Cost of eating healthy

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Eating healthy can cost a lot when you are on a tight budget. Tonight I loaded the cart with produce, some frozen veggies, whole wheat bread, greek yogurt, and sugar free cool whip (for my fruit salad–yummy, yummy!) and it cost me a little over $50.

That’s a lot of money for our family. It’snot easy to keep the cupboards stocked with healthy options when you have a family of five including my two fruit/veggie-loving-boys. But we do the best we can and stock up when we can, and pray that the lean times when the cupboards are bare of healthy options are few and far between.

Now, I’m headed to the kitchen to make myself a big fruit salad. (yummy, yummy!)

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Baby Steps

Last last summer, I decided that I absolutely had to begin looking at this journey in terms of baby steps.  I’ve long known this is the key, but making it happen hasn’t been as easy as KNOWING what to do.  If it were, I would have reached my goal seven years ago.

So late last August, I finally took the first of several baby steps.  This was a big one.  I gave up diet coke–and all other soda-type beverages.  No more chemical drinks.  Now, I only drink water or flavored waters or occasionally a light/diet lemonade.  For 30 weeks I have been diet coke free.  You would think the craving would be totally eradicated, but it’s not.  Just this past week, while my family was on vacation for spring break I found myself craving a diet coke in the worst way.  And in the past, if I were to give in to temptation it would have been while traveling.  I have survived two major trips now and not broken.  Last November my husband finally took me to Las Vegas for the first time (he’s been many times) and I didn’t drink any soda/diet soda there either.

I feel like this is major progress for me.  And now it’s time to take the next baby step in this process.  No more processed carbs.  Specifically (and especially) I will stear clear of any kind of restaurant bread/grain/chips.  If I can give up diet coke (a serious addiction for me that it has taken multiple attempts to break loose from) I can and will give up processed carbs.  The only exception will be whole grains when I know for certain what the nutrition content is in them.

So, yesterday at Buffalo wild wings I had a grilled chicken salad for lunch and told them to go light (half of what they usually do) on the cheese.  Then at dinner the husband wanted to eat out at a local italian place for “kids night” and our daughter’s birthday dinner so she could get a free dessert.  I didn’t eat any of the bread and herbed oil.  I swear I could taste it though.  That was so hard to ignore.  I ordered the spinach and grilled chicken salad which came with feta cheese, strawberry slices, a few pecan crumbles and a light strawberry vinagrette.  However, I suffered a moment of weakness when I caved in to have a couple of bites of my daughter’s cheesecake but I’m still counting it a win.

My husband loves to eat out–and this is probably one of the biggest–if not THE biggest–obsticle I face in this process of trying to lose weight and get healthy.  Once again, today at lunch, the husband wanted to go to a local burger joint. I told him no thanks, because I knew there were NO good choices to be made at that place.  Shredded iceburg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing is not a good salad.  So he changed his selection to Wendy’s because he knew that was one of the few places I can get what I need and I got my full sized apple pecan chicken salad that I so love.  I can’t wait until strawberries are in season and they bring back the berry salad at wendy’s as well as the one at Panera Bread!

I’ve always loved bread to the point of claiming a carb-addiction.  But I was seriously addicted to diet coke too–so, I figure that if I can give up soda/diet coke for the past 30 weeks, surely I can give up processed carbs. The hardest part is the detox.  Hopefully, giving up processed carbs will be what does the trick and boosts my weightloss into gear and keeps me from backsliding or staying in the same 5-10 pound range I have been in for the past 4-5 months (285-295).  The cut down on carbs will also help me maintain blood sugar levels and head off that diabetic diagnosis I’ve been tumbling towards for a while–and hopefully it will translate to my husband’s eating habits as well, because he’s been backsliding way too much in the past year and his numbers are out of control.

I know that the carbs (specifically processed/refined!) are the key here–as well as making a stronger effort to make 30-60 minutes of real cardio and strength training a daily habit.  My kids are the motivation I need to make that daily appointment.  They need the activity just as much as I do and we are working together to make that happen.

