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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Not Doing so Great on this Tracking Thing

I know tracking food is important for my success

In the past, my most successful weight loss always occurred when I consistently tracked what I ate, yet for some reason I keep letting days go by where I don't keep track of my food intake.

I know I need to do better, and there isn't really any reason I'm not except that in the moment I make an excuse to not track. It might be that someone offers me something I shouldn't eat.  Or that I know my breakfast was too high in calorie and that I probably won't be able to come within my goal for the day.  It might be that I was just too busy one day... but in the end they are all excuses.

I know I need to stop the excuses if I want to lose weight.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

"Pizza" Hummus

Pizza Hummus?

I really love pizza, but it isn't always the healthiest choice.  Sometimes I work it in anyway, but I can't just eat it ever day.



I also love hummus, but many of the prepackaged varieties are fairly high in fat in calories, however the main ingredient of hummus, is chickpeas, low in fat, high in fiber, and a decent amount of protein to boot.  


So one day I got to thinking, what about a "pizza" flavored hummus, homemade, so that I could have some control over the fat and calorie content.  I did quite a bit of experimenting to come up with this recipe, and I think its pretty good.  I like to cut large carrots into thin diagonal slices, dip them into the hummus and eat them like chips.


Ingredients:
15.5 oz can of Chickpeas (Liquid reserved)
1/2 tsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes
3 Tbsp 5th Seasonings Italian seasoning
Directions:
Reconstitute tomatoes in water for 15 minutes, Rinse and drain chickpeas, place in food processor, add back 3 Tbsp of the liquid from the can. Combine all other ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth.
I have found that if I don't have tahini, if I replace some of the olive oil (about 1/2 TB) with sesame oil, I don't miss it at all.
Serving size 1/4 cup.
Servings per recipe: 6
Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories....................................................... 95.3
Total Fat:..................................................... 3.8 g
Saturated Fat............................................... 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:................................... 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat.................................. 2.1 g
Cholesterol............................................... 0.0 mg
Sodium................................................. 337.3 mg
Potassium............................................. 273.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate.................................... 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber................................................ 4.1 g
Sugars.......................................................... 1.6 g
Protein......................................................... 4.0 g
Vitamin A.................................................... 6.5 %
Vitamin B-12............................................... 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6................................................. 1.7 %
Vitamin C.................................................... 6.0 %
Vitamin D.................................................... 0.0 %
Vitamin E..................................................... 1.5 %
Calcium........................................................ 2.9 %
Copper.......................................................... 2.2 %
Folate............................................................ 0.8 %
Iron............................................................... 6.8 %
Magnesium..................................................... 1.5 %
Manganese....................................................... 2.7 %
Niacin.............................................................. 1.6 %
Pantothenic Acid............................................. 0.7 %
Phosphorus...................................................... 1.3 %
Riboflavin........................................................ 1.4 %
Selenium.......................................................... 0.2 %
Thiamin........................................................... 1.5 %
Zinc.................................................................. 0.6 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.




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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Staying Accountable

I Need to Be Accountable

On my last post, I set some goals for the week, now those goals were not huge insurmountable goals, they were realistic, doable goals.  They were to continue walking each day, and to track all my food, whether I was in my limit or not.  Now it is time to be accountable for the week so far, and tell my readers how I did April 3, 4, and 5th.



A Day by Day Report

Here I am going to give a Day-by-day breakdown of how I've been doing.  I'll try to be brief.  Throughout the day-by-day report, you'll read the term "Net Calories", for those who don't know what "Net Calories" are, MyFitnessPal provides the following definition:
"We set your nutritional target in Net Calories which we define as:
Calories Consumed (Food) - Calories Burned (Exercise) = Net Calories
This means that if you exercise, you will be able to eat more for that day. For example, if your Net Calorie goal is 2000 calories, one way to meet that goal is to eat 2,500 calories of food, but then burn 500 calories through exercise.
Think of your Net Calories like a daily budget of calories to spend. You spend them by eating, and you earn more calories to eat by exercising. We do not recommend that women consume fewer than 1200 calories, or men fewer than 1500 calories, on a given day."
My Fitness Pal recommends that if I wan to lose 2 pounds a week, I should have a net calorie intake of 1450, and if I want to lose 1 pound a week I should have a net calorie intake of 1950.  So my personal goals is to try to stay within the 1450 limit, but if I'm really hungry its okay for me to come somewhere between 1450 and 1950.

