A Scary Wake-Up Call and My 3 Part Plan to Return to Health

20 minute a day to a healthier body

20 minute a day to a healthier body

I reached a low point the other day. I was standing in the Wednesday night supper line at church with my two smallest boys, and I had what could only be described as some sort of hypoglycemic brain shut down. As in, my brain stopped functioning for a solid 2 minutes.

It was embarrassing. I know those women in the supper line will probably always think I’m bonkers now.

John David and Daniel were standing beside me, clinking their trays together and saying things that they wanted in their high-pitched little boy voices. Meanwhile, the two ladies working the cafeteria line were asking me questions. Only I didn’t understand the questions. I could hear them just fine, but my brain quit on me. I tried to answer them. It went something like this:

JD and Dan: Eeebedebedoobed Mmbedeebebebededeeeeee…

Ladies serving: Which one? How many? Do you? This? That? Do you want rice? Do you want vegetables?

But mostly they just looked at me as if they were waiting on me to say something.

And I couldn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t understand what the question was. I tried to talk, but I had trouble.

Me: Um….uh…yes.  No? Three? I’m sorry. I’m having trouble. I’m having trouble.  I have these two little boys here, and I…I….I

“I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be telling you!” I thought, but I couldn’t figure out how to say it…

Me: “Um..  Standard? Two? I’m sorry. I’m just having trouble. Okay (Things started to get better inside my head). Just put rice and a roll on that one. Um…..K..

I know this went on for only a minute or two, but it felt like 10. I was actually worried if I was going to be able to pull it together enough to make it to my table. I was so embarrassed.

I stared at my tray. Somehow, I’d ended up with one pork chop with gravy, a ton of rice, a helping of squash, and a bowl with four grapes in it.

I was extremely nauseous. Before all of this, between the time I picked the boys up from school at 3pm and the time I took them to dinner at 5, I’d eaten one bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup and a couple of handfuls of an unusually sugary trail mix.

I strongly felt like the sugar was to blame. I decided to only eat my pork chop and nothing else for dinner. With each bite of that southern chop, smothered in gravy, my nausea improved. By the time I finished it, the nausea was gone, I wasn’t dizzy any more, and I could speak perfectly clearly.

 

Add that to the return of my ventricular tachycardia symptoms, and it was a major wake-up call for me. I’ve got to get back to taking better care of myself. Do any of you struggle with this stuff? Surely I can’t be the only one.

So here’s my plan:

#1. Cut out the sugar.

It makes me feel sick. Why am I eating the nasty mess? I know. I’ve said this before, but this time I have a healthier living support group:

kettlebell burn

My daily workout regimen and yes, there’s even a Facebook group.

#2. Continue my return to exercise.  kbburn.com baby!

#3. Drink more water. 

Remember how well I did on the water challenge last year?

Baby steps. Start where you are. I do girl push-ups. One day I’ll graduate to the harder version.

Let me tell you about my exciting return to exercise. I have done 5 or 6 of these work-outs now, and I am all about it. The program is kbburn.com. What I love about it is that it’s only 20 minutes a day.

There are two levels of membership:

Premium: full personal trainer services, weight loss program tailored to your needs, and membership to the Facebook community complete with educational videos. I tried this out last summer, and it was fantastic. However, I didn’t have the health scare going on yet to make me stick with it. Now I do. This is an awesome way to go if you are ready to get serious about being healthy.

Basic: $30/month You get daily work-out videos in your email and you belong to the Facebook group. This is the service I’m trying out now.

With both options, there are educational videos galore on how to implement living healthier with nutrition, exercise, sleep, water, and taking care of yourself.

He also has lots of recipes you can download.

Here’s a link to one of his lessons.

I would love it if some of you joined the group with me. We can hold each other accountable. I love the idea of losing weight, but really my goal is simply to not have any more hypoglycemic episodes like the one I described above! We can encourage each other.

P.S. It’s been two weeks, and I’m already out of my “fat pants”! Yes way!

Click here to learn more about it or sign up for the free trial. *And yes, this is an affiliate link, which means I do get paid for signing people up. That’s an extra blogger perk. Blogger friends, be sure to sign up for that too!*

Photo on 8-17-16 at 9.06 AM #5

If I can do it, with all my geriatric problems, you can do it too. Wishing you all a fun and ACTIVE weekend! If you do sign up, let me know so we can cheer each other on!

kettlebell burn

Click on the bird above to learn more or sign up!

 

The First Steps That I Learned from My Nutritionist to Lower Blood Sugar

lower sugar

Today I met with a nutritionist, also known as my friend Lacy. I bombarded her with all the food questions I could think of, and I’m going to share the first, most doable steps that I learned. I’m writing them down NOW before I forget any more than I already have!

Lacy is a fellow home schooling mom. She also has four kids, so there’s no one who better understands what I’m up against. She fully knows the drill of the busy, action-packed life!

This sounds so silly, but the hardest part of ALL of it is just not drinking soda. Coca-Cola has me the same way Marlboro has the smoker crowd! Man, I love my sugary sodas.

Home should be like Heaven on Earth.

Good-bye, soda. We must break up. This hurts me more than it hurts you. Can I still have one on my birthdays?

This is hard.

But I can do it! God will give me what I need.

Let me sum up why I’m cutting sugar.

  1. I have high sugar and high sodium in my blood stream. 
  2. My head keeps getting fuzzy, like when you have a fever. Sometimes I have a fever, and sometimes I don’t. I also get headaches.
  3. We think that some of this is caused by my high sugar and dehydration.
  4. I also get mucous-overload from milk products. Talking with Alan and Lacy helped me to reach that conclusion, so I have got to cut back on the milk. Yogurt should not make a person choke on mucous and dry heave, apparently….
  5. Inflammation in my shoulder and right hip

Here’s what I’m trying to do about it:

  1. seeing a doctor
  2. I’m already getting chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy for my pain issues.
  3. Now I’m all about lowering the blood sugar and eliminating the milk products.

So here are the tips (Thank you, Lacy!) that I’m implementing this week:

  1. Instead of snacking all day, which is my current habit, I need to sit down and eat three square meals a day. Greatly reduce the snacking in between.

Why? I have a sugar problem, so in order for my sugar to be handled properly in my body, my body needs the carbs to be combined with fat and protein. This should help my sugar stay at a better level throughout the day, rather than having constant spikes from my carb snacks. And let me tell you, I have been the QUEEN of carbohydrates, which is what got me into this mess.

2. My biggest issue is that people love to tell you what NOT to eat, but they don’t tell you what TO eat. I mean, if you take away my bread, my yogurt, and my granola bars, what do I have left??

They always say, “Avoid processed foods, but what does that look like exactly??”

Lacy gave me some “what to eat” ideas. These are specific to my sugar and milk issues, but I think they would be good for anyone!:

lowering blood sugar

lima beans cooked in ham…I think these are okay. I didn’t ask.. FYI, if you boil butter beans in ham, there’s no way you won’t like them.

Vegetables…..like cut up fresh bell peppers of any colors, broccoli, carrots, salad, fennel, onions, garlic, celery, romaine lettuce, and on and on. Cook ’em, roast ’em, eat ’em raw, whatever.

lowering blood sugar

Mini peppers, so sweet and crispy yumminess, even raw.

lowering blood sugar

Alan’s amazing, fresh homemade salsa: tomatoes, lime juice, onion, garlic, parsley. I love this stuff.

Fresh or frozen is better than canned because of the added sodium.

lower blood sugar

The label on the can of green beans reveals the higher sodium level. Not horrible, just not as good as frozen or fresh veggies.

lower blood sugar

This steam-in-the bag frozen pack of veggies contains far less sodium.

Avocados! That’s one of my favorite foods anyway, so that’s good news. Eating some fats is important for me, as it turns out.

Meat…..steak, chicken, bacon, fish, ground turkey meatballs…

lower blood sugar

tiny bundles of yummy beef..They were supposed to be triangles…..Oh well, it was my first attempt!

I loved her ground turkey meatball idea because our family loves meatballs, but I never make them because they are a lot of work. We also like “hamburger steak,” so this is a cross between the two.

Lacy said to just put your ground turkey in the big skillet, sprinkle your favorite spices and salt and pepper on them, and as they cook, cut them into little triangles.

That simple. So yummy.

Confession: I used ground beef, but I think that’s okay.

Carb Suggestions: 

Trader Joe’s whole grain bread…I can’t remember what it was called exactly, and I should have mine in the context of a meal.

Sweet Potatoes (like half of one)

Fruit, but with other things

Beans or peas, which are also proteins

Milk Substitutes

Almond milk or coconut milk. Since our family has nut issues, we may go with the coconut. Some of our kids can still do regular milk.

I put the coconut milk in my coffee today, and that filled me with joy. I just can’t tell you. Coconut milk is naturally a little sweet.

Meal Plates

The plate should be half vegetables, 1/4 meat, and 1/4 carb.

Now obviously, she told me a ton more stuff. It’s still floating around in my head, but these are my FIRST STEP things.

Thank you so much, Lacy! My family thanks you as well!

This week my goal is to sit down and eat lunch with the kids, instead of standing in the kitchen picking on sugars. Once lunch is done, those boys are going to learn the new habit of helping Mom clean up lunch, and I don’t just mean their plates. I mean clean up the whole meal. Laura and Mary Ingalls did it, so I figure what was good for them is good for us too. hehe

Hope you are all having a fun weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

How I Lose the Pregnancy Weight

 

BEFORE

BEFORE

What I look like, every single time, right after giving birth:  This was a few days after I had Caleb. I weighed about 170 pounds in this photo.

And this is what I normally look like:

cryingJDArlington

That’s a 35 pound difference.  (After all, a few pounds actually DO belong to the baby.)

  This is not my favorite topic:  weight loss.  I don’t like discussing it because it often makes us feel bad. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m going through a heavy phase, hearing skinny people talking about their weight really gets on my nerves.  It can be a sensitive issue, and I like to make people happy, not sad, so I’m going to address this just this one time.  After this, you’ll read no more weight loss posts from me.

Being the vain person that I am, I do eventually always buckle down and get the baby weight OFF.  That may be easy and happen naturally for some of you.  If you gain 20 pounds, then what work do you have to do?  This post is for the women like me:  the ones that gain 40+ pounds no matter how hard we try to eat right and exercise.

I always feel like people come and visit me right after I’ve given birth, expecting to see me looking thin already.  Instead, they meet a chubbier version of April, that still looks pregnant, but the fact is that WEIGHT LOSS TAKES MONTHS, NOT DAYS.

When I’m pregnant, my body handles food and exercise completely differently.  It clings on to every bite I eat.  I have gained 55 pounds every single time, save this last time.  This time I gained 40ish.

By the time the baby is 9 months old, I almost always have it whittled off.  I can’t tell you how to get stick-skinny because I’m not stick-skinny, but I can definitely tell you how I lost 40-55 pounds.  ; )

Oh!  And you have to give the tummy circumference extra time.  After giving birth more than once, it may take you up to two years to get your middle shrunk back all the way, and you may always have a little extra skin.

APRIL’S RULES FOR WEIGHT LOSS:

1.  Breastfeeding.  If you can, at least give it a try.  It takes a while to see results, but eventually you should.  I have friends that didn’t have to do anything more than breastfeed.  I have other friends that breastfeeding did not help at all with the weight loss.  It definitely helps me lose the weight faster because it burns so many calories.

2.  DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A DIET PLAN.  Boooooooooo diets!!!  Don’t do it.  Crash diets do not work, and any weight you lose from the one month you’re able to stick to your crazy diet plan will just come back when you wake up and realize that that Nutrisystem food tastes disgusting.  (It does.  I’ve tasted it.)

3.  DO make permanent changes in what you buy at the grocery store, and try to get your husband on board.  (That’s the tricky part.)  One year after having Daniel, I realized that I had actually gained a bunch of weight while my husband was in Afghanistan for 6 months.  This was not pregnancy weight.  This was sedentary lifestyle weight.  I knew I had to get it back in gear.  First I read this book:

  She will drill into your head great fundamentals of eating right.  For me, it was a great reminder that I do not have to have dessert every day.

Then I made these dietary changes:

a. I cut out soda.  (except for a treat once every couple of weeks)

b. I stopped buying any junk food at all.  Not even Oreos.  Since that time, Alan has added back in buying ice cream (ugh).  I guess I need to get back on his case.  If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it.  It’s really that simple.

c.  I replaced the junk food with these snacks:

-greek yogurt

-yogurt covered raisins

-popcorn  (Read the label.  It’s not bad.)

-almonds

-100 calorie granola bars

-blackberries

-cheese

-cheese and crackers

-cereal

Pssssst!  You know all those articles that tell you not to drink juice, etc.  Well, okay, fine, it’s worse than water, but it has HALF the sugar of soda.  Also, coffee is extremely beneficial to your health, and it fills you up too!

4.  Oatmeal makes a great meal, any day, any time.  That wasn’t really a change, as I’ve always eaten oatmeal, but I just wanted to put that out there. ; )  It doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming to be healthy.  These health magazines make it way too hard with all the complicated recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of.  Instant oatmeal is just fine.

5.  EXERCISE.  Every day!!!!   I’m not talking P90X or Insanity everyday.  That is not my style.  Who has time for that?  Not a mom of lots of little ones!  You work in exercise wherever you can.  Buy DVDs that are 30 minute programs, or sometimes I just cut the long ones off at 30 minutes.    Just make sure that at least once a week you’re doing some kind of strength training.  I also do stretching at least once/week to keep back pain away.  Ever since my yoga teacher moved, I am a wreck.

WALKING IS GREAT EXERCISE!  Plus, it can give you alone time.  Whenever possible, as many days a week as Alan gets home before dark, I leave all the kids with Alan and hit the sidewalk for a 2 mile walk. Sanity time!  Remember!!  Jesus always went off alone to pray!  We should too!

In addition to that exercise, I walk my children home from school.  That adds in another mile, and when you add in pushing a double stroller, it is a significant work out.

If you really want to torch calories fast, RUN, or attend a strength training class.

My most successful weight loss was not related to pregnancy at all.  It was after that Afghanistan tour, when Daniel, my 3rd son, was a toddler.  I actually got to the point of no chubby middle section because I worked out really, really hard every single day.  I was doing a whole lot of running, and a little bit of weight lifting.

I will have to get my anemia under control before I can work out like that again!  I’m too tired to even think about all that stuff.  Meanwhile, I’ve still lost 45 pounds just breastfeeding, walking, doing yoga, and not buying cookies or soda!

6. DO NOT count calories.  Just eat somewhat healthy, and when you’re starting to feel full, you know, QUIT EATING.

7.  Sleep! Sometimes you might just be getting a late snack to stay awake.  Instead, assert your will power, and go to bed.

8.  EAT EVERY THREE HOURS, and duh, don’t skip breakfast.  Eating every three hours keeps you from getting that starving feeling that makes you pig out.  It also boosts your metabolism. Snacks should be small but nutritionally helpful.

9.  Oh yeah!  If you have a c-section OR even tearing from a natural birth, do NOT exercise until 6 weeks out.  Trust me.  I thought I could be all tough and carry around two babies at once, two weeks after giving birth, and there were busted stitches as a result.  Youch. You don’t want that. ALWAYS wait six weeks.

I wish I had more before/after pics to share, but I’m so vain that I always delete my ‘fat’ pictures…. However, I do not delete pregnancy photos, so here are a few of those:

baby1weight

baby2weight

baby3weight

See, I’m not one of those thin pregnant women….

As you can see, I never really posed for any ‘before’ or ‘after’ pictures, because the weight loss was always so gradual.  That’s the kind of change that lasts.  It doesn’t have to be complicated to live a healthy lifestyle.  Just get moving, and skip the non-nutritive foods at the grocery store!