Along with the new year, new house, and other changes, I decided "why not throw in one more thing on my to do list, and add exercise and diet regimens as well?" Forging ahead in this area, along with all else, has meant some things have been left behind and that needs to be fixed as well. Mostly, the "in real life" contact with friends and family, socialization for me has been seriously lacking. It's on my list too. But, being a better person, wife, mom and friend by feeling better and eating better will benefit everyone.
Really, I just got tired of feeling run-down, tired after sleeping
well, craving carbs and sugar, and continually being bloated and having
skin problems. Packing and moving around the holidays was rough. We ate a lot of pizza, Christmas cookies, easy meals, prepared/pre-packaged stuff and we were all feeling it, especially me. Nothing seemed to be making my gut happy or the bloating go away. I knew a diet intervention was the only thing that would help, and exercise, which had been thrown by the wayside, had to come back.
I first decided to commit myself to 30 days of exercise. 30 days, 30 minutes. That was it. Cardio (treadmill and/or elliptical) and 30 sit ups and 30 bicep curls with weights. That's all. I purposely started with small goals. Before I had Kevin make up plans for me, or I had this large goal of working every muscle and doing a billion exercises. I'd fail because time wasn't my friend. There were children to feed, clothe, educate, play with, dinner to make, animals to take care of, on and on.
But, I figured if I can do it for 30 days, it will become a habit and stick. And it has! I missed a couple days when I wasn't feeling well, but every single other day I make sure I get something in. Some days are short, some days I have longer periods to exercise or do multiple exercises (ie outside trail walking, treadmill, yoga, etc.). I feel so much better when I am active and it really does a body good. I notice I am getting better at running longer jags, and not breathing as hard, finding some muscle under that "mommy layer".
The other part of it was to clean up our diet. I already knew that going dairy free for a full year while nursing Karter had amazing affects on me. My skin was clearer, my pregnancy weight dropped off and I felt good, not stomach issues, when I wasn't partaking in dairy. Lately though, I had been noticing issues when I had carbs and gluten, especially breads and pastas. I went a week of absolutely no gluten or carbs and a serving or two of dairy. The bloating went down. Stomach issues went away. I increased the fruit and veggies we are all eating in this house, especially fresh ones (frozen is about as good as fresh). I lost 4 pounds in a month. Losing weight wasn't even my goal. Feeling better and toning up to be in better shape, being healthier is my goal. If weight loss is a byproduct, then even better.
Some of the diet changes I/we are making are having less meat, increasing beans and other proteins, less carbs (pastas, breads, cookies) and especially getting rid of processed foods. I started with smoothies. Smoothies for breakfast, lunch, snacks, whenever. And green. Tossing in a handful of spinach to any fruit smoothie gives you extra veggies, calcium, vitamins, etc.and you don't even taste it. Even Kevin and the boys like them. Then I stopped buying cookies, crackers, and other empty calorie snacks and foods. Gasp. We don't just eat lettuce. The boys and I have fun making our own granola bars. We eat nuts and dried fruits (trail mix) instead of tossing them crackers for snacks. They love "ants on a log" (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins). We make healthier, gluten and flour free brownies that are still delicious and good for you. Some nights we have meatless meals. Other nights, I just cut back on how much meat we're eating and expand our veggie dishes.
I had been doing some research online (big surprise right?) and found Paleo Diets. I like the concept a lot, basically eating only what you grow or kill. I joked with Kevin that I might also go vegan, that caused a ruckus in the house. I was only half joking. But, a lot of things have been changing with our diets and even Kevin is more aware because he's been having a lot of migraines in the last couple months and we're noticing how certain foods are affecting him. Not everyone agrees with the meals I make and recipes I try, but the boys are pretty open to a lot, which is nice. They at least enjoyed my lentil patties, even though I won't be making them again.
Eating right and exercising, feeling better, will not only benefit me but my family as well. It's no secret I want more kids, and I'm looking at myself at almost 32 and thinking, I need to be healthy and in shape for family, future pregnancies, for getting older, for just about everything really. I don't want to tell my boys I'm too tired. I don't want to battle weight, and while it's not about that, because I don't want to make it an issue with self image and such, I'm fine with how I look, but to just keep watch of things. And now, in doing this for over a month now, it truly has become part of my lifestyle. I may sit in pajamas until after lunch, after school is done and I can workout, or get up early, but whatever works, it gets done and I want to do it. I'm feeling better, feeding my body better things and keeping it happier which in turn makes me happier.