Earlier this month I may have lost a potential client because I wouldn't guarantee weight loss. Given a second chance with them, I'd make the same statement again. There are very few certainties in life- death and taxes come to mind- but allow me to add to the list "weight fluctuation". It is guaranteed that within this brief life we live that all of us will experience changes in our weight. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we gain. Many factors affect that number on the scale, from illness to stress, from lifestyle choices such as how active or sedentary we are, to food choices- how much we eat, and what we eat. There are physiological factors at play, too, such as your genetic blueprint and your natural metabolism.
In short, there is no way I can guarantee you will lose weight by following my meal plans. I can guarantee healthy and tasty nutritious meals, with a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I can guarantee very little added sugar or salt. I can tell you that following my meal plans will help ensure you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, and you will not be throwing out food that you bought with the best of intentions, so you will definitely be saving money in the grocery store. However, I cannot absolutely promise that you will lose (or gain, for that matter) weight.
If you need a weight loss plan, there are a plethora of companies out there that focus exclusively on weight loss, such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. I'm a meal planner, and I'm really, really good at that.
There have lately been some interesting studies done that can assist you in making choices that may help you to drop some pounds. I've rounded up some of the more interesting ones I thought you might enjoy, and I'll conclude with a little bit of wisdom I've gleaned over the last few years.
And now, some wisdom I've gleaned over the years.
Love Your Body, and Your Life, Today.
18 years ago my BMI was perfectly in range with the ideal weight for my height. I look back at my wedding pictures and can't believe I wasn't happy with how I looked. Here's the thing, though- if you don't consciously celebrate you, as you are, you won't be happy when you're at your ideal weight, either. We are bombarded daily with perfectly smooth and unwrinkled, cellulite-free images of beautiful people who have perfect skin, hair, teeth, and so on. There will always be someone and something to compare ourselves with, and if we play that comparison game, we will never measure up.
Real life has given me laugh lines and stretch marks, a few grey hairs, some laproscopy scars, and unattractive veins on my legs. It's also given me 2 beautiful, intelligent, creative boys, a passion for learning, and a wide variety of interests. I live in a not-perfect home with a not-perfect husband, but it's my life, and I'm sharing it with my favorite people.
Think About Being Healthy, not About the Ideal Number.
Admittedly, I've put on some weight in the almost 18 years of my marriage. But at this point, even with the extra weight, I am significantly healthier than I was when I had a perfect BMI. I shudder to think at the diet we used to eat. I know there were significant holes in our nutrition, and my physical, emotional, and mental health reflected that. I used to get colds often, and miss a lot of work because of it. I didn't deal well with stress, as reflected with frequent migraines and cold sores. I suffered from anxiety to the point where I was prescribed medication. And in spite of being obsesed with the number on the scale, it's gone up and down and up again. No amount of dieting or obsessing stopped the movement on the scale.
Within the last few years, however, I've made it my goal to focus on making small, conscious decisions to become an overall healthier person. From the food I eat and drink, to the activities I participate in, to the peole I surround myself with, to the financial choices I make. to the spiritual lessons I'm learning, and to the online courses I've taken. My annual bloodwork and checkups confirm that I am, generally speaking, really healthy. I'm celebrating that.
You Can't Force People.
You just can't. Everyone has to come to their own place of peace, whether it's regarding their health, their lifestyle, their weight, their choices. Focus on you, and your example. Model the right behaviour, make good choices, and if you're the feeder of small children, make good choices for them. They might resist, but it will make an impression. Don't make food a fight. That may set them up for a lifetime of food issues.
Do the Activity You Love.
It's ok if what you love to do isn't the same as your best friend, or trending on twitter. If you love walking, walk. Running, run. Dancing? Dance your heart out. The important thing is to bring some movement into your life. We in the west are particularly fond of sitting, and the advances made in television, movies, and small electronic devices aren't going anywhere but forward. So make your choices consciously, and stand, run, dance, do stairs, climb ladders, hang drywall, etc. Do what you can to infuse movement into your life on a daily basis. Don't worry about how long is the right amount, or compare yourself to your ultra-fit neighbor. Make it your goal to best your own best, and let the rest of the population worry about themselves.
