It is here: 2020! A new decade lies before us, full of possibility. There is nothing like a year when more than one of the numbers turns on the year dial. Now is the time as well for resolutions and reflections. At at 12:31 am on 1/1/2020, I can honestly say I have not had any sugar or junk food all year!!
Thank you to anyone who has been with me on this journey thus far. I am sad to say the past couple of months were less than stellar. A series of stressful events led to bad eating, which in turned led to a lowered immune system. I ended up getting sick 4 different times! Nothing serious, but this last cold left me useless on the couch for a week. The week of Christmas none the less. I had big plans with the family, but they all had to be pushed aside to make way for my weak and wheezing body.
This year, I made a “vision board” for my goals. The board features a weight loss tracker, an area for notes for each month, my goals, and some motivational quotes. I plan to hang the board somewhere where I can see it daily and be reminded of my goals.
Weight Loss Tracker
One of the features of my board is a weight loss tracker. I took picture of the beach from an old calendar I had. I put tick marks along the bottom in 5 pound increments, all the way to the desired 50 pounds I would like to use. I have a dolphin picture taped to the beach, and I plan on moving it as I lose the pounds. I hope to see the dolphin “swim” across the ocean as I lose more and more weight. 🙂
I have spots on the board to keep track of my weight and any other vitals I want to record. By having it posted on the wall, I hope to be reminded of my goals daily. One of my goals is to be more mindful of what I am eating, so by seeing something to remind me to be mindful should help.
Thank you for everyone who has joined my blog and journey! You are the best. I hope that 2020 is a good year for you. 🙂
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It is that time of year! The time of year when your loved ones ask you what you would like for Christmas. This year I am going for a fitness and health oriented list. As the new year begins and I start doing even more, there are a couple of items that would help me along the way.
#1 – Digital Scale: Right now I do have a scale. However, it is over 20 years old and starting to rust. I am not sure how accurate it is anymore, plus I would hate to cut myself on a rusty scale! I have seen the new digital scales, and a lot of them look great! I found one on Amazon that not only takes your weight but can also check your body fat.
#2 – Meal Prep Containers: As part of my get-healthy plan, I have been trying to do meal preping. That way when I go to work I have already packed a healthy meal and do not have to eat out. These meal prep containers I found have three different sections, which will allow me more options for packing. Also, it comes in a 20 pack so I could meal prep breakfast as well as my lunch for the whole week.
#3 – Acid Reflux Pillow: Yes, apparently there is such a thing as an Acid Reflux Pillow! When you have GERD, sleeping flat can cause real problems. Bile from the stomach can back up into the esophagus. I have been trying to combat this by using extra pillows. However, I recently discovered that someone had come up with a solution to this issue! A special acid reflux pillow: It is pretty much a big, soft wedge you can use to keep your head elevated. According to the reviews, it works well. I have never tried anything similar, but it would be nice to try it and see if it helped!
#4 – BP Cuff: Since I want to track my heart health, it would be nice to have a blood pressure cuff I can use at home. Right now I have to use the one at the local grocery store (which according to the sticker on it hasn’t been calibrated since 2014). Plus, if I had my own, I wouldn’t have to worry about the considerable amount of germs that may be in a public BP cuff. 🙂 The one that caught my eye is one that is used on the wrist. I have used one like it before, and it worked pretty well.
#5 – Pregnancy Workout DVD: Here’s hoping there is a baby in the near future! For my first little one, I was unsure what exercises are safe while pregnant. I did a lot of research to find ones that would work well with pregnancy. A DVD of pregnancy-safe exercises would be great to stick in the player first thing in the morning.
