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Friday, May 10, 2013

On Our Way to Health

     John and I have been trying very hard to get physically healthy this year.  We always wanted to, but it never felt like we had the time, and it was honestly just easier to be a little over-weight and eat whatever we wanted.  However, with the birth of Jonah, we both decided that we'd like to live a Long long time to be around with this little guy!  Since the Lord lead us to Wabo (a new term I read someone else calls Waynesboro - very suited) to be House Parents, we've been able to create a flexible daily schedule and times for us to exercise often and cook and prepare much healthier meals.  (This is a great parenting blog, and this particular post about a daily schedule is very helpful: Up The Spout Again  and then this is how we make it work for us as House Parents: Our Daily Schedule ) You definitely have to make a daily time for exercise or you won't fit it in! The big Meal Preparation Day where I make around 15 meals in gallon zip-lock bags and then cook them in a crock pot, has been very helpful for budgeting time and calories as well. I have done that twice, and then did not do it for the month of April, and really missed having that back up supply.  I will definitely be doing it soon for this month!

     John and I set goals for weight loss, but also speeds in running.  I am not going to share our weight goals because that's a little personal, and I don't feel that people should obsess over numbers as much as the feeling of health and fitness, and we're taller than average (I'm 5'8" and John's 6'1") which leads the general public to be like "You think what is a healthy weight???"  I wanted to lose all of my baby weight, plus 10 pounds to get to my healthy goal weight.  I am only 7 pounds away! John is only 3 pounds away from his goal weight!  My speed goal was to be able to run a consistent, comfortable 10 minute mile, or a 5K in about 31 minutes.  When I was at my healthiest (age 19-24) I was teaching classes at the gym and going to college. Back then, I was able to run like that, so it didn't seem like an unreasonable goal.  However, I am still averaging around an 11 minute mile most days, slower if I am pushing a stroller.  I began running 2 miles, 2 - 3 days a week.  I have recently upped it to 3 miles, 3 - 4 days a week.  John's weight goal was to also get back to close to his college weight, while he was playing baseball.  His speed goal is to run a 5K in 25 minutes or less, or about an 8 and a half minute mile.  John has met his speed goal!  I am so proud of my man! He has been running 3 to 5 miles, 3 - 4 times a week. Yesterday, he ran 5 miles in 41 minutes.  Yeah, he's a stud! In Wabo, our trail is very hilly.  When we go on break and run around our parents' houses, our path is more flat, or we use their treadmills.

     We are both feeling so much better, and fitting into old clothes again.  Being able to pull up and button some jeans you haven't worn in two years is one of the best feelings ever!  John is actually the thinnest I have ever seen him since we met.  I have made it to 3 pounds below my pre-baby weight.  We are both now trying to lose those last few nagging pounds, and increase our speed (without throwing up). This is the toughest part yet!  However, remembering how we felt at Thanksgiving and Christmas last year when we looked like this, helps us to stay committed to a healthier lifestyle:
This one didn't make the Christmas card because we hated how fat we looked. 

This is from yesterday - May 9, 2013

     We have also been doing my old Les Mills Fitness Classes DVDs that I have from teaching a few years ago.  I had forgotten how fun some of them were!  My first certification was in Body Pump, and I have at least 20 different releases of that.  We had to buy lots of weights to be able for John and I both to be able to do it at the same time, but it's really fun to exercise together!  We have been trying to do Pump 2-3 times a week, not always together, but however we can fit it in.  I have also been doing Body Combat and Body Flow each about once a week.  John likes to do Body Attack because of the intense calorie burning, however, I just never fell in love with that program, and prefer to run or do Combat if it's bad weather.  If you have ever thought about taking group fitness classes, I highly recommend it! A lot of people like Zumba, which is a dance cardio workout, however, I really prefer the Les Mills programs listed above.  You can see if you are near a gym that offers them here: Class Locator.  Then last week, I went to workout with some ladies at church, and we did a Bob Harper DVD, that I really enjoyed, so I went home and John and I ordered some of them, and have enjoyed having a different type of workout. We got the "Inside Out Method" dvds, but all of his Bob Harper DVDs are fairly inexpensive.

