Livliga

Live Healthy | Live Vibrant

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homeopathic solution for Leg Cramps

Living a Healthy Lifestyle often means pushing beyond our comfort zone. And when it comes to exercise it means learning how to sweat and demanding more of our bodies than they have been used to as we become more fit. One of my big challenges has been all the aches and pains. My legs are often sore, especially after my endurance training. I am not one who likes to take "aspirin" regularly and I have read many articles about how this is not good for our bodies long term. Mind you, I definitely do indulge in Tylenol and Ibuprofen, just not daily.

There are several different solutions I have found to help with my aches and pains. Stretching, and doing it regularly...at least twice a day...really helps me, especially with my hamstrings and IT Band. Earlier in my blog I shared some website and video links I have found useful for stretching. Yoga has also helped with stretching out my stiff muscles, although I have not been good at going to class this summer! I am also a believer in Acupuncture. There are times when my muscles get "stuck" and "locked" to a point where my usual solutions won't work. It has really helped when I have injured myself. And then there is the luxurious solution of soaking in a bath tub with bath salts...always a delicious way to ease out stiffness as well as the stresses and strains of life.

One persistent problem I have had is leg cramps at night. I get these aches and mini spasms that keep me awake at night. During one of those times when I couldn't sleep at night, I went roaming on the internet. I came across a homeopathic product from a longtime company I thought was worth trying. It is called Leg Cramps with Quinine PM by Hyland's. You can order it through Amazon.com. I have found it really helps relieve the cramping so I can actually sleep through the night. And if you do wake up in the middle of the night you can chew more tablets which is also helpful. I love having an arsenal of solutions to help me with my stiffness, aches and pains. When one solution isn't enough, I have others I can try. All aches are not made alike!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Why Reading is Good For Your Health

When we think of our health, we generally think about what we eat, our need to exercise, and how to get enough sleep. I recently thought it would be interesting to research whether there were health  benefits to reading. You wouldn't necessarily think something so passive might be good for our overall health, but I found out it is.  Here are seven reasons why(ReadingGoodForHealth).

1. Stimulates Your Senses.
 Our brain's need for positive stimulation continues even after we become an adult.
Adults who read positive material can improve their self-confidence, which has a direct impact on physical health. Read a good book to stimulate your senses and keep yourself in good health.

2. Strengthens Your Memory
Studies indicate that a person’s memory weakens if it’s not used. Medical professionals recommend crossword puzzles as a method of exercising the memory muscles. Reading has the same effect. Since reading requires the reader to remember details, character names, and themes, it’s a good workout for our memory muscles.

3. Cope With Stress
With so many stressful situations to deal with daily, it’s important to find positive ways to deal and cope with stress. Reading gives you a way to relax and escape from everyday worries. Once you are relaxed, you can make better choices and cope better with stressful situations.

4. Have a Better Outlook on Life
Hope is an important factor in overcoming life’s obstacles, especially chronic illness. Reading inspirational books or other books with a positive message can help you cope with illness and enjoy a healthier outlook.

5. Learn About Life, including Health and Nutrition
Reading can help you educate yourself, especially about nutrition which can help you avoid health complications or improve health conditions you may already have. The way most people eat today is not always the healthiest way. Through reading, you can learn to make lifestyle changes that can affect your health, not only in the present, but also for years to come.

6. Choose the Best Treatment

Due to side effects associated with conventional medications, many are turning to alternative treatments. Alternative medicine includes many branches such as naturopathic, reflexology, acupuncture, and iridology. Although many claim to have treated conditions successfully using these types of treatments, reading is the only way to research them, and find out for yourself. In this respect, reading is good for your health, since it helps you choose the best treatment for nearly any medical condition.

7. Learn Problem-Solving Techniques
You may wonder how problem-solving techniques relate to health. Studies reveal that ongoing marital problems can lead to chronic health conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, and cancer. By reading, you can learn to react to situations positively and handle problems in the best possible way.