Scale photo from http://www.drugstore.com/sunbeam-dial-scale-model-sab-602-05/qxp309310
Fiber chart from http://www.preparationh.com/live-better/hemorrhoid-diet
I have to wonder how long this thing is going to go on for. I seem to be incapable of the slightest amount of effort and it's beginning to wear on me. I know it's a good thing to get my family involved in cooking, so I am trying to be thankful for this illness
So again this week, in no particular order, we're going to family-share the cooking responsibilities. Kind of depends on how much homework the first son has and whether or not he gets to help me on any particular night.
Enjoy your week, friends! Stay healthy.
Happy Valentines Day weekend! From now until tomorrow, February 16 @ 11:59pm, book a meal plan and 4 weekly grocery shops with me for $180. This offer applies to local clients only :)
Follow me on Twitter- @themealsmaven - for sneak peeks, random thoughts, and other fun foodie facts.
As you can imagine, this week I've been trying everything I can to relieve some of the symptoms while this thing works its' way out of my system. Along my travels I've encountered some very interesting treatments. Some of them are helpful, some of them kind of scare me, and some are downright nonsensical.
First, the helpful.
Next, the scary.
And finally, the nonsensical.
Sick person image courtesy of http://www.family-essential-oils.com/natural-cold-and-flu-remedies.html
A friend posted this Disney quote on facebook today: "Where there is kindness there is goodness. Where there is goodness there is Magic".
Today has been a day chock-full of kindness. Other people's kindness, given to me, and I am grateful. On day 7 of the dreaded influenza, day 5 of not having a voice, and day 2 of pink-eye, I'm avoiding going out as much as possible. The kids get to school and swimming lessons, but I'm doing the best I can to stay in and away from others. A couple of friends got together online today and arranged a care package to be dropped off on my doorstep early this morning. Not only was there some much needed kleenex but also chicken noodle soup, 3 premade meals that just need to be heated and served, and a case of gingerale. And it wasn't just cheap no-name kleenex, but the plush ultra soft variety. Oh, my nose is so grateful.
So today I am staying steadfastly grateful. I feel really awful, actually, but the kindess of others has made this a less bitter pill to swallow, and as soon as I am over this and back to feeling alive I'm going to find ways to pay this forward. There is magic, then, alive in the world, in the goodness and courageousness and kindness of others.
Ladies, The Meals Maven (and her sick family) are so very thankful for you. You know who you are, and I will always be grateful.
Yup, I've finally caught it. I was so hopeful that it would skip me, too.
I came to the realization last night that because I am so good at what I do, when I get sick no one else knows what to do to give me a break. From meal planning to grocery shopping to household scheduling, I'm that girl. I guess this week is forcing me to have to accept my own limitations and teach my family what to do when I can't do it. It's always been my intent to teach my kids how to cook, and my husband can cook if he needs to, but I've been lax about really getting them involved. I like cooking. It's like free therapy for me.
But last night, I was in bed at 5:30. Yes, that early. I just couldn't stay upright any more.
This week's meals look pretty non-threatening because I'm not physically capable of doing anything grandiose or exciting. I have great ideas simmering in my head, but they're going to have to stay there until after I feel considerably better. And I refuse to let my family eat take-out all week. I know they'd enjoy it for a change, but I would not, and neither would our budget.
Last night's dinner was thrown together because it involved no prep work on my part. Step one: buy some whole grain wraps and bagged coleslaw. Step two: pull leftover turkey from the freezer and thaw. Step three: let them serve themselves. This tastes terrific with sweet thai chili sauce, which we always have in the fridge. Step four: go to bed.
Tonight is a variation of this pita recipe. Husband gets to handle this one. In fact, I'm telling him to add it all into the Actifry at the same, just to make it even easier. The actifry does most of the work (aside from slicing vegetables, and he can handle that), and he gets to be my hero.
Tomorrow I'm going to let my boys learn how to make pancakes.
The day after that, my first son can learn all about how to make tacos. He's been asking for ages for a taco night, so his wish is my command,
Friday will be roasted vegetables (easiest thing ever, because nothing special is required), macaroni and cheese from a box (gasp! I know, I'm sorry to let you down), and some leftover pork pulled from the freezer. My first son gets to learn how to do that too.
So here's my plan for my sick week. Unfortunately, I can't take a complete break from my life and just recover, but having dinner basically taken care of is huge. I have minimal grocery shopping to prep for this week, which I'll take care of when the second son goes to school today. And then- yes, you guessed it- I'll go back to bed.
Much joy and health to you!