I am SOOOOOO glad the fall weather is finally making an appearance! I have lived in the south my entire life, so I know not to expect it to hold for good yet, but I am super excited that we are getting a little taste of the cooler days and nights. I am also a little excited to think that we are not going to have to deal with oppressive humidity soon! If you have never lived in the south, the struggle is REAL this time of year. We basically spend from the end of July until mid September all looking like walking Q-tips. The big hair phase of the 80’s? I’m convinced it was over zealous southerners who couldn’t find their Aquanet that created that beauty. But I digress.
The cooler days are going to bring with it better temperatures for being outdoors, and better temperatures for keeping yourself healthy. Right now I am getting up at 5:30 to walk before the family gets up – yep, you read that right – it isn’t a typo. I like to try to get 4 miles in before the local school kicks me off their track when the kids get there. Walking in the dark has its own set of struggles, but at least the temperature isn’t as overbearing. I can’t wait to feel that tiny bit of a nip when I start out in the mornings! In addition to more exercise, I have also started making a few changes to our collective diet. There are not terribly new, but they are tried and true.
So, if you are also trying to stay as healthy as possible these days while balancing the tear inducing schedule that is online kindergarten. Not to mention doing my own job and making sure my middle schooler is on task or zoom when she should be. I’m telling you, the level of scheduling and planning I am doing right now would make the American forces planning D-Day step back and stare in awe at the level of logistics and supplies management I am doing. So, if you want a little help with your own planning, and to get a few ideas of healthy swaps you can make to your menu plans (because I have one of those too…) to help your health journey, here you go.
- Swap turkey and chicken into your recipes instead of beef.
Just this one little change makes a big difference in fat and calories, and with the price of beef since the pandemic, you can’t believe how much money it saves each month to sub at least two meals with turkey or chicken instead of beef. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that sub turkey and chicken to get you started!
Any of the above can be made with turkey as well.
- Plan your meals and snacks.
Yes – put it to a schedule and stick to it. Plan snacks that are high protein and low sugar. My favorites also have probiotics. I like Two Good yogurts and Good Culture cottage cheese with fruit. I usually have one for breakfast and the other for a mid morning snack. That gets me through to lunch with about 350 calories invested in my morning. Not too bad – that is about what I burn on my walk. Because of the zooms, my teaching schedule, and the middle schooler, I have to make sure I know what I am preparing for lunch and dinner to ensure that it is ready and on hand so that we get the healthy meals to fuel healthy little (and kind of chubby right now) bodies.
- Have healthy choices on hand.
This is critical in my house. If I have junk on hand, I am absolutely going to eat it. If I have things for the kids, they have to be items that are not my personal trigger foods. I do have some treats on hand, but they are calorie counted packs of yogurt covered raisins and healthier choices that are not going to have me diving into a bag repeatedly. The junk has to go if I am going to succeed.
I have found that this is one of the biggest factors for me. I love a diet coke. I mean I REALLY love a diet coke! I could drink nothing but coffee and diet coke all day – I know, it’s a horrible choice. But it’s true. Getting rid of the soda in my diet helped me drop some pounds…even though it was diet. One of my favorite subs was club soda with a little orange squeezed into it. It helps me get over the craving for a soda without all of the additional chemicals in artificial sweetner.
- MOVE it, move it, move it.
This is the easiest one to do, but the hardest one to keep the motivation to do! I am the master of rationalizing why NOT to get out of the bed each morning. But – during this pandemic, the one thing I have realized is that while yes, I usually put my family first, if I get sick, that stops. I have to make sure my own health is a priority – even if it means getting up at 5:30 each morning to walk in the dark. I always feel better when I am done. Always. I even get a little proud of the blisters. I know it is silly, but I do. I also feel more productive for the rest of my day if I have that hour each morning to walk, think, pray, stare at the moon, and get my own mind in order before the back breaking schedule of zooming starts.
Now, being a rather chunky, middle aged mommy, I am no fitness expert. I can only share what is working for me. The progress is slow, but I can see myself sticking with this long term, which is important for me. I don’t eliminate any particular food group, but I am aware of how many and what types of carbs and sugars I consume, how many calories I am putting out each day, and how many I am taking in. So far, walking between 2.5 (on slow or rushed days) to 4 miles, 5 to 6 days a week and watching my intake has helped me lose about 15 lbs. in the last 2.5 months. While not earth shattering, I feel better, I look better, and I am healthier – which is the goal during this pandemic.
What are your tips to move your own health to the top of your priority list?
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