#HealthyNewYear

Happy New Year!!!

Did you survive the holiday frenzy?  I will admit that for the first time in a number of years we had a very calm and relaxed holiday season.  Celebrations were spread out enough to not cause a raucous.  The new year was rung in quietly with friends, kiddos and an entertaining evening of cards.

…and the best news…  my pants still fit!!!!!!!

I did it.  I managed to get through the months of November and December, into January WITHOUT gaining any unnecessary weight.  I will admit there were a few pound of water weight gained, but it was somewhat unavoidable with some of the dinners attended.  The water weight is much easier to get back in control of than actual FAT weight gain.

How did you do with #55milesinDecember?  Did you hit the goal?  Were you able to get outside and move that body?  I came close to thinking I wasn’t going to make the mark.  A few unavoidable obstacles, engagements and errands kept me from my treks, but I slid in with just over 60 miles for the month.  PHEW!!!  I’d love to hear how you did.

Remember when I told you about one of my new adventures with the Kansas Health Foundation as a #SpokesMom?  I’m still at it and really enjoy sharing my personal health journey, tips and recipes with other Kansas parents.

Our assignment for the month of January is to share how we’ll be making 2015 a #HealthyNewYear.  What will we do to change or implement new healthy habits into our lifestyles?  What can we recommend to other parents?

Well, I just happen to be long winded enough that our Kansas Health Foundation liaison asked if I would write a blog post about my recommendations and ideas.  LOL!  I was happy to oblige.  So, for those of you who may be new to my page…  WELCOME!!!

Soooo…. What am I going to do to make 2015 healthier for my family….????

Honestly, I’m going to keep doing more of the same things I’ve already been doing, but MORE.

Last month I told you about Barilla’s Veggie pastas.

veggie pastaI’ve been buying these and using them in my own dishes and in just a few family dishes.  A friend just found the spaghetti at one of our local stores and picked up a box for me.  My goal is to completely replace standard pasta with these.  My kids don’t have to know that they’re full of veggies.  All they’ll know is that they’re fun colors.  I LOVE a good fake-out!!!

Speaking of fake-outs… My other tidbit of advice for incorporating more veggies into our diet is by “sneaking” them into meals where they’ll never be detected.  Whenever I make my homemade pasta sauce I always grate a carrot or two and at least a half of a zucchini.  I saute them while I brown my hamburger.  They cook down just enough and blend in well enough to almost be hidden by the red tomato sauce.  My kids never know the difference.  Another great place to add these shredded wonders in in meatloaf, meatballs and any handful of casseroles or soups.  Chopped mushrooms can be disguised in any number of creamy sauces/casseroles.

Salt intake is a constant battle for me personally.  My body can’t process it and in turn holds onto any and all water if I consume too much of it.  I take medication to help control it, but that’s not enough.  I have to be vigilant in monitoring my intake.  In learning about my own challenge with the salty wonder I’ve come to the realization that salt is in EVERYTHING and the amount we consume on a daily basis is ABSURD.  I’m working on converting my family to a lower sodium diet.  This hasn’t been the easiest of tasks because, let’s face it, salt tastes GOOD!

Here are a few places that I’ve started.

salt freeI’ve been using Lite Salt for years.  We’re so used to it that using regular salt is overwhelming.  After doing a little label reading I found that the FIRST ingredient in most seasoning blends is salt.  Not good.  I recently discovered McCormick’s Pinch Perfect Salt Free seasoning blends.  I REALLY like these.  The Garlic & Herb is pretty stellar.  Another place that’s EASY to cut back on salt is with canned goods.  Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand has started making salt free versions of most of the their canned beans, veggies and tomatoes.  “But they don’t TASTE as good…”, you say.  Okay…when was the last time you cracked open a can of beans and just started eating straight out of the can????  I didn’t think you could recall it.  If you’re adding these things to recipes you’ll NEVER miss the salt that they don’t have.  You can more reasonable salt your dishes this way.  By using these instead, I can control the amount of salt myself, in turn, not overdoing it.