In conclusion, if you are a health conscious individual, you can now add reading to your list of ways to improve or maintain your health. Besides lifting weights to strengthen and tone our muscles, you can read to strengthen your memory muscles as well. Picking up a good book or magazine allows reading to help you stay in good health.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sticky Fibers and Plant-Based Foods Do More For You Than A Low Fat Diet

Found this interesting article yesterday by Shirley S. Wang in the online Wall Street Journal which I thought was particularly interesting. I love when I find something to support my theories! For instance, I have never thought a strictly low fat diet was an ideal way to approach life. It also has always seemed too narrow a focus. Below are the highlights I read:

Eating more plant-based fat and protein lowered cholesterol more than eating a diet low in saturated fat, according to a study published Tuesday.

The report offers further evidence that low-fat diets aren't the most effective way to improve heart health.

Participants in the large, randomized trial were instructed either to eat a diet low in saturated fat, or to add to their diet largely plant-based foods, primarily nuts, soy, plant-based margarine spreads and "sticky" fibers like barley and oats.

The latter group lowered their low-density lipoprotein, or LDL—the "bad" type of cholesterol associated with heart disease—by some 13%
.

I think this may be one of the reasons why my cholesterol has lowered so dramatically, including my LDL.  So much more of my diet is plant based.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two Key Stress Fighters- Exercise and Sex

So, I was perusing the most recent AARP magazine and came across an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz called "Sex on the Brain". Needless to say it caught my attention! His article was really addressing how we all tend to live under too much stress- 40% of Americans say they lie awake at night because of stress, for instance. When we are stressed we produce cortisol. Too much stress leads to too much production of cortisol which can be harmful to our health. Cortisol puts too much strain on the heart and now scientists have discovered, on the brain as well. It has been found that excess cortisol suppresses the brain's ability to create and support new brain cells- neurogenesis. This is really bad news for people over 50!

What is the solution to counter stress and the excess creation of cortisol? Exercise and Sex. Both over time decrease the production of cortisol, boost neurogenesis by increasing blood flow to the brain, and also seem to create more resilient brain cells. In order for us to reduce the production of cortisol we have to be consistent in our exercise and sexual activity. I was amused, though, that Dr. Oz quantified the sexual activity as "multiple sexual experiences, daily over two weeks, reduced the release of cortisol, increased neurogenesis, and decreased anxiety-like behavior."  Something to aspire to, I suppose...

Truly it is all about tending to ourselves, mind and body. No one activity is the solution. It needs to be a combination of exercise, sex, yoga or any other combination of focused and consistent physical activity. I find these kind of articles encouraging and motivating to keep up the pace and continue enjoying life...in all ways.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Research Results on Lite Beers


This is such a strange blog for me. Until I was 22 and in the Peace Corps I had never had a beer I liked. In fact, if asked, I would say I didn't like beer at all. But as a survival tactic in a place where you couldn't drink the water unless you boiled it, I learned to "like" beer. It was either that or Coca Cola...way to sweet for me!

Then when I got back to the States, I went back to just drinking wine. It has been that way for many, many years. On occasion when my adult kids are around who like beer, I will drink one of theirs. That was until I started on this Healthy Lifestyle Journey.

What I have discovered is that there are many light beers that you can drink that have less calories than a glass of wine for more ounces...this is appealing! It is also more filling, so you don't want more. And, it is in a bottle or can which you can hold and walk around with at a party. No one can refill it, as you can a wine glass...and when it is done, it is done. I always end up drinking too much wine...too hard for me to keep track. And, generally, there is less alcohol in a light beer compared to a glass of wine so it is easier to stay in control. Oh, and did I mention light beers are lower in carbs? :)

The challenge is finding a beer you like. Many light beers are tasteless and therefore very unsatisfying.  I decided to go on a taste-testing journey to see if I could find a couple I liked. There are actually a couple of websites on light beers that help describe the different beers, their calories, carbs and alcohol content. One such sight is Lite Beer Comparison. Below is a list it provides of Lite Beers under 100 calories and how they rank. This is their ranking:

20 Under 100 (from lowest calorie to highest):
  1. Budweiser Select 55: 2.4% alcohol and 55 calories
  2. Miller Genuine Draft “64″: 2.8% alcohol and 64 calories
  3. Becks Light: 2.3% alcohol and 64 calories
  4. Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol: 2.5% alcohol and 67 calories
  5. O’Doul’s: 0.4% alcohol and 70 calories
  6. Coors NA: <0.5% alcohol and 73 calories
  7. O’Douls Amber: 0.4% alcohol and 90 calories
  8. Aspen Edge: 4.1% alcohol and 94 calories
  9. Amstel Light: 3.5% alcohol and 95 calories
  10. Anheuser Busch Natural Light: 4.2% alcohol and 95 calories
  11. Busch Light: 4.1% alcohol and 95 calories
  12. Michelob Ultra: 4.1% alcohol and 95 calories
  13. Clausthaler: 0.4% alcohol and 96 calories
  14. Genny Light: 3.6% alcohol and 96 calories
  15. Miller Lite: 4.2% alcohol and 96 calories
  16. St. Pauli Girl N.A.: <0.5% alcohol and 96 calories
  17. Milwaukee’s Best Light: 4.5% alcohol and 98 calories
  18. Yuengling Light D.G.: 3.8% alcohol and 98 calories
  19. Budweiser Select: 4.3% alcohol and 99 calories
  20. Kipling Light Lager: 3.4% alcohol and 99 calories
Starting with this list and then adding additional sleuthing, I found 4 I like that are in the right calorie range, have an appealing taste and are generally pretty available in the grocery store, liquor store or restaurant. They are, in order of preference:

Bud Light Golden Wheat: 4.1% alcohol and 118 calories (this is my favorite, great taste but a little more calories...I find it worth it)
Becks Light: 2.3% alcohol and 64 calories
Miller Genuine Draft “64″: 2.8% alcohol and 64 calories
Budweiser Select 55: 2.4% alcohol and 55 calories (this I like strictly because of the low calories)

What shocked me the first time I went to buy these light beers is that you can't buy most of them at a liquor store because they are too low in alcohol content (beertutor.com)! This made me smile because buying light beers also turns out to be way more convenient since I can go to the grocery store and do one stop shopping. I am liking light beers more and more!










Friday, August 19, 2011

The Miracles of Massage

I have always loved getting a massage. It is a key way for my mind and body to release stress and get the kinks out. It has proven to keep me healthy, allow my muscles more flexibility and provide my mind a way to relax and gain perspective. I firmly believe by receiving regular massage, I avoid having to go to the doctor's office. It is my "tune up"....just like the ones I get for my car.

There are many different varieties of massage from the Swiss method to Sports Massage to Rolfing to Deep Tissue. I go for the Deep Tissue. My parents had massages every week all the time I was growing up. I believe I was fortunate to have had that example given to me. My parents always had them at our home so I got to know the massage therapists a bit. They were my first exposure to alternative lifestyles and philosophies. In fact, I remember my first exposure to goat cheese was from my mom's masseuse. She raised her own goats and hand made her own cheeses. I remember not liking it much...but I did, at least, try it! My how times have changed...

Sunday afternoons is the perfect time for me to have a massage. It is usually a quiet time of the week. My muscles don't have to get immediately back into high gear. Instead, they have time to relax and I have time to just be mellow. A wonderful way to finish up a week and get prepared for the coming week...both mentally and physically. It is my gift to myself. It counts as part of my "me" time.

