First steps to fitness

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I’ve known that I needed to and should lose weight for ages. I’ve made various fits and starts but haven’t stayed with a plan for more than a few months at a time. I keep thinking I’ll get to it – and before I know it another whole year has gone by, and my doctor gives me the same warnings he did last year.

Developing atrial fibrillation, though, and learning that diabetes is one of the risk factors for making it more of a problem, and being told once again that I am headed for diabetes if I don’t so something, has provided even more impetus than having watched my mom deal with the effects of Type II Diabetes.

So today (Tuesday) I started tracking what I eat with the MyFitnessPal app. It doesn’t “seem” like I eat that much – but obviously the evidence is to the contrary, and this will hep me pinpoint problem areas. I always find this part really tedious, which is probably one reason I don’t usually keep up with it very long. But it is eye-opening. (That has how many calories? A serving is only 1/2 cup?) I haven’t measured out those cups and tablespoons in the past, preferring to eyeball it, but I started doing so today, because approximating can be misleading. I imagine that after measuring servings for a while, one does get a better idea of what 1/2 cup of something looks like and won’t need to measure every time. One thing I really like about the app is that it has a scanner so you can use your iphone to scan the bar code of a food, and it puts all the nutritional information in there. Then when you use that food again, you can just click on it from your previous scans. Recipes will be a little harder to deal with, but, again, once they are entered, they are there to refer to again in the future, so hopefully the major part of the tedium will be just at the beginning.

I figured that was the best way to start, to target what I need to work on. My sweet tooth is one of my biggest problems, but I also tend toward comfort foods with sauces and cream-of-whatever soup, so I’ll be looking for ways to cut down on those kinds of things.

I did discover that the turkey sausage and hash brown breakfast I regularly have was not too bad calorie-wise if I kept the portion size down. With a tendency to low blood sugar, especially in the mornings, sometimes I feel like I need to eat a protein-based breakfast (which does hep) but also a really big breakfast. But the lower portions were satisfying without making me feel stuffed. I did have a sweet snack in the afternoon, but a smaller portion, and I had an apple for a later snack, something I haven’t done in ages. I was feeling pretty good about having 500+ calories left for dinner until I realized that, in listing the components of the leftover Labor Day burger I had for lunch, I had forgotten to include the burger itself. Duh.

Otherwise, the first day went well. Of course, the first day almost always goes well. 🙂 It’s staying with it after the first flush of motivation passes and I want the old habits back again that’s hard. And even though I know and to a certain extent am motivated by all the reasons I want to lose weight and get fit, I keep fooling myself by thinking, “Yes, well, this one snack or this one healthy meal or this one day (or several days) without exercise aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things.” But all together they do. A walk in any direction is made of of steps, and the more steps in the wrong direction, the farther from were we originally tended to be. So I am going to review my reasons to lose weight and use the I Deserve a Donut app (which helps you pinpoint why you think so and why you don’t need it) for help in keeping my motivation on track, as well as, first and foremost, prayer and trying to keep a Scriptural focus about it all.

I chafe at the time involved in driving to a gym, having to change into and out of special exercise clothes, exercising with other people, etc., so exercising from home works best for me now. I have several exercise DVDs, some from Leslie Sansone and some from the Biggest Loser, as well as a couple of exercise video games that I can cycle through so no one routine gets boring. Or more boring than it has to be. 🙂 I am familiar enough with most of them that I can turn off the sound and listen to an audiobook, but even with that I pretty much grit my teeth through exercising. I do feel better and have more energy when I exercise, but that’s not motivation enough to set aside things I enjoy doing more in order to exercise. But, I have heard other people say that they don’t really enjoy exercise, but they just make up their minds to do it. So I will do that knowing it is benefiting me no matter how I feel about it.

I had started a weight loss blog some years ago, and I don’t know that I will post regular updates here or there. But one reason I wanted to mention this is that I know some of you are on the same journey, some to lose weight or get fit in general, some specifically  to deal with diabetes. I’d love to hear any tips you have to share!

17 thoughts on “First steps to fitness

  1. I don’t have a sweet tooth so it wasn’t such a stretch for me to have fewer sweets. I did find that the less sugary stuff I eat, the less tolerance I have for it. Hopefully your discipline with portions will reshape how quickly you are satisfied with the amount you get. I think the hardest thing about healthier eating or special diet is the social impact. Potlucks and gatherings are so often centered around sweet baked goods. I just learn to eat before these events!

  2. Praying as you walk one day at a time God will help you with choices and portions. I found in measuring & eating the right portions I was very satisfied….and that when I don’t measure I am VERY generous with myself. :0) Hang in there, you can do it, one step at a time.

  3. Barbara
    When I got diabetes I found a diet recipe cook book. It was by JoAnn Lund. I have found several since then. The recipes have Healthy Exchanges as well as Diabetic counts at the bottom of every recipe. I totally changed my cooking with her recipes. I am now not diabetic using her recipes. Some of the things might seem a little strange but turn out very well . Her method she said was to make recipes that you can get ingredients at the local grocery store. Almost all her recipes are in serving size of 4, 6, and 8. You actually get something to eat.
    I use a site below. It also has tracking. As well as a place to put In recipes.
    On this site there is a forum of ladies that use these recipes. We mainly use the Healthy Exchanges Forum. The site also has a recipe forum with some of the recipes in them.
    The recipe books you can get at Amazon for very reasonable prices.
    The H.E.L.P book explains a lot of her method. All her books tell this method at the beginning of them. The H.E.L.P book goes into more detail. She had a considerable amount of weight to lose when she started.
    If you want check it out.
    Example of recipe
    CREAMY & CRUNCY APPLE SLAW – serving 1 full cup
    1 cup Fat Free Mayo
    2 Tablespoons fat-free Milk
    ½ -1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    4 teaspoons Splenda
    3 cups coleslaw (shredded cabbage)
    3 cups (3 sm) diced apples
    4 Tablespoons walnuts
    1 cup celery finely chopped
    1 teaspoon apple pie spice (optional)