Okay, I have the diet part down, so what about fitness???

If you’re new to my blog I’ll tell you about my movement challenges.  Back in September I decided to exercise more regularly.  I needed to bee more accountable for what I was trying to teach others.  I started going on daily walks.  I discovered a monthly mile challenge through an Instagram feed I follow.  I walked over 40 miles in October starting late in the month and completed November with 64.59 miles!!!  I wanted to do a challenge in December, but got impatient waiting for my IG friend to post one so I made up my own and spread the word to my own followers asking and encouraging anyone and everyone to join me.  I challenged myself and everyone else who wanted to join to #55milesinDecember.  December was a tough month.  Lots of hustle and bustle, engagements, parties, errands and a few days of bad weather kept me from my daily treks.

I want to tell you that when I started these challenges I was simply a walker.  I would walk 2.8 miles on my home route.  When I couldn’t fit a walk in at home I would walk on my lunch hour through the neighborhood my office sits in.  I made it a habit of walking AT LEAST 6 days a week, trying for all 7.

I have ALWAYS dreamed of being a runner, but I never felt that it was something my body could do.  I live in the country which means gravel roads for my walks.  I’ve always been preached to that running on gravel is a huge no-no.  …and I never felt like I could get the breathing right.  My lungs always felt on fire and that horrible “irony” taste was always in my mouth.  BLECK!!!  By November I wasn’t just walking, I was POWERWALKING.  I could walk my 2.8 miles in an average of 33 minutes.  That’s right at 5mph!!!  I was doing well.  Randomly, I’d run a small portion of my route, no more than a half mile at a time and certainly not every day.

Then, about two weeks ago I decided to change my route.  It’s a smoother road and more level, no hills.  One evening I just started running.  It felt amazing!!!  I wasn’t stumbling over the gravel.  I wasn’t twisting my ankles on loose rock.  I was OWNING the road.  I broke up the running throughout the trek and when I added it all up I had gone just over a MILE!  A few nights of that and I pushed myself further and ran a SOLID mile, uninterrupted!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m now up to a mile and a half of my 2.8!!!!

I. AM. A. RUNNER!!!!!!

30milesinjanuaryI NEVER thought I’d say that.  If you would have told me in September that I’d run a mile and a half non-stop WITHOUT the awful burning lungs and iron mouth I’d have laughed hysterically!!  I can say without the shadow of a doubt that I have NEVER felt this good!!!  I can’t believe how much these challenges have changed my life.  Setting small monthly goals like these makes getting to your ULTIMATE goal seem more attainable.

MY goal for 2015 is to RUN an entire 5K!!!!  I’m halfway there.  I have a race I’m working toward in May.  It’s MINE!

BECAUSE of how awesome I have felt by doing these, I’m starting my own challenges on my Instagram feed.  ANYONE is welcome to follow me @alishagibb and share in their own journey.  This month I decided to keep it simple for anyone who might be getting started on their own health journey.  You don’t have to run.  You can walk, bike, hop on the treadmill, ellypitcal or any other machine you’d like.  Just MOVE that body. I encourage anyone that wants to join to post their progress using #30milesinJanuary on Instagram or Facebook.  I LOVE to cheer everyone on and encourage changing lives for the better!!!

So there’s my #HealthyNewYear advice for 2015.  Try sneaking those veggies in and I challenge you to cut back on your salt, as well.  I REALLY hope you join me for my movement challenges.

May your new year be blessed with good health and fitness!!!!

 

Peace, love and NEW journeys!!!!

 

***Disclaimer: Barilla, McCormick, Morton and Wal-Mart have NO clue who I am.  I am not paid to endorse their products.  …I just really like them.  I’m sure there are many other brands/options out there offering the same healthy benefits.

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Under A Rock?

First and foremost….

Please forgive me for my RIDICULOUS absence from this blog.

I have not been hiding under a rock, although there were days when that would have been a desirable place to be.  I didn’t go into hiding.  I didn’t come down with a bone stiffening ailment preventing me from typing my life and thoughts to you.