If you are thinking about setting up a regular massage here are some tips to make it an ideal experience:
   1. Pick a time of day and/or day of the week where you will not be rushed so you can reap the most benefit.
   2. Check out the costs for the different amounts of time. Often there is one that has the best value. I go for the 1 hour massage.
   3. If you plan on going regularly, ask about any plans they may have. We signed up for a monthly plan. It saves us $16 per visit off the published price.
   4. Check out different massage therapists. They all have different styles, even if you go for a specific method, like deep tissue. I actually don't go to one massage therapist because I like the variety. I think my body benefits more by experiencing the different styles. I can do this because I go to a place that has a number of massage therapists on staff. This also allows me to have a massage at a regular time which is not at the whim of the availability of one therapist.
   5. Check out the facilities to see if they can offer additional services like steam rooms and whirlpools. Believe it or not our local YMCA offers all that and massages...for no additional cost! You might also want to check to see if they have showers and changing rooms available in case you need to go directly to another appointment and need to look presentable.

All these steps help add to the total beneficial experience of a massage. And if you are doubting it, be assured, you are worth it!


   



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lemon Chicken with Tuscan Tomato-Bean Salad

We had company over for dinner and served this Lemon Chicken with a Tuscan Tomato-Bean recipe I found in The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, published in 2000, on page 406. The Lemon Chicken was a recipe I cut out of the newspaper. The marinade for the chicken was simple and added wonderful flavor. It is so good I wanted to share it with everyone-

Lemon Chicken
1 Tbs finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1/4 tsp white pepper
4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bender and blend until emulsified. Combine chicken and marinade in a nonreactive bowl or dish ( I used a gallon sized Ziploc bag). Refrigerate and let marinate for 8 hours.

The recipe called for searing the chicken in a pan and then baking. We grilled ours on our grill which worked out well. So this recipe is versatile. Despite being boneless and skinless the marinade made then moist and juicy. Definitely fit for company and a recipe repeat for the family. Made for a great summer meal on our patio.

I tracked down the full recipe online which can be found at this address: Lemon Chicken.





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Have My New Lifestyle Solutions Paid Off?

I have been curious to see if my Lifestyle changes have made a substantive difference in my lab results...a key medical measuring stick. Back in November of last year I had my annual physical. At that point I had a Lipid Panel done quantifying the level of my cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL and LDL. They were not so good. On November 3, 2010 my numbers were:

Cholesterol     265     Range should be   140-220    this meant mine was HIGH
Triglyceride    112     Range should be    35-135     this meant mine was OKAY
HDL                 61     Range should be    40-85       this meant mine was OKAY
LDL                182    Range should be    80-100     this meant mine was HIGH

Then at the end of July I had my Lipid Panel done again. I am happy to report my numbers had changed dramatically. On July 28, 2011 my numbers were:


Cholesterol     221     Range should be   140-220    this meant mine was HIGH (but now almost 
                                                                                 normal!)
Triglyceride    135     Range should be    35-135     this meant mine was OKAY
HDL                 52     Range should be    40-85       this meant mine was OKAY
LDL                142    Range should be    80-100     this meant mine was HIGH (but look how much it 
                                                                                 has dropped!)

All but my Triglyceride number dropped and by a number of points. The doctor is pleased and so am I! It does show that all this hard work is paying off in many quantitative ways. I am living healthier and I am healthier for it.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BLT Bread Salad with Leftover Steak


We are enjoying trying out new recipes from the new cookbook I got, mix & match low-calorie cookbook by Cooking Light. The first salad we have tried is the BLT Bread Salad on page 96. It is always important to me that a salad be visually appealing and full of color. This salad met that criteria. It also has the appearance of being bountiful, also important so you feel like you are getting enough to eat and once eaten, you feel satisfied.

I went off recipe on the meat, though. One of the challenges I have is using up leftovers. I had some steak leftover from the previous night's dinner and wanted to use it up. Instead of adding the chicken it called for, I added steak instead. I did measure it, 3-4 oz per person. It added a few extra calories, but not so much as to be a bad choice. And the satisfaction I got from using up a leftover was worth it!!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Mix & Match Low-Calorie Cookbook by Cooking Light


I love new cookbooks. I am like a kid in a candy shop...oops, bad analogy...how about...it is a joy equal to getting a new piece of jewelry? Anyway, I love checking out new books, particularly those focusing on creative, tasty recipes that are calorie conscious. Cooking Light has come out with a new book that I found very appealing. It is called mix & match low-calorie cookbook. Like some of the other recent cookbooks I have acquired, it focuses on mixing and matching recipes for the various meals and snacks of the day so they total around 1500 calories. There are several things I like about this cookbook.

