Friday, December 26, 2014

2014: Food & Exercise

When it comes to food and exercise, I like to evaluate from time to time what does and doesn't work. Most times, I keep an old-fashioned pen and paper diary in which I record what I eat as well as how much I move and work out. Looking back at 2014, here are some things I noticed:

Food
  • Starting the day with plenty of greens and some protein keeps me properly fueled and makes me eat better for the rest of the day. 
  • Eating during a smaller eating window makes me sleep better and makes weight maintenance a lot easier. I usually eat breakfast around 6 a.m. and eat my last meal around 2 p.m. In the afternoon/evening I enjoy herbal teas. About twice a week, I eat an early dinner around 5 p.m. 
  • Meal prep is key to eating well. Whenever I spend a few hours in the kitchen on the weekends to pre-cook and prep food for the week, we eat a lot better. 
  • Being “too perfect” backfired in the summer. I had gotten to a very low weight by May (looking back, a bit too low), and I believe that led to some not-so-good food choices during the summer. While gaining a few pounds was actually good, not making food choices that made me feel my best was not a good thing. Going forward, I will remember to balance my food choices consistently and will always focus on eating what makes me feel my best.
  • Eating healthy, simple, & delicious food consistently makes weight maintenance and feeling my best easy. For me, this includes lots of veggies, enough fat, and some protein for most meals. I also eat limited amounts of fruit as well as some dark chocolate on most days. 
Exercise
  • Walking at least 10,000 steps a day makes me feel my best. However, I also reached my limits a few times when I had a few back-to-back weeks with 100,000+ steps, and my weak/permanently injured ankle let me know. More is not always better!
  • Barre classes help my low back - which has been bothering me for years - feel its best. If I take two classes a week, the pain is completely gone. 
  • Yoga and meditation are an important part of my workouts that I tend to skip when things get busy and stressful - right when they are most needed! I need to make sure to make them a priority! 
  • After very inconsistent weight workouts in the middle in the year, I got back to a more consistent weight lifting schedule, and it feels great. 
Finally, to feel my best, I have been working hard at slowing down and enjoying the “little things” every day. When the kid woke us up at 6 a.m., we made the most of it and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise as a family!

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Questions: How were your food choices and workouts in 2014? What worked? What didn’t work? Anything you’ll change in 2015?

Be well,
Andrea

18 comments:

  1. I made a concerted effort to further research sugar and it's health hazards, honoring my paternal history with diabetes and premature death. It's paid off. I am now firmly against sugar, other than an occasional flute of champagne. I successfully banished chocolate from my life, and am about a month into no onion rings, either. I keep my dancing level at 30-45 minutes, six days a week. I haven't been able, yet, to 'get into' weights, but that's a resolution for 2015. :)

    Great post, Andrea!

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    1. Thanks, Gwen!

      You learned and grew so much in 2014 while maintaining a very impressive weight loss! I know you can have fun (and success) with weights if you set your (very determined) mind to it! :)

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  2. Exactly one year ago, I just decided to start being healthy again. (December 27, 2013). I'd had a really really bad year at work. Like, awful. I was sick so much that year, a lot due to stress at work and having a 1 year old.

    So I started tracking my calories and started losing weight. It was a lot of work, as usual, planning, counting, calculating - but it did work. I started avoiding the gym from January to April (didn't want the germs). I did start swimming (figured the chlorine would kill anything).

    In March I ordered the 21-Day Fix from beachbody. I really loved this program because of its 30 minute workouts and color coded containers that made meal planning easier - less counting. But in March when I got it, I was very resistant to the idea of cutting carbohydrates that amount (in weight loss mode, I can only have 2 1/2 cup servings of carbs - beans/ rice/ bread/ peas/ corn) per day. So it worked, but not as well as it could have.

    In the summer I bought PiYo, which is another workout from beachbody, and it was SO GOOD for my knee that I sprained in January. One month of that and my arms, abs, and knees were SO much stronger. In the summer I also read "What to Eat" by Luise Light, which is when I realized that 2 servings/day of carbs is really what I am supposed to be eating.

    Reading that made it much easier to get back on track in September.

    All in all, I've lost 26 pounds this year (about 10 more to go). I am much stronger - better knees and arms. My workouts are mostly swimming, walking, and body weight exercises (the toddler doesn't really let me do much else). I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to drastically cut back on wheat (if not eliminate it) and carbs in general.

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    1. I also had to get healthy again when the kid was about 1, and it made being an old(er) mom much easier because I have a lot more energy...

      I also limited carbs in the last years a lot. It was definitely quite a change at first, but after a while it started to feel natural (and making little changes at a time and getting used to them helped me at the time. I know some people do well with big changes all at once). Two years ago I completely eliminated wheat and gluten after doing an elimination diet and confirming a quite severe gluten sensitivity. I feel so much better now.

      Great job on the weight loss!

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  3. Those are great pieces of advice. The simpler, the better. Consistency is key. I personally could never not eat for so many hours, but what works for one doesn't work for all. We each have our own little recipe for success! :-)

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    1. Thanks! And, yes, it's so important to figure out what works for each of us! :)

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  4. Love the pieces of your life & we all find what works for us... I have done better but I plan to make 2015 even more so with some slow down stuff AND what I wrote about on my blog last Wednesday! :)

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    1. Wishing you a happy & healthy 2015, Jody! I always love your message of doing what works for YOU!

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  5. Yep, looking back on my life with Tony, it's the little things that I think of most - sitting outside, listening to music, grilling - basically just being together!

    Glad you took your perfect pants off - no one needs to wear those! Hugs and here's to a healthy 2015!

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    1. Thinking of your every day, Biz! Wishing you a healthy 2015 as well!

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  6. here is to OUR AMAZING AND HEALTHY 2015.

    xoxo

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    1. Wishing you a wonderful 2015 "back home!"

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  7. I also eat during a limited window. I wrote about it and a supportive study here:

    http://calorielab.com/news/2014/12/12/intermittent-fasting-study/#comments

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  8. Here, here to slowing down and enjoying the little things in life! So important :-) I love all your great insight in to what worked for you {and what didn't} in 2014. That's so important to keep things moving in the right direction for the new year. I hope yours is off to a fabulous start, and I wish you much health and happiness in 2015!

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    1. Thanks, EA! Wishing you a wonderful 2015!

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  9. Since I am allergic to "gym", I decided that I would like to put more steps everyday...I do not promise 10000, but will try my best.
    Hope you are having a great week Andrea...Happy New Year!

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  10. Food and exercise go hand in hand, as they say, it takes two to tango. If food and exercise don't dance together, it won't probably work. A nice topic here where grabmyessay.com can have some idea. And of course wellness doesn't need to be a new years resolution if you can start now, why do you even have to wait for a year to start.

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