April 3

On April 3 I started out pretty good, I logged my food through lunch, then I stopped.  I didn't go crazy with my food, but I probably did go a little over my recommended net calories. I also didn't walk like I'd planned.  As far as the walking goes, in my defense I was dead tired.  For some reason I woke up after only 3 hours of sleep, and couldn't fall back to sleep, so I spent most of the day sitting on the couch feeling like a zombie.

April 4

April 4th was the day my son came home from a mission trip in Nepal.  Even though it would have been easy to use that as an excuse to order pizza or something like that, I didn't.  I also succeeded recording all of my food.  I consumed 1733 calories, burned 180 in exercise, so my net calories were 1553.  Well with my limit.

April 5

Today is April 5th, and today I did a little better than yesterday. I logged all of my calories and I went for a walk.  I consumed 1512 calories, burned 138 in exercise, so my net calories 1374. That was a pretty good day.

Goals for the rest of the week.

My goals for the rest of the week are exactly what they've been so far, to record all my food and to go for a walk each day.  I'm not adding more goals right now... I'll just keep working on being consistent with these ones.



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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Not Giving UP

I've Started Over So Many Times

I've lost weight before, and gained it back, and lost it again, and gained it back.  

Each time I've lost, I've felt great, but never quite got into what doctors would call a "healthy weight". In fact the last time I was anywhere near a healthy weight was in my early 20's, and now I'm 48.  

Each time I've regained, I managed to not gain it all back, until my last gain, where I reached a new high of 288 (my previous highest weight was 287, so I didn't go much over it, but still, I pushed that number up).

False Starts

I tried to start again on January 30th of this year, but over quickly lost steam and gained again. It wasn't really that I was hungry or the cravings were too strong, I just lost motivation. I don't really know why.   For whatever reason though, my weight as of last Sunday (March 26th), was 287.6 pounds.  

Motivation is Fleeting

It seems that motivation is a very fleeting thing. Its also a very necessary thing for weight loss.  How to keep it is the question. 

In the past working out really fueled my motivation.  I enjoyed seeing the progress I made, especially with strength training.

Unfortunately, a lot of my strength training is out of the question, I just can't do it because of an injury to my arm that doesn't ever seem to heal.  Doctors want to attribute it to my age, and say its just arthritis, but that is doubtful to me, because I was absolutely fine one day, lifted something wrong and felt a pull in a muscle, but no pain.  About 40 minutes later I extended my arm to do something, heard a loud and painful "pop", and haven't had full of use of the arm since then.  I might have arthritis in it now, more than a year after first injuring it, but it isn't "just" arthritis, something tore in my arm that day, a ligament or a tendon, something is no longer attached to the bone where it should be.  For every day tasks I've learned ways to compensate, using my left arm a lot more, using odd muscles to lift things with my right arm when I have to, making sure to never lift anything while my arm is extended out straight, and never to rotate my arm while it holds weight.  But for working out, how am I supposed to do planks, pushups, and free weights like this?

I guess I can still work out my lower my body and my core, maybe I should start focusing on that and cardio.

I Haven't Given Up

Despite all of my past failures, I haven't, and won't, give up.  I can't.  My health depends on my doing something about this, I don't want to step on the scale one day and see 300+ pounds.  I really don't want to die at a young age from a preventable heart attack.  I also don't want to suffer a stroke and either die or suffer permanent disability from it. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Christian and if God calls me home I will go, happy that my work here is done, but I want the reason to be because I am finished here, not because I ate too many bowls of ice cream or sat on the couch too much!

