Spring into Action: Week 1 update

weightloss

 

I am moving along my journey to weight loss and healthier living.   I have completed the first week.  The most difficult part about this week were the headaches, because I was coming down from my simple carbohydrates intake.  Sheesh!

If you have ever done a detox or cut your sugar/caffeine/carbohydrate (white flour, etc.) intake you know what I mean.  Your body is adjusting to the change.  I have chosen not to delete coffee from my repertoire of foods, it’s the one vice I refuse to abolish.  No worries, because the worst of it is the caffeine addiction.  I drink my coffee without any sweetener and fat free half and half.

I drink water every day.  No specific amount, just as my body needs it to stay hydrated.  I don’t drink any calories outside my coffee.  It’s a waste.

I have, however, significantly cut out white starches.  I have not totally rid them from my diet, at least not yet.  It’s a process.  But I have incorporated more complex and fiber rich carbs into my diet.

Complex carbs are better for you and your metabolism.  Simple carbs turn into sugar, which eventually makes you store more fat.  That is the simplest explanation I can give not being physician or nutritionist.

Also, I don’t eat fried foods.  Although I did make one exception when I attended a function this week.  They had fried wings and I did eat one.  If I am ever in a situation with limited options I try to minimize my intake as much as possible (portion control).  I ate a lot of vegetable this week, mostly salads.  I typically eat green vegetable because they have more nutritional value and low calories.  I averaged about 1500 calories per day.

I did not incorporate any exercise other than tracking my steps.  I averaged about 5,000 steps a day.  My goal is to get back to at least 10,000 steps a day and incorporate some type of cardio program.

My week wasn’t perfect, but neither is life.  I did have a slice of cake and some cookies when I attended a birthday party for a relative.  I used portion control to minimize my calorie intake.  As the weeks go on, my journey will become more difficult because my body will begin to adapt to the changes.  I’m taking it one day at a time and will adjust my practices when the time comes.

I started out at 197.8, and as of 3/29/14 I’m at 194.6.  That’s a 3.2 lbs. reduction.   I’m not throwing confetti just yet, but I am happy with the loss.  I realize, having been down this road before, the initial weight loss is always significant, and a lot of water weight.  But, I’m on the right track.  Hope this helps motivate or encourage someone who is thinking about or doing their own program.  I will get to doing my measurements in the near future.  I have been slacking on that front.

My partner at Liberated Mommy had success as well, so go check her out this week.  Until next week, thoughtful eating and keep moving:)

Spring into Action: Whipping into shape for the summer.

wee 1 staples

I turned 44 March 20th.  My own personal new year’s day, the start of another year in my life.

It feels like I just turned 40, and here I am 44 years old.  My reflection on this birthday was what am I waiting for.  Waiting to lose weight and get healthy, waiting to build a business, waiting to start this new chapter in my life.

No more waiting, I’m letting time and life just slip through my fingers.

I decided to recruit my sister in law who blogs a Liberated Mommy and start a challenge to get into shape for the summer.  We’ve had a long and harsh winter.  While the weather is going back and forth, we are definitely at the end of the brutal cold.  Not many more days left.  I hope!

Since my birthday was the first day of spring, I thought this is a great time to begin recalibrating our lives and establish habits that will get us started on the path of healthier living.  Besides, who doesn’t want to get ready for summer.

This challenge is not a competition, but to challenge ourselves to be better, to our bodies and in our lives.

My sister in law and I have decided to journal our process on our blogs.  We will post our progress as well as talk about our what happens along our journey.  We have the same goal, which is to shed a few pounds and inches, but we will each get their in our individual ways.

I hope our journey inspires you to challenge yourself.  At the very least get you prepared for the warmer weather so you may enjoy it to the fullest.

This is just the beginning.  Once we attain this goal, we will set new goals for ourselves to continue our life long fitness journey.  I want to be better for my daughters, and for myself.

So here I go, my beginning status:

before picMy weight is 197.8 lbs.

I will post my measurements later this week, losing inches is significant.

I’m using my Fitbit to track my calories and activity.  What I love about this is that once I purchased my device, that was it.  The online tracking is free.  It’s takes a little work, tracking your food, but the activity is downloaded to my page from my device.  fitbit

 

This challenge will run from March 23rd to June 21st, the first day of summer.    Saturdays will be our weigh in day, to monitor our progress.

I’m having my cholesterol checked this week and I will post the results when they come back.  I have a history of extremely high cholesterol, another reason I decided to take charge now.

Leave comments, ask questions and join us.  Even if weight loss is not your goal, being healthy is always important and we would still love to hear from you.

Don’t forget to check out Liberated Mommy to follow her journey.  This is going to be fun, I’m so ready!  And so ready for summer! Let’s get it going!  Spring into Action!!!

 

**Disclaimer:  I am NOT being compensated for mentioning my fitbit devise.  Any opinions are solely my own.

 

 

 

Your daughter’s not living life the way you hoped and that’s not her problem.

Mom & DaughterI had a conversation with my coworker about her daughter the other day.

Her daughter, in her mid twenties, got married last year and recently had her first child.  She is a graduate of Virginia Tech, and currently working in a temporary position as a project assistant in a local school district. My coworker exposed her daughter to a lot of activities.  She took performing arts classes, modeling classes, and participated in academic enrichment programs.  She graduated from high school with honors.

During her college career she continued to be involved in various activities to continue her well-rounded experience. A couple of weeks ago, an old college friend came to visit my coworker’s daughter.  The young woman was in New York going on interviews after earning a graduate degree from Cornell.  On a whim, she decided to visit her former college buddy to reminisce and catch up.

My coworker was impressed by this young lady.   Spontaneously flying to another city to see a friend (for the day) and sharply dressed to boot.  Not to mention it appeared she was well on her way professionally.  She saw all that for her daughter at one point. Her daughter has another friend she used to compete with in beauty pageants.  That woman went on to win a major beauty pageant competition.

It’s not that she is disappointed in her daughter’s outcome, she’s educated, married and doing well.    She saw her doing more before settling down with a family.  Being married  starting a family changes your focus. She wanted to see her live a little more life and have more experiences, personally and professionally.  Her daughter chose another path.

I can’t tell you if my coworker’s daughter has any regrets, I don’t have her input.  I can say that she made a choice, her choice. I understand my coworker’s feelings, she had her daughter and son young and raised them as a single parent, like myself.  We missed a lot of opportunities having children young. We grew up in public housing and did not have the benefit of well-rounded experiences.  This is why we poured so much into our children and made sure they were able to have experiences outside their immediate surroundings.

As a mother, our job is to help her explore life’s endless opportunities in hopes it will incite her to dream big and follow those dreams. Eventually, she will narrow her focus and follow the path that makes sense to her.  She will build a future for her life.  We merely  shape, inform and equip our daughters for their journey, not pressure and push our ideal scenario on them.

Her daughter is living a good and fulfilling life.  She’s educated and  had her first child in wedlock.  That’s a vast improvement.  I think, too, we get too hyped on the messages about living an extraordinary life and the seduction of seeing ultra successful women.  That’s great, gives us something to aspire to, but what ever happen to just living an ordinary life.  Better yet, an exceptional ordinary life, because that’s what her daughter has.

My coworker and I are both married, educated and happy.  We unfortunately took the scenic route to get here.  Her daughter took the direct path.  And although she may not be on a fast track, personally or professionally, she and her husband are gainfully employed, well adjusted and able to grow from that point.

We can often times past down our disappointments to our girls.  We work vigorously to ensure they don’t make the errors in judgment that we did.  But, we have to reconcile that our past mistakes or choices are not their responsibility and trust the work that we put in.  Trust it will render good results.  Because really that is all we can do.  Let go of your expectations and believe that you raised them to make the best choices for their life.

My oldest, also in her mid twenties, is college educated, employed, and self sufficient.  She has aspirations of marriage and starting a family in the near future.  She has career goal, but no dreams of jet setting or conquering the world.   It’s her life and I’m happy about the woman she has decided to become.  Her well being in my only concern.

Do you have a daughter who has a life that is different from what you envisioned?  What do you aspire for your younger daughters?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

photo by: J Jackson Foto

How an interest profile can evoke self awareness in girls and confirm that she’s awesome.

malinas careersMy 12 year old is taking a career prep class this report period.   For the class, she had to complete an interest profile that gives insight into possible career interests, based on certain personality traits.  Her results were that she’s artistic, social and enterprising.

It listed some careers she may be interested in like make up artist, event planner or entrepreneur.   I’m not sure of the validity of this assessment or how much credence I should give to the results.  It did, however, create a spark inside her.  It made her very curious about discovering who she is and able to become.

