Time to make some changes – Part II

This past year was not the best year for many reasons, and I think many of you can probably relate. So this year, I decided to make some small changes that I thought might help my overall physical and mental health.  Last month I wrote about the goals that I aimed to achieve, and you can read about those goals here. And this month, I just wanted to give a quick update on how things have been going.

Here are the goals I was originally aiming for and the results of my efforts:

1.) Drink one gallon of water daily, which equals four water bottles.

Drinking one gallon of water a day proved to be fairly easy, and I didn’t miss a single day. There were a few times when I’d forgotten and ended up having to drink about half a gallon right before bedtime. When that happened, it made for a very sleep deprived night as I found myself getting up to pee every five minutes. Lol… Luckily I learned my lesson and adjusted my water drinking schedule so that I could finish all of my water earlier in the day.

2.) Lose 5 lbs. a month until I’m at my goal weight, which is 125 lbs.

I decided that weighing myself every day or every week was probably not a smart idea. From past experiences, I’ve always found the results of frequently weighing myself to be defeating at best, and so I decided to only weigh myself once a month. This morning, I weighed myself for the first time, and I am pleased to say that I was able to lose four pounds this month. It’s not as much as I was hoping for, but it’s at least a start.

3.) Eat oatmeal every day to help lower my cholesterol and eat Cheerios as my snack, which is healthier than chips.

I started the month eating Cheerios as my snack but ended the month caving into my cravings for other snacks. I think once I started seeing what seemed like good results; I gave myself a little more freedom to eat more of what I shouldn’t. I did alright with eating oatmeal on the days that I ate breakfast, but when I wasn’t hungry for breakfast, I didn’t eat oatmeal at all. I still don’t know if eating oatmeal has affected my cholesterol levels or not, and that’s probably something I won’t find out until I have repeat blood work done at the end of the year. I plan to stick with this goal, but I also want to be more diligent in my efforts.

4.) Finish reading one book every month.

I surprised myself and actually finished a book this month. I started by rereading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling. Although I didn’t find the book to be as exciting as the first time I read it, I still enjoyed it, and I realized just how different the book is from the movie. I decided this month to take a break from the HP series and read the book “Home: A Memoir of My Early Years” by Julie Andrews.

5.) Walk at least 10,000 steps every day.

I was surprised to find that I averaged 12,000 steps per day. I’m going to continue with my goal of 10,000 steps a day, but aim for more if I can.

6.) Do a seven-minute workout every day.

I used the “7” App to achieve my seven-minute daily workout, and it was quite a challenge to keep up with it because I loathe any kind of rigorous exercise. But I am happy to announce that I actually stuck with it all month and only missed one day. I still don’t know how I missed that one day. It just completely slipped my mind, and I woke up the next morning wondering how I’d forgotten to do it. I plan to continue my workouts because they don’t take a lot of time, and they seem beneficial.

7.) Journal at the end of each day and keep a daily planner.

This was one goal that I didn’t stick with. I think I made it three days in when I found myself wondering what I could even write about. I’m generally stuck inside without much to talk about, and so it seemed repetitive to write about the same things every day. And the daily planner never got started because I decided not to take college classes this semester. I’ve decided, instead of journaling or keeping a daily planner for the rest of the year, that I’ll write down one thing that made me happy each day. I want to start looking for the things that bring joy to my life so that I can look back on the year and see all the things that made my life so special. Too often, I find myself focusing on the negative aspects and I know that doesn’t help me.

8.) Control portion sizes of food.

I think I’ve been doing reasonably well controlling the portion sizes of my food. I’ve been mostly measuring out my serving sizes, and I’m now better able to gauge how much I should be putting on my plate, even when I don’t measure out my food.

9.) Avoid adding butter, salt, and creamer to foods.

I’ve been good about avoiding all of these foods, but sometimes butter is still getting the best of me because I love it on bread. I also want to start avoiding mayonnaise for the rest of the year and anything that contains large amounts of fat calories.

10.) Avoid soda and alcohol.

I avoided all temptation to have soda or alcohol this month, and I plan to continue this goal for as long as possible. I just feel so much better when I eliminate these two types of drinks from my diet, and so I know it’s important that I maintain my efforts to avoid them.

I plan to continue giving monthly updates on my progress because I think it helps me stay accountable. I hope all of you who have decided to make some changes this year have been successful. We just have to keep trying our best! Cheers to another month of success! ~M xo

The results are in!

Well, as many of you know, I have been participating in the Whole30 program over the last month.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a diet program which mainly consists of eating fruits, vegetables, and meat for 30 days.

It worked so well for my family and I that we have decided to continue eating this way on a regular basis.  We all feel so much healthier and have a lot more energy.  My husband had been dealing with skin rashes for over a year now, and those have been completely eliminated.  And I had been suffering from lifelong digestive issues, and have found that I am free of the issues I used to have.  But just to give you a little more in-depth knowledge before you go and jump on the bandwagon, I wanted to give you some pros and cons for this diet plan.
 

