Sunday, March 08, 2015

February Healthy Living Recap – Excuses Edition

While January was all about work, February was all about transitions; one of my employees resigned, my husband is forced to change his diet – he has acid reflux, we are undergoing a major remodeling project which put our home in a state of flux and my beloved dog Buck was diagnosed with inoperable lymphoma. Once again, my live healthy on a budget challenge was not the major focus of my life. 

Here is my “February Healthy Living Challenge” recap:

Strength and physical fitness:
Strengthening my core is one of the main goals of my healthy living challenge – strong back and stomach muscles help prevent injuries. I am using the walking pushup as the exercise to measure my core strength progress. On January 1st I was able to do seven walking pushups. On February 28th, I managed ten, but just barely. During February, I attended eight fitness classes and went on three walks. My goal is to attend three fitness classes a week, but with my employee leaving and the cold February Wisconsin temperatures I worked long hours or just went home foregoing my classes. I did not meet this goal.

Weigh-in and healthy eating:
I lost 1.5 pounds in February. I had gained 1.5 pounds in January, so my weight is now the same as it was on January 1st. With the change to a low-fat, bland diet for my husband’s acid reflux I honestly thought I would lose more weight. With all the added stress this month, I did succumb to several lunch room treats; there were treats for Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday, birthday’s, I hate Monday’s, thank goodness it’s Friday and going away treats for my employee.

Grocery Budget:
During February I set a monthly grocery budget of $500 for my husband and me. In January we spent $605. February came in at $471. I still think we can do better than this. We did stock-up on lean meats that were on sale, but paid full-price for some fresh produce. Budget suggestions from readers include buy frozen fruits and vegetables, eat cabbage salad in winter, make your own muffins for snacks, buy in-season, use what you have, grow your own, buy store brands, eat less meat and more mushrooms. I also learned it is cheaper to buy expensive grains, rice and nuts from your grocer’s bulk bins rather than individual packages and that nuts keep longer if you store them in the freezer.

Mental-Well Being:
Considering all that happened in February, I did pretty well maintaining my mental well-being. I felt confident and strong whereas in year’s past I’d sink into a slump during February. A highlight of the month was attending the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s performance of The Good People. I am sure attending this performance will make my list of top-ten highlights of 2015.

Overall Thoughts on February:
Initially I was going to sum up February by talking about how it was a transition month, with all the changes that are occurring I didn’t have time to work on my health challenge, I was tired, frustrated, lacked energy and hopefully will do better next month. Then I started reading Maria Kang’s book The No More Excuses Diet: 3 Days to Bust Any Excuse, 3 Weeks to Easy New Eating Habits, 3 Months to Total Transformation she immediately points out these are excuses
Excuses validate choices. They let us off the hook and give us permission to fail. (Introduction Pg. IX)
Kang recommends creating a meaningful goal. She writes if you are unmotivated to work out or eat healthy perhaps you haven’t landed on the deep, desirable reasons this journey is important to you.

Last week, I had an appointment with a new primary physician. We went over my family history and all of my mom’s health issues. This reinforced my initial reason for creating a healthy living challenge – I hope to be more like my maternal grandmother who lived to be 95 and was healthy to the end than other less healthy members of my family.

The number one health recommendation from my doctor is for me to eat foods high in calcium. My mom has severe osteoporosis. She suggests I remain on the birth-control pill until I am in menopause and to eat foods high in calcium at every meal. Unfortunately, she claims cheese is not a high calcium food. She is not found of calcium supplements because too much calcium could cause Hypercalcemia and may lead to atherosclerosis. With all of the heart disease in my family history she suggests I fulfill my calcium requirement with food. She also suggests I take a vitamin D supplement and a baby aspirin every day. As to working out, she is happy with my three fitness classes a week and was even okay with me not meeting this goal in February.

Health Goals for March:
This month I’m keeping it simple - eat food high in calcium with every meal and attend 3 fitness classes each week. I’m looking forward to trying Maria Kang’s fruit smoothie: ½ cup strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, ½ banana, handful of spinach and 1 cup almond milk. (Both spinach and almond milk are good sources of calcium.)

This post was inspired by The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang who shares her no excuses philosophy that motivated her to become more fit. Join From Left to Write on March 12th as we discuss The No More Excuses Diet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

How did you live healthy during February? What are your health goals for March?


  1. What a great wrap up. I was going to ask you to list some foods that are high in calcium and then at the end you did. Thank you! As I wrote in my post which you commented on, we need to focus on eating to be healthy and not to be thin. Seems as though you are doing that and I commend you for the exercise you did in February even with the weather issues. I can't believe I'm in sunny California where it's in the mid 70's all winter and I can't even get out there and walk, shame on me! You've inspired me to do better.

    1. I hope so. I guess it is all about motivation and finding what motivates us. I also think we need to find something we enjoy doing. So jealous of your weather.

  2. I didn't know Maria Kang had her own diet book. I'm so proud of you for taking such good care of yourself and really pursuing this healthy living challenge. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. I tweeted and shared on G+

  3. Healthy smoothies is one of my favorite ways to get in calcium. Also fresh spinach sauteed in a small amount of olive oil is a great (and fast and easy) side dish to any meal!

  4. Thanks for the tips about buying whole grains in bulk! Living healthier is a journey. I'm glad you're approaching it that way.

  5. We get calcium with veggies and dairy products, but also make sure to get enough magnesium (an abundance of calcium, without magnesium, can't really be properly absorbed). Thanks for sharing your journey! This year we've been making healthier changes too -- January was #whole30 diet... February (for me) was starting a 90 day exercise series.

    Visiting from #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup :)

  6. I love how you did your wrap-up! Does it really help you to stay focused on your goal knowing you will be posting these wrap-ups? what kind of exercise classes are you taking?

  7. I love how awesome you did in February. I was in misery-town last month. I had to work real, real hard to snap myself out of the Feb Funk. I'm excited you were able to keep your cool and stay positive despite all the crap happening around you.

    I LOVE green smoothies! Haha! They are the bomb! My kids drink 'em too. So my March goals are to drink more smoothies, get all my seeds started so I can have a longer growing season, raise my chicks to chickens so I can have fresh eggs, and work out 5 times a week (walks count!).

    21 days into the month and I'm doing decent! I've got half the seeds started - my chicks are sleeping in the basement right now - and although I skipped Friday's workout, I will be taking a walk today. Rock on, March!