Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 45 Progress

Week 45 - Wow!!  How is everyone doing?

I was asked by a long time reader about my exercise routine.  This reader has so far lost almost 40 pounds by changing up his diet and eating in a more healthy manner.  He hasn't started exercising yet and he wasn't really sure what was holding him back.  That's a good question.  Is anyone else struggling with exercise?  This is a common problem for a lot of reasons.

Honestly, some people just don't know what to do or what to try first.  That was my biggest problem when I began my weight loss journey.  So I started with the easiest thing I could think of - simply walking.  I went on long walks - everyday.  That's it - just walked.  Then I increased how far I walked.  Once I lost a couple of pounds by changing my diet, I started to jog a little.  Just a block or 2 at a time and then I'd continue walking.  Then I started using a treadmill and tried increasing the incline.  The higher the incline, the more calories I'd burn.  I took my time because I didn't want to injure myself.  So walking is a great way to start.

Some people like to join a yoga class or an exercise class.  How about a dance class?  Hip hop?  If you don't feel comfortable going out to a class with other people, then check out your television or u-tube.  There are tons of different exercise shows and a lot of them will explain how to do certain exercises and what the benefits of each exercise will be.  Start slow - do 10 minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes.

How about hiking, or biking?  Tennis, golf, racquetball?  Think about what you like to do and if you're physically able, then give it a try.  As always, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  But it is a well known fact that exercise and activity will help to burn calories and in combination with watching what you eat, it helps to lose weight faster in most cases.

If anyone is beginning an exercise program, I'd like to hear about it.  See you next week!

Monday, October 21, 2013

5K Update - SUCCESS

5K Update - Success!!!!

I am SO pleased to announce that my mom has completed her Couch to 5K running program.  I can personally tell you that it was a lot of hard work and struggle, but she did it.  Let's hear what she has to say about it....

I did it!  I finally ran the 5K.  If you've been following along, you'll remember that I started this journey as a result of my high cholesterol level of 290 at my last doctors appointment in June.   Tony and I decided to blog about my running experience in an effort to enlighten others and hopefully encourage people to embark on a healthier eating and exercise program.  I posted my first article about it here.

Since then, we've been doing updates on my progress.  I've done the entire Couch to 5K program in the comfort of my own home, on my treadmill.  It was hard.  It was a struggle.  I wanted to give up more times than I can count.  Twice I had to repeat a week's worth of the program because of going out of town and not running while we were gone.  I'm sorry I didn't write down the date that I actually began the program, but I did it in less than 12 weeks.

But last week, I did it - I ran the entire 5K on my treadmill.  I did the entire 3.1 miles in 39.02 minutes.  I know the time isn't the best - it equates to about 13 minute miles, but I don't care.  I did it!  I want to do a cartwheel across the living room.

So, what now?  Well, I'm going to continue running on the treadmill.  I need to bump up my time and I'd like to increase the mileage a little more.  At some point I'd like to run an actual 5K.  I also want to get out and run on some trails a little bit.  I think it would be more fun and definitely more interesting to run outside.

Some added extras to running the program:

  • I lost 6 pounds over all.  That's a lot of weight for me because I'm only 5'2" and I weighed 111 to start with.  I actually lost one whole clothes size.
  • My legs are more toned and muscular.  I used to have great legs, but age has taken its toll and I lost a lot of muscle.  I was getting flabby and lost muscle tone.  My legs are firming up now and I can really see a difference.
  • My breathing has greatly improved.  I can also notice a difference when I'm out walking or hiking.  I don't get as winded.
  • My endurance has vastly improved.  When I started running I could barely run 30 seconds.  Now I'm running for 40 minutes.  I have so shocked myself!!
  • I'm eating a lot better.  I couldn't tell you the last time I've eaten fried food.  I have a healthy smoothie everyday.  I've added a lot more grains to my diet.
I will continue to fine tune this program for myself.  I hope that after a year of healthier eating and running that my cholesterol levels will have gone down.  I certainly hope they will.  If you're thinking of starting a running program, I can recommend the Couch to 5K Program.  I bought it as an app from I Tunes.  I'm not endorsing I - Tunes or the app.  I've received no compensation from either of them.  I just used the app on the recommendation of someone else and it worked really well for me.  I can honestly say that I would not have been able to do the 5K without the app.  It pushed me and also had me progress at a pace that I wouldn't have known to do myself.  I definitely think I would have quit doing this without the app.  It also helped to blog about it because I felt an obligation to keep at it.  

