Love A Healthier You

"Changing your life one day at a time!"

The Anguish of Setbacks!!

Becoming a healthy and fit person is a journey, and it is not an easy journey by any means! The dedication it requires mentally, physically, and emotionally is very real! I have been on my journey for the past 9 months, from the moment I was cleared by the doctors to start working out. I have mentioned in previous post how this summer was a huge setback for me after the passing of my father. The unfortunate truth of a journey is that so many things happen unexpectedly in life that can derail you whether it’s for a day or a month. The hardest part about a setback is not letting it get the best of you and ruin your progress. Since I already did that this summer, I refuse to let it happen again!

After finishing school to be a Certified Nutritional Therapist, I started this blog as an extension of the business I am going to launch in 2016. I knew it would be hard work, after all nothing worth having ever comes easy. However, lately I feel like the universe is trying to derail me constantly. We have all been there, you get your goal in sight, you start making progress, and all the obstacles start flying at you!

Last week was the joyous setback of food poisoning!!! First of all, the last time I had food poisoning was over a decade ago and I completely forgot the havoc it does to your body. Let me start with saying it was 100% my fault, even though the food that made me sick was not made by me. I was out last week having my typical hectic day….home school schedule in the morning, followed by a home school field trip, and then taking my little ones to go get haircuts afterwards(just to name 20% of my list that day). I was very prepared for my children to be out and about all day, but made that big “mommy mistake” of forgetting about the fact that I needed to eat. You will hear me say this a lot and it’s very true, somehow I constantly forget to feed myself! Anyway, I decided to grab a fajita. I thought it would not be too horrible, at least I was getting some protein in. Well, boy did I pay for that!!! First time I ate fast food in 2 months and I was reminded of why!! Selfishly, I was happy that my husband also got it because we got to be miserable in bed together, while my wonderful mother took care of our children. Sometimes our lives get so busy that even sick quality time is still great quality time. Continue reading

My BIGGEST Mistake as a Mom!

I truly believe every mom out there is Wonder Woman! Ladies, let’s face it, there is NOTHING we can’t do! There are so many things that are a part of being a mom, to list them would take too long! But let’s face it, no matter how much every mom does, we always feel like we are messing something up. Whether it is with the kids, the house and sometimes our marriages. One day I sat down and really started to think about this. I sat back and looked at the past 16 months of my life. Wow, what a roller coaster it has been! The absolute high of finally having a son and the horrific low of almost losing my life. It has honestly been a huge roller coaster, one minute everything is great and the next minute seems like I was dreaming that things were fine. That’s when it hit me, the biggest mistake I have made as a mother from the second I had my first daughter!

My natural instinct, just like most moms, is to put our children first and this has a tendency to consume our entire being. However, I realized that this was a mistake. I needed to make myself a priority!  After everything I had been through this past 16 months, if I don’t take care of myself I am risking not being able to put my kids first. I am risking not being here as long as they need and want me to be. Our days as a mom depend on us having energy, being able to run around with our children, and after them when the time calls for it. We need to be able to protect them at all times and most importantly we need to teach them the kind of person to be.

What was I teaching my daughter? Was it right for her to think I didn’t need to take care of myself? All of those times I didn’t go to the gym because I felt guilty for leaving her. As a mom I truly understood the person I wanted to be and the person I truly was, but then we all deal with the guilt. At the time I was working full-time, going to school full-time, building a house, and having a family. The guilt was too much to bare at times to leave the house for an hour to work out. Looking back, I was ridiculous. All this did was make me unhappy. Now, I know a lot of people will say how ungrateful I was to be unhappy, but it had nothing to do with my family. I ignored my needs and just because I was a wife and mother doesn’t mean my needs mattered any less than theirs. The simple fact was I could not be my best self for them if I didn’t take the time out to take care of myself.

Today’s society loves to throw people under the bus for this frame of mind. Last year Gisele Bundchen was giving an interview with “The Sunday Times” and had an opinion on this matter.

“You know how they say on the plane you have to put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child? So I think it is the same, as a mum, to take care of myself. You can feel a bit guilty,” she said. “But if I put my oxygen mask on first, if I’m feeling fulfilled and present and good about myself, then I’m going to be a much more patient, loving, understanding mother and wife. You have to fill your glass so that everyone can drink from it. That’s how I feel.”

