keeping busy in the evenings

Well, two weeks into my new wellness challenge, I have lost two pounds.  This makes me happy because loosing the weight slowly is the best way to allow my habits and body to adjust.  My morning blood glucose readings have also been great for these two weeks, always less than 8.0 .

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I attribute my loss to limiting my evening eating.  Instead of sitting, watching TV and making trips to the kitchen every five minutes, I have focussed on making small lap quilts.  These are easy to handle, quick to do and the finished quilt helps me stay warm on a cold evening.

I think this works to curb my evening eating because:

  • it keeps my hands busy
  • the work demands my whole attention
  • snacking as I am sewing is almost impossible
  • the result (the finished quilt) is very satisfying

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My quilt-making would not win any prizes.  As you can see below, my stitches are quite irregular.  But it ‘works for me’ and the result is quite durable.  I start with a small fleece baby blanket (30″ by 36″) and sew small patches on one side, using top stitching.  Then I add a backing and sew the layers together with more stitching.  By the time a quilt is bound, it has taken about 5 evenings or 15 hours.

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Best always, Alexandra

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what I’ve been eating

I began my weight loss and wellness program on November 23, 2013.  Since then, I have been tracking my eating on most days using the ‘app’ called MyFitnessPal‘  (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/).  The ‘app’ helps me record what I have eaten and tracks nutrients so I will know at the end of the day if I haven’t had enough calcium or fibre.  Gradually it builds a dictionary of your usual foods, so entering the food gets quicker with time.  The ‘app’ also allows you to track exercise and the water you drink.

what did I eat?
what did I eat?

Last evening, I decided to have a look at what I have eaten to try and identify some patterns, to see where I have gone wrong, and to know what I have done right.  Since November 17, 2013 (one month ago), I have kept a record of my eating on 19 of 30 days.  A simple look at what I have eaten during those days shows me some interesting facts that I can put to work in my future wellness endeavors:

◊ during those 19 days, I ate ‘out’ on five occasions

on three of these, I kept my calories at the restaurant below 500 🙂

on one night, a dinner with friends, I made a bad meal choice followed by a high calorie dessert – I suffered with salt overload for the next five days!

one lunch meal – you won’t believe this one – we had a best poutine challenge (Dairy Queen versus McDonalds) – over 1600 calories wasted on ridiculousness!!! 😦

why do I do rediculous?????
why do I do ridiculous ?????

 

◊ I was within 200 calories of my goal for the day on 8 days 🙂

◊ on several days I could have saved about 300 calories by limiting my cheese serving size – if I had only 1 ounce of cheese instead of 3 to 4 ounces, I would still have met my calcium goal for the day and saved the calories, salt and fat.

◊ foods I seem to have a hard time limiting: chocolate, potato salad, chicken pot pie and cheese

we have developed a habit of eating salad once or twice a week, and chili con carne at least once a week – good choices, high in fibre and nutrients 🙂

◊ as I’ve reported before, I went to two parties during this time and ate responsibly at both 🙂

my potassium intake is below what it should be on most days – an increase in fruit and vegetables should fix this

choose foods rich in Potassium (K)
choose foods rich in Potassium (K)

Keeping track of my food intake has value beyond the day – weeks later, I can use the food diary to help me make better eating decisions!

Do you keep a food diary?  What has it taught you about eating well? 

Best always, Alexandra

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evening eating – making a plan

My short-term goal for the next couple of days is to approach evening eating ‘mindfully’.

One of my biggest problems is eating in the evening.  I have breakfast and lunch under control.  I take a healthy approach to dinner.  Then 8 PM hits, and I lose control!

Why?????

  1. In the evening I am tired and less likely to be in control
  2. I usually watch TV in the evening and that includes commercials
  3. I usually don’t approach the evening with any kind of plan

I track my eating on most days.  Recently I found an ‘app’ called MyFitnessPal‘  (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) that helps me to keep a record of what I have eaten.  It also tracks nutrients so I will know at the end of the day if I haven’t had enough calcium or fibre.  I have tried a number of apps to track calories, but this is the best I’ve found.  Gradually it builds a dictionary of your usual foods, so entering the food gets quicker with time.  The app also allows you to track exercise and the water you drink.

