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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

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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June 2020 CalendarToday is the first day of June, and it falls on a Monday. What do I like about that fact? For me and my personality, I like to start a new fitness/diet routine on a Monday. I like the fact that it is a brand new month, a blank slate, which makes it mentally great for me to keep track of my progress. And, my summer break officially begins today. This summer I want to settle into a routine that encompasses several goals that I have set for myself. I am ready to make changes in different areas of my life which I have been ready to make for some time. Some changes have already been put into motion, some need action steps to set changes into motion while other changes need more time to come to fruition. Basically, I want to reboot some old routines and establish some new ones.

First order of business is rebooting my diet routine. Dear readers, I fell off the wagon hard during the mandated stay-at-home period due to COVID-19. I am an emotional eater and addicted to sugar. Therefore, it is no huge surprise that I ate my feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and restlessness throughout the last two months in lockdown, and many of my food choices contained sugar. I lost 13.5 pounds before the new year and have gained 10 pounds back. Today, I weighed in at 159 pounds. It is what it is, and I do NOT plan to cry about it, dwell on it, or shame myself.

What is the goal? My goal is to lose 20 pounds (#5 on my 20 for 2020) this year starting TODAY. What is the plan? Increase my water intake, complete The Clean 20 program, replace emotional eating, and rev up my fitness routine. Thankfully, I have been walking daily since March 23rd. I need to add some strength training, cardio workouts, more stretching, and eventually running to my exercise regimen.

Mind Over WeightI recently finished reading Mind Over Weight written by Dr. Ian K. Smith, who is the author of The Clean 20. It is a wonderful little book that gave me a much-needed pep talk. I will be referring to this book for motivation throughout my weight loss journey. It has some terrific questions to reflect upon, tips on curbing cravings, and suggestions on dealing with emotional eating. Journaling and tracking my progress is also part of the plan.

The excitement of a new beginning energizes me, dear reader. There are so many avenues that I want to traverse this summer, and I invite you to tag along. I can always use encouragement and support from you, my tribe, since my mind likes to play tricks on me, inviting doubt and fear to put up roadblocks. Any routines that you want to reboot this summer or new ones that you want to establish? If so, please share, and we can encourage each other. Happiness!

“A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. The routine is exceptionally powerful.” ~ Darren Hardy

 

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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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