Wednesday, October 12, 2022

It’s time to talk about healthy living because it’s been awhile! I find this time of year very difficult – do you? First we have all the Halloween candy, my birthday is right after Halloween and that means cake, then Thanksgiving comes around, and then all the Christmas treats that surround me at school and at home. None of this is bad in moderation, but for me, it is a slippery slope. If you give a mouse a cookie…

I am trying to get back to basics until my birthday. I made the mistake of buying some candy corn and some Halloween chocolate for a couple of our candy bowls and now it’s gone, thankfully, and I didn’t do too badly. But, I don’t plan on buying anything else until a couple of days before the trick or treaters come. A holiday is ONE day, Amy – not an entire month! A trick to help with that is to not go in the stores. Use the pick up service!

Here is what I am working on currently:

-getting enough water – this is a constant struggle at school. You simply cannot drink enough water as a teacher because you just can’t get to the rest room as much as you would need to! I am trying to drink a big Tervis tumbler of water before my coffee at home and then at least one Stanley cup at work, followed by 2-3 more Tervis tumblers at home. I am also drinking La Croix on the patio most days in the afternoon, because it feels like a treat.

-getting enough protein – I have really let this slip. I am aiming for 30-40 grams per meal. If I can get this back up, I think my sugar cravings will be lessened.

-I never sit down during the day, so I am very active, but I still need to get back to the gym consistency and add more walking. This is my favorite time to walk, but I just struggle with being so spent by the end of my workday. I realize that walking would give me more energy, but… Teaching is hard, y’all. Teaching has never been harder than in 2022. That’s a separate post, though.

Let’s talk about favorite products and foods!

I am still enjoying two cups of coffee each morning before work. I take a tablespoon of this:

and a splash of a skinny syrup and…

froth it in the bottom of my coffee cup now before starting my Keurig. It is better this way than spooning it on top and I dirty one less cup. I’m serious, you need a frother. Starbucks who?

Thank you to the person who recommended Costco’s Kirkland brand egg whites. They come in a box with 6 of these cartons. I do a mixture of real eggs and this for my burritos and faux egg mcmuffins. If I am home making a breakfast bowl, I usually use one real egg and a couple of splashes of these. They taste great! Yes, I am an egg for breakfast person and I am a breakfast person. I wake up hungry, but wait about 3 hours to eat. On a perfect day, I stop eating at 7 p.m. in the evening, so I am hungry!

I am still taking my iced proffee (protein coffee) to work for my mid morning snack. Current favorites are these:

I usually reserve these for the afternoon because it feels like a treat. Favorites right now are black razzberry and razzcranberry. There are some flavors I don’t like. I think LaCroix is my fave sparkling water.

For an afternoon or evening snack, I like the portion control of the baked box of chips from Costco. I am pretty satisfied with these or the plain flavor.

I have to have a string cheese once a day. Ernie hears that wrapper and comes running. So, I really only have half a string cheese a day!

I have popcorn a few times a week.

I alternate breakfasts that I take to school – faux egg mcmuffins are on tap this week. I use the light Thomas English muffins, a half slice of Kraft American, a square of egg (I made them on a sheet pan in the oven) and two slices of Canadian bacon. Who knew Canadian bacon was so light and provides some protein?

Having these all packed up really makes me happy! My goal is to have as little to do in the morning as possible!

I am still loving Slender Kitchen for my recipes. (Click on the red type to go directly to the site.) Thanks to Erica, fellow Spanish teacher at my school and meal prep partner, for finding it. Tom is amenable to these meals for dinner and he also cares about getting lots of protein and being pretty low carb. He will eat anything, but he does sometimes say things like, “I would rather not see this on my plate again”. He says he just really appreciates not having to make a decision about dinner after making so many during the workday. He is fine with a dinner of frozen Totino’s pizza – the cheapest on the market – or tuna salad, too. He can make these himself if I’m tired!

