June 2014 Recap

Here’s a recap of my progress and struggles for June 2014.  Overall it has been a good month.  I think I have a good momentum going and am enjoying the process.  I am also enjoying feeling healthier!!  My family is being encouraging each night when I take my walk as well as when I do my floor exercises (except the dogs who think I am on the floor to play with and pet them).  They are also patient with me when I can’t sit down with them at the start of a meal because I am weighing and measuring my food as well as when I sit at the table logging my food so that I don’t forget anything.  My sweet hubby, has even mentioned that he’s noticed that I am carrying myself differently (that I am standing straighter, walking taller).  I also feel very blessed by the encouragement I have received from all my friends.  Many, many thanks to all of you for making my journey that much nicer!!  :-)

So, here we go with the nitty gritty details (I still can’t believe I am sharing these facts on the internet for all to see)…  First, I am down a total of 5 lbs. for the month.  Here’s a summary of my measurements:

June 11, 2014   July 1, 2014    Net difference
Weight:                            217 lbs.         212 lbs.            -5 lbs.
Upper arm                        15″                    15″               none
Abs (at fullest point)   45.5″                  42″               – 3.5″
Waist                               44″                    43″               -1″
Hips                                 50.5″                 49″               -1.5″
Thigh                               27.5″                 27″               -0.5″

And here is my official picture for July 1, 2014:

I am the most amazed by the 3.5″ lost off my upper abdomen.  I know that I have been much more mindful of holding my abs in while walking (both just in general as well as when I am on my walks).  So, perhaps that is helping to tone up those muscles.  Also, my daily floor exercises focus on my core so that is likely helping as well.  I am going to keep working on this area because it is my biggest problem area in my opinion.  (I will feel a lot better in my clothes when this area is slimmed down!)

Things that appear to be working for me:
1.  As you may have read on my FB page, I have been eating more good protein, healthy fats and more veggies.  I have found that I feel better when I limit my carbs and sugars.  (I have also learned a lot about insulin and hormone-sensitive lipase, but I will share that in more detail later in a whole separate post.)
2.  I have been walking and exercising more.  Thanks to the MapMyWalk app on my phone, I have been logging all of my walking and exercising.  Since June 14th I have logged 21.25 miles walked (11 walks) and 2 hrs, 41 minutes of exercising (10 workouts).  Funny, I really do feel better since exercising more.  I never would have thought that.
3.  My sugar cravings are down.  It has been 5 weeks since I’ve had any pop/soda!  That is amazing for me!!  This has been a continual struggle for me; I was always craving sugar and pop.  I had a hard time making it through lunch time and the afternoon without a glass of pop (or two).  I have tried a variety of things in the past without success.  This time I did one thing differently:  each day I drink 1 ounce of Young Living’s Ningxia Red and take 2 drops of Ocotea essential oil.  The Ningxia Red is made from wolfberry puree from China’s Ningxia province as well as other super fruits and is good for a variety of health issues. (If you want to know more, click here. ) As far as the ocotea essential oil, it comes from a tree in Ecuador and is beneficial in maintaining blood sugar levels.  (You can read more about it here, if you are interested.)  Can I prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these two things are what has cured my sugar addiction?  No, I most certainly cannot; but this is the only thing I have done differently regarding sugar and it seems to be working… and I am going to keep doing it!!

But, all isn’t rosy, there are still some things I struggle with:
1.  I have a hard time getting enough water.  I have tried a variety of things but I am still falling short of 107 oz. per day (that is half my body weight in ounces).  I know that I need more water, I am just having a hard time with it.  I’ll keep trying though!!
2.  The other day we had a family afternoon at the beach and on the way home we stopped for an ice cream cone.  I had a luscious scoop of double chocolate almond  (yum!), however, since then I am craving that ice cream; not all sweets, just this particular ice cream (there are other kinds in the freezer for the kids and I have no temptation for any of those  – go figure!).
3.  I need to work on finding local, affordable sources for grass-fed/pastured meat. I know that grocery-store meat is full of lots of hormones and other yuck that is not good for us, so I need to get better quality meat… that actually fits my budget.  I also need to commit to shopping more at the local farmers’ markets, especially for produce that is grown organically and not sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
4.   I’m having a hard time getting to sleep at night.  I wonder if my nightly walk is too late in the day and my body is having a hard time settling in.  I need to do some research on this.

