is so much harder. If you have read my blog for some time, you know I have already been down this path several times.

Well, I am here to tell you, I FINALLY did a workout on Beachbody on Demand. Not only did I do a workout, I completed the whole 7-day Clean Week program. Yes, you read that correctly. Last Monday, I laced up my tennis shoes, showed up in my living room, turned on my television, pulled up Day 1 of the program, and worked out. Even though it is a beginner program, it was not easy. However, I did my best on Monday and every day afterwards. Progressing through the week, the workouts got a bit easier. My body said, “Hey, I remember how to do squats!”

Clean Week Program

  • Day 1: Core Function
  • Day 2: Cardio
  • Day 3: Strength
  • Day 4: Active Flex
  • Day 5: Core Function
  • Day 6: Cardio
  • Day 7: Strength

Clean Week was the perfect program to kick-start my fitness habit. Each circuit-style workout is only 30 minutes and includes a warm up and cool down. Minimal equipment is needed, and I can work out in the comfort of my own home. The only obstacle I encountered was with the floor exercises that required me to put any pressure on my wrists, so I modified or substituted those exercises. I am having trouble with my right wrist again and with both hands. I do have an appointment with my orthopedic this Friday to address the issue.

Out of curiosity, I weighed myself on Monday, 18 July and was 159.5 pounds. I had not gained or lost any weight since 22 June. I have been eating clean as much as possible with an occasional treat from time to time. I did weigh myself this morning since I was updating you, dear reader, and I am 159 pounds. HA! I am 1/2 of a pound lighter! Thanks, Kathryn Huggett, for convincing me to join Beachbody on Demand!

So, what’s next? On Monday of this week, I started a new 4-week fitness program on Beachbody on Demand called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom. So far, I am loving it. It is a low-impact beginner program that focuses on cardio and strength training. The circuit-style workouts run anywhere between 33-42 minutes, including a warm-up and cool down. Also starting this week, I added a daily walk (at least 20 minutes) in the evenings after dinner. As for my nutrition goals, I will FINALLY be starting Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith on Monday, 01 August. It is a 30-day program that blends the Clean 20 guidelines with intermittent fasting. My fitness and nutrition plan is in place, dear reader. Happiness!

“Starting over can be challenging, but also it can be a great opportunity to do things differently.” ~ Catherine Pulsifer 

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Greetings, dear reader! Today, I want to share my Clean 20 results with you. On 01 June, I started cleaning up my diet using The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith as a guide. The goal for the 20 days of the plan was not to lose weight, but rather to clean up my eating habits by eliminating added sugar, fried and processed foods, and soda while implementing healthier choices (more fruits and veggies) and increasing water intake.

June has been a busy month for me, and it probably was not the most ideal month to start something new. However, I was not starting a diet. I was starting a lifestyle change to clean up my diet and get moving again. I was NOT perfect by any stretch of the imagination. During my 20 days, I had a colonoscopy, attended an engagement party, ate lunch with a friend, attended a weekend scrapbooking event, and visited New York City for a few days. The odds of me spending 20 days in a row at home are slim to none. The key is to move daily, make healthy food choices, eat in moderation, and drink plenty of water.

Kat’s Clean 20 Report Card

  • No alcohol
  • No soda (except 2 oz of Ginger Ale on flight to NOLA)
  • No added sugar/sugary foods (except Strawberry Shake/Vanilla Bean Cone in NYC; syrup on pancakes from Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC)
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No juice with added sugar
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods (except french fries at Natural History Museum in NYC)
  • No white flour (except pancakes from Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC)
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (did NOT follow this for mayo/ketchup, but ate both sparingly)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar
  • Ate more fruits and veggies
  • Ate in moderation
  • Ate healthy snacks
  • Cut way down on processed foods
  • Drank more water (could still drink a whole lot more)

As for exercise, I have not started the Beachbody on Demand workouts, and I am not walking daily, yet. I walked 13 of the 20 days. Andrew and I walked everywhere in New York City. On Friday, 17 June, we walked 30,224 steps! On that day, we visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that evening we walked to and from the theatre to see The Lion King. I love walking! It is a wonderful way to stay fit, come up with ideas, and enjoy your surroundings. I am not quite sure why I have not started working out with Beachbody on Demand. I should have started the Clean Week (a 7-day program) by today, so I could consistently complete the week before getting my implant that is scheduled for next Wednesday, but I literally have NO desire to do it. I know I will like it. Once I get started, I know I will use the heck out of it.

Last, but not least, I did lose a couple of pounds even though that was not my intention. Yesterday morning, I weighed 159.5 pounds for a total loss of 2.5 pounds. Overall, I am feeling a little better. I am not craving soda or sugary treats. Funnily enough, I AM craving more of a routine, and that may be the underlying factor as to why I cannot get myself to start working out or walking daily. June has been a whirlwind of activity, and I am loving every minute of it. Nonetheless, I am looking foward to a calmer July and a chance to catch my breath.

So, what’s next? I will continue following the Clean 20 guidelines with a bit more flexibility. I may indulge in an adult beverage this weekend or the next (4th of July). Ideally, I want to start Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith, but that will depend on any food/exercise restrictions I may be given following my oral surgical procedure next week. Clean & Lean is a 30-day program that blends the Clean 20 guidelines with intermittent fasting. Regardless, I must continue going forward with making good food choices, drinking lots of water, and moving daily. Happiness!

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”      ~ Jack Penn

Note: Photo at top – I took this photo (Friday) of my breakfast at Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side in New York. I ordered the Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelette served with local greens and toast. I did not get the toast, but ended up snagging a piece of Andrew’s wheat toast. It was a healthy, yummy breakfast.

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Happy June! Today is the first day of new beginnings, and I am starting the new month with cleaning up my diet. I have been eating pretty crappy lately, and my body is begging me to fuel it with better food choices. So, last week, I pulled out my copy of The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith; it will be my guide for the next 20 days.

My colonoscopy is scheduled for this Friday, so I will be prepping for my procedure all day Thursday and a short time Friday morning. Therefore, today is the perfect day for me to start over with a clean plate.

Basically, these are the rules for the next 20 days:

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Drink freshly squeezed juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Eat dairy foods.
  • Focus on the 20 clean foods.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No juice with added sugar
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods
  • No white flour
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (there are clean versions in the grocery store)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar

The goal is to reset my body by reducing processed foods, reducing unwanted additives, and decreasing added sugars while increasing water intake, increasing fruits and vegetables, and becoming more mindful of the foods fueling my body. As you can see, dear reader, weight loss is not my goal for completing the Clean 20; however, I did weigh myself this morning (162 pounds) as a benchmark. If I lose weight on this clean eating reboot, I will be thrilled, of course. The first time I did this program back in September 2019, I lost 7 pounds.

With that being said, I ate an omelet (two eggs with a tablespoon of 2% milk and a handful of baby spinach) and 1/2 cup of blueberries for breakfast this morning. I used olive oil spray to prepare my omelet. I also had a 12-ounce cup of coffee with a packet of Truvia (natural sweetener), 1/2 tsp of sugar (cut the Truvia aftertaste), and 1 tbsp of half and half. The added sugar is negligible. For my mid-morning snack, I ate cucumber slices (half a cucumber) with 1/4 cup of classic hummus. And, for lunch, I had a salad (spring mix lettuce, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, boiled crawfish tails, and honey roasted pecans with Apple Pecan salad dressing).

As for exercise, I started walking again this morning. My goal is to walk daily for at least 20 minutes. Of course, more is better. I will also get more walking done when I take Comet aka Tooty and Luna out for their walks. Additionally, I joined Beachbody on Demand (online video workouts) yesterday through my friend Kathryn. She is now my Beachbody health coach and will provide me with encouragement and accountability. Kathryn recommended that I start with Clean Week (a 7-day program) which will help me get back into the groove of working out (cardio/strength training). I plan to start that fitness program either Saturday or Sunday, depending on how I feel after my procedure on Friday.

As you know by now, dear reader, I love having a plan. I am excited about eating clean, working out with Beachbody on Demand, and taking my daily walks. Will I be perfect every day? Nope, and that is okay because it is not about being perfect. It is about enjoying life without sacrificing self-care. Happiness!

“The purpose of the Clean 20 is to reintroduce your body to the wonders of clean eating and to give your organs a break from all the processed foods that dominate the choices in our stores and restaurants.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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