Tag Archives: healthy choices

Punctuated with a Blossom

This morning Mother Nature wrapped up my pruning posts, punctuating them with a big, pink bow–er .  . . blossom.

One of my favorite rose bushes looked decidedly unhealthy this spring. I watered it, feed it, watched it, but it didn’t regain health. In desperation I pruned it almost to the ground, hoping to give it a chance at growing properly even though the time for cutting back seemed long past.

At first I wondered if the bush would be a little sticky stump all summer. Then suddenly it shot up, three long branches climbing toward the sky. A few days ago I noticed buds. They looked a little strange on the edges, and I wondered if they would even unfold.

Here’s what greeted us this morning:

roses backyard 1

Not only had the bush survived the harsh cutting of the shears, it offered what may be the most beautiful and fragrant blossoms of any of my 8 rose bushes.

The deep pruning produced great dividends.

If you read those two pruning posts earlier in the week, (Cutting Away and Another Lesson from the Roses), you know what I’m trying to say. Sometimes we make choices for health–inside and out–that seem drastic.

Big changes.

A deep cutting away.

And though there may be a season where it seems all for naught, eventually wise change produces great return.

rose back yard 2

Don’t give up on your journey to better health, my friends. The joyful results are breath-taking as you reclaim your life.

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Wise change brings breath-taking beauty

(PS. If all this pruning talk makes you think of other areas of your life, not just sugar or McDonald’s french fries, you might want to tune in on Sunday. Several years ago I wrote a devotion about pruning. I’ve decided to share that tomorrow on Spirit Seeker Sunday.)

Lavender and Mint – Simple Pleasures

Simple, no cost, no maintenance pleasure. If you’re on a journey to better health, you’ve been told to drink more water. Let’s face it. As fabulous as cool, clear water is, it can become a task instead of a pleasure to get the amount you need. There are lots of wonderful recipes out there to add a little pizzazz to your water. Mine isn’t anything new, but it feels extra special to me because it comes straight from my yard, to my refrigerator, to  my glass.lavender growing

A couple of summers ago I purchased a small lavender plant. A friend told me it was hardy, easy to grow, and had lots of uses. Last summer a friend shared a few of her mint plants with me. I threw them in the ground next to the lavender, no extra care, and they grew.

This summer I’m harvesting. (I did last summer, too. You can harvest right away.) It’s very simple. I break a few leaves off, rise them, and toss them in a pitcher of water. I cover the pitcher and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I have gently flavored (and scented) water to drink.

lavendar in pitcher

I add water a few times a day so the pitcher never runs dry. My mint and lavender leaves last 4-5 days before I decide they aren’t as potent as they were initially and need to be replaced.

lavender glass

I just consumed roughly 12 ounces of water as I typed this post. Each sip brought pleasure as a gentle whiff of lavender scented the air as I drank.

Of course you could have mint water or lavender water. You don’t have to do both at once, though I prefer it.

And just as aside, we served up fancy waters at Sarah’s wedding a few weeks ago. I love it that something as basic and healthy as water can become special with so little effort.

I wanted to write a profound post this first entry after my series about my daughter’s wedding. Guess I wasn’t really up to digging deep this time, but here’s what I’m thinking: Life isn’t usually about the big, impacting stuff–like weddings. Enjoying life is often about the simple moments, the tiny pleasures. Lavender leaves in water. A walk with someone you love. A brief pause in the rushing to enjoy the beauty right in your own yard.

Here’s a bit of what I savored in my pause this evening, right before Jerry and I sauntered through the neighborhood, holding hands in the falling dusk.

From the flower bed beside the front sidewalk

flowers 6

My mailbox. You can’t tell in this picture, but it is yellow, one of my favorite colors.  My sister-in-law painted it  as a surprise to cheer me up during a gloomy season. This year I planted red and white flowers beneath it to honor my neighbor, who hates yellow and has threatened to paint my mailbox red!

flowers 1

My other favorite color is pink. (Though since Sarah’s wedding I’ve become partial once again to purple, which was my favorite color in childhood.) I’m especially enjoying this unique flower this year. I love its cheery yellow face, so pretty framed in pink! It’s also cool how the yellow is outlined in purplish magenta.

flowers 4

What simple pleasures do you enjoy?

Pass along this healthy tip with these tweetables:

Drinking the water you need can be a simple pleasure.

