WFMW: Antioxidants & Healthy Eating

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So, I’m back on the wagon. The weight-watching wagon, I mean.

The combination of some recent family photos and a “sign up now and get three months half off!” email was too much to resist, so once again (AGAIN.) I began eating fruit and writing down everything I eat and thinking about actually exercising.

Even though I’ve attempted to lose weight many, MANY times, I still spent the good part of today looking up healthy breakfast recipes and lunch ideas. And I read through all the materials I got with that half-off offer, refreshing my memory about which foods have more fiber or protein or both (or neither).

Because no matter how many times I’ve done this – and no matter how poorly I’ve eaten over the years – I’m always interested in learning more about food. What’s in it, which kinds have more “bang for the buck,” which ones I should avoid altogether, which ones aren’t as bad as I thought – it’s all fascinating to me! (Even if I ignore the part about avoiding sugar and bread and cheese and EVERYTHING DELICIOUS. Ahem.)

This renewed interest in what I’m putting in my body is well-timed. For lots of reasons (hello, shorts season and still wearing maternity pants situation!) – one of which is a conference call I got to be a part of last week, where I learned all about antioxidants from experts and scientists from ConAgra.

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Over the past few years I’ve read and heard so much about whole foods and clean eating and only shop at the farmer’s market and grow your own food in the backyard. You have, too, right? Sure, we all have.

But when pressed (by my husband, who isn’t always excited about my ideas about eating healthier), my definition of “clean” or “whole” food was, “You know, without all those preservatives.”

It turns out, though, that not all preservatives are bad. Here’s a video that explains:

What I learned from ConAgra is that we preserve our food for taste, freshness and safety – not to mention to reduce food waste. We preserve food by canning or freezing – or with antioxidants, a type of preservative. Vitamins E and C and citric acid are actually found in foods naturally (citrus fruits, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, specifically) and are used as antioxidants. Antioxidants can also be manufactured and added to foods when natural antioxidants would change the flavor of the food.

In case you are like me and didn’t know about antioxidants, here are a few more facts.

  • Antioxidants prevent food from becoming rancid (gross.) and being wasted, as well as preserving food’s flavors and natural colors.
  • Antioxidants also slow the aging process, boost our body’s natural defense system, and hep combat heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

So, as it turns out, all antioxidants, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, are safe for your food and for your body. Ultimately, these antioxidants help us enjoy the foods that we love without having to compromise on taste or quality.

How about that? Like they say, never stop learning, right?! This week, healthy eating – and learning about healthy eating – works for me!

Where do you look for information about your food?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Photo sources: Wagon and Fruit

This post is part of a campaign with The Motherhood and ConAgra. As always, opinions are all mine.

 

Miracle Marathon – Update #1

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Well. Today is Day 5 of the Miracle Marathon, and I’m going to be brutally honest – I’ve got some miles to make up this weekend.

The first two days went great, and I walked just like I was supposed to do. The third and fourth days didn’t go as planned (as it goes with so many days!). So this weekend I’ve got to make up some mileage, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

As I instagrammed on Wednesday, I haven’t walked outside and I didn’t even put on real walking shoes. Still, walking two miles in four days is way more than I’ve done in quite a while! And since I’m using my Walk Away the Pounds video that has a super easy one-mile walk and regular two-mile walk, I can do that two-mile workout today and tomorrow.

Wondering what I’m talking about with this Miracle Marathon thing? The short version is that it’s a one-mile-a-day “marathon” from September 16 to October 12 to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. I’m a team leader, and I’m walking in honor of my friend’s son, Raef.

You can read more about it here.
It’s not too late, either – you can join my team here.
And if you’d like to help me save kids’ lives, you can donate here.

EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS. For example, $10 would provide 20 preemie-sized diapers and $25 provides 4 baby blankets for the NICU. As the mom of a preemie, I know how valuable those tiny supplies are!!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Princess Dresses Don’t Come in Plus Sizes

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I don’t have a single dream, fantasy or personal fairy tale that doesn’t begin with, “Once upon a time there was a beautiful, thin girl named Mary.”

Every dream I claim as my own begins and ends with me losing weight and looking different than I do right now.

