Monday, July 16, 2012

Now is the time to Live Healthy

There is really no time like the present to start changing the way we live.  Don't we all want to live better?  I know I do.  I want to have a healthier life.

Are you getting older and need to watch what you eat?  Have weight that needs to come off?  Need to start exercising to keep the heart and cardiovascular system up and running?

How many times have we snacked too much, eaten too much and then just sit at our laptops all day and just decide that we don't want to make ourselves get up and go for a walk?

And then there's the thought of high blood pressure or some other issue that your doctor wants you to work on.  And you need to follow through and do it, for yourself, as it's your body you are dealing with.

Years ago when I was growing up, my siblings and I thought nothing of spending our money at the neighborhood store.  We'd come back with several bags of chips, barbecue corn chips, onion rings and any other chip we were craving.  Well, when we'd get back, we would open it up and start snacking until the bag was gone.

We've been doing this for years.  I'm known as the chip queen in my family.  When I go to Maine for a visit to my family and my roots, I have several bags of chips for the trip.  One for the trip there and one when we get there, and one for on the way back.

And whenever camping, there are always bags of chips.  But, I think that's a given when you are camping and on a vacation.  There's going to be chips and snacks.

And let's face it, during the week sometimes we get a craving for some chips.  Over the last year, I was craving those Salt & Vinegar Kettle cooked chips.  I did get them more than once a week for a time and now have cut back to maybe getting a bag once a week or once every two weeks.

But for me, there's been sleep issues too and discovering that my blood pressure was borderline high earlier this year.  So she's been monitoring me.  It does run in my family.  My dad is on medicine for it and for years when I was growing up, my Nana was on high blood pressure pills.  My grampy would come out into the kitchen and bring her pills over to her to make sure she took them.  I always remember these red pills she took too, but those could have been some type of vitamin.

But, this last week, I gave blood and my blood pressure was normal, so it will be interesting to see what it is later this week when I go back to see if it has dropped.

I am at the point where I am wanting to make some changes in my health and diet and sleep patterns.  I'm not a super big person, but I have gotten to the point where I weigh more than I should.  I've had four kids and the only place it looks like I am fat is right in the belly.  And I am seriously not popping out another kid!! I have that imaginary gun to my head.

All winter and spring and into summer, I've been sitting at my laptop doing my Ebay and blogging, etc and I haven't made myself get up and start walking.  And last month, my sister and my family came up for the girls big birthday party and we went for a few walks while they walked their dog.  They were long 20 minute walks around the neighborhood and I was out of breath and could see that I needed to start doing it more often.

Last Friday, the girls and I decided to walk down to the pool instead of drive down.  Going down was no problem but going back up the steep path to the neighborhood was a killer!  I was huffing and puffing for a good way back and Mollyanne was asking me why I was breathing heavy.  And then I started to watch both girls run up the rest of the sidewalk to the house.

For a while, I have been trying to change my diet.  Over the last month or so.  I'm trying to eat more healthy foods, broccoli, celery and carrots in my macaroni salads.  And other stuff.  And trying to find foods rich in Vitamin B12.  I also take a supplement for that.  And I was told it would be a good idea to take those fish pills.  I'm in my forties, so I guess now is the time to start taking pills for things.

And I also have other things I have to take that make me gain weight.  The pill makes you gain for one thing, but I don't want another kid popping out to say, "Hello, I'm here!"  And I'm on another medicine for sleep that makes me gain.  But I am seriously thinking of cutting it out and trying natural remedies.  I would be interested to see if I would lose a little weight without taking it.

A big culprit in not sleeping is too much caffeine.  I was drinking two big cups of coffee a day for a long time.  And I am thinking that plays a big factor in not sleeping.  And for years, I would sometimes drink three cups in a day, when my kids were younger.  And there's two to three spoonfuls of sugar in each cup.  And then sweet creamer to top it off.  I do like my coffee sweet.  I can't drink it black.  So my sister says, cut back a little and see if you can get used to it.

And then there's the soda.  There's always soda in the house for Sean and his friends and anyone else who wants soda.  So sometimes, soda was in my diet too.

And I'm not a milk drinker.

So now, I have decided to cut back to one cup of coffee early in the morning.  My day tends to start at anywhere from 5:30 to 6am and I'm up and over to the kids house.  This morning, I was ready at 5:30 so I made myself go for a ten minute walk up and down my street.  And yesterday morning at 7am, I made myself do a twenty minute walk around their neighborhood.  I am now going to try to stick to a routine of doing this at least once a day if I can keep it up.

Walking burns calories, increases your energy and metabolism and is basically really good exercise.  I've probably been an inactive person for years and need to start burning it off now.  Now, that I am older it is primarily for health reasons to do it and losing a little weight off that belly will look nice too.  It would be kind of cool to be able to slip on a few of my skirts that I've been thinking of listing on Ebay because they were just a little too tight.  Or when I see a cute shirt at a yard sale that I think I would rather keep than sell, it would be nice if it fit me.

