Tag Archives: jogging

Mom’s hot chocolate

Here is a recipe that takes me back to my childhood. Growing up, we had a large Tupperware container of this mixture sitting on the kitchen counter during the cold winter months. I came from a large family (4 siblings), which means my parents had to make a lot of sacrifices. We considered this a luxury item.

Here’s the recipe:

4 cups nonfat dry milk 1.5 cups instant chocolate mix 0.5 cups non-dairy creamer 0.75 cups confectioner’s sugar

Add the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Two batches of the above recipe makes enough to fill a two quart container. I substituted Ovaltine chocolate malt for the instant chocolate (a.k.a. Nestle’s Quick) because it’s caffeine free. I prepare my hot chocolate by putting 1/3 of a cup of this mixture into mug and adding 10 ounces of hot water using a Keurig. Stir and enjoy!

During my weight loss campaign, I have a cup of hot chocolate most evenings as my luxury item for the day. If I did the math right, each serving of hot cocoa has 165 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

March 1: weight loss kickoff

And so it begins! Starting today I’m modifying my eating and exercise regiments. The plan is to lose 22 pounds and average at least 10,000 steps per day as recorded by my Fitbit (70,000 weekly). Included in the 10,000 steps will be at least one 20 minute walk daily to elevate my heart rate.

With great sadness I will give up diet killing snack nibbling that pads calorie intake and frustrates attempts at weight loss. I plan to increase my water intake daily to aid fat burning. I also evoke portion control on evening meals.

I endeavor my fight until this goal is accomplished. Milestone victories will include a reward (tbd). I’ve marked some milestones at -3 lbs., -7 lbs., -12, lbs., -17 lbs. and -22 lbs. As the days get warmer I intend to ramp up my exercise routine, which will increase the number of steps recorded on my Fitbit.

I decided to allow one luxury in this round of weight loss, an evening mug of hot cocoa. I’ll include the recipe for Mom’s hot chocolate mix in a future post. Since it’s a homemade recipe, I can control the amount of each ingredient added.

My spirit will focus on how fortunate I am to be healthy at this stage of my life. Using the Psalms I will meditate on the many blessings I currently enjoy and the value of my life in God’s eyes. If I have a bad day trying to maintain my regiment, I will acknowledge it, pick myself, and keep going.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; safe your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. Psalm 86:1-4

Walk in the light

You have no doubt heard someone say light is associated with that which is good. When something is exposed is said to be “brought to light.” In the same manner, darkness is said to be associated with that which is bad or concealed.

Perhaps the idea comes from the Bible, where light and darkness are compared and contrasted from its opening verses all the way through to the closing chapter. The fourth verse of the very first book reads:

“God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:4 NIV

I unknowingly participated in an experiment the other day contrasting the difference between light and darkness. I noticed the direction I am walking matters (towards the light or away from it) in a darkened room. When walking away from the light in a large room filled with obstacles, I noticed those pitfalls became harder to see and navigate the further I got from a source of light. I also learned the opposite is true when I walked towards the source of light. The closer I got the light the more defined obstacles became and easier to avoid.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 NLT

I put the contrast between light and darkness to the test every time venture out for an evening workout. Carrying a light and wearing reflective clothing when I’m walking in the dark, lights my path and keeps me safe.

Couch to 5k: The benefits of walking

walk-2635038_960_720About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure.  From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently.  A nurse confirmed my bp was high.  I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine.  Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?

I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer.  I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore.  I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging?  I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit.  Besides, I considered myself active.  On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.

However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP.  To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation.  I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact.  He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.

It was time to draw a line in the sand.  The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day.  I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit.  I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.

The results have been noticeable.  In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago  My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds).  I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health!  Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!

Couch to 5k: when your body says no

walk-2635038_960_720I’m posting a long overdue update on my couch to 5k progress.  Last year (9/2018) I was successful in completing a 5k run after a thirty plus year hiatus from running.  This year proved to be a different story.  I did go out for a handful of runs this spring and summer but the aftereffects gave me pause to stop and reevaluate my long range goals.  Sporadic knee pain and hip twinges led me to a crossroads.

Since I’ve managed to keep most of the weight off I lost last year and I’m still walking a lot, I’ve decided to step away from running.  I didn’t plan to compete regularly in fun runs anyway.  In the meantime I’m counting on my dogs to give me sufficient motivation to keep walking.  I’ll be content to be counted among the walking crowd for now.