I actually got a slow restart last Monday, though so far I haven't been super consistent about logging everything I eat or about exercising daily, I have been watching what I'm eating and paying attention to portions, I've also taken a walk each day except one.

The result of those minimal efforts is that while last Sunday I weighed 287.6 pounds, this morning I weighed in at 283.2 pounds, a loss of 4.4 pounds.  That's not bad considering that on many days I only tracked my food through the first part of the day, and then stopped tracking, and considering that on the days I did track all day, there were three days where I went above the calorie limit I'd planned on.

Plan Moving Forward

I notice that for me, keeping track of what I do helps a lot.  So I am going to commit to keeping track on Myfitnesspal.com, I have an activity tracker that keeps record of my cardio.   I will check in on this blog 2-3 times each week to update goals and let readers know how I'm doing.

For the coming week my goals are to continue walking, and to track all my food.  I will also avoid sitting too long by paying attention to my vivofit move bar, it lets me know if I've been sitting too long, and doesn't reset until I've at least walked around for a few minutes.

During the ultimate blog challenge, I am blogging on three different blogs, so I will alternate each day which one I post on, so readers of this blog can expect to hear an update from me this Wednesday, since on Monday I'll post on my devotional blog and on Tuesday I'll post on my art blog.

Photos


I didn't really take an official "starting photo", and that is fine, because I am far less concerned with how I look than I am with my health.  I have actually reached a point where I feel fairly secure with my appearance even though I know I'm over weight.

While I don't have an official starting photo, I did have some photos taken last week during a painting class I taught, they give a pretty good idea of how I look.

There I am circled in red.

Here I am demonstrating the method of painting the blossoms in this painting.
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Blogging Each Day for a Month


I am once again taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which means that for the month of April I will be blogging each day.  However, not all my blog posts will be on this blog.  I have a few different blogs, and I will alternate between them. So you can expect a post on this particular blog every three days.

Here are the three blogs I will be posting on during this challenge.

My Art Blog


My art blog can be found at ArdentReflections.com


My Health and Personal Blog


I have one blog that is primarily about my efforts to lose weight and get healthier, but I also post personal, daily life things there from time to time.  My Health and Personal blog can be found thriceblessed-lessofme.blogspot.com/


My Devotional Blog


I also post devotions and thoughts on Bible readings on my devotional blog, which can be found at thriceblessed-moments.blogspot.com/



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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bumps and Blessings

The Best Laid Plans

A while back, I posted details about my well laid blogging plans, how I would follow a schedule and blog regularly from here on out.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans... they go awry.

Bumps in the road.

So, my well laid plans for blogging hit some bumps in the road a few weeks back. First, I experienced a few days without internet access, and after that, I was caught in a procrastination loop, finally I was delayed even more from blogging because of a wonderful blessing to my family.

Internet Issues

So first, the internet problem. I have absolutely no idea what caused it, but I was without internet at my house for several days just after my last blog post. When it finally started working again, I found myself caught in that procrastination loop.

Procrastination loop.

What is a procrastination loop, you ask?

Its when you know that you really should something you dread before you do something else that is optional, but that you want to do. So you tell yourself you will not do that optional thing until you do the dreaded thing, but then you procrastinating the dreaded thing, and therefore don't get either thing done.

For me the loop I was caught in revolved around taxes.

For a business owner in Washington state, there are two different major categories of tax to be concerned with. The first is the excise taxes for businesses. This is a catchall phrase that encompasses the sales tax you collect from people when your business sells things at retail, plus the use taxes that are levied against out of state sales, plus the business and occupations taxes that are collected by your state and some counties. After the excise taxes, comes the income tax, which is the same income tax that everyone pays, the only difference for business owners is that we can deduct business expenses from our income total, which of course is only fair, since if I spend $50 manufacturing something, and then sell it for $70, I shouldn't have to pay income tax on $70, but only on my profit of $20.