Dear Me (In 10 Weeks)

August 19, 2011

Dear Me,

I hope you made the most of this summer challenge and the support from your Pink Teammates and the resources on Sparkpeople.  I hope you committed to long lasting change and built a firm foundation for PERMANENT healthy habits.

Please look back at the progress (or lack of progress) you made in the past 10 weeks.  Did you do everything you could to get further down the road to a healthier you this summer?  If you’ve experienced success this summer (and dang it–you better have!) it’s because you put in the effort.  You made more healthy choices than unhealthy choices.  You found ways to compromise without giving into the all or nothing mentality.  You were active this summer.  Maybe you walked, maybe you swam, maybe you worked out indoors where it was cool–but one way or another you found ways to be active.

Now don’t go back to those old habits.

If you didn’t make progress, I guarantee it was because you allowed obsticles to derail you and turned to food instead of healthier  ways of dealing with challenges or stress.

Your 10 week goal was to lose at least 30 lbs.  You are capable of more, of course, but I’m trying to be reasonable here and avoid that “all or nothing mentality” I’ve harped on so much.  If you lost 30 lbs then you should be feeling much more energized and experiencing less pain.

Do your feet still hurt?  If they do, give it another 30 lbs and if they still do, it’s time to visit the doctor.

Thirty pounds gone will put you firmly under 300–hopefully into the 270s or lower if you did more.  What’s your next goal? Stick with your team and work with Sparkpeople,  you know it works!  Don’t sabotage yourself by turning back to your old habits.

The kids begin school today, if you haven’t yet, sit down and examine your goals and make a plan to continue working towards them–not just your health goals, but also your academic goals.  It’s past time to get that thesis finished!

Finish what you started.  You deserve the success.  And yes, the change that it will bring to your life can be intimidating and definitely firmly in the world of the unknown–but embrace your sense of adventure and don’t look back except to remember where you never want to return again.

Remember to “Never give up! Never surrender!”

Making time for myself

For the last five months I’ve barely had time to come up for air let alone take care of myself.  I’ve continued to gain weight back. I’m at 298 again.  UGH.  This cycle has to stop.  I’m putting the brakes on now

I have to make time for myself. Time to eat right and exercise.  Time to plan meals and spend time with my family. Time to reflect and journal my progress and challenges. . . . Time to finish my thesis. 

I don’t get paid enough to allow my job to consume my life.  I’m going to start enforcing that magic word, “no.”  I started by dropping all of my children’s extra-curriculars except swimming–and I kept that for their health and mine.  We need an activity that will bring regular exercise into our lives and swimming is one way to do it.  They can take swim lessons (the oldest will be joining the swim team in November after this last round of swim lessons) and I can exercise in the cardio room or do some deep water aerobics.

I dropped Girl Scouts and my leadership position there. The thought of starting another year with that responsibility had me breaking out and on the verge of an anxiety attack.

Yes, the remainder of this year is still going to be  pretty busy, but enough is enough.  The next major event at work is three weeks away and I have a couple of quarterly reports, a final grant report, and a newsletter to produce.  There are mutliple mini-events associated with the overall big event that have to be carried off, but there is no reason why I can’t make time for myself to plan my meals and exercise.  And time to journal my ups and downs and hopefully some progress too.  I’m supposed to be keeping this blog for myself and to help me reach my goals.  I must start using it that way.

I refuse to take on anymore projects this year and I already have next year mapped out according to priorities as well. I am not superwoman.  I cannot do it all.  I can do my job and take care of myself–I’m not going to kill myself doing my job anymore–I want to keep loving it, and I’m afraid that love is in jeopardy if I don’t make some changes.  And as I’ve said, I don’t get paid enough to do this job as it is–Love has to justify the pay I get, without that love, it’s seriously not worth it anymore.  I could substitute in the local schools, have the same basic amount of pay, more freedom and a hell of lot less responsibiltiy.

I’m sick of falling off that damn wagon.  I want to get back on and stay there for the remainder of my journey.  I’ve got to quit making it so dang hard on myself.

Rough Month and Half

I haven’t checked in on sparkpeople–or done much of anything else regarding my health–for almost two months now. It’s been a rough couple of months.