Number 1, it uses delicious recipes that are doable and not too time consuming.
Number 2, it works with the concept of "making a meal" so each recipe also incorporates additional foods or side-dishes to complete your meal.
Number 3, it also shows you how to add an additional portion or food to add a few more calories to complete a meal for the more athletic or male members of your family.
Number 4, it includes snacks in its 1500 calories a day concept. I have found I need snacks to get through the day and to the next meal. I really like their snack dishes offered and can't wait to try them out.
Number 5, it offers good advice at the beginning of the book as well as throughout its pages on how to live a healthier lifestyle as well as why certain foods are important to eat.

All-in-all I am pleased with my new cookbook, eager to try the recipes and overall concept out. And I look forward to commenting on the recipes in the weeks to come.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trauma and Living a Healthy Lifestyle

We all deal with trauma differently in our lives. It is inevitable that all of us will deal with traumatic events, to a lesser or greater degree, throughout our lives. The one thing for certain is that trauma and how we deal with it can greatly affect our physical and mental health.

Not only can the event itself affect us both physically and mentally but then how we deal with the memories of the trauma going forward can greatly influence our well-being.

I have had my fair share of trauma in my life. At some points in my life it seems like I was barraged with one traumatic event after another...like when my mother was dying of cancer, moved in with us as she dealt with this cruel disease and then 6 weeks after her death I gave birth to a little girl with a major birth defect. And then just as we were getting a handle on our baby's health, after neo-natal intensive care and multiple operations, my husband's business went bankrupt. Not an easy time.

How did I handle and deal with all that trauma? I ate. I also did not sleep so well. Lots of nights wandering the house and watching late-night movies...often with a snack. Eating has been a crutch for me all my life. It was a way for me to literally push my emotions...anger, hurt, pain...back down inside of me. I would swallow it...along with a piece or two of cake, or cheese and crackers..wine, too, or anything else I could find. It calmed me and anesthetized me. Food helped me not feel those big emotions so I could keep going and get up each day.

Ultimately though, all that eating and drinking didn't solve anything. It only made things worse. The emotions just kept piling up on each other. I slept even more poorly. And, of course, I kept gaining weight. You feel bad about yourself, you don't have as much energy, your clothes don't fit right, and your body rebels and strains against the undesired weight. So you eat more and the vicious cycle endures.

I have found that you can't really begin to achieve a healthy lifestyle, which includes positive weight management, without dealing with the reasons you are overweight and over eat. You can't just wake up one day and stop eating "because it is good for you and your health". You have to "face your demons". And since the chances are not all demons will disappear, you also need help in learning more constructive ways of dealing with your emotions. And those ways have to be ones that work for you so they can become habituated over time and easy to access when you need them.

I have needed a lot of support on this particular part of my journey. Reading is a great resource for me and where I find many answers.  One great book I have found incredibly helpful is Healing From Trauma: A Survivors Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life by Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC. I have also gone to a Somatic Therapist which has been very healing.

If we don't invest in ourselves, who will? Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't just mean indulging in the fun stuff. It also means investing time and energy in confronting your traumas and challenges so we can ultimately become as healthy as possible...both inside and out. It is not an easy journey but with out it I would still be on the same spinning wheel going in circles and staying in the same place, looking at the same rut-of-a-life. This healthier me is so much more resilient and can see choices in her life she was never able to see before. My feet don't hurt so much any more as I walk this rocky path of Life, filled with ruts, roots and pebbles. I wear nice, new and padded, tennis shoes now!









Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Healthy Living Quote #6

"People are more likely to make progress on goals that are broken into concrete, measurable actions, with some kind of structured accountability and positive reinforcement."

