Tag Archives: healthy eating

Life: A Bowlful of Salad?

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Here I sit, munching salad and pondering the Benew journey. The salad surprised me.

As I made it a few minutes ago thoughts like boring filled my mind.

Sabotage along the lines of, “Really? For the rest of your life you’re going to mindful of how you eat? Avoid unhealthy, high calorie foods? Eat salad?”

But here I sit. The red and green grapes add sweet freshness to the spinach and the handful of mixed nuts a nice protein crunch. I’m super glad I didn’t give into the nagging negativity, the voice that tried to talk me out of getting my greens.

It seems all good things will be confronted.

It’s a strange place to be, this new phase where I am content with my body. I could lose a few more pounds, but I feel “normal.” I’m not counting calories anymore. I’m taking my BENew metabolism booster, but I only do a meal replacement shake when I want to, not daily like I did when I was serious about dropping weight. Sometimes I crave my BEfull shake, blended with frozen fruit. Other times I don’t. Sometimes, like today, I want left-overs and try to balance whatever they are by having a reasonable portion and a big salad. And sometimes I just want to blow off this whole journey. On those days I lie awake at night wondering if the bad choices I made will result in going backwards.

A good writer wouldn’t use the word “sometimes” repeatedly like I just did. But that’s where I’m living.

Sometimes. 

It comes from seeking a new normal, trying to sustain the healthier lifestyle I’ve chosen even when I’m not intentionally fighting to drop pounds. Before I was motivated by a goal. Now my only motivation is not to return to go backwards. (That and to look good in my friend Megan’s dress for the Carol Awards* in a few weeks.)

The never-never land of maintenance isn’t cut and dry. I no longer try to hit 12 or 1300 calories a day. I just try to eat smart and move. The lack of a calorie counter’s accountability is scary sometimes, and sometimes I abuse the freedom. Other times it’s freeing, and I do just fine. There’s that word again.

Sometimes.

I want to avoid extremes. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life obsessing about calories; I also don’t want to throw caution to the wind. Thus this struggle of finding a new normal.

A friend told me her method for maintenance is to weigh every few days. If she’s gained a pound or two, she cuts back to 1200 again until she returns to her target weight.  It sounds reasonable. What about you? Anybody have good advice on the end of the weight loss journey, those days when you could lose a pound or two, but mostly want to maintain?

I want my eating life to be more than a bowlful of salad–but I also want to be healthy and sustain the better habits I’ve developed.

Invite a friend to the discuss on maintenance:

Is life a bowlful of salad?

*The Carol Awards, sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers, honor a book ofHeartsongChristm.indd the year in multiple genres. My novella, “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” included in the Christmas collection, Postmark: Christmas, is a finalist for best novella of 2012. Winners will be announced in September.

Back in the Saddle Again

 

empty plate

After eight months of consistently watching the scale go down (albeit sometimes slowly), I had the shock of seeing it go the other way!

Okay. I wasn’t really shocked. I knew there would be consequences of not thinking about what went into my mouth. We had several big meals here at home, including a huge steak dinner with all the fixings and a big going away cake for Alex, the amazing young man from Spain who stayed with us for a month.

This was followed by a day at the Broadmoor with my writing buddies–complete with two amazing meals out. And then I had an out of town guest who spoiled me rotten, buying my favorite treats, introducing me to a fancy Moscato, and taking me out to all her favorite restaurants. The picture to the left pretty much tells the whole story. That one was the desert at Carrabbas. Yes, I got every drop, but in my defense I did SHARE that dessert AND the main course. (It was the bread, wine, and mozzarella cheese sticks that were the real problem–or maybe the amount of food in all those courses.)

The other issue is that once you pull out all the stops and eat foods you haven’t had much of in a while, you crave them again. And once you give into larger portions than you need, it quickly becomes a habit. Still, I’ve always said I want to do this weight loss journey in a way I can sustain. To be too finicky about my food while in the midst of all these special events is probably not a sustainable attitude, for me at least.

So what’s a girl to do?

Go back to what she knows.

