fitness, goals, granparent life, health, intermittent fasting, keto, life, sugar-free, weight loss, weight watchers

Cortisol

Cortisol, a word I never used until this year. It should be the eighth dirty word. It is a sneaky bugger that wreaks havoc on women. Have we not had enough life changes in our fifty plus years. A fat gut, while living on lettuce and air is no reward that feels worthy for the pain of child-birth or the menstrual suffering. We deserve better. I suggest shoes and a new bag, or two, to ease into the depths of cortisol, as no one escapes this misery.

Technically, “Cortisol is a steroid hormone, in the glucocorticoid class of hormones. When used as a medication, it is known as hydrocortisone. It is produced in many animals, mainly by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland. It is produced in other tissues in lower quantities.” Or “Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation.”In simple terms it is a regulator of stress. More stress, more cortisol and more sugar and weight. Told you it was a bad word.

The basic symptoms of cortisol imbalance are the following:

  1. Weight gain, especially in your face and abdomen.
  2. Fatty deposits between your shoulder blades.
  3. Wide, purple stretch marks on your abdomen (belly).
  4. Muscle weakness in your upper arms and thighs.
  5. High blood sugar, which often turns into Type 2 diabetes.

In essence if you are in menopause or postmenopausal, you fall into this category, and are struggling with the physical and emotional effects. For the weary there is little sleep, weight gain, emotions out of wack, and the feeling that you do not belong in any category of clothes as your age and body don’t match. You feel out of sorts. Everyday. There is no cure. Only to try to balance your system out with the correct diet and exercise. Now, while I profess to trying every diet in existence, and recently a fasting gig, that made me feel a longing for coffee creamer in my sad black coffee that I could not get down. I know life is not a diet. They don’t work. It is consistently eating well plus movement thst equals less weight and overall health. The diets are just fads that give us the illusion that our weight gained through last night’s pizza or hormone imbalance is possible. With work, patience, and putting diets on the shelf and embracing the concept of eating for our age and our bodies.

Not a paid promotion but just began Metabolic Renewal. I am on week one but love the support group and learning that I am not alone as I tread the waters of an almost carb free and sugar free life, oh and exercise. So far, I feel more energetic. I will take that for a win. As for the scale, we broke up, not sure we will have date again. Possibly, in a few weeks. https://www.metabolicrenewal.com/

education

The Sounds of Silence

The days before the actual “first day” of school are the most precious and set the tone for my mental game, as I gear up for the year. The utter silence not only in my room but throughout the hallways, only to be interrupted by teacher chatter, hugs, and rushing feet from one room or meeting to another quietly emulate a natural high as reality has not hit. Kids. Paperwork. Rules. My plans are for obvious perfection and is the bubble of life if only for a fleeting few days. It is then that schedules sound possible, discipline will be a breeze, and dress codes sound reasonable as jean days are put on the chopping block. It’s ok, we should dress up. Then week three hits and it hits hard. Suddenly, the quiet is replaced with chaos because the moving pieces are coming fast. It is a teacher’s life. It is precious but mentally and physically draining on a level few others feel.

Then it hits. It’s a stamicane, my own word for a stampede plus hurricane. Kids making their way down our halls breaking the blissful silence. First, the utter excitement is contagious but by week three “When is fall break” is my number one on the playlist on my mind, on repeat.

I started this blog long ago, and now I am in the midst of the realities in their lives, mixed in with the educational policies and state and educational needs, just for their survival into the next year. It’s a lot. It is my life, but it is a lot. This year the silence I crave so desperately before the onslaught of students, is needed every weekend. I am quiet. Very. Unusually. The year is taking its toll not due to the day-to-day teaching of my subject but their lives and struggles. The peace brings me back to my Monday self where I have enough guidance and wisdom to give, if asked, to help them make it through the week with their own struggles with family, money, death, and of course just your average friend battles. No, my kids see so much more than just catty friends. They deal with the stuff that adults head to shrinks for but mine take it in stride. Then the day comes when they break, usually in my room, and their truth spills out and into my life. I listen in silence and instantly crave the weekends peace to come quickly. Words are usually few when they fall apart, as that is not what is needed. They want an ear and a hug. These kids already have more wisdom and the answers to get through the day than I do…they are tough. All of the rooms I have entered, over my twenty years, have had kids that are tough, kids that are broken, kids that take true difficulties in stride. It is me who needs their strength and the weekend quiet to allow me to give my ear and hugs for the weeks to come.

