Category Archives: Food & Fitness

The Health Benefits of a Consistent Swimming Routine

Today, I’m happy to bring you a FANTASTIC guest-post, written by the author and creator of An Apple Per Day, Kaitlin Gardner. Enjoy!

Like any exercise regimen or practice, consistency is essential to long-term benefits to your health. Swimming is no exception, but the health benefits of a swimming routine are special, if for no other reason that the environment in which it takes place. Additionally, with the growing popularity of indoor swim centers, along with traditional gyms and YMCA facilities, swimming can now be enjoyed year-round in nearly every region of the country.

Why Swimming?

The benefits are plentiful, and if you ask ten people, you might get ten different answers. There are reasons why I think swimming is one of the very best overall healthy exercises a person can participate in. Here are a few links with even more great ideas and reasons working swimming into your routine:

The Health Benefits of a Consistent Swimming Routine - Baby DoodahContinue Reading

Fail Forward – No Sugar No Grains

Have you heard of the No Sugar, No Grains lifestyle? How about Vinnie Tortorich? Maybe Fitness Confidential?

If you haven’t heard of any of those three things, that’s okay – you don’t need to. I’m almost hopeful that you don’t know any of the three. That means I get to introduce you to a whole new way of living healthfully! And that’s awesome! I’m going to share a lot of information about them. And, I’m really excited to do so, let’s get started!

My Struggle is Real

For at least 19 years, I’ve knowingly struggled with my eating. I have no idea why, or where it started, I just remember struggling to keep my eating under control. I was a serial dieter. One fad diet after another, I even found success with many of them, losing up to 75 lbs at one point – but, I never managed to keep it off. I always looked at my diet as “only temporary,” and “only until I lose the weight.” Those two statements right there are part of the MUCH bigger reason I never stuck to a diet. However, I want you to know, that despite struggling with my weight, in the past and currently, you CAN find your happy place when it comes to your food.

Fail Forward - No Sugar No Grains

Don’t Let Those Resolutions Waiver

We’re nearing the end of January, this is about when people’s resolutions begin to waiver. People start to give up on their goals, or stop believing in themselves. If you listed one of your goals as losing weight or getting healthy, I want to help you get past this hump and keep moving. Trust me, it IS possible!!

For the last 20 days, I’ve been following the No Sugar No Grains (NSNG) diet, created by Vinnie Tortorich. I’m not an expert yet, but I am seeing great results, and Seamus actually started following this means of eating about 3 months ago and has had amazing success. He’s lost 68 lbs, by simply giving up ALL sugar and ALL grains. He does workout, but because of a bad back, he’s currently only walking 4 to 5 days a week. Nothing overly intense, and yet he’s still losing weight!

With most diets, they encourage you to eat low-fat / low calorie. To eat small portions and stay below a certain (small) number of calories. People succeed, but they often feel restricted, which can in turn lead to the binge / guilt cycle. That doesn’t need to happen, you can have yummy, delicious cream in your coffee, or eat real bacon, and not turkey bacon (unless you prefer turkey bacon).

Here’s why I am loving NSNG, I am NEVER starving. In fact, I rarely think about food, unless I’ve gone too long without eating. Because I’m giving myself the fat it needs to work properly, and getting my carbs through healthy veg, I don’t obsess over when my next meal is. It’s an amazing feeling, freeing a part of your brain that has always stressed/obsessed/worried about food. NSNG is a true lifestyle change, it’s not a temporary fix, it’s  something that you stick with and (honestly) will want to stick with.

There are some added benefits, beyond just losing weight, and I am losing weight (6.7 lbs in 20 days). Giving up gluten can have a HUGE impact on your mental clarity. I often stuttered and struggled to find the right words when I spoke, now I feel clear and like I’m not stumbling over my words. Removing sugar (and sugar substitutes) has also helped, by keeping my blood sugar stable, so I don’t have the peeks and valleys (rushes and crashes), that I once did. I feel a sustained amount of energy all day long, and it feels great. And, the best part? My body is having an easier time fighting the depression I suffer from.

There’s no greater reason than that to follow NSNG. Losing weight is wonderful, but if I still hate life, then it’s pointless.

