Building the Best life

Tools for building the best lifestyle to last a lifetime

Author: Jennifer (Page 1 of 2)

The Most Powerful weight loss tool and you already own it

For 12 years I had no idea how much I weighed. I hadn’t looked at that number since my daughter was born. At the doctor’s office I got on the scale backwards and just told them I didn’t want to know what it said. I guess it should not have been a big surprise when at an annual check up she handed me 2 scripts, 1 for blood pressure meds and 1 for cholesterol. I had a 12 year old daughter and I was about to start the window sill full of pills! A few days later my husband and I were on a motorcycle run, a fundraiser for a kid I went to highschool with. He was killed in an accident and it was to raise money for his kids. Many people I went to school with were there alot, I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and I was having a blast until…    Another kid I went to school with (who was in an accident himself when we were younger so his filter is off) walked right up to me and said “what the hell happened to you? You use to be hot” In that moment I just wanted to disappear and be anywhere but there. He said it outloud but I knew that is what everyone else must have been thinking.

You see I had a 12 year old daughter who I didn’t want to grow up with a mom who always had to stop to take a pill or leave someplace early to go get a pill. And the benefit I was at was an annual thing and to top it off it was put on by my ex husband and his wife (by the way 2 wonderful people) but there was no way I would go back the next year and not be hot!

These 2 things are what drove me to lose weight and actually quit smoking as well. I had smoked for 25 years (2 packs a day) and my doctor told me I had to lose at least 30 pounds and quit to get rid of the pills.

At this time for this year this was my WHY this was what pushed me to walk through the doors at weight watchers and to make many of the changes and choices I made.

What I learned the hard way is your WHY has to be strong enough and needs to be revisited regularly. When the doc gave me the ok on the pills and I hit lifetime and the next run was over I relaxed my efforts (ALOT) I also dieted my way through weight watchers round 1 but that’s for a whole other post.

I had no desire to gain weight back but I had nothing really driving me to make the choices I needed to make.

Now I understand how powerful this tool is and I truly make sure I have an arsenal of WHY’s. There are so many temptations we fight daily and having something that is stronger and we want more than what we either want to do or don’t want to do in the moment makes this journey so much easier.

Many times a we think of a goal and our WHY as the same thing but they really are different. My goal was to be healthy on the surface and to not have to take pills but beneath that was the WHY or the reason that was so important to me and that comes with the feeling. Most of us are driven by our feelings and many times in a negative direction so why not use them to head us in a positive direction?

I know search for them and I write them down and on the days I get into a funk or I find myself saying why do I even bother I pull them out and look at them as a reminder of WHY I am making the choices I am making. My neighbor the same age as my husband passed away suddenly a couple weeks before my daughters wedding. At the service his oldest daughter who is engaged as well said to me that her Dad would have been a great Grandpa and how sad it made her that they would never get to know him.  This is at the top of my why list now, seeing the pain in that young girls eyes is nothing I want my daughter to have to feel. Honestly anything could happen and I could be taken unexpectedly at any time but it will not be at my own hand because I wanted to eat crap or not move or not take care of myself.

Truly this applies to anything we want to do. If you have a strong enough desire and can get to the place where you feel it you will have the Motivation you need.

A good way to get below the surface goal is to sit down with a notebook and pen and write all the reasons why losing weight matters to you. Then keep asking why and keep asking why until you feel like you have been kicked in the stomach or you find yourself in tears… that’s when you know it is strong enough.

Another thing I see a lot are people trying to make it about what they think it should be. It’s ok to want to look good. Think about how life looks when you feel good in your own skin. I know that I am more confident and I am a much happier person which makes everyone around me happier as well.

There are so many reasons but they need to be yours and from within you. Without a strong enough desire all the weight loss tools, tips and tricks won’t work because you most likely won’t use or do them.

If you’re not sure WHY it matters take some time and figure it out. It can be a huge game changer for you.