#6 – Jump Rope: I don’t know if anyone else remembers this, but back when I was in 1st grade there was a big push to get kids to jump rope. Each kid would get a sparkly new jump rope and encouraged to use it. The exercise was supposed to be good for your heart. Now as an adult, I have read that it is still true! Not only is jumping rope good for the heart, but it is a good way to work out the core muscles as well. It also works for people of all fitness levels, which is perfect for a beginner like me. 🙂
#7 – Weights: Although getting toned arms is not one of my foremost goals, I would like to develop some upper body strength. Whenever there is something heavy that needs lifted, I usually bow out. I even have a hard time holding my little one for long periods of time. I found a weight set that has 2, 3, and 5 pound weights. They even have a nifty stand that comes with. This is the kind of “weight training” I need to start out with. Something simple so I don’t over-strain those muscles. 🙂
It is that magical time of the year when the coffee shops get peppermint white-chocolate mochas on the menu. That first sip that tells you it is indeed time for the merriment of the holidays just around the corner. Holding the warm cup in your hands as you watch the snow dance gracefully along the street. Smelling the steam that comes off, warming your heart and soul.
As I write the top paragraph, I realize their may be another reason for my sugar problem: Happy memories associated with tasty treats. For me I get excited when I have my first peppermint mocha of the season. Or second. Or fifth. Or tenth. It is just a thing I have during the cold winter months. And it conjures up sweet memories along with that sweet taste.
So what is a sentimental fool to do? I could say “it is just for the season, it won’t hurt to keep having my coffee concoctions for this small length of time.” However, how then do I justify the Peeps at Easter? The pie at Thanksgiving? The chocolates at Valentine’s Day? Name a season and I can find a sweet treat that can go along with it.
I could say “No, I will not have one drop of Peppermint Mocha this year!” But what if that creates a worse beast that what I have? What if by cutting it out completely, I start diving in to all the other assorted goodies out there: Christmas cookies, candy canes, pies, chocolate, and the list goes on and on. I know myself, and the odds that I will be able to keep all these at bay is worse than those of winning the lottery.
For this year, I am instead going to limit myself. I can get one on the first day of December, one during our Christmas shopping session, and one on the last day of work before we break for Christmas. I hope by limiting myself, I will still be able to enjoy my memories without being overly saturated with needless calories.
In the meantime, I am going to try and find some non-sugar based food to turn into a seasonal treat. While I doubt I can convince my brain that kale will be just as much fun as my mochas (bleah!), maybe I can do something else. Green bean casserole? Peppermint Tea? I will have to try out my options and get back.
Thank you everyone for reading. I hope that this season finds you having fun and enjoying your favorite treats (in moderation)!
Note: While reading this, please keep in mind cooking is not my friend. I could burn almost anything, and trying to season things does not usually work well for me. This was an attempt to fix that with mixed results. 🙂
The other day, I was in the grocery store and passed a freezer chest with meal kits in it. It was one of those kits that has all the ingredients and instructions on how to make the meal. It had chicken, cheese, seasoning, scallops, and more in it. They were also having a sale on them!
I decided that this would be a fun way to try making something healthy. It might also be a good way to improve my cooking skills (I would put cooking as one of my top 5 weaknesses). 🙂 I took a look at the options. I will be honest: I couldn’t pronounce half of the gourmet cuisines in the freezer case. I am not well versed in fancy food. I ended up with the Chicken Adobo Flautas. The picture on the front looked good. There were tomatoes in the picture, but I figured I could pick them off for my plate. Note: I realize now that I probably should have read the ingredients list a little closer….
When I opened the box, I was excited to see how all the ingredients were in perfect proportion. No guessing amounts. However, I was dismayed to see not only tomatoes but a lime and spicy seasoning. However, I decided to still try it. Right away I burned the chicken (not that unusual for me) and set off the fire alarm. I also realized the recipe called for juicing the lime and soaking the tomato in it. Tomatoes are bad for GERD, and so is citrus. So these citrus soaked tomatoes had heartburn written all over it. To top it off, both the chicken and the sour cream had spicy components to them. I debated even trying it, but it smelled so good and I didn’t rally have any other good dinner options.
I tried taking a few bites, and it tasted good! So I ate a bit more. It wasn’t long before I was in agony. My stomach felt like it had fire ants in it. I gave the rest of my food to my husband, and went to my trusty Tums. It took awhile before my stomach decided to simmer down. Although I was in pain, I learned a valuable lesson. Before I decide to buy another meal kit I should really check the ingredients list. 🙂
I have always had a sweet tooth. However, it has only been in recent years that the single sweet tooth has developed into a sweet mouth. I believe it came from stress. I started using sugar as a way to deal with the stress of my job. I don’t think I was aware of it at first. About 2 1/2 years ago I got another job, one that was far less stressful. However, by that time I think the damage was done. I was addicted and there was no going back.