Maybe you’re thinking, I can’t do this – I just can’t give up pasta/bread/soda/cookies, etc – that’s okay! Maybe try giving up just one of those things, and doing that for awhile, until you feel strong and confident in your ability to say no, then maybe remove something else, so on and so forth.

And, if you just aren’t interested in following an NSNG lifestyle, that’s okay. Please know, you can still be successful, you just need to put your mind to it!

Fail Forward - No Sugar No Grains - Baby Doodah

In Conclusion

In future posts, I’m going to talk to you about how we got started with NSNG and provide you with some tips on how to prepare for NSNG if you’ve been eating whatever you want for awhile.

If you’re interested in learning more about NSNG, or maybe you want to start following this lifestyle – Vinnie Tortorich has an amazing book Fitness Confidential and a self-titled podcast, that I would recommend checking out.

Additional reading

Snack Ideas: 10 No Sugar, No Grain Snacks – From Family Sport Life
Recipes: Gluten Free Anna (Anna is Vinnie’s co-host on his podcast, and her recipes are out of this world!)
Article: No Sugar, No Grains: Is This the Key to Long-Term Health?

Posts About My Frequent Failing Forward

I have Binge Eating Disorder
What it’s like on a daily basis, struggling with Binge Eating Disorder
What Someone with Binge Eating Disorder Really Looks Like
Coping with Binge Eating Disorder & the Loneliness of Having the Disorder
Why I Decided to Be Bold and Come Clean About my Binge Eating Struggles
Enough with the Lies Regarding Food Consumption
How I’m Working to Say NO to the Binge

Your Turn!

What are you failing forward with, this year? 

Have you ever followed the NSNG lifestyle? Did you have success? Share your secrets in the comments below!

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Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup - Baby DoodahHeart-warming Chicken Noodle Soup

It happens every year, the cooler weather hits and I want soup. There is just something so very very comforting about sitting on the couch (because soup just shouldn’t be eaten anywhere but on the couch – haha), curled up in your softest sweatpants and socks, and your warmest sweatshirt, sipping that delicious steaming bowl of soup. Seriously, is there anything better!?

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It’s no secret that Fall is my favorite time of year. Just something about it makes me come alive! I recently decided to try my hand at chicken noodle soup, but wanted to make it in the crock-pot because I’m not one for standing over the stove for hours on end. I like to cook, and then let the food do its thing.

I have to admit, this adventure was a success. The soup turned out delicious, and I cannot wait to make it again! It’s filling, hearty and warms you through and through. I highly recommend you run out and get the ingredients today, and make it for lunch all week. It would absolutely make a perfect dinner, too – I just prefer having soup for lunch.

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Your turn!

Do you love Chicken Noodle Soup? What’s your favorite recipe? Share in the comments below!

If Chicken Noodle Soup isn’t your favorite, what kind is?

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Looking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

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A Day in the Life – healthy choices

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

Day in the Life - healthy choices

It can be really hard to get motivated to workout, eat healthy or get enough steps in each day. I am constantly looking for new and fun ways to keep myself motivated. A huge motivator for me has always been rewards, I love rewarding myself and I love being rewarded via contests or competitions. I just love the thrill of competing! Today I’ve found a new way to keep myself motivated, and I’m VERY excited to share it with you!!

If you’ve ever shopped at Walgreens you know their customer loyalty program is called Balance Rewards. With Balance Rewards you earn points for everyday purchases you make, as well as setting up some prescriptions for auto-refill, getting certain immunizations and NOW for setting goals, taking steps, losing weight, maintaining your weight and taking your measurements, through their healthy choices program.

THIS. IS. HUGE.

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Walgreens Balance Rewards work up to be essentially free items. Those points that you earn eventually turn into rewards that can be used to purchase items. That means that when you walk, weigh-in or track some of the other items in Walgreens healthy choices program, you’re earning points that will eventually be used for stuff you need. So awesome!!

My Day in the Life with healthy choices

The moment I heard about this app, I downloaded it and began using it. The first thing I did was set up some goals, I went with basic ones, like hitting 10,000 steps a day and losing 25 lbs within 3 months. I wanted to make sure my goals were achievable and fun to meet. Your options for goals are limitless, so no matter what you’re trying to achieve you can work towards it with the help of the healthy choices program.