My father-in-law passed away suddenly. He had just turned 62 year old.

Six years ago, my husband and I passed through the hell of the worst week of my life when my dad died suddenly. Senselessly.

We went through it again with his dad’s death. The cause of death has finally come back–it was something that could have been taken care of if he had only seen a doctor. Something that could have been managed with medication. But my father-in-law was too afraid of going to the doctor, of being told he’d have to take pills, or have an operation. He was afraid of growing old. He was a very unhappy man.

It’s been rough on my husband and my in-laws.

In the course of this ordeal we found out that diabetes runs in my husband’s father’s family. I have suspected for about a year now that he was diabetic. Turns out he had even said he probably was, but refused to go to the doctor and get checked out. He refused to change his eating habits too. It’s why he was always so grouchy and didn’t feel good all the time. His blood sugar had to have been constantly spiking and dropping with the way he ate.

It’s stupid really. If he had just been willing to make some changes in his lifestyle–like my husband has–he would have felt better, and probably been a happier man. And his health would have improved as well. Maybe if he’d been willing to make those changes he would have also managed to take better care of his heart as well.

Ah, the “maybes” and “if onlys” get you every time. Just like when my dad died, we are going through them again–only with the hard earned lessons learned from my own father’s death. By the way, in case its not totally obvious, this has brought back to the surface many of the issues I faced with my dad’s passing six years ago. The grief isn’t as raw, but it’s there, and I’m hurting for my husband and his sisters (one of whom has been my best friend since 9th grade) and his mother.

As I’ve always done, I’ve gone off the rails with my eating. I haven’t been tracking my food. I haven’t been making an effort to eat homemade meals. I have been drinking diet coke to get me through the day. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep–because my husband has been having difficulty sleeping–so I’m up late too. Then I am up to take the kids to school and get ready for work while he sleeps in.

That means no energy to exercise. No focus to eat right.

I’ve managed to stay in the 280s. So at least I haven’t gained all of the weight back that I’ve lost this year. But here I am again, looking for the bright side, saying “at least I didn’t” do whatever it is that I didn’t do THIS time. I need to stop doing it all. Period. I need to find a way to manage stress and emotions and lack of sleep without giving up on taking care of myself.

The other morning I had a fasting blood sugar of 127. That puts me firmly in the diabetic range. Forget pre-diabetes. I’m diabetic. No denying it anymore.

Damn it.

I know that lack of sleep and stress affect the insulin levels too, so maybe that’s part of the problem with where my blood sugar is–but I know it’s also the food choices. I’ve made a few too many trips to McDonalds for breakfast the past month and half. I’ve also gotten into the bad habit of picking up icecream or frozen custard in the middle of the afternoon whenever I’m out running errands. I’m self-medicating with food again. WHY DO I DO THAT? I know that I shouldn’t. I know that I’m doing it when I do it. I know that my triggers are stress and fatigue and diet coke.

Yet, here I am again. When do I conquer this? When do I reach the point where I have the will power, the strength, the determination, the resolve or whatever it is that it takes–that says, “No. I’m done. I won’t self-medicate anymore. I won’t abuse myself anymore. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve good health and I’m going to make sure I get it–no matter what.” And then DO it?

When does that happen for me? What’s it going to take?

Week 11: The scale moves downward

I joined the local YMCA’s weightloss “competition” this week. I did their version of the “biggest loser” last year and quit part way through out of disappointment in the organization and what the program was offering–or not offering. I wasn’t going to join again this year, but some friends joined and said it was much better and invited me to join their team.

So I decided to give it another chance. So far, it does seem to be better run with more support than was offered last year.

I weighed in and of course the YMCA scale measures me nearly ten pounds higher than the one at home does–some of which probably has to do with the clothes and shoes I was wearing and the time of day I weighed in.

I got back on track this week, really stuck to my plan despite hormonal challenges, until Friday. Friday I tried to choose a healthy lunch by getting a salad–but because it was a fast food salad it was higher in calories and sodium then one at home would have been. Then we ate at the Hideaway for dinner.