Lavender and mint flavored water: ordinary to extraordinary

Simple pleasures and healthy choices

Be Prepared (Day 123)

Hi Folks!

Still scheduling ahead so I can be all about the wedding for a few days. My guess is I’m completely exhausted and either sleeping or trying to sleep as you read this post. Or helping take down the wedding tent!

Just because my life is in a circling pattern doesn’t mean yours is, so I’ll continue with the weight loss journal and one of these days when I come up for air I’ll share some wedding photos and stories!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Day 123 ~ My agent liked my work. Whew! Now the wait on the editor begins.

Stephen wins tournament 3Had some success at lunch today. I went to Stephen’s Mixed Martial Arts tournament. I hadn’t seen him compete before. He’s really good! I did feel sorry for the smaller guy when Stephen picked him up and slammed him on the mat, but I was pleased when my boy got first in his division.

His success was on the mat, but my success was dealing with the unhealthy high-priced food. I took my BeNew shake (chocolate with almond milk and no add-ins). I also had a protein bar in my purse, but I chose not to eat it because I planned a nice meal for the kids tonight and wanted to limit my calorie intake so I could eat more at supper. I’ll admit the over-priced fries and chicken fingers at those stupid concession stands actually smelled good to me. I don’t know if they would have tasted good. I haven’t had food like that for some time. I’m really glad I planned ahead for when I got hungry, took my shake, and didn’t take spending money.

Between the cold of February and my increased work load I’ve struggled to walk as much as I was doing. Today I couldn’t see how I could get a walk in and get everything done. Jerry suggested I walk to Sam’s Club for the groceries, and he would meet me there so I didn’t have to carry them home. Thus I got everything done AND walked a couple of miles. He’s a keeper.

Interesting, I haven’t eaten much pasta in the last few months, but I ate some at supper when I made one of the kid’s favorite meals.  I noticed that my fingers swelled a little later than night. There was a storm coming, so it may have been barometric pressure, but I wonder if it was the pasta! ~ Feb. 23, 2013

Real Time:

I’ve admitted here before that I don’t like to be scheduled too tightly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in planning, especially for health. A few minutes to grab a healthy snack, pack a healthy lunch, or prepare a BENew shake can mean the difference between success and caving to a moment of weakness.

To Ponder and Share:

Plan ahead. Carry a healthy snack. Be prepared for hunger.

Overcome temptation by being prepared.

Preparation: the difference between success and caving to weakness.

Oh Yeah. That. (Day 86)

I should have known.

One thing I haven’t yet talked about on this blog is the effect of the monthly cycle on the weight loss journey. In last week’s entries I complained about emotional cravings. I was surprised they were so strong after having much reduced cravings on the BENew system. Last night I suddenly felt all bloated and icky and, well, if you’re female you know what came next.

I hadn’t had a cycle in a long time. Had hoped I was crossing that line through perimenopause to the other side of glorious freedom.

I guess not yet.

But the point is that PMSing affects how we deal with our food. As a young woman it meant a coke and fries every time. I can still hear my new husband’s voice early in our marriage, patiently explaining that adding caffeine and fat into my diet only made PMS worse. He talked me into a good calcium supplement and got me to a chiropractor and things settled down. But the craving for foods higher in fat content during PMS days has never gone away.

The good news is that even though I had a super rough start to my day after lying awake half the night, I scheduled a phone call with one of my best friends (who lives WAY too far away!) during my walk. The trek stretched to 5.28 miles before I decided I needed to turn off my tracking app and sit down for the rest of our conversation—which was a glorious two hours.

My friend and I do this every month or so, and it was super encouraging when she noted that I hadn’t huffed and puffed this time. She said she couldn’t even tell I was walking while I talked with her.

I dreamed last night that I was running. Not just the block or two I run periodically on my walks, but for a mile, then two, and I wasn’t even winded.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband and I are rebuilding after the parent company of his business canceled the products, leaving us without an income. We’re excited about what is happening in his life and our family now that he works for Life Force International, and we’re building toward a more secure financial future.

Meanwhile, we have lots of mouths to feed, and I’m becoming quite the gleaner, trying to eat healthier while blueberries to freezestill being very frugal. My friend, Niki Nowell, helps. She and her husband have a ministry to the homeless and are a hub for resources for them and for lots of others who struggle. She came across a bunch of blueberries the grocery store didn’t want to pick through . . . they were starting to turn, some of them no longer usable, but about half of each little 6 oz carton still was.

