Monday, April 30, 2012

Tips and Tricks

Everyone has their own special ways of eating healthy or staying focused on a goal. I thought I would share a few of mine since it is getting close to tank-top-and-shorts-weather (in other words, time to really focus on those fitness goals ;)

Put on Clothes
It seems silly but putting on work-out clothes or a pair of jeans can be a motivator to get you off your hiney and to get moving. I tend to be in more comfy (aka worn-out) clothes since I am chasing a toddler all day and its not like I need to impress her with my fashionista style. If I find myself wanting to do nothing but laze on the couch putting on work-out clothes or a pair of jeans will usually get me in the mood for a dance video or a walk around the block.

Drink Water
Wandering the kitchen telling yourself not to nibble on anything? Try drinking a glass of water. Oftentimes we're thirsty but we think we are hungry so go noshing when we should be guzzling. I've gotten in the habit of leaving a glass of water or unsweetened tea in the fridge so when I go looking there is something to play with while I re-examine all the leftovers. I usually end up drinking half to the entire glass before I realize I'm really not hungry and leave the kitchen.

Wash Dishes, Sweep Floor, DO SOMETHING
I'll admit it, I'll eat when I'm bored. And sad. And upset. And stressed. And nervous. And...heck, I probably eat when I'm happy too. If I find myself staring in the fridge (again, even after drinking that glass of water) it usually means its time to find something to do to either get my mind off whatever problem is floating around or just to alleviate boredom (yes, even SAHMs and full time students get bored). Sometimes I start cleaning the house or go out and pull a few weeds from the garden or even just brush my teeth. Those few minutes of re-direction can change my "must nibble" impulses into "food? Nah, I'm good, thanks" thoughts.

Keep a Food Journal
Sometimes we think we are doing awesome and then go to measure or weigh ourselves and the numbers haven't moved (or, the horror, they've gone up). I started keeping a food journal on Fitday.com and it has been a great resource. The US Dept of Agriculture also has one, called SuperTracker. I found the USDA's to be interesting but rather distracting with the different options. I prefer Fitday's very clean and simple approach(Fitday also doesn't constantly nag at me to eat more grains and less protein).

The best thing about tracking what you eat is your able to notice patterns and make adjustments. For example, I knew I was an emotional eater but I hadn't realize how badly this affected my weight loss until I saw how much I was eating on stress filled days. By noticing these patterns it has become easier to change old, bad habits.

Measure and Weigh
You just weighed yourself and you've gained 3 pounds. Might as well have a cookie, all that eating healthy and exercising was pointless. How many times have you done that? I know I used to do it a lot. Don't give up though, pull out the measuring tape and see if you've lost any inches. There have been times I have gained 5 pounds (and just wanted to bawl) but then tried on a pair of pants that hadn't fit in months and they were loose.

Part of getting healthy is adding on muscle, which we all know weighs more than fat, so using measurements as a progress guide is often more precise than the numbers on a scale. Another good trick is to have an item of clothing you want to fit into (a smaller pair of jeans, a shirt that didn't fit quite right, you get the idea). Once a week try it on and check yourself out. Sometimes changes are so small we don't really notice them on the tape but when we try on an outfit suddenly it fits correctly. Not to mention, pulling on a pair of pants that should be snug and having them fit perfectly is a much bigger and better motivator that seeing you lost a couple pounds.



So those are my tips and tricks that keep me motivated. What are things you do to stay healthy and on track?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Early Summer

The weather has done a 180 and gone from cold, wet, typical Pacific Northwest spring,to brilliant blue skies and temps in the 80s. I love it! It will probably only last a few days so I haven't gone all out dragging the air conditioners from storage or retiring the heaters for the year just yet but I'm hoping when the clouds come back and the temperatures drop back to normal it won't be quite as cold.

The plants are loving the heat and sunshine. The stargazers have popped out of the ground and the grapes and maple trees are leafing out. The hyacinths are fading and being replaced with bluebells and the slugs have appeared. Time to start putting out traps and try and control the slimy critters-they tend to enjoy my flowers a little too much to ignore.

The plan this past weekend was to till the veggie garden and plant a bunch of seeds but we didn't get too it. Unfortunately homework took precedent so while I stared longingly at the bare patch (actually not so bare, the weeds are starting to take over) I was forced to do math problems and write essays. *sigh*

I am starting to eyeball the weeds that have taken advantage of our late start and considering "harvesting" the dandelion leaves and pigweed for veggies. Also, surprisingly, the Swiss chard from last year has regrown-I didn't realize it was a perennial. So, even though I wasn't on the ball, we do have a few spring veggies available this year. Now to find new recipes for these finds-any suggestions?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Adding the Horse Stuff...

Noticed there's a few more blog posts? I decided to combine my horse-riding blog (which has been ignored for quite awhile since I've had no horse to ride) with this one, just to get everything in one place and be all neat and shiny.

I know I haven't been posting much, figured you guys would be bored hearing that it rained (again) and nothing new has happened. About the most exciting thing around this place is the contractor coming out to work on the fence. I am trying a new low-carb/paleo-ish chocolate cake recipe and will tell you all about it once its out of the oven and has been taste-tested! *fingers crossed I don't wreck it*

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring! (I think its finally here)

Can you believe it? Less than two weeks ago we had 8 inches of snowfall but today I've got all the doors and windows open and the sunshine is streaming in. The yards and gardens are nothing but mud but all the hyacinths are blooming, last year's pansies and primroses are going nuts and some of the trees are starting to leaf out.

Ahhhh....spring. Makes a person want to drag out the shovel and the wheelbarrow and start cleaning flowerbeds of winter cover. Last weekend I went to a home and garden show and was a little disappointed when there was only one plant vendor. I did find some neat new roofing designs and gutters but what I really wanted was plants and landscaping.

Oh well. The nurseries around town are starting to have more and more plants available and now that we are into April our chances of a freeze are getting lower and lower-which means time to break out the rototiller!!
This year I've decided not to start most of my plants indoors but wait until the ground is warm enough to direct sow the seeds. I'm hoping this might save me the week or two of severe stress my poor seedlings go through every year. I'm also going to try more vertical gardening, supposedly it allows for more air circulation and lowers mold and fungus issues, plus you can get more plants in one area.
Term started today and I'm already making lists and notes. Hopefully with better preparation I won't have the same cram-fests I had last term. Should be an easier term-no science classes and only one math class. Here's toward a 4.0 goal!