First, I looked up to see if sugar addiction was really a thing. Turns out it is. Sugar can feed some of those same addiction genes, and manifest addiction symptoms. It can start running your life, as I fear that it has started to run mine.
Here is an example: Today I ate 3 sweet rolls, gummy worms, 2 cups of Coke, a large piece of chocolate cake, and 1 1/2 scoops of ice cream. That was just in one day. Even as I type this out I can’t believe I actually ate all that and don’t have diabetes. You eat one thing, and you almost forget you had it because you are still craving more. You don’t even want to eat a meal unless there is going to be something sugary and sweet in it.
Not only do I want to break my sugar addiction for my own health, but I want to set a good example for my little one. I don’t want him to think any of this is normal.
I took a sugar addiction quiz to see what would happen. I scored very, very low. There was only one question that didn’t put me squarely in the addicted category (and even that one was on the borderline). Do I hide sweets? Yes. Do I prefer to eat my desserts in private where no one can judge me? Oh yes. Do I make plans around a way to get my hands on some sweet and tasty morsel? Sadly yes.
I have tried to stop before, but always rebounded. This time I hope to curb my addiction for good. Not only do I want to give up my sugar addiction for my own health, but I want to set a good example for my little one. I don’t want him to grow up with the same issues I have. I also don’t want him to think that any of this is normal. Imagine trying to explain why mommy has a secret stash of treats that she doesn’t share with anyone else!
I realize that I may need to give up sugar entirely, which would be hard. Sugar is everywhere, and can be hard to avoid. I also hate the thought of missing out on fun treats. However, if that is what it takes I will try to make it work. To start with though, I plan on just cutting back on sweets instead of eliminating them entirely. I have read that cutting out sugar cold turkey can backfire in the worst kind of way.
As I go down this new journey, I hope I can beat this sugar addiction and start living my best life. Not only for me, but for my family as well.
Day 1(October 21, 2019) – Stuck with it on day 1! The only sugar I had today was 6 gummy worms after dinner (which is a huge decrease in what I normally have). It was also a deliberate choice, not a mindless snack or sugar craving breakdown. I had a breakfast of oatmeal, almonds, and a banana. Lunch was cheese, cucumber, and raspberries. Dinner was beef, peppers, and onions over rice. My energy seemed to be about the same, but I started craving snacks in the afternoon. As I was making dinner I had to keep fighting an almost automatic urge to snack. But I did not give in!
Day 2 – Another successful day! No sugary snacks, no swinging by to get fast food, no soda. As a bonus I also drank my whole bottle of water. I packed my breakfast and lunch and took it to work, and stuck with it! My stomach hurt after lunch (which was chicken salad, carrot sticks, grapes, cucumbers, and crackers). I am unsure if this was because this food is harder to digest than what I normally eat, or if I ate too much. Energy level was still about the same.
Day 3 – No cheating again! Today I am starting to notice some changes in how I feel: both good and bad. Good is that I have a little bit more energy than I have been having. Also, I feel like my mind is less foggy and more focused. It is great to have energy again! The bad thing is that I could feel anxiety creeping up on me. I have had problems with anxiety attacks in the past, and I could feel one coming on. This is probably due to the drastic decrease in eating sugar, since that is what I had used to squash the monster in the past. It was a terrible coping mechanism, and I am sure I am going to have some kind of fallout from that. Today I was able to stay busy and keep the anxiety monster at bay. However, as part of becoming a better person, I am going to try and find some healthy ways to deal with anxiety and stress.
Day 4 – Today I slid back a little. I forgot my coffee at home (NO!!), so I ended up getting one from the local Einstein’s Bagels. I tried to hold out as best I could, but at about 3:30, I could barely concentrate on my work. Normally I would have tried to suck it up, but I decided to not risk messing up at my job. I got myself a white-chocolate mocha. The first sip was amazing, and I perked up right away. However, after about 30 minutes my stomach started hurting. It could have been due to the sudden sugar surge, or the caffeine at such a late hour. I was amazed at how my body reacted since for awhile there I was having those drinks 3-4 times a week. Guess it goes to show how fast your body can adapt!
