jeneralities

Author Archive

Everyone has a different idea of what “healthy” means.  

For some, healthy weight means being model-thin, or below “overweight” on the BMI scale.  For others, weight doesn’t specifically play a part, it’s based on how they feel.  It could be based on energy, or looks, or how clothes fit, or shape.  

And when it comes to healthy food, healthy could mean low in calories or fat, low in cholesterol, high in vitamins and minerals or antioxidants, free of processed foods, free of animal products, or any number of different qualities.  

Some of us don’t give much thought as to what “healthy” means to us, but if mean to BE healthy, we should!

Advertisements
Tags:

I’ve noticed that some of my tastes are changing.  For example, I’d always considered white holiday lights to be boring, and preferred the vibrancy and fun of colored lights.  This year, however, I was surprised to notice that some white lights I saw looked elegant and sophisticated.  Where did that come from?

And gray walls?  Seriously dull.  At least, that’s what I used to think… and now I see that Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter that is supposedly <a href=”http://homediypins.com/2013/01/24/described-as-the-best-paint-color-ever-benjamin-moore-revere-pewter-must-remember-4/”>so great</a>, and sometimes… I like it!  I might never use it… but I would consider it now.

There are colors I’ve not liked and still don’t.  Not a big fan of orange, mustard yellow, lime green (most greens, really), and I really, REALLY dislike coral.  I bought darker red curtains for my living room, which is a newer acceptable color, and I’ve discovered I like Tiffany blue on walls in many pictures I’ve seen.

When it comes to wood, I usually like lighter, “natural” colored wood, or painted white.  I never used to think much of espresso-colored furniture or cabinets.  But recently, browsing Houzz, I fell in love.  IN LOVE.

I’ve never really cared for oak much, and like it even less lately.  Which is unfortunate, because my house is FULL of oak.  My kitchen and bathroom cabinets are all oak, and every door and every single inch of trim in the house is oak as well.  I just kinda dealt with it, since it looked okay enough, but… the more I look and think and learn, the more I dislike it.  (Also, as my dad pointed out, the upstairs trim actually doesn’t match the doors; they’re similar but close, and the downstairs bathroom door is unfinished and covered with toddler fingerprints, and… I could go on and on!)

On top of the oak, my kitchen counters and backsplash are a green laminate, with golden honey undertones.  The color looks great with oak… but boy am I tired of it.

Image

(This is how it looked before I bought it.  It is almost never this clean.)

But cabinets and countertops can be painted, as well as trim.  There are products like Giani Granite Paint and Rustoleum Cabinet Paint that can help, and some aren’t even that expensive.

It’s all so, so tempting.  I could go with the blue Giani and paint the cabinets white.  Or a white granite look with espresso cabinets (though that might make my white appliances look funky).  And I still want to redo the upstairs bath with deep blue on top and white on the bottom, adding some very thin shelves for shampoo and such behind the door, and fixing the cracking ceiling paint, and would probably paint the cabinets in there too… and and and… did I mention how tempting this is?

Who wants to help? 🙂

I’m not one who follows a lot of trends. I like what I like. Some things that are popular I like, some I don’t. Other than some holiday decor, almost all for Christmas, I don’t redecorate a lot. I have enough projects going on as it is! 😉

I’ve been seeing a lot of blogs admiring and duplicating items from Pottery Barn Kids lately, though, so I stopped in there to check it out. I have to say, I’m liking all the butterflies in the girls’ rooms; almost all of them have at least one. But I’m guessing they’re mostly there because they’re focusing on spring-time decor… do people really redecorate their kids’ rooms each season? If so, how do they find the money and time??

Tags:

I really don’t like working out. I hate sweating, and it makes me hungry and tired and thirsty. It usually makes my feet hurt and/or makes me sore, and I’m always tired as it is. And it takes up time and doesn’t seem to give a lot of gain — I feel like I should lose like 5 lbs per workout, which of course doesn’t happen. My stupid elliptical doesn’t keep track of my workout very well. It takes up too much time. And all this is just focusing on cardio here.

And while all that sounds like a lot of whining and excuses, it’s also a list of obstacles, some of which can be overcome. 

I’ve already overcome a lot of them. I had a treadmill once, and found that 5 minutes on the treadmill, even just briskly walking and not running, felt like foooorrrreeevvveeerrrrrr. Ellipticals, however, are not nearly as bad to me. Running hurts — every step feels jiggling and jarring, and I can’t see why so many people love it. But ellipticals (when in good repair…) are smooth, and much easier to tolerate, so that’s what I have. And the last time I used a regular exercise bike, the seat left me feeling a seat-shaped bruise for days afterwards (and I’m scared of riding regular bikes because of this), but I picked up a recumbent exercise bike at a garage sale for $20 last summer. Need to start using that one more, and also need to fix the foot strap that is broken — I didn’t notice it until I went to start using it, and it had been duct-taped once. I may see if I can attach zip-ties or else just re-tape it. 

