Stress and health.

We all know that stress can be bad for your health. 2011 has been one stress after another, and to say that it has taken it’s toll is a pretty fair thing to say. The scale and the size of my pants show that the stress of this past year has taken a hit on my healthy habits.

I think I will call 2011 the lost year.

In March our sweet dog was very, very, sick. Sickness for any member of the family can be disruptive, but even more so when it’s a pet since you can’t easily know what to do for them, and you certainly can’t explain it to them either. She was in a lot of pain, and as such, wanted to be held all the time. When she wasn’t being held she would cry, and have pain seizures. She was also still recovering from her patela surgery. Lots of vet visits, and she is well now, and recovered from both her knee surgery and the pancreatitis.

But that was easy compared to what was around the corner. Just 2 days after Easter my sister in law went into the hospital and they told her that she had a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball. She had it removed and is doing well, she is still all there mentally although she has physical problems now. For the entire time she was in the hospital we were there everyday, and after she got to go home (to my mother in laws) we would visit weekly. We are just so grateful she is alive and well.

Then in June I got very sick with a kidney infection. Very, very sick. Luckily it healed and I didn’t have to go into the hospital, but it was miserable. Health truly is the greatest blessing.

Then when things started to feel a bit more normal, my husband starting having serious problems which are on going now and we still don’t know exactly what is happening. It’s been very stressful not knowing what is causing his pain and problems, but we are doing our best to find out what is going on.

Through all of this I am reminded just how important health is. Without our health we truly have nothing. I’m recommitting myself to living healthy and making time for the things that promote health and happiness. If any of you still read this blog, thanks for sticking around!

Start!

Finally the weather is giving us days above freezing, and this always inspires me to get out and walk. Walking outside, in Nature’s Gym, is always so much easier than doing it on “the dreadmill”! For whatever reason I find it boring to just watch TV, being outside is so much more entertaining.

Honestly, this winter has not been great for my healthy goals. Too many treats over the holidays, not enough working out. Yes, I had my African Dance class once a week, which was awesome. And yes, we got a Kinect for Christmas that has been a lot of fun and somewhat of a workout, but over all, I have not done the things I know I need to do. The 10 pound weight gain proves it too!

So, time to restart my goals and make sure that I walk a half hour everyday no matter what the weather. Like the proverb says:

Fall seven times, get up eight!

Cupcake Marathon!

When I first read about the Cupcake Marathon, my first thought was about eating cupcakes! Who wouldn’t want to do that? In fact, we just ate some lovely cupcakes for our Mardi Gras celebration (it was really just a good excuse to eat cupcakes, as we don’t actually celebrate Mardi Gras).

Anyway, I am excited to take part in the Cupcake Marathon. I’m going to go for the half, and I am very happy that we don’t have to do the entire thing all at once. That’s right, we can log our time and distance over the course of 2 weeks!

Today, I stubbed my pinky toe. HARD! In fact, it was so bad that it started to swell, and I ended up missing my African dance class. I think the reason it hurt so much was because I basically hit right between the two toes, and it was such a hard hit. Also, because I have had surgery on my feet in the past, and have screws in the bone on that very toe, it just all combined to cause it to be more painful than a usual stubbed toe. I’m pretty sure everything will be fine though, and I will be able to participate in the Cupcake Marathon!

Are any of you taking part in this virtual race?!

Pedometer Lessons

Do you use a pedometer?

I recently started using one (kind of a fancy one actually, it’s called a FitBit), and oh the things I have learned! For example, I sit around too much on most days. Yes, I do my work from the computer, but in all reality a lot of that computer time is just messing around on silly sites (laughing is important too, but too much sitting is so bad for health)! It’s really eye opening to see how many steps I get. For example, here is a good day of tracking, though there was still some time left in this day, unless I put in a second workout, there wasn’t much chance of reaching 10,000 steps.

I have to say it’s not horrible, but this particular day was one where I was running errands (grocery shopping), and doing laundry. All of these things help a lot in getting extra steps.

Biggest lesson that I have learned through tracking steps is this: efficiency is not great for your health! What?! That’s right, when you are really efficient you take less steps. Case in point, the laundry… I used to be so good at putting all the empty hangers in the basket with the dirty clothes before taking it all down to the laundry room. One trip! Saves time! Oh yeah, it also means less walking up and down the stairs… oops! That just cuts out valuable steps on the pedometer! :)

So, in response to my pedometer I have been trying to make more trips around the house. Certainly I have been trying to at least stand up more than I sit, even if I am not actually walking at the time, it’s still better than sitting.

What about you? Have you used a pedometer? What lessons did you learn?

Fitblogger Challenge

Fitness

I’m excited about this challenge! If you remember, my goal was to run barefoot three times a week. Well, Mother Nature has had other plans, with rain and snow making it super hard to run outside. Since I am not used to running barefoot yet, I didn’t want to do it on the treadmill. In other words, I am changing my goal for the challenge!!

I want to work out daily in some way shape or form. This is how I see it playing out:

  • MWF- Workout DVD at home. Most likely it will be using my Bellyfit: Earth dvd.
  • Tues- Currently I have my African Dance class, so that will count.
  • Thursday- Treadmill, or Dance Central on the Kinect.
  • Saturday- Dance Central
  • Sunday- A nice walk, weather permitting.

So far this week I am right on track. I did my workout this morning and felt great. I did play Dance Central on Saturday, and yesterday my husband and I walked around the lake shore to see the ice breaks. Truly amazing, if not a bit cold!

Healthy donuts!

Small confession. I love a good donut!

Many years ago I got this adorable little donut cooker that came with healthier recipes for making baked donuts. Fast forward to this past weekend when my husband and I finally gave it a try. Why we waited so long I will never know, but sadly the little donut cooker did not make pretty donuts. Did they taste good though? YES! So, while I didn’t get a photo, I will share the recipe with you. I think you could adapt it to cook in a regular oven using a donut pan.

Spicy Apple Donuts

  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 large egg (or comparable amount egg substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

When I tried them in the oven it was a little hit and miss because I was guessing at the time and temp. I tried 350 for 12 mins and had to go just a bit longer on some of them than on others. Just bake until they are golden brown on top. We enjoyed ours with a bit of powdered sugar on top (I know, not very healthy).

These are a great alternative when you are craving something sweet but somewhat healthy!

Question

On almost all of the wonderful blogs that I read, I see whey protein being used for a lot of things. So, here is my question for you dear readers, what is your favorite brand of whey protein? Been thinking a lot about getting some and giving many of your recipes a try, but goodness it’s pricey! So, I don’t want to waste $$ on something gross, or not as healthy as it could be.

So, do tell, what is your favorite whey protein?