Every morning I open the app, enter my weight (and earn my points), enter the hours that I slept the previous night (you do not earn points for entering your sleep) and then head to make my coffee.

While at work, I try to ensure that I’m getting up from my desk every hour to hour and a half to take a quick walk around the building. My steps add up quickly, which all get entered into the Walgreens app at the end of the day, to earn more points!! I love it, I’m constantly looking for new ways to get my steps in. So, I’ll march while I’m folding laundry or while Emmett is playing in his sand box, I’ll take laps around our yard, anything to add them up!

Walgreen's healthy choices

However, in addition to my walking, I’m also doing a PiYO workout. I’m loving it, but some of the moves are pretty intense and require you to bend or move into positions that my body is not quite ready for. So what did I do? I went to Walgreens and got myself a yoga block. Yep! Walgreens sure does carry these, and it was super affordable, too. In fact, I don’t know if you’re aware, but Walgreens has an entire section dedicated to diet & nutrition.

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Since I’ve been doing my PiYO with the yoga block, I’m able to get into deeper stretches and put myself into positions, I couldn’t get to before. My posture is better, and my form and alignment are getting more and more accurate. I love the way I feel! I feel like I’m doing so much good for my body.

And, you guessed it! I add my PiYO workout into my Walgreens Balance Rewards app and earn even more rewards that will go towards stuff I need around the house. My workouts are going to save us money!! How can I say no to that??

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One last thing I want to mention, and for me, it’s a big one! You can link your RunKeeper account with the healthy choices program. That means, that any workout you complete with RunKeeper is then communicated with Walgreens earning you more points.

So here’s my recommendation: Work to get healthy, eat better, exercise hard, and download the Walgreens app and sign-up for the healthy choices program. I’m pretty sure earning points towards items you need is enough motivation to get you up and out the door, or up and on the treadmill. Do it! Go now! :)

Your turn!!

What are your favorite ways to get yourself motivated to workout?

When you download the Walgreens app, please share how much you LOVE it, in the comments below!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias Thank you for helping to support my family.

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How to Track Your Food

How to Track Your Food

I know that I’ve mentioned it a great deal, but I suffer with Binge Eating Disorder. My continued healing is a constant process that I’m not sure I’ll ever master, but hope to one day.

On my journey, I’ve tried so many different things. Starving myself, eating at very specific times, diet pills, you name it and I’ve likely tried it. What I have found that works very well for me, is a little green notebook that goes everywhere with me. In that book I write every bit of food that goes into my mouth. I take a bite of my son’s toast, I write it down, a slurp of the chili that will be served for dinner, goes in the notebook. Everything. What it’s done is created a strong sense of awareness of my food choices.

How I Found My Little Green Notebook

I got the idea to keep a food journal when I read the book, The Compound Effect (affiliate link) by Darren Hardy. It’s a book about making small changes over long periods of time and how those changes can “compound” into HUGE things. I loved the book and so many of the tips that were offered, but one in particular stuck out to me. He suggested that if there is one area of your life that you want to correct and that you just can’t seem to get a handle on, to track everything in regards to that area.

For instance, if you constantly overspend, use a notebook and track your finances. Every tiny purchase goes into that book. The whole point is that the more frequently you pull out your notebook and write down what you’re going to do, the more likely you are to see where your money is going that it doesn’t need to. Eventually that new found awareness will hopefully lead to you curbing your spending. You’ll see where the gaping holes are in your budget and reel it in, which could lead to large amounts of savings. He also mentions that you’ll eventually get sick of having to pull that notebook out, which will likely lead to you doing everything within your power to not spend money (in this case).

In my case, where I needed to reel it in, was my eating. I knew wholeheartedly what I needed to do to lose weight, move more, eat less. But, I just couldn’t find the focus or drive to do it, everyday, I’d whine and complain to Seamus that I wasn’t losing weight, that I was just gaining and that I hated myself this way.

