Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

My Half-Marathon Pipe Dream

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I’m putting it here because I’m that committed to my goal. I have every intention of running a half marathon (13.1 miles) this October. Just six months after having this baby.

Go ahead and scoff and yeah right me, but I don’t see any reason I can’t and shouldn’t be able to do it. I feel incredibly fortunate to call several Biggest Losers friends, and every one of them has told me that it’s entirely doable, and reasonable. I’m very fortunate to call an incredible trainer a friend, and he also echoes this positive line of thinking.

I swear the next person I tell that I’m planning to run a half mary who scoffs, grimaces, laughs and goes “yeah, mmm hmm, OK”, it’s entirely likely I will kick them in the shin. Let’s see YOU run with broken shins, yeah huh?!

As soon as I get the all clear, my butt is moving again. I’ve only gained 30 pounds in this pregnancy; a respectable gain considering the recommended average is 35 pounds. There’s absolutely no reason I can’t lose that and get back in shape. And why wouldn’t I want to? I am a healthy woman, and I’m going to be a healthy mom. It won’t be as easy as it was before, but it’s certainly no excuse to just let things go and five years from now whine about my “baby fat.” Guess what, five years from now, that’s not baby fat… that’s just fat.

Last year we lost a dear friend to ovarian cancer, and she has a quote on her Facebook page that has always stayed with me:

“So far I have survived assorted broken bones, living in tornado alley, law school, the bar exam (while on chemo) and stage IV ovarian cancer. Bring it!”

No, I’m not fighting terminal cancer here, and I sure as hell haven’t tried to pass a bar exam, but I am trying to do something that most people think is impossible, just like Anna did. I’m going to have a baby and six months later be standing in a crowd of athletes with a big number pinned to my chest… and I’m going to run 13.1 miles.

Bring it.

My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Hopefully this is one of the bumper stickers we can hang on our refrigerator (because even if our kid becomes an astronaut Shelton will not allow for the placement of stickers on our cars!): My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus, and Yours Eats Chicken Nuggets.

Growing up I was a painfully picky eater. And to be fair, “growing up” can best be defined by the last 28 years of my life. My palate has the depth of a teaspoon. I blame this, and mom DO NOT take any offense to this, on my parents. My exposure to food was pretty limited. We had Pizza Hut on speed dial, were on a first name basis with the Burger King manager, and probably consumed every flavor of Hamburger Helper on the grocery store shelf. (Thank someone for our metabolisms because we would have been poster children for childhood obesity!) I inherited my picky ways from both nature and nurture. My dad is also a very picky eater, so if I saw him turn his nose at something (oh, I don’t know, say RICE!) I wasn’t about to eat it. My mom, on the other hand, would have had us eating everything under the sun if she’d had her way. But my dad’s rule over what we ate (ground beef and potatoes) and our limited budget precluded us from broadening our culinary horizons.

As I grew up this became a huge handicap for me. To this day I have an almost fear of eating at other people’s houses. What will they serve us? How will they prepare it? Are there onions in? You put an eggplant in what? I got good at telling people that 1) I’d either had it several times before and just couldn’t stomach it, or 2) I was allergic. Neither of these were or are true. I have zero food allergies and if it looked even remotely suspicious there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to try it.

And on the very rare occasion that I had to try something, it would go terribly wrong. Take for instance the family vacation to Disney World where I was forced to eat a bratwurst with sauerkraut in the middle of Epcot’s Germany and proceeded to puke my guts out. I, to this today, have a tremendous gag reflex and I’m not going to keep anything down that my tongue deems not worthy.

So as I said, my persnickety eating habits have been a hindrance. Business lunches and dinners at ethnic restaurants are a nightmare – and I either beg to go somewhere else, or I’ve even been known to go a day or so ahead of time and “test drive” the menu to ensure I can find at least one thing that won’t lead to a “most embarrassing moment of my life.” Exhibit A, I had dinner with Jillian Michaels last spring at a sushi restaurant in LA. Three days before the dinner, I made Shelton take me to a local spot where I tried sushi for the first time, rather enjoyed it, and made copious notes in my phone so that I could order with out fail in front of Ms. Michaels.

