Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Reality of Numbers

Here we are, three weeks into 2013.  A new year.  I'm not one to kick big things off on January 1st.  I do new things when they need to be done.  I do, however, reflect on the last year, pray about direction, use the 'New' as a touchpoint to evaluate.
However, as timing would have it, I had my annual check-up in early January.  Just time to get all my labs checked, renew prescriptions, say I was doing fine, thank you very much.  My doctor retired the end of December, so I saw a gal who was covering his patients for a time.  She was wonderfully nice and kind, as a messenger.  But her message?  Ouch.  All my fault, all my doing.  Here it is in all its full disclosure:
In the last year, I've gained 18 pounds.  EIGHTEEN pounds.  I was under NO illusion that I hadn't gained weight.  I knew I wasn't running, not eating healthy, and was fluffier than this time last year.  But 18 pounds?  Hello, reality, nice to meet you.  I know one of my medications can cause weight gain, but not this.  Not exercising and eating poorly is the most common reason for weight gain, and that's ALL on me.  No pun intended.
And, in addition to that, my cholesterol shot up in an ugly way.  Thanks to an irritating family history, this has been on the radar for awhile, just keeping an eye on it.  This year sent it over the top and I'm now needing medication to bring it down.  Reality is a bossy little thing, isn't it?
At the time of the appointment, I had been back in the gym for three weeks, so that piece of it was underway.  Time to add in the healthy eating portion.  So I began that nine days ago. Yes, I'm counting days still.  And I began it in earnest.
I have been such a good  girl.  I know the weight has begun to drop, but I'm not weighing until two weeks in, so I don't know a number.
Do I want my clothes to fit better?  Yes.  Do I want to feel more comfortable in my own skin?  Yes.  Is that my motivation for this?  No.  I want to take care of my heart, plain and simple.  It's the only one I have, and it works so hard for me.  I want to live a long and healthy life, as much as is up to me.  My heart has done so much for me, so I need to start showing it a little love.
And I'm actually really enjoying the challenge of eating well.  I'm so competitive, even with myself, that having numbers to work with and know that I can manipulate them by my choices?  Perfect motivation.
So here's the approach I'm using:
I'm doing 40 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week.  Mostly elliptical so I can take care of my knees as I take care of my heart.  It's inconvenient to go to the gym, it doesn't fit easily into my schedule, somedays I think I'm too tired to go, but I do it anyway.  And I'm always glad I did.  Somedays Brad goes with me, runs on the treadmill behind me to pace me.  I like it when he runs at a 7.0 with 9.0 sprints.  Fortunately he likes that too.

As I began this, I shared it with just a few very trusted friends, and they've been sweetly encouraging.  They know me best, so they know the ins and outs and the parts that are difficult for me.  But now I'm putting it on here, more for myself than anything else.  I want to come back and read this when I get discouraged.

In case you want to ingest a little nutrition yourself, here's one of my favorite new meals. I have this either for breakfast or lunch, a quick to-go meal that is healthy, fills me up, and delicious.  Don't let the green color or the amount of spinach fool you:  it's delicious!  It tastes like a yummy strawberry shake!

Green Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup of frozen strawberries
10-ish almonds
1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 cups baby spinach (as much as fits to fill your blender)

Blend all of this together high, until it's all incorporated, then switch to liquify to make it all smooth.  Has about 350 calories.

Honestly, I LOVE this.

Another variation is to add a frozen sliced banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter in place of the strawberries and almonds.  Super yummy as well!  I would happily add a picture, but everyone looks at and says "Ewwwww!"  And I don't want to do that to you.  Just try it.


1 comment:

  1. you go girl, you know I am your biggest cheerleader! I still am scratching my head when thinking about that 18 pounds, I would have never guessed....when I gain a couple of pounds the world says, "hmmmm....what have you been up to with yourself?" So, now that you have it out there....GO GIRL, I'M ON YOUR SIDE!