Healthy Eating and Sleep are the keys to Maintaining a Healthy Weight

I wanted to share a bit of my story with you so you would know I understand where you are coming from when it comes to weight loss.

I have fought being overweight since I was 14 years old.  It has been a struggle with many ups and downs.  I lost 50 pounds before I got married and due to a love of food and stress of everyday life gained it all back and more.

Three years ago, I stepped away from my higher pressure corporate management job due to health problems – high blood pressure, high blood sugar and anxiety issues and several very scary trips in the ambulance.

You wouldn’t think the best new job for me would be in the culinary field but it has been the best decision for me to redesign my work life to get family balance, health and happiness.

What I have learned can help you too.  There a many medical studies on how excessive stress affects our health.  When you are dealing with a high paced and stressful job people often grab and go with food that is not the best for our health – fast food, pizza, and other takeout items.  You find yourself in a vicious cycle of stress, the wrong food and weight gain not to mention not having time or motivation to teach your family the best way to eat for health. 

The things I have learned in my journey are –  sleep is more important than you ever knew.  You can function with extreme sleep deprivation but your abilities to cope and be effective are so compromised.  This can lead to exhaustion, make you less able to deal with stress and can lead to anxiety and depression as it did for me.  You all know how hard it is to get up and exercise if you are exhausted just getting through your day.    If you think you are sleeping 8 hours but are still exhausted, wake with a headache several times a week, feel like you need a nap in the afternoon and have body aches and pains regularly these can be signs of Sleep Apnea.  Ask your doctor to set up a sleep study to see how you are really sleeping.  If you have apnea you feel as though you have slept but in reality you are waking up to hundreds of times a night and never really getting to deep sleep that we need to restore/heal ourselves and maintain healthy body functions. 

Eating right – healthy and more whole food – less processed is very important.  I know we have all heard this from our doctors but it just seems overwhelming at times to make all those changes.  My advice start with small changes don’t change your entire diet at once.  Little changes are more do-able.  I started with eliminating wheat from my diet and have found many issues including my weight are more manageable now and weight loss is possible and is proceeding at a healthy rate.   When you are ready, find a weight loss plan that is about eating what you want but in moderation and teaches you the right way to eat – Weight Watchers is working for me.  I found other plans with packaged food are too processed and had wheat and did not work for me.  I have lost 40+ pounds so far and have another 20 to go. 

Exercise – all you need to do to start is walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes until you are moderately out of breath – a bit difficult to talk while walking.   As your stamina increases walk faster to add distance or add an additional day.   I also used a treadmill in my home and a walk fit program by Leslie Sansone to be private when I first started out.

I have set a few goals for myself – getting back into my wedding dress for my 25th anniversary in a few years, getting all the way off my high blood pressure meds almost there, no longer on sugar medication or pre-diabetic and with enough weight loss my sleep apnea may resolve and I may no longer need that CPAP machine that has been a life saver.

I use the things I have learned to help my clients in my personal chef business.

 

 

 

 

Herb of the Week – Sage

Sage is a more versatile herb than most people know.  Before I grew a sage plant that became a bush in just 2 short seasons (they are a perennial herb), I only knew of its use in poultry dishes and stuffings.  One of our favorites here, is Chicken Saltimbocca.

 

As my sage plant turned into a shrub, I had to find more ways to use it and preserve it.   It is very cold hardy too but if you grow a sage bush, you will have much more sage than you know what to do with at first.  For several years I harvested it before the hard freeze and stripped it from the branches and layered it on a tray to freeze.  It stored very well in zipping freezer bags.  It maintains its color but darkens just slightly.  It loses none of its piney and lemony essence.

 

I added it to Chicken and dumplings to increase the flavor of the dish.   Here is a good link to an article on many uses of Sage.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ingredients-fine-foods/45-things-to-do-with-fresh-sage/

 

There are also medicinal and spiritual uses for sage http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail52.php

But please check on any instances when using sage  medicinally could be dangerous and always let your physician know if you want to add sage tinctures, teas, topicals or oils to your diet and medicine routines.   This WebMD link contains information on uses and interactions of medicinal sage:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-504-SAGE.aspx?activeIngredientId=504&activeIngredientName=SAGE

Judy Buonocore – your food resource