Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's that time of year! Christmas decorations have been put away (sort of-- it's a slow process), the cookies are gone (sort of, again), and we're returning to our normally scheduled programs. I'm typically no good at New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't tell anyone about them either. And everything is telling me to write it down and make it public in order to keep them-- two things I never do. Usually I've forgotten about my resolutions by mid-February, so here it is. I'm writing it down and making it public. So, PLEASE check up on me. Even if you don't care, for my own sake, I'll be telling you all about my plans and filling you in on my progress's my blog. :)

So here are the resolutions in a nutshell:

1. Get healthy.
2. Get organized.
3. Live on a budget.

Today's topic: Get healthy

When it comes to exercise and nutrition because of my degree and current schooling, I know a lot. All day, everyday for four years I learned about the body, the role exercise plays in essentially every function of our bodies. I took several nutrition classes. In my DPT, I've learned literally every bone and muscle in the body. I have seen, smelled, and removed pounds and pounds of fat from the human body. It is disgusting. You'd think by now I'd be some fitness, health nut. I'd have it down. But I don't...obviously...

I know what to eat and what not to eat and usually I'm pretty good at sticking to it. I'm ready to take it up a notch though. There are tasty treats I eat that aren't necessarily nutritious, but are were low cal. Things I sort of "get by" on. And I'm ready to replace them without feeling deprived (Side note: if you're kicking off a new eating plan, I think it is ridiculous when people expect themselves to go from eating hamburgers to tomatos and cottage cheese. Give me a break. Find what you normally eat in a healthier version, and eat it in smaller portions). For me, this means cutting out my fat free pringles for lunch and possibly my 100 calorie cookie packs. With my daily turkey sandwhiches, instead of my pringles, I need to start eating fruit. Handfuls of antioxidant rich blueberries maybe? With my yogurt in the morning, I'll start stirring in ground flaxseed. And I started this last semester-- baby carrots. I love to eat. My mouth just likes to chew things up. So when I'm at school all day and forget to pack a lunch or just end up staying longer than planned, I pull out my trusty carrots and can eat as many as I want. As long as my hand is continually moving to my mouth, I'm okay. This way, by the time I get home, I'm not so hungry that I want to just pullover at Micky D's on my way home... I've also been eating a small box of raisins after lunch because I absolutely have to have something sweet at the end of my meals.

There are so many things you need in your diet (antioxidants, omega 3s, protein) and I don't have enough room to eat my usual stuff and STILL get in all of the nutrients I need. And if your body is getting it's nutrients, it won't keep craving more food. Your body craves what it needs, so even if you eat 2,000 calories worth of junk, you'll still be hungry because you haven't yet gotten what your body needs.

Something else to tackle. Lean Cuisines. Tyler and I are both busy and want to stay healthy, so our regular habit is to have LCs for most dinners with a sides of veggies. And they're good! Believe me, if Tyler will eat it... We usually buy the pasta ones (Chicken Carbonara is our fave, Shrimp & Angel Hair pasta, the lasagnas, etc...) and have green beans or peas from a can and it's actually quite filling! It's easy, it's fast, it's yummy, and a better alternative to fast food, which we don't do. But I think it's now time... Green beans from a can don't cut it. And frozen dinners won't either. I'm going to try to only buy fresh veggies-- green beans, broccoli, squash, beans. And we're going to try to only do ONE LC meal per week. As long as we plan our meals ahead of time and decide who cooks on what night (more on this in my Get Organized goal), we should be able to do it. Fresh chicken breasts, salads, salmon. I don't use butter or oil when I cook. I use Pam and lots of herbs and seasonings.

It is also a rule that we eat healthy Monday through Friday (for me this also includes no alcohol, which usually isn't a problem). Saturday and Sunday are free game (within reason). It's easier to stick to healthy eating during the week if you're allowed to indulge every once in awhile. And I NEVER, ever skip dessert. Maybe I'll list some of my recipes and dessert ideas later. And I WELCOME your own ideas. Having more meal options makes it easier to stick to, but it can be hard to be creative.

Last step: exercise. Tyler and I started a plan where we each have to work out 21 times per month. This is at least five days a week, but still allows ample breaks (9-10 days off at your choice). Exercise is at least 30 minutes of cardio. Most days we'll do 60, but some days you just can't do it... Simply walking for 30 minutes a day completely changes your mortality and disease risk, so if that's all you can do, DO IT. We're also lifting more weights. I usually get too focused on cardio because my goal is weight loss, but lifting weights (though you think will make you bigger) increases your muscle mass, which increases your metabolism, which in turn helps you burn fat more easily... We have a chart in our closet with a column for each of us that lists out 21 days. In it, we track how long our workout was, how far we walked, ran, or eliptical'd, how many calories we burned, and what weights we did. There are five bonus days listed in case either of us gets particularly motivated. We're trying to think of a punishment/reward system in the case that we don't meet our 21 days or do exceed the 21 days, to keep us motivated. The chart is in our closet so we see it every morning and every night...

So, there it is. The get healthy portion of my New Year's resolutions. So far, so good.

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