I cobbled together a few non-light recipes for stuffed peppers this week and subbed cauliflower rice for regular rice. Brown rice would be good, too. These ended up being very low in calories, WW points, and high in protein. I used Laura’s lean ground beef and only did a bit of shredded Mexican cheese. I should have cooked the peppers for longer. You have to cook them before the filling is in and I only did about 30 minutes. I think they need 45-an hour and maybe even the broiler would be good at the end. These would make a great Halloween meal and you could also do orange peppers and yellow peppers. I did yellow here:

All packed up for school:

To keep with the orange theme, I did roasted baby carrots. Roasting any fresh veg just makes them so delicious, in my opinion.

I cooked onion and mushroom this week to throw in with eggs or some of our dinner meals, possibly. I like having this on hand.

I truly enjoy the chopping and stirring and find it very relaxing. I want to buy exclusively fresh fruits and veg, but having a few cans and frozen bags of certain things can be so helpful, too.

Ok – I ordered this for $15. I had been very curious. You can only get it online and there are 12 flatbreads in the bag. You have to keep it refrigerated. They are paper, paper thin. I used one as a wrap and it was not that satisfiying, but I made “chips” out of them to dip in hummus and they were so good that way! All I did was spray some Pam and salt them. I think 8 minutes at 350 in the air fryer was what I did.

I am pretty sure that anything you can do with a Cut Da Carb, you can do with my beloved La Banderitas, but I have not tried making chips with them yet. Also, I love to make my own tortilla chips out of very thin corn tortillas. They are seriously better than some of our Mexican restaurants’ chips. All it takes is Pam and salt!

I recently tried this and yum! They taste like buckwheat pancakes and I didn’t think I really needed much syrup. I used some of my spray butter.

I am still taking two of my multivitamins, but I have gone down to only one of my Vitamin D. My Vitamin D levels were low a year ago and this year they have increased tremendously! Yay! My cholesterol is higher than it should be so I am taking this liquid fish oil and getting it re-tested in a few months. I am also still obsessed with taking one Ashwagandha gummy 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. It contains a bit of Vitamin D, too. I think the Ashwagandha helps me to stay asleep. I really don’t care if it’s a placebo effect!

My WW app stopped working because we had to get a new credit card and I hadn’t changed the billing credit card. I tried for a week to “do it on my own” and “just write it down” but I decided that $20 a month is still worth it for me. Again, I have not yet reached my goal and I think this is the healthiest and most balanced approach. I just don’t think I am ready to be without the app yet.

Erica and I have both been struggling since August 10th when school started to get back on track. She says she is emotionally eating and drinking cocktails because school is hard. Her husband wants to eat out a lot during the week, too, which derails her. She does great during the school week until she goes home ravenous. I am struggling the most with after dinner treats right now.

My jeans all still fit, but they are tighter than they were last spring. I am trying to wear jeans a few times a week for accountability.

I want to repeat that I refuse to eat anything gross. I am not buying a lot of processed, packaged foods, but am cooking most of the stuff I eat myself. I have the time to do this, but honestly it doesn’t take much time. I spend about an hour on a weekend morning doing my breakfast prep and I cook every night for maybe 30 minutes and that gives me two dinners (Tom and I) and two lunches (Erica and I). I was making different things for our lunches and decided to work smarter like Erica had been doing.

My mom reads my blog every day (thanks, Mom!) and recently said “How are you doing on your diet?” I don’t feel that this is a diet, but rather that I am learning to feed my body in a healthier way, thus my blog post title “Healthy Living”.

She then went on to say, “From your blog, it looks like you are on a french fry diet!” That made me think maybe others think that, too! To that I say, I don’t want to live in a world without french fries. I probably have some french fries two-three times a month. I share them with other people and it’s a treat. If there are 21 meals in a week, I am eating a pretty good meal for 18-19 of them. It’s all about balance. That is why WW is so good and why it works. It retrains you about portion size. It lets you live your life. It is sustainable whereas diets are not in my humble opinion.