In the past few years, as my love of cooking has developed, so have my tastes. I’ve discovered when in the privacy of my own kitchen with me at the ingredient controls I’m willing to try just about anything. I even attempted to make a Thai dish once that before completion ended up in the trash because the smell was so overwhelming, but the point is I tried. My mother-in-law keeps a list on her refrigerator of the foods I will not eat, alongside a similar list for both of my sisters-in-law, and I’m proud to say mine is the only one that has been mostly crossed off. I eat rice now people – white AND brown!

What could this possibly have to do what having a baby? A lot actually. One of my fears for my ability to raise a child has been my picky eating habits. I don’t mind passing on my curly hair or even my ability to speak my mind and share my opinion no matter what; but I do not want to create another generation of people who curl their lips and noses at the thought of – VEGETABLES. Oh the horror!

As editor for DietsInReview.com, I’m sent a library worth of books every year, books related to diet, health, wellness and fitness. We review them, but as most editors will tell you, I don’t read them cover to cover. A few months ago a book showed up that really caught my attention, and the title is My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus. (Kudos to the author and editors for coming up with that one!) I read this one cover to cover, in fact, I couldn’t put it down and haven’t shut-up about it since i started reading.

Nancy Tringoli Piho is the author, a former food industry PR guru who handed over her press releases for mommyhood. She and her husband are foodies, so when she had her first child, she set about feeding him the same way they ate. What a novel idea. Or is it? In her book she discusses how eating trends for American children have so drastically changed from those of even our parents or grandparents. There’s an entire industry of kid foods, and for some reason, most parents only feed their kids from this limited, starchy, processed menu of mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches. Meanwhile, the parents enjoy pasta with pesto and shrimp or a curry or fajitas or God knows what else. The point is, this act limits the development of their children’s palates.

My family gives me a hard time because even now when all we have is a bump in my womb, I’m adamant about how our child will and will not eat. I’m not going to raise a kid who is all strung out on sugar and refuses to eat vegetables. How do I make that happen? Well, My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus helped me feel justified in this early parenting decision that I’ve made and even offered a few ideas I hadn’t yet considered.

We’ll make our own baby food. That way, our child immediately learns the flavors, smells, colors and textures of what a green bean or sweet potato really is, rather than the high-sodium, high-sugar, over-processed version that Gerber wants to sell us at the grocery store.

We’ll introduce broader flavors and varieties of foods at an earlier age than most people do. Piho explains that in other cultures children are eating spicy foods and even more complex flavors like lamb as first foods, and we’re all human, so why can’t my American baby eat that too?

When we make dinner, that’s what everyone is eating. Shelton and I aren’t going to have sushi while the kids munch on Goldfish crackers and cheese sticks.

My goal here is to help develop a taste and appreciation for good food, health them understand that food is fuel and serves a purpose, and help my kids grow to be healthy and strong.

My picking eating habits are infamous. Friends, family and colleagues will all attest to the to down-right aggravating way I eat, or rather don’t. But hopefully, twenty or so years from now, or even five, no one will be able to say that about our child.

I really do recommend this book and hope you’ll give it a read. You can see more of my My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus review here at DietsInReview.com, and you’ll see that I think it should be added to the must-read list for all expectant moms.

Blogs Against Breast Cancer

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

October is breast cancer awareness month. We’re supporting DietsInReview.com’s Blogs Against Breast Cancer promotion. By placing this badge here, $5 will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

breast cancer donation

I’ve only had on person in my life affected by the disease, and I’m so thrilled that she’s still with us! I can’t tell you how much I learned watching her take on that fight and never once letting it take charge. I always knew she was strong, but I don’t think anyone knew just how much until faced with that challenge.

I know for a lot of women, that’s not how the story ends. I do not have a family history at all, and I pray that I don’t start a trend.

I once made the stupid mistake of finding a lump and waiting four weeks to call my doctor because I was scared. STUPID!! It turned out to be nothing, but the relief I felt in getting that exam outweighed an ounce of the fear that caused my hesitation. Don’t do the same. Do regular self-exams, have regular annual exams with your doctor, and talk to him to find out when it’s best for you to start getting regular mammograms.

Feeding the Ravenous Pregnancy Hunger

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I can’t even put into words how much I’m eating. Probably because my mouth is full of food. It’s been like this since the week before the pregnancy test. Shelton’s growing more concerned he can’t afford to feed me. I’m just growing more concerned I’ll keep finding food sources. For the most part, as I’ve said on here several times, I eat a very balanced, nutritious diet. Lately, I’ve given in to a few twinges for things that are rarely on my menu. Like beef tacos. And pizza. Twice. This weekend. Oh wait, make that three times.