Well, that’s my update!!  I am making progress and that feels great!! Thanks again for all the wonderful encouragement; it means the world to me!!!

Stay healthy my friends…

Here’s a fun challenge – let’s do 30 miles in July!!

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Who’s up for a challenge?!?  A sweet friend in Texas (big wave to Colleen!) was telling me that her trainer (Tiffani Findley Allamon) has challenged her bootcampers to do 30 miles in July – that is 30 miles of walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, rollerblading or whatever other exercising you do that can be tallied in miles (no, driving does NOT count – LOL!). CHALLENGE starts Tuesday (today!)!  Let’s see how many people we can get moving in July.All you have to do is give a shout out on FB or Twitter that you are joining the challenge; be sure to use #MyJuly30Miles for tracking!  You can also search #MyJuly30Miles to see who else has accepted the challenge as well as to give (and get) encouragement!!

I’m in; how about you??

‪#‎letsgetfit #challengeyourself  ‪#‎letsgethealthy  ‪#‎healthy ‪#‎motivation ‪#‎inspiration ‪#‎determined


What is YOUR Nutritional Type?

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According to Dr. Mercola, there are three main nutritional types:  Protein, Carb, and Mixed.  Those who are a Protein type can eat high-quality proteins and fats freely but need to be careful with carbs.  Those who are a Carb type freely eat high-quality carbs but need to be very careful with protein and fats.  And, finally, those with a Mixed type are blessed with the ability to tolerate both carbs and protein as long as combined appropriately.

Perhaps you already know how your body responds best – either to protein, to carbs or equally well to both.  However, if you would like to take a little quiz to see for sure, go to this page and there is a yellowish-colored box on the right hand side of the page about a quarter of the way down that will take you to the quiz (the rest of the info on this page is great as well, so be sure to read through all of what’s there).  You need to merely enter your name and email address (so they can email you your results) then go right on to the quiz.  Once you answer the 20 questions, you will find out your nutritional type as well as be able to download a food chart with the best foods for your type as well as a file called “Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type.”  This is more than just a cookbook; the first 50-ish pages have a lot of information about the research behind nutritional types as well as additional tips and ideas for each type; then there is approx. 250 pages of great recipes. I learned a lot from both of these resources and will likely refer to them often!!

Just from the basic information I read, I was pretty sure that I was a protein type.  I have learned through each pregnancy that my body doesn’t do well with carbs plus in the past month I have tried very hard to keep my carbs in check (especially white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.) to keep my insulin levels balanced.  By focusing more on quality protein, healthy fats, and a variety of veggies, I find that I feel great, don’t crave pop and sugary foods, and am satisfied longer after meals.  The quiz confirmed this but then also gave me lots of resources for good food combinations, meal suggestions, etc.  I am glad I took the time to do the quiz.

So, what nutritional type do you think you are?  I encourage you to take the quiz and grab the great resources that go along with it!  Let me know what you think!

Stay healthy my friends…

‪#‎letsgetfit #challengeyourself  ‪#‎letsgethealthy  ‪#‎healthy ‪#‎motivation ‪#‎inspiration ‪#‎determined  #nutrition


Motivation!

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Let’s talk about motivation for just a moment…I just finished logging my daily food intake into my MyFitnessPal app. I was under my calorie goal quite substantially today (actually two days in a row).  Not sure why though – I ate when I was hungry and I felt satisfied all day; I am not starving myself (just in case anyone was worried :-)  ).  For some reason I have just not felt hungry lately… not complaining though… :-)  :-)

Well, when I completed my entry today it told me at the bottom of the page that if every day were like today, I’d weigh 199.7 lbs in 5 weeks!!  (It is still hard actually sharing that number… sigh…)  That will be down 16 lbs from what I weigh now!!  Holy crap!!  WHOOP  WHOOP!!


That is awesome!!  Now I know that not every day will be like today – I am realistic.  HOWEVER, this does mean that what I am doing could actually work and that was very motivating!  That one sentence will keep me watching what I eat and will keep me exercising twice a day!!HAPPY DANCE!!  HAPPY DANCE!!  But it will be an even happier dance when my scale actually reads 199.7 lbs!!