To put it simply… life just happened, as it does to most of us.  The past few months have been AMAZING months.  While I’m completely worn out and have had little time for the little things, I have been doing AWESOME stuff.

In September I partnered up with The Kansas Health Foundation to be a #SpokesMom.  A group of Kansas moms were asked to join together to promote healthy living and eating through our blogs, and social media sites for other parents in Kansas.  It’s been a really fun experience.

With that new adventure came a few realizations for myself.  I wasn’t holding myself accountable enough for what I was putting in my mouth and my physical activity.  If I was supposed to promote health and wellness I needed to be better about LIVING it!  I told you in the beginning of October that I was detoxing my body of processing sugars.  That was one of the hardest things to do.  I CONQUERED it!  For the entire month I only ate sugar 3 days of the 31.  Each of those were days I planned to allow myself the indulgence for whatever special occasion it was.

I got back on track with my food logging on myfitnesspal.com and started watching my salt intake much better.

…and I started my new addiction…

POWERWALKING!!!!

Powerwalk 2I started following this really inspirational and amazing gal on Instagram… Marta @hausofgirls_fitfamily.  She’s the one who inspired me to do the sugar detox.  She and her 3 sisters do 14 day sugar detoxes with anyone who wants to sign up.  While I didn’t sign up with them I took their advise and knew that I could do it on my own.  Marta also had a walk/run challenge in the month of October called #30milesinoctober.  The only prize for meeting the goal was your own self VICTORY and joy. I started it a little late in the month, but knocked out 43.75 in 21 days!!!!!

I felt AWESOME!!!  So, guess what?  When Marta set the #44milesinnovember challenge I took it head on!!!!  I started posting on Instagram and my personal Facebook page about my workouts to try to inspire others to join me.  It became my Kansas Health Foundation “thing”.

Powerwalk 1I tried extremely hard to not let ANYTHING become an excuse NOT to get out and move.  I went to my parent’s house for a weekend with my siblings and family.  I got up each morning and went for a 4 mile walk.  I kicked that hill’s tail two mornings in a row!!!  I’ll fully admit that it kicked mine in return.  I mean, my hind end and legs were SORE for a few days afterward.

When I’m not able to walk at home after work (which is quite often) I walk during my lunch hour.  Thirty minutes is all it takes to get a good workout/walk in.  I just pack a gym back with the appropriate clothes and shoes, deoderant and body spray.  It’s a REALLY great stress reliever in the middle of the day.  It’s amazing what those endorphins will do for the soul.

Powerwalk 3I REFUSED to let the cold temperatures be a reason NOT to exercise.  It was 22° with a 30 mph north wind on this particular day.  It stung.  I won’t lie, but it DROVE me to get my butt back home.

Powerwalk 5I even took on a bit of rain and the dark after a six hour round trip day in the car with my family.  I had been looking forward to my walk all day and the closer we got to home the colder the temps got and a steady light rain set in.  I was so close to talking myself out of it, but my heart had sunk.  I felt like I was really letting myself down by giving in to the rain.  I got in the house and my stubborn determination took over and I put my layers on and got after it.  The rain felt good on my face and the steady pitter-patter of the rain was soothing and rhythmic.  It was one of the best workouts I’ve had.  I felt AMAZING afterward.

In the midst of all of this I joined a Facebook group of local gals in a fitness/health/weight loss support group.  Each day is dedicated to a specific theme… Motivation Monday, Terrific Recipe Tuesday and so on.  We’re each supposed to post daily.  The group motivates and lifts each other up, giving advice and encouragement.  It’s been wonderful!  We each have awesome ideas and great motivation for each other.

The creator of the group posted a flier for our local Eggnog and Elf 5k Run happening during our community’s annual Country Christmas celebration, which was last Saturday.   I had never done ANYTHING like that.  I mean…. I ran track competitively in the EIGHTH grade…a million years ago.  But, that was as far as my competitive streak went.  I decided I was going to do this thing.  Why not?  I could powerwalk it.  I didn’t HAVE to run.  Right?  Right.