For those unfamiliar with Stillwater, the Hideaway is a local pizza place that has been in operation since 1957. It’s very popular and we very rarely go there as its slightly higher priced than the chains. But the pizza is sooo good.

So there was that–I definitely ate more pizza and garlic bread than I should have, BUT, I didn’t have any diet soda–I drank water. That’s huge for me. I’m continuing to swear off diet soda and stick with water only. I refuse to drink my calories and the diet soda leads to cravings for sweets and refined carbs that make it extremely difficult for me to exert self-control and will-power. I won’t go back down that road.

Yesterday, I did well until dinner when we had KFC. I should have gone ahead and had a few pieces grilled, but I didn’t and I also had the potato wedges and two and a half biscuits. Lord, how I love biscuits. We also had corn on the cob–which I love and we made a pan of green beans here at home to go along with it all.

So, I’m paying for Friday and Saturday on the scale with a slightly smaller loss than I would have logged had those choices been healthier. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cake. We bought one of the cakes that was auctioned at the Boy Scouts Blue and Gold banquet earlier this week and instead of just letting the kids have a piece and toss the rest, I had several pieces Friday and Saturday. I clearly still have a long ways to go when it comes to these kinds of things.

All in all, I’m lucky to be logging a 1.3 lb loss for this week–which is totally due to the exercise I worked in as well as the really great days I had the remainder of the week with my nutrition.

This coming week, I will build upon the progress I made this week and hopefully I’ll double the loss I had this past week.

Week 10: I’m going to call it maintaining

Last week when I weighed in I was up five or six pounds.  This week I’m right back to where I was the week before and the week before that.  So I’m going on my third week of no further progress in the numbers moving down on the scale.  That means that since January 1st, I’ve lost 8 lbs and since Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve lost a total of 16 lbs.  Not the rate of progress I would like to see–I can do better than this, but all things considered, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

I dropped that excess weight–whatever it was–from last week, and I’m happy about that.  I haven’t gained.  I’m happy about that too.

Now, I just have to get my momentum moving again. 

We need to go to the grocery store–bad.  Of course, today is super bowl Sunday so who  knows how bad it will be if we try to venture out this afternoon.  Our timing sucks.

Super Bowl isn’t a big deal for us around here.  We mostly just watch  it for the commercials–we aren’t professional football fans. That isn’t to say that my husband may not be tempted to have his sister and brotherinlaw and their kids over (I haven’t heard anything at this p0int in the day yet) and pile on the usual football snack foods.

Whether that happens or not, I’m going to do my best to get refocused today.  Get back to doing what I know works and sticking with it.  There shouldn’t be anything (birthdays, holidays) to side track me again until Spring Break next month–followed  immediately by my daughter’s 7th birthday.  Valentine’s day does present the small temptation of chocolate, but its not a huge deal for us around here, as we just celebrated our anniversary.

I had one chocolate hershey’s kiss last night and didn’t want another–it was so sweet!  I just didn’t enjoy it like I would have in the past.  I’d definitely call that progress.

Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the house.  The kids had pretty much trashed their rooms again since we cleaned them at the first of the year, so I had to ride herd on them cleaning their rooms while I took care of laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, and general cleaning downstairs.  

Today, I’m going to finish getting caught up on some work stuff I brought home, and I’m going to plan out my week and find time for exercise.  I know that half the battle is planning  (the other half is knowing, according to G.I. Joe). 

I just have to do the prep work.

Week 9: Frustration and Celebration

I’m seriously hoping that I’m just facing that “time of the month” and that I’m retaining water. Because I was NOT happy with my weighin yesterday. I refuse to record it right now. It was a gain.

Meanwhile, Friday, my husband and I marked our tenth year of marriage. We spent the day with our children, as school had been called due to snow. Then on Saturday the roads were clear enough we could take the kids to my mom’s for the night. We ate dinner out–and I didn’t make the best choice, but it was my only meal that day, so it shouldn’t have been too many calories–and then went to see Sherlock Holmes and The Blind Side. We never get to go to the Movies, it was nice.

So, back to my regular routine today. And somehow, I have to find the time to work in some exercise. Its a major part of this journey, and somehow I have to make it a priority.