Saturday was the kick-off of college football season. I am not a fair weather fan, but let me say that my OU Sooners let me down. Let me down hard. I’ve been anticipating football season since, oh, January! Why can’t football season last as long as lame basketball season or baseball season, both of which seem to go on for-ev-er! As the weather took a quick turn in to fall last week (usually Wichita holds out until at least the day before Thanksgiving), I decided that we needed a pot of chili. My mom came over to watch the game with us and have some of my chili (because I’d be embarrassed if the two of us ate an entire Crock pot worth of chili). After dinner she told me we needed to get some junk food in the house. And I’m not lying, the best thing I could come up with was a can of Orange Crush a friend had brought to me a couple of months ago. Shelton and I laughed and told her this is our junk food – chili and cornbread.

So, I eat, around the clock it feels like. I wake up to my stomach growling. And until last week, I went to bed that way, too. I reached out to the DietsInReview.com dietitian, Rebecca Scritchfield, and explained my ravenous state. I told her that before bed I got another hunger surge, but I was afraid to eat right before bed. However, on the nights that I did I slept better and on the nights I didn’t, well, I didn’t sleep well. This is her advice, copied verbatim from an email, and I was so grateful to read this.

BK: My question is – is there something I can/should eat as a little snack to quench that hunger, should I just let it go? What’s a smart move here?

RS: Definitely eat a bedtime snack. My recommendation is to eat something that is high calories to satisfy you without a large volume of food. Second suggestion is bland BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce and toast) because they are easy on the GI. Start with banana and peanut butter (300 calories) or peanut butter and toast (also about 300 calories). It should not have you feeling too full.

This does not mean to have half a tub of peanut butter. It means a regular serving (a tablespooon I think) on a piece of whole grain toast. This is what I’ve been doing, with a small cup of skim milk. It fills me, satisfies me, and I sleep well. I still wake up hungry, but not ready to eat the down comforter.

Another conundrum I keep finding myself in is that I’m out and about and hunger strikes. Right now. This second. Feed me now or I will DIE! If you’ve ever had your blood sugar crash, it’s that exact feeling. Shaky, empty, feed me now anything! This weekend I made my own trail mix and got an air-tight reusable container to store it in. It fits in my purse, along with some Kashi granola bars. This way I’ve got a healthy, filling snack that I can take anywhere with me and I can munch on that to satiate for a little while. I made my own because 1) I don’t need the M&Ms, 2) I don’t need all that sodium, and 3) I don’t need the extra sugar. So here’s what I used in my homemade trail mix:

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup Craisins
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Feel free to use this and modify as you like. For the next batch I’ll probably add pistachios.

Basically, I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t gorge myself. I eat a normal meal at meal times and have smaller snacks throughout the day:
- Breakfast is a bowl of Raisin Bran or Cheerios or an egg white veggie omelet with a whole grain tortilla
- Lunch is a turkey sandwich with veggies on whole grain bread, leftovers from the night before, or a veggie quesadilla with salsa
- Dinner is ground turkey for pasta or tacos, grilled chicken with veggies, grilled fish with veggies and whole grain rice, veggie paninis

For snacks, I keep it pretty simple, and keep the house well stocked.
- A few pieces of light havarti cheese with multi-grain crackers
- Fresh fruit: apple/orange/banana/grapes
- a 0% fat Chobani Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and/or almonds
- a handful of whole grain Goldfish
- blue corn chips and salsa

I really don’t want to gain more than the 35 pounds or so of recommended weight. So I’m trying to keep everything balanced and eat in moderation. Right now I feel like that’s an impossible task because I simply just keep eating. I even give myself some time – ask if I’m really hungry right now. I’ll sip on a glass of water for a few minutes and see if that won’t kill the urge. Sometimes it does, and sometimes I can literally hear my stomach bellow FEED ME NOW!

I’m also taking evening walks with Shelton – which is a great time for us to catch-up. It’s a moderate exercise that for my first trimester I’m comfortable with. I’m considering prenatal yoga once my second trimester starts.