Quick side note:
I do have to say though, that if you or anyone you know are trying to be healthier and/or lose weight, I highly recommend logging your food intake and exercise into an app such as MyFitnessPal or one similar to it.  I have been watching what I eat and making healthier food choices the past several weeks, but when you have to actually look at how many calories, sugar, carbs, etc. are in a food item and see how those items all add up at the end of the day, you truly do look at your food differently.  I am much more mindful to not finish Bekah’s sandwich or nibble a little of the macaroni and cheese sitting on the counter when I know that I have to log those items (yes, I am being that careful and actual with what I log).  It is also motivating to see how your exercise adjusts the amount of calories you can consume as well.  So, apps like MyFitnessPal get two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me.  (No, this is not any kind of affiliate endorsement – it’s a free app or you can use it for free online as well – I actually use both all day long.)

That’s all for now…
Stay healthy my friends…

Food and exercise journal already paying off!

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Well, I have only been logging my food and exercise for a couple of days but have already noticed something… I’m not drinking enough water.  Although I have increased from what I was drinking before, I am still not getting enough water.  I have read that you need half of your body weight in ounces; so, in my case, I would need 109 ounces per day (217 x 50% = 109).  That is almost a full gallon a day – WOW!!  I think that part of the issue is that I have been drinking some distilled water which I like a lot better than our tap water but I have run out of distilled water.  We have well water but our water is hard and I have noticed that it leaves a metal-y taste in my mouth (never noticed it until I started drinking distilled water… go figure!).  I just have a weird “thing” about BUYING water at the store… I know, weird!

I think my other struggle with not getting enough water is that I used to drink a LOT with my meals.  However, I have recently learned that drinking too much (water, milk, etc.) with your meals is bad for your digestion.  “The general rule of thumb is to avoid drinking water from about 15 minutes before you eat until at least one hour after you eat.”  (You can read the full article here.)  My problem is that I am forgetting to drink water while I am cooking; that would probably help me a lot.  Old dogs can learn new tricks… it just takes a while!  :-)

I still need to get my exercise done today.  Better get that done before the USA v. Ghana World Cup soccer game tonight!!  I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!!  (Here is a video where you can chant along!)

Stay healthy my friends…


Embarrassed to share this but will for accountabilty and tracking

I mentioned in a post last week that I would share my “before” pictures.  Well, I had my hubby take the pics last Sunday night but I have been avoiding the blog since then because I didn’t want to have to actually share the pictures.  Well, I think I have finally gotten over that and I am going to share the pics with you along with my “before” measurements.  I plan to have a big celebration a year from now (or sooner…) to debut the new, healthier me!!  My blog last week was: a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today; well, a year from now, I WILL BE HEALTHIER and slimmer!!

So, here it goes… no haters (I have done enough of that myself already, don’t need any help :-) )…

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okay, there, I did it…  and for the purpose of accountability and tracking, here are my measurements (taken 6/11/14):
Weight:  217 lbs
Thigh:  27 1/2 inches
Hips:  50 1/2 inches
Waist:  44 inches
Abs:  45 1/2 inches
Upper arm:  15 inches
Neck:  14 inches
Jeans:  I currently wear a size 18

It can only get better from here! RIGHT!!!
I look forward to posting progress pictures in the future!!

I think I will plan to weigh and measure myself at the beginning of each month for tracking.  More often than that and I will likely be frustrated; less often than that and I may lose motivation.  Again, I know it’s not about the weight, but I know that I need to lose weight as part of my health journey.  (I think I say that in each post, don’t I… LOL!)

Until next time…
Stay healthy my friends…

Inquiring minds want to know: what am I doing to get healthier??? 

One question that has been asked is:  “It’s great that you are trying to get healthier, but what specifically are you DOING?”  So, here’s my current action plan and thought process:

1.  I am drinking more water; lots of water.  When I can, I add a couple drops of Young Living Essential Oils – usually lemon and/or lime, but grapefruit as well as orange are YUMMY too!!
2.  Along with drinking more water, I am drinking my water out of a glass (usually some kin of a fun jar) and a glass straw (great Michigan-made glass straws at www.Strawsome.com).  I don’t like the feel of stainless steel on my mouth (weird, I know), so I had to be creative.  I use a variety of canning jars and other jars with holes drilled in the lid for my straw.  I find that I drink more water when I use a straw.
3.  We are eliminating processed food from our diet.  For example, we no longer buying things like breaded chicken strips, poptarts, granola bars, etc.  Things that I haven’t been able to eliminate are macaroni and cheese, potato chips, hot dogs (although these are on the soon-to-be eliminated list), ice cream, etc. but we are working to clean up our diet as much as possible.
4.  We are making more things homemade – brownies, enchilada sauce, chicken broth/stock, ranch dressing (oh yum!), etc.  Homemade tastes so much better.
5.  We are not using aluminum foil or pans for anything!  Aluminum is so bad for our brain!  I find that I can use parchment paper in place of aluminum foil in most cases, and that my glass/pottery dishes work fine for baking instead of aluminum pans.
6.  We have eliminated chemical cleaners from our home!!  The toxins in chemical cleaners are the cause of so many health problems.  After being introduced to Norwex microfiber cloths (and their other products), it was much easier to eliminate spray cleaners.
7.  I have eliminated toxic personal care items – I no longer use shampoo, just baking soda and water.  I use a natural facial moisturizer and deodorant (still looking for the perfect combo for my skin though).  I use a castile soap blend for body wash and hand soap rather than the commercial soaps that are so full of nasty chemicals!!  bleh!  Oh, and I have also switched from regular toothpaste to Earthpaste (it is a clay based toothpaste and completely safe!).  I am still trying to get my family switched over to some of these things as well, but some of them are having a hard time accepting the natural products (they won’t have much choice when I just stop buying some of those things – LOL!).
8.  I am also eliminating plastic dishes from our food storage options!!  Just last night I bought a set of wide-mouth pint canning jars to store leftovers in.  I also have some bigger wide-mouth jars that I can use for larger quantities!!  This is super exciting for me as I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but just found what I was looking for (a big shout out to Save-A-Lot for having these awesome jars).
9.  I am also using Young Living Essential Oils in place of a lot of commercial “medicines” that we once used.  I no longer need to buy pain relievers, allergy/cold/sinus meds, antibiotic “ouch cream”, itch cream, bug sprays, etc. as the essential oils have replaced all of those things for us!  I like that I am using completely natural items that have NO side effects or lingering effects!!

Well, I could keep going about some of the changes we have made, but these are the biggest ones.  I will share more as it fits in!

Until next time… stay healthy my friends!!  :-)

And So My Journey Begins…

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My name is Amy.  I am a wife to my wonderful hubby, Eric!  This year we celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary!!  WOW!!  I am also a mommy to six (yes, 6!) awesome kiddos – 4 girls, 2 boys, ages 3 to almost 13!!  Again, WOW!!   We live in beautiful, lovely Western Michigan with our two dogs, two cats and two birds!!  I am very blessed!

I am 44 years old, and here’s the less than “wow” part… and I weighed 221 lbs. a week ago!  :-/  I am currently healthy (other than my weight); I do not have diabetes or high cholesterol or any other serious chronic health issues that plague our society.  HOWEVER, I know that if I continue down this path of drinking pop/soda, eating food that is not especially healthy, and not exercising, that I will certainly succumb to diabetes or worse (the dreaded “c” word – cancer!  EEK!!).

For quite some time I have been regularly following blogs through my FB page where I have learned so much about the problems with our food system today – GMOs, meat full of antibiotics and raised in less than humane conditions, artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, etc… I have learned so much yet have only taken some of the easier changes:  eliminating a lot of prepackaged foods, cutting down on pop/soda, making many more items at home from scratch,  eliminating chemical cleaners, etc.. BUT there is still so much more that can be done.

I have recently felt very convicted by the verse, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48b  Because I have learned so much, I know that I need to act on it but also need to share it.  I am getting much more serious about my health partly because I want to be healthier but mostly so that I can make a positive impact on my children’s health by modeling and teaching healthier choices; I want to be have a good quality of life as I age.  So, this blog will chronicle my journey to health – Strait to Health (I love the play on words!).

My primary goal here is to share what I am doing, what I am learning, and how I am progressing; this is mostly for accountability, but I also hope that maybe I can inspire just one person to make changes that they need to make as well or maybe just motivate them to keep going with their own journey.  I don’t have any particular weight loss goals; although right now I would just like to lose enough weight that my Wii no longer says, “Oh, that’s obese!” when I weigh myself!  :-)

So, if you would like to follow me on my journey, I would love that!  Share your tips and ideas for things that you know/do, send along a message of encouragement if you feel led, and scold me if you see me drinking pop or see me in a drive thru at a fast food restaurant  (no, seriously, you have my permission). :-)