Healthy Living

It’s Not About Looking Good Anymore

When I was a sweet young thing, I was concerned with how I looked. As I’ve matured and learned the blessing of good health, my perspective has changed. I don’t follow a healthy lifestyle because I want to look good. I follow a healthy lifestyle because I want to feel good. Sure, I still want to look my best. However, I have lots of things I want to do before I’m on the other side of the daisy bed. You are what you eat. So, if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, consider what you put on your plate.

A healthy lifestyle is a choice. I choose to eat healthy foods with unhealthy treats in moderation. I choose to exercise so I can enjoy a quality life for as long as possible. You can make the same choice.

For me, it wasn’t easy. I grew up on southern fried. I love, love, love sweets and still do. So how did I make the transition–the same way I eat my favorite dessert—one bite at a time.
If you’re reading this, perhaps you have the same healthy living goal. For me, it’s a constant challenge and yep, I fall off the wagon. However, the goal is not about perfection, it’s about persistence. I don’t give up. I don’t give in. I just keep going. That’s why I’m a twenty-year member at-goal of Weight Watchers. However, if you’re able to go it alone, my hat’s off to you.

Humans can be strange animals, so many of the techniques that work for me may not work for you. Just remember, it only takes one small success. Once you’ve tasted one, you’ll crave another, except this time we aren’t talking chocolate. I’ve created this link to add tips on food choices and exercise that help me. I’ll also include some of my favorite healthy recipes. I hope at least one, maybe more, help you reach your healthy lifestyle goals.



Prepare meals in advance!

When you’re deep in revision hell or speeding through the groove in your next bestseller, you may not have time to cook. During your down time or writer’s block days, grill multiple portions of salmon or chicken. Cool the meat, store individual portions in storage bags, and refrigerate. You can also prepare rice in advance and refrigerate.

For the next meal, remove a meal portion and warm in the oven while you prepare the lo-cal sauce. Nuke a serving (½ cup) of rice, prepare a salad, and you have a healthy dinner in less than twenty minutes!

The tomato-basil sauce is great with grilled chicken or fish (salmon or white fish).

*Note: I don’t prepare white fish in advance, but it cooks in less than 10 minutes.

Go for a Quick Start to motivate your healthy lifestyle journey.

If you get results right away, your chance for success increases. Remember, unlike a diet