The procrastination loop I spent time spinning around in was my excise taxes for business. I knew I needed to get those forms filed, but I was dragging my feet on all of the calculations I needed to do. The forms should have been in my January 30th, but circumstances I couldn't change had delayed them until after that date. That meant I was already going to be fined 9%, the next deadline was February 28th, after which the penalty jumped to 19%. I told myself that I shouldn't spend time blogging until after I completed the forms, but kept on putting off the paperwork.

The deadline I was now facing was February 28th, so obviously I did NOTHING until February 28th, and then spent several hours that day online and on the phone with the department of revenue completing my online forms. Finally the forms were done, and my family could file the income tax forms next. Those were done within days, since we actually pay someone to prepare those for us.

Then the waiting..

So, by March 2nd, I really was free to go ahead and blog, but I was out of the habit, not only that, but I was very distracted by waiting for a blessing I knew would come any day. That blessing was my first grandson, who, like my tax forms, was due on February 28th. Each day the whole family waited, expecting a call that it was time, and each day as we went to bed we were still waiting.

The Blessing on its Way

Finally, of March 6th, early in the morning the call came. I went to my daughter's house to pick up my granddaughter, so that my daughter and son in law could focus on getting my daughter through early labor at home, without having to worry about taking care of their first child.

More Bumps

My grandson was on his way, but there were more bumps in road also.

Inconsistent labor

My daughter's labor was pretty normal at first, though it was a bit inconsistent. Her contractions weren't following a regular pattern, so they stayed home timing them and waiting.

Intense labor

Then around 1:30 in the afternoon, her water broke so they headed to the hospital. After her water broke labor got very intense very fast, she was contracting with barely a break in between, and the contractions were very strong.

Baby struggling.

As soon as they got to hospital, the doctors realized that baby wasn't handling these intense contractions well. My daughter was dilated to a 6 when she arrived, and had managed to progress almost to an eight, but still not enough to start pushing. Yet with every contraction the baby's heart beat dropped drastically. The doctors felt that if they waited, the baby not might survive. So they took my daughter in for an emergency c-section. I arrived at the hospital just in enough time to see my daughter rushed by on a gurney. Now, the hospital we were at normally leaves a woman in the same room for the entire labor and delivery, so the fact that they were moving her was an obvious sign of trouble, but at that time I didn't know what the trouble was, I did deduce that she was probably having a c-section, but didn't get confirmation on that until my son-in-law came by all gowned up. I asked him what was up and he gave a quick summary before rushing off.

The Blessing Arrives.

A few minutes later, the baby was out, and thankfully was fine.



The umbilical cord had been wrapped around his shoulder, and was both holding him back, keeping him from descending and pushing against the cervix, and at the same time the cord was being pinched between the baby's shoulder and the pelvic bones with every contraction. Later the doctor confirmed that without a c-section a live birth wouldn't have happened.

 I am so thankful that we live in a day and age where the medical technology exists that can avert such tragedy. Because of the access we had to medical care, my daughter and my grandson are both healthy and doing great. Because we have access to this kind of medicine, what could have been a disaster turned into a minor bump in the road to great blessing.

I am so thankful.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

One Week Back on Track

First week of eating healthy

So its been one week since I've gotten back on track with healthy eating.  I've had several false starts, but I believe that this time I am really ready to get serious.  Finding out about my high blood pressure was a wake up call, especially since another health problem I have calls for taking medication that can raise blood pressure.  Its vital that I do everything I can do minimize my health risks.  

A few things have come to my attention since since getting back on track, most of these were things I *knew* at one time, but that I had kind of forgotten in the couple of years that I've been off track with my eating habits.

First, healthy food actually tastes good.