I read The Compound Effect and it was like a window opened, it was a breath of fresh air. Success WAS possible! The day I read the section of the book about having a notebook to track EVERYTHING, I went and bought my green Moleskin (affiliate link). I wasn’t great in the beginning, I’d throw it in my work bag in the morning and maybe remember to pull it out around lunch time and then I’d fill in breakfast and lunch and in the evening forget to add in dinner.

When I started carrying it around, everywhere – sitting it down on my desk at work, on our end table at home, and then on my desk at home, is when I started becoming successful. Now, I rarely forget to write in it, beacause it sitting there immediately in front of me is a constant reminder to enter my food. It’s worked too! I still have slip-ups, but I am SO much better about the food I’m eating, because I do not want to write down that I’m eating crap. I love it!

How I’m Tracking My Food

You might think that this is probably a million times more difficult than just entering your food to My Fitness Pal, or a similar site, right? Well, I’d agree if I were tracking calories. My goal with this is to eat mindfully – meaning, eating when I am hungry, and only until I’m full and then choosing healthy, whole, clean foods 80% of the time. And, I need to be honest, it’s working! Between working out, eating well, drinking my Shakeology and writing down what I’m ingesting, I’ve lost 14.2 lbs and it feels DARN good.

I don’t have a fancy formula. I enter the date at the top of the page, then each time I eat something I enter the time in which I ate it, and then amounts of food I ate. I try to measure most things, but there are definitely times when I don’t. So I’ll just enter the food. Since I’m working on eating mindfully, I rarely overeat. When I do overeat, there’s almost always something else going on mentally, that I need to address.

This is REALLY working and I’m so so happy to share with you, readers!

Your turn!

So, tell me, do you track your food? If you do, how do you do it?

Have you ever considered going back to paper and pen and seeing if you have more success?

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Looking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

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Coping With Binge Eating Disorder – WIAW

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done a What I Ate Wednesday post in it’s regular form, but it’s been especially long time since I’ve written about how I’m doing with Binge Eating Disorder.

Since it’s been so long, I thought it was a good time to revisit. I have lots to share!

I believe that B.E.D. is never something you truly get over. Just like any addiction it is with you forever, you just learn how to cope. Right now, I think I’m in the beginning stages of successfully coping with the disorder and overcoming all the struggles involved with binging.

A few months back, I was in a rough spot, both physically and mentally. I had hurt my back, could barely move, and my mood and feelings toward myself plummeted. I didn’t know how to fix the situation and did not want to go to physical therapy for my back (I had gone before and it made things worse), and for my mood, I knew all I need to do was exercise and eat better. So, I did the one thing that I always turn to in situations like this, I read.

I read everything I could get my hands on in regards to healing a bulging disc naturally without surgery or serious pain meds (I was definitely popping ibuprofen, though). I read books upon books and articles upon articles about B.E.D. I wanted to know everything I could know about the disease itself and I wanted to learn some coping methods that have helped others.

Months went by and my back slowly got better. I stretched like I needed to and should have been doing all along, and slowly the pain lessened. As for the B.E.D., there are three stand out things that have helped me become stronger and better able to say NO to a binge.

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The first, is my personal pep talks. Every time I start to crave junk, or am getting the urge to run to McDonald’s for a burger, I talk to myself. Not out loud (but that would be okay too), but to myself. I pause, doesn’t matter what is going on, I stop my thoughts from running towards food and I really think about what is going on with me. Most of the time it is boredom, or some unnecessary craving. Then, once I’ve realized why I am desiring something so bad for me, I tell myself that I don’t eat like that any more. I literally say that. I remind myself that the old me would run to McD’s and buy WAY too much food and eat it all, but that you no longer do that. And you know what? It works! The mind is a very powerful thing and works wonders when it is engaged.

The second, is writing down EVERYTHING that I put into my mouth. Every single bite, lick or taste, goes into my cute little green Moleskin (affliate link). I don’t track calories, I just eat 80% clean whole foods and 10% junk, but I ensure that everything I eat goes in that book. In addition to the food I’ve eaten, I also include the feelings I’m having, or anything else running through my head. It helps keep me focused.

I’m not perfect, there are days when only breakfast gets written down, or I forget about my snack, but I try darn hard to just carry it with me everywhere and to write everything down. It’s working because it is making me very conscious of the food choices I am making.