    HE: 1 Veg, ¾ Fruit, ¼ Fat, ¼ slider, 10 occasional calories.
    82 calories, 2 gr fat, 1 gr Protein, 15 gr Carbohydrates, 284 sodium, 2 gr Fiber
    Diabetic: 1 Fruit, 1 Free Vegetable

    • Thanks so much, Nina. I love the idea of recipes using common ingredients. That’s one problem with some of the weight-loss shows – I haven’t seen much there that looks appetizing that’s not more “gourmet” than I care to go. Look like the Healthy Exchange cookbook is out of print but they have used copies on Amazon.

  4. Barbara, great post. I embarked on a weight loss campaign 3 years ago and lost 60 lbs. I have managed to keep it off. It really takes a lot of will power and discipline. Tracking will really help you stay on track (sorry!). The thing that made the difference for me in my last attempt at eating wisely and exercising more, was committing it to God. I gave Him my struggle and, wow!, the burden slipped from my shoulders. A duh moment for me! As to exercise, I hate it. But I walk 4-5 days a week. It at least gets me moving and kickstarts the day.

    Not all the days in my 3 year journey have been great. I still struggle with “doing what I don’t want and not doing what I want”. Paul may have been talking about a spiritual struggle, but I find that the spiritual and physical are necessarily entwined. So keep looking up and out! You can do it!

    • Yes – I am finding the physical and spiritual very much intertwined. I am trying to remember to daily ask God for His help in this. I have found that tracking has an added benefit in making me think twice about eating something, because then I’d have to add it in. 🙂 Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  5. Barbara – I LOVE MyFitnessPal. It’s really helped me, and as of this morning I’m down 12 pounds. Slowly, but that’s OK. Like my husband says – it doesn’t matter how slow it’s going, as long as it’s going down. And getting started is the hardest part. But the MFP will keep you accountable and you will love watching the weight graph go down!! Keep up the good work – we’re all in this together!!

  6. One other thing I’ve discovered is avocados. One cut up, with a tomato cut up, then dressed with lemon juice and a small drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper, makes a good meal, especially with a hard boiled egg and/or some cottage cheese.

    And I won’t let myself get hungry. Saltines and milk, or a little cereal and milk, especially before bed, can fill a hole. 🙂

  7. Sorry to keep commenting. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂 But my husband and I have a deal. Every ten pounds we go to a restaurant and I get a really delicious dessert. 🙂 Next time it’s Outback for a “Chocolate Thunder from Down Under!!”

    • I don’t mind the comments at all – I appreciate the ideas. I really do need to expand my horizons – I have never had an avocado and never wanted to try one, but if I just keep eating the same old things, nothing will change.

  8. Pingback: Friday’s Fave Five | Stray Thoughts

  9. Barbara
    JoAnna Lund has lots of cook books and I have several. She is no longer alive so no new printing of cookbooks but lots of used. Any of them would be good if you want to give them a try.

    The gourmet stuff is what I kept seeing too, and I could not afford to buy some of the strange things, not to mention finding them. Also in all her cookbooks, she says,” if you do not have a sugar problem you can use sugar in her recipes or fat the same way.” They are very user friendly.

    Her first cookbook was called “Eating Healthy with a man in mind.” If Hubby did not like it, she no longer made it. The next one I got was The Diabetic’s Healthy Exchanges cookbook. Then “The Strong Bones.” The strong bones one had a section on Dairy Mixes you do yourself. I use them constantly with my IC Bladder condition. She gives recipes and Diabetic counts for homemade Evaporated Skim Milk, Buttermilk, Sour Cream, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Cream Sauce, Delightful Whipped Topping, Milk beverage Mixes, Thicker INstant Pudding, Thicker Cooked Pudding.

    I learned to make gravy without the fat and the whole recipe makes only 1 Bread. It is 1 1/2 cups milk (or 1/3 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder & 1 1/2 cups water) 3 Tablespoons flour. You add the spices you want. Things like that.

    I guess I just cannot say enough about her recipes, since she helped me so much. I make casseroles, desserts, soups, meatloaves, etc. and no one in my family (when I take over a dish) even knows they are low fat or sugar free 🙂

    Oh well guess I wrote too much again, I just know the struggle with diabetes and heart problems now. I believe I am healthier because of it. All my sibblings have had health issues a few years before me and I am the oldest. So I thank God I found her books. They laugh at me when I tell them they should start using her cook books, while they eat something I bring, and say how good it is 🙂

  10. Barbara
    I made a mistake the gravy I believe has 1 cup non-fat instant dry milk powder. I actually use 2/3 cup most of the time and turns out the thickness we like.

  11. Good on you Barbara! I also don’t like going to the gym, but I use it as a tool to help improve my dancing which is what helps to motivate me to go. I also joined a ladies only gym which has sort of made things that little bit easier for me too!

    Here in Australia we also have all sorts of food delivery services, like Lite N Easy where they send you all your meals and snacks, do you have something like that there? Sometimes I find that’s really helpful for me when I want to kick start a healthy eating routine..or if I’m just being particularly lazy but want to eat good food without putting in much effort lol 🙂

  12. If you keep posting about this, maybe I’ll stay motivated. I know I should also shed a few pounds because I have a tendency towards diabetes and I know that right now is the time to help myself avoid it. It’s just that I also hate to exercise……(HATE!)

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