I will admit that there were several times, as the date drew near, that I had myself talked out of doing it.  It was REALLY outside of my comfort zone.  I’m pretty good at chickening out on things that I’m not exactly comfortable with.  I was REALLY close to calling it off the morning of…  I wasn’t feeling 100% that morning.  I’ve been working pretty hard at getting a cold for about a week now and that morning I could really feel it.

…but I got myself dressed and told myself that there was NO WAY I was going to let myself down or the girls who I had told I would attend.  I HAD to do it.

Powerwalk 7I DID IT, Elf socks and hat to boot!!!!!!!  I powerwalked the whole thing.  …and I wasn’t even the last one in.  I beat several of the walker/joggers!!!!  At the beginning of the race when I was “walking” one of the volunteers teased me that he could keep up with me since I was walking.  I just smiled…  Then he was at the halfway checkpoint.  He laughed and said, “I take that back.  There’s NO WAY I could keep up with you.  You walk way too fast!”  I just smiled, raised my eyebrow at him and waved as I huffed and puffed past him.

I was really proud of my accomplishment.  I hope it’s just the beginning of a lot more races/challenges.

I’m REALLY happy to report that I ended the #44milesinovember challenge with 25 total workouts and 64.59 miles!!!!

The best part of all of this is that the hard work has paid off!!!  I’ve trimmed back down.  The cottage cheese that was creeping back onto my legs is diminishing.  My waist is back in the range I like it to be and I just feel GOOD!!!!

I was hoping Marta would post another walk challenge for December, but I haven’t seen it yet.  Soooo….what do I do about it?  I make up my own.

How about #55milesindecember?  I think that sounds good.  What better way to battle the holiday bulge than BEFORE it attacks you?!  Will you join me?  Please?

Follow me on Instagram @alishagibb to see how I’m doing.

So, there you have it.  I really didn’t disappear.  I’ve just been focused on a few other things.  I’m hoping that I can fit this back into the craziness.  I really do love all of my readers and I know I’ve let you down.  Please forgive me.  It’s been all for good.

 

Peace, love and POWERwalks!!!

 

 

30-Day Challenges

I’m really NOT one to like working out.  I never have been.  I’ve reluctantly taken part, but have NEVER been one to enjoy it.  For a while now, I’ve been noticing friends posting about random 30-day fitness challenges.  I didn’t give them too much thought.  Not much thought at all, until it was time to start wearing shorts, that is.

I’ve never really liked my legs.  They’ve never been very toned or muscular.  …and now that I’ve hit the LATE 30-somethings, I’m really noticing some not-so-lovely features to the tone of my legs.  Soooo… after seeing a radio celeb, Miss Kellie Rasberry of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, post repeated about the 30-day squat challenge she was doing, I thought… I can DO this.

30-day-squat-challengeHere’s the challenge I’m doing.  Yesterday was Day 6….NINETY of these suckers!!!!  I did it!  I wasn’t sure I could do 75 on Day 3.  My legs were in so much pain after Day 2, I thought there was NO WAY I would ever be able to finish this thing.  I powered through the pain each time.  I started last Tuesday and I was walking like a crazy person until Saturday.  I really thought it’d take a few weeks for  my legs to adjust to the insanity I was putting them through, but I have to say that while doing the actual exercises is painful, I’m no longer in any pain throughout the following day.  I follow it up with lots of stretching and plenty of water.  I’m really excited to see if I have any noticeable results by Day 30.  I will say that even after a mere week, I feel stronger.

I was sharing my amusing pain stories with my girlfriend and fellow Foodie, Jennifer, at work.  We laughed at how ridiculous I felt for my funny “pain walk” and shared different ways of doing the squats.  She asked me yesterday morning how my challenge was going.  I shared my good thoughts and she proceeded to ask me if I wanted to do a 30-day ab challenge with her.  She’s kind of like me, if it’s proposed as a “challenge” rather than just exercise we’re more inclined to take part.  It’s our way of tricking ourselves into getting the job done.