Eating healthy tastes pretty good, I get to eat fruit and vegetables, which I love.  I cook chicken and rather than breading it and frying it in heavy grease I simply smother it with herbs, spices, garlic, and onion powder.  I find that one of my favorite spice mixtures is "Perfect Pinch, Salt Free Garlic and Herb Seasoning." I'm not being paid to say that, I just find that I really do like it.  I sprinkle it on chicken, pork chops, my egg substitute omelets... so far I haven't really missed salt because of this.

Second, healthy food is a bit of a hassle.

No longer can I just jump in the car and head off for the day without any planning, no... instead I have to cook up some food to pack with me if I'm going to be out all day.  This is new, before even when I was on track, I didn't have to worry so much about salt, so I could grab a diet TV dinner.  Now I have to watch all packaged foods.  If I have a cheese sandwich I can't also canned soup, because the two together are too much salt.  I'm going to have to get creative to come up with some ideas of meals to take with me.

Third, temptations are everywhere.

Especially now that I am watching sodium.  My husband asks if I want this or that for dinner and I can't just say yes, I have to check the sodium content, and also see how much I've already had for the day... before I can say yes or no.  Also, as I noted above, I have to make sure not to combine two higher sodium foods in the same meal.  Its a little difficult at times, but so far I've been doing pretty well.


Fourth, this is doable.

This week's stats

Yes, at times it is difficult, but it is doable, and its pretty important that I stick with it.
Here are some charts that show how I did this week. 

Calories total and net

 First as far as calories.  My total calories for the week are shown with the following graph, my average total calories for each day this week were 1449.  The graph also shows a breakdown of what time slots each day I took in various amounts of calories.

This graph shows total calories consumed each day
and also breaks it down into meals.
This next graph shows my net calories per day.  Net calories is something that My Fitness pal does. Lets say my calorie goal for the day is 1900, but also work out more today than usual, and I burn an additional 400 calories, now My Fitness Pal will add 400 calories to my goal, so my total allowed calories would be 2,300, but if I eat those 2,300 calories, my net calories are still just 1900 for the day.  Sometimes, if I sit around too much, my fitness tracker sends the info to My Fitness Pal and My Fitness Pal takes away from how many calories I'm allowed, but usually that is not the case.

So net calories are basically: Total Calories - calories burned in exercise. Here is a graph that shows my net calories for the week.  From the chart you can see that I stayed under my goal all week.
Net Calories = total calories - calories burned through exercise.

Nutrients

Of course there's more to healthy eating than just calories.  As for nutrients, here are my averages this week, I am glad to see that I kept my sodium, fat, and carbohydrates under the allowance, I also got more than I needed of iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and Calcium.




Macros

Lastly I also stayed pretty close to the recommended goals for what percentage of calories come from each main group of macro-nutrients.


Exercise

I didn't do a whole lot of exercise this week.  I did go for a 30 minute walk 4 days of the week, I know I still need to increase that, but I am going slowly at it, concentrating on getting my eating under control first.

Results of week one.

So you've seen how I've done as far as my eating habits, but what, if any, results have I seen so far?

Weight:

Last Monday my weight was 284.4, this morning I weighed in at 276.4, so I lost 8 pounds this week.

Blood Pressure:

My blood pressure fluctuates from day to day, but overall I am starting to see a downward trend.  I took my blood pressure all but one day this past week, and here are the numbers:
January 30th - 164/104
January 31 - 166/102
February 1 - 156/100
February 2 - 158/99
February 3 - 140/101
February 5 - 133/97
February 6 137/96 

So in one week of healthy eating my Systolic BP has come down 27 mmHg,  and my diastolic BP has come down 8 mmHg.

I'm not going to post waist measurements, body-fat percentages, BMI and all of that every week, I think once per month will be enough for that.  Its my blood pressure that I am most concerned with, and I'm aiming to get it down.  My first goal is to get it under 140/90, but then I hope to get it lower, as close to 120/60 as I can.


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