My elliptical is supposedly a $1,600 machine, which is BS. It does have a long stride length, which is important to me (and I’m short… not sure how taller people use smaller machines!). The thing I don’t like about it is the “computer”. It does have a lot of different modes, but if I slow down too much or try to vary my workout by going backwards, it resets my workout, which is hella irritating. It’s supposed to remember this kind of thing, but so far, it doesn’t. (Supposedly if I use it enough, the batteries will keep a charge and remember settings, even between workouts. But I have used it as much as it supposedly requires and it still didn’t remember). But, I finally replaced the battery in my heart rate monitor this morning, which is a big improvement — it keeps track of my time and heart rate for me, so if the machine resets, I only need to reset the resistance level. 

So, I’ve got some acceptable equipment. Other arguments?

Tired. I’m so tired. All the time. If I go to bed earlier, I wake up before I’ve gotten enough sleep, which sucks. My little monkey has been waking up crying more nights than not lately, which doesn’t help. However, a lot of how I feel may be due to my recent eating and exercise habits — eating cleaner and exercising may well improve my energy level. I just have to GET there. And there’s no help for that other than just pushing through it.

Sweating. I hate being sweaty. It’s so gross, and makes working out feel even more like a punishment. Maybe this is because exercise was used as a punishment for me as a teenager, maybe not. I’ve been in regular working-out habits before and still hated the sweating part. Working out in January helps, though — next time, I should remember to crack the door next to the elliptical for a bit of outside breeze. I also have a small fan I could possible set up somehow, though I’m not sure how yet. Other than that, I just have to tolerate it. 

My shoes. I have bad feet in general — standing for any length of time hurts after about 10 or 15 minutes and becomes excruciating after about an hour. Walking or moving isn’t too bad, but shopping still starts to hurt after about an hour or so. Hopefully, this is in part due to my weight, and if I lost a enough, this could improve. Anyway, working out isn’t too bad, except that my current shoes, which I have only used for working out, hurt. One side of one of the tongues really digs into my foot, my toes feel pretty numb after a while, except for the right baby toe which feels blistered. I think the only solution here is to buy new shoes, and be more careful about choosing comfortable ones — though I did try these on and I swear they didn’t hurt when I bought them, and they weren’t cheap, they’re just not working. Soon.

Finding time shouldn’t really be that bad, considering how not productive I have been lately. The last couple of workouts, I’ve gotten up when the little monkey did, gotten into my workout clothes, gotten her situated eating breakfast with the TV on, and put my iPod on while I work out. She plays on her own while I shower most days anyway. My ideal would be to wake up before she does and be exercised and showered before she gets up, but I’m just too tired to do that so far. Hopefully that will happen.  

The other piece of equipment I find essential is that iPod. Putting music on and dancing on the elliptical makes it a lot more fun. The iPod itself is practically vintage — it’s a first-generation Nano from 2005. It does its job, though the battery only holds a charge for a couple of days. I may look into getting a newer model or some other mp3 player… I’d really like an Apple product that can do apps, since there are a ton of apps available for their products that are not available for my Android products… but that’s rather beside the point. (Though there might be some good workout apps for iPods…)

Anyway, it’s a work in progress, but at least I’m getting started. 

Tags:

I’ve been reading a lot of craft and DIY blogs and posts lately.  Now, it’s not for me to say what other people do with their blogs, but I gotta say… if a project takes several kinds of materials and you had them all already, that does not mean the project was free, unless you got them all from dumpsters.  Paper costs money.  Glue costs money.  I don’t happen to have the right kind of paper and glue and all the other materials involved, I will have to spend money to make the project.  

My goal when listing prices is to include the price I paid, how much someone else might have to pay, and how much of what was bought was used for the project — maybe I pay $4 for fancy glue but only use 50 cents’ worth… it’s all helpful to know and share.  Unless I wind up throwing it in the dumpster.

Tags: , ,

This blog is here for many things.  I plan on writing on a wide variety of topics, including food and recipes, DIY projects, parenting and activities for kids, and weight loss. 

This post is about that last one.  It is January, after all, with the time for fattening holidays behind us and New Year’s resolutions here.

I didn’t specifically resolve to work on losing weight, because I make that resolution almost every day.  Or I resolve to make that resolution.  Sometimes I resolve to work on it in a week or a few days or whenever I’m not tired, which is never.

People seem to think weight loss is some big secret.  I am no medical expert, but I have been on various diets since I was 12, and I’ve learned a few things.  

“How do I lose weight?” is not the right question.  The questions are, “How do I consume fewer calories?” and “How do I burn more?”  Other good questions are, “Why should I lose weight?” and “How should I measure my weight/loss/fitness?”

