So, it’s the third week of February and I’m thinking,
“What? Where did January go?”
Seriously. I know everyone always says time is flying,
but that was crazy fast, for me, at least.
Traditionally, I always spend January resolving to not make any resolutions.
I pretty much know,
without a doubt,
that I probably won’t keep them anyway.
Haven’t in the past,
why would I want to wreck a good system?

Thing is, this 40-something me is actually a lot happier
then the 30-something me,
and scads happier than the 20-something me.

Work in Progress

I’ve come a long way from that shy, anxious, lonely young lady
who found herself marrying this guy and moving to Essex 20 years ago.
I’m still shy, and occasionally still anxious,
but, thanks to my fabulous family and friends, rarely alone.
4 kids will keep you “not lonely” most of the time, actually.
I’ve found balance in many areas of my life,
building on a foundation of faith and trust in God’s providence
that carries over into a contented world-view
that includes service work in my community, church and school.
And, I recently went on my first vacation to Mexico,
so that was pretty cool, too.
Didn’t ever see that coming while I was juggling babies and toddlers.

Time for Resolutions

But, to be honest,
I’ve been neglecting my overall health and diet
since starting to work at Schinkels’ this fall.
There have been too many days where I tend to skip meals,
or run on coffee for a good chunk of a day,
then eat a big dinner and munch on junk
while watching TV with my kids in the evening.
Some days I can stick to a decent menu and healthy choices,
but then there will be a “running day”
where I’m making multiple trips to Windsor,
on top of errands and a 6-10 hour shift,
and it all goes out the window.

Actually, those days, it comes in the window,
thanks to all the drive-throughs in the area.

And, since I am no longer chasing the under-4 crowd
(trust me, they really do keep a body trim),
and I might have gotten a little older as the years have passed,
I’ve noticed my endurance and ambition have
been slightly depleted in the past year or so.

 

What to do about it?

So, last week, I was chatting with my friend Kim Dennison
(owner of Onyx Fitness Solutions, who also happens
to be a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach).
I’ve been doing the Wednesday night
Yoga classes there since September,
and have loved the change in my strength.
I thought she might have some ideas on how to take it to the next level.
She had so many tips and suggestions for healthy eating
and fitting a bit more good planning into my routine,
I was a little overwhelmed at first.
Then she suggested I jump all in and
try one of her personalized nutrition plans.

I said, “sure, print me out one”.

Ha.

Little did I know what this woman does.
When you sign up to have a nutritional coach,
it’s not just some quick fix.
I’m not getting a bunch of internet recipes
or some strange menus printed off some dieting website.
I’m not being told to limit all the good things I like to enjoy,
while adding extreme amounts of exercise to my day.
And, I am certainly not left on my own to sink or swim or eat.

First step:

I was told to take three days and journal everything I eat.
Everything.
And keep it honest and normal.
If I binge on Doritos in front of the TV,
she wanted to know about it.
If I enjoyed some grapes with my carrots,
as an afterschool snack, she wanted to know that, too.
She wanted to get a clear idea of my favourite food groups,
when I tend to eat, and what kind of portions I can tuck in,
to help her form a realistic idea of my current metabolism.

So that’s what I did.
I actually did it for almost a week,
mainly because I ended up working so much in the following week
that I wasn’t able to report back to her after only 3 days.

It wasn’t pretty.
For the most part, I had very “good” breakfasts and lunches.
Because I could plan for them.
Packing a nutritious lunch in the morning when
one has just had a satisfying breakfast with
all the food groups is very easy.
I was even taking the time to make some stir-fry
and putting them in nice microwaveable containers. 

See:

But then, I would spend the day working or running,
and by the time I get home,
and all my people are scattered to the wind
in all their activities and jobs and lives,
and no one was actually home for a sit-down dinner,
so, really,
why cook?
This is what my journal looked like one day for dinner and evening:

Next step:

Meet with her to go over my journal.

I had used My Fitness Pal,
which is such a great tool for keeping track of what you eat.

It can just be a little deceptive when it is your life coach.

For years, every time I pulled it out,
it told me to drop my calories to 1200,
it would encourage me to exercise
and it would tell me that, like magic,
the pounds were going to just disappear.

Not so.

Ok, so sometimes, I could lose some, for a while,
but then it would stop, even if I maintained 1200 calories. 

I’m learning as I talk to Kim,
that when I increase my activity levels
and then drop my calories,
my body goes like,

EEK!

and manages to put itself into survival mode.
Metabolism goes a little crazy,
I get cranky and hangry,
kids get yelled at,
and my darling, patient husband wearily tells me
that he would rather I just be curvy,
and please eat some more Doritos with that wine,
honey.

Kim has a much better approach.

She created some goals based on my regular eating patterns
that would guide me through increasing my protein intake
and balancing the rest of my calories
with a much better ratio of carbs and fat
that would stimulate my metabolism
to start working the way it was intended it to.

Sounds like math, doesn’t’ it?
Lucky for my too-many-years-away-from-high-school-math brain,
she also set me up with a nice excel spreadsheet
that did all the math for me.

And, one of the things I love best about her approach
is that it balances out over an entire week,
which, is really great for those of us who still enjoy “date nights”
or “family movie nights with chips and popcorn” on the weekends.
No need to beat myself up over the days I indulge
or enjoy some of life’s sweeter moments with my family and friends.
The spreadsheet will simply adjust and point to areas
I would need to focus on during the remaining days
to still meet my weekly goals.

Balance in Everything

She emphasized balanced eating,
not cutting back or limiting foods. 

Unhealthy food restriction is the complete opposite of what they teach at Onyx.
She told me they have numerous clients dropping weight
by eating more food, taking care of, and fueling their bodies.
That means diets that consist of 1,800-2,600 calories daily,
in combination with physical exercise.
She said “Success is not starving yourself, crash dieting,
or becoming king of cardio just to gain all your weight back,
plus an extra 5 when life returns to “normal”,
or when you’ve lost the willpower to keep up with harsh calorie restrictions.”

She told me to focus my efforts on living a well-balanced life
– physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Slow and steady progress will win in the long run.
Flexibility and preference allowance for
food choices will make my diet more enjoyable,
but she explained some simple guidelines
I would want to adhere to,
especially in regards to fibre intake and nutritional content.

For instance, the nutrition that comes from
50 carb grams of fruit or vegetables,
does not hold the same nutrient value as
50 carb grams consumed from a bag of chips.
Knowing that, and integrating that knowledge
into some of my daily decisions in choosing my carbs
allows me to balance chips with healthier carbs.

First day:

Well, it was one of those crazy, running work days,
with two trips into Windsor to drop off and pick up kids
around working at the store.
So, maybe not the best day to start. 🙂

But, I persevered and realized that,
with a bit of planning,
it was actually very satisfying to spend
a bit of time thinking about what I was
fueling this body with as the day went on.

I had a quick messenger consult with Kim at dinner,
as I realized that I wasn’t even coming close to my goal for protein.
She had some good advice, of course,
and encouraged me to try some food items
I haven’t really used in my day-to-day,
but would be delicious and add the needed macros to balance out my day.

She also shared some recipes
that will help jump-start my days,
without loading me down with empty carbs and fats.
She has some of them on her Onyx Facebook page.
Some are posted on the Schinkels’ Recipe Share group if you are interested.
And, because I became a nutritional client,
I also get access to their forums,
which are jam-packed with good recipes and tip sheets
and blog posts from the pros at Onyx.

I was getting a little panicky as the day progressed,
but Kim brought it back into perspective.

 

Once she pointed out the butcher wife thing, it got me thinking.

Schinkels’ and Balance

What does Schinkels’ have to offer those of us
trying to lean towards healthier eating?
I know many of our fresh and deli counters
come about as close to whole foods (non-processed)
as a deli or butcher shop can.
The Schinkels’ Legacy products are all MSG, gluten and dairy-free.
The fresh and ready to cook products use
fresh vegetables and real cheese, nothing artificial.

When it comes to protein, well, yes, duh, it’s a butcher shop,
but as I go through the individual products,
I see so many options that can help push
my numbers up to a point that my body will work best at my current pace.
I work best if I snack often on smaller portions,
but I don’t want those to be high-carb
or high-fat options like crackers or cookies.

Easy Snacks

We’ve got regular and turkey pepperonis.
Both pack a nice protein count for a quick snack,
and the turkey ones only have 2 grams of fat,
even though the taste is pretty similar.

We use a fish in our Neptune salad
that has 14g of protein in a one cup serving.

The deli is full of selections that will snack well,
from the roast beef to salamis to kielbasa.

Then, for meals, well, that’s easy, too.
Kim made some chicken and veggie soup on the weekend
and sent me the picture and recipe to get me started.
She used a whole chicken to start it off,
then added just about everything but the kitchen sink.

Easy Meals

We’ve got a huge selection of frozen fish,
and some of them (like Potato Crusted Tilapia and Almond Crusted Sole)
are really amazing, both in the macro counts and in taste.
Easy to prepare and serve, even on a “running” day.

Our ready-to-cook fresh meat section is also packed with whole food options.
Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken breast stuffed with swiss and black forest ham),
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken (chicken breast stuffed with,
you guessed it, fresh broccoli and chunks of medium cheddar),
and Andrea’s Delights (chicken rolled around prosciutto, provolone and asparagus)
make any dinner a gourmet dinner with next to no preparation on your part.
Just bake for 45 minutes and serve.
Lots of protein, lighter on the carbs and fat.
Slavenkin and Schnitzel are also easy additions to a meal
that will bring up protein numbers without throwing
off the other percentages.

As I look over some of the recipes already on the Schinkels’ website,
I realize that this common sense approach
creates opportunities to build balance
into recipes I already use.
By adjusting the ingredients to include lower
or higher fat options as my numbers dictate,
or changing the amounts I use to increase protein counts,
so many options present themselves.
It’s freeing, rather than limiting, knowing that any recipe
can be tweaked to be included in my menu plan.

As I’m getting used to this “thinking about what I eat” thing,
I’m realizing that it’s not actually that hard at all,
especially now that I have a
nutritional coach and personal trainer along for the trip.
So much is common sense,
but having Kim beside me,
reminding me on a regular basis of what I know,
giving me the tools and tricks to succeed,
that is what is going to make the difference in the end.