The downside of this app is the lack of a way to track food-groups consumed.  For that, I have a quick free app called ‘ CheckOff Diet Tracker’ (New Angle Technologies LLC).  It lets me set my goals for each food group as well as for exercise and water.  Then I can quickly check off the foods I have eaten and know what I have remaining for the day.

Ways I can be mindful about my evening eating:

  1. plan a snack; pick a food group remaining after the day – usually this is a milk choice but sometimes it is a fruit or vegetable
  2. eat my snack at the table instead of in front of the TV
  3. pay attention to the texture, smell and taste of the food
  4. keep an activity close at hand to keep occupied (for me, this is knitting, watercolours or reading)
  5. keep a notebook nearby to record eating impulses – describe the circumstances and my responses
  6. go to bed at a regular time instead of sitting mindlessly

My approach to any goal is my ‘plan’.  On my ‘plan’, I can write down ideas and track my progress.  I can also use the ‘plan’ as a reminder to steer me through a difficult stretch.

Recording how I am feeling can help me understand what triggers my evening eating.  Usually I am not hungry.

Below is the page of my planning book.  A spiral notebook with plain pages works for me, although I am bad at drawing straight lines!

You can copy and use the page too, if you want to plan your evening eating.  In a couple of days, I’ll show you my completed page and how I did.

A simple ‘Hunger index’ is 1 to 3, where 1 is not hungry (just ate), 3 is ravenous (stomach growling), and 2 is somewhere between.

plan for evening eating

Do you have problems controlling your evening eating?  What are your solutions?

Best always, Alexandra

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setting some goals

For some time, I have been thinking about setting up a blog to track my wellness goals.  I have been a blogger for almost three years and I’ve found blogging to be a way to record what is important to me as I navigate my life.  It’s also a way to communicate with people who have similar interests.

So a blog should give me a way to keep track of my efforts toward wellness.  And it may help others to make their own efforts at being well.

I invite you to follow my journey, and to work with me as I go, to make your own wellness improvements!

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Just a bit about me.  I am 59 years old, overweight and suffering the consequences of years of neglect of my body.  From the time I was a teenager, I have struggled with weight, going on numerous diets and programs and sampling what it is like to weight everything in the range of 160 to 280 pounds.  At the present time I weigh 260 pounds.  I have diabetes (on insulin). I have osteoarthritis and my knees severely limit my mobility.  I take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart health.

I am less of a mess than I was a year ago since in January I began a program of stationary cycling – I have kept this up for ten months and I have seen all kinds of improvements in my health.

The first thing I want to do is set some goals: short , medium and long term.  I know a goal should be specific, time linked and attainable.  A learning from my stationary cycling program is that in order to become a habit, it takes at least one month of ‘practice’.  For this reason, I am going to make most of my goals in the medium-term category.

Long Term Goals (one year)

present weight: 260.0

I would like to lose 20% of my body weight in the next year or 52 pounds.  Spread out into a steady loss, this would mean losing one pound per week.  This is within the recommended maximum weight loss of 2 pounds per week.

Goal #1:  My long term, one-year goal is to lose 52 pounds in slow, steady increments by November 23, 2014.

Medium Term Goal (one month)

present exercise pattern: stationary bike 2 to 3 times per week, 30 minutes per session, frequently skipping more than one day between cycling sessions; occasional walking

Goal #2: My medium term, four-week goal is to bike every second day for one month (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #3: My second medium term, four-week goal is to begin 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to begin to go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Short Term Goal (two days)

present problem: mindless eating in front of TV

I would like to be mindful about my evening eating.

Goal #5: In two days (on November 25) I would like to be able to say that I have been more mindful about my evening eating, deciding beforehand what snack I will eat and finding other ways to occupy myself.

Immediate action: I am going to post my goals on my bulletin board so I will see them often and remind myself of my plans.

5 Goals.  This is probably a lot to set in my first session.  However, I will report on my progress and let you know how and what I do!

Best always, Alexandra

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