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Feelings on feeding my family on my weight loss journey

Last week I was asked if I felt guilty for feeding my family the foods I eat. My answer right away was no not at all and for a second I thought what a strange question. I thought quite a bit about it this weekend and realized a lot has changed for me from the time I started this final weight loss journey. When I first joined weight watchers I did make different meals for my family then myself (what an enormous pain by the way!). At that point I was trying to figure out me and how to make the changes I needed to make and truthfully at that time it was just about losing weight. But I was learning about food and that it made more of a difference then what size pants I was wearing. I began to make them the same meals I was eating and let’s face it I wasn’t feeding them cardboard. To be able to stay on track myself I needed food that I would enjoy so the food I was feeding them was food, it just wasn’t food loaded with sugar and fat (and those foods by the way were the ones that wound up sending me through the door at WW in the first place.)

The change was an adjustment for sure in the beginning. My daughter is married now and I love when they tell me they are having friends over for Pizza Salad or they are having Big Mac Salads for dinner and when they ask me to make them lasagna soup. My granddaughter and I still have fun with food and create memories in the kitchen. We cook together all the time. We make zoodles and kodiak donuts and she loves the pancakes too.  I am hoping they won’t have to go down the same road I did and learn the hard way. My husband is over 50 and battling a smoking addiction and I want him around for a very long time. The smoking is setting him up for problems I know and I am hoping I am at least helping a little by giving him healthy meals.

So I guess in the beginning I felt uncomfortable and maybe even a little guilty for keeping them from the foods they had always enjoyed or that they may be missing out. But ask me today and I feel not one ounce of guilt I actually would feel guilty feeding them unhealthy foods. Today I feel like I am contributing to saving their lives.

 

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A morning walk with Jesus

I woke up early this morning feeling incredibly overwhelmed. So many things running through my mind. So many things that are out of my control. I went downstairs and turned on the news and opened my computer. We all know that certainly did nothing but add to how I already felt.

It was raining out and unseasonably cold and my first thought was no walk today. Second was what is the weather going to be like Saturday for my daughter’s wedding. What if its like this out? Some sites said chance of showers others said mostly sunny. Again not at all in my control.

Yesterday I attended a wake for a friends son who was only 24 years old, very close to my daughter’s age and last week I attended one for my neighbor who died suddenly and was Wayne’s age and my mind keeps going to the what if”s. My heart hurts for my friends who have lost their loved ones and I just want to be able to help take away some of the pain. Not anything I can control.

My birthday was yesterday and I was thinking about all of the things I never did and wish I had and many of the things that I wish I had done so different. Not a thing I can do about the past now

I also indulged  for dinner last night and as I mentioned will be walking my daughter down the aisle next weekend and was getting down because I wasn’t going to be able to take my walk. And then I remembered what a good friend of mine always said about his weight loss journey when it came to taking his walks “I got fat in the rain and I can lose weight in the rain” and I put on some warm clothes and grabbed my umbrella.

I started out just looking around everything was so green. It was very early and it was so quiet that I could hear every drop of rain fall and every bird chirp. I just started to take in the beauty of it all. It was so cool to see all that beauty even in the rain. Most days on my walk I pray or try to at least. So many days I struggle with distractions either going on outside or in my mind. Today I spent my entire walk just talking to God. I didn’t really ask for anything I just told him how I was feeling. It was pouring by the time I got home and I didn’t even notice the rain. My heart felt full and I felt so much lighter.

On my walk I was reminded of a verse that helped me through a very challenging time with Wayne

Philippians 4 6:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

None of the things that were weighing so heavy on my mind changed in the hour I was gone. But I came home a different girl than the one that walked out the door.

 

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Why I Love my Air Fryer

Have to say this is one of the best purchases I have made for my kitchen. So many things I love about my air fryer. I hesitated for a while but started to hear some good feed back. When I finally took the plunge I bought the smaller size but in no time passed it down to my daughter and went for the big one.

I’m able to enjoy many of the foods I enjoy without the all the fat and calories

I haven’t indulged in Fried Calamari in years!

