Small Changes Equal Big Results

Because it’s the new year, a lot of people are jumping on the health train. As a person who has been doing the healthy thing for a while now, I am always nitpicking at images of what to do and what not to do. There are all kinds of them floating around; the lists of things to cut out, the things to stop doing, the things to start doing. The problem I find with these lists is that they are a massive change for most. They are setting people up to fail. One of my favorite things to tell people is that “small changes equal big results.” You don’t have to change your entire diet to see results. You don’t have to give up EVERYTHING to see change. And you definitely don’t HAVE to take on an entire list of changes all at one time. Start small and start slow. In this post I am going to take the time to dissect a very popular post I’ve seen lately.

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No chips: I can get on board with this one as far as just cutting chips out completely. But if you are a chipaholic, I have a suggestion. Just change the type of chips you eat. Start looking at labels. Hold up a bag of Cheese Doritos next to a bag of organic corn chips and look at the difference. I don’t know exactly what’s in Doritos but I am pretty sure there is a ton of fake stuff, chemicals, and things you and I cannot pronounce. In a bag of organic corn chips there are usually 3 ingredients; corn, salt, and oil.

No potatoes: Another one that I don’t think is the hardest, but again, can just be modified. First, if you eat taters as a side for dinner, how about eating a smaller portion. Eat half a potato rather than a whole one. You could also change the toppings of your potato. You could opt for plain or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Instead of going for the loaded tater with butter, sour cream, and bacon, try adding some broccoli and a little sprinkle of cheese. Another suggestion, rather than having a potato as a side dish, only eat the potato with the broccoli on top. Changing your portion sizes will work wonders.

No Ice Cream: A lot of people eat dessert every single day. Stop that! You don’t need dessert every day. Save dessert for special occasions. And I don’t necessarily mean birthday parties, but maybe on a Friday or when you go on a date. Next, stop buying ice cream at the store. If you don’t have it in the house you won’t eat it. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. If I get into one of those moods where all I want to do is eat junk (yes, it happens to me too), it helps that I don’t have junk in the house to eat.  There is also the option to opt for healthier ice cream. One of our favorite frozen treats is frozen bananas, almond or peanut butter, and a splash of yogurt or almond milk, all blended. It isn’t the candy and sugar-filled ice cream you’d get a Baskin Robbins, but it will quench that urge for something sweet and cold.

No Fast Food: Again, just change where and what you’re eating. Stop eating fake meat at McDonalds. If McDonalds is the only thing you have time for, maybe eat one of those chicken wraps without the dressing. Don’t they have salads? Try one of those without the dressing too. But if you have other choices for fast food, opt for a healthier fast food. Chipotle is my absolute favorite. The portion sizes are ginormous, but you don’t have to eat the entire portion. At least if you do it’s something healthier than a quarter pounder, fries, and drink. Another fast option is a grocery store. Tons of them have salad bars or you can grab pieces of a meal from all over the store. One time in a pinch I grabbed a plastic container of mixed greens, a small thing of hummus, a fork, and an avocado. Boom! But if you do decide to cut out fast food, meal prep needs to be your new best friend. That way you don’t have to decide which fast food place to go to, you already have your lunch.

No Fried Food: I don’t really have a load of suggestions for this one. Maybe don’t eat fried food while you’re out. Here’s a good reason why…you’re french fries may be fried in the same oil as the fish sticks. And you have no idea how long that oil has been used and then reheated the next day. So if you’re going to eat something fried, eat it at home and use fresh oil. You can also opt to use a healthier oil like coconut oil. Most of the time the coconut smell and taste is not there so you don’t know you’re not eating the vegetable oil you’re used to.

No Chocolate: 2 words… Dark Chocolate. I know, I know, it doesn’t taste the same and you’re used to milk chocolate or the fake stuff they use in candy bars. Seriously, check labels with this too. Sometimes what you’re eating is chocolate “flavored” and doesn’t really have any chocolate in it. Try dark. Start with something that has a lower percentage of cacao, like 50% rather than 80%. I love the kind that has mint in it as well. What I notice about dark is that I can’t and don’t want to eat a ton of it. A little bite here and there is enough to satisfy the want. So you won’t eat the same amount you’d eat if you choose a Snickers bar.

No White Breads: I agree with this one. Most white breads have no nutritional value; they just taste good. Go for whole wheat or whole grain. There are even breads that have no flour in them at all. Those are the best kind. Just wholesome goodness. Also check labels with your bread. Try to find wheat bread that has no added sugar and has only a handful of ingredients rather than a long list.

No Soda or Juice: I’ll back the giving up soda 100%. I haven’t had soda in 4 years. Stop drinking that poison immediately. You do not need that shit in your body. Maybe instead of giving up both soda and juice, just give up soda. And instead of eliminating juice completely, only drink a glass with breakfast. Start drinking more water. That should really be the number one thing you decide to do. Add more water into your diet. Instead of soda and juice, drink water and tea. Even coffee is better than soda.

