Dietitian Store Tour

I’ve been working my way through task after task of a highly motivating Nutrition Scavenger Hunt this month, created by dietitians at my local gym. One of the suggested activities on the list is to attend a grocery shopping tour with a dietitian at Hy-Vee.

I knew Hy-Vee stores employed dietitians, but have never really known what they do there. I recently emailed Sara from one of our Rochester locations to schedule my shopping tour. She met with me earlier this week with her intern, Deanna, to give me a store tour from a dietitian’s perspective. Here, they introduced me to Bolthouse dressings (I brought home the mango chipotle…YUM).

In my 4 1/2 year get-healthy journey, I thought I knew a great deal about the multitude of products available to those who care to make more mindful choices. I’d like to think I know my way around a grocery store too. But this store is a giagantic recent addition to Rochester, and having been intimidated by its size, I shied away from it. Until now!

I mean, check out this bulk area for instance…it houses 997 items. I stood there wondering where a person would even start. But with Sara by my side, she zeroed in on one of her favorites…

Organic red lentil beans, something I never knew existed, but was glad she pointed out, because some of those went home with me!

Spending hours in a store on your own, attempting to make healthy discoveries can seem overwhelming. I know, I’ve been there so many times. But strolling through the isles with these knowledgeable ladies was a treat. They pointed out so many products that offer lower calories, lower sodium content and a cleaner list of ingredients! Take for instance this awesome tomato sauce, it contains tomatoes…and that’s it! Better yet, only 10 mg of sodium!!!

Yup, that went home with me too!

As Sara and Deanna steered me down the chip isle, I joked (actually quite seriously) there couldn’t be anything healthy in that isle! But Sara led me straight to these…

Although the calorie range is equivalent to other chips, these contain only a few ingredients, the first of which is whole navy beans! Must be why they have 5 grams of protein and fiber in each serving. I went home with the white bean chips with hint of lime flavor. I ate some last night…delish!

Snacks can sometimes get me in trouble, but these flackers were developed by a doctor to promote health in a multitude of ways…how cool is that?!?

The tour lasted an hour, but Sara and Deanna’s recommendation list went far beyond! I’ve become aware of so many new super food items, many with convenience in mind…like this ready-made quinoa.

And these amazing cauliflower crumbles that save time and mess!

I’d show you the spiralized veggies that intrigued me, but I can’t; when I went back to choose some, they were sold out!

I’m happy to know there are some great products out there to replace others that didn’t fit well in my diet, like these seasonings to help me avoid salt.

And how about these instead of tortillas? At 60 calories and a plethora of flavors, I’d reach for these every time!

It was eye-opening what I learned in an hour. Sara, many thanks for your expertise and willingness to spend an hour with me, so glad Deanna accompanied us too. I’ve gained much valuable insight!

I’m freshly inspired knowing there’s even an ice cream out there that aligns with my goals!

Shout out to the Rochester Athletic Club dietitians for such an innovative way to observe National Nutrition Month; I’m off to complete another task on the scavenger hunt!

What Makes You Happy?

I find it no coincidence that the first day of spring and International Day of Happiness fall on the same day…spring and happiness are one in the same for me!

The notion of an international day of happiness threw me into reflection mode. Friends, if you want to get straight to the heart of what brings you happiness, grab a sheet of paper, or do what I do, keep a journal of things that make you happy. The thoughts that end up recorded there might surprise you. But something else that may occur as you take time to put your happy to paper, is the sheer feeling that begins to surround you…HAPPY!

On a day I need a pick-me-up, I open the pages, begin to remind myself and soon I’m right back in the zone. Another way to boost my happy is looking at photos, memories of joy.

When I look years back, I’m reminded of the millions of little things I did with my parents and brother, later my husband, then our babies and on to our growing boys with so many relatives and friends. It was a streak of lovely, happy chaos. But now, as the years have passed and my kids reach beyond needing me, I’ve carved out a new niche of happiness.

Thankfully, I’ve captured this more recent time in pictures too, because my memory isn’t what it used to be. Immediately, as I flip through these photos, the happiness floods back. I realize it has become something quite different. It’s quieter now…

It’s calmer…

But doesn’t lack adventure. Rather, happiness finds me bolting clear out of my comfort zone again and again!

 

Climbing new heights…

Gaining new perspectives…

 Reaching for new dreams.

Embracing the here and now…

Wherever I go…

Whatever I do…

Pretty soon it becomes easier and easier to find.

Because happiness isn’t a place.

It’s a joyful sense deep within, when I’m doing what I love.

And once a person figures out what that is, they can easily reach for it again and again!

In observance of International Day of Happiness, I invite you to take a quiet moment, take a deep breath and jot down what makes you happy. Then get busy doing that which makes you feel that way!

Friends, I’d love for you to leave a comment below sharing something that makes you happy…let’s light this happiness thing on fire; heck…I’ll even start!

Goals Get Things DONE!

Friends, we are a full week into March. How are you coming along with your goals? I’d love to hear what you’re working on and how it’s going. Leave a comment!

Remember when I told you last week about my integrated goals for March? If you missed it, you can catch up here.

In setting some simple, succinct goals that were designed to go hand in hand, I motivated the heck out of myself. Check it out…

As of yesterday, here are 7 days worth of donation receipts from Goodwill. I’ve spent this first full week finding all kinds of items that our family has outgrown, treasures we no longer use; I bagged them up and dropped them off, a bag every day on my way to the gym. I’m excited to announce I was able to close the door to my very organized closet for the first time in years…this thing is working!

This morning I received this notification that (as of yesterday) I’ve accrued 7 gym check-ins. It has become habit, and that’s a very good thing because I’m more driven in my workouts than ever!

Today, Day 8, is continued success…I even got my workout in first because I got such an early start…had to wait for Goodwill to open haha.

Friends, this is how goals are supposed to work! The more I chip away at them, the better I feel about what I’m accomplishing. I can’t help but think of what little I would have done if I hadn’t set them. The bottom line here is elementary; goals get things done!

Fantastic Friday Find: Seedtastic Bread

Happy Friday, fellow FIT BFFs! You know how much I LOVE trying new things and when I discovered this latest find, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Let me back up a moment to inform newer readers and remind returning folks that I make it my mission to try at least one new item every time I grocery shop. This keeps me from falling into food boredom and helps me stumble upon my new favorites. I should also mention that I am a fan of the incredibly low prices and wide selection of healthy options Aldi offers…makes eating healthy so simple!

Speaking of simple, Aldi carries their own line of organic products called SimplyNature. Yesterday I discovered this Seedtastic bread containing an impressive 21 whole grains and seeds! I’ve been in the mood for avocado toast, so that’s exactly what I thought of when I spotted this bread.

Friends, it did NOT disappoint! It was so good, in fact, that I decided to take the avocado one step further today. For those of us observing meatless Fridays, check out this little avocado toast/egg salad number I created for lunch.

It was so easy…toast a slice of Seedtastic bread, slice up 1/4 avocado, mash a hard boiled egg and mix with 2 tbsp light mayo, place over the avocado, sprinkle with paprika and voila…a nutritional powerhouse containing a mere 285 calories.

I’m so glad to have found this bread, I’m already looking forward to tomorrow morning’s peanut butter toast!

Friends, next time you’re in the grocery store, challenge yourself to purchase at least one new item. I’d love to hear what you choose, so leave a comment when you do! And remember, trying new things is one more great way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

New Month New Goals

Happy March, fellow FIT BFFs! With a new month comes unlimited opportunity for focus, improvement and growth. If you’ve set any goals for this month, I’d love to hear about them…leave a comment below!

As I thought about what I wanted to accomplish this month, I realized it was quite a list, so I attempted to streamline it a bit to make it more realistic, more manageable. I took a few health/fitness, spiritual and housekeeping goals and rolled them into a bit of a multidiciplined approach for the month…here’s what I mean.

Of course I want to continue to push myself physically this month to not only maintain but increase my strength and endurance. I’m committing to a trip to the gym daily in the month of March.

Incidentally, today begins the tradition of Lent in my faith life, it is a time of prayer, sacrifice and good works. I’ve been intrigued by a challenge posted on Facebook of donating a bag of items daily for the 40 day duration of Lent.

Quite coincidentally, I’ve noticed my house seems to be bursting at the seams and in need of an early spring spruce-up. Those who know me know I love simplicity…I’m not about the stuff at all, so the clutter is kind of suffocating. I recently ordered this…

Although I’m only 34 pages in, I am ready to employ some of the strategies recommended to enjoy the breathing room decluttering would afford. I was taken by a quote by Kondo, “When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”

I LOVE that because, since I’ve become a champion for living in the present, I am both a fan of dropping the useless guilt of the past and the senseless worry of the future. It’s the stuff that bogs me down, and it’s time for it to go!

So here’s where the integration of my goals is taking me this month. I plan to bag up a pile of unnecessary belongings every day, deposit them at the donation center of the nearby Goodwill and immediately proceed to my gym across the street for my daily workout.

I love the simplicity of this plan. Later each day, I will return home to sift and sort through another category of the house that deserves attention, providing further discards for the next day’s bag. As space frees up, it will be easier to straighten those places, thus reaping the rewards of my three targets this month…exercising daily, giving to others and tidying/calming my home.

Here’s today’s bag of motivation, which means I’m also off to the gym! I can’t wait to see what this process does to me this month. I’m excited about the propects and love this Kondo quote, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

I’m so done being weighed down and ready to let it all go…one more way to put my Best Foot Forward!

NSV New Accountability in Place

Friends, I’m ecstatic! I’m back from the jeweler and so excited because the ring is back on my finger!

If you weren’t around to read how it became my greatest Non Scale Victory earlier this month, you can catch up here.

When I slipped the ring onto my finger it fit perfectly, leaving no room for error as my new accountability piece.

It feels so right having everything back the way it belongs; I can’t stop gazing at the symbolism knowing it’s repaired, resized, restored…just like me!

Sending Out a Fitness SOS

Yesterday was one of those days for me, Friends. I wanted to get my cardio in, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was a gorgeous, sunny 55 degrees outside…in February…in Minnesota. This was not a day to waste because by tomorrow Mother Nature will have us completely buried in snow again; the school district is so certain of this, they’ve already cancelled school!

I know when I feel less than motivated, it’s time to get a friend or two involved to get me moving. But it was already 1 pm. Normally when I text a friend, it takes time for them to get back with me. And, oftentimes, the answer is no. I can easily go down a list of 4 or 5 people and still be buddiless. I needed a better plan…Facebook to the rescue!

I realize this was extremely short notice, but totally worth a try! I put it right out there on a status update…I posted that I was looking for a buddy to walk with around 2:00 or 2:30ish and asked anyone interested to message me. I thought for a split second, this could get interesting depending on who responds. Well I was in no position to be picky; I had no doubt the universe would send me exactly the person I was meant to meet up with.

Not even five minutes later it was already done. Kristin to the rescue! As soon as she responded, I deleted my Facebook status so it wouldn’t become complicated hahaha.

Kris was ready to hit the trails at 2 pm and we soaked in that fantastic sunshine and fresh air while catching up on each others’ worlds. Our walk around the lake was exactly what I was looking for, I just hadn’t known until she responded to my SOS!

My all-call was answered quicker than I could have imagined. I’ll definitely employ the Facebook status strategy again. Friends, next time you are feeling less than ready to burn some calories alone, reach out. Asking for a workout buddy is one more very simple way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

PSA: Please keep in mind, for safety sake, stick to your friends list, not Craigslist!

Thumbs Up, Panera!

Friends, before I began my weight loss journey, I ate out all. the. time. I based my choices on what looked good and never made informed decisions. This mistake weighed heavily on my health…literally.

I’ve learned occasional dining out can be a wonderful adventure as long as one employs mindfulness. When planning to dine out, I simply take a moment to browse the restaurant’s online menu to determine what choices would best suit my nutritional needs. Many restaurants offer very accessible info…I LOVE that!

