Can We Talk About Food?

First, I just wanna say thanks to those of you that reached out after my last post about John. I really, really appreciate it. I’m going to post the link to their GoFund Me account if anyone feels so inclined to donate. They are asking for donations to help with expenses beyond John’s wife medical bills. No pressure to give, but if anyone felt the desire, I wanted to offer it. Again, thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts and vibes. I hope his wife feels them!

https://www.gofundme.com/for-barb

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This is a weird post, I know. Feel free to skip this one if you need to. But I’ve been thinking a lot about food and nutrition lately! *lol*

Mainly, two things:

  1. I want to eat more vegetables.
  2. I’m contemplating becoming a dietitian or nutritionist (!!!)

Vegetables – In the last couple of years, I’ve become fixated on improving my health for a variety of reasons. After starting to follow a lot of healthy Instagram and Youtube accounts, I realized I definitely didn’t consume enough veggies. Honestly, as a society we don’t eat enough of them. What we do love though, is meat! I’m not saying we should give up meat. Not at all. But perhaps consuming less would be better for our overall health. I know for me, when I really focus on eating veggies, I feel SO GOOD! Like, seriously, evaluate whether or not you eat a lot of veggies. Try it for one day. Eat veggies in all of your meals and see how you feel. Trust, you will feel better at the end of the day. And I won’t get into how great all that fiber is for your body. #DigestionIsLife

Water – Do you drink water? How much? If you’re not getting a serious amount of water in your diet, you gotta do better. I know…water is boring. I used to be someone that NEVER drank water. I seriously would go a whole day without drinking even 8oz of water. Most days, I think I got in about 8oz, but I know for sure that when I was in my 20s, I could go almost *days* without drinking water. I KNOW! How horrible is that? #MinuteMaidJuiceWasLife

Now, I drink water all day. I’m still not a huge fan, but after seeing how drinking an adequate amount of water in one day made me feel, I’m definitely an advocate of it. There is all sorts of information about the amount of water you should drink daily. Some articles stick with the old “six to eight, 8 oz glasses a day”. While newer research says we should try to drink half our body weight in ounces. I go for the latter method. I go with this because after thinking about it, I do think someone who weighs more should drink more water. Our bodies are like 60% water, right? So it makes sense that if you’re 200lbs, you should try to drink 100 oz of water. I know that sounds like a ridiculous amount of water. But now that I’m doing it (or trying really hard to), it’s not as hard as you think. Seriously, I drink water from sun up to sun down. And now that I’m limiting my coffee drinking, I pretty much just drink water (with the occasional cup of hot tea). When I drink the appropriate amount of ounces of water for my weight, I feel AMAZING!! Since I drink so much, I can instantly tell when I haven’t had enough water for the day. I feel lethargic and a little…foggy? Also…if you suffer from bloating…WATER IS YOUR FRIEND!! I have made other changes to my diet that contributed to always feeling bloated. But now, if I don’t have enough water, I bloat immediately! Having more water solves that easily. And while I can just drink straight water, I often add lemon to it to make it go down “easier” *lol* Seriously, lemon (or any type of fruit…citrus is great, as are strawberries) really helps you drink it if you’re not into water. #LemonWaterIsLife

In a previous post, I mentioned reducing my carbs. I did more research and tracked my food for a week. So I’m ok with the amount of carbs I get per day. It really isn’t the amount, rather, the type that I needed to change. I eat a lot of starchy carbs (hi, potatoes!), so I’ve started switching out those for more greens and lower carb veggies. I’ve also been trying to focus on my protein intake because I definitely wasn’t getting as much as I needed.

I think I mentioned this before, but 6 months ago, I went to the doc and had some general labs run to see how the ol’ cholesterol, blood sugar and other things were doing. Well, much to my surprise, my blood sugar, cholesterol and thyroid were all a little bit high. Luckily, I didn’t need any meds, but I needed to work on it. My doc recommended I start taking fish oil to help with my cholesterol and he prescribed Vitamin D (that was low as well). He also told me to keep exercising, specifically cardio. (I really wasn’t doing much cardio, just strength training.)

Well, this past Monday, I went to the doc to get an update on new labs I had run. Everything is MUCH better! My blood sugar was high and now it’s normal! My thyroid is fine too. I still have to work on my cholesterol. It did go down, but still needs some work. My doc seemed impressed. He said that whatever I was doing, I need to keep it up. Basically, I shifted my diet to include more veggies, swapping in more greens and lower carb veggies. I’m trying to really watch my sugar intake and have lower sugar fruits. And I’ve stepped up my cardio game to 30 min/3-4 days week. I usually ride the bike (regular, upright bike), jump rope and/or do the stairmaster. For ex: I’ll bike for 20-25 min and then jump rope for 5 mins (trying to work my way up though). Or I’ll do the stairmaster for 15 mins and then bike for 15 mins. My legs are looking GREAT! *lol* If any of you follow me on Insta, then you get a better idea of what I eat. #FoodPicsAreFun. I’m really, really happy that the changes I made actually worked!

Guys, seriously, we’re all getting older! Our bodies aren’t the same as they were back in our 20s where we can eat everything and get away with it. I know, it’s tough to eat well and exercise. I struggled with it too. I love a good burger and fries and I loovvvve dessert! And occasionally, I still have both. But I know I can’t eat like that all the time and expect to be in good physical shape. I am surprised though, that my cholesterol was high, given that I eat pretty damn good. If I’m getting in as many veggies, fruit and overall good stuff in my body, then I can’t imagine what my body was going through when I used to eat fast food twice a day! (Yeah, I did that. No lies. I was living that “Super Size Me” life for like a year. So bad!)

*steps on soapbox* Prevention is everything guys. If you haven’t gotten checked out in a minute, do it. Go see what’s going in your body. I never thought at this point in my life, given how I eat, that some things would be even a little high. I’m glad I know and glad that I can do something about it and not be put on any meds. Not that meds are bad…if you need them, then you need them. But for real, we can heal ourselves with food! #FoodIsLife *steps off soapbox*

Let’s get fit and healthy, guys!! Let’s live forever! *ok, not forever*

-t

p.s. I did a little research about becoming a nutritionist or dietitian and looks like there isn’t an “ACEND-accredited supervised practice program” near us. Well, I could go to Howard, but the tuition is ri-donk-culous. I wanted to do something online, but Howard only has in-person courses. I have to do more research. I don’t mind going to classes, but I’m not driving far and wide to do it. AND, cost would be a big factor. I could take a class at a time though to keep it more affordable. If anyone has a friend that is a nutritionist or dietitian, holla. I could use more insight. Gracias!

Prayer Is Everything

Today, I learned that a dear colleague and friend’s wife was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’ve been broken about it all day. I can’t even believe it’s real. I’ve been praying her to be healed all day.

My colleague, John, is the most amazing man. We worked at Michigan together for 6 years (two of those years was when I was an undergrad). I can’t say enough great things about John, but one thing I will say is, he’s the sole reason that I registered to vote. Here’s a little story:

Back when I turned 18, I was not one of those kids that was excited to finally vote. I really didn’t care at all about what happened in this country. I don’t know if you know anyone personally like that, but now you sorta do. I was that person. I didn’t think what the government did affected me. I don’t think I was unlike many 18 year olds though. Maybe some of you were like that. I just felt like, the government is shady and I’m not going to get involved by voting. (We clearly have people like this today and thanks to some of them, we now have the Orange Idiot in power.)

Well, fast forward to when I was working at Michigan. I don’t even know how the conversation came up, but John and I started talking and before I knew it, he was giving me the lecture of my life. Since my memory can be crap at times, I don’t remember word-for-word what he said. All I know is, he spoke to me in such a way that completely changed my mind about voting. I DO remember one thing he said and this is what got me. He said something along the lines of, “Think about your ancestors and how they fought for your right to vote.” He said, I should take every opportunity to continue what they fought for. John is white, by the way.

Now, those words might offend some of you. In fact, these days, if a black person heard that from a white person, I’m pretty sure that someone would be offended. #EveryoneIsOffendedAllTheTimeNow

But I wasn’t offended at all. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had NEVER thought about it like that. Like I said, I was young (then 22) and just didn’t believe that the government was ever doing anything that would affect me directly. I didn’t care what they did because they always seemed to go back on their promises, etc. I just felt like, “Ugh, why bother?” I’m just being honest. I didn’t give two craps about voting, the government, etc. But I had that talk with John… and he really changed me. I will forever be grateful.

Anyway… John is super great. Like, seriously one of the greatest human beings on this Earth that I know. Not only because of the story I shared, but just in general. I often would go to John to talk about personal things going on in my life. We talked about basketball a lot, too. (He went to Indiana for undergrad and grad.) We also took the same bus into work. 🙂

To hear this news today….I can’t help but think, “Damn, God, why!?” Yeah, I’m gonna say it: John doesn’t deserve this. Him and his wife have a 13 year old son. (I can’t believe he’s 13!) His wife had him later in life because they tried very hard to conceive but couldn’t until…well, until they did! Our office was ecstatic for them. Seriously, you would’ve thought WE were all having the baby! *lol* His wife would come into the office from time to time and she is just the loveliest woman. So cool and down-to-earth. They are just perfect people to me.

I know things happen as they should in life. But damn, I don’t understand why some things have to happen to the nicest, greatest people.

Thankfully, I believe in a wonderful God who can do anything!! I’ve been praying all day that he heals John’s wife. So if any of you pray, please send up one for me today. And if you don’t pray, send up all the love and light.

Thanks 🙂  And sorry this is a blog completely out of left field, but I had to write about them because John is family to me. And family is everything. Prayer is everything.

t

Let’s Get Updated!

Hello again!

It’s been a MINUTE, hasn’t it? I’m always in the mood to blog and then I start doing something that takes my attention away from it. So, my bad. I’m really going to try to do better. (Where have we heard that before, hmmm?) 🙂

Lately, I’ve been working on my store and trying to come up with new designs, etc. My challenges right now are, coming up designs that men will wear. I don’t want to be overly girly/feminine, but I can’t help it because that’s who I am. Well, I’m not super girly, but my mind just tends to go to that place when I think of designs. Anyway, as I’m working on designs/brainstorming, I’m starting to come up with more inspirational designs. And that’s making me want to switch up my whole store. But I’m going to try and incorporate the inspirational designs with the original thought of my store.

To recap: I created my store,”Unidos” as a way to help people feel empowered in this crazy political climate. I mentioned before that while I’m not against protesting or anything of that nature, I’m not really the type to do that. Nor am I one to really get involved in an organization. BUT, I wanted to DO something. I don’t know… I guess in some cases, I want to just be a leader and start something myself. It’s weird, I know, but that’s just how I feel about this particular situation. So I thought about it and came up with the store. PLUS…bringing in some cash is always a good thing over in these parts, feel me? 😉

Anyway, if you haven’t checked out the store in a while, please do:

www.zazzle.com/unidos

I’ve got some cute stuff up there. And fellas…I’m working diligently on coming up with more items for you!! If you fellas have suggestions, I’m always open. Leave a comment below. That goes for you, too, ladies! Suggestions are always welcomed! You can comment here on the blog.

What else has been going on…

  1. Hair – Random hair update. I’m going to try and grow my hair out for a while. It’s so looooong and I can’t stand it. But I think I’ll try to grow it and see what happens. I need to color it BADLY! I have so much gray. Ugh. I’m up here looking like Barack after the first few years. It’s not cute. Too young to have this much gray hair! Plus, it just makes my hair look dry. 😦 I don’t know what color I’ll dye it. Probably black. I don’t know. I just need some color on it FAST!
  2. Moving – We’re going to be moving this year to a bigger apartment…or maybe a townhouse. We don’t know. We started hunting this past weekend (we’ve already been searching online though). We’ve literally seen so many apts. I feel like we’ve seen every apt in the NoVa area. I mean, that’s clearly an exaggeration, but we’ve seen a LOT. Most likely, we’re going to move further west of where we are now, so we can get the bigger space. Apartments are so expensive, even the further away we are from DC, which makes no damn sense. I sound bougie saying this, but we’re accustomed to a certain life now and it’s HARD to downgrade. But fingers crossed/prayers up, that we find something. The lease is up in July, so we are ahead of schedule.
  3. Passport – I FINALLY applied for a passport!!! YAY! I can’t wait to get it.  I just received it yesterday! I know, I’m nearly a 40 year old woman and I’m just now getting one. Well, it’s partly because I haven’t been in a position to travel abroad. The other part is due to sheer procrastination/laziness. So, yeah. It’s on it’s way and I’m excited to finally travel abroad. We are planning a trip for THIS YEAR! Details later, maybe? 🙂

I hate to end here, but I’m going to work on the store. I thought I had more to say, but I’ve seriously forgotten everything! Hate it when that happens. Oh…just kidding. I just remembered what I was going to say…

4. Fitness – Just wanted to update and say I’m still hitting the gym pretty regularly. I’m going about 4 days/week. Sometimes 3/days, but usually 4 days. I’ve switched up some things recently.

a. I’m doing more fasted cardio (fasted cardio = no food before cardio). I’m riding the bike and jump roping. I try to do that at least twice/week.

b. My next step is to incorporate some tabata a couple times a week. (Tabata is like a HIIT style workout, for those not in the know). I don’t enjoy HIIT, mainly because there’s always a lot of jumping. My knees aren’t the greatest and recently, I have been having heel pain. Ugh, there’s always something. I have to find a podiatrist and get it worked out. Anyway, I did a dance tabata workout last week and it was fun, so maybe I’ll do more of those. I just want to do fun workouts.

c. And I’ve only been weightlifting about once per week. I have to create a new lifting workout that will be more of a total body routine. I’d like to lift twice per week.

All of this takes my workout schedule up to 6 days/week. But…I’m only going to do 3-4 days for now. Reason for that? (Fellas, cover your eyes!!), but my monthly gets REALLY irregular when I start exercising a lot. And….I don’t want that to happen for a few reasons, so I’m just going to stick to 3-4 days. 🙂

My main goals – 1. More cardio 2. Less carbs. 3. BE ACTIVE.

Why less carbs? Well, I just started tracking my food again (which I HATE), but I need to figure out how much carb/protein/fat I’m getting. In my head (and on my plate), I’m eating too many carbs. I decided to track for a while to get a better idea. I’ve already started trying to eat fewer carbs though, so we’ll see if this makes any difference in my body. Remember when I did the 12wk program last summer? I posted pics on the ‘Gram if you want to see what happened (mrsbates78). Anyway, I DID see a difference in my body, but I think because I didn’t follow the program’s diet, I didn’t shed as much fat. The program’s diet was HIGH protein and very, very little carb. But I didn’t follow it because I’m a really good eater (for the most part). During that program, I tried to limit any treats to once a week (and I cut out added sugar too). But at the end of the program, I should’ve been a lot leaner. I know everyone’s body is different, but I’ve been seeing waaaay too many people do 12 week programs that start with a lot more body fat than me and they end up much, much leaner. So I think I should’ve followed the program’s diet, as it really cut down on carbs (starchy carbs, bread, etc…not veggies). Also (and I’m sorry if I’m boring the crap out of you guys), I’ve been reading up on fat loss and other related things and it really has convinced me to cut down on carbs. I’m not cutting them out, but just down. On a typical day, I can consume 200+ carbs a DAY! No bueno! A lot of the fat loss meal plans I’ve come across have about half that amount of carbs (or less). I’m going to shoot for 100g of carbs a day. I can do it. I don’t really eat the bulk of my carbs until after dinner. All of my snacks are carb-heavy.  So I’m replacing my carby (lol) snacks with protein/healthy fat snacks. As long as I pay attention to those after dinner snacks, I’ll be able to achieve this!

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.

Finally, I’m cutting waaaaaay back on caffeine. It sucks. You all know I’m a coffee addict, so this hurts my soul. Well, it’s not that bad yet, as I’m drinking decaf coffee (it’s NOT THE SAME!!!) But when I finish this last bag of coffee, I’m not buying any coffee (to make at home) for at least a month! WOOO! We’re HARDCORE over here! (Honestly, I’ve been reducing my caffeine intake for months now. I’ve been drinking regular in the morning and decaf in the afternoon. Some days, I have only decaf.) I DO have a great replacement though. Chicory tea! Yesss…. have you head of Teeccino? O.M.G. It smells just like coffee. It’s so good. I love, love, love it. I got it from MOMs (Mom’s Organic Market). I’m sure the Wholest of Foods has it also. 🙂  I heard about this tea many years ago when I was reading an article on how to cut out caffeine. I’m so happy to have found this because this will surely get me through the withdrawals. But I think I’ll have a real coffee once a week (after I go a full month caffeine free). I’ll just have to go out to get it. After a month, I’ll buy decaf, but I’ll just make it occasionally. I’m doing this for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I don’t like relying on caffeine to keep me awake. I have to go back to the doc this month, but I’m hoping that my thyroid levels are ok. If not, then that could be the reason I’m always fatigued. It’s really, really annoying to be so tired all the time. I DO need to get more sleep, but on days when I’ve had a good 7-8 hours, I’m still tired. No bueno. I don’t know what the issue is…could be my body…or maybe it’s our mattress? lol! I don’t know, but I’m working on making things better. 🙂

Ok friends, I’m outta here. As always, check out my store and I’ll try not to be a loser and post more. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say. 🙂

-t