So, after my one cup of coffee, I've been working on drinking lots of water.  Water has lots of benefits for your body.  It keeps you dehydrated for one thing and it gives you what your body needs.  I'm sure it helps with energy and metabolism too.  And I've always heard from aunts and other people that it cleans your body out and makes you thinner.  And of course it helps for better bowel movements.

I also am trying out that Sleepytime tea.  I read that if you have it a few hours before bedtime, it will help you to have a better night's sleep.  Same with Green Tea.  I heard that drinking tea can also benefit in losing weight.  So, I will be buying some green tea next to try it out.  I do find myself putting a little sugar in with these too, as I couldn't drink them without some sugar.  And I found myself putting in a teaspoon of lemon juice for added flavor.  And sometimes with my plain water, I add a little sugar and some lemon juice.

Lemons are supposed to be an excellent source of Vitamin B12.

Dark green leafy vegetables, legumes and seeds, cashews and wheat crackers are also good for sleep.  Look for foods rich in magnesium.  I've heard that eating some crackers a few hours before sleep can help.

I love Triscuits and am trying to switch from the chips to other crackers.  Cheez-its.  But, I can't cut out the snacks.  I do like them.  Just in moderation.  That would be another reason for walking and burning calories. If I can keep up walking every day, then I wouldn't feel so guilty about having a handful of triscuits or eating a bag of chips once in a while.  The good thing about chips is you can't eat them all the time as they are expensive.

And I would also love to eat broccoli every day, but the lovely fresh stuff is expensive too and I can't have it all the time.  I'm going to start getting more spinach.  That is a good one for sleep, so I'm going to start having more of that one.

My culprits too are cooking and adding those canned foods to the meals.  Cream of chicken, etc..  But it sure does make the meal taste good.  I might have to just start getting the low salt ones and then add my own salt to it.  And I love rice.  Rice is a good gluten free meal that is very low in cholesterol.  That's what I am going to cook to bring camping this next weekend.  And toss in some green peppers and celery and maybe carrots.

And I am going to now make myself drink at least one glass of milk each day.  I haven't been a milk drinker really since my kids were born.  Once they were born, I felt that it was more important that they get all the milk that they want so I didn't find myself drinking much.  I did drink it when I was pregnant.  My mom used to say that if they don't get the calcium from the milk, they are going to take it from your teeth.

But, now that I'm getting older, I'm thinking I should drink it more often, for the calcium.  I don't stop to think that even though we get older, we still need the calcium for our bones so we're not breaking them when we reach old age.  Osteoporosis is not what we want.  And I was reading yesterday that milk drinkers are very often skinnier than none milk drinkers.  Another good reason to start drinking.  And it probably has the Vitamin B12 that I have been lacking.  Probably because I haven't been a milk drinker for a long time.

So, there are always good reasons for changing our diets.  Losing weight, exercise and good health is what we should want.  We don't want to find ourselves having a heart attack, because we had a poor diet.

And I have also heard that when you reach for a glass of water, it sometimes fills you up so you aren't hungry for something else.

And we should be careful salting our food.  I've never been one for salting my food too much after it's been cooked.  This is because I know I have added some salt when cooking sometimes and extra salt isn't needed.

Read your labels.  There are so many hidden facts about all of it that if we knew what was in it, we probably wouldn't eat it.

And some of us have to watch the labels to make sure there are no peanuts in them, if you have a child with peanut allergies.  And some years, my kids had a child in the class that did have a peanut allergy so we had to make sure our kids didn't bring it to school.

And then Jake got celiac so we had to learn what contained wheat and what didn't.  He can't have wheat, barley, malt and oats.  So that cuts out a lot of food that he can't have.  The good news is that nowadays there is so many choices for good foods out there that are gluten free.  And even people that aren't celiac are putting gluten free in their diets.

It is so important to eat healthy, eat in moderation and not over due.  We sometimes can't help it on the holidays or special occasions, but if we can be self conscious of it throughout the year and stick to the plan, then we're doing good.

So, I'm starting now and if I stick with it, maybe later this year, I will be able to say, "It doesn't look like I'm popping out a kid anytime soon!  The belly is gone!"

But, we also can't not splurge and cut out the treats that we like to eat.  I'm not a huge sweet eater.  I used to bake more often, but I don't as much now.  But I would like the occasional brownie or a piece of pie.  Or last night was treated to a fudgicle.  I hadn't had one of those in years.  I guess that's why I don't omit the sugar in my coffee.  Because I know it is taking the place of perhaps eating a cookie or a brownie.

But, the simple fact is that if we're good with our diets and exercise, then we know we deserve that special treat.

And we also need protein, so don't eliminate eggs and other good protein completely.

Jennifer Jo Fay

Copyrighted July 17, 2012

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