Tag Archives: life

Prioritize Your Weight Loss

24 May
hermit crab

Not eating during the day can make you crabby. Eat healthy food at regular intervals.

My husband got mad at me yesterday for not eating anything all day. Yes, actually mad. I didn’t understand at first. It’s not like I do this frequently. My stomach was upset in the morning from sinus congestion, so I just had a little orange juice and a lot of water. I worked through lunch without even realizing it because I never felt hungry. His schedule brought him home a little early and then we left to run errands before I thought to have a snack. When we were telling each other about our days in the car, and I mentioned it was kind of funny that I had forgotten to eat. He found nothing funny about it at all. “You have to eat something during the day or you’ll get a headache now!” he worried. “I don’t have a headache,” I said. “But I don’t want you to get one!” Aww.

It’s nothing to take lightly, though. The whole rest of the time we spent running around, in the back of my head I was wondering about his concern. He was upset when he thought I wasn’t taking care of myself. My health is important to him. That seems like an obvious thing but when you think about your own priorities and the priorities of your loved ones, where does health rank?

Loco, the cat and foot warmer

Love shows itself in funny ways sometimes. Nurture yourself as well as your loved ones.

I think it is easy to forget exactly how important your own health and well-being is to the people immediately around you. I’m not talking about just when you get sick, although healthy eating choices can certainly help improve one’s immune system. I’m talking about trying to be consistent in making healthy choices–because just one day of poor choices can affect others–and that making nutritious eating habits, physical exercise, and healthy weight maintenance high priorities is actually important, not selfish. Some people accomplish this more easily than others. Some might even think I’m silly for feeling selfish, even guilty sometimes, about taking–no, making, because taking is the wrong word–time for things that benefit my own health. It’s something I have to get over. I’m totally hypocritical about it, too, because I know how much I care about my husband’s health and the health of my family members. But we all have to care about ourselves, too.

So, today I’m challenging myself–and you–to recommit to making my health and nutritious weight loss a daily priority, not just for my own satisfaction, but also as an act of love for the well-being of people I affect. Your personal health matters.

Sunshine and tree.

Keep looking ahead and consistently making healthy choices. Don’t get sidetracked or frustrated with a plateau in weight loss; keep at it because it your health is important.

Here are examples of my health priorities and plan of action:

  • Lose weight. –> Eat nutritious food in small portions. Exercise regularly throughout the week. When I’m healthier, I’m happier. When I’m happier, my loved ones are happier, too, and vice versa.
  • Improve flexibility, balance, and endurance for ice skating. –> Stretch for 10-15 minutes at least twice a day. Take lots of breaks from sitting at the computer throughout the day or move my laptop so I can periodically work while standing. Walk and do yoga more often. Skate as often as I can afford to. Save up to buy a stationary bike so I can burn calories while watching TV or reading.
  • Tone muscles, especially arms and legs. –> Keep trying every day to do one pull-up (we have a pull-up bar mounted in the bedroom door frame). Keep trying to do more than one push-up every day. Do barre exercises (leg lifts, in particular) next to the couch or bookcase twice a week as a break from the computer. Summer is almost here…think of those cute swimsuits and sundresses to fit into…comfortably, that is.
  • Keep improving my cooking skills. –> Everyone in the house benefits from being able to cook healthy food that tastes delicious. My husband has noticeably lost a few pounds around his middle. Since he hasn’t changed his exercise or eating habits, he told me he credits my cooking. What a sweetheart. And the more I enjoy cooking new, nutritious food, the longer I’m on my feet in the kitchen a few nights a week (make enough for leftovers to have a night off!), the more fun I’ll have while losing weight. Also, throughout this weight loss effort over the past few months, I’ve been keeping a journal of what I eat every day, including how it affects my mood, yummy snack ideas, and recipes (check out our recipes category–official page coming soon!). It’s become a sort of mini-cookbook to keep on the shelf when I’m done. I encourage others to try keeping one.

Share your thoughts in the comments section. Good luck with your own weight loss goals!