Of course, I show my treat meals more than my everyday meals in my blog posts because they are more fun to look at. I’m constantly working to figure this lifestyle out. I’m not trying to be fake up in here. I still eat too fast at lunch (we only have 20 minutes) and that sometimes carries over into my other meals. I still think I’m a member of the “Clean Plate Club”. As a child, I think our generation was taught that we had to clean our plate, but now I am working on learning to listen to my body’s fullness cues. I am working to take home half of my restaurant meals. I’m learning that a bite of something sweet does the trick just like the whole darn treat.

What I’m thankful for:

Tom – he is great at splitting things with me at restaurants, will eat any of my new experiments, and is super supportive.

Erica – it is so great to only have to make lunches two or three times a week. And, we eat like the Queens that we are! Ha! We have helped each other by all the new recipes we have tried. Erica has certain specialties and I have certain specialties.

That I like to cook! I feel for people like my sister Kate who just don’t enjoy it at all. It really makes it easier when you don’t feel like it’s a chore.

The people in my life who are supportive and say nice things. Never underestimate the power of a kind word.

You all! You are included in the above! No one can understand how supportive the blogosphere is if they don’t read and comment on blogs.

What recs do you have for me? Thoughts? I hope I gave one helpful tip today?

Amy

38 thoughts on “Healthy Living

  1. Love these posts and your blog. Healthy living is hard complicated for me too. Teaching, well your comments are relatable! Have a good day, Amy.

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  2. I always enjoy seeing these posts and I agree, no need to eat anything you don’t enjoy. It is hard as a teacher to get water in for sure. My husband is a good sport too when it comes to eating what I cook – thank God! I laughed at Tom saying he’d “rather not see this on my plate again” – ha!!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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  3. You are such an inspiration and I respect how you keep it real here! I am going to try the stuffed peppers. Question – how can I determine how much protein I need in a day? Is it based on what you input in the WW app or based on how much weight you want to lose? I have never paid attention to protein so have no idea where to begin. Thank you!

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    1. You are so kind to say this. That is really why I share. I want to help at least one person like others helped me. So, I would recommend that you follow the dietician I follow on IG – Amanda Nighbert. I don’t do her programs, but she freely gives out a lot of information and I feel I have learned a lot. You probably want to at least get half to one and a half your body weight in protein grams a day. You can’t bank it, so you really have to divide it in three and try to get that amount per meal. I aim for 30-40 grams per meal. I have a small food scale to weight exact ounces and then I can google “how much protein in 6 oz. chicken?” but now I kinda know by eyeballing it. I now try to have meat with breakfast – Amylu mini chicken breakfast links are my current fave. So, if I have 3 of those that is 13 g, two eggs is 12 g, my protein shake is 30 g. I start out the day on a great note and it really sets me up to feel full until lunch. In the past, I thought I was saving calories by choosing the vegetarian option on the menu. Also, the WW app doesn’t tell you this as far as I know, but the points are caluculated based on a food’s fiber, protein, sugar, calories, etc. My advice would be just to start small and add protein to one meal and see if it helps you to feel full longer. Google foods with protein and see what you already like and eat. See what you like and could easily add.

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  4. You’re making me want to reactivate my WW membership. I’m thinking I need to do that, because I had such great success with it before. Being healthier is such a struggle for middle aged women! I envy my friends who don’t struggle with weight gain, or who are naturally thin. I have a sister like that, Trish- she has a crazy high metabolism and never gains an ounce. I, on the other hand, can look at one blueberry donut and pack on five pounds. It’s all about balance for me, and you do so well at that! And isn’t that what WW teaches? Do good most of the time and occasionally allow yourself a treat. It prevents burnout and it will sometimes give your body a much needed “re-set”.

    I think words are so damaging! All of my life I’ve been told, “You’re so beautiful, if only you would lose some of this weight.” I can’t ever unhear words like that, so yes, I struggle with self confidence often. I try to remember who I am in the eyes of Jesus and listen to what my husband says, and that helps.