One of the reasons I held off on buying one was the fact that I really don’t eat much fried food anymore but this thing cooks just about everything.

I have roast veggies (asparagus comes out fantastic!), an entire chicken, ribs a pork roast and chops, pineapple and made my little apple pies. It also cooks a mean porterhouse steak!

Cooks things so much faster then an oven and no need to wait 10 to 15 minutes to preheat.

Heats up leftovers in minutes! So much tastier then the microwave

I am not a big baker but the option is there and I may play around with it sooner or later

Clean up is so easy! I use my little smiley face sponge but it can be tossed right in the dish washer.

Looking forward to the summer and being able to make many of the things I would normally not make because I don’t want to heat up the house by turning the oven on. I usually bring my Ninja 3 in 1 cooker with me but I am definitely planning on bringing this guy with me to the beach this year as well.

 A big concern for me especially when I was thinking about going with the larger one was space (I have a little kitchen with not a lot of counter space) But its really not much bigger then my coffee pot

I use it 5 out of 7 days a week and many times more then once in a day so it has a permanent spot on the counter.

I love this one and chose it because it was there and on sale. The smaller one I had was a different brand and worked just as well, My daughter and her fiance are still enjoying it. I have really not heard any bad reviews on any of them. Both of the ones I got came with a small cookbook with ideas and some cook times to get me started. The internet is loaded with recipes and ideas and really I have just been playing with it and trying different things.

One thing I did do was purchase some silicone trivets to keep the basket from rubbing and scraping up the bottom when shaking it

I Absolutely LOOOVE french fries so I guess that would be my favorite thing about it. Perfect French fries in less then 20 minutes

So if you have been thinking about it I say GO FOR IT!!!

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Is it worth it? Why not interview your food

A few years ago in Weight Watchers we talked about interviewing our food. At first I thought it was a little silly but it is is something that has really stuck with me and helped me figure out what foods are worth it and what aren’t. Here are some of my go to questions.

When will I see you again?

Do you taste as good as you look?

Will I be able to stop once I start eating you?

How many points are you?

Can I afford you today?

Why do I really want you?

Will I regret you later?

How will I feel after I eat you?

and one I just added to the list…

Are you going to get me closer to or further from my goal?

This strategy has really helped me manage many Holidays, events and parties and I encourage you to give it a shot. Come up the the questions that make a difference to you. If nothing else it could definitely make you more mindful but if you stick with it it could become a habit be a real game changer for you

 

 

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Fitness Funk… Even when I don’t want to…

Every once in a while I get into a fitness funk. Usually it lasts a day or two but this last one went on for a month. It started with a cold and it was the month of December, it’s cold, it’s dark and life is busy already and then you toss in the holidays and my plate started feeling way to full. Then I had to go to the dentist and have a tooth pulled and I am NOT a fan of the dentist at all.

Every week I would schedule and go to my classes complaining about going before I left the house and complaining through the entire class. There have been many days since I made fitness a part of my life that  I haven’t wanted to go but once I got there and got started I would feel good and I left happy I went. This was not happening at all, but I knew I had to keep going.

WHY…

I know that moving is incredibly important for me for way more then just a calorie burn. When I work out I do make better food choices, it keeps my head in a much better space, I definitely manage stress better, I have crazy PMS and have been able to get off meds for that, my Doc told also me this is the reason my cholesterol has gone down and I don’t have to take meds for that either. I sleep way better and that swings me back to better food choices again, when I am tired all I want is carbs. I feel stronger when I work out, I do things that are challenging and that gives me a confidence that helps me in all other areas of my life. When I overcome some of the things I do at the gym it helps me believe I can overcome other challenges in my life. I also feel better in my skin and in my clothes

WHY NOT TAKE A BREAK…

Believe me I wanted to! I take 5 classes a week and they have just become part of who I am and what I do. I knew if I stopped that I would fill those spaces with something else and I remember how hard it was to start and find time to go and how much harder things were to do when I started then they are now. I remember a guy I use to take class with every Friday years ago. He was super fit and was always there and then one day he just disappeared. I saw him about a year and a half later (not so fit), when I asked what happened he said that he decided take a break that summer and he had been struggling for the past year and couldn’t get back into it. That conversation more then anything is why even when I don’t wan’t to I go.