Published by Tracy Livingston M.Ed.

A teacher who follows my students to greater educational moments and my own continued learning. I have sampled many of the varieties of teaching venues. Private Montessori, public, homeschooling, and back to public with a few awkward dances in the political sector. This blog began as The Relatively Sane Adventures of a Teacher and has morphed into Following The Child, as I have followed, listened, and learned from each and every student in over 20 years. View more posts

echelon, fitness, goals, grey hair, health, intermittent fasting, life, weight loss, weight watchers

Alternate Image

We have mental images of ourselves. I am skinnier. This of course is odd. Most have the inner picture of our bodies as larger. Some all over. Some in certain places. But larger. I think smaller in an overall general body image, until I found a mirror on a bad day in workout gear. That is a picture no one needs to see, especially the owner of this body. Nope. I kept looking unable to see me, just a foreign old lady that was anyone but me on any given day. I wanted to run and hid but instead I realized the true power of the before picture.

Now, my fantasy ideal of the skinny me has been replaced by reality, which I am now painting a tad worse in my minds eye. But it is the picture in my weary old head that now keeps me motivated to stay on points, fast, drink lemon water, and detox with hibiscus tea and get on my bike. I notice about three ounces gone…but I continue as fat was not built in a day, and overall health is the goal. Not a size. But surely not the old hag in the mirror. Somewhere in between, with my continued motivation I will succeed not only in health but coming to grips with 60 and the obvious changes it brings, even to those of great beauty. We all suffer a bit. It shows physically but we really are dealing with the mental struggle of age compounded with a bit of extra skin.

With each new day. on this journey, I say positive affirmations, pray, and look at myself in a new way. I see the changes. Others will as well, but at three or four ounces of loss, I understand their difficulties. Now, my change is just for me and my pride. Others may just see my acceptance and glow of growing health, and that might be the best gift. Along with twenty pounds.

health, intermittent fasting, sugar-free, weight loss, weight watchers

Intermittent Fasting

If I lost twenty pounds that would be enough for me to stop feeling like I live on a life of dieting. Truth be told, I need to lose this weight. Not optional. Obviously, no gun to my head, just a life of desires to be met, and weight does limit us in many ways. I have flipped and flopped dieting programs to find the magic cure and save a buck or two. Today, I go deeper. Intermittent fasting. Aka starving. I am choosing the 16:8 schedule because it is the only one I feel is remotely possible in my life. The basic concept is eat at noon and stop at 8pm. Obviously, normal healthy meals that fit into my point system. Not just anything that comes my way during this time frame. I am already hungry. My choices are water, black coffee, tea, and a green juice with low enougg carbs so it is really not a food. Unsure where that exists, so going to stick with the other options.

It is 7 AM and I have already broken the mold of fasting. I put less than a tablespoon of my creamer in my coffee. I guess that’s it right. No, I will work towards black coffee. I tried it…spit it out…and added a bit of creamer. I am a work in progress. Definitely.

10:18 AM starving. Drinking more coffee with the untraceable amount of creamer and switching to my water while fantasizing about lunch. Not in a great place.

11:40 AM LUNCH. I survived. I guess. My Real Food frozen bowl and carrots were inhaled and I treated myself with a protein bar for the win at two points. With that plus my water I did not feel deprived and my point count was obviously lower. I could see how this could work if I stay with this same motivation until retirement.