No Cakes, Donuts, Cookies, and Candy: I lumped all these together because they are all so similar. The biggest thing in this list is sugar. You don’t need the added sugar. But here’s the thing about this list again, sometimes these items are eaten on a daily basis. That’s where eating certain foods becomes a problem for health. Eating a piece of candy isn’t going to kill you. Eating a handful every time you pass by the candy jar is not a good thing. Eating a cookie won’t kill you. Having 3 with lunch and dinner isn’t great. Eating a donut on a Sunday morning is a fun treat. Eating one for breakfast every day is not good.

The common theme I see in this list is giving up sugar. Once you start reading labels, you will see that there is sugar in almost everything you eat. So I would say that instead of giving up everything on this list, and instead of giving up sugar all together, give up things with ADDED sugar. This means that natural sugars like what you find in fruit or juices and other foods is okay, but try not to eat the foods that add more sugar. Like in bread. When I started buying wheat bread I thought all wheat bread was created equally. Not the case. A decent amount of breads with the words “100% whole wheat” have added sugar. Why? Peanut butter is another one. Even the ones that claim to be the healthy kind still add sugar.

Even if you only take one thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s this… you do not have to give up everything to live a healthier life. You don’t have to give up everything to lose weight either. Just modify. Eat smaller portions. And make small changes. You can still eat the same types of food but with better ingredients. Stop eating fake stuff. Read labels. Make better choices one small step at a time. “Small changes equal big results.”

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Groceries and Stuff

I am doing this mainly for my Facebook support group, but I am sure that if you happened upon this for health and wellness reasons you won’t be disappointed. Stick around!!

My bff and I are always talking about food; what we ate for lunch, what’s for dinner, why she should throw away the margarine, you know, really important things. I told her that I should make her a grocery list. So that’s what this is.

I guess I should tell you first that over the years, my husband and I have gone back and forth and up and down in the health and weight department. We are both very active people but we both actively like to eat as well. Years ago we were eating low carb. It worked out great! We would always say, “It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet.” But then you start to add cookies back into the mix annnnnndddd we were eating carbs again. Somewhere along the lines we decided to just be “healthy”. So that meant eat whatever as long as it was healthy. I was running a lot and staying active so I would also eat cookies because I was totally going to run off those extra calories and then….we’re eating shit food again. Once we left Arizona, I think we left a lot of shit behind us. Living out here in the country, away from friends and family, gives us time to focus on what we really want out of life. We want to be happy, healthy, active people who teach our daughter about being happy, healthy and active and that there is so much more to life than the hustle and bustle of everyday crap. You know what? You can’t be all those things if you are eating shit food, putting chemicals into your body, and living the lazy life. So, we’ve made super changes and they have all been for the better.

This summer we started listening to a podcast called “Fat Burning Man.” The guy who hosts it is named Abel James and he wrote a book about this lifestyle called, “The Wild Diet.” It’s basically Paleo, which I am sure you all are familiar with, but in the book he also talks about what’s really in the food you are eating. We now base our eating on this style, eat as organic as possible, eat very low carb, and find foods that have good wholesome ingredients and less chemicals, hormones, and other things you can’t even pronounce. We still buy some things for us and our daughter that aren’t “healthy” because a) we’re human beings who can’t do everything 100% correct, b) we do what our budget can handle (one income and that’s a military income. My husband likes to say, “You don’t join the military to get rich.”) and c) my daughter is 8, picky, and I don’t want to force her to eat every single healthy thing on the menu and not be a kid. Basically, we eat tons of meat, green veggies, and eggs, and we drink water and tea. We limit our sugar and we eat REAL food. Now, on to the shopping lists!!

I am a list person. I have to write things down or I’ll forget them. And when it comes to food shopping, we shop at several different stores so I write things in separate little boxes for each different store. I usually have a box for Kroger where we do 80% of the food shopping, a box for Whole Paycheck where we buy a few select items and usually eat lunch while we’re there, a box for Sams Club for dog food and toilet paper, and a box for Walmart where we buy cotton balls and other household items.

One thing to also keep in mind is the low carb trick at the grocery store…only shop on the outer isles. Think about it. If you walked the outer rim of your favorite grocery store you’d go by the veggies, the meat, and the dairy. All the boxed, processed crap and carbs are in the middle of the store. Okay, let’s go shopping!!!