HOW…

This is the longest funk I have been in and I have to admit I was starting to get a little nervous that I wasn’t going to come out of it. Every week I would just sign up at least a week in advance and look at it just like it was an appointment (I didn’t want to get my tooth pulled either but it was necessary for my health). I tried to remember how good I use to feel after a workout. Philippians 4:13 – I can so all things through Christ who strengthens me was a verse that I would go to in my head while I was in the class sometimes just to get me through. I also did share the way I was feeling with a few people that I knew would encourage me to keep going.

 January 2nd is when it all turned around. On the car ride there I started having the conversation in my head that I had been having for weeks now “maybe I’m bored here” (NOT! I have been going to this place for 2 years and never taken the same class. One of the reasons I go there is because it keeps it fresh and I have learned that’s incredibly important for me). Wayne had been laid off just before Thanksgiving and my next gym payment was scheduled to come out at the end of the week and I had been pushing off that as an excuse to “take a break” but walked in the door that day thinking I would talk to them about putting it on hold until he went back to work. I got there just as class was beginning so planned on talking to him after. This day was an obstacle class and 2 obstacles in I realized it was back! I was feeling good I was happy to be here!! It was hard but I was looking forward to conquering or at least attempting to conquer the obstacles ahead.

I was able to maintain my weight through the holidays and I can’t imagine how that would have looked had I not continued my routine. Had I stopped there is no telling when I would have started again. I am not at all interested in going back to where I was and most certainly don’t want to do it all over again

 

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Some simple words to help you stick to your weight loss resolution once and for all

Another January another resolution to lose weight. Some years you make it 5 minutes, some years 5 months. Some years you lose a little, some years nothing and sometimes you even get to your goal and somehow still find the following January you are making the same weight loss resolution again.

 When I wanted to lose weight I would go on a “diet”. I would restrict myself and do whatever I needed to do to get the weight off. I remember round 1 at weight watchers, I totally dieted my way through. I did what I had to do to get the weight off to get my Doctor off my back. Problem was once I got to my goal I went back to what I had always done. I have an all or nothing personality, so when I’m in I am all in but when I’m out… well let’s just say it only took 2 months to gain 12 pounds back after I hit goal.

I didn’t want to put it all back on and even though weight watchers had helped me lose weight I didn’t want to go back and let anyone know I had gained (crazy right?) so I started reading a bunch of weight loss books trying to figure out how to lose weight so I could get some of it off before I went back to weight watchers. In one of those books I read the words that would change everything for me…

DON’T MAKE CHANGES YOU CAN’T KEEP FOREVER

I walked back into weight watchers and looked at the room differently then I did round 1. The first time I tried to figure out how to fit into weight watchers world. This time I decided to figure out how to fit weight watchers into my world. I decided to embrace who I was and not try to do what everyone else was doing that was just so uncomfortable to me. I realized if I wanted to change I had to change something

CHANGE IS UNCOMFORTABLE BUT IF IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE TO THE POINT YOU CAN’T WAIT TILL YOU NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN, DON’T PUT YOUR ENERGY THERE, PUT YOUR ENERGY TOWARDS SOMETHING YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE WITH

I am a volume eater (I like to look down and see lots of food) round 1 I ate off little plates and would feel deprived because that’s what I thought you were suppose to do. Round 2 I decided to learn what foods and how I could get the volume  that I enjoyed.

Round 1 I stayed away from restaurants and parties and avoided most social functions that involved food (pretty much everything) Round 2 I decided to find restaurants that had foods that I enjoyed but fit into my “budget” and would offer to bring things that I enjoyed to social events so I didn’t feel deprived.

Round 1 I ate alot of the same boring “diet” foods. Round 2 I found foods that were exciting and tasted good but were also healthy choices (believe me there are so many out there) It keeps me from wanting to go back to the things that put the weight on me in the first place.

