Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting started.

Most people are not ready to jump both feet first in to the water 100% like I did. Many people do not have a significant motivation to jump start the huge change in their life like mine. Yet you want to make a change because you know it's right and you want to be healthier, but you don't know where or how to start. Here are my thoughts to help you start!

First, I find that you have to set short and long term goals: lose weight, tone up, get in better physical shape, or to live longer. I wanted all of the above. Once you set a goal,  you have to figure out how to get there. I think taking the first steps can be the most challenging, like giving up something unhealthy and replacing it with something healthy. As an example, I gave up drinking pop and replaced it with Spark which I discovered as a part of my 24 day challenge (can be purchased separately). Spark is an energy/mental focus drink that contains some caffeine and a ton of great vitamins that you need. Some people don't want to use caffeine anymore, so a healthier alternative is unsweetened ice tea, my go-to beverage when dining out, or soda/plain water with a lemon, a natural diuretic and definitely healthier and cheaper than pop.  To kickstart an exercise regimen, go out for a walk. The key is don't over think it - just do! Try not to watch as much TV or play games on the computer. I have converted my work desk into a stand-up desk and I'd like to convert it to a treadmill desk at some point.

Warrior Dash
Half way 
Jumping the fire!

When I started this journey, one of my first goals was to complete the Warrior Dash with my friend Brian. Last month I did! It was not his first obstacle run and he got a great time. It was my first obstacle run and it was tough, but still fun. I finished at 48 minutes which was better that I thought I would. The rough terrain running was harder than I thought it would be and I slowed down in some areas because I did not want to hurt an ankle. I felt the obstacles were easier for me than the running. I went into every obstacle saying "I am going to try it and see if I can do it." Before I knew it, I was over the wall or the nets; I was proud of myself for trying and succeeding! I am already looking forward to doing another one next year, and hopefully with my brother and our sons too. 

Brian Miller and I
Making a nutritional change can be difficult as well, but creativity allows me to enjoy my favorites in a new (delicious and healthy) way. One of the best recipes I made last month was a simple Turkey Chili recipe. I am a 'fly by the seat of my paints' kind of cook, so it is very hard for me to write things down. I often toss in extra seasonings, so with this basic recipe, feel free to just add what you like. I thought it fit the season well. You can change out the meat or beans for whatever you have on hand. That is how I do my cooking and recipe modifications. Sometimes I do crash and burn - ask my wife and kids about some of the tragedies I have made in the past.

Simple Turkey Chili with Beans
1 pound of ground Turkey (Bison, grass feed ground beef or meat of choice)
1 can of organic black beans, well washed
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, strained 
1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 tablespoons of garlic powder (optional)
3 tablespoons of onion powder  (optional)
3 tablespoons of chili powder (amount optional or leave out)
2 JalapeƱos, seeds and ribs removed (optional) 
1 small yellow onion, chopped (optional)

Brown the turkey in a large pot and add some seasonings. I always start with some garlic powder, onion powder and the chopped onion. Once browned, I add the can of fire roasted tomatoes with all the juice for flavor. I then add the washed black beans, the rest of the seasonings, plus the two JalapeƱos if you want a little heat. If you want it hotter, add more spices. To create a mild flavor, add less seasonings (or none). Cook until the mix starts boiling and until some of the beans open a little. Then, let it simmer on low for 20 minutes or longer if you want it to thicken a little more. Don't be afraid to add more kick; sometimes I pull out a bowl and add the spice or special ingredient so you do not wreck a whole pot, like I have in the past. if you don't like it. I have learned from my mistakes. I love to cook and this is a great base chili to get you started.

I am also working on a recipe for a pumpkin smoothie. I tried my first one and it has great potential! Pinterest is a good place to look for recipes and modifications. If you have a great (tasty & healthy) recommendation, drop me a line. 

I hit a plateau - it was bound to happen - but I have been getting through it. In the last post, if you are keeping track, I was down 75 pounds and now I am down 89 pounds. Overall, that is great progress since I started in April. Hopefully, I have broken through the plateau now by changing up my diet with plateau breakers. Also, I have been noticing that my body is changing. I have lost more inches and I can see more definition now in my arms and legs than a month ago. I am getting more toned, so I can tell I am gaining muscle, which is great! My results are measured in my improved health as well. Last month, I was retested for Sleep Apnea. When I was last tested, over 10 years ago, my sleep pressure number was 12, this time, my sleep pressure was 7. I also got a new sleep machine too. This pressure change is a huge improvement in my books. Building my core and chest muscles have really helped with my breathing and sleep is so important to the whole process of your body's recovery and overall health. *If you have issues sleeping, it is so important that you see your Doctor and talk to them about getting tested if they think you have a sleep disorder. It can change your life, and maybe save it too. I discovered I had Sleep Apnea more than 10 years ago when I fell asleep driving once; it could have been a really bad situation. Getting tested and set up with a Cpap machine saved my life. Inches lost will be posted in the next blog. 

Taking the first step is the most challenging, but I'm here to do it with you and we will succeed together! My older brother and sister-in-law started the Advocare 24 day challenge on the day after labor day. My brother is six feet tall and started at 227 pounds. He really is fit and has good energy levels, so friends wondered why he would do the challenge. His short-term goal was to tone up and lose about 15 pounds (program average is 10 pounds). During the process, I suggested maybe he could hit around 200, he thought I was crazy. Well, he hit 205 - better than he thought he was going to do. He is very happy with the results, fitting into a smaller jean size, and other clothes are fitting better too. His wife lost a total of 10 pounds and she is a smaller, petite woman who is also in good shape. She is also happy with their results. Ten pounds is a good amount for her and she was pleased that co-workers noticed the change as well.

Do what you can to make a change, whether you use AdvoCare like my family and I did or not, just do something! If it's too much, change one thing at a time - the changes can add up and help motivate you through your journey. 

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