Tag Archives: 10 in ’10

10 in ’10: Week 8

It’s the eighth week of the 10 in ’10 Healthy Challenge, and I have rather been off reservation lately. I have a good reason though, not suitable for the public, but nonetheless despite not meeting the goals of the challenge during this period I have been meeting the challenge facing my personal life with great aplomb and courage and feel quite good about that.

Facing challenges are a part of life that no one likes to talk about. We all have our challenges and we all face them in different ways. A fun challenge like the 10 in ’10 Healthy Challenge is a welcome respite from the grim realities of the “real life”. I don’t mean to say that the 10 in ’10 Challenge isn’t a real challenge, it is a wonderful challenge and a worthy one. Given this, I look forward to regaining lost progress.

Instead of a recap of last week or the period of time where this challenge wasn’t in the forefront of my mind, I am instead going to look forward and set some goals for this week.

Fruit

I am excited to say that I have a gorgeous pineapple on my counter and it shall soon meet its destiny under my sharpest chef’s knife. Mwah hah hahhhh… I plan to snack on it, use some for my favorite BBQ chicken pizza and may blend some with a tub of skyr for an Iceland-meets-Hawaii smoothie.

Tomorrow is the farmer’s market and I plan to pick up some more fruit there. I love shopping at the farmer’s market and buying direct from the grower. Not only is it cheaper but the produce was just picked either that morning or the day before and therefore stays much fresher at home. I also put my fruits and vegetables in those green produce bags and find that they really help keep the quality of the produce better for much longer than regular plastic or paper bags. I was delighted to read that NASA sends produce to the International Space Station (ISS) inside these same green bags, how cool is that?

Sleep

Today I took a great nap, which really has been helping me deal with my sleep deficit. I have found a wonderful app through iTunes called Pzizz Relax. This little application has really helped me get the most out of a nap, even when I don’t feel sleepy. It’s more like a guided meditation with soothing sounds and music and when I’m done with a nap/session I really feel more refreshed and spunky. We like spunky!

Interestingly enough, having a nap does not make it harder for me to fall asleep at night. I am still tackling issue of insomnia but am not expecting a miracle or instant cure and appreciate every extra half-hour or hour that I can rack up each day.

Hydration

Thanks to my mOm for giving me several packages of wonderful green tea, I have been enjoying a few cups of green tea each day and brewed some for iced tea.

There is a popular Japanese brand of bottled iced green tea that is extremely delicious. It is also not cheap. One of the packets of tea I have is the same kind used in the commercial bottled preparation. I have the perfect sized square pitcher for my tiny rental-apartment refrigerator and it is a truly refreshing beverage. And, being Scottish, I like it that I’m saving $2.75 per glass. I even have a drink bottle that I use just for flavored beverages, which was a kind gift from the BlogHer’09 conference, so I can have my iced tea to go.

By the way, if you don’t already have one of these great metal drink bottles then I highly encourage you to buy two or more. Keep one for your filtered water, and one for your flavored drinks. I like to have a spare of each so that one can be in the dishwasher and I always have a clean fresh one on hand. The $12.00 or so you spend on the bottle will quickly be regained within a week or two of not purchasing bottled water. Further, many bottled waters that are for sale are also just filtered water (Dasani and Arrowhead for example) and if you have have a filter pitcher at home or have good tap water like we do here, then why pay up to $2.50 for a glass of water? There are many brands but please be sure to buy one that is not made in China as they have reportedly used BPA in the liner.

Exercise

My wonky ankle has finally healed up so that long rambles are now possible! Unfortunately I still can’t wear anything with a heel yet but I adore my hiking boots from Santa Fe and it is still winter so I can pretty much get away with wearing them all the time. There is nothing finer than wearing boots with handmade socks, they are so cushy and soft and outright gorgeous and these are my favorites:

Socks of Solstice
(my Socks of Solstice, made with cashmere and Merino yarn. I was so excited to finish them that I didn’t take a final photograph, but trust me, the toe on the second sock is likewise gorgeous and so comfortable.)

So that’s my plan and I am sticking to it. I feel good about having a nice plan like this, and for my gumption in facing difficult things in life, and for having the conviction to stick to the healthy challenge when many in my place would probably bail out. “They” say that having force of will or discipline or whatever you want to call it during difficult times shows the measure of the person. I may not have improved my physical health over the last month but I have improved my mental health by remaining strong and positive, and that is the greater accomplishment.

I hope you have a healthy week!

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10 in 10′: Week 4

It is Week 4 of my participation in the 10 in 10′ Healthy Challenge, almost halfway through and past the 21-day mark where an activity can become a habit.

Thanks to my dear friend G___ I have joined a “blitz” at blitzometer.com, Strive for Five as part of my quest to eat more (or at least some) fruit each day. I love vegetables so that part won’t be a challenge but this blitz helped to remind me about the fruit part. Thanks G-Man!!

There is something about daily accountability and having a coach that really helped me keep on track. At Blitzometer, whatever blitz you select comes with a clear description of your goal, an oath that you commit to the goal, a daily email reminder from your coach and an online form to complete to show what you did that day. Most of the blitzes are physical activity-related but the Strive for Five blitz is to eat five fruits and vegetables per day. Easy, right? Ha! It is still a challenge for me but I really enjoyed it.

I also joined a new blitz starting next week, the TV Workout, where you do stomach crunches and pushups during commercial breaks. I do like to watch television in the evenings when I am home, watching the mystery shows especially, and I promised my dear friend R___ I would watch the Amazing Race show with her (virtually). We will see!!

On the whole I did meet my daily goal of five servings of fruits and veggies. One day I totally cheated because I made those delicious stuffed peppers and had them for dinner and lunch the next day, but that’s not *really* cheating, is it. I discovered that my local Japanese grocery has its own organic farm for the bulk of their produce, and their fruit selection is naturally a bit more exotic to the Western palate. I tried two of the four different varieties of Asian pears, which are presented in a case individually wrapped in tissue paper and spongy protective socks. They are crunchy and juicy and delicious! I also found yuzu, at last. It is not a snacking fruit but one rather lauded for its aromatic peel, and tonight is is going to be transformed into my Granny’s lemon cake pudding (I will present the recipe in another post). Overall I get an A for this segment of my challenge.

Despite all the rain, I have been walking a lot, and one day clocked 2.5 miles, even though I was wearing clogs that day. It felt really good splashing about in the rain. The streets are quite pleasant when they are washed all clean. It’s like an obstacle course, walking for exercise in an urban environment in the rain, skirting puddles and blocked storm drains, hugging the buildings in spots here and there to avoid being splashed by waves of water thrown up by passing cars speeding through massive puddles and the ballet of keeping the umbrella from turning inside-out on windy corners. Sometimes I felt like Ichabod Crane with my long raincoat swirling around my legs as I stalked along, trying to extend my strides to stretch my muscles and ligaments. Fortunately, I have plenty of cozy knitted things I’ve made up to keep my head and neck warm, and my handknit socks to keep my feet ecstatically happy while pounding the pavement. For my walking goal I get a B+.

However, I give myself a big fat F this week for my sleep goal. Due to some circumstances outside of my control in my apartment building I have not been able to sleep more than 4 hours at a time, albeit restlessly. The problem is slowly being resolved and I hope to be able to have a restful night sometime soon. It can’t come too soon though as I am feeling decidedly haggard and ragged about the edges.

Overall, it has been a productive week, and for the purposes of this challenge, one of which I have enjoyed a new mindfulness.

Have a healthy week!

10 in ’10: Week 3

Week 3 just whizzed by, where *does* the time go?

Well, the bulk of my week was spent at the Fancy Food Show, where time operates in another dimension. I will recap the show another day but suffice it to say that while there few of the bazillion things I sampled would be called healthy options. I feasted on a hundreds of fancy cheeses, beer and booze, candies and caramels, hams and cured meats from every country, and caviar and foie. Oh, there was a little fruit in there, and fruit based things, and even flowers! The only things I ate outside of the show were a bowl of pho, the leftovers of the pho the next day and some guacamole and cervice on the final day. And Cuties of course.

The show was physically huge, both halls of the vast underground Moscone Center were filled with booths. They had signs up saying that if you walked through both halls in one day it was 10,000 steps or 3 miles. I don’t think they took into account the running two and fro in between the two halls that I did each day, to the press room (with friends) and the constant retracing of ones steps, where was that booth with the cute mozzerella guys anyway? And always looking for the ladies room when you are at the furthest point from it at any given time.

After the show was over I was conpletely pooped out. I did not eat. I just drank water with packets of EmergenC and snoozed a lot. It was pouring rain and being inside was really lovely and cozy and warm. I did a fair bit of exercises for my back to help it after the abuse it received from packing around huge bags of goodies from kind exhibitors each day. Oy. The rest of the week I cleaned the Roost from stem to stern, necessary work but hard on the extremeties, which now need a bit of rehab from all the repetitive motions. Double oy.

The best part of the week, as it relates to the 10 in ’10 Challenge, is that I was able to go everywhere I wanted and have a lot of fun without my gimpy ankle or other body parts bothering me overmuch, or at least I ignored it until I got home. I drank a ton of water (or other liquids, heh heh). And I got a lot of sleep for about 3/4 of the week.

Total grade: B-

I hope you have a healthy week!

10 in ’10: Week 2

A quick note about my journey along the 10 in ’10 Healthy Challenge.  This week I tackled a persistent problem of insomnia.

Everyone has been there at one point or another, flopping around like a fish on a pier, staring at the ceiling in a dark room wondering why on earth are you still awake, and feeling like you are wading through a vast pool of oatmeal the next morning.

My challenge has been to get a minimum of six hours of sleep every night, which is below the recommended level of sleep, but an extra hour or two over what I usually have been getting.  There are a myriad of health problems associated with insomnia (helpful information here), not to mention the fatigue and cranky factor.   Having tried over the counter remedies and prescriptions I have instead turned to a more positive regimen of destressing and better living  not through chemistry.

One of the biggest factors in helping me get better sleep this week has been to turn off the electronics by 10:00 pm or 10:30.  There have been some interesting studies done in Sweden and elsewhere showing the stimulus from cell phones, laptops, etc are a causor of insomnia, something to do with cell phone radiation, which is also present in your wireless equipment.  These scientists also have found that the visual stimulation of the television activates brain activity, so the late night tv shows are a big no no.   There are so many factors that cause insomnia though, and for me, addressing this one area has been very helpful.  And very hard to do!  Must.  Resist.  Checking.  Email…

So after I unplug, I brew up a tisane of lemon verbena (leaves steeped in hot water).  It is very soothing and relaxing, and after reading a few pages of my book du jour, I have been getting much better sleep this week.  I am not yet averaging 6 hours a night but it is improving, and one night this past week I slept 9 hours!

Trying to do these two things has had a modest and yet noticeable impact.  It seems so simple and I wonder why didn’t I try this before, but getting good sleep is a habit and as all of us know, it’s easy to get into practices that may be fun but not the best for your health. Such as checking the laptop for email and Twitter before bed, next thing you know time has slipped by.

My plan for this 10 in ’10 challenge is not to make drastic changes or even ambitious changes which may not stick, I want to use this as a springboard towards overall better living. I want to be mindful of what I am doing and what my body really needs.   Many people fail with a New Year’s resolution because making a change in lifestyle is difficult.  And why put additional pressure on yourself when there is so much pressure on you from the world already.  Frankly, with the sad news this week, it has been quite helpful to focus on the little things that will make a big impact for me down the road.

I hope you have a healthy week!

10 in ’10: Week One

Today is the end of my first week participating in the 10 in ’10 Health Challenge. My goals sound simple on paper but not in practice, apparently.

My goal to have a pleasant, long walk each day has been suspended due my ankle still not cooperating since the sprain before Christmas. I keep yelling “Heal!!” at it but so far it doesn’t seem to be listening. It is terribly boring to stay off it to let it heal but I have been behaving myself and it seems better today. And I finished my pair of Pyroclastic socks in the sparkly yarn by Dream in Color. And they are divine.

San Francisco normally in the winter has mild to chilly temperatures. This winter we have had more than our share of what we call a “cold snap” and this week was rather snappy. Drinking water in cold weather is just the pits but I have my giant glass of water with a packet of EmergenC first thing each morning and that’s a good start to keeping a full glass at hand at all times. This week the water consumption went pretty well and I have also started brewing green tea (a gift from Santa!) and keeping a perpetual pot going.

Sleep remains elusive but I am sure that will improve once I can stretch my legs without hobbling like a drunk dwarf. Three out of the seven days involved consumption of fruit, or six out of seven if you count the juice of a lemon in a Le Bourget or lemon drop cocktail counts. What do you think?? And, best of all, I have been having breakfast most days, which is a tremendous improvement. I’ve realized that when I have been overweight, eating anything at all made me feel guilty. But skipping meals makes one hungrier and therefore increases the risk of overeating. By examining my eating patterns I’ve concluded that I do eat healthily outside of the consumption of bacon on occasion and wine. So the next component is to increase my physical activity, which I hope the ankle affords me the opportunity this week.

Overall, this first week I give myself a C. Meh. It wouldn’t be called a Challenge if wasn’t challenging, right? Onwards and upwards and once more into the breach and all that.

Have a healthy week!

(and a special Happy Birthday to N___!!)

A Happy, Healthier New Year

I don’t make resolutions for the New Year because I feel they are a recipe for setting yourself up for failure. I am, however, a compulsive list-maker and have my master list of things I would like to do or at least work towards each day-week-month.

This last month Lori of Recipe Girl wrote about a 10 week initiative about getting healthier starting New Year’s Day, and it appealed to my list making side. Not only has improving my health been perpetually on my to-do list but after losing almost two months last year to Le Grippe Porcine being healthier has been top of my mind. I have found that the best way to accomplish a goal or project is to have set goals, have accountability and some support. The 10 in ’10 Healthier Challenge idea is that we state our goals for improving our health, write about them every Saturday and provide and receive support from the other writers who are participating. How perfect is that? I committed myself to the challenge, and off I go!

My goals for this challenge area all about getting back to the basics:
– drink more water
– get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep a night
– eat 3 or more small meals a day
– walk at least 2 miles a day
– eat more fruit

It sounds easy, right? I have been struggling with these basics for some time, however, part of a long-standing and erroneous mentality to take care of other people’s needs before my own. I skip meals and sleep because I am busy. I skip that longed for glass of water because it’s inconvenient to make the time. It comes down to a basic tendency that I will take care of myself *later* because now I have other pressing needs, whatever they may be. The truth of it is, though, that there is no *later*. I need to place myself first in all scenarios, particularly now after a severe illness. I still don’t understand my attitude towards fruit. A part of my brain believes that it is a special treat or a luxury. I wasn’t raised to think that way though and no one can understand it when I talk about it. I have been trying not to feel guilt when I have an entire basket of strawberries, just for me.

Regardless of the source of these issues and wrong thinking, my hope is that with the support and encouragement and mindfulness of this challenge I can work towards engraining these healthy habits into my daily routine.

Today is the start of Week One, and as I embark on this challenge I have had three glasses of water already, a light breakfast, snack and light supper and have two Cuties waiting for my dessert tonight. It’s a small start but after celebrating the demise of ’09 last night I feel like I am setting my feet at least in the right direction towards a great year.

To your health and Happy New Year!