Healthchat

Conversations about optimal health.


Overcoming, Results and Rewards

Following my new habits for the first 90 days produced measurable results, especially with weight loss. It was an exciting time, the visible changes motivated me to continue with my wellness plan. Then, the second 90 days, not so much. This is the time when my new habits were tested. Life and the deep triggers toward addiction surfaced. The question on my mind was, “will I be able to do this long term even if the results are slow?”

I realized that longterm change is harder when there are challenges to my new routines. Family gatherings, birthdays, eating out, emotional upheaval all happened in July. Also, a set point in my weight loss continued for the whole month. My usual go to for handling challenges is sugar but that is off the table now. Like I said earlier, this was a testing month. Do I have the right habits in place to make healthy choices no matter the circumstances?

The answer is yes and keep going no matter what. August has been a breakthrough month. Less weight and making healthy choices even when traveling. I’ve eaten a sugary dessert 4 times and actually left one dessert uneaten because it wasn’t worth the calories. I no longer have to think about my new habits but I do have to keep logging my food choices. There is still an urge to return to former unhealthy ways when I’m tired or discouraged. So on to September and the next 90 days. I will keep you posted and if you are stuck in your journey toward optimal health trust your new habits and don’t give up.


Habit #4 Prep ahead.

This habit helps with two challenges. This first being what to cook especially on nights when you are tired. The second is produce that can be pricey, dying in your refrigerator before you get a chance to eat it. The answer is planning your menus and prepping your food right after you bring it home.

When I had to feed four children on a budget I used to plan out my menu for about 2 weeks, shop for food every two weeks, buy in bulk as much as I could and then I would do a marathon cooking day, prepping the ingredients and freezing or storing them in the refrigerator. It was a grueling day but it saved me lots of time and money. Plus we ate healthier meals.

I took the same approach with my new healthier eating plan. I plan out two weeks worth of menus then make a list with the needed ingredients. I take my list to the grocery store every two weeks and yes stick to a budget. Then every other Saturday afternoon I spend about 2 hours prepping the fresh produce. One big help is dividing romaine lettuce into leaves, washing and drying them then placing them in a large baggie or container for salads. A second head of romaine is torn and washed and spun dry then put in a second container. I am more likely to make a salad if the greens are washed and ready.

I also travel to my favorite farmers market and pick up produce in season. Here are some ideas on how to prep and preserve it from spoiling. Corn can be shucked and placed in a large baggie. Do not wash it ahead of time. I chop the tops off of beets and cook them until they are fork tender then slice and store in the refrigerator for salads. Tomatoes should sit on a window sill until you are ready to use them. Cucumbers can be peeled, sliced and refrigerated. Carrots, celery, scallions, peppers and radishes are cleaned and cut into dipping sizes. I usually make some hummus and black bean dip to accompany them. Chopping and slicing red onions and garlic are really helpful for quick dinners when I’m tired. Lately I’ve been cutting up a small watermelon and refrigerating it. It makes a great dessert on hot nights.

Finally I make sure I have a healthy sweet snack available. Fresh blueberries and a cut up pineapple are satisfying. Also, I portion almonds and raisins, 1 ounce each combined in a baggie for snacks when I want something sweet. Remember a craving only lasts for about 15 minutes so if you have something healthy prepared you are less likely to run out for ice cream.

The time is well spent because when I need ingredients for a shake they are ready. When I’m craving something sweet I have cut up fruit or an almond raisin snack. Salads are easy. This prep has really helped with sticking to my eating plan.

Try it and share your recipes and prepping techniques. I would love to hear from you.


Habit #3 Responsibility vs Resistance

All healthy habits require action but the action originates in your mind. You think of it before doing it unless you are touching a hot stove and then the recoil bypasses the brain and becomes automatic.

I am a food addict and when I stuff my emotions with food it is hard to take personal responsibility for my actions. I blame my obesity on my genetics or on the eating habits that I learned from my parents. The choice to eat is mine but I feel pressured into it by circumstances and feelings.

Conversely when I am building healthy habits around food and exercise it is always someone else’s idea to give up sugar and refined flour and get up in the morning to go to the gym. The resistance l feel when starting a new eating plan comes from putting the responsibility for success on the plan, not owning it as my idea, my choice.