From The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pampering with New Paraphrenalia


It is always important to support your good habits, don't you think? Not necessarily before you even try out that new healthy habit, but once you have proven it will be. When we first moved here 6 1/2 years ago, I had an old "boys" bike I had had since high school. It was a great bike and served me well, but it did not suit me at the age I had assumed. So about a year after we moved, for my 50th birthday, I got a new bike. I now have the perfect bike for me. It is a "girls bike"...finally! And it has upright handle bars...way more comfortable for my larger frame. It also only has 7 gears (this may become a problem as I lengthen my rides, but it is good for now). I am always of the philosophy that simpler is better...until your level of ability changes that perception. As part of healthy and safe cycling, I also got a helmut for the first time in my life.

The bike has been great but as I have cycled more and gone longer distances, I have needed more padding. My husband nicely gave me a "loner" of some bike shorts. They didn't fit me perfectly but they did help with the needed padding.  As fortune would have it, I do have one slim, boney part of my body...my rear-end!

With my successful 20 mile bike ride I started thinking it would be great to own my own pair of bike shorts...ones actually made for a women's physique. This is not always easy when you wear plus sizes. Somehow the world thinks if you are over weight and wear bigger sizes you are not athletic so athletic gear does seem to be harder to find. Thank heaven for the internet. I found a great pair of bike shorts from Aerotech Designs Cyclewear. They are comfortable to wear, have great padding and even a touch of pink at the seams. They are called "Women's Century Bike Shorts" (aerotechdesigns).

The other item I bought, just this past weekend, where real cycling sunglasses (dualeyewear.com). They have bright red rubber ear pieces and a rubber nose piece as well. The kicker is that they are bi-focal readers too! For the real jocks it allows them to read their cycling computers. For me, it provides me the means to read should we stop along the way. This way I don't need to carry unnecessary gear but can also feel secure that I can see and read when I need to...and look like a jock all at the same time! I have aleady tried them out and love them. A real perk for a good cause.

Next on my list to to get a basket for my bike so I can do quick runs and errands. A bike bell would be nice too. Ultimately I want a pair of cycling shoes....maybe after my first race...

These are relatively small yet important investments. They keep me motivated and add to the fun of an active lifestyle. What could be more important than that?




Monday, August 8, 2011

Blood Pressure and Prehypertension


Blood Pressure is something I think most of us take for granted until something happens which causes us to have to pay attention to it. I took my blood pressure this morning. I hadn't done it in a long time. All the while growing up and into adulthood I actually had low blood pressure. The older I get the higher it seems to go. Today it was 128/85. That is considered pretty high and is classified as Prehypertension. Normal range is under 120/80.

You would think with all the exercising I am doing and with all the energy I am putting into eating right that I wouldn't be looking at a prehypertension blood pressure. The truth is, though, that I am still 45 pounds heavier than I should be. The pounds still need to come off.

I looked up "prehypertension" and found this definition from the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com):

Slightly elevated blood pressure is known as prehypertension. Prehypertension will likely turn into high blood pressure (hypertension) if you don't make lifestyle changes, such as start exercising and eating healthier. Both prehypertension and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. 

A blood pressure reading has two numbers. The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Prehypertension is a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Weight loss, exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes can often control prehypertension — and set the stage for a lifetime of better health. 

I also found this information eye opening and helpful from the American Heart Association website (www.heart.org):

Which number is more important, top (systolic) or bottom (diastolic)?
Typically more attention is given to the top number (the systolic blood pressure) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50 years old. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque, and increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.


My husband has had issues with high blood pressure as well. His runs in the family. He has had a blood pressure cuff that he has used for a long time. It is a Lumiscope. The type we have is no longer available but I found new models easily available and reasonably priced on amazon.com (www.amazon.com).

So I plan on taking my blood pressure regularly now to see what it looks like on average. With continued weight loss, along with my exercising and eating healthy, I plan to see it drop.




