Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I majored in public health.

We talked all the time about helping people make changes in their lives. Sometimes, I need help making changes in my life.

In my Public Health Administration class, we had a guest speaker from the public health department come show us different campaigns and projects they had underway. One of them was a media campaign to reduce diabetes through creating prevention awareness. The speaker showed this poster.
This poster had a profound effect on me. The outline of the figures was the thing that got me. I thought about the difference of introducing just 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity. And not anything strenuous like running or getting on a stationary bike. Just walking to class (which I was doing at the time) or riding your bike to work.

Now fast forward five years...to me now. Over the last year I have been doing small things to be healthier. That was something else we always talked about in classes. MAKE LIFETIME CHANGES. no crash course diets or weight loss plans. Just make small changes in your lifestyle.

Since having Grace working out has been an on and off experience for me. Last winter, I was doing awesome exercises (an exercise physiology major in my RS taught me at an enrichment activity--another reason why we should attend those) after the girls went to bed. I also had cut out dairy. With the simple exercises she taught me and the elimination of dairy and add in way more veggies, I lost all the baby weight from Grace and then some! Woot Woot! In the summer, I walked everyday with my kids to the park or the children's museum. I read a book called the GI Diet by Rick Gallop. Highly recommend this book. No counting calories and oh so simple. Justin and I started to eat even better. Again no counting calories, no eliminating things from our diets (except dairy, I was still nursing Grace). Just portion control. We made our plates look like this:
And I felt better than I ever have. I had energy do all sorts of things, and emotionally, I felt so balanced.

And then we got back to SLC, and I got out of my routine. Somehow, I have struggled to get in a normal workout or physical activity of any kind since moving back until.....I read this girl's AMAZING story of losing 135 lbs.
I felt totally inspired. And I remembered the above poster.

So here I am making small changes like:
  • more veggies, less grains (which I LOVE too much, I could eat a whole loaf of whole wheat bread in 1 day I am pretty sure).
  • More beans. Lots of beans--they are healthy, filling, tasty and very versatile (and inexpensive).
  • A little protein in every meal. (a slice of ham with my whole wheat toast in the morning, refried beans with whole grain baked chips for lunch)
  • more veggies at lunch (spinach salad, I take a plate of spinach and top it with slices from 1/3 a banana and sprinkle with poppy seeds, no dressing. Or I eat cucumber slices or steamed broccoli along side leftovers from dinner.)
  • if I need a snack I grab a fruit or veggie instead of my kids' crackers
  • still off dairy for the most part. Gracie and Katie still struggle with dairy so we just don't buy butter, cheese, or milk. And that is a good thing for my waistline. I do love my cheese.
And inspired by the above mentioned girl, I have tried to incorporate physical activity into my daily life without having to pause other aspects of my life (like not doing my hobbies at night when the girls are in bed because I have to exercise). I make it a goal to get 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. Here are some of the ways that I get it in:
  • walking to the park with my kids and doing everything they do while we are there. Climb, swing, slide, run--they do it and I do it too.
  • walk to the post office
  • walk to do my visiting teaching
  • mop the floor. I know this doesn't sound like exercise, but the way I mop the floor it is. I put on thick XL men's socks and spray the floor with water and sprinkle with comet or spray with windex. Then Katie and I put on fun music and "ice skate" to mop the floor. Such a fun activity and the floor looks better than when I use a mop. Then take off the socks and throw them in the washer.
  • Dance time with Katie. Katie can dance FOREVER. She has the stamina of the energizer bunny when it comes to dancing. So this is definitely a workout for me.
  • walk to the grocery store
  • We have a big church at the end of the block. My girls love playing there because there are lots of stairs, lots of grassy spaces, a ramp, fun places to hide, and lots of pine cones. Sometimes Katie likes to go there even more than the park. Anyway, while the girls run and jump, I run and jump too. I once did kart wheels (I hadn't done one of those since high school, and I realized that those muscles don't get used very often. SORE. When's the last time you did a kart wheel?). And when they are busy looking at pine cones and bugs, I do stairs. Lots of stairs. But if my kids need my attention, I do what they do and don't do stairs. Love that church.
  • walk to the library
  • walk to Dr. appointments, or church meetings, or get-togethers with friends.
  • soccer in the yard with Katie
From my list, you can tell that most of my physical activity is walking. AND I LOVE IT! No workout video for me. No watching the clock to see if I can be done now. Just simple activities with my kiddos. I've changed my mind set. When we have to go somewhere I plan on walking unless it's raining or snowing. I don't think "oh it will be quicker to drive..." I think "oh good a chance to get in some physical activity!"
I don't have a planned workout time, although it's usually in the afternoon after Gracie takes her nap. That's usually when the kids are stir crazy, and I have things done around the house so an outing to the park or library is just what we need. On cold days we bundle up more.

I LOVE this way of exercising and eating. No counting calories or minutes. It's simply eating and being healthier day to day. It's what works for me. I know many women have gym memberships or workout during the kiddos' naps. Maybe they are super women and get up at five and go running. My hat goes off to them. But I have discovered that's not me. And when I try to do that, my kids suffer or I suffer from being unbalanced. This is the perfect balance for me. I feel energized. My body feels good and I am happier.

What works for you? Are you happy with your body? Do you have energy? Are you looking to make some changes? Pick one area and start today. Maybe it's eating more veggies, maybe it's getting more physical activity, maybe it's not serving yourself seconds. Just make a decision and make it a LIFETIME, LIFESTYLE change. Good luck!

(and by the way, I wrote this post while eating four snicker doodles. maybe an extra long walk tomorrow...)