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4 Reasons You Need a Support System

If there is anything I am certain about, it is that change is not only constant, but it is hard, especially when making a lifestyle change! In my journey to achieve a healthier lifestyle, I have to accredit a huge part of my success to my family. Having a support system, that is willing to change with you, is an absolute blessing! Anyone who has tried to change their eating habits will understand how easy it is to give into temptation, especially when you have children!
No Junk Food- Love A Healthier YouAfter the hurdle of getting over all your mental roadblocks, comes the part of getting a support system in place. This includes at home and at work! Research has shown that becoming healthier is easier when you have a support system. Here are some reasons why a support system is key!

  1. Accountability!!! You will come to learn in my post my biggest pet peeve is when people are not accountable! A support system will help you do this. Let’s say you are having an aggravating day at work and instead of eating that healthy lunch you packed, you rather get out of the office and go eat something fattening and unhealthy! That support system is there to stop you. Good friends don’t let you eat McDonald’s!!! Find a buddy and keep each other in line and on the right track!!
  2. Motivation, this is another one that gets hard to do on your own. Being able to be motivated by one another progress throughout the process is essential. Some days it’s hard to motivate yourself and those are the days where your support system comes in and tells you to get up and just do that hour of exercising you don’t want to do. After all no one ever regrets a work out, they only regret not doing the work out.
  3. Have fun with it! Working out together or even a little healthy competition can be a great way to keep each other going!
  4. Encouragement and praise…sometimes this is hard to come by from the outside world when you are making changes in your life. Unfortunately, you will always come across people who are jealous of various things and they don’t like to encourage you or praise that you are becoming healthier. We have all come across these people, the ones that say they are happier to eat whatever they want because life is too short! News flash, life will be too short because you are eating whatever you want! Eat your fast food and I will sit here with my delicious fruit! A support system helps remind you not to cave into temptation when those people throw an extra-large piece of cake down on your desk. There is nothing wrong with having a bite every now and then, but all in moderation!

So whether it’s your best friend, husband or co-worker, get someone on your side and be on theirs! Encourage and support each other! My husband and my oldest daughter keep me going! The fact that my daughter looks up to me that I only want to be healthy and teach them those lessons makes me feel great! My husband makes it easier for me every day because he lives a healthy lifestyle with me! I love that he has goals for his health and it makes me so happy to know our kids understand that being healthy and fit is important and not the image of being skinny!

 

Liebster Award Nomination

This morning I woke up to find out that I was nominated by two fellow bloggers, for not one but two awards. I was beyond flattered, after all I have only been blogging for 10 days! In the past ten days I am overwhelmed with the amount of people who have reached out to me about my story of how I started this blog. It is truly amazing how many remarkable woman are out there that have so many different stories of how they overcame their struggles both similar to mine and different. Thank you to Joanna at My Pink Rambles, she has a wonderful blog that you should definitely check out!


liebsterAbout the Award

The Liebster Award is an incredible way for other bloggers to recognize you! If you want to accept the award, you have to:

  • Say thank you to the person who nominated and link their blog
  • Copy paste the Liebster badge on your post
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
  • Answer the ten questions the person who nominated you asked, and then make ten more for the bloggers you nominate.
  • Nominate the 10 bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.

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How important is a food diary??

Honestly, it is very important!! I never wanted to keep one before, because looking at what I was eating on paper was so much worse to me. Honestly, I do not think I would be making any progress with my nutrition goals if it wasn’t for tracking my food. Let me start at the beginning on why I think it is so important. My husband, Victor, actually got me on board with the idea. He was always saying how he needed to count his macros and I would silently think he was obsessive! Well I am publicly admitting I was very wrong, and my husband is a bit of a genius (and no my blog was not hacked).