Other than that, I did good today. Healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I did feel some anxiety today that I need to work on dealing with. But my energy levels felt good.
Day 5 – Sadly today I had a slide back. I went to a home where there was a surprise birthday cake. A very delicious cake I might add. I figured one slice wouldn’t be the end of the world. Plus I wanted to be festive. My stomach did not agree with my decision. I had stomach pains from the yummy cake.
I also watched a YouTube video that was a compilation of clips from the show “My 600 pound life.” It is motivation to keep going. If someone who is struggling with their food like that can change their habits, so can I!
Day 6 – Today started out really well, then slowly devolved into my old habits. I started out the day with a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, almonds, and milk. However, I didn’t consume enough calories which left me at a Walgreens looking for a snack. This was still a win though. I went for trail mix and a tea instead of the mini donuts and mocha that I really wanted. I was proud of myself.
However, on the way home, my willpower dissolved. I was tired from a day at the pumpkin patch, and I was going home to a sick husband. I went through the Taco Bell drive through for both my husband and I. I had the $5 Double Chalopa Box, which was full of tasty, not-good-for-me items. I did get an unsweetened tea instead of a Dr. Pepper though, so that was a small win. Tomorrow I will get to stay home, so hopefully I can rebound on my good habits.
Day 7 – A good day! I avoided three different Starbucks that were within arms reach of me today. I also avoided getting any candy in the checkout lane. I did get a bag of candy for Halloween. I had a few pieces after dinner, but that was it. 🙂
This week started out really good, then I slowly started to lose resolve. My sugar cravings and anxiety slowly got worse as the week went on, which didn’t help. However, my energy levels went up and I am feeling better physically. I hope that next week I will be able to stay with my plan the whole week.
I did lose a pound! That is some good news, especially considering I weighed myself the day after I had the Taco Bell. I would like to lose weight a little faster and get out of the obese category. I believe if I can loose 5 more pounds, I will move from “obese” to “overweight”
I really like that the plan is pretty simple to follow. I also like that I don’t have to give up carbs or milk (which would be hard for me to do right now). 🙂
For where I want to be, which is at the 2,000 calorie mark, these are the servings I need to be eating:
Milk Products: 2-3
Meats: 6 or less
Nuts: 4-5 per week
Fats and oils: 2-3
Sweet and Added Sugars: 5 or less per week
Since I probably don’t need to be at the full 2,000 calories, I am going to eat on the low end of the serving options. I am not going to be measuring out my food for the time being, and just “eyeball” the amounts. If it doesn’t look like I am loosing weight, or if nothing else is improving, I will start measuring out my food instead of guesstimating.
I am excited to start this and see how it progresses! Thank you to anyone who is following along. 🙂
Alright, it is time to get serious. I know I need to be eating better, that the person who works at the local Einstein’s Bagels should not know me on a first name basis. It has been a slow road down this hole of fast and convenient foods. I know better: I know a lot about nutrition and how the body works. I used to be much better about my diet. However, commitments and time constraints had me making every excuse why I should just head over to DQ for my lunch.
My goals for this diet have several prongs:
Get my GERD (diagnosed) under control
Have a diet that will help with heart disease (no diagnosis, but a family history).
Try to reverse any damage already done to my heart
Prevent diabetes (a strong fear I will get it)
Beat my sugar addiction (self diagnosed)
Prepare my body for pregnancy (went through it once with issues)
Breaking it Down
With all these goals, it was tough deciding which diet plan I was going to follow. I decided to go with the DASH diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, ” Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure” (Mayo Clinic, 2019). I have tried this plan before with good results, and many other members of my family are on it. While I do not have high blood pressure at this time, it runs in the family so I would like to nip HBP in the bud. I have also read that this diet can be good for those with pre-diabetes. Once again, I am not pre-diabetic as far as I know. However, I have a fear that my sugar cravings will one day take it’s toll on my pancreas. To help it out, I want to take the precautionary measures that someone with pre-diabetes may take.