Michelle

P.S.: We had a lovely dinner together later that night. :)

Advertisements

3 Ways to Eat Barley

22 May

Barley is an excellent source of fiber and essential amino acids (Google it or read the package it comes in). In addition to loving its taste and texture, I’ve noticed that it really has helped improve my digestive system. This fact is not only good news for my general health, but it also seems to have helped boost my metabolism. I feel like eating more yummy sources of fiber, like barley, is helping me lose weight in a really healthy way. Plus, barley is such a versatile grain. Below are just three ways I have incorporated it into our meals. I look forward to hearing more ideas from you readers! [Note: Barley does contain gluten.]

fried egg on barley

For a breakfast high in protein and fiber, throw a fried egg on some boiled barley and enjoy the yumminess!

Breakfast

By itself, boiled barley has a hearty grain taste. I like to cook it for a long time, stirring frequently (and occasionally adding extra water) so that the barley is soft and tender and the starch water thickens to a yummy consistency. Add a bit of salt while cooking. A bowl of this plain barley as a porridge can be a terrific alternative to oatmeal. Or, for extra protein and variety, throw a fried egg on top. It makes for a great-tasting, super healthy breakfast. By the way, in my experience, barley always takes longer to fully cook than the package indicates, so allow for extra boiling time.

Side Dish

The other day, I mixed boiled pearled barley with choclo cut off the cob. (Peruvian corn; for image and other uses, see this recipe). I boiled both separately first, then mixed them together and boiled them for an additional 30 minutes with some butter and salt (stirring every few minutes). The resulting side dish was one of the yummiest things I’ve made in a while. The texture of the corn perfectly complimented the barley. The taste of the extra soft barley with the potato-like corn and butter blended so well! I took some over to Vita’s apartment and we gobbled it all up. We started calling it kasha, which she taught me is a Russian word for a savory, hearty side dish like this turned out to be.

Main Course

I always cook enough dinner so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes there’s even more than that so I try to get creative and use the leftovers in new ways so that we’re not eating the same thing for three or four days in a row. For example, back in April, I made a giant batch of pea soup. There is still one small container of it in the freezer. Once defrosted, it will be enough for one big lunch or two small sides for dinner. However, I’ve also got some plain boiled barley left in the fridge, which can be an excellent ingredient in soup. So, I’m going to combine the leftover soup and the barley as a base for a stew. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I plan to add some carrots and maybe also some choclo. It’ll be one of the heartiest vegetable stews I’ve ever made. We also have some leftover pulled pork roast, which could be added since the soup was originally ham stock-based, but I’m not sure about that yet.

pearled barley

Barley is a great source of fiber and amino acids. This tasty grain can be used in many types of hot and cold dishes.

There are so many other ways to cook barley. I even saw some recipes for salads that mix barley with soybeans and other veggies, which sounds really yummy. For a salad, I would stop cooking the barley once it reached a sort of “al dente” texture so that it would blend well with other cold veggies because you wouldn’t want mushy barley in a salad.

I hope you enjoy trying it out in new ways in your life!

–Michelle

No Pain, No Gain

14 May

When you’re trying to lose weight, there are days when you’re hungry, cranky, and sore. I’m hungry and sore today…and I’d be cranky too if it weren’t so darn beautiful and sunny outside. Our perspective on healthy weight loss has been to not deprive ourselves of things we want but to instead focus on moderation and nutritious choices. But when you’re modifying your portion sizes and eating habits, inevitably there are days when you’re going to feel frustrated. To get through this mood without letting it sabotage my progress, I’m going to try this today: Continue reading

Avoiding Emotional Eating: How to Distract Yourself from Unhealthy Snacking

10 May
loco at computer

Just me and my cat today, hard at work at my desk. As long as he lays on my arm, I can’t use it to snack. ;)

Today isn’t easy for me. I’m stressed about my freelance work, I’m applying for full-time work with no call-backs yet, I’m still too sore to exercise much, and my friends are busy so it’s just me and the cat. I’m so tempted to gorge on candy, Pop Tarts, nachos, ice cream, or chili-cheese fries. Fortunately, we don’t have any of that in the house right now. I’m about to go run some errands and I know I’m going to want to stop at a fast food drive-thru, which I also know I don’t really want to do (see this post: Dropping the Drive-Thru). To help myself not eat my way through this stressful day, I’m making this list of distractions and reasons to avoid temptation. I hope it helps you too. Continue reading

How to Burn 2000 Calories in One Day at Home!

9 May
michelle's plants

Spring cleaning burns tons of calories. The only household task I can’t count is gardening because these are the only plants I have–one amaryllis and two black succulents.

Every little calorie burned helps me get one step closer to achieving my goal of losing 40 pounds. To keep me motivated, I decided to educate myself about how the little activities I do can add up.