Pros:

  • You can eat as much as you want and you don’t have to count calories. We ate three meals every day and usually a couple of snacks as well.  Nobody was ever left feeling hungry and it was nice not having to write down and keep track of every single thing we ate.  Most diets require this, and I feel like it begins to get too overwhelming for me and then I just give up and lose interest.
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  • You will lose weight. Without exercising, I still lost 6 lbs and 2.5 inches around my waist.  My husband exercised some, and had better results than me.  He lost a whopping 15 lbs!  So proud of him!  Our girls lost a total of 8 lbs, and have found that their clothes are starting to fit better.  Not bad for a 30 day period!
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  • You will have more energy and many of the health problems that you may already have, usually improve immensely.
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  • You don’t need to worry about vitamin supplements. If you eat according to the Whole30 plan, those expensive supplements aren’t needed.  You get enough nutrients through the foods that you eat.
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  • You’ll learn a lot about nutrition and feel accomplished when you figure out that most of what you’ve been buying at the store, you can actually make at home yourself.
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  • You’ll begin to crave sugar less, and find out just how good fresh fruits and vegetables really are.
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  • You’ll love the way your body looks and feels and have a more positive outlook because of it.
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    Cons:

  • You’ll have to spend a lot of time planning before you begin this program. We ended up completely gutting our pantry and had to give most of our food away before we even started.
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  • This program is time consuming. You have to read every label at the grocery store and cooking becomes an all-day chore at times.
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  • Your skin will break-out more in the beginning, because the toxins in your body are being expelled.
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  • There will be days in the beginning when you feel like giving up, because you may suffer headaches from caffeine withdrawals and feel tired because instead of getting your energy from sugar, your body is now having to get that same energy from fat. This process takes a few weeks, and so you’ll begin to wonder if it’s even worth continuing.
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  • You’ll find your pocket book a little lighter. Buying organic is pricey and some of the grass fed meats I found were as much as $10.00 per lb, and that was for chicken!
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  • You’ll find it’s very hard to eat this way if you are someone who has a very busy lifestyle, and needs the convenience which fast food offers. There really isn’t anything at a fast food restaurant that is allowed during the Whole30 program.  So you’ll have to pack your home cooked meals and take them with you when you’re on the go.
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  • And the biggest issue of all… you’ll feel so good by the end of it, that you’ll almost be afraid to ever eat another candy bar again or drink another caffeinated beverage. It will ruin your life in the best possible way and you will resent the Whole30 program because of it.
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    My family and I considered this an experiment with food and we’ve realized just how much junk food used to negatively impact our lives.  I truly believe that if we continue eating this way, we will all live longer healthier lives and be happier for it.  So with that said, I highly recommend the Whole30 diet program for anyone who wants to eliminate starvation diets, have more energy, and have fewer health issues.  The only way you’ll know if it’ll work for you, is to give it a try.  I hope you will, and if you do, let me know and I’ll be happy to give you some moral support along the way.

    Here’s a sampling of some of the meals we’ve been eating:

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    Is true happiness really achievable?

    My goal for 2017 was to bring happiness to others.  We’re only ten days in, and I already feel like the exact opposite has occurred.  It really seemed like such an easy task too.  I thought I could just be more positive, portray an air of happiness, and then everyone else would just follow suit.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?  Lead by example and everyone will follow… am I right?  And yet it hasn’t worked at all.

    I know I’m not very good at hiding my true feelings, but I thought I was doing a really good job of at least controlling the negative ones.  I suppose I’ve come to the conclusion, that I can’t fool anyone, least of all myself.  I’m trying desperately to hide behind the positives though.  It’s the only way I can continue to live, without completely drowning in my own sorrows.  Its mind over matter… don’t you think?  Isn’t that the only way any of us can really survive?

    We often try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re happy, because that’s what everyone is after.  We all want that wonderful happy life, which is so often fakely displayed everywhere we look.  Do you really believe that smiling family on Facebook, is happily living life free of any problems or issues?  And see this is the problem, we believe everyone else has everything so easy and so perfect, when in actuality, true happiness doesn’t really exist.

    We need to realize that we aren’t ever going to be completely happy on this earth, or in this life, because that’s an impossibility.  It’s unfortunate though, because we live with the idea that it’s achievable, which only makes us feel like complete failures when we never obtain a perfectly happy life.  Having hope is one thing, but we’ve got to be realistic as well.

    So I’m changing my goal for 2017.  I don’t want to bring happiness to others, but I want to show others how to find slivers of happiness right where they are.  In the misery and agony of our imperfect lives, there are sometimes moments of happiness. Fleeting as they are, we need to hold onto those moments, and bring them back into focus on those particular days, when grief overtakes our sad little lives.  We certainly can’t give up and quit, just because things aren’t going our way.

    Anyway, enough of my ranting.  I’m not even sure any of what I’m saying is making any sense.  All I know is, I can’t continue to live my life waiting for perfection.  This is it, this is my God given life; and I’d better make the best of it, or I may not have one left at all.