These are just a few examples of some of the changes. I have been able to keep it off now for almost 8 years. I no longer feel like I am on a diet I really am just living. Can I have and do or not do everything I want? Of course not but that is a whole other blog. I enjoy the healthy me much better then the unhealthy me but I have to be able to enjoy the choices I am making to stay here.

Happy New Year!

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STAYING ON TRACK THANKSGIVING DAY

 

 

First thing I had to do was CHANGE MY MINDSET

I use to think I had to either make perfect choices or I didn’t have to think about what I was doing at all. Now I know going in that there is a good chance I will not make all great choices but that I don’t have to make all bad choices either and I seem to have found a really good balance now.

 

I definitely EAT A HIGH PROTEIN BREAKFAST

I use to think I should save the calories for my meals and realized quickly with that mindset I would up spending way more then I would have by having breakfast. I also say my brain works much better with some protein and I am able to make the choices I really want to make not the one I want to make in that in the moment

I WORKOUT THANKSGIVING DAY

That was a HUUUUGE change but made a big difference. We have fried oysters at my moms and I figure at least I can pay for those. I do better with a scheduled class because I have made a commitment and I will definitely show for that. I even took spin one year (not my favorite at all) but that’s what they were offering and it at least covered my oysters. When I am active it also changes the way I think and gives me more energy and that is super helpful

I CHANGED MY OUTFIT

Believe it or not this can make a difference. I use to wear stretchy pants or a huge sweater so it would cover me when I unbuttoned my pants. Now I don’t wear something to tight fitting bit I do wear something that fits comfortably and NO big sweaters. I can depend on my pants to let me know if I am going a little overboard

I also now GO IN WITH A PLAN

In my second month of weight watchers years ago we did a meeting called the Great Plate (it was one of may favorites). I was able to come up with a plan and see I didn’t have to give up everything I loved to stay on track. We eat at 2 houses within a couple hours of each other so I really did think it was impossible.

When making my plate I MAKE SURE I START WITH MY FAVORITES 

I start with the things I want most (oysters and Mom’s stuffing) and then work around them. There is really nothing special about the dinner rolls (they are out of a package), I can have mashed potatoes any day and really turkey too for that matter so I decided to spend my points (what we use to track in weight watchers world).

I am a volume eater so I BRING A GREEN SALAD

My favorites are also pretty high in Points or Calories so I need something to take up space on my plate and a nice green salad always does the trick

HAVE MY PIE FRIDAY

Mom also makes an awesome apple pie and I use to eat it quick before going to my in laws for meal #2. I realized I was worried that there wouldn’t be any left so now I ask her to cut a piece before I leave (so I am sure I will get one) and I go back either Friday or Saturday when I can fit it into my plan and I actually enjoy it more.

The PAPER IN MY POCKET

The first time I heard NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS was at that same weight watchers meeting we did the plate. That Thanksgiving morning before we left the house I wrote that on a piece of paper and carried it in my pocket. When I would be tempted to just say screw it I would go to the paper. I still do that every year although I have changed it to NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS HEALTHY FEELS. Having some sort of anchor is so helpful when trying to manage a day like today.

I INTERVIEW MY FOOD

At my in laws there is food from the time we walk in the door to the time we leave, all the really good snacky stuff first then dinner, snacky stuff again and then tons of dessert! This is where interviewing is key for me. A couple of my most important questions other then the normal ARE YOU WORTH IT? are WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN and WILL I BE ABLE TO STOP IF I START EATING YOU?

KEEP MY WHY CLOSE BY

Having a strong enough why helps me manage all temptations. I revisit it regularly. If its not strong enough I always wind up saying things like  “just today I will deal with it tomorrow.” I have a basket full of why’s but there has to be one that is powerful enough to out way any temptations

PACK MY OWN TO GO CONTAINER

My Mother in law also makes enough food to feed a thousand people so that first year I had the plan the day went OK bit the weekend after not so much. She sent us home with all kinds of goodies and I ate ALOT of them. Now I am in charge of packing up all the left overs so I am in control of what comes home with me.

I have to REMIND MYSELF I AM NOT PERFECT AND THAT’S OK

I never been and never will be perfect at anything and I don’t know why I thought this should be any different. It gets a little easier each year because each year I learn a new strategy that works for me. What I have realized is most of the time I have to go through what doesn’t work to figure out what does.

I AM THANKFUL TO GOD AND GRATEFUL FOR THE AMAZING FRIENDS AND FAMILY I SPEND TIME WITH ON THIS DAY

I started focusing on the blessings around me more then I was focusing on the food

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!

 

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Overcoming the temptation to just give up during the holidays

It’s hard enough during the rest of the year to make healthy choices but during the holiday season it almost seems impossible… or at least it use to to me. It is an incredibly busy time of year (and much of the rest of the year I already feel overwhelmed and short on time), my emotions are usually all over the place, there are so many more social occasions and  tempting foods everywhere! Oh and lets not forget the eggnog and other adult beverages. Almost every job I have ever had demands more time and energy during these months and I would just say “Screw it! This is just to hard and I will deal with it in January”. January would come sometimes I would deal with it and sometimes I wouldn’t but it wouldn’t be long and then summer would be here and I always thought summer was to hard too.

Once I got serious about my weight and eventually my health I realized that this was something I had to change. Giving up at the holidays had become as much a tradition as all of the other holiday traditions. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy the holidays and be on “a diet” and the thought of the holidays coming when I first started my journey terrified me.

It took some time and many trials and many errors but I now look forward to the holidays and know that I can enjoy them and be healthy at the same time.

One thing that works really well for me is not putting huge expectations on myself. I don’t go in expecting to lose weight. I know I will indulge and I’m happy with maintaining or maybe being up a pound or two.

I plan indulgences and enjoy every sip or bite! Some things are just so worth it but I have learned is everything isn’t.

I regularly remind myself WHY this is important to me

I make sure I stay close with the “people that get it”

In social events I try to focus on the reason I am there and not the food

I make time for fitness by scheduling it in. For me it is less about the calorie burn and more about managing my emotions

One of the things that has helped quiet a bit is focusing less on what makes it so hard and more on what will make it easier for me. Nope, I didn’t say easy because I can’t say it is easy but being overweight and sick all year is not easy either. I have come up with many strategies over the years to manage certain situations and make sure I use them and don’t try to rely on will power. I don’t have much will power and even less at this time of year.

What I try to think of most in this season of giving is my family. I try to remember every choice I make affects them, maybe not right in that moment but one day it will. With each choice I make I am either increasing or decreasing my chances of the length of time I am here to love and care for them. With each choice I am also increasing or decreasing the chances that they will have to spend their time caring for me. I try to look at every good choice I make as a gift I am giving to those I love.

 

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PIZZA SALAD!! One slice can absolutely be enough

 

 

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Pizza has always been a challenge for me. I am a volume eater and I LOVE pizza. That combo can be a killer for the waistline for sure. But giving up pizza? I don’t think so. Tried a couple different tricks… Ordering a salad with my pizza thinking it would fill me up… would usually wind up eating the salad and at least 4 slices of pizza. I love salad but when I’m eating pizza I want pizza and the salad becomes like a job or something I have to do. Another thing I tried was cutting a slice up into little pieces… problem there is I could do that with 4 or 5 slices real easy.

One day someone mentioned putting pizza on my salad. Sounded pretty weird but one thing I always say you don’t know if it works till you try it. Guess what? It totally worked!!! One slice and I am completely satisfied both physically and mentally. The salad fills me up and every bite tastes like pizza

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Grab your favorite slice and make a nice big salad

cut pizza into bite size pieces and add to salad

cut pizza into bite size pieces and add to salad

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Add your favorite toppings

Add your favorite toppings

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I love balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes and sometimes a little parmesan cheese

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ENJOY!!!!!

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