Some of you might be giggling going – ahh, welcome to pregnancy. Hopefully some of you also find yourselves pregnant and hungry and this will help you navigate the pantry a little easier.

Obesity and Infertility

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

One of the co-authors of Budgeting for Infertility, Evelina Sterling, has contributed a post at DietsInReview.com discussing the influence of obesity in infertility. Maybe it’s not an obvious answer, but for some who are struggling to conceive, definitely consider not only your weight but that of your partner. Being overweight or obese has so many negative impacts on your body, that it should come as no surprise that your fertility could be impacted as well.

Here’s an exerpt, and then continue reading Obesity Increases Chances of Infertility and maybe take a second look at your diet.

Unfortunately, it is not completely clear exactly how obesity affects fertility. It is a complex relationship that we are just beginning to understand. Still, the bottom line is the more you weigh, the less fertile you are. Most likely, the added pounds disrupt normal hormone production and prevent successful ovulation among women. For men, it can result in fewer and less quality sperm. In any case, the chances for fertilization are significantly lowered. And if both partners in a couple are overweight, they are even more likely to have to wait longer before conceiving a child.

Getting Fit for Fertility

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

During the course of the past two years my health has become more important to me than ever. Making sure my body is in tip-top shape to carry this baby, that’s just going to turn around and wreck all my hard work (wink), is a major motivator. Call me what you will, but one of my biggest concerns with having this baby (or these babies, time will tell) is that I’m simply not ready to lose my figure. I’m not Heidi Klum by any stretch of the imagination, but I also like to think that I’m fairly fit and have retained my assets, if ya know whatti mean. I don’t want a big butt, wide hips, saggy boobs. I know it comes with the territory. I also know that if I’m maintaining a healthy lifestyle now, that it will be commonplace while I’m pregnant, and make bouncing back easier after delivery.

When I became the editor for DietsInReview.com, I couldn’t help but to shift my healthy lifestyle into overdrive. I’m more conscious than ever before of what I eat. My grocery bill each week is at least half dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables. The “protein source” on our plate is not really the main entree anymore, as it is a side to our salads, fruit, roasted veggies and the like.

Don’t get me wrong, I could destroy some McNuggets, throw myself face-first into a bag of Doritos, or easily polish off a cheeseburger or chips and queso. I’m a grease lover, Shelton is a sugar lover. So when his sweet tooth is acting up, my suggestion to have some strawberries or a sugar-free Jello pudding sounds like a terrible idea, while it suits me just fine if I’m in the mood. Me on the other hand, I fear that pregnancy cravings will send me right back into the fat loving arms of Arts & Mary’s salt and vinegar kettle chips or an ooey-gooey pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Papa J. Those “indulgences,” if you want to call them that, are fewer and farther between these days, and I like to think it’s going to stay that way. In fact, I much prefer a grilled fish or chicken breast with roasted veggies to any combo meal.

Food I’ve got. Food I’m great at. I’m label conscious, I watch portions, I get my three squares a day plus two healthy snacks in the middle (in other words, I eat smaller meals throughout the day). Working out, on the other hand, still has my number. Once I get into a regular pattern I’m golden, I enjoy it to some degree. But when I’ve gone a period of time without it, I think I’d rather saw off my toenails (I have this weird thing about breaking nails so that is pretty awful in my mind). I loathe running, but love the elliptical. I love any kind of core-strength training, but don’t particularly care for things like jumping rope or playing basketball. I love doing work on a fitness ball. I guess if you practice what I’m preaching, it’s that you just need to get moving. Start by dedicating 30 minutes a day. Surely we can all squeeze that in. Hell, grab a fit ball and do crunches while you watch TV at night, or get that much-needed family or spouse time by taking a walk. Opportunity presents itself and we just need to take it.

In the long-run we have nothing to gain but our health. I encourage you to also take stock of your pantry, read the food labels and comparison shop, add more fruits and veggies to your diet, and get moving!! It’s better for you, it’s better for these babies we’re trying to grow, and it can’t hurt in the post partum world either.

If you’re ready to get started, this handy calculator will show you your BMI (body mass index) to define how healthy your weight is, your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to determine your daily caloric need, and your IBW (ideal body weight) to help you make a healthy and attainable goal weight.

I hope to share more of my personal tips and insights on living healthier with you soon.