Thankfully after a few days of making a point to get in a walk, do some crunches, and eat reasonably, the scale started going the other direction this morning and that three pound pouch gone. It was easily fixed.

dance at broadmoor

What strikes me about this experience is how easily those pounds come back and how long-term this life change is for me. NOTHING, even the bread and spiced olive oil at Carrabbas, is worth putting that 50 plus pounds back on. It feels good to nip that whole gig in the bud and choose today to stay on the journey of health.

You may think that I didn’t blog for a while ’cause I was hiding out and feeling guilty. Nope. Honest. I was just having too much fun to get to a computer. And vacations, even from thinking about food, are okay if they don’t last too long.

So folks, had lots of fun this summer and enjoyed many flavors, but I’m back in the saddle again.

How About You?

Any helpful hints for me as I climb back into the saddle and stick to my life-long journey of better health?

Tweet it!

Make the next good choice, even if the last wasn’t so hot

What does 200 calories look like?

A pat of butter. 2 1/2 medium apples. It’s crazy how different 200 calories looks depending on the food. A friend recommended this linkat ArtFido. Take a second to glance through it. It’ll make you think twice about what you’re eating.

Here’s a sneak preview taken from their website. These two pictures are expected, but some of the foods may surprise you.

As you look at the pictures on Artfido, ask yourself what kind of nutrition is displayed. My friend Kathleen talks about eating foods that are nutrient dense. In other words, spending calories on what makes your mind and body stronger and healthier instead of using up calories on foods low in nutrition.

How’s your day been? If you think about 200 calorie chunks, have they fed your body or just added calories?

What does 200 calories look like?

Plugging In Again

First off, can I simply say I’ve missed you?

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. I’ve taught on writing or being a writer or encouraging writers four times–and had a blast talking about MY writing at a local book club.

Besides all that speaking stuff, I’ve been to Montrose, Breckenridge, and Estes Park; spent several glorious days with my best buddies from college days; hosted company; attended part of a Life Force leadership conference with hubby; and welcomed a wonderful young man from Spain into our home.

It’s very satisfying except for the fact I had some minor withdrawal issues when I was unplugged from almost all media for most of a week and didn’t write this blog!

That said, I did NOT give up on my journey to health. Here’s a picture to prove it:

salad at restaurant 2

Last Monday night my girlfriends indulged me by leaving our internet free zone at a cabin in Breckenridge so I could teach at the historic Milheim Mansion in Denver.

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Before the speaking engagment, my friends and I ate out together. Eating out usually means I get what I WANT, and that is NOT usually a salad. But that night I truly wanted the salad. (Will wonders never cease?) It sounded exotic with cranberries and nuts and some fancy grain and a fancy cheese I’d never heard of. (Maybe that’s part of my growing up as an eater, trying unfamiliar things. I’m still pretty tenuous, but there was a little stretching going on that night.) I’ve often joked that I still eat like a two year-old, but this time I didn’t.

salad at restaurant

Well, mostly I didn’t. I did separate out all the chunks of chicken and cheese because they just didn’t seem to combine well. So I still had little piles on my plate where I played with my food.

salad at restaurant 3

Still, the healthy meal was just right for the tummy as it started to feel a bit nervous before my teaching gig. As it turned out I LOVED teaching on characterization and got great feedback from the attendees. It was a round robin approach so I taught three times in a row. And of course I over-prepared, so I was talking super fast to cover the most important part of my notes.

Afterwards I was hyper and hungry. It was late, and we had a long drive back up the mountain. Since I keep it real here on A Benew Journey, I feel compelled to tell you that I ate a snack purchased at . . . oh, ouch, I hate to admit it . . . McDonalds. That’s what was open right off I-70 at 11 p.m. The good news is I had a fruit smoothie instead of a oreo shake. The bad news (especially after bragging that I hadn’t done this since last October) is that I had McDonalds fries.