Whole Foods:
Peanut Butter. We buy their 365 brand that is peanuts with a pinch of salt only. No other ingredients. (pictured)
Heavy Cream. We don’t always buy this, but when we do, it’s for making our own butter. Heavy cream is different from heavy whipping cream because of the milk fat percentage. I can’t think right now but one has more.
Stevia sweetener. We don’t use it often, but it’s the most natural sweetener we can get.
Fish and Meat. If we want a super good piece of meat or really fresh tuna (we like to make poke) we buy meat here.
Deodorant and soap. For the past maybe 3 years, we have been using all natural deodorant. We used to use the salt stick stuff but now we use Jason’s, Tom’s, or Stink Bug. The soap we use, Dr. Bronner’s, could really be used for EVERYTHING in the house but we use it for our bodies and for the animals, sometimes the laundry. (pictured)

other stuff

Kroger:
This store has a really awesome selection of natural and/or organic products. Their own brand is called “Simple Truth” and it’s always no hormones and no additives. Again, based on budget, we don’t always choose organic, but we do strive for less fillers.
Veggies we always buy: broccoli, organic baby spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, brussels sprouts, onions. If we know we are wanting to make something specific we will buy other veggies but the ones I listed are always in the fridge. When cauliflower isn’t almost $5 a head that is also a staple. We don’t buy a ton of fruit but if we do, it’s what in season. For example, so much money is spent on cherries but only during summer.
In the health food section we buy
Cereal. My daughter is the only one who eats it and it’s the healthiest one we can find. (pictured)
Frozen bread. We buy the 7 grains organic that is made with grains only. No fake stuff and no sugar. (pictured)
Syrup. Plain ole maple syrup. If you’re going to eat something sweet it better be as natural as possible. No refined sugar. (pictured)
Eggs. We usually have the hookup when it comes to eggs. My husband works with a guy who has a farm and he is usually swimming in chicken and duck eggs. We normally get eggs from him but if we don’t, we buy super expensive, free range, grass fed, no extras eggs.
Granola bars. My daughter needs snacks at school so we buy her the Kashi bars or something similar. (pictured)
From the meat counter we get bacon. Lots of bacon!! We eat a ton of bacon and it’s always the freshest and thickest stuff from the butcher section rather than the packaged stuff. If we are feeling fishy, we’ll get fresh fish as well.
From the healthy meat section…
The same Simple Truth brand can be found in the meat department as well. Free range, grass fed, no extras chicken, beef and pork. We usually stock up on chicken breasts, thighs, whole chickens, ground beef, ground bison, and steaks. This is where all our money goes.
From the rest of the outer rim of the store:
Whole fat milk, orange juice, Gogurts (for the kid), cream cheese, cheese, real butter, ham, smoked salmon (for the kid to eat on bagels)
From the middle and the frozen section:
Tea. We drink a lot of tea. Bagels for the kid. Waffles for the kid. Frozen pizzas for the kid for “those days”. Packaged fruit cups for snacks, with fruit and fruit juice only, no sugar or extras. Cheezeits because if there is one thing my daughter and I love more than pizza it’s cheezeits. (Gotta have something you still love right?)

breakfast

snack other

And that is pretty much it. Looking at our fridge (pictured) you’ll see that most of the stuff we buy is perishable. This is good and bad. Bad because obviously, if we don’t eat it it goes bad. But good because we are forced to eat what we bought. That’s where that budget thing comes in again… we spent our money on it, we better eat it.

the fridge

On a typical day, our dinner is a meat and a veggie or salad. Lunches are leftovers, salads with leftovers, or eggs.

My typical salad. Spinach, hard boiled egg, cheese, croutons, leftover chicken, and hummus (Simple Truth organic) as dressing rather than Ranch (do you know most ranch dressings have MSG in them?).

lunch

My eggs are always ham, spinach, and cheese. In this photo I also had some bacon and salsa over the top. The salsa is the BOMB and it’s a salsa verde from Whole Foods.

eggs

For breakfast, I always eat one slice of toast with butter and peanut butter. I’m not a huge breakfast person but I love to drink tea in the morning and I can’t on an empty stomach. If I could, I would just drink tea and go until lunch, but I’ve tried and I’d rather eat something small than be nauseous all morning. Bleh. My daughter, who is 8, is adjusting to our improved healthy eating quite well. The only time she eats things we can’t control is at school, but I am super proud to say that she does eat the veggies given to her at school. She also chooses what days she wants to eat at school and she is making great choices. She always skips fried food days but loves the days they serve baked chicken and vegetable soup. I feel like we are winning in that department. Dinner time used to be a super struggle but now she knows that she has to eat what’s on her plate. I no longer give in and just give her cereal or a pbj.

And because you are probably thinking, “This is good and all but does it really work?” I will add this photo to prove it. The left picture is me September 8th, 2015, about a month after we got here to Virginia and decided to get our asses in gear. The right is December 8th. And if you read my most recent blog updating about me, you’ll know that I don’t run anymore. So all the inches, fat, and weight lost is from regular exercising and food choices.

me

Happy Shopping!!!

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