The profile allowed her to unpack  characteristics of herself: who she is, what she likes, what she thinks, etc.   She was becoming self aware, really interested in discovering the things that make her who she is.

My daughter  began thinking about what makes her social and creative.  As she researched the careers, she went deeper into understanding what is takes to be successful in those careers, what type of education is needed, who is already doing those jobs successfully.

She would find other personality quizzes and the like, to see if they yielded similar results.   It’s like she turned it into a game, testing to see if the same or similar traits would show up.  Surprisingly, she maintained her standing in the social and creative categories.  However, with each new quiz a new career suggestion would come up.  Her excitement grew with the new possibilities.

It’s premature for her to settle on any of this, because things will likely change as she develops and grows.  But I think this was a good activity for her to begin to understand what intrinsic value she brings to the world.  She is in middle school, and so much of girl’s time is spent trying to figure out what to be as it relates to their peers and popular culture.  It’s difficult at this age, to take the time and interest to discover who you are solely based on your individuality.

I became curious myself and wanted to know why this activity became such an interest to her.  So I asked, why was she looking into other profiles and assessments, what was she hoping to learn?  Her response, “I want to learn how awesome I am.”

Even if it doesn’t guide her to a career destiny, she has learned something more valuable and it’s what I have known since the day she was born.

What activities bring about self awareness for your girls?  Let’s compare notes.

 

 

 

 

Revenge Porn: I thought I heard of everything.

girl with phone

A coworker approached me the other day about a disturbing trend happening via the internet.  Surprise, Surprise.  She has a daughter in college, like myself.   She asked me if I had ever heard of “Revenge Porn”.  WTHeck is that, was my response.

Apparently, you can send compromising images of your  ex or someone you’re in conflict with, to a site that will then make them available to actual porn sites.   I was in disbelief.  I don’t know why, because at this point not much surprises me.

I’m sickened by how mean spirited and vengeful we are as a society.  Disappointment, rejection, etc. are a part of life.

I asked my college age daughter if she knew anything about this practice, and she does not.

I always talk to my girls about what they put out in cyber space, whether it’s texts, images or social media.  I emphasize the importance of their personal image and that once something is out there it’s gone.  Period.  I tell them if it’s not something you would want me, their dad or grandparents to see, then don’t do it.  It’s just not worth it.

We have to be ever so careful about what we do and who we trust.   And this really needs to be drilled into our girls.  One mistake can be catastrophic.

I know I’m preaching to the choir.  I feel most parents are monitoring activity and communicating with their children about the downside to technology.

Sometimes, kids just don’t think.  They don’t always get the long term effects of short term decisions.  Sharing information and keeping the lines of communication open are necessary.  It’s exhausting, but protecting our children is paramount.

Have you heard of this practice, “Revenge Porn”?  How do you keep your girls (or boys) safe?  Let me know, I would love to hear more ideas.  Thanks for reading.

 

Her First Dance.

Malina snow ball pic

This Valentine’s Day spread the “self” love.

candies

My daughter has been counting down to Valentine’s Day since right after Christmas.  She loves holidays and celebrations.

A couple weeks ago she asked me what should she do for Valentine’s Day.  I asked her to elaborate.  She said she’s too young for a ’boyfriend’ (she’s twelve) and she is not sure what to do to celebrate.

I had to marinade on that for a moment because I wasn’t sure where she was going.  Finally, it dawned on me that she is now in middle school and the usual parties and sharing of valentine cards with her class mates is passé.

So I encouraged her to do something different this year and celebrate herself.  She just made a huge transition from elementary to middle school, she was elected 6th grade representative and she is doing great academically.  We all know making the leap to middle school can be difficult.

That fact she is doing so well in her new environment is cause for celebration.  I gave her a few suggestions, some I stole from my other daughter,  to keep the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the day of love.

  1. Dress up for the day.  Wear something really special that makes her feel good.
  2. Decorate her locker (with permission).  Use wrapping paper or other decorations for embellishment.
  3. Go see a movie or rent one, with a few friends.  A good comedy or love story (PG) is always a winner.
  4. Bake and decorate her own cupcakes.  No need for a bakery, the grocery store has all you need.  She can even take some to school to share with her closest friends.
  5. Attend a school dance or party.
  6. Enjoy a special night out with the entire family.  If we don’t have special plans, nothing wrong with sharing the day with the ones you love most.

These are a few easy and fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, especially when your not a little kid, but not quite a teenager.