First of all, I think the main question to address is why, because this will guide you through what you wish to do.  I think the main emphasis with weight loss should be improving our health, but every person is different… some just want to look good in their wedding or on the beach (note that this can apply to any gender, it is not just women).  Being healthy, then, would place a lot of emphasis on exercise to burn fat, not muscle, and eating a balanced diet, preferably low in processed foods.  

Measurement should rely on how you feel.  Right now, my jeans are so tight that I am uncomfortable in them, even if I leave them unbuttoned and unzipped.  I could buy larger ones, but wearing them tight is a constant reminder of how badly I’ve been eating.  Some people monitor the scale daily to check their progress… others do it weekly, or monthly, or don’t even own a scale and prefer to go by how they feel and how their clothes fit, especially since some people find they can lose inches without losing weight.  

As far as the big questions, well, there are some easy answers.  Eat fewer calories.  Exercise.  But is that it, and how?  

Consuming fewer calories is generally easier to understand.  Eat foods containing fewer calories, and/or eat less of them.  Eating foods that keep you full longer will help you eat less often.  Being a little hungry now and then is okay.  

Burning calories is a bit tougher.  Exercise is the obvious, including both cardio and weights — not only does cardio burn calories but it is good for your health, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn all the time.  Some of us have an easier time burning calories than others for genetic or other biological reasons.  My body seems like it could gain weight on nothing but veggies, even with working out…  There are little things you can do — I’ve heard that drinking ice water burns more calories than room-temperature water, because your body has to expend energy warming the water, which makes sense.  Probably not a big difference, but every little bit can help.  

And I’ve heard a ton of other things too… there’s a lot of confusing information out there.  Eat before you work out.  Don’t eat before you work out.  Eat this magic food after you work out and nothing else.  Sugar substitutes are great.  Sugar substitutes are garbage.  I think there are so many conflicting ideas out there because either they don’t make that much of a difference, or they work differently for different people, or both.  

And, there are a few ways to eat food but not get the calories from it.  Three that come to mind are the weight loss supplement Alli, which blocks the absorption of some of the fat you eat so your body doesn’t consume the calories, laxative abuse, and purging — as in bulimia.  The last two are definitely not healthy choices.  

The bottom line, I think, is to aim for a healthy lifestyle.  Fads and crash diets are not only generally unhealthy but hard to maintain, because you go crazy feeling deprived… the best diet is one that you can maintain, which may involve a “cheat day” or meal every week so that you don’t feel like you can’t enjoy life too.  Generally, eat healthy foods and eat them sparingly, make time to exercise, work in little ways that you can burn a few extra calories, and watch what happens.  

I’m starting today.  I’ve got quite a bit to lose, actually.  And if I give up?  I have to start again.  And again, and again.  

Right now, I have to get off the couch… which is a little challenging right now because I worked my legs pretty good this morning!

So I started this blog in May of 2012.  I actually wrote a long entry a few days after May 9th, but then somehow hit a wrong button or something and it disappeared, which was pretty discouraging. Then I got busy with school, and then I got a job for a few months (while still doing school in my spare moments, I’m still not sure how I juggled everything), and then school stayed busy and I was pretty fried, and then the holidays happened, and… yeah, here we are.  

I gave up on making much of New Year’s resolutions in the past — my resolution last year was to floss more, and didn’t even do that, and some years I’ve made none at all — but this year I’m making a few.  

One of them, which may be obvious by the fact that I am typing now, is to use this blog.  I’ve been wanting to, and writing entries in my head, but have failed to get to the keyboard, until now.  

Another is to take more pictures and videos.  There have been months where I’ve taken very few photos and no videos for the sole reason that my daughter’s hair was a mess — she’s got pretty crazy hair, and it takes a squirt bottle and a lot of brushing/combing to tame it, and then it often winds up a wild mess again in a short time.  She’s not a big fan of the squirt bottle, or holding still, so I often wind up only taking the time to make it look half-decent when we’re going somewhere.  And then I’m too ashamed to take pictures of her activities and cuteness.  Or the house is a mess and I’m ashamed of that.  (I could resolve to spend more time decluttering, but it’s just not one of my priorities.)  No more!  

The last resolution is a smaller one, but can also be assisted by blogging about it:  I want to freeze more ready-to-cook and already-cooked meals.  Done properly, this should result in less time spent in the kitchen, and also decrease our reliance on quick but not terribly healthy meals such as hot dogs, grilled cheese, and Taco Bell.  

There are other small resolutions:  I’m drinking out of wine glasses more, because I enjoy it, even if it’s just water, and I have half a million candles that I should actually light more often.  And goals such as being a good mom and helping my daughter grow, doing projects around the house, trying new recipes, and working hard at school are ongoing, not just for the new year.

So… here goes nothing!

Tags: