I just read an article about 462 pound woman in the UK who wants taxpayers to pay for her weight loss surgery.  Now, before you judge my opinions below, I encourage you to read the entire article HERE.  

Ok...now lets get down to business.  I know that some of you will judge my opinions and I may lose a few followers, but I need to express my opinion on this topic.  

First, lets talk about the drinking while pregnant!  Unless lager is another name for soda in the UK, and the article even notes that it was Heineken, this is crazy!  Who thinks that 12 "small" cans of lager is safe or healthy during pregnancy.  Now, some may say, 'she did not know it wasn't safe'.  So I did a little research.  Apparently this may be the case, it seems that in the UK women are not as educated about the effects of drinking on their unborn as women in the US.  According to an article by the BBC, "Government guidance is for pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol, but if they do to drink only one to two units, once or twice a week".  Even with this information, 12 a day is far more than the guidance.  

Next, lets talk about the weight issue.  This woman started out at approximately 210 pounds before her first pregnancy, which is more than the target range of 147-183 pounds for a 6 foot tall woman.  This still not horrible and could be reversed at this point with proper diet and exercise.  Every women gains weight while pregnant and, I know this may be breaking news, not everyone loses it after having their child(ren) within 3-6 months like celebrities, some don't ever lose that "baby fat".  I know it took me a full year after having each of my children to lose the 50 pounds I gain with each of my pregnancies.  So, I could see how after 6 children she could gain a few extra pounds that she couldn't lose, no matter how hard she tried.

I also know that pregnancy can give you the oddest of cravings, with my first pregnancy I ate Taco Bell  some times 2 or 3 times a day, and I ate it at least 3-4 days a week.  I even ate Taco Bell while I was in labor!  Trust me pregnancy was not a high point in my nutritional journey.  I will also sympathize with this woman that I literally ate for 2 because my doctor told me I could based on my pre-pregnancy weight.  I used eating for two and my cravings as the crutch for those 50 pounds, but I was still determined and able to get back on track after delivery.  I know it is tough to gain weight while pregnant and then to lose it, especially when you want to spend all your time admiring, loving and nurturing your new bundle of joy.  Especially when society celebrates celebrities who lose their pregnancy weight in just months.  But, part of being a good parent is taking time to take care of yourself; knowing when you need a "time out", a few minutes to just take a walk around the block, catch up with a friend, get your hands dirty in the garden, or watch your favorite TV show.  

Another important part of being a parent is setting a good example for your children.  Parents are their childs first and best teacher and they learn their habits from those around them.  Many of the habits, connections and relationships a child has are formed by the time they reach the door on the first day of Kindergarten.  So, I wonder what have these children learned?  I can make assumptions that they have learned that is is just easier to pick up the phone and call for take out (totaling $320 dollars a week) instead of preparing meals, that it is normal and acceptable to drink beer while pregnant, and that your health is less important than going on a vacation.

Furthermore, I don't have a problem with asking for help.  I think that our system (and I am assuming the UK system) should be available for those who need help, that is what is how it was designed.  But, it is not designed for abuse and requests that are not seen as THE last option.  We have become a society that is lazy and blames others for our problems and when you don't want to work hard for something you can just ask taxpayers for it or give up.  I make sacrifices everyday to provide better for my children, for example not going on a big trips or having a new car.  This year the economy, lack of winter in the Midwest and gas prices do not allow our family to take a big trip for spring break.   I use this opportunity to explain this to my children and have them reflect, in ways that 7 and 9 year old boys can, on what God has provided and how we can share with others and grow in our lives.

Towards the end of the story it mentions that this lady has tried to encourage her family to eat healthier and that she can't afford a trainer and has numerous health problems.  But I have to wonder, if you did not eat out all week and used the money you saved to hire some one (on a temporary basis) to help you change your habits, could she do it?  Is it possible to change years of bad habits and excuses?  Naturally I would say YES, but I am just one person and I have never been in her shoes.  It can be done and if she truly wanted to make the changes she would find a way to financially support it and would power through the pain while exercising.  I found this week a local man with a great blog, Walk Two Hours, that chronicles one mans journey to health and discovery through walking!  He too had health problems and had pain when first starting on his new journey, but was focused on succeeding and making the change!  

Making changes towards a healthier you does not have to include a trainer, traditional diets, or a major overhaul in one fail swoop!  How does the saying go...oh yes, Rome wasn't built in a day.  In fact Rome is still building today, in the same way that our journeys to health are always changing and building and growing with baby steps and one day at a time.  What it takes is a desire to change and the determination to make a difference in your life! 

So I end with these questions for you:
+What will your changes be for the day?  
+What will it be for tomorrow or next week?  
+How will you gauge if you are on the right track?
+How will you know you are successful?  What will it feel like?  What will it look like?
+Who will support, encourage and grow with you?

Healthy Eatings...AND LIVING!!


So I decided to try something new in my house and I call it "Make it up Monday" or MUM for short.  The concept is simple...I take an ingredient or multiple ingredients and make up a new recipe with them.  Sometimes this works out great or at least good.  But this week, well...this week was a failure!  My choices of ingredients, wheat berries and tempeh, are good ingredients and very tasty when done right just not on this particular MUM!  

I am just fine with not meeting my expectations on a MUM night, or with any recipe for that matter, it actually makes me more determined to find/create a recipe using those same ingredients that tastes wonderful!  I love that my kids watched and were apart of this recipe flop.  Not because I "failed" but of how I am teaching them to handle situations where they may not succeed the first time.  Picture if I had burst into tears and tossed the entire meal in the trash and grabbed the phone to order a pizza.  What would that have taught them?  My guess, is that it would have encouraged them that it is acceptable to throw a fit and give up.  Instead, I took a minute to think about what I could do or what I could add to make the dinner at least edible for that night.  What did that teach them?  Well, I like to think it taught them how to improvise, accept that mistakes happen, to try again after a little more research, since they saw me online after dinner researching the ingredients for next time.

The same thing can be true in a multitude of situations.  My boys have taken up this fascination with triathlons and running but, I recently learned that my knees cannot handle running anymore.  I was sad about it because I like to "run out my frustrations" and "pound my bad day into the pavement", and running together was fun.  Instead of dwelling on the fact that I could not run, so this was not an option for them, I have decided to have them run on the track by our house and I will walk. 

The point I am trying to make is that it is all about choices and how we handle the situation that determines how others, whether it is our kids, co-workers, friends, or spouses, adapt to the situation at hand.  So, my challenge to you is to let your kids, and others, see you "miss the mark" on something and use it for personal growth and as a teachable moment.  

So I have been a big slacker lately!  I have been so busy with my full time job, I have had a hard time trying to keep up on my postings of recipes and health tips.  This has caused me some anxiety because I just don't have enough time in my day and I want to be able to keep up on something that I believe so strongly about and my commitments.   This has lead me to think about those of you that are trying to make the effort to lead a more healthy lifestyle.  It is hard to make the changes, it is hard to be really intentional about the food you are making and eating or introducing to your palate.  Sometimes you will do really well and live healthy everyday, other times you will find yourself slipping back to what is "normal" or comfortable and that is okay.  

What is important is recognizing what triggers you to slide backwards, so that you can avoid the situation or the temptation next time.  I think it is important to keep a calendar or journal of what is going on in your life, what you are eating, and what your activity level is during those times.  Having something to track your patterns and habits allows visual learners to make the connections needed to stay on the healthy path next time those busy weeks, hormone levels, and other items come up because, as creatures of habit those issues will pop back up again and again.  

Remember to cut yourself some slack and keep trying!