Saturday, March 9, 2013

Getting Healthy: Thomas and Rachel Style

Hey yall!  I hope you're enjoying your Saturday!  Thomas and I are having a lazy afternoon on this beautiful, sunny Florida day!  It's been pretty cold lately, but today it's warmer so I'm sitting out on the porch with my kitty!

Today, I thought I would share about how the hubby and I are trying to be more healthy, since you're probably going to continue seeing recipes with substitutions and exciting captions like: Healthy!  Low Calorie!  Low Fat!

In the middle of January, Thomas decided he wanted to try to lose a little weight and just start maintaining a slightly healthier lifestyle.  Now, disclaimer: neither of us is insanely overweight, and we are not incredibly unhealthy to begin with.  But, he wanted to make a few changes, so of course, I jumped right on board so we could get healthier together!

He'd heard about My Fitness Pal from a friend, and since we both have iPhones, we downloaded their free app and began tracking what we eat.  Now, I won't go into a ton of details, though if you'd like some more information on My Fitness Pal, I would be more than willing to answer any questions I can.  There are things I really like about the app, and things I am not fond of, however, it is a really simple way to track your food intake and exercise.  And, it's free!  Who doesn't love that?!  Basically, the app allows you to scan the barcode of almost any food to log it, it also has an enormous database of restaurant foods, etc. to choose from.  And, possibly the thing I use most, is the recipe creator.  You can scan all the ingredients you use to make a recipe, put in the amounts, etc. and save the recipe to the app.  I love this feature because it makes it soooo easy to accurately track the food that we eat at home, since we don't eat out for every meal.

To get started with the app, you put in information such as: gender, height, current weight, goal weight, how many pounds you'd like to lose per week, lifestyle type (sedentary, lightly active, etc.).  Then, My Fitness Pal pops out the number of calories you should be eating each day, and you're all ready to go.  It also keeps track of nutrients like all the kinds of fat, carbs, sugar, protein, and some vitamins and minerals.

Here's the worst part of the whole thing:  the first week!  We honestly had no idea how out of control our portions were.  Obviously, this is a problem with America in general, but WOW!  I can't believe how many calories we were eating each day.  I also can't believe that I was not incredibly overweight!  So, the first week was horrible!  We were starving and grouchy because we had cut our calorie intake so drastically.  But, we started getting used to eating much smaller meals, and now, I find myself filling up so much more quickly.

That has been the biggest change we've made to get healthy.  Cutting down the portions.  If you can do that, you can lose weight.  Period, end of story.

But here's the tough spot... I LOVE dessert.  And when I say love, I mean that I could marry dessert.  I quite honestly wish that breakfast and dessert were the only meals of the day.  So, from the beginning, Thomas and I decided that we weren't going to cut out foods that we love because we could never stick to the plan if that was the case.  I know I would have quit within a week.  So, we still eat fast food; I still have dessert almost every night; I obviously still bake.  But, now I'm trying to make my recipes a little less fattening and have a little less calories.  But we definitely still eat unhealthy foods, we just eat smaller portions of them.

Part 2:  We've started exercising on a more regular basis.  We started out with just walking more.  But, then I went crazy, and we started running.  (And I'll let you all in on a little secret... Running really means jogging, and we only jog about half a mile or a little bit more.  We're slowing inching it up.  But I haven't run a mile since my freshman year of high school, so you can imagine that half a mile is a challenge for me.)  But honestly, this hasn't changed my weight nearly as much as changing the amount of calories I eat did.  I could probably still be losing tons of weight; however, when you add exercise into the My Fitness Pal app, you get some calories back since you burned some.  So I really just see that as an opportunity to eat a slightly larger dessert!

Tracking your calories and exercise does feel like a ball and chain some days, but Thomas and I have really been enjoying the changes we're seeing in ourselves and each other!  It's great to see tangible results so quickly since we created a plan we could live with and stuck to it.

I will say though, losing weight without a buddy would be nearly impossible.  There have been so many times I would have quit if not for Thomas.  Doing it with a friend gives you an encourager, a helper, a cheerleader.  It also really helps that we live together and therefore eat the same food.  It would have been really bad if one of us was eating second and third helpings when the other couldn't.  Talk about torture!

So, are you feeling inspired to try something new?!  Just so you know, my top spiritual gift is exhortation (encouragement), so I'd love to hear your story and encourage you in anyway I can!

I know it's corny, but if I can do it, you can do it!

Happy getting healthy!

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