I tell you that kind of stuff to help us both guard against all or nothing thinking. Yes, I caved to something unhealthy late on a Monday night. But that didn’t mean my whole journey to health was sabotaged. In fact, after eating mostly healthy and doing a lot of walking and hiking Breckenridge I actually came home a pound or two lighter as well as a bit wiser. More on that next time . . .

What About You? Would love to hear about YOUR summer escapades.

Top it with Cholula Sauce!

salad chicken, salsa, cholula

Ever need a salad with a kick? My great discovery is: Top it with Cholula sauce!

The salad pictured here is spring lettuce, ground chicken, salsa and Cholula sauce.

I LOVE it. Easy. Healthy. Low calories. Filling.

But most of all? TASTY

Share the flavor:

Top it with Cholula Sauce

Low calorie doesn’t have to be bland

No Problem! (Day 104)

pizza portion salad tangelo 3A party? No problem!

It’s pretty cool that the Super Bowl celebration at my house yesterday didn’t freak me out. I’ve learned that if I attend a special event I can choose to eat more moderately, but have foods I don’t typically have, and it won’t be a problem as long as I stay to my habits of lower calories, healthier foods, and exercise the rest of the week.

Since I had some food I’m not used to during the Superbowl game yesterday, I focused on really healthy eating today. I started with my BEFull shake with some papaya (which helps digestion) and strawberries in it. At lunch I had a small piece of left-over homemade whole wheat pizza with a huge salad with Walnuts and pomegranates, a tangelo, and some strawberries. I also walked almost 4 miles. It felt good to return to these habits.                                     ~ Feb. 4, 2013

Real Time Update:

I think the best trick to having healthy eating habits and decent calorie counts without tracking every bite is to simple fill half or more of the plate with salad. Then if I’m having meat, the next biggest portion is my protein, and the smallest portion is a starch or carb if I’m having that.

What About You?

Any tricks for eating healthy and low calorie without tracking every bite?

Mango Miracle (Middle Weight Loss Journey Days 70 and 71)

The posts below are taken from what I now consider my middle journey, about 1/3 of the way into my weight loss goals.

Day 70

Went out for a wonderful New Year’s Day breakfast with Jerry. Since I racked up so many calories at breakfast I had a small bowl of soup for lunch and my shake for supper. I feel satisfied. Isn’t it amazing I’m starting to feel satisfied with so much less food?

Added up my miles for December. I walked 64.44 miles in that one month! I’m thrilled.                          ~ January 1, 2013

Day 71

Mango Miracles

Frozen Mango and papaya. At first I used smaller individual bags and froze in 1 cup servings. Now I freeze in 1/2 cup servings so I can mix more flavors without having too much. I also wrap the fruit in plastic wrap and only use one larger Ziploc bag. Always looking to save $$. (The only caveat here is that blueberries tend to freeze better in individual bags because they are so round that they break out of the plastic and roll around.)

This is embarrassing. I said I prayer, and when God answered I was too dense (at first) to see the answer right in front of my eyes.

Here’s what happened. I’ve wished for frozen mango to go in my shakes at lunch but didn’t want to spend the money with everything so tight right now. So I said a little mango prayer, letting the Lord know my desire.

Today I went to the discount food place. I was IN MY CAR driving away when I realized there was a whole flat of an unfamiliar fruit. I went back in, “uh . . . are those mangos?”

Honestly, I’d never bought one whole, only cut up and frozen in a bag!  The discount place was about to close, and there were a whole flat of mangos left that needed quick attention, so they gave them to me.

Tonight I peeled, cubed, and froze 22 cups of mango, wrapped individually. That’s 22 meals when I can add tang to my shake! I also prepared 3 pomegranates and froze some papaya and pears that needed to be used quickly before they were old. It feels super good to have healthy, low calorie food frozen and waiting.

Real Time Update:
Some people say that eating healthy is cheaper than eating poorly. At our house I was already cooking from scratch and mostly avoiding processed food when I began trying to lose weight and eat more healthy foods. To take it up a notch with more fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein has NOT been cheaper. But between prayers and a willingness to work, there has been provision beyond my budget.

What About You?

Do you have any tricks to eat well and not break the bank?