So, I said SURE!  Why not?  My legs weren’t in any major pain any longer, I could torture another body part.  She asked if I wanted to start that day or wait until my squat challenge was over.  “Let’s do it!”, was my response.  She found our challenge.

30-day-ab-challenge-chartI have to admit that the squat challenge is going to be so much easier than this one.  My legs have always been stronger than my abs and I REALLY don’t like sit ups.

…but I got Day 1 whipped!  I think I’m going to be in some serious pain after Day 2 and even Day 3, but just like my legs, I think my abs will adjust and I’ll be on the road to a leaner mid-section.

When I’m done with this one, I think I’m going to try a planking challenge.  Unlike sit ups, I really like planking.  It’s a crazy good burn.

Do you want to do a challenge with us?

Come on.

I know you’re up for it!

I’m a pretty good cheerleader!!!

 

 

Peace, love and sexy legs!!!!

 

Frustration

Image provided by Google Images

I’m going to rant a little bit this morning.

I’m frustrated.

I have been DILIGENT with my calorie count, eating and food diary.  I even put the “bad” stuff on there, like the occasional chocolate or beer.  I don’t want to cheat because the only person I’m cheating is myself.  I’ve been faithfully keeping my calorie count below my daily max with the exception of the occasional days.  On average I’m below.

I’ve been exercising more regularly, at least 3 to 4 times a week if not more.

I’ve had will power and determination like I’ve never had before.

I want to look better and feel better.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be the best version of ME I can be.  I WANT THIS. 

So, you can understand my complete frustration when for the last two days I’ve gotten on the scales and it’s gone UP!!!  Both.  Days.  It’s only a pound and a half total, but….

Seriously? 

I know that muscle mass size to size weighs more than fat.  I DO know that, but with the lower calorie diet and the extra calories burned with the exercise I would think that the scales would still be going down.

Maybe there’s something I’m missing.  Maybe I need to be doing something different that I’m clueless about.  My body is NOT supposed to be stuck at this number.

So, today, I’m frustrated with it.  I’ve been doing this for 50 days, faithfully, and I’ve made progress, but today my esteem is losing a little steam.

 

 

Peace, love and scales.

Fajita Salad and Laughing at One’s Self

Last night was a night that I wanted something easy for supper.  It’s been a busy week and I didn’t want to “think” too much about meal time.

Nachos are a HUGE hit with my family, but NOT something I can indulge in on my new health plan.  Taco meat and tortilla chips are huge no-nos, but I didn’t want to stray too far from the “Mexican theme”.  Taco salad is another big fave for Grady and I so while the taco meat was cooking I thawed out some chicken breasts and came up with a healthier version of the taco salad.

Introducing…the Fajita Salad.

Can you believe this entire HUGE plate LOADED with salad is only 460 calories!!!  That INCLUDES the light sour cream and salsa that I don’t have on there AND the half portion of tortilla chips on the side for crunching over the top!!!!  I even added a little extra meat, five ounces rather than the usual 3 to 4. (I was a hungry girl last night!)

It was SO easy.  While you’re preparing your families taco meat simply saute onions and peppers in another skillet using non-stick spray.  When they’re nice and caramelized re-spray the pan and cook your cubed chicken seasoning it with chili powder, cumin, onion salt, garlic powder and oregano.  Cook until no longer pink. 

(These five seasonings will ALWAYS be found in my cupboard.  They are the foundation of ALL good Mexican food seasoning.  So long as you invest in these five you will NEVER need to buy those overpriced and overly salted seasoning packages again.  Trust me on this one!  Here are my measurements for two pounds of burger…1 heaping tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion salt and 1 teaspoon oregano.  That’s it.  That simple.  Trust me.)