Some restaurants take it one glorious step forward by posting calorie information on their menu boards. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that. I took the opportunity to meet someone for lunch at Panera today. What a wonderful feeling to know I can quickly skim their menu board and order something delicious and nutritious!

Take a look at this BOWL OF AWESOME!

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten there, so this salad was new to me. You are looking at their BBQ Salad with Chicken. It comes in this enormous bowl and with the sheer volume of food and the amazing flavor, I never would have guessed there were only 470 calories in that giant salad!

It is one thing to pick an item based on its calories, it’s totally another to choose it because it’s phenomenal. Guess what I’m ordering next time?!? Way to go, Panera!

I’ve noticed other restaurants beginning to post calorie info on their menu boards too.  These are the places I will choose last minute because I know what I’m getting. Friends, eating out doesn’t have to be a disaster for your goals. Take time to make mindful choices so you can enjoy your meal even more…just one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Packing for Road Trip Success

Happy Weekend, fellow FIT BFFs! As I’m packing up for a girls’ getaway, I’m taking time to be mindful. Although I plan to have a blast, I also have every intention of moving foward toward my health goals. It only takes a few moments to consider how you can healthify any road trip.

As soon as I’ve made travel plans, I begin thinking about what my time away will look like, what activities it will include and how I can weave some extra activity within that schedule. I look for any notable outdoor attractions as well as any interesting fitness locales that catch my eye…fun stuff I don’t have at home. It is also crucial to think about meals and do a little research to find some healthy dining-out options. Once plans are formed, it becomes easier to pack for success.

I make sure I have twice as many workout clothes as I think I might need…you never know! I toss a pair of hiking boots and running shoes in the trunk. I never leave home without my water bottle.

A past trigger I had was buying junk at gas stations to munch on. To combat this, I now try to eat a meal at home before I leave and pack some healthy snacks for those stops along the way. I’m much less likely to buy chips, candy bars, etc. if I have options in the car.

One last tip I can recommend is to fit a last-minute workout into your schedule before you leave. If you will be on the road a while, you’ll be starting off ahead and will, more than likely, continue on your route to travel success!

Friends, it’s just that simple…a little premeditated mindfulness goes a long way. Next time you have a trip coming up, give it a try; you’ll be ready to hit the road to good health!

Don’t Forget to Love YOU!

Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow FIT BFFs! It’s kind of like any other day around here for me; I’m in love with an amazing guy. He’s loved me at my worst and supported me toward my best. I don’t know where I’d be today without him, but of one thing I’m very sure…I’m blessed.

I know this day is difficult for many. For some, it’s a yearly reminder they’ve yet to find the one. For others, it holds pain of past relationships. Many are reminded of loved ones that they’ve lost. And still others are suffering the effects of loving others so completely that they’ve neglected themselves.

Many put so much passion and energy into our significant other, our children or others, that there’s nothing left for ourselves. I’ve been there, and although I thought that was my responsibility as a wife and mother, it left me ingnored, overlooked. At the risk of sounding selfish, it has taken me several years to realize I deserve at least as much of my attention as I give anyone else. I mean if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

I encourage you to devote a few moments today (and every day) to administer some self love. Get yourself in front of a mirror and look lovingly into your eyes. It may seem awkward at first, but that just means you need to get reacquainted. Smile! No, really…SMILE! If you are kind to others, you certainly deserve that same kindness, so it’s time to tell yourself some important things. Choose a few or all of these self affirmations or others of your choice (but keep it positive!!!) and tell that lovely person in the mirror…

  • I accept myself unconditionally.
  • I am beautiful.
  • I am strong.
  • I believe in me.
  • I am important.
  • I deserve happiness.
  • I am talented.
  • I am capable of accomplishing my dreams.
  • I am worthy of success.
  • I can do anything.
  • I am loved.

Again, this may feel strange at first, but that just means you need to talk to that wonderful person much more often! Take this strategy with you. Anytime you need a pick-me-up, put these affirmations to work. Repeat them in your mind and heart again and again. Choose the ones that resonate with you and convince yourself you mean them.

We all deserve to be loved, Friends, not just today, but everyday. Remember to treat yourself at least as well as others around you, then let that love shine! One more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!