484e066411df2b6872324a07eef6e6a5There are five ways I benefited from keeping a food diary:

  1. Accountability
  2. Helped me track my deficiencies
  3. Goal setting
  4. Meal planning
  5. Boost in weight loss

 

As I recently explained in my post about my personal goals, this is not just about weight loss, it is about being healthy and eating nutrient dense foods instead of foods high in carbs and fats. Downloading Fitness Pal was an eye opener! Even though I ate a ton of vegetables and fruit during the day, hitting my daily goals, the other areas were not so good. When I eat breakfast, it is eggs; when I am not doing intermittent fasting, which happens to work great for my body type. I eat chicken or turkey for my lunches and usually have fish for dinner 75% of the time and steak or chicken the other 25%. So thinking this out in my head, I thought I was hitting my protein goals. WRONG!!!! Let me tell you, I have been logging this for a full ten days now, did not lie a bit on that tracker, and boy was I disappointed in myself. I am eating way too many carbs. I think it is safe to say I am a carb addict! I am Italian after all, so giving up pasta is the hardest thing in the world.

Love A Healthier You- Food DiaryHow could I, a person who is so dedicated to making sure I eat tons of fruit and vegetables still be eating too many carbs? The food diary helped me answer this question. When I eat eggs I would eat them in a sandwich on whole grain fiber bread. Sometimes that shrimp dinner would turn into shrimp scampi, which I have a healthy simple version of, but the pasta is still carbs. As good as I am being, carbs do not agree with my body or my weight. I need to wean myself off of them and I need to do this gradually. One time after I had my first, Alessandra, I did a “no carb diet”, by day three I was a monster. I literally lied to my husband about going to buy milk so I could go binge eat McDonald’s french fries. I am honestly still disgusted and embarrassed to even admit that, but it’s the truth.  I know I won’t do that this time, because I am more dedicated. You also couldn’t pay me a million dollars to eat McDonald’s ever again!

Back to the food diary. I was surprised at the amount of carbs I was getting out of vegetables. It’s not an insane amount, but I wasn’t mentally counting it all those other times I should have been. The other day, my carbs hit 48%, my husband almost fainted when I showed him my macros!

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How I got over my mental roadblocks, and how you can too!

Coming to the realization that I needed to change my lifestyle was harder than I thought. Before going through a major health scare, I always thought I was in good health. My BMI was always in a normal range, even though after I had my kids I knew I wasn’t in my best shape. My blood work also always came back good before having Maximus. However, I was still looking at it all wrong! I wasn’t the best version of myself no matter what a chart or a blood test said.

It took me a while to get on board with the fact that I needed to change my eating and exercise habits. Part of me thought, “I have three kids and I am constantly running after them and I barely get to eat, so I will lose the weight!” WRONG!! That may work for some women, but my body does not react well to that situation. After thinking this in my head, I continued to eat out of depression for six months. Even though it felt like I barely got to eat, I was somehow managing to shove anything unhealthy into my mouth so fast, that I honestly forgot I ate anything.

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One day, after two straight weeks of binge eating, I went to get my INR checked. My doctor called me up with the results and they were terrible. Somehow I managed to make my blood thicker while on blood thinners. WOW! I was so mad at myself. How self-destructive and selfish could I be that I allowed myself to do that to my body after almost losing my life to blood clots? So, here comes the breakthrough of all my mental barriers.

First, I sat down and wrote down every EXCUSE I would make to eating poorly and not having time to exercise. Here are just a few:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I am too tired.
  • The kids need to do this….
  • I need to clean this…..
  • I will just lay down for a second and then go.
  • I just don’t want to do it.
  • I had such a long day I don’t want to cook and clean the kitchen again.

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Lets Talk Genetics!

In order to really understand your nutrition and how it truly impacts your body, you need to understand the makeup of your body first. For years I made this mistake, I never took the time to understand the makeup of my body before filling it with food.

Before diving into nutrition in school, the first thing we learned about was genetics. Our genes are inherited from our parents, one set of chromosomes from mom and one from dad.  Our genes are out of our control, they determine who we are by our characteristics, traits, and so on. Scientist believed that our inherited genetic code dictated who we are, which is called “The Central Dogma”. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health decided to map our accumulated genetic material, called genome. These researchers formed the Genome Project.  (Now, I can make this a very long scientific post, but I am going to keep it to a summary as much as possible!)