Okay, now that lesson is over, back to the salad.  After you’ve assembled the families nachos and put them in the oven you can make your salad.  I used about 3 cups of iceberg lettuce, about half of the pepper and onion mix (the other half went on the nachos), 4 to 5 ounces chicken, 1/4 cup drained and rinsed black beans, 1/8 cup shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons light sour cream and a pile of salsa.  I never measure the salsa because in my book it’s a freebie.  Then crush about 6 tortilla chips over the top, mix it up and you’re ready to nosh. 

I’m telling you, the peppers and onions make this thing KILLER.  This was a LOT on my plate.  I was stuffed when I finished.

After I got supper on the table Grady was sweet enough to let me slip out and go for my walk/jog.  Yep, I did it again.  This time I did three legs of jogging instead of just two.  The last one hurt like hell, but it was the good hurt.  The whole time as my lungs were burning and my legs felt like they wouldn’t go any further I tried to picture in my mind what it is I want to look like at the end.  That goal drives me.  I’m heaving by the time I reach my “destination”, but I know it’s so worth it.

The last few days didn’t allow for a walk so I told Tucker that we were going to exercise at home.  He was REALLY excited about it.  Monday evening we went out to the back yard and started doing exercises that HE does in gym class.  I’ll tell you something…if you want to get a good calisthenics workout try kindergarten exercises.  My legs were ON FIRE!!!!  I don’t know about you, but it’s been at least 25 years since I’ve done the crab walk.  It might look easy for a five-year-old, but a THIRTY-five-year-old has a little tougher time.  Don’t get me wrong, I was laughing and having a great time with Tucker, but it was certainly a challenge. (And evidently a little embarrassing for my husband who was afraid the neighbor was going to see me…big sigh.)  Tuesday morning my muscles were SCREAMING!  And yes, this was when we were doing jumping jacks and my poor uncoordinated sweet boy just couldn’t get it right.  His momma couldn’t stop laughing.  I don’t know what was a better workout, the jumping jacks or the uncontrollable laughter.  We had so much fun that night that we did it again Tuesday night.  It was priceless.  I certainly paid for it again Wednesday with aching muscles…again! 

So back to last night…I did SO well on my calorie count for the day with the salad that I was able to reward myself with one of these…

A girl’s gotta indulge once in a while!

 

 

Peace, love and crab walks!

The Anti-Gym

I can’t stand going to the gym.  I’ve tried joining several over the years and just can’t get motivated once I get there.  There’s just something about walking on this stationary “thing” and going NOWHERE. 

No, I don’t like the gym.  We’re not friends.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like exercise.  I LOVE walking.  Growing up in the country I always had miles and miles and miles of open road that I could roam with so many beautiful things to see.  It’s always been my ideal form of exercise.

Time isn’t always on my side and finding the 40 to 60 minutes I need to travel the 2 to 3 miles that I like to go isn’t always easy.

I was getting fed up with not finding that time last week and decided one evening that the kids were coming with me.  I loaded Ella in her stroller, told Tucker to grab his bike and off we went.

It turned out to be one of the best workouts I’ve gotten in a long time.  Pushing Miss Monkey in that big stroller over the rough gravel and up this…

is one heck of a workout, not only for my legs, but for my arms!!!

When we get to the top we can see some beautiful countryside.

Who can possibly get bored with this workout when you have all this beauty and nature to see?  It’s the best time and place for me to center myself and focus on what my goals are.  If I’ve had a bad day this is my place to work it out.

And believe it or not…the other night when I REALLY needed to go by myself because EVERYTHING was a disaster at home (the drama included lots of dog poo and a cranky baby)… I jogged.  Yep…you heard me right.  I. JOGGED.  No, it wasn’t a lot and no, I didn’t “run”.  I’ve set my sight small to start out and am trying to work my way up, but it’s a start.  Yes, it hurt a lot.  I wanted to stop so many times, but I pushed myself and I felt so much better for it in the end.

I haven’t had the chance to jog again due to having to take the kids with me and the weather being less than desirable, but I DO plan to go again.  I’m, actually, really excited about it.

I’m SO glad I hate the gym so much.  Otherwise…I doubt I’d appreciate God’s gymnasium as much as I do.

Peace, love and gravel treadmills!