    I need to learn more of the portion control thing. I also need to have good “snacks” on hand for when I want something salty or sweet. I do really love those 100 or 120 calorie chocolate pudding cups- they’re extremely satisfying. I also love Skinny Pop popcorn…I just never remember to buy it. I’ll say it again and again- I am so thankful for this really sweet and encouraging blog community. I hope we get to meet each other someday! How fun would it be to plan a little getaway like the cute little young influencers get to do with companies that sponsor them?

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    1. If you decide to, I am here to support you! You must give yourself patience and grace. It takes a while to re-set and it’s almost a part time job buying stuff that works well in your points and it takes about a week to find your sweet spot of feeling full within your points range. I think many people give up and say it’s too hard before they let themselves learn it.
      Words are so damaging and I hate that people said that to you your whole life. I really try to give my girls compliments not based on appearance – you put an outfit together well, you are so witty, you are always smiling and it makes my day. I try to compliment as many kids a day as possible, but in a genuine and not a fake way. What we say might be the thing they needed to hear that day.
      Portion control is a constant battle for me. Thank you for the pudding tip! I ordered some and have those ready in my fridge. I had forgotten that they would be a good sweet option! I love Skinny Pop, but I get more bang for my buck by popping my own kernels and using my spray. The new WW is personalized so I get several things for zero points – popcorn, eggs, chicken, corn, etc.
      That would be really fun. I have only met two readers but I haven’t met any bloggers. A middle aged blog getaway fornon-sponsored bloggers would be like this – we would get up at 5, drink coffee, light candles, read blogs, shop and talk, eat, take a nap, eat, and then be in bed by 9.

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  5. I relate with so much of this. Been struggling with my weight all of my adult life. Had my ups and downs. Fortunately I’ve haven’t seen my all-time highest weight in many years. But I’ve definitely put on more than I want, and I’m *slowly* starting to see some of it come off. I’m like you, I have to be accountable to an app to stay on track.

    Also, I’m team Kate. I HAAAAAAAAAAATE cooking. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t. 🙂

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    1. Yes! I think it’s about consistency – so if you and I are consistent it will happen, albeit slowly. The WW app is awesome. I really like it. I thought about looking into other ones, but I just don’t have the capacity to learn anything new right now.
      I really enjoy it. I enjoyed it too much for years and that is why I gained! Ha! Now I am trying to channel it in a positive way! If I had to rely on my hub to cook – I can’t even go there.

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  6. Good post today Amy. I’m feeling the same, looking ahead to the holidays and all the extra goodies that are available. I really like what you said, that it’s only one day, I need to remember that and not have a free for all mentality!

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  7. I struggle sooo much with water. It’s almost “all or nothing” with me. I’m better during the weekends when I’m home. I love this post and I am saving it. You give so many good ideas. I love French fries too! I always sneak a few when the kids or Travis get them. Sometimes I get them myself. I’m finally in a WW groove and I assume I’d have lost weight more quickly if I cut out all the “bad” stuff but I’d rather go slow and steady and not feel deprived. I’ve been committed to tracking which I think is helpful. You go, girl! You are doing amazing

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    1. Same! Yes – when I am home I chug! Thank you – I feel redundant at times but I also think I get so many comments when I post about this topic that I know we are all in the same boat!
      I would, too, but I also don’t think it would be as sustainable for you or for me. Did you do well on vacay? I am back on tracking and some days it ain’t pretty, but it has made me realize just how much I have been increasing my caloric intake without that accountability! Thank you!

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      1. I’m struggling with protein…I have some at every meal but some afternoons I’m not hungry and don’t want a shake. So water and protein I need to keep focusing on. Also, since I don’t eat breakfast, that’s another missed protein opportunity I guess. I wish I liked yogurt 😂 I tried to make good choices on vacay…and did what I did for Mexico…just tracked my food and not my drinks. I was up a pound and couldn’t believe that was it. I’m back on track with workouts this week which has made me feel good. I didn’t have a good eating day yesterday…donut and pizza before/after monitoring PSAT testing 😂

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      2. It is hard for me at some meals. If I do my breakfast/morning proffee, I can get about 40-50 at breakfast. Then I try to shoot for 30 at lunch and dinner. Sometimes I have a snack with a bit, but not usually. That is the issue with IF and missing a protein opportunity! Do you like hard boiled eggs? You could take one to school and be that weird teacher that smells like egg.
        That is amazing that you were only up a pound! Ugh – all the testing this year. Just move on and one day like that is no big deal. I am really lacking workout motivation and I am just so tired!

