The Secret to REAL, Lasting Energy!!

Picture

WOW!!  I think I have finally figured out the secret to real, lasting energy!!  While what I share here is not likely earth shattering to some, but it was really shocking to me!I have had times in my life when I struggled to have the energy that I needed in order to be a functioning human being.  Early in adulthood, I worked an hour away from home and had to be to work BY 8 am (for those that know me personally, I know you just fell on the floor laughing but you can get up now! :-)  ); I tried to drink coffee for a caffeine boost but didn’t like the taste of the coffee.  I tried to mask the taste of the coffee with creamer and sugar, but still didn’t like the taste and all I really got was a sugar and caffeine buzz that quickly wore off and left me looking for the next “pick-me-up”.   Later as a full-time student and full-time employee, I tried drinking pop/soda, even the stuff that was supposed to REALLY pump you up, well that too left me looking for the next buzz.  Then, as a tired mom, I also sought out something to bolster my ever dwindling energy; I still sought out pop/soda (a local gas station had the BEST fountain pop ever, so it was easy to indulge) but I also eagerly added high-sugar, high-carb foods that tasted so yummy; however, none of these gave me the long-lasting boost I needed either.  I am sure that many of you can relate to my quest; just watch TV and you’ll see a bunch of commercials for energy drinks, etc. so I am obviously not alone!

Fast forward to my recent quest to get healthier… I have mentioned in earlier posts that I figured out early on in this journey that foods high in carbs and sugar added a lot of calories but weren’t necessarily filling.  I gave up on those foods and started eating more veggies and meat (I figured out that I am a “protein” nutrition type and that I had actually been following a paleo diet; if you would like to figure out your nutrition type, check out this post), and I found that I actually felt better… a lot better!!  So, my not-necessarily-earth-shattering revelation is that real, lasting energy comes from…. (wait for it)…… REAL FOOD!!!  When you eat real food it gives your body real nutrition, and then your body actually has the energy it needs to help you get through your day!  Yes, you will still get tired at the end of the day and you still be tired if you stay up too late and/or get up too early, but if you are feeding your body correctly, it will be much easier for your body to get you through your day.

I have had a few days lately where I have not eaten as well as I know that I should.  And guess what, I have not had the energy I have needed to do my nightly walk and have not had the energy to fight off whatever sickness my kids are passing around.  I even indulged in a seemingly innocent piece of birthday cake… well, let me tell you that one piece of birthday cake was enough to “take me down”; I haven’t had that many carbs and sugar all at one time in a LONG time and my body revolted!!  Let’s just say that I won’t be making that mistake again any time soon!!

So, my recommendation to anyone who feels that they are lacking in the energy they need to get through the day is to consider your diet.  If you eat lots of carbs and sugar, you are likely not fueling your body the way you should; consider making the change to real food – veggies, fruit, meat, and some high-quality grains, I can nearly guarantee that within a short time you, too, will be feeling more energized too!  ….Food for thought!


July 2014 Recap

Picture

Well, I am another month further into my journey to get healthy.   Here is a recap of my successes and struggles:

I am pleased to say that I am continuing to make progress!!  I am learning a lot about myself and about health and nutrition in general.  I wish that my numbers were going down faster, but when I realize that I have seen this progress in less than 2 months and that I have had some “oops moments” during that time, I think I am doing pretty good!  I know that I am doing better than if I had never started at all!   Also, some of my clothes are getting baggy so I know that I am making progress!

