Road trip to health

We’ve all heard the cliché, “Patience is a virtue,” but when it comes to reaching a goal, all I want to do is get there NOW.  In an instantly gratified society I’m tempted to reach for the new “best new product” or “quick fix” when it comes to weight loss.  I spent years indulging myself and ignoring the advice of my body, why should I spend time and effort to fix the problem when I can just take care of it with the latest fad?  What is the catch?  The catch is: you won’t learn your lesson with a quick fix and the cycle will continue.

True, lasting change comes from growth.  I’ve spent years knowing what is good for me.  I knew the foods I should eat and why.  I knew I should eat them in smaller portions.  I knew I should be getting exercise on a daily basis and get a routine going.  I knew I needed to reign in my stomach and my wallet because what I was doing was not good for me.  Knowing and doing are two very different things.  Sometimes I would do.  I’d eat right some of the time and exercise a little bit.  I’d start a program and like it until something distracted me, or I got sick/injured, or it was someone’s birthday and I HAD to eat a piece of cake…and that brownie…and that latte the next morning…and the week after that.  (You see where this leads.)  I could have used a pill or a crash diet or surgery-some people have great results with those things- however my understanding from the people with whom I’ve spoken use those things to avoid the change, skipping the growth.  The people I know who have had the most success are the people who start small, one step at a time, until that one action becomes a habit, and those habits link together to form a routine, and whose routines continue to expand until they create the fabric of their lifestyle.  These are a few of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned and am trying to implement into my own life and daily choices:

  1.  Create a road map to your goal.  When you’re taking a trip, you don’t just click your heels and go from Maryland to California.  You look at a map, figure out which route your going to take, pick the cities you’re going to stop in, and plan how long it is going to take to get there.  For example, don’t just say, “I’m going to lose 60 pounds.”  Say, I’m going to lose 60 pounds by this date next year.  That gives me 2 months to lose each 10 lbs, so I plan to be x weight by one month,  x weight by two months, etc.
  2. Pick the best mode of transportation.  Everyone has a different preference when it comes to, well, everything.  Eating well and exercising is no exception.  I am not a runner.  I want to like it, but it is just not my thing.  (One day I WILL complete a 5k, but that is a different mountain I need to climb.)  I like zumba, I LOVE yoga (when I can afford to go to a studio), and I love my Beachbody workouts (like the 21 Day Fix) from the convenience of my home. Find what works for you and do it.  Which way will get you to your destination the best?  Would you rather take a scenic drive or a nonstop flight?  Which one can you see yourself sticking with for the duration of the journey?
  3. Find people who will travel with you.  One of the reasons I am doing so well right now on my fitness journey is because my Beachbody coach and support group is amazing.  Having the right amount of accountability-and let’s be honest, someone to bitch to every once in awhile- can be the difference between sticking with a program and falling off the wagon.  Sometimes I’ve been too scared to share my goals and struggles in the past because of how I thought people would perceive me.  Lately I’ve realized that we need to share, because so many people out there are going through the same things and need to know that they are not alone.  Sometimes we need people to engage on our trip instead of just sleeping beside us in the car the whole way.
  4. Stop and appreciate the surroundings every once in awhile.  There are some people who like to go nonstop from point A to point B with tunnel vision on and are disciplined enough to stay focused the whole time.  I am not that person.  I love spontaneity, hate routines, and get bored with monotony.  Though planes get me places faster, I love car trips.  I love seeing the landscape change and getting to intimately know the road I’m traveling.  On my weight loss journey, I’ve been keeping a list of the positive changes I see daily to remind myself that progress is being made-even when I can’t tell from a mirror or a scale.  Those minor victories may be stops on the way to my destination, but by acknowledging them, by embracing the change instead of just seeing how far I still have left to go, I learn to keep moving forward so I can see how far I’ve come.

    I’m finally able to bind a side angle pose!
  5. Learn how to navigate detours.  For me this is the hardest step, but the most important.  There will always be a reason to quit-and excuse to hinder my progress.  I have a weight chart from the last couple of years that looks like a mountain range with gradual drops and steep inclines.  There was always something that got in my way and caused me to backslide.  If you’re traveling and make it a quarter of the way across country and hit a traffic jam or get a flat tire are you just going to turn around and head home?  No!  Learning how to accept the obstacle, find a way around it, and keep going is paramount.  Knowing that a detour is not a road closure means you can still get there, even if you have to do some creative problem solving to make it.


     Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination.  Though my goal right now is to lose weight, my journey to health will last me a lifetime.  With the right tools and support, I look forward to enjoying that path, leading me toward new goals I haven’t even dreamed yet.  Don’t limit yourself when you can explore new possibilities every day.




Foodie Friday: 21 Day Fix Red Flannel Hash

I love eating a colorful meal.  The wonderful colors from different fruits and vegetables add a variety of phytonutrients to keep us healthy.  You’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your eyes, that is because the antioxidant beta-carotene in carrots is turned into Vitamin A (retinol) in the body; Vitamin A is good for a healthy immune system, our skin and mucous membranes, and good eye health and vision.  It also causes the orange pigment in foods such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

Though many people think of sweet potatoes with lots of sugar and marshmallows at Thanksgiving, I was never really a fan of that traditional dessert growing up.  As an adult however, I have come to appreciate the golden glow of a baked sweet potato and have added it to many different dishes- or just eaten it plain.  The dish below is how I use leftover baked sweet potato to make a wonderful, easy breakfast.

The traditional northeastern breakfast red flannel hash is usually made with the leftovers from a meal of corned beef and boiled potatoes and beets.  Because this isn’t a meal I’m likely to make on a typical evening, I had to adjust it a little, but boy does it hit the spot on a cold weekend morning.  My recommendation is to make baked sweet potatoes and roasted beets the night before for dinner to make breakfast even easier.

Continue reading “Foodie Friday: 21 Day Fix Red Flannel Hash”

A story of excess

I love excess. I don’t want to love it, but I do. I binge watch my favorite shows on Netflix. I read my favorite books until I can’t stay awake anymore. I can’t go to the store to only get one thing- a ten minute trip to Ikea? Ha! Of course not! When I get excited about something it takes over my life for a period of time, it consumes me, until I get my fill.

This predilection also extends to food. I have spent many years trying to undo my penchant for decadence; years of bakery breads and delicious sweets, beers and butters, cakes and cordials all memorialized in the weight on my hips and beyond. Is the instant gratification worth the extra pounds and loss of energy? Logically, no. Emotionally, it depends on what is triggering me at the moment and how severe my craving.
I’ve always craved food. I’ll visualize a specific food (or even restaurant) and am not satisfied until I’ve satiated my desire. That’s why I was willing to drive 45 minutes away and spend big bucks on some Belgian waffles or drive around in circles looking for non existent parking to get a falafel- I have always felt like a slave to my cravings.

I finally decided that enough was enough and jumped into the 21 Day Fix program. I waited until after the holidays so that I could have a better chance of success, away from food temptations, to begin. What I like best about the program is that it is has great tools to combat excess. The containers are obviously tools for portion control, to teach moderation. The exercises also are concise but challenging, which has helped me stick with it. I’ve done exercise programs before, but I usually start them and overload myself at the beginning instead of slowly working up to heavier weights or more endurance, pushing myself past my limit, usually because I think I’m in better shape than I am, but also because I am an expert at consuming myself in excess.
So far with two rounds of the 21 Day Fix program I have done very well managing my cravings and curbing my excess. When I fill a yellow container with pasta it may seem like too little at first, but after eating it covered with veggies and proteins I realize that I’m actually full; all those times I formerly would grab a second helping because I loved the taste were just superfluous.

That doesn’t mean I have gotten rid of all my cravings though. The second week I dreamt of dinner rolls. In that dream I was throwing away my husband’s rolls because I told him they weren’t allowed at home. He was not happy in that dream, and a little chagrined when I told him the next day as well. That week I allowed myself one cheat meal, and although the meal itself fit into my portion allowance, I allowed myself one restaurant roll. It was so delicious and even more so because it was a special treat.
I have had a few special treats while on this program, but because I consciously make decisions about what and when I eat, allowing myself healthy treats weekly and an unhealthy treat occasionally, it really helps to mitigate my cravings. I now tell myself, “Yes, I really want that, but I’ve had my cheat meal this week. How about next week I have that for lunch.” Sometimes that next week the craving is gone and I don’t need it, or other times I wake up every morning counting down the days until that meal. Usually in that case I try to visualize something else or eat something healthy with that same taste profile, like when I craved a big restaurant burger but made lean bison burgers at home instead. I had to choose between a bun and sweet potato fries, but once they were eaten I didn’t miss the bun.

Shakeology does help satisfy my sweet tooth 

Will my cravings for unhealthy food ever go away? Probably not. There are still emotional triggers and stressors that will bring them back. I will still be around the food that can cause me to spiral into a twenty pound indulgence binge, but now more than ever I feel like I have practiced the art of moderation and gained a little more balance into my excessive life.