Half-Way Year Check In on those Resolutions.

I posted in January that we were starting the new year by going on a more whole foods journey. Not that we hadn't been doing a decent job already, but we can always do better. You may also remember I made my daughter cry by donating the unopened pack of Oreo cookies to the food pantry at our church. I am happy to report that she has been fine through the ordeal and has been rather happy with her personal resolution to eat healthy. We won't talk about her resolution to listen to Mommy and Daddy more often...

As for me, I was ten pounds heavier beginning January of this year than I was at the end of summer 2015. I could no longer even make it a mile on the treadmill at a 12 minute pace running. Staircases were problematic, and I felt awful. If we/I were going to do this health thing, we had to do it right. We had already been making strides over the past years, but we really had to commit. Here we are, halfway through the year, and I can report that for the first time in over 10 years, I have finally cracked the code to a more fit me and a more fit fam. Let me share what we learned, with the caveat that this is what worked for US. It maybe isn't for you. Maybe it wouldn't even work for you, but it certainly has for this family!

Making and eating meals together as a family.

My favorite runners

Step one is the whole family buying in. It isn't sustainable if you're making yourself one meal, and everyone else is eating something else. Breakfasts and lunches are also healthy(er) but not all the same. I am VERY lucky in that my family is on this trip together. My husband was the one who started it, about 8 years ago by getting to running, eating healthier, and losing weight. He lost 60 pounds to be exact. The goal has to be health though, not weight loss. The weight will come off (eventually) if you're taking steps - both literally and figuratively - to healthier choices. We take family morning trips to a local track where we can each run at our own pace, but yet still together. You haven't seen hilarity until you've witnessed the family attempting a yoga video together. And we celebrate each other's milestones and activities. Our family also meal plans together(ish). Sometimes I ask opinions while making the next week's list, sometimes after the list is complete, and sometimes special requests come in to be added to the list.

The scene every Friday or Saturday morning...meal plan, shopping list, produce section

This brings me to step two: meal plan, pack your lunch, and track food. I really cannot stress how much of a difference this has made. Meal planning / planning ahead especially. I don't always remember or have time to track what I've eaten in a day, but I do know if I don't meal plan and prep ahead, bad things can happen. Bad can be unhealthy choices, or really yucky on the fly making up of a recipe. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes you get arugula pesto. Will you have to spend some time in your kitchen Saturday or Sunday prepping your lunches? Sure. Might you spend a bit more at the grocery store than before? Probably. But, how much are you willing to spend for your health? Plus, if you decrease your budget for restaurants and fast food, you'll have plenty more for smart, healthy grocery shopping. I have been averaging about $150 per week, only purchasing produce and a few dry goods at the grocery store, and we spend about $1400 per year on our CSA from the farm for our meat protein, or $116 per month.  A monthly budget of $716 for a family of three is pretty decent, when that includes all breakfasts, most lunches, and almost all dinners for that month. We usually make double portions for meals to then use as lunches as well.  One .98¢ bag of dried pinto beans made up in the crockpot can deliver two dinners, or one dinner and a lot of lunches. One whole chicken roasted makes two dinners or one dinner with friends and lunches, plus chicken stock. You get the picture. I also resolve to share more of those types of things on the blog as I'm able.

Kiddo's self-packed lunch. Reusable container of milk, whole wheat pumpkin muffins, cheese, and banana

Mini sous-chef helping with dinner prep. 

Finally, step three: get moving. Here's where I was confused and messed up a lot these past 6 years. I felt if I couldn't get out for a run, the day was ruined and no exercise was happening. I never treated walking as "exercise." But guess what? Time on your feet moving is time on your feet moving. I read an article somewhere that a man, just by walking everyday, lost 100 pounds over a year. Might be a bit extreme, but hey, if he could walk everyday, so could I! Bonus if I ran as well. Other part of getting moving? Don't just pick one thing. That's great if you're taking up running, but make sure you strength train too, work on that core especially. Biggest mistake I make every time I start back up with running is only running. No stretching, no rolling, no other cross-training. This time? SO much better. We do some plank routines, stretch a lot, and as mentioned before, I walk every day at least 30 minutes (usually as my afternoon walk with our family pup).

Our beloved Jake, 12 1/2 years young.

The hubs and I after a run.

So, there you have it. The trifecta that worked for us. It didn't happen overnight, this was years of adjustments, learning what works best for us, and making a few sacrifices here and there. Now, the results:

I started the year at 180 pounds. I am now at 170.6. I started the year barely being able to finish a mile around 12 minutes. This morning I ran 2.3 miles at an 11:03 pace, and didn't stop once to walk. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, no skipping meals. I have not given up coffee or alcohol. Meals include a healthy amount of protein, fat, and a few to no carbs. Little to no processed foods enter the home, and I guess you could say we're mostly gluten free (as I type this, whole wheat fusilli is on the menu tonight). I'm happier than I have been in a LONG while, and my family is happy, healthy, and hale. I share this not to brag, far from it since I still have a long way to go and it took me way too many years to get here, but to hopefully inspire, give you hope, and let you know it can be done and done in a sustainable way. I hope this year has been as good for you so far as it has for me, and if not, I pray it gets better!

I need new running shoes soon, so I guess I'll need new matching socks as well...


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