Since I work from home, I structured my schedule this week to allow a day for taking care of household chores that have been piling up since my husband and I have been busy with work (spring cleaning!). All calorie-burning data is from the WebMD Fit-O-Meter (and all data is calculated based on my personal weight; you should enter your own weight to get the most accurate data for yourself). And, if you turn on some upbeat music while you’re doing stuff, it really helps your brain and body increase your activity level.

  • Make breakfast: Making breakfast takes about 10 minutes and burns 30 calories. Clearing breakfast dishes in 5 minutes burns 18 calories. In total, burns 48 calories.
  • Make the bed: Making the bed takes 5 minutes. Burns 15 calories.
  • Wash the dishes: Takes about 15 minutes. Burns 51 calories.
  • Go grocery shopping: Grocery shopping with a cart takes 20 minutes and burns 68 calories. Carrying a load of groceries to and from the car and the apartment takes about 15 minutes and burns 166 calories. Putting them all away takes about 10 minutes and burns 37 calories. Burns a total of 271 calories.
  • Dust the house: The entire house takes about half an hour to dust thoroughly (lots of bookshelves). Burns 111 calories.
  • Mop the kitchen floor: Takes 15 minutes to mop the kitchen. Burns 78 calories.
  • Vacuum the house: The whole apartment takes 30 minutes to vacuum. Burns 155 calories.
  • Scrub the bathtub: Cleaning the shower and bathtub well takes about 20 minutes of scrubbing and rinsing. Burns 112 calories.
  • Bathe and groom the cat: Takes about 20 minutes from the time I find the cat, scrub him with cat shampoo, rinse, dry, and brush. Burns 103 calories.
  • Reorganize the hall closet and file cabinet (includes some moderate lifting): Takes about 45 minutes. Burns 233 calories.
  • Fold the laundry: Standing while folding a couple loads of laundry takes 15 minutes. Burns 44 calories.
  • Make dinner: From prep to cooking to serving takes about an hour (standing and sitting). Burns 177 calories.
  • Do the dishes again: Takes about 15 minutes. Burns 51 calories.
  • Clean out the bedroom closets: Takes about an hour. Burns 310 calories.

TOTAL: Calories burned from all activities listed above: 1759 calories burned!

Add a stretch break! Whether you’re doing a lot of physical activity or just sitting around all day, your body can benefit in many ways from stretching. A total of 30 minutes of stretching burns 111 calories.

Count your walking! Light and moderate walking throughout the day between tasks counts too! Just one hour of general walking activity burns 266 calories.

Of course, no one wants or needs to do all of those chores in a single day on a regular basis. This was basically our spring cleaning. However, several of these daily tasks really do add up to make a difference in our daily dieting lives. Keeping these numbers in mind can help maintain a positive outlook toward daily weight loss activities. And don’t forget to drink lots of water and get a good night’s rest because both of those things help maintain your body’s metabolism.

Now that I know how many calories can be burned doing each of these household tasks, I can use the information to my advantage. If I eat a heavy dinner, I’ll work it off at the grocery store the next day. If I want a 100-calorie snack, I’ll bathe the cat afterward to burn it off. The cat may not think it’s funny, but I have to keep a sense of humor when I’m dieting! :D

Let me know what you think in the comments section!

–Michelle

Diet Drop Updates (and a Sugary Sweet Playlist)

4 May

Happy Friday! We just wanted to say thank you to all of you readers for all of your likes, follows, and comments on WordPress and Twitter (@DietDrop). We love doing this project and we’re seeing some positive results that are keeping us motivated. We hope you all are having fun reading about it and that you’re having success with your own weight loss goals. Continue reading

My First Experience With Vegan Raw Food

3 May

Last Saturday our good friend invited us to try a new restaurant that he got a coupon from. We didn’t even know where we are going until practically the last minute; all he told us was, “This is a new place and you guys are gonna love it!” There were four guys and me in our group and it was hard for them to resist making snarky comments when they realized that we had arrived at a vegan restaurant. Even though I was quite skeptical about it, I decided to reserve my judgement until I was done with my food.

We started with drinks, which I thought were pretty good. For example, I ordered a delicious coconut cocktail, which consisted of muddled limes, fresh coconut water, and raw sugar cane. It was sweet and refreshing at the same time! Our food arrived one plate at a time, which I thought was kind of weird. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: