Healthy Eating as a Family

When I began losing weight three years ago, I warned my husband that it (the weight loss and the changes I was making) would affect him and our family. I would be cooking and eating different meals and needed his support. The whole family was going to have to go along for the ride, including our then one and a half and six month old girls.

Looking back, I am extremely grateful that I changed how I ate when my kids were very young. When kids are under two, they pretty much have to eat what you give them. While they have preferences and are starting to know what they like, they can’t make anything for themselves or open their own fruit snacks yet, so as parents you have most of the control still.

Healthy eating as a family

Healthy Eating as a Family

Now don’t get me wrong, they still ate then, and do now, normal kid food. We enjoy chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches as much as the next family, but they had to eat what I made or not eat. That’s an important lesson to learn early.

For those with kids that are older and are looking to make healthy eating changes, it’s possible! I have had to use different techniques on our kids to get them to eat healthy and accept that they are in fact going to eat what I make. Here’s how:

Introduce new healthy foods slowly.

Don’t go from making chicken nuggets and French fries to all vegan food overnight. That is a recipe for disaster. Take the healthy foods they already enjoy and include them at meals and slowly introduce new fruits and veggies.

Make healthy food fun.

Our 4.5 year old, doesn’t like bananas, but if I put chocolate chips on it and call it a banana ghost, all the sudden it is delicious. Try peanut butter on celery or ranch on carrots. The same thing you may do to get yourself to like a new healthy food. Another way to make it fun is cut food in cute shapes or use fun names to get them interested in it.

Try growing your own food.

We just (literally today) started our own little backyard garden. We have strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. My husband and I decided to let each of the girls plant a seed they wanted, so we are growing a pumpkin and watermelon, hopefully! I do not have a green thumb, but the girls were so excited to try planting and growing things that I thought okay, we can give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen?

Stop eating off their plate.

If you’re an adult and are trying to lose weight, don’t snack with your kids! I am very guilty of going out to places and packing lunch for the kids, but nothing for myself, so I end up eating a few bites of a sandwich and a couple carrots. By the time I get home, I’m starving so I eat a full meal and then some. It’s not healthy. Pack yourself a salad, a healthy sandwich, a smoothie or even just a protein bar so you aren’t getting overly hungry and binging at home.

Yes, losing weight with kids around is tough. But you can do it! Get them eating healthy, and make healthy eating a way of life for everyone. And don’t forget a piece of cake every now and then, never hurt anyone.

Giving Up The Scale

Our church has encouraged us to participate in Lent this year. Growing up we didn’t do Lent, I pretty much thought got it was just a Catholic thing (and I’m not Catholic) so why would I? But throughout the years I have gained more understanding into Lent. I am not a pastor nor do not have religious training, but for me Lent is the opportunity to give up something that has taken time away from God or something that will require more effort. It is a period to focus on growing closer to God through giving this ‘thing’ or item up and focusing more on what He wants in my life.

A lot of people give up different foods that probably aren’t doing great things for their body. Others give up social media, which I did last year in a way. I gave up Facebook during my kids waking hours, from 8am to 8pm. There are truly tons of things you can give up.

Endurance

This year seemed hard for me. I thought about giving up sweets, but I truly wanted to do something that I felt would take a lot of prayer to get myself through. So, I am giving up my bathroom scale. To many this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. But for me it is!

Continue reading “Giving Up The Scale”

I Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Recently I was talking with someone who doesn’t know me very well and they asked if I see myself in oncology nursing for the rest of my career. I answered honestly – I can’t imagine my career without working with cancer patients in some way, shape, or form. I truly do love what I do. Even when the world seems to be crashing, I can’t catch up, my feet ache, my brain hurts, I’m sobbing over exhaustion, or I’m sobbing over grief. I was made to do this. I’m not exactly sure when cancer patients became a passion of mine – it was more something that seems to have been weaved into the soul of who I am made to be.