There is mixed research out there on whether or not plaque buildup in the heart can be reversed. However, I found a couple of articles that talked about foods that can help reduce plaque buildup. Because the foods they listed are already considered healthy, I feel there is no harm in incorporating them into my meal plans. No harm in trying!
For GERD, there is no set diet plan. From the research I have done, the best thing to do when you have GERD is to avoid overly acidic food. I will modify the DASH diet to eliminate things like tomatoes, ketchup, citrus items, and such.
With regards to sugar addiction, pretty much the best way to beat that is to cut out sugar. I plan to drastically reduce my sugar intake, which is part of the DASH diet anyways. I hope to curb the sugar cravings naturally with fruit. I feel that this may be one of the toughest parts of this plan. Lets hope it goes well!
Preparing for pregnancy is to take a prenatel vitamin for at least 6 months before getting pregnant. According to the doctor I talked to, it can take that long for the needed vitamins (especially folic acid) to build up in the system. I have been taking a prenatal vitamin, but I have not been very consistent. As part of my plan I want to make sure I am consistently taking the vitamin so I am ready for baby #2.
I will be doing a Part 2 that will have more details of the DASH diet. 🙂 Stay tuned!
This was the post I was not looking forward to. The “before” part where I have to face how far I have let my weight and eating habits slide. I will say – this is the most I have ever weighed in my life – including when I had a 9 pound baby inside me. 188 pounds! For a small person, this is a big number. It is even more confirmation that I need to make this change in my life.
Most of what I am trying to conquer is directly affected by weight: Heart disease, pre-diabetes, GERD. The diet I am choosing isn’t specifically designed for weight loss. I assume though that since it will be lower in calories and high fat foods that I will loose weight as a great side effect. If this turns out not to be the case, I may need to look into modifying my diet even more so I can shed some pounds.
At this point I am working on just my diet. I am afraid adding on too many chances will hurt my progress. After a couple of months on this new diet I will assess my progress and see if the time is right to incorporate exercise into my routine.
Stats as of October 19, 2019
Weight Classification: Obese
Waist Circumference: 43 inches (109 cm)
I plan to check my stats once a month, around the same time. For the first month though I am going to check every week, since I feel that the first week will yield the most triumph and heartaches. I am excited to see what happens in the next several months (and a little apprehensive). I am going to do updates in the “Fitness Journal” section of my blog if you would like to check them out.
GERD (which stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a condition where the bile from the stomach overflows into the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. THe lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the “lid” that keeps the bile within the stomach. With GERD, the LES doesn’t close all the way and the bile backs up into the esophagus. In other words: GERD is pretty much strong, constant heartburn.
There are a variety of symptoms that can come along with GERD. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I was having chronic stomach pains. I would eat a bite or two of something, then have to stop because of the pain. About that time, several people in my family were having their gallbladders removed due to a variety of issues. I thought my symptoms were the result of my own gallbladder issues. I went to my doctor, and he diagnosed me at that time with GERD. I had never heard of GERD, and was really surprised that it wasn’t my gallbladder. I learned that tomatoes and citrus were triggers for GERD, so I went home and immediately got rid of anything that had those items in it. It took about 2 weeks, but I started feeling so much better. This was about 5 years ago. I am happy to report that I have not needed to go on GERD medication in that time.
However, in the past year, I have been cheating on my GERD more than I should. A slice of pizza there, a piece of lemon cake there. I have also noticed my symptoms creeping up again. The familiar pang of heartburn that directly correlates to my lapses in food judgement. If left unchecked, GERD can cause serious problems with the esophagus. It can cause corrosion, and possibly even cancer. As I take this path to my best self, it is important that I get this under control. I do not want to have problems in the future, knowing full well that I could have taken care of them here and now.
The best way to treat GERD is with a healthy diet, although I have to cut out tomatoes which is normally considered healthy. Obesity can also contribute to GERD, so managing weight is also important. I do have a weight problem, so getting that under control will help.
That being said, pretty much any healthy diet coupled with eliminating trigger foods will work for managing GERD. I plan to use the DASH diet (see the other post for information) with some modifications.
I hope that this part of my journey will find my GERD symptoms eliminated, and a happy esophagus. 🙂