Finally, is Shakeology. I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, and I know people are still skeptical. I get it, I was too – but there has never been a food or drink before that has helped me curb cravings like Shakeology. So, I will sing its praises from the rooftops. Plus, it really tastes awesome and is like my own little super healthy daily dessert.

I’m not cured. I definitely still have binges and cravings still occur, but they’re smaller, weaker and I’ve set myself up with some great strategies to overcome them.

I am still reading loads and loads of articles and self-help books, because there is almost always more insight that can be gleaned from them. Something that might help me, or may help someone else I love and care about is worth spending the time to find.

If you’re interested in reading all of my binge eating disorder story, you can click here.

Your turn!

Have you ever heard of B.E.D. before?

If you struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, do you have any methods that keep you focused and away from binges?

Looking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

I’m linking up with Peas and Crayons! Thanks for hosting!

Fitness Fridays – A Slightly New Direction

Fitness Fridays is BACK!!

Last week, I took a very short hiatus from Fitness Fridays. I decided to take the time to regroup and refocus on what I wanted out of these posts, because what I previously had wasn’t really working. Well, it was working, but it wasn’t what I had in mind when I decided to revive these from the dead.

I find my Fitness Friday posts to be very motivational and inspirational because I am forced to come here and report to the internet at large, what my goals are and whether I met them. There is nothing that holds me more accountable than not wanting to report a failure to my readers (or anyone, really).

I decided to keep these weekly posts light on the advice (with the occasional advice post, when I have something I really want to share) and heavy on how the week went for me, what worked, what didn’t, etc. I don’t want that to be relegated to the very bottom of the post. For me, the whole purpose of this is to be like an online journal where I share my trials and tribulations, keep myself motivated and maybe inspire someone else in the process.

So, I’m hoping you’ll join me on this new and improved expedition!! There won’t be a link-up at this time, but I’ll re-evaluate that as time marches on.

For now, I hope that you can except my brutal honesty towards myself and support me as I do so. Ready? Set… GO!

Fitness Fridays-BabyDoodah 8-1-14

Fitness Fridays…… Renewed! 

Week of 7/26/14 – 8/1/14

This was a hell of a week! It was my first full week back since being on vacation and I wasn’t happy about that, so I was really caught up in the emotions of work and not really paying attention to my eating or exercise. However, I did manage to keep my nutrition to at least a 7 (out of 10), for the majority of the week.

I got back into drinking my Shakeology, which keeps a lot of my cravings at bay, but I was still wanting salty / carby foods, thanks to PMS. I did manage to eat lots of veggies all week long, which helped keep me full and away from the junk. I didn’t weigh-in this week, because I just didn’t want to face the music AND I’m considering taking the scale out of my life, at least for the near future, (more to come on this in future posts).

But, while my eating was around a 7 all week, my exercise was a big FAT 0. :( I felt low in energy all week, and just couldn’t find the get up and go to get a workout done. I did walk with Emmett a lot, but no intense sweat sessions. I do realize, that if I had worked out, that low energy probably would have gone away, I’d have felt amaze-balls (yes! I did just say that). :)

I do want to say one thing, and it is a REALLY important thing. I refuse to beat myself up any more, for anything. Whether it be a lack of motivation to workout, or the way I naturally react to a situation. I’m sick and tired of always hating the way I am, or the way I look. In order to overcome that I need to change my mindset, and realize that I am okay the way I am. I’m not saying no to self-improvement, but I am saying no to beating myself up for not being 100% amazing RIGHT NOW.

Fitness / Food Goals for the next week:

  1. Complete the 3 Day Refresh! I start on Monday! I’m kind of nervous, but I can do anything for 3 days, right!?
  2. Workout 4 times. Beachbody recommends that you do light to no exercise during the refresh, due to the lower number of calories you’re taking in, because of this, I am aiming for 4 workouts, instead of 6 or 7.
  3. I will keep my nutrition at a 7 out of 10.

Your turn!

What do you think of the new (again) format of Fitness Fridays?

Share one or all of your goals in the comments below, let’s hold each other accountable!!

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