     Nutritionally, our biggest changes have been portion control and reducing refined carbs and sweets. Please do not take any of this information as if coming from a doctor, (because I am soooo NOT a doctor) but rather a health-conscious mommy who wants to feel and look good.  We've focused on eating a lot more lean protein: meat, eggs, Morning Star Farms products, making protein shakes.  Our other big change has been trying to add in more vegetables, mainly through salads, and baked or grilled veggies.  We've also made sure we only eat one serving during meals.  We had previously done the "Flat Belly Diet" and so we've carried over a lot of those principals - trying to have fewer carbs, more vegetables and healthy fat with every meal.  Although in that program it identifies healthy fats as being the 'MUFA's' (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids) which consist of nuts and nut butters (that's when I discovered almond butter, yum), olives and olive oil, avocados, dark chocolate, and a few other 'safe' oils.  However, the more I read now about healthy fats, I am getting a little confused.  This article describes a totally different set of necessary fats that I have also begun to try to eat more of  as described as Traditional Fats which are supposed to help cut down on sugar cravings.
New favorite butter!

I'm trying to make this my mental mindset about sugar. 

     I've also had a lot of success with cutting out extra sugars. I can tell from one day to the next how bloated/fatigued I feel based on how much sugar I've had that day.  These are some great articles explaining why sugar is so much more prevalent in our culture's eating habits than ever before and the havoc it is wreaking on our health from cancers to diabetes and obesity. Our society's over-consumption of any type of sugar is AWFUL: Reasons to Avoid Sugar and NY Times: Long and Scientific Explanation and Good Ole' WebMD on Sugar (notice the amount it ends with that is healthy though!) and then this one is about the spiritual side of the battle with sugar cravings, that I can totally identify with, although I am unfortunately not able to say I have totally kicked it yet, but I plan to soon... (and all the procrastinators will unite - tomorrow). This website goes with this coke/sugar cube stack picture above, and has some good links on how much sugar is in your foodsSugar Stacks. The biggest change is in breakfast foods, trying to get away from carbs and sugar, which lead to most breakfast days consisting of an omelett.  This blogger does a great job of explaining how she does this too: I'm Over Sugar.
Prep work: Cut and Bag all Omelett ingredients (except the eggs),
so then all you have to do is pull a baggie out of the freezer and throw it in the pan!

Bagged ingredients in the pan first to thaw/fry just a little
I like onions, green bell peppers, spinach, and ham.
After adding 2 organic, cage-free eggs
In the bowl - I don't do well with the whole fold/flip thing.
I guess this is more like scrambled eggs with veggies
      While mentioning our health, I will also mention that our Jonah is very healthy, too! He has only continued to gain weight, but that's what babies are supposed to do. ;P  He is actually rather large-and-in-charge for his age, being 95th percentile in height, and similar in weight, and wearing 12 month and 18 month clothes.  He began walking last week sometime, and I am still kind of adjusting.  I think I didn't want to admit he was walking because that would mean recognizing the fact that I no longer have a little baby.  Instead, I have a wildly toddling toddler.  It's a very different mindset.  My little man is walking at 11 months, talking, and being silly, and throwing puffs off his high chair tray and exclaiming "Uh-Oh!" as if the puffs jumped off themselves.  I try to feed him primarily organic foods, making homemade baby food when possible and using the organic Sprout, Happy Tots, Plum Organics, and Earth's Best pouches and jars.  This is one good explanation of why it is generally better for kids to eat organic: Dr. Greene's Organic Food Debate.  Unfortunately, organic food is more expensive, and far more difficult to find, especially down here in Wabo.  We've been trying to stock up more when we go home to Huntsville, or get our day away in Hattiesburg or Meridian.  He does love the o-tddler organic yogurt, although I am annoyed at the amount of sugar each little pot contains, but I like the probiotics, and it's a really easy grab-and-go food, so he gets one yogurt pot a day.  I am trying to eat more organic foods as well as I continue to read more about the pesticides on produce and antibiotics, hormones, and steroids in meats and dairy products.  However, it's still so much easier to just eat the regular, cheap food for me, and consider Jonah to be "special" as if he deserves better food.  I'm not sure if this says something about the way I value myself or if I'm just that cheap...Do you feed your kids better food than you feed yourself? A good friend of mine introduced me to the Huntsville Greene Street Market yesterday, and I had a great time getting some things!  My favorite purchase so far is the Mediterranean flavored goat cheese.  It was so yummy in my omelet this morning!