I am 67 years old. No one is making me do this, not my mother or my children, my trainer or society. I choose to be a healthier version of myself. These are my plans, I own them and will follow them because I am committed to a new life with new habits. When I take full responsibility for my life choices and totally own my day, my resistance melts away because no one is making me do this but me.


Re-Set and Food Sensitivities

If you suspect that you may have sensitivities to certain foods or additives in foods a cleanse and reset may be a good way to find out. For instance, two years ago I was living with a lot of acid reflux, weight gain and joint inflammation. My Chiropractor recommended a cleanse to reveal if I had food allergies and to jump start weight loss.

Since I work with the Nutrilite company I wanted to design the cleanse around their shakes and supplements. After researching several published cleanses and reputable nutrition authors I designed a cleanse and diet reset that I hoped would identify my food sensitivities and help me form healthier eating habits. It began with protein shakes and a whole food plant based diet, then gradually re-introduced animal protein, dairy and gluten in order to discover what foods if any were causing uncomfortable reactions.

Basically you remove certain food groups from your diet for a two week period and then gradually re-introduce one group at a time over the following two weeks. I found that Bovine dairy products, except for yogurt, were causing the reflux and a lot of the joint inflammation. Wheat products came in as mildly irritating and I actually lost my taste for a variety of animal proteins.

Now, I’m working with a whole foods, plant based diet and the weight loss is happening gradually. Joint swelling and pain have almost disappeared and acid reflux is a thing of the past. See some of my former posts here on Healthchat to read about my progress.

As a disclaimer I do have a graduate degree in Nursing and I’ve worked with one of the top Vitamin and Supplement companies for over 30 years so I know a lot about nutrition, however, I do not have a degree in Nutrition or any certifications in that field. Also if you have ever had a violent reaction to food, ie., hives, difficulty breathing, or anaphylactic shock, definitely follow your doctors recommendations when it comes to changes in your diet and eating habits.

Ask me questions and post your comments here. I would love to hear from you and share more of the details.


Habit #2 – Stop eating at 8:00pm

How many of you have been sleeping at least 7 – 8 hours per night? In the interest of full disclosure my average is 6 hours so I’m still working on Habit #1 in the previous post.

The second habit that is really working well for me is to stop eating at 8:00pm every night, allowing my digestive system to rest and fast for at least 12 hours before eating the next day. I also get a better nights sleep when I’m not trying to digest a heavy meal before bedtime.

This takes some planning. Schedule when you will be eating your evening meal along with how long it will take to cook it so you aren’t scrambling for ideas at 7:45pm and end up eating something that’s fast but not healthy.

Link the habit to other activities. Put a reminder on your phone or maybe make a sign for your kitchen that says, “Kitchen Closed after 8:00pm. Turn out the lights and put yourself in another room in the house. Fill a water bottle and take it into another room with you so you won’t have to return to the kitchen until the following morning. This habit will help with sleep and with weight loss.


My Forever Journey

The last two years with COVID have been a wake up call. I am 67 years old and have survived a bout with the disease however that was not the challenge for me. The staying at home with two hungry grandchildren led to my undoing. We had way too much fun cooking, baking, eating and ordering out. I gained 18 pounds over the last two years and developed inflammation in my joints.

So fast forward to February of 2022. Ever since menopause I have had what I call an allergic reaction to chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I react to it with migraines which is so unfair. This year post Valentine’s Day after consuming too many chocolate covered almonds I ended up in the ER with confusion and high blood pressure. These can be symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack in vessels of the brain. Sometimes a precursor for stroke.

Talk about a wake up call! I knew that when I got out of there I had to make some drastic changes. Life as I knew it was over. After being scanned, poked and prodded I found out the results of all the testing: high cholesterol, moderate build up in Coronary arteries, migraine, and obesity. Time to take control over my health.

First step was agreeing finally to take a Statin drug to lower the cholesterol. That worked beautifully and brought my LDL down to healthy levels. Second step was to find some help. I asked a close friend and coworker who has a large health and wellness practice to mentor me in diet and exercise. I also enlisted the support of my family. My husband is going on this journey with me for which I am grateful.

The third step was beginning a journal during my prayer time in the morning. Asking God for His guidance with why I’m overeating and using food as a drug. Food has been a source of pleasure, reward, solace, entertainment, and basically an emotional crutch as far back as I can remember. I have examined why I overeat during other times in my life and I have learned a lot about myself but there are still places within that need healing. I know that as I learn and grow personally food will become just a source of fuel, not my go to friend.

That brings us to today. This series of posts will be about my journey to optimal health and I invite you to come along. Maybe you need healing in this area too. I will share my successes and failures and the forever plan that I’m following. We can be healthy at our stage in life. In fact, it’s been my experience that once the kids are out of the house I now have time to focus on me. For those of you who are younger, start taking care of your health now!! For once your health is gone, life becomes a huge struggle.

I welcome your comments just know that I will be approving what is published here.


Are you stuck on the same breakfast?

I don’t know about you but I tend to get in a rut in the morning with the same breakfast everyday. I usually have a protein smoothie before going out to exercise. When the same ingredients are on hand I grab what is easy and make the same boring smoothie. However in order to stay on a healthy eating regimen I need variety.

Summer is a great time to shake up my dull tastebuds by adding fresh, local produce into my morning routine. So today I invited some friends and family to come try some new smoothie recipes. They were pleasantly surprised by the variety of ingredients and flavors. The smoothie bar was a success and I’m sharing our favorites with you. Buy local as much as possible and make some new healthy, delicious breakfast shakes. Now you have no excuse.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 cup Lactose Free Milk

1 Frozen banana

1Tblsp pure peanut butter

1 scoop Chocolate Protien Powder, or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder Chocolate flavor

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup ice.

Blend on high until smooth.

Raspberry Beet Protein Smoothie

1 baby beet, steamed and skinned.

1/2 cup Coconut Milk Yogurt

1/2 cup fresh red raspberries

1/2 cup Coconut Water

1/2 cup ice cubes

Splash of real Vanilla

1 scoop Protein Powder or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder, Vanilla

Blend all ingredients in blender on high until smooth.

Green Superfood Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup Soy or Coconut Milk

1/2 cup green seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 scoop powdered greens or Nutrilite Organics Green Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Pear Raspberry Collagen Smoothie

1/2 large Anjou Pear cored.

1/2 cup red raspberries

1/4 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup cold water

2 tsp honey

1 envelope Collagen Peptides or N by Nutrilite #nofilter Collagen Peptides

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Then here are two recipes for coolers which are thirst quenching on hot afternoons.

Jasmine Green Tea w Mint

Cover 12 stems of fresh mint with 48 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove stems and stir in 1/3 cup of sugar.

Steep 1 Jasmine Green Tea bag in 12 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add to mint tea and adjust for sweetness. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Watermelon Immunity Cooler

1 cup watermelon

1 cup Black Cherry Juice, no sugar added

1 cup ice

1 scoop of Immunity powder, or Nutrilite Organics Immunity Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into glass, sit on porch and enjoy!


Say “No” to Diets and “Yes” to Habits

Take it from someone who has tried lots of diets, fasts, reducing centers and support groups for weight loss. I am a foodie. I love cooking shows and collecting cookbooks. I love cooking new recipes and feeding my friends and family. I even enter baked goods in the local fair and win awards. Does that mean that I will always be an unhealthy overeater who has to be on a diet for the rest of my life? The answer is a resounding “no”!!!

On this side of the diet life I now know that putting good habits into my day will help me to optimal health and wellness. Here is today’s habit that I am currently working on.

>1. Sleep. 7 to 8 hours per night. I go to bed before midnight and wake up 7 to 8 hours later. I have energy for the day. If you have a challenge with getting to sleep at night turn off all screens an hour before you go to bed. There are great herbal teas that you can drink in the evening to foster relaxation. My husband takes an herbal sleep gummy that helps him to get to sleep. Personally I go to sleep easily after reading a personal development book. Explore what it will take for you to put this habit into place. I don’t recommend any drugs or supplements that interrupt your sleep cycles.

Link your sleep to other evening activities. For example, I keep my book and reading glasses on my bedside table and the goal is to read for at least 10 minutes before I go to sleep. I also have a daily reminder on my phone about 30 minutes before bedtime. A great book to read on developing good habits is, Atomic Habits by James Clear. However, if you keep it next to your bedside it may be hard to read just 10 minutes before sleep.