2020 is at an end, and for me (physically speaking), it has been pretty good.
I am actually looking forward to what 2021’s final graphic (like the one above) will be.
Pluses for the year: weight loss, walking 2+ miles regularly, ups and downs for emotional health because of Covid, but overall, I’m in a better place both physically and emotionally.
I have established some healthy routines during 2020. I eat a mostly healthy diet without totally foregoing treats. I have a bedtime routine that helps me sleep better – I drink a cup of herbal tea late in the evening and go to bed earlier than before (still late, though). I’ve stuck with a skin care routine for several months now. In the past I’ve taken my good skin inheritance for granted. However, at 71, even great genes can’t keep away the wrinkles and dark spots forever.
I read something (don’t know where or what) about putting oneself first, which is hard for me. I’m accustomed to taking care of chores and responsibilities before doing what I know is healthy for me – like walking at the park. Now I do my walking first. Then I handle other responsibilities. That’s a definite plus. It’s important to making self-care a priority.
I also talked with my doctor in April and got a prescription for an anti-depressant. I had taken one years ago and saw no difference at all. So I stopped taking it, and I saw no difference when then either. I went about 15 years without anything. However, I now realize that I probably would have been helped if I’d requested a different anti-depressant all those years ago because I can feel a change with this one. Nothing major because I don’t need anything major. However I’m able to function in a better state of mind as opposed to a stressed state of mind.
So here’s to 2021 – may we see Covid become no big deal (ha ha!), the USA be led by the person who legitimately won (whoever that might be), may travel be safe and easily accomplished again, and may we all be healthy and grateful for our innumerable blessings.
One of my challenges in losing weight is battling my tendencies to get more food for each point in the Weight Watchers food plan. Those zero-point foods become more attractive, and that’s the way WW intended it to be. If we focus on lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, we will become healthier and lose weight.
However, a problem arises when we start manipulating foods with artificial flavorings and sweeteners in order to stretch out those WW points. When we start doing that, we aren’t learning to be satisfied with smaller portions, and we aren’t learning to rely on whole, natural foods.
A few days ago I bought a diet lemonade (sweetened with Splenda) from Chick Fil A. Within a little while I had a headache. I’ve noticed that several times recently – a headache and usually stomach upset not long after drinking or eating something with artificial sweeteners. Yesterday I made a dozen muffins using a sugar-free cake mix as the base. “Sugar-free” typically means “sweetened with artificial sweetener,” and that was the case with these muffins. I ate one of the muffins for lunch, and all afternoon I’ve had digestive issues as a result. The rest of the muffins are going in the trash.
When I consider the fact that I started this WW health, fitness, and mindfulness journey in order to become healthier, then I don’t want to eat or drink anything that doesn’t foster that. Every now and then, I will still enjoy a Diet Coke. However, rather than a multiple-times-a-day thing, it is now something I consume maybe two or three times a month. And that is okay for now. I may cut them out entirely at some point.
My mother is 97 years old, and one of the reasons (I believe) that she has led such a long and mostly healthy life is that she sticks to healthy food: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grain bread. She almost never eats pork, and she has lots of meatless meals.
No major insight for this post – just a reminder to myself of the importance of natural, whole foods. That will continue to be one of my focuses for my daily life.
Sophie, my 17-year old granddaughter, came over last week and showed me how to make her Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here’s our video about them. And it is truly NO exaggeration when I say that those cookies are AMAZING!
Please “like” the video – and then subscribe to the Living Real With Carol YouTube channel. Thanks!
It’s Friday which means it is weigh-in day. When I suddenly gained approximately 5 pounds a little under two weeks ago, I assumed (incorrectly) that it was just a temporary water gain. However, I still have another pound to lose to get to my low weight of exactly two weeks ago.
However, I am committed to sticking with WW for life. So this is just a little bump on the road. When I started this journey in July, I would have been thrilled to weigh what I do right now.
Short term goal is to get to -15 lbs. Then it will be 5-pound increments for my goals. I’m particularly excited to reach -25 because that will be the lowest I’ve been since around 2005.
I saw an ad online for Lakanto Drinking Chocolate. Since I like the Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener, I decided to give it a try. I found it on Amazon and ordered a package. It was delivered this morning. Instead of brewing a cup of herbal tea, I decided to try the drinking chocolate. I made it using boiling water. Made with water, it is 0 points (WW Blue). It is sweet and chocolatey. Too sweet, actually. So I poured it out and decided to try it with unsweetened almond milk instead.
I heated a cup of unsweetened almond milk (1 point per cup – WW Blue) and it was much better. Still super-sweet, though.
I give Lakanto Drinking Chocolate 6 out of 10 stars. It’s good – a little too sweet for me, though. However, for those times I want something chocolatey and sweet, it might just hit the spot.
Now I’m trying to decide if I want to finish my cup of drinking chocolate made with almond milk or brew a cup of herbal tea.
It was a good week. I went WAY over my weekly points but it was mostly from two splurges. The rest of the week I stuck to the plan fairly well.
I’m still not moving as much as I’d like – and still not drinking enough water.
This week was good for catching up on medical appointments. I had a telehealth appointment to go over the blood test results from last week. Two things: A1C results were elevated. I need to cut out sugar. Uric Acid level was elevated (thus my two gout episodes). The doctor changed my BP meds to eliminate a diuretic that can cause higher uric acid levels. I added a magnesium supplement to my daily meds too. However other numbers were much improved – cholesterol and LDL and HDL.
I also had my yearly skin scan – and the doctor found ZERO concerns amongst all my moles and spots!
And finally I had my yearly mammogram. I don’t have the results of that yet, but it seemed evident that the technician didn’t see anything of concern.
It wasn’t a great week for weight loss, but it was a good week. I feel happy that I took care of medical appointments and those appointments ended up with mostly good reports.
I’m trucking along. I’m out of town visiting my mother. And I usually lose a little weight even if I don’t try when I’m at her house. That’s probably a good lesson in not keeping things I shouldn’t eat at my house. There are no chips, candy, and other temptations here!
I made bread dough for the week – six portions worth. Two of the portions will be used for pizza (Recipe here). Two will be used for two meals of Pigs-in-a-Blanket (Recipe here) one for now, and one for a second meal that I will freeze for later. One portion will go for Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs (recipe here), and the sixth portion will be used for Chicken Pot Pie. That recipe will be posted later.
This is a great way to meal prep or the week. When the dough is already made and in the refrigerator, then those meals that use the dough are so much simpler to make.
You will see from the video that it’s easy and quick, too.
The recipe I use made 6 portions. Each portion includes 1/2 cup self-rising flour which is either 5 or 6 points (WW Blue plan), depending on the brand.
A few weeks ago I decided to start a bedtime routine to hopefully help me develop the habit of going to bed earlier. I’m a night owl, and I frequently would stay up past midnight. I wanted to change that – not by much, but if I can regularly go to bed by 11:00, that would be great.
The routine I’ve established is to brush my teeth, wash/tone/moisturize my face, put on my PJs, and then prepare a relaxing cup of herbal tea. I sit in my recliner and slowly sip my tea – savoring it – being mindful. When I finish the tea, I rinse the cup and put it away, and then I go to bed.
The research behind establishing a bedtime routine is that our bodies become accustomed to the pattern. So once that herbal tea hits my system, my body says, “Okay, I’m sleepy! Go to bed, Carol!”
I’ve been doing better on WW since I started this routine. I don’t know if there is a connection between the two or not. However, it is working for me, and I’m enjoying the variety of herbal teas that I’m trying. I’m drinking herbal tea during the day, too. As the weather gets cooler, I will likely drink it even more often during the day.
And I have to mention that one thing that piqued my interest in herbal teas is that I’m a fan of the History Channel’s show “Alone.” And this past season, so many of the contestants talked about making tea from the plants they found growing around them. “How to make teas” was probably one of the topics that they covered in their “boot camp” before the competition started. And I can understand how knowing which plants to use and how to make the tea would be beneficial in a situation such as that.
This afternoon, I started researching herbal teas. I haven’t read much about them before now. I was eager to find out if herbal teas offer any concrete health benefits. And, by George, they do!
First of all, herbal teas aren’t really teas because they aren’t made from tea leaves. They’re called “tisanes” (I’ve never heard or seen that word before!) or, in more familiar language, they are “infusions.” They can be made from edible spices, herbs, fruit, bark, roots, flowers, or any combination of the aforementioned. An infusion allows you to enjoy the benefits of a plant in an easily digestible form. And just about everything I read extolled the benefits – even including the fact that usually if you’re drinking herbal tea, you’re not eating. Thus, it may help to control weight. LOL! “May” being the operative word in that last sentence.
I went on a bit of a buying spree when I decided to become an herbal tea drinker. I’d had some Two Leaves and a Bud tea at a restaurant a few years ago, and I loved it. So I got some of their “Better Belly Blend” and some “Chamomile.” Then I asked my Facebook friends for herbal tea recommendations, and bought some that they recommended.
The composition of an herbal tea determines the health benefits. For example, chamomile is good for relaxation, while ginger helps with digestion. Here’s a chart with some of the more popular herbal tea ingredients.
The good news is that herbal teas are very popular, and you can find high quality teas in most grocery stores. Of course, you can get just about all of them from Amazon, although often you have to buy more than one box of them – which makes it a little less tempting. When you only drink 2-3 cups a day, you don’t need a dozen 15-bag boxes!
There are blends for just about everything. I bought some for sleep and some for digestion, but I also got a detox tea, and some that would perk me up a little, if needed.