Friday, August 5, 2011

Exercise Update--looking back on the Months of June and July

Given my slow-as-molasses metabolism and my continued desire to eat, exercising for me is a big deal. It is a must. I need to do it regularly and I need to make sure sweating is involved. The good news is that I am getting better and better at doing "real" exercise. The challenge is continuing to make it a priority in my schedule. So far, so good.

In order to keep myself honest and to keep track of my exercising, I write it down on a calendar printout for each month. Since May I have done this on an ongoing basis. I think it has really helped. For each month there were only 5 days out of each month that I didn't do exercise.

Looking back at both June and July I see all variety of exercise. There are the regular exercise routines. I added endurance training to that. Then there are the bike rides on the weekends and hikes when we were on vacation. I have also started my summer swimming times. Variety is a good thing for me. I just can't do the same thing over and over again. Even with my free weight work outs I need to switch up the routine. To that end I set up another 2 training sessions with my trainer at the end of July. She, too, keeps me honest. Somehow there are those exercises that fall out of the routine...and there are always new ones to learn. This month I wanted to learn more exercises for my "quads" and "tries". I also worked on improving my form when doing the assisted pull ups and the bench press so I don't get anymore crashing headaches after doing them.

August and September I will be doing a fair amount of traveling so keeping up with exercising will be more of a challenge. But for now I am keeping up with the commitment and enjoying the daily challenge.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weight Loss Update--July's net loss 3.6 lbs!

They say that during the summer it is easier to lose weight. This has not been the case for me. For us summer is filled with fun happenings and many visits from out of town family and friends. We are celebrators of life so we relish these visits and the excuse to entertain. And, of course, entertainment inevitably involves food. It has become more and more evident to me that I just can't fix anything, eat anything and not suffer the consequences. I do have to plan out the meal and measure it out so I can enjoy the bounty...without the negative consequences. I have to be conscious of what I am doing or all those bad habits quickly creep in. It does matter how many glasses of wine I drink and how much steak I eat. No longer can I eat a whole steak and not gain weight and feel too stuffed...but my instinct is to eat it. If I measure out 4 ounces I get my steak, don't feel too full, yet full enough, and don't suffer the ultimate consequence of weight gain. So obvious, so redundant a reality, but still hard for me to practice in a party-like atmosphere.

What does this mean for last month's weight loss? I am proud of my 3.6 pound net loss! I consider it a real triumph! My cumulative weight loss since I started this blog is 21.6 lbs. I continue to receive a lot of good feedback. It feels good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Great Healthy Living Quote #5



"We eat the volume we want, not the calories we want."

From Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Delectable Sweet Onion and Leek Quiche

This Sweet Onion and Leek Quiche is truly delectable. I have to confess that I am a snob about Quiche. When I was in college, I spent a summer making all kinds of quiche from scratch and sold them to neighbors. They were a big hit...but they were very rich, mainly because of the pounds of butter I put in the flaky crust and the ton of Gruyere cheese with cream I put in the custard. So when I saw this recipe in the Now Eat This! cookbook by Rocco Dispirito, on page 29, I thought the ingredients looked good, but I was skeptical it would live up to my classic expectations for quiche. My, oh my, was I surprised. It was packed full of flavor; the custard was light and airy; and the whole wheat crust was amazingly "crusty". I think one of the tricks to the success of the recipe is using a cast-iron skillet to caramelize the leeks and sweet onion. Rocco Dispirito is also clever about using bacon bits to add flavor to dishes. Without the calories and fat of fried bacon he adds the same savory flavor.  All family members loved it...even the leftovers the next day. And for 206 calories a serving, you get a delectable experience. This is something I would happily serve friends and think it would work well for a brunch. We made it for dinner. Our complete menu was-

Sweet Onion & Leek Quiche                    206 cal   (from Now Eat This! on pg 29)
Asparagus Salad with Caesar Vinaigrette   51 cal   (from Cooking Light Complete on pg 398)
Fresh Blackberries (1 Cup)                         62 cal
Total Calories for the meal                        388 cal

A perfect summer dinner. A definite repeat.