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  8. I do think it is all about balance too. I tend to do really well for weeks at a time and then everything seems to go off the rails in just one weekend! I find I have resorted back to just having a bite or two of something sweet instead of the whole dessert.. it does curb that craving and I know desserts are my downfall. I don’t think of WW as a diet either as I too am trying to learn how to best fuel my body and not feel like I need to clean my plate at every meal.

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    1. Same! I can get easily off track. I agree – just a bit or a piece of chocolate does the trick. I just ordered some sugar free pudding from Kroger. I hate to do too much sugar free stuff, but this might be a good thing for me to try.

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  9. We will be out of town on Halloween, and I’m a little thankful that I won’t be buying candy this year. It’s just too tempting! Thanks for the tip on the baked chips – I need to check those out. Lots of great ideas here.

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    1. Good timing! It’s so expensive this year, too. I will be honest – we don’t get a lot bc we are on a short street with only about 8 houses. Some years I turn my light off. I really like the original baked Lays but I will eat too many if they are not portioned out.

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  10. Stuffed peppers cooking tip: prep the peppers for stuffing and microwave for at least a minute or two per pepper before stuffing and baking. I put mine in a covered dish with a little water to kind of steam them so they wouldn’t dry out. Worked great and my family liked the texture better than just baking them raw.

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  11. I get a lot of great ideas from your blog! I love how real and chatty you are! I loved your tip about dividing Friday PM-Sunday PM into 5 time “slots” and doing something big during each. Just thinking of the weekend that way helps. I love fresh roasted veggies, too, though I think I overdo it and roast them for too long. My family likes the Klondike cakes, too! I like the choc chip mix; they’re great in the waffle maker. Teaching this year is really hard! I took a mental health day yesterday; the thought of facing my P3 class for the extended lunch period depressed me, and I just couldn’t. Of course there’s one kid in P3 who ruins the class. I might try to teach at one of the nearby high schools next year once the transfer period begins. I’ve been at the middle school level for too long, I’m thinking.

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    1. Oh, I am so glad! I think that tip has helped my weekends, too. I didn’t even know they had choc chip! I saw that I can add a bit of canned pumpkin and make pumpkin pancakes, so you know that is gonna happen! Do not apologize for taking a day off! I have one scheduled soon. We are in the trenches, friend. The kids just need so much and it’s no longer good enough to just do our job that we were trained to do. We have to do a suicide prevention training, and next week we have to lead young people in an active shooter drill. Are you kidding me? How does this not affect us? Everytime I open my email there is another need I have to meet. I think you should try for high school because middle school has to be the hardest and you all are saints!

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  12. Thanks for being so honest here and always love reading your blog. This is a common struggle for so many of us. I think you have a great perspective and have done so well on your health journey!

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    1. Not anymore. I broke my Apple watch and just didn’t replace it. I can use the data on my phone because I always walk with it at home. I could start putting it in my pocket or wear a fanny pack at school – lol.

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  13. I love your food and lifestyle posts. They are honest and relatable, thank you for sharing. I always get inspiration for new meal ideas as well!

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  14. “If you give a mouse a cookie” – is that really an idiom? 😀 Remember I learn English from you! ;-D But yes, I get you, I’m the same! For afternoon snack in school I wait as long as possible, so the time window until next class or whatever is as short as possible… so I won’t have that much time to munch!
    (BTW: huge success when I introduce my classes with “Boys, girls, non-binary and furries”! They love it! You are making kids in Sweden happy! :-D)

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