If anyone is considering doing something similar to this, please, go see your doctor first.  Get a check up and his OK and his advise.  If you feel you need to make some changes, then do it.  The most important step is the first step. Do it for yourself.  Do it for your loved ones.  Go ahead - take a step.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mom's Special Smoothies

My mom has been on a smoothie kick and she came up with a really good one that we're going to share with you today.  Take it away mom!

Today I'm going to share my special smoothie with you.  I drink one of these every night after I get off the treadmill.  My husband's been drinking one as well and I'll tell you, it's really cut down on our junk food snacking at night.

I make a blender full of smoothie and I have enough for a full glass each for Louie and I, as well as a Tervis drink cup that I stick in the refrigerator and Louie drinks the next morning for breakfast.  This is how much one blender full makes....

Let me first say that I am not endorsing any of the products I'm using.  I generally buy most of my ingredients in bulk at Costco and frankly, I usually buy whatever is cheapest. 

I start with 2 - 6 oz. containers of yogurt.  I favor banana, strawberry or vanilla but you can use whatever you want....

2 tablespoons of Flaxseed.  Flaxseed is really good for you and if you're not familiar with it, go read this.

I'm not much of one for measuring anything and I  just sort of eyeball it.  So I toss in 2 handfuls of oatmeal.  This is regular Quaker Oats oatmeal, not the instant oatmeal....

Do you eat kale?  I'll be honest, before now I never did.  But Tony was telling me how good it is for me and then my mom said she's been using it in her smoothies for a long time and she sent me this really interesting link.  Please take the time to go read it.  You will be amazed at all of the health benefits of kale.

I go to the store and buy 2 huge bunches of fresh kale.  I wash it really good, leaves and stems, and then just stuff it all in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer.  When I need it for my smoothies I just grab 2 handfuls of frozen kale (remember, its not cooked) and toss it into the blender...

I also buy a giant container of fresh spinach and do the same thing - wash it good, stuff it into a bag and throw it in the freezer.  Grab 2 handfuls of the frozen spinach and add that to the blender also.  Stick with me, I promise you this is yummy.

Ok, now for the fruit.  You can use whatever you want.  We just happened to have bought a bag of frozen peaches and a bag of frozen blueberries.  But sometimes I use strawberries instead which I buy fresh when they're on sale and then wash and freeze.  Or bananas - as soon as they are ripe I break them into 3 or 4 chunks and freeze them too.  The other day I had some fresh mango and I tossed some of that into the smoothie instead of the peaches.  Use whatever you want.

But here I'm using 2 handfuls of blueberries.....

And 2 handfuls of peaches.....

Then I fill the blender with some fat free milk and blend it all real good...

And this is what you end up with!  Isn't that pretty?  The color will change a little depending on how much spinach and kale you use.  Sometimes it's more green. 

Now don't be turning up your nose at the spinach and kale.  I swear you won't even taste it and it's so good for you.  These smoothies are filling.  It takes me about 20 minutes to drink mine.  I don't gulp it down.  And my husband doesn't always eat breakfast, so he takes his Tervis cup with him when he leaves for work and drinks it in the truck. 

The point is - these are delicious.  They are filling.  They keep me from eating crap I shouldn't be eating.  And most importantly, I am eating a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables that I normally wouldn't be including in my diet.  You really might want to give these a try.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 42 Progress

How is everyone doing with their diet programs?  Have you changed the way you're eating?  Are you getting more exercise?  Who is doing what?  Let's hear some updates!  We're in the home stretch.  October is here and the end of the year isn't far off.  If you're thinking of starting a program now, go ahead.  Better late than never!