Belated Update: 0 loss 0 gain

I just realized I forgot to post my usual Sunday update.

This last week was a challenge. Mostly dealing with my daughter’s Girl Scout Cookie sale (and the opened boxes the kids were sampling–and that I sampled as well) plus too much eating out topped by too much Pizza on Friday night.

I logged a no loss no gain for Sunday. It could have been worse.

I’m really struggling to get the exercise in right now. I’m going to have to do something about that.   Exercise is always a challenge–due to time and fatigue.

It looks like me and my hometown team of Sparkers are going to sign up for a local 5k/Fun Run/Walk in April. This will be a nice piece of motivation to get me up and moving so I can keep up with everyone.   The last walk I did was many years ago and I was the last one finished.  It was embarrassing.  I don’t want to do that again.

I won’t say I’ll run it. I’m just not there yet, and I don’t think I could get there by April. Running is just too hard on my joints and shins at my current size–BUT I will get to a very fast walk. I can do a 15 minute mile by then–if not better.

I’m doing better this week. Re-focused and staying out of the Girl Scout Cookies.   It’s a wonderful fundraiser for the girls, but seriously detrimental to weightloss if you are the kind of person who has issues stopping at one–and I am that kind of person.

Friday is my tenth wedding anniversary and I plan to splurge a bit this weekend eating out–so I’m staying really focused during the week to keep from totally blowing my progress this weekend.

I managed to skip ordering the all you can eat pancakes deal at IHOP yesterday–and I can’t tell you how hard that was!–in favor of the spinach and chicken salad. I substitued grilled chicken for the fried chicken it usually has.   It was very good–and satisfying.  Still thinking about those pancakes though…

But I’m moving forward.  This next Sunday I will be able to report a loss.

Week 7: Facing Adversity Without Turning to Food for Comfort. 2.5 more lbs gone

This was not an easy week for me. The stress at work has continued to build. I can feel the pressure of so many deadlines crushing down upon me.

Then there’s the sixth anniversary of my dad’s death. I’ve written about it many times before in other blogs, so I won’t go into detail now, except to explain to new readers that Dad was mentally ill, his meds were off, and he drove himself into a lake. In January. He went missing on January 14th and we didn’t find him and pull him and the  truck out until the morning of the 16th.

So…yeah. Tough week here.

I faltered a little bit on Friday night–but I held strong on my choices the remainder of the week.

One thing I did let slide is my exercise. I just didn’t have the time or energy for it. I’ve fought the stress, fatigue, and headaches all week–I didn’t have it in me to make time for exercise. It was all I could do to stay focused on not making poor food choices and sabotaging myself.

So, if you are following along, here are the stats:

In the last 7 weeks I’ve lost 13.2 lbs total. If you count my high weight during Thanksgiving when I creeped back across the dreaded 300 lb mark to 301, then I’ve lost 15.7 lbs.

From November 29th to December 27th I only lost 4.9 lbs. And while I say “only” I DO count that as a huge victory because I halted the weightgain and began a trend of losing during those four weeks of the holiday season. I may have only averaged 1.225 lbs lost each week during this time, but I proved to myself that I can enjoy the holidays and still lose a modest amount of weight. In the three weeks since then I’ve uped that average weightloss to 2.76 lbs per week–and I’ve accomplished this during one of the most stressful times of the year at my job.

Not to mention an emotionally difficult time of the year for me, personally.

Earlier this week, I also took my measurements and found that I had lost a little over 5 inches overall from my waist, hips, thighs, and biceps.

I’m happy with that. And determined to continue to build upon that progress–both on the scale and off.

If it often seems that I’m repeating myself in these entries, its because I need to remind myself of these things to keep my head straight.  I can’t allow myself to forget what I’ve accomplished so far and how I’ve accomplished it–because when I do, that’s when I allow myself to slip back into old, unhealthy habits–the habits that have gotten me over the 300 lb mark time and time again. 

The goal this year is to get me UNDER the 200 lb mark and never allow myself to cross that line again.  This is the year to make the changes stick.  And no one can do it for me.  I have to be the one to do it, because as the saying goes, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”