Granted, right now I’m pregnant. But I’m also significantly overweight. And I hate it. If I’m honest, I hate myself a bit for it.

Last week I went to the MOPS annual conference for a few hours. It was in Kansas City this year, and I joined my friends and colleagues from DaySpring on Friday morning. Alex Kuykendall spoke in the morning session, and she asked us, “What keeps you from believing you are God’s masterpiece?”

She instructed us to write our answers on the piece of paper she’d had placed on each chair, wad it up and toss it in the trash bags being passed up and down the aisles.

I wrote, “Fat.”

Look, I know the Truth. I know I am wonderfully made by the Creator himself. I know He sees me as beautiful, and therefore I am beautiful. I know that and at least part of me believes that, no question.

The other part of me hears the scale groan and the threads tear and the lungs wheeze as I hoof it up a flight of stairs. The other part of me has eyes and sees what the mirror reflects. The other part of me accepts God’s acceptance – but longs to care better for this body He’s given me.

The other part of me dreams of walking into the regular side of the department store, of feeling confident when I walk into a room of strangers, of knowing I can use this body to walk, to run, to play, to work – just the way He intended.

I may have given up on fairy tales in a lot of areas in my life, but this one right here is one I still struggle with every minute of every day. No, I don’t fantasize [anymore] about wearing slinky dresses and showing off toned, dimple and stretch mark free skin. I don’t give that size or that number more value than they deserve. And I though I still hope to someday find knee-high boots that fit over my calves, I don’t believe my worth is determined by my footwear or jeans size or closet full of sleeveless shirts.

But I dream of losing weight. I imagine how good it will feel, and how lovely I’ll look – and how loved I’ll feel. And I admit that a tiny, irrational part of me still believes single digit sizes might lead to my happy ever after.

What fairy tales do you still struggle with?

Please note: I am well aware that it’s possible to find beautiful dresses in plus sizes. And I promise I am not asking for – nor do I need – your reassurance that I’m beautiful the way I am, that God loves me no matter my dress size, that being thin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or that I need therapy to get over my issues. I’m simply baring my heart a bit for you – and asking you to be brave enough to do the same.

To follow 31 Days of Giving Up on Fairy Tales – and make sure you don’t miss a single post, subscribe to this blog. (And when you do? You’ll receive an ebook called Finding a Happier Ever After for FREE!)

{Photo by workshoppe}

Gimme three steps towards the door…

Fitting More Steps in My Day
As I was moving some things around my calendar last week, my heart sank as I noticed something I’d added a few months ago. The June 10 square on my calendar says the most awful thing: “Start training for 5K.”

What?! When – and WHY – did I think attempting another 5K was a good idea?!?

Well, even if I don’t remember when this particular madness occurred, I vaguely remember thinking:

a) I’d love to participate in the Kansas City Marathon.
b) It’s in October, so it won’t be hot.
c) Its charity of choice is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
d) Maybe if I give myself 18 weeks to go through the 9-week Couch to 5K program, it’ll work this time.

So, in just over a month, I’ve got to get back on my treadmill and get back to work.

Which, as horrifying as that is, is also a bit of a relief, too.

See, I recently received a Fitbit to try out from Verizon Wireless. Since I’ve been wearing it [almost] every day, I’ve been – unsurprisingly – bummed out to see how few steps I actually take each day. And I’ve been wondering how anyone possibly hits the recommended number of daily steps.

Do you even KNOW how many steps we’re supposed to take each day? 10,000. TEN THOUSAND! Now, maybe you walk that much. But as someone who works online (and, FINE, likes to watch the television), I have yet to get anything close to that. As a matter of fact, on a couple days (FINE, on MORE THAN A COUPLE DAYS) I didn’t even hit 2,000 steps.

OUCH.

So, wearing a pedometer plus deciding I should attempt to run another 5K equals MORE STEPS FOR ME. At least that’s the goal. I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a few weeks. Promise. (For real.)

Have you heard of the Fitbit? I’d heard my friends at Weight Watchers talk about them but hadn’t seen one – much less bought one – for myself. Now that I’m wearing one I wonder why I waited so long!

The Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker is a pedometer, but it also tracks your calories burned and distance traveled. AND it syncs wirelessly with my computer and my phone. So if I want to look at charts and graphs and whatnot, telling me how many more steps I should be taking each day, it’s there. You can wear it anywhere on your body, but it’s small enough that I actually just clip it on my bra.

(When I remember. Because, like I said, I have forgotten to wear it a couple days.)

Until I start my “formal 5K training,” I’m still trying to up my steps a lot. My first goal is 5,000 steps a day – that’s still progress, okay?! So far I’m doing my Walk Away the Pounds video, though not every day. And I’m going to start following all those annoying tips for walking more that I’ve heard over and over:

  • park farther away,
  • take an extra trip around the grocery store,
  • march in place or pace when doing everyday tasks,
  • take the long way around . . . anywhere.

I hope to even start an after-dinner walk with my family once a week.

That’s about all I’ve got, though – and given how low my daily steps number is now, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Meeting my immediate goal of 5,000 steps – not to mention my eventual goal of 10,000 steps – is going to require a lot more than parking in the back forty. So, let’s talk walking.

How do YOU add more walking and more steps to your daily routine?

Verizon Wireless gave me a Fitbit to use this year, but all opinions and lazy habits are my own.

Photo source

Temptation, thy name is SONIC.

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When I decided to eat low carb for a while, I was surprised by a) how good it felt to follow that diet plan and b) how well it worked for weight loss. In just a few weeks, I lost 10 pounds.

Then my brother-in-law died. And I started a new job. Life just got crazy in general, and I haven’t exactly been coping well. I have, however, been coping with food. Like I do.

But a couple weeks ago, I woke up on a Friday morning and decided that I’d had enough. I ate a healthy breakfast of oatmeal (I said healthy, not low-carb) and when it came time for lunch, I racked my brain for a fast, convenient solution. Preferably one that didn’t require me to get out of my car.

I decided on SONIC and pulled into the drive-thru. I ordered three chicken strips (Not the five that I really wanted. What? I was hungry!) with honey mustard and apple slices. The speaker next to the lighted menu squawked my order back to me correctly, and I pulled up to the window to pay.

After swiping and returning my debit card, the girl in the window handed me a brown SONIC bag. I said “thanks” and drove away. As I was heading back to my office, I thought that the bag looked extremely full for what it was supposed to contain. But I’d glanced at the receipt, and it had my order listed right, so I didn’t worry.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I peeked into my brown bag that was smelling suspiciously of fried goodness and saw a box of fries! What on earth? I didn’t order those! WHY would they give me fries? I DON’T NEED FRIES and FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, I didn’t want fries.

*sigh*

For a split second ( . . . or two) I considered eating them anyway. Then I remembered SONIC’s stingy practice of including one measly ketchup packet in their bags, and I decided it wasn’t worth it. So I walked directly to the dumpster outside our building and threw the fries in the trash.

Yes, I did. Feel free to applaud. Because, SERIOUSLY. I threw away fries, people! This is big!

I walked up to my office, feeling pretty darned proud of myself and pretty darn annoyed at SONIC. And then I opened my bag.

I had ordered three chicken strips, honey mustard and apples. I got five chicken strips, ranch dressing, the trashed fries and cheddar bites. Cheddar bites! They gave me pieces of deep-fried cheese!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!

You might not be surprised to hear that I wasn’t quite as strong with the cheddar bites as I was with the fries. Because I honestly thought at first that they were sweet potato tater tots, I tried one. Then I realized I had no idea what I’d just eaten, and I ate another one. Once I realized what they were, though, I immediately threw them in an trash can across the room only ate a couple more before throwing them away.

And I didn’t eat all the chicken. What was the point? I didn’t have any honey mustard to dip it in!

While some people might be tempted by SONIC’s daily happy hour drink special (mmmmm . . . cherry limeades . . .) or last week’s National Shake Day (mmmm . . . shakes . . .), not me. Apparently temptation will find me on a regular day at lunch when I TRY MY HARDEST TO EAT DECENTLY.

Have you ever been ambushed while trying to eat healthy?

{Photo by scaredykat}