Let’s start with the numbers:
6/11/2014        8/1/2014    Progress
Weight:                            217 lbs.        205 lbs.        -12 lbs.
Upper arm                        15″               14.5″            -0.5″
Abs (at fullest point)   45.5″              41”              -4.5″
Waist                               44″                42″              -2.0″
Hips                                 50.5″             48”              -2.5″
Thigh                               27.5″             26.5”            -1.0″

And here is my official picture for August 1, 2014


As far as successes and struggles, here’s what I know:

  1. It is important to keep the fridge stocked with healthy food!  If I don’t have healthy choices then I make really bad choices!  I think I am going to budget my grocery dollars a little differently so that I know I have cash on hand to make regular produce purchases!!
  2. When I eat too many carbs and/or sugar I just don’t feel well!  I used to eat so much of it before that I am surprised that I felt well at all.  I really don’t know how I survived so long eating crummy food!  I wish I had started this sooner and hope that I can be a good example for my kiddos!
  3. I LOVE MEAT!!  I just feel better when I eat meat!  Veggies are good, but veggies alone do not satisfy me.  Carbs and sugar are bad and they certainly do not satisfy me!  I feel satisfied and energized when I have had good meat for dinner!  I especially LOVE steak!
  4. I still struggle to get enough water to drink.  I am trying different strategies to drink enough, but I am still not drinking as much as I should!
  5. I have also found that I need to PLAN my exercise.  On days when I know that I will be busy in the evening, I need to plan to get my walk or other exercise in earlier in the day.

Well, that’s my recap for this month!  I am looking forward to seeing my numbers continue to drop.  :-)  My goal this month is to break through the 200 lb. barrier (I am shooting for 195 lbs. by the end of August).  You may have also seen that I have accepted a challenge from trainer Tiffani Allamon of Lubbock, TX to do 50 miles in August (see this blog post for the details).  You can follow my progress weekly on FB to see how I am doing on this challenge.  I would also love to have you join me!! 

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

Feeling yucky – sugar detox?  hmmm….

Picture

Hello friends!  I haven’t posted in a few days… I’ve been feeling yucky!  I woke up a few days ago and just couldn’t get awake and felt achy in my elbows and shoulder joints; bad thing is that I haven’t been able to shake this feeling for a few days.  (boo, hiss!)  I wondered if perhaps I wasn’t drinking enough water (I still struggle with that) or if I just wasn’t getting enough potassium (my nutrition tracker on MyFitnessPal showed that my diet was low on potassium – I tried eating more bananas but it didn’t help very much).  Since this has lingered as long as it has, I got thinking about the fact that I have been eating a much healthier diet and haven’t been eating as many carbs nor as much sugar so perhaps my body was detoxing as part of getting healthier.  So, I did some research and here is what I learned:

When you change to a healthier diet, your body goes through a detox process.  Whether the toxin you are eliminating is drugs and alcohol (which is what we typically associate detox with) or food-related (such as gluten, sugar, dairy, pop, coffee, etc.), the body goes through a process of eliminating those toxins from itself.  Symptoms include:  headache, rash, fatigue, nausea, bloating, etc..  Though these symptoms are certainly not fun, they are a great sign that your body is cleansing itself and you are on your way to feeling better.  Don’t think those signs are an indication that your body doesn’t like the changes, just work through the process!!  Here’s an article that talks about this.

Next thing I learned is that even though I had seriously decreased the amount of sugar and carbs that I was eating, I just learned that I was still consuming more of each than was truly ideal.  According to the FDA my Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) (assuming I wanted to lose 1 lb. per week) for carbs was 216 grams per day and for sugar was 65 grams per day.  HOWEVER, further research indicates that a healthier RDI for someone like me (pre-diabetic and overweight) is actually 55 grams of carbs and 25 grams of sugar!  WOW!!!  That’s a big difference!!  I thought I had been doing so well with my reduced consumption of carbs and sugars until I started looking at them based on these revised recommendations.  I have updated my goals in “MyFitnessPal” (an app where I track my food, exercise, weight and measurements).  The one thing I keep thinking is:  how much carbs and sugar was I eating BEFORE I decided to get healthy??  I can’t even imagine how much I was consuming; it’s overwhelming to me!!  No wonder I am overweight!!  BUT… I am doing well on my journey to get healthy and I’m not looking back!!  I feel better when I am eating fewer carbs and sugar, so I am going to stick with it!!

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


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…