My daughter will be attending a dance on Saturday with a bunch of her friends from elementary school.  She is super excited to get all dressed up and reconnect with her buddies.

As we celebrate this day of love, encourage your daughter to exercise a little self appreciation.  She doesn’t need to wait on someone else to make her feel special.  She’s already special.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Video share: This is 200 calories.

A good video to start the conversation about healthy eating and a balanced diet.   There were a lot of comments debating some the “science” behind calories, but this is still a good reference to talk about eating more nutrient rich foods.  Let me know what you think and share more ideas that you may have or used in the past.

 

Skillet Chicken Parmesan: 12 year old approved!

chicken parm 1

Sunday dinner was my 12 y/o daughter’s favorite, chicken parmesan.  I have been using this recipe for a couple of years, and my family loves it.

It’s a good, healthy and hearty meal, especially for a snow filled day.  I have modified the recipe to suit our tastes.  Below are the ingredient modifications I make.

chic parm ingredients

I’m leaving a link to the recipe below.  I found it on a container of Progresso Italian style bread crumbs.  It is slightly different from the recipe on the link, so you may want to refer to the container recipe, it has more ingredients that enhance the flavor.

The recipe on the container recommends Progresso crushed tomatoes, however I use a different brand because that is not available in my local grocery store.  I prefer a blend of cheeses instead of the recommended mozzarella and we use wheat pasta.

Also, instead of using 4 breast halves I use about 10 chicken tenderloins.  Should feed a family of four with some to spare.

Either way, it’s a delicious and easy meal.  If you try it let me know what you think.  Please share any ideas you may about chicken parm or some other easy and hearty meal.

bon appetit.

 

https://progresso.com/recipes/skillet-chicken-parmigiana/b8533270-ccb0-42fc-bda6-360fad3d58e5

 

**This is not a sponsored post, I was not compensated.  These are my opinions.

Eating Right in 2014.

stir fry

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers Simple Start program.

 

So like previous years, I’m on a quest to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.   I had blood work done this past October for my routine physical.  Well, results did not come back well.  My cholesterol was through the roof and I’m think I’m pre diabetic.  At least that’s what I could make out from the lab report.

I have always had a cholesterol problem.  However the pre diabetic info is new.  I have lost and gain the same 30 pounds for the last decade.  So clearly losing weight is not my problem, it’s the maintenance.  My issue, like most working, stretched to the limit,  moms, is preparedness.  If that’s a real word.  Plus I tend to over indulge in when I’m stressed or experiencing anxiety.

Towards the end of 2013 I decided I  had enough of the yo-yo dieting and emotional eating.  Besides, my girls have acquired the bad habits that I’ve modeled.  I made up in my mind that this was it and I’m not looking back.  I already know how hard it’s to implement a new eating regiment.  I set my mind to eating better and moving forward.

I have used Weight Watchers in the past with a lot of success.  So I decided to use some of the strategies and suggestions that they provide.  They have a new program, Simple Start, that outlines various food choices that don’t require counting points.  That’s where the above dish came from.  It’s a simple stir fry that I made in about 10 minutes.

It was really good.  I tested it on my 12-year-old.  She liked it, but obviously it wasn’t as flavorful as the real deal.  My goal is to do a lot of experimenting with easy dishes as well as some of my other meals.  Cooking is key.  That is really what I need to back to.

Tonight I’m trying a fish meal made in the oven with parchment paper.  That recipe is from a book about cleaning eating.  I will give details in a later post, once I try it.

My goal is for me and the girls to do better this year with creating healthier lifestyles that fit our lives.  Eventually I will be adding how we can incorporate more activity as well.

I will put the recipe below if you would like to try the dish.  Let me know what you think.  Happy eating and being healthy in 2014.

Ingredients
4 oz cooked shrimp peeled, deveined
1 1/2 cup(s) packaged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
2 medium uncooked scallion(s) chopped
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup(s) cooked brown rice
Instructions
Combine shrimp, slaw, scallions and teriyaki sauce in a skillet; toss and heat through. Serve over rice.
Swaps
Make it vegetarian with firm, cubed tofu instead of shrimp. Use chopped carrots and onions instead of coleslaw mix and swap whole-wheat spaghetti for the rice.
Flavor Boosts
Crushed red pepper flakes, minced garlic and/or fresh chopped ginger
Disclaimer: Recipe belongs to WeightWatchers as part of their Simple Start program.  This is not a sponsored post and opinions are my own. The picture above is the meal I prepared.