WorldCancer

It’s World Cancer Day. So what does World Cancer Day mean to me? Continue reading “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”

The Gut of a Nurse

The patient walked into the clinic for fluids. It had been a few months since I had that feeling in my gut. Any nurse can tell you about that feeling. It is this awful feeling in the pit of your stomach. It comes even when there is nothing clearly telling you why it is there. You just know you need to keep a close eye on that patient. So you do. You keep watching for something to indicate why your gut alarm has gone off.

The nurse -gut feeling- can't be taught,

One of my nursing professors told me that the gut feeling can’t be taught. That you can’t create a nurse, but you can shape one. I agree with her. Long before I was an official nurse I had a gut feeling. But the more educated you get, the more experience you have, the more fine tuned that gut gets especially within your specialty.

Continue reading “The Gut of a Nurse”

6 Tips for Beginning Runners

I am not built to be a runner. I don’t have long legs and a great stride. I make running look hard. The truth is, it is hard. At least for me. I know a lot of people who it is not hard for. People who have been pounding the pavement for years like they were born to do it. I bet you know some of those people too. And I bet they intimidate you.

I used to be like that. I used to see people running as I drove past and thought, “I could never do that. I can’t run.” I was wrong though. I can run. I made a choice to try. I decided to put in the effort and work it took to become a runner. I still can’t run long distances, but I can walk/run/jog for a lot of miles.

One of the hardest things for me was getting started. It was deciding to go from a walk to a run. But thinking back over it, there are some tips I have for people who want to start running.

Tips for Beginning Runners

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Before you go:

Fun Gear. Fun and comfortable clothes you want to put on are key. Make yourself believe you are going to have fun. Or at least you are going to look good while you try. If you get the clothes on and lace up your shoes, you have won half battle. Now you are dressed and ready to look good!

Fun Music. Whether it is upbeat pop music, hip hop, rap, hard rock, country, classical, any kind of music that gets you going and makes you want to go, listen to it. There are many apps you can use, like Pandora or iTunes radio, or you can make your own fun playlist.

Stretch and Walk. Before you leave stretch! Look up stretches online if you need some suggestions. And do a warm up walk. Don’t just run, walk for a few minutes to get your body all warmed up and ready to move.

Pick a Program or Schedule. If you are looking for an easy starter program to help you get to running, try a Couch to 5k program. These type of programs will tell you when to walk and run to build up to doing a 5k (3.1 miles). Personally, I prefer programs that tell me just how many miles I should do to train for a race. For example I am now using a training schedule to get me prepped for a 10-mile race. It gives me three running days with the miles I should do and two cross training days each week. It’s a personal preference on what type of program you like. You can always experiment and see what you like.

Do Not Compare Yourself. One thing I did in the beginning was look at other runners and think “I can’t run as far or as fast as them, I must be doing something wrong.” But the truth is, my ability and fitness level is different than everyone else’s. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. Just go out and do what you can do. And if that means you can only run two blocks and then have to walk, great. But keep going. In the beginning I could literally only run one block, then walk one block, and I would just rotate those. Now I can still only run about a mile, then have to walk for a little bit, and can run again. But I get my miles in. I do my training and I keep going.

Find a Partner. Like any exercise program, having a partner or someone to keep you accountable can be a benefit. If you need someone to say “Hey, get your butt up and do this!” then find someone to help you out and get your butt out the door.

If you want to be a runner you can do it. It is going to take commitment and effort, but if you want to do it, you will. And here’s a secret, those people you see running who look like they have been doing it forever, they are nice people. And they are encouraging. I have never met a runner that said, “you need to go faster” or, “you aren’t trying hard enough!” I have met so many who are encouraging and will motivate you to no end.

So give a try. Lace up your running shoes and get out there. What do you really have to lose?

Immune Boosting Foods

Winter got your immune system down? Don’t fret, with a few simple dietary tricks, we can get you what you need to fight off those harmful bugs.  During this time of year, it is a good idea to check your vitamin D. An easy way to increase your vitamin D from food include whole eggs, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, milk containing fat only, or fish. A deficiency not only increases your risk for getting sick, but vitamin D helps boost the immune system to fight off the virus sooner!

Don’t forget your vitamin C! This is usually the first one people think of, and for good reason. Vitamin C is another contributor to the immune system by reducing inflammation. Sources to consume vitamin C can be found in raw red peppers, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Please note, if you are a smoker, your need for vitamin C is much higher year round. Aim for 125mg/day for male smokers and 110mg/day for female smokers.

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How I will Chase 2015

Did you read Erica’s post on choosing a word to inspire your year? If not check it out here. I love this idea and just reading hers made me want to chase the year too.

Chase Hope

So I thought I would let you in on what I am going to chase for 2015. And go a step further and let you in a little on how I plan to chase some of these things. So here goes…

1. Healthier Eating – I addressed a lot of this in my post Back On the Wagon. Just getting down to eating cleaner and less processed food.

2. Give More – I want to give more of myself to people. I give a lot to my children and husband, which fills my heart with joy. But I know that now that I am no longer attached to a baby constantly, I have the time and ability to give more of my time and myself to things like volunteering and helping friends. I plan to be more involved in our church and really become vulnerable and closer with friends.

3. Physical Challenges – My biggest physical challenge is coming up in 4 months, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. And on top of that I want to challenge myself to complete 100 miles of walking/running in a month (I have yet to choose the month, but I will). I also want to sign up for more fun runs that include obstacles to be challenging and fun.

4. Grow Closer to Christ – I want my children to be able to see the love that God has for them through me. To do this I need to become closer to Christ so I can be more like Him. I want to show the love, kindness, generosity, and patience that He has with us everyday.

5. Save Money – My husband and I both know we want to start saving more money and are working on plans to save monthly for things like Christmas and birthdays. Also to start saving money to one day (after Navy retirement) buy a house.

I challenge you to chase this year. Chase the things that you want to accomplish. Find even just one thing to actually go after with all you can. Come up with a plan to do this and be intentional with your plan. Don’t just say you are going to workout or spend more time with your family. Plan out your workout days and family fun days. I challenge you to truly ‘Chase 2015’ with all you can!

The Gluten-free Diet: Myth or a Real Concern?

The gluten-free diet has taken hold of our nation at an alarming rate in recent years. For conventional physicians, if you do not have Celiac disease, you can eat gluten and stop listening to your friends. Recent media news and late night show hosts like Jimmy Kimmel have even bantered people for following a gluten-free diet by associating it with another fad diet. But are their symptoms really a placebo effect?

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First, what is gluten?

Sorry the Jimmy Kimmel clip above didn’t answer this for you. Gluten is a protein made from glutenin and gliadin found in barley, rye, and wheat plants. Our bodies need protein, and the building blocks for making proteins called amino acids, both non-essential (made by our bodies) and essential (ones our body cannot make and need to be consumed from our diet). However, in the last 30 years the way crops are grown have changed drastically, and maybe not for the better. The herbicides and pesticides have been extremely effective for increasing crop yield making farmers very happy. Continue reading “The Gluten-free Diet: Myth or a Real Concern?”

Chase 2015

This time of year everyone seems to spend time reflecting on the last year and what they want to change about the year to come. I am definitely included in that. Having worked in the field of lifestyle change for many years, studied it in school and beyond, and being a nurse presently; I am more than aware of how hard change is for people including myself. I’ve read the statistics and how hard it is to predict if someone will stay with a change such as a regular exercise pattern. Let me tell you, the statistics are not encouraging. Change is hard.

Chase

Continue reading “Chase 2015”

Back On The Wagon

I have fallen off the wagon. And unfortunately it has taken me too long to really see and acknowledge I have. My eating habits through the holidays have been awful. I have fully enjoyed sweets and indulgent food and my waistline has definitely been showing it. Continue reading “Back On The Wagon”

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