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After 13 years of research, in 2003, they completed this genomic map and wound up with more questions than they started with. They realized that it’s one thing to know the human genome and another to know what factors dictate how it relates to our observable characteristics. So how did they tackle this? By researching something above the human genome, the epigenome.

The Human Genome Project identified approximately 25,000 genes in humans, but these genes still needed instructions for what to do and when to do it and where to do it, thus the epigenome is needed. An easy way to think of this, is if our body was a computer, the epigenome is the software that directs the genomic hardware of the computer. All our cells contain the same DNA and genes, but it’s the epigenome that decides how these genes are expressed and determines how a cell becomes a heart cell, a liver cell, fat cell, or even a hair cell.

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Here I go…Phase Two

My Mom and Dad!

My Dad and Mom on our wedding day!

Well this summer was chaotic to say the least! I was on a great path to my health goals when our family lost my father to liver disease. At a time where I should have taken this as another reason to stay on the healthy lifestyle path I was on, I instead did the easy thing and caved to eating all the delicious food New York had to offer the moment we arrived for the funeral. Let’s just say spending three weeks around food that you LOVED as a child and is simply divine, while being sad over a loss of a loved one, is not a good combination for staying on a healthy path! Not to mention being away from your house, you tend to not stay on your routine.

That is basically what derailed me this summer. I am also the type of person that does not cry when I am sad, I throw myself into projects. This summer, while coping with the loss of my father, I threw myself into every project around my house except the project of building a better me!

Liberty House in New Jersey

Seriously, the food was delicious!!

Before leaving on our trip for New York, I had hit the total weight loss amount of 56 pounds (coming from 211 lbs after being discharged for my pulmonary embolisms and dropping to 155 lbs in May 2015). The first six months after the C-section and PE’s I could not really work out. It took me so long to just build up my right lung again after it being damaged from all the blood clots. I remember there were days where I simply wanted to cry because walking up the stairs was more than I could handle, don’t even get me going on how hard it was to keep up with three kids. I only made it with remembering how God sparred my life and with the emotional support of my wonderful husband, family and my two best friends (Lydia and Alex). I took one day at a time, stopped eating out of depression and got my butt up and worked it out!

 

Now I am doing it all over again, but stepping it up a notch because this blog is going to help keep me accountable and hopefully help others with their personal journeys! I have officially finished school to be a Nutritional Therapist, so phase two of my journey is going to go a lot better now that I have so much knowledge on how to treat my body. My journey is not just about weight loss but about trying to handle my blood disorders naturally and slowly lower my dosage of blood thinners. (You can read more on this on My Personal Goals page and post.)

8 Signs of Unhealthy Eating Boundaries

Boundaries are important in every aspect of our life with our relationships with spouses, friends, children and family. This also extends into our eating habits as well. One day I decided to do some research to help me with my boundaries with my children and most importantly how to teach them how to have healthy boundaries with others and I stumbled along many different books that also addressed eating boundaries. Below are some that I found to be true with myself and with others I know well and wanted to share them with you.

  1. Food abuse
  2. Expecting food to satisfy your needs
  3. Letting your food choices define you
  4. Letting your food choices describe your reality
  5. Going against your personal goals to please others through eating
  6. Eating in social settings to please others
  7. Eating on impulse
  8. Being overwhelmed or preoccupied by food

I personally have found myself doing most of these when it comes to food. I was completely guilty of eating food to satisfy a need. For instance when I was stressed, I thought having a piece of cake or some ice cream would fill that need to feel better or take my stress away. I have gone out to eat as an acceptable way to go on dates or to hang out with friends, fully knowing that my personal health goals were going to be compromised when I caved and ate something unhealthy or had too many sugary margaritas with my meal. Eating on impulse is a tough one that I faced and continue to fight every day. Last but not least, I have to admit that I do get overwhelmed by food, which is why I am such a big advocate of meal planning and meal prepping.

It is easy to get caught up in unhealthy foods and make excuses to just go through the drive thru or to go out to eat dinner instead of cooking. The reality is the majority of the time you let food take over and make bad decisions around it, the food you are taking in is not nutritionally and providing no benefit to your body except a moment of enjoyment. Everyone knows they are going to later regret in one way or another.

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