Operation Health: Getting Active!

I love to move. It helps bust stress and I’m most myself when I’m regularly exercising. Unfortunately, winters in Michigan have been a bit lengthy making it tough to get to a gym and I turn into a sugar-craving-carb-inhaling-couch-potato.

blerch-oatmeal_hThe Oatmeal calls it a Blerch. In my recent quest for health, I resolved to bring the gym to the house so I have no excuses despite the compelling arguments my inner Blerch offers: “the gym closed at 8,” “traffic is bad,” “the smelly weirdos go to PowerHouse at 6…”

One Amazon Prime delivery later, I had a shiny gym in the basement and new motivation to move my body. My basic recipe has been to combine (at least) 30 minutes of cardio with 30 minutes of strength training. The American Heart Association recommends at least 25 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 times a week for cardiovascular health. I try to get four good one hour workouts in each week. Sometimes it’s a cinch, other’s it’s a pipe dream. Lay off, I’m trying.

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Operation Health: Food Choices

After several months of heavy travel and zero self-control, I noticed my “fat pants” had become my regular pants.  Then I saw a photo of myself on Facebook and quickly realized I needed get my shit together.

myplate-app1In a quick round of research on LiveStrong.com you can find that high-fiber, high-protein meals consumed six times a day  can help expedite feeling good, getting active and losing weight. Even Michelle Obama’s, “Let’s move” initiative encourages lots of fruits and vegetables, including cute lesson plans about eating a rainbow.

Instead of counting calories, I prefer to count food groups each day because it makes me feel less weight-obsessed and more health-focused. To keep myself honest, I like to log meals on the free app MyPlate (created by the health freaks at Livestrong.com). Counting by numbers also offers more flexibility in meal planning, makes me feel less deprived and alleviates stress when you do eat out. So here’s the plan:

eat by numbersEat by Numbers: What goes in six meals a day

  • 1 serving dairy  – about 1 cup of skim milk
  • 2 servings of lean protein – Livestrong will help calculate appropriate recommendations for men v. women but in a pinch try to keep it to the size of your fist. Limit red meat.
  • 2 servings vegetables – 1 cup = 1 serving … unless it’s lettuce or spinach. I mean, look what it does for Popeye.
  • 3 servings fruit  – best if consumed before 6 p.m., generally a whole piece of fruit or a cup of fruit if you’re munching on berries or grapes
  • 3 servings starch – aim for rice-based starches like brown rice, rice cakes, sweet potatoes, or bran flake cereal
  • 3 protein shakes – If you’re not sure where to start, check out my recipe for peanut butter deliciousness

So far, so good. I’ve lost inches, am cooking great meals, feel great and have been more ambitious about moving my body – more on simple exercise tips at home later.

Disclaimer: If you are considering losing weight, talk to your doctor.  I’m only a quack on the internet. You’re beautiful no matter what the number on the scale or your dress says.

Here’s some music to keep you boppin’ through the produce aisle and meal planning:

Sugar freak: healthy protein shake

UMP Shake

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately…maybe too much. My clothes are tighter and larger than ever before and photos with me in them are often a cause for wincing.

Since nobody likes a complainer, I’m gonna do something about it. Thanks to Amazon Prime, my new home gym is 2 days away and to prep, I’m working to kick my sugar addiction. Luckily, less sugar doesn’t mean less sweet or good tasting. Here’s my latest creation for in between meals and late night cravings:

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