Tools of the Trade

When I started trying to be a healthier me I had to make a LOT of changes in my eating habits and daily life. We all know I’m still a work in progress.

When I really evaluated my eating habits I realized I have no idea how much food I was actually eating. I was spending a good 10 hours a day in front of my computer, and most of that time I had food around. Months before I made big changes I thought i was trying. I’d started eating regular meals again. I was eating an entire can of soup- ones that for a normal serving was 300 calories and I was eating 2 or 3 servings. I was totally out of control. I got this mindset that if I never read a nutrition label or ate a lot of meat I was doing good. WRONG. I had to literally relearn everything about food. Along the way I created what I consider my tools. I use them almost daily!

1. Fooducate– it’s an app. I use android, but I’m sure it’s available for others too. You can set up all sorts of information about yourself. Like like carb, low sodium, GMO free. Then when you are shopping or searching your pantry you can scan bar codes. The site gives you a rating on how good it is for you. It breaks it down by a lot of factors and even offers alternatives that might be a better buy next time. It’s pretty neat and helped me understand that just because something says “natural”, doesn’t mean it’s extra good for you!

2. Measuring tools: Because I was so inept at figuring out what was correct I decided to measure everything. I’ve got a few different sets of measuring spoons and cups I keep on hand- collapsible for travel, hard plastic, and glass. I like variety, what can I say. This really helps me figure out if my tablespoon is really a tablespoon or if I’m just wishful thinking!

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When it comes to measuring I can find NO excuses not to have them on hand. This is basic kitchen 101, so you should already have something like these on hand if you cook at all. You can get really decent ones at the dollar store if you want your own personal set and don’t have a lot to spend. My spoons are from a dollar store and they are magnetic so they stick together. This means I am NEVER chasing them all over a disorganized drawer!

3. Weigh everything: Again- I had NO idea that I was eating triple what they saw should be a portion of meat, cheese, crackers, whatever. I’ve had a few different scales over time that I have used. I’m totally in love with the digital glass top flat scales. While scales with bowls build on are neat, I like to be able to weigh my food out flat and real get a feel for it. I snagged mine at Wal-Mart forever ago. I think it’s a Hamilton Beach one. It’s not fancy or expensive. One of the features it does have is, if you want to weigh something in the container you plan to put it in, you can place the empty container, hit a button and it will readjust back to zero so that you don’t have to try to figure in how much the container weighs!

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4. Portion control: While knowing how to weigh and measure is important, you need to know basic portion sizes. You can’t drag a food scale to every gather or outting with friends. It would be not only strange, but tedious. It helps to have a basic understanding of portions. Being able to compare a size to something you’d see in the real world helps! I’ve used tons of charts and guidelines to get it through my thick head.

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5. Shake it up Baby: I love shakes. I’m often making my shakes when others are sleeping so a blender hasn’t always been the best option for me. A long time ago I bought myself a blender cup- at the time I didn’t grasp how awesome it was. I LOVE my shaker cups now. You can use them for shakes, or any liquids like making dressings and such. I got my original one from Wal-Mart and it cost my about $8. I ended up going to TJ Maxx a few weeks later and found even better ones for $3!!! They offer a few varieties around now- a “whisk” ball which is pretty much a metal wire ball or the star which is a plastic cut out on the top of the cup. I like the star best for me. I use powders and yogurt in my shakes. I found that the whisk can sometimes hold a big old chalky clump inside itself. YUCK.

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They even have a shaker cup out now for people really on the go. You can load the cup with your liquid and if you aren’t ready to shake it up just yet, they come with a compartment on the bottom to place powders or ingredients. I need to get me one of those for days hubster and I are on the go!

5. Know your plate: I’ve showed you my silly kiddie plate before and talked about the sizer of plates I use. I don’t ever use a big plate any more. I have found that using kiddie sized helps me a lot. I have a full plate and feel like I’m eating more. I also like things that travel well. I’ve bought small and large plastic owls with lids for when I am on the go or just can’t finish something. I’m all about saving time and space. I hate having to wash dishes so I try to leave as little of a footprint as I can!

 

It also helps to have tools of the trade for workouts! I don’t have a gym membership right now. We are planning to move this summer and I don’t want to lock down on a place I may have to leave. I am considering ANy Time Fitness, but that’s a whole other story! In the mean time I keep a few tools around to aid in my fitness as well!

1. Weights. Don’t get stressed about having pretty weights or BIG weights. Use what works for you. I own both hand weights and Velcro weights. I like the Velcro because I can add them to my arms or ankles and be hands free. I like the hand weights when I go the shred because I can focus on squeezing them when I start to get tired.

2. Resistance Bands: I use a few different types! I did physical therapy for a whole so I have a few of the plain rubber pieces in varying thicknesses for different resistance amounts. I also use my MIL’s X band. I need to get more of these because they are easy to tote and fun to use!

3. Videos, dvds and You Tube: I use these all a lot. I’m always looking for new workouts that I can follow along to on busy, riainy or boring days!

 I would also recommend a heart monitor for true calorie burn, a floor mat, good shoes and socks, as well as various phone apps for tracking steps and distance!

 

Any who, these are all things that have helped me along the way! Feel free to share what helps you!

 

Looks like I may beg out of the Crohn’s walk this afternoon. It’s been non-stop rain. I woke up feeling crappy and tired. I had to give in and take an iron pill.I’ve been so weak and tired lately- the clincher for me was when I was able to draw on my face with a gold ring. There’s a fun sign of anaemia. Fun Days. Level one of the shred ends tomorrow- I’ve convinced myself Jillian Michael’s is a devil robot. Just sayin’

 

 

 

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