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Make it easy

My husband, Joe, does not eat a lot of vegetables but he is a healthy person, works out, drinks his protein shakes and watches what he eats 90% of the time. He likes vegetables, I should say he mostly likes broccoli. Of course there is a but coming – I buy it, he does not eat it, fresh or frozen. Through trial and failure I finally succeeded – frozen packs of broccoli and cheese and I made it the first time for him. Not only did he see how easy it was to make he LOVED it! I am so excited, so I will be buying more of those.

Along with the broccoli with cheese thing I found I was found frozen pureed squash – I finally made it! I cooked with with peas and then added some cayeene pepper and a slice of cheese – YUM! Not sure there are a lot of others who would like it but I did.


A healthy lifestyle

Some would think that going on a diet IS choosing a healthy lifestyle - not me. To me, there is a HUGE difference. I would never suggest to someone to go ON a diet, diets imply rules - can and cannots. Rules are difficult to follow, how do I know? I have tried many diets and failed miserably, which is a horrible feeling. Failure can be a good thing, a chance to learn something new, be reflective and honest with yourself - and creates a point to improve from. It took a very honest voice in my head to realize that I needed to make health a priority in my life, which meant many changes. I tried to break the change in small segments that would allow a little bit of change at a time - change is hard.

First of all, I focused on my diet (what I was eating). Instead of eating out I started cooking at home, bringing my lunch to work and finding healthy snacks. Once I thought I had that down, I started a food journal - YIKES, here comes that honest voice in my head again. I used my food journal to figure out how many calories I was taking in, when I looked at my exercise I realized that I was not going to loose weight if I did not use up more of the calories through cardio and weight training.

This is where I hit a snag, because of my situation (working full time, working on my masters, trying to sell a house, taking care of the dog and my husband living in another state) I did not feel like I had the time or energy to work out. So I did what I thought I could - walk the dog, get to the gym 1x a week and try to eat healthy. When I look back I realize that I was making excuses, I would have had more energy if I would have worked out - if I only had the motivation.

Today, health is not only a priority to me, but also my family, my husband and my co-workers - WHOAH does that make a difference. I am not sure how this happened, if it was me inspiring those around me or being inspired by those around me - I tend to believe it is about 50/50. Point being, I have been able to be successful because of my support network and their decision to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Have you chosen a healthy lifestyle? Are you having challenges?


This is impossible, I have no time!

Ok, this is a common excuse for not exercising or being active - let me share with you some solutions I have heard from people:

  • I started walking the stairs, 4 flights up to see my boss and I do that a couple times a day.
  • Now that it is nice out I am going to ride my bike to work, that is 5 miles there and back so in a month I could possibly ride 200 miles!
  • When I go to the mall I park far away from the entrance so I have to walk further instead of looking for the closest parking spot.
  • When I am waiting for my kids at karate I go for a walk, makes the time go by and I get some exercise.
For myself, I have figured out that I can not work-out after work - I have tried and it does not work. So I get up at 4:30am (that is when my alarm goes off) and work out form 5am-6am, get ready at the gym and then make the 6:50 train. This works for me, but it is not for everyone. I even manage to drink a protein shake from the gym to the train to refuel my body. I only arrived at this solution because I did alot of reflection and was brutally honest with myself. This is not easy - but you can do it!


How much should I eat?

It is difficult to know how much to eat so here are some tips:
  • Focus on the size of your fist
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Use a tea cup for ice cream (if you must have it) or anything else you are worried about eating too much of
  • A baked potato once a day gives you your starch, easy to overeat rice and pasta


o Cooking Light recipes to get some variety. Go to the website if you don't want to get a subscription (cookinglight.com) and search for ingredients you want to cook with.

o Also, “Recipes for Health” on the New York Times website is a nice resource. They always have seasonal recipes that are fairly simple, but also interesting and balanced nutritionally. Many of them are done by the cookbook author, Mark Bittman. He has a good food blog called “Bitten” and wrote “How to Cook Everything” and “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” both of which are great resources.

o Ellie Krieger, a nutritionist who has a cooking show on the food Network and has written several cookbooks

o Eat This Not That - interesting book

Tips from co-workers: first round

I work in an environment that is very supportive of living a healthy lifestyle, I get lots of tips from my co-workers.

Tips from co-workers:
1. Egg beaters – I like the ones from TJ’s because they’re cheap and they are yellow so they look like eggs. You can microwave them if you don’t mind the “scrambled” approach but I also make omelets with them (with lots of veggies and a little 2% shredded cheese) on the weekends and sometimes for dinner. 30 cals per serving!
2. Sugar free pudding or Jell-o. The pudding only has 60 calories and no carbs and the dark chocolate ones are pretty tasty.
3. Frozen veggies with cheese sauce – they’re expensive but pretty tasty and easy and come in single servings...the broccoli and cheese is only 60 calories
4. Lemon and olive oil with salt and pepper as a salad dressing...lighter and healthier than store-bought salad dressing
5. That breaded chicken from trader joes in the frozen section. Does wonders for salads and is very easy to make.
6. Salmon from costco, cut into pieces and freeze. Broil with lemon pepper, 5 min. a side.
7. Baked asparagus with lemon, salt, olive oil and a little parm.
8. Ginger dressing from jewel, comes in light.

What tips or questions do you have?


Miracle Foods!

You need to find your miracle foods...what are they? Well, foods are a miracle when they provide you with alot of good stuff AND you get to eat alot of it. (high protein, high fiber, lots of vitamins, low calories)

Here are some examples:
Greek yogurt:
17g protein
80 calories

• Shelled edamamae, cold pasta salads (tabouleh etc..)
• Hummus – other than as a “dip”
• Super bread – traders joes! Low cal and high fiber!
• Cottage cheese
• Almonds (adds a crunch and much more)

What can you do with Greek Yogurt? Combine with fruit, combine with ranch mix to make a dip, sour cream substitute - there are endless opportunities, be creative.

Why is it so hard to have a healthy lifestyle?

I have to admit, I have struggled since graduating from high school in '93 to stay in shape, it took alot longer then it should have to make the connection between my athletic extracurricular activities and my solid muscle physique. So of course it did not take long to gain the freshmen 15-20 and then my clothes started fitting differently. I look back and was grateful the style was baggy, baggy, baggy.... Anywho! I tried everything, different diets, training for triathlons and then I started with the excuses. My excuses ranged from work schedule, to money, to time, I mean the list is endless. I have to admit, my schedule was ever changing for the last 6 years but starting Nov 2008 I started to get some stability, a routine. My routine (see blog post) would not work for everyone - some people think I am crazy but it works for me.

I will share what I have learned and I hope some of it is helpful to you. Please feel free to leave comments or questions. Good Luck! You have already made a step towards a healthier lifestyle by seeking out information, so good for you.


Snowing in April

Well, we are into April and it has snowed twice!! We did have some good weather, Joe even got the bike in and home for a tune up and work done at the local HD dealer. Not alot of excitement in the Gidley household, Joe painted the bathroom orange (looks awesome) and I think that is the last room we really need to paint - plus he needs a painting break.

Some idiot (drunka**) took out our beautiful iron mailbox one Saturday night, we are sure it did major damage to their car. We are going to replace it with a brick one, that will stop them dead in their tracks!

Cayman is excited about the weather, she has figured out all the spots in the house she can lay in the sun and at what time.

Mom and Dad Urech have gotten home from Florida and Milwaukee - its hard to keep up with them, if they only had a blog.