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Healthy Lifestyle~My Exercise & Eating Goals

Today, I’m going to share with you how I have recently made a personal goal to exercise daily and eat more healthy. I got an AMAZING response from you dearies in sharing my weight loss story last week, thank you all for your sweet words, questions, and encouragement. I went through all of the comments and answered all of the questions, so if you didn’t see it, go check it out here.

To sum up my weight loss post:  I set aside 6 weeks to “de-tox” if you will, 3 weeks quite extreme with very low calories, and the next 3 weeks maintaining what I lost while eating more calories, but still cutting out sugars and starches.  Guess what that taught me?  I’m now very conscious of the sugars and starches I consume. If I’m going to eat them, they are going to be DANG good, and not the bulk of my meal. My bread, pasta, rice is not what fluffs up my plate with a little meat and veggies, but the other way around.

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It’s all around us–delicious food tempting us on every corner. “They” say, Effective weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. I’m not sure where that percentage is measured, but what we eat has a LOT to do with our fitness–not just working out like crazy. I love food blogs, pictures of food are what I “pin” most on pinterest.  It is a constant battle of will power and self control that I still haven’t mastered and probably never will.  I actually found it was easier to stay away from sweets when it was “off limits” than having a little and not having more. Once I try it…I want more.

The key for me is to MAKE A PLAN for my eating. I used to be all willy nilly, “I’ll just eat whatever and try not to eat too much.”  Well, that isn’t much of a plan. Now, I mentally map out my week/day according to what is on the calendar. If I know I want to enjoy treats at book club on Thursday night, I’m going  to keep that in mind as I go throughout the week because I want to sample it all.

My friend recommended an interesting book called Food Rules {the eater’s manual} by Michael Pollan. You can even read an exerpt on Amazon here. It’s a short and easy read with funny pictures.

I’m not an extremist, but there were some very good tidbits that helped me mentally understand the rules we should all live by. He’s made 83 “rules”  and though I am luke warm with some of them, here are a few that stuck out to me:

#45 Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.  That may have gotten me into trouble yesterday as I snuck WAAY too much of the cookie dough for the cookies I was baking for teacher appreciation week. His point is that there is just too much accessability to sweets and treats that are packaged, and if you’re going to have a treat, MAKE IT GOOD!  Is there any question that a baked cookie is much better than something from the candy aisle? It’s a lot of work to bake treats, and we don’t do it every day, so when we do it–enjoy!

#40 Make water your beverage of choice. Do you want to drink your calories or eat your calories? I prefer to eat them. Also, if you drink a tall glass of water before a meal, youwill eat less.

#9 Avoid food products with the word “lit” or “low-fat” or “nonfat” in their names. He says that in the 40 years that labels have had those phrases on them, our nation as a whole has gotten fatter. In many cases, when the fat is removed, more sugar is added or more carbs. He says that often non fat yogurts contain more sugar per ounce than soda. We’re better off eating the real thing in moderation than binging on “lite” food packed with sugars and salt.

#70 Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a prince, Dine like a pauper.  I WISH that our American culture took a que from other countries and had the big long long break for the big meal of the day. Because dinner time is such a part of family togetherness, I’m not sure how to alter this to our culture. I have decided to have  one big meal during the day and then a salad or something lighter for another. Generally it’s a light lunch and dinner with the family.  The earlier, the better. That rule of  not eating after 7 or 8pm is because we aren’t getting a chance to work it off and burn some of those calories we just ate.

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Lots of others, but you get the idea.

My daily eating plan generally goes like this:

7:30 apple or banana

9:30 protein shake (I buy mine at Sams Club, 0 sugar, low carb, high protein)

11:30 almonds (I like the pre portioned 100 calorie packs because I don’t have to guess or measure–Target sells these in reg., cinnamon, and cocoa)

12:30-1 Salad with hard boiled egg, half avocado, tomoatoes, spinach, romaine, cucumber, almond slivers

2:30 string cheese or Laughing cow (sun dried tomato and basil my fave) cheese dipping them with handful of pretzels

4:30 handful of raspberries or blueberries

6:30 family dinner with meat & veggies as the bulk with rice or pasta on the side

8:30 sometimes fruit

Having a plan, helps me figure out when I can also have a treat. It allows me to.  I like to eat something every 1-2 hours, and by having a list of healthy snacks already planned, I don’t have to guess what I’m going to have. I keep a bunch of the almond packs in my purse to eat while I’m out, too. I also am trying to drink more water. My goal is 4 water bottles a day, and I may not always get there, but I’m working on it.

I’ve made lots of lists, searched pinterest for healthy snack ideas, here is a big list:

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{Six Sisters Stuff}

You’ve heard lots of these tips before, but here are some that I am trying to work on:



Now that I’ve lost the weight, and I’m happy with where I am, I want to maintain it through eating better and exercise. I have personally committed to exercising  every day except Sunday, my Sabbath and day of rest. My ideal goal is to be moving for one solid hour, and for me that works best between 8-10am.

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 Since I’ve got a toddler, I’ve got to include her in all of that.  I love the gym, but I don’t personally want her to go to the gym daycare every day.  So we do the gym 2 or 3 times a week. This is what I’ve been doing

M/W/F: To the gym (step aerobics, kickboxing, spin class, or eliptical machine along with resistance weights)

T/Th: speed walk pushing stroller while chatting with a friend for 60 minutes

Saturday: home circuit workout with run

I’ve got a few circuit workouts pinned on my Exercise Pinboard, but here is one that I’ve done several times that I enjoy:


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Once is 30 min., twice is an hour.  It feels good to work hard. Now that I’ve lost weight, it isn’t as hard to go and exercise, because the weight loss is motivation. I’ve done it, I want to keep it, so it is part of my daily thinking. I don’t think “am I going to work out” I think, “how quickly can I get there.” As the day goes on, it gets harder. I like to get it done and check it off.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions, or tips that have helped you!

Other Healthy Living Posts:

My quick weight loss

6 months after my quick weight loss

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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  1. I love that you gave us your menu for the day! I was talking to my trainer the other day about how I need to make a menu — so I stick to it, and there’s no room for options. I just need to…. sit down and make it. :) I think once I make it, I will get there! Thanks for the post!

  2. Mariesa M. says:

    Thanks for typing out what you eat in a day. I love to see other peoples menu plans. That’s my favorite workout circut too!

  3. Sounds like a great plan. I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of baking here soon (but first, just pinning yummy treats). ;)

  4. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for sharing, Kristen.

  5. Norman hill says:

    A plan is always a good idea. Getting 100 calorie stuff helps, too since it makes it more convenient. Well done!

  6. I don’t normally comment too often, but I do love reading your blog and I just had to tell you– this was an awesome post. Very inspiring, and you have got me thinking now how I can make a plan and think of more healthy eating choices. THANK YOU! I have not been too happy with my weight lately (10 over what I want to be), and you gave me the push I need to lose it! I can’t wait to see you in June! :)

  7. I *think* I’ve posted thank you before, but just want to again—I so appreciate when people who have been successful at maintaining share the details of their plans. So many great points here. I have the same addition of Food Rules and I know my weakness (white flour, how I love thee in baked goods!). I think I might need to go cold turkey to be successful.

    I also loved your recent post on blogging—this is my first year as a professional photographer and you have been a great inspiration. Will you be presenting at SNAP this year??

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Deirdre! I love the treats, but now that I’ve lost, I’m maintaining well with daily exercise and still enjoying my treats. I’m happy! Right now, I am planning to go to SNAP, but didn’t apply to teach…