 

My friend sent me home from her house with two flats. I spent a couple of hours tonight sorting through the blueberries, keeping the good ones and tossing the bad. Then I froze them in 1 cup servings to go into my BEFull shake. I feel so blessed to find ways to eat healthy and enjoy the good blueberries frozenfood. I now have 14 cups of blueberries neatly stored in my freezer—and they cost me nothing but a little elbow grease.

~January 17, 2013

 

Real Time Update:

Still trying to get reorganized at our house! On Monday we finished up the last bit of painting in my son’s new bedroom, and now we’re trying to find a new home for everything that’s been piled in the living room and den for that last week. I’m hoping that I burned a lot of calories in the 8 days of decluttering, boxing stuff up, and painting we did because there was no time for exercise or even rest!

We did take Easter Sunday off of this major project. Jerry and I went out to breakfast, then met the kids at church. Back home we rested, walked a couple of leisurely miles, and sought to recuperate! I read a fun little inspirational novel called, “Sandwich with a Side of Romance.” It was the perfect way to unwind. Monday morning the amazing Jen came over to  finish up the final touch-ups on the painting. We’re almost there. It’s weird how this losing the junk in our home feels connected to losing the pounds off my body.

How About You?

What healthy foods do you delight in? What ways are you losing weight besides pounds off your body?

Weight Loss Journey Day 61

Darn those two pieces of Christmas candy! Pretty much exactly the amount of calories I was over 1200  . . . weird to think of life this way, of how something so small can impact a goal so easily. ~December 23, 2012

Real Time Update:

MadetoCraveDevotional1591

Thanks to the Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst I’ve been thinking a lot about the word, “consider.” Her thoughts, along with my own calorie tracking journey, have also led me to think about the word, “mindful.”

So much of the journey to weight loss and health is simply learning to be mindful of my choices. What I am putting in my mouth? Is this a healthy choice? If I eat this now, how do I need to eat later to be healthy and meet my weight loss goal? How much water have I had? Have I made movement a priority?

Part of being mindful is considering the motivation behind my choices. Why am I choosing to eat this? Am I seeking to fill an emotional need that will still be unfulfilled? Am I hungry? Am eating because of I’m tired? Is there a choice that would meet my need more directly? Maybe I need to eat something different, or maybe I don’t need food at all. Maybe I need a nap, a walk, a talk with a friend–or God.

In Made to Crave Lysa said to “consider the joy.” She pointed her readers to the joy that’s coming from the result of good choices. I’m not yet at my goal, but this is already a reality for me.  I have much joy in being stronger, healthier, more energetic, and thinner.

As I continue to make lifestyle changes, I bet I’ll need to stay mindful, to consider the why’s and to think about the consequences and rewards for the rest of my life.

I’m still growing in this attempt. I’m much improved but not perfect. With the good nutrition of the Life Force and BENew products I’m on, my cravings for unhealthy food are much reduced. However, when intense times hit I still struggle.

This week my husband had a four hour procedure on his heart. I’d forgotten how it felt to have my insides screaming for chocolate and Fritos, but sitting in the surgery waiting room staring at the vending machine was a poignant reminder.

Thankfully, I’d prepacked  healthy choices: my BEFull shake, a tangelo, walnuts, dried cranberries, and some spinach leaves. I even packed a pretty plate and a real fork. I ate one meal out, and it was healthy. I walked to the restaurant, so I got over a mile of walking in.

My downfall was Jerry’s second meal tray late in the evening. Surgery over, he was in his hospital room enjoying his second meal of salmon.

I ate his pound cake.

It wasn’t even good.

It wasn’t comforting. it wasn’t tasty. It didn’t satisfy my junk food craving. It didn’t reduce my stress level.

Why on earth did I eat the whole thing?

Even as I ate I realized I was making a choice NOT to consider why I did it or how it went against my goals. I even chose to ignore how tasteless it was and the fact I didn’t even like it. I just kept taking the next bite even as I knew I ate out of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and even as I knew the pound cake was not helping.

I just didn’t care.

Funny thing. Today I DO care.

What About You?

Have you reached for something in a high stress situation that didn’t satisfy?