 Jonah's sleeping has been a little strange lately.  He's sound asleep for 30-40 minutes and then is scream-crying, like he's in pain or very scared.  At first we attributed this to teething again, because he still does like to chew on the sides of his mouth a lot so we thought there are more coming in over there.  However, even with giving the homeopathic teething tablets before naps/bedtime, he continued to do it.  So, I researched baby nightmares and was shocked to find out that babies can have nightmares! However, I also found more information concerning my biggest fear, that Jonah has just lost his ability to self-soothe, and has become basically a crappy sleeper because we have been putting him to sleep by giving him a bottle then rocking him for about 3 months now. I am at a loss as to what I should do though, because we don't live a consistent life in one place long enough, and everything says that consistency is the key.  We get breaks (thank God, because we definitely need them!) and we leave and his schedule is different, his environment is different, and the people around us are different.  John and I become his only constant.  I don't think this is bad for his development in the long run, and probably is teaching him to adjust to changing situations, but it is rather exhausting for us to have to rock him back to sleep or put him in our bed.  When he sleeps with us, we have poor sleep quality because he's in the way and we don't want to roll on him or cover his face with the covers, and he kicks us, and cries a little randomly, waking us up, or he inevitably wakes up first and begins poking or softly hitting us in the face and laughing.

     All the research suggests a rather fixed bedtime routine would fix this though, that I think we could replicate one in most locations.  I think if we began with the bottle, then bath, then maybe reading books, then putting him down in his crib, sleepy but awake, after a week or so of this strict routine he may to learn how to go to sleep on his own.  Maybe that will get him far enough from drinking his last bottle that he won't throw it up like he did in the past when we tried this.  I think we could replicate this at our parents' houses and even at hotels with a bathtub and a pack'n'play.  His sleep schedule is still a work in progress.  This parenting gig is way harder work than I expected! Who knew a little thing like SLEEP would be so tough to figure out!? Do any of you feel that way?

     So, overall, we are a more health-conscious family than we were last year.  My biggest goal for this year was to spend more TIME on the the things and people that matter the MOST, and as I have focused on the time part, we have made more time for daily Bible study, and exercise in our daily lives.  Bible study may seem out of context here, but it usually leads to better self-control in eating and better choices throughout the day on how to spend our time wisely on things that not just earthly, but eternal, and training our bodies for His service rather than for personal gain.  I have also decided that to accompany my desire to spend more time on important things, it only makes sense to spend more money on those things that matter most, and to eliminate unnecessary spending on things that don't matter, and this had led to more organic food purchases, and the decision to pay a real photographer to do Jonah's one year pictures this week while we are on break.  I know in ten or twenty years I won't look back and say, "Man, I sure am glad I bought those $25 sandals I wanted." or "I'm so glad I splurged and ate 3 pieces of cake once or twice a week." I think (and hope) I will say, "I'm so glad we've been eating healthy foods and cut way back on our sugar and we still feel great in our forties." and "I love that we have these great family photos to capture our precious memories." I already love the "sneak peeks" that our photographer put up on facebook.  If you're in the Huntville area, you should check out Ashlea Chance at Southern Made Photography!  I liked the fact that as a mommy of 3 little boys, she had good ideas for how to get Jonah to cooperate, she didn't mind when he got fussy, and she was able to capture some great pictures of him alone and us as a family. :)  I'm sure she'll get some good ones tonight at his birthday party too! We have been through many trials this year, and travels certainly, but feeling healthy is a big triumph for team Honea!



  1. I'm not sure why I saw this post so late! It's great! I'm proud of you! You have great will power and if you set your mind to something, you will do it, and you will do it great!

  2. Good info. Thanks for sharing. What are your favorites from New Yokel? I've been there, but not often, because it's so far from our house. Also, have you heard about Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas? It's a book I've thought of reading but haven't -though it sounds like you might be interested in it from this post. Just curious.

  3. Aww thanks Ghazaal!

    Katie - I had not heard of that book but it looks great! I think I may get it! At New Yokel I get the organic butter, we bought the apple sauce for Jonah, and some organic produce. The meats are too expensive. :(