My thoughts of my morning starvation were gone until around dinner. I knew my window was short and my points flexible. Tonight, I had planned pasta. Perfect. Along with some fruit and the two (yes two) sugar free jello puddings, my points were intact. If I had given up the second jello, I would have been under my point goal. So, the evening is the time to be careful. No, I do not need to eat all my points. Just what I had planned for dinner. No extra or additional snacks. Just the snacks planned for the day, one after-school and an evening treat usually jello or popcorn. I am a wild one.

Day 2 begins and I am hungry but I am ignoring this feeling and looking forward to my coffee with a bit of creamer. Sorry not sorry. If starving is what weight loss goals are made of creamer is staying in my impure world as today I feel lighter. Just a bit.

weight loss, weight watchers

Nooming Part 3

I broke up with Noom. It was not because I did not believe in the system. Nope. It was the price. Here is the breakdown give or take any recent changes and keep in mind I am a teacher.

Monthly auto-renewing plan $70 USD

1. 2 month auto-renewing plan $129 USD

2. 3 month auto-renewing plan $159 USD

3. 4 month auto-renewing plan $169 USD

4. 5 month auto-renewing plan $174 USD

5. 6 month auto-renewing plan $179 USD

6. 7 month auto-renewing plan $184 USD

7. 8 month auto-renewing plan $189 USD

8. 9 month auto-renewing plan $195 USD

9. 10 month auto-renewing plan $199 USD

10. 11 month auto-renewing plan $205 USD

11. Annual auto-renewing plan $209 USD

Any plan you choose is pricey. So since I am basically counting what goes into my mouth I went back to Weight Watchers, my old friend. While there is still a cost it is more palatable.

1. The Unlimited Workshops + Digital plan starts at $6.92/week ($27.68 per month).

2. The Digital 360 plan starts at $4.61/week ($18.44 per month).

3. The Digital plan starts at $3.38/week ($13.52 per month).

So, obviously a difference. Let’s face it WW is the queen of weight loss, and as such, offers more in the way of recipies, support, articles, online and offline workshops etc. Noom sold me as it did not feel like a diet but it was and while you could eat your foods in their associated colors, if you were not careful nothing would budge. That happened but it was not the program it was my interpretation of amounts. So the point system instead of the color system works for me, as I cannot cheat as easily. Note as easily.

No program will make you lose weight. Only you can do it, armed with a plan, that works for you and your needs. I still believe in both programs and actually miss my little Noom bot who checked on me daily but her cost and wide range of colorful ways to push the limit guided me back to a stricter environment. Twenty-three points a day. I have already consumed three!

http://www.noom.com

http://www.weightwatchers.com

fitness, health, weight loss, weight watchers

Dieting Teacher in the Kitchen

In my last blog, I mentioned I would be using Boca hamburgers or chicken for this week for my lunch. I chose the chicken this week. An amazing cooking hack was my air fryer. Dump them in and twenty minutes later they are ready to cool and store in ziplocs for the week. Perfection. Next week, I will cook my burgers the same way. Simple is key. BTW the faux chicken is great. I tasted a small corner. So, I am winning on protein but consuming less fat. Goals.

Today, I also created my weight watchers ramen chicken for a couple dinners. It’s ok. Edible. Under seven points with 1/2 cup of noodles but a bit bland. Not sure the hubs will eat it. I tried. So, while lunch for the week is a winner…dinner eh. Here is the recipie. You will do much better. Why because I forgot a couple needed ingredients. Cornstarch, brown sugar, and rice vinegar. Why? I used a sugar free sauce that I thought would do the trick. Nope. Stick to directions.

https://keepingonpoint.com/2021/07/07/chicken-teriyaki-ramen/

Perhaps, it was just the quiet of the day but I made Weight Watcher carrot muffins. Amazing. Now, mine fell apart. But still amazing. I highly recommend. Below is the recipie from Drugstore Divas. Of course, only mine collapsed and stuck to the muffin tin to the point that they look like tiny tops of muffins, that appear shredded. But they are good. Obviously, my skill or patience lacks.

https://www.drugstoredivas.net/carrot-cake-weight-watchers-muffins-1-points-plus-value/

So, while I have no particular talent in the kitchen, I am cooking or at least trying. My hubs did deny my ramen dinner but I am used to that. Later this week I am making meatloaf. He won’t deny that and with five points between the ground beef, pet milk, and lipton onion mix. It is yummy.

So, I am trying and will share my meatloaf concoction along with my first week of eating healthy and sticking to my points on my next blog. Keep following!

fitness, goals, health, life, weight loss, weight watchers

The Dieting Teacher

The word dieting is negative. I prefer healthy. I have done it all and still am about twenty pounds overweight. The “about” is due to my perennial fear of the scale. More of a clothes gal who teeters between loose, tight, and oops a new size is needed. This last category is mind-numbing. So I diet. I also teach. The two do not go hand-in-hand, unless you are supremely organized, or have a fabulous metabolism. My tips, tricks, and attempts at cooking in the real working world coupled with being over 50. Ok, actually 59. My ideas are also designed to guide those that are as inept as I am in the kitchen or just want a few shortcuts.

So here we go. First of all, I am using Weight Watchers (I left Noom due to cost) as my primary plan and tracker, but have also added a new “health” component. I am using frozen vegetarian meals from a variety of sources to quickly have a healthy meal under seven points, eat less meat, and have a higher count of daily veggies. Why frozen? Unlike so many bloggers, I can’t cook. So I bring you the simplistic reality of those that can’t create insta worthy meals or just don’t have time. Lucky for me I am low in sodium so the extra salt is ok for my intake. But yes, watch your salt. Please.

On my plan, I have twenty-three points a day. I choose to divide them up fairly evenly. Breakfast is five or under, lunch is seven or under, one snack with three points or under, and dinner is at eight or under. This is twenty-three. Boom. Obviously, these numbers are at my high totals. But it is a plan I can live with as I have tried living on zero points. It does not work for me at all.

This week I am sharing my teacher breakfast and lunch planning. Why? I eat in my car (I am not alone) in the morning so I can create time for my Peloton and have thirty minutes for lunch. It’s a race and my total day can go off the rails if these two meals are not thought about carefully. Ever wander around a school cafeteria with no breakfast or lunch prepared. I have. Your options are thousands of calories. So, here are my after winter break, back to school lunches! Beware. I do not mind eating the same thing daily. I know I just lost all of you foodies. Note you can add all different veggies to your burger to make it different. Let’s see what I come up with this week.

This week is week one back to school after winter break. I will be cooking Boca burgers/chicken for my weekly lunches. At two points a burger OR the chicken at three points. These are winning alternatives. This week I am cooking both and switching it up. You cannot go wrong. Cooking lunch on Sunday for the week is a plus (keep it simple) as are the low points of the veggie alternatives and decreased meat and saturated fat. I keep a small jar of mustard in my frig (or grab a pouch from the cafeteria) and ta dah we have lunch. Pair this with a favorite fruit, grapes in my case, for zero points. If you want a bun use a sandwich thin by Oroweat for an additional two points. Lunch under six points. Winning. For a simple storage idea, I throw everything in a separate ziploc for each day and store in the frig on Sunday afternoons for my nightly quick packing. Fancy. Need a snack throw in a sugar free jello or some carrots or keep a secret protein bar/shake stash for emergencies when starvation hits and sweets sound delightful. The two lowest protein bars are the Protein One bar for two points or the Built Bar at three points. The lowest convenience shake is premier protein is at three points and worth it! Even if you have a bar/shake you are at nine points, which included your “special” afternoon snack. Not bad.

As for breakfast. I am as dull as they come. This week I am sticking with my faux chocolate muffin stuffed with veggies. Yum. Veggies Made Great has healthy muffins, saturated with vegetables, that I can’t taste. A plus. All for five points. I pair this with fruit and a quickly toss this into my lunch bag for a nice easy breakfast of champions as I head to school.

Here are my links for quick reference. Please note this is not a sponsored blog. These are my own ideas, thoughts, and of course my truth on taste, texture, and ease.

http://www.bocaburger.com

http://www.oroweat.com

http://www.proteinone.fiberone.com

http://www.built.com

http://www.veggiesmadegreat.com

Next week, my blog will focus on how my burger trick worked and tasted. Will I do it again? Do I suggest it? Did I add veggies to sharpen the taste? Also, did my breakfast, lunch, fruit, and veggie snacks keep me on a healthy track and cause my clothes to wiggle a little bit more.

Have a great week!

granparent life, life

Life is Being Four

Four is a special number. If you are four or a grandparent of a four-year-old. Otherwise, not so special, I suppose. Personally, I like the number and so does my favorite human. You sing constantly, talk to yourself, come up with pure sweetness that melts the hearts of the grandparents in question, and have never-ending energy. Never-ending. I like four and embrace all of it with gusto.

Soon four will end, and that big number five hits out of nowhere or at least that is the feeling. Big moment. Pre-school melts into Kindergarten and with all that school brings. Schedules, learning, friends, birthday parties, and sports. Five is cool. I will like five. My human and I will take more adventures. Lego land, Disneyland, and of course, the waterhouse. Each year the adventures will grow as that is my gift to him, as it was my in-laws to our kid. Adventure, travel, and learning the skills of life.

But right now I like four, the perfect letter D’s and especially, the hugs.

life

Doing the Gram

I do. Most of my pictures are silly non-filtered pictures for my own enjoyment and to feel a bit younger than my years. No rhyme, reason, or vibe. Just fun. To me it is what social media should be, a stream of family silliness, with attempted cool captions and puppy sites to follow for days. The stories are newer to me, but once you hit the first in your list, you find yourself down a rabbit hole of quick moments that are not as important as a post, but important enough to make the gram. Since, my cool factor is zero, I sometimes make my story my post. Yes, I know that crosses the line. They are meant to be separated in order of importance but it is fun and games in my world, as I am not a marketing maven or even have a product to push. So, I post whenever I want no matter how many times a day. If I want to capture a memory it goes up…Yes, I could just add to my Google photo albums, but this goes back to fun and make believe relevance. While I know there are peaks of online viewing but my pics can’t wait. Obviously. My five average likes on a decent pic with a relatively snappy tag makes me pleased. Over five and I feel viral. I get a bit full of myself. No one needs that. Nope. So, I will continue to play, enjoy, watch puppies, and occasionally feel especially important when I rise above my consistent viewership, as viral cool is not truly a number (well, it is) it is also just a grandma playing the game of social media and enjoying the connection which is what started it all!

echelon, fitness, goals, health, weight loss

Nooming Part 2

I am back on Noom. I left. I did. Which makes this post worthy of a prize or an escalated Noom blogger award. 🤔 I left because I could do this on my own. Suddenly cocky with eight pounds gone. This was my inner thought and money saving idea. Suddenly after fighting since childbirth (thirty-one years ago) I could do this alone and save the money and annoying check-ins from my personal person or bot. Not sure which, but in this age of technology and with eight pounds lost, why did I care, if there is a real face with my consults? I don’t. Eight pounds lost and now eight pounds gained left to my own devices and fell through a mushroom cloud of stress and the outward “I am O.K” that I gave out to my world aka my seventh grade classroom.

I am back. Why? Noom works. There I said it. It really does for those that need their hands held while foods, friends, stress, and life let us down. Noom works.

So onward with the color system, quizzes, and chat check-ins with my mysterious coach or a brilliant bot. Again, who knows or cares. Weight loss is about buy-in, desire, cheerleaders galore, recipies or direction etc. After you find that in your form, whatever that looks like, the rest is up to you.

Thank you Noom. I have come back to shake the weight for good and reap the benefits for myself and my family which is priceless.

Now I have to learn to cook, better. Much better. Got an app for that? Readers if interested head over to Noom. No, I am not paid. It just works. Feel free to share, follow, and of course like if health and weightloss is your “jam.” Be on the lookout for more from me as I dive deep into essays on my successes and failures to keep me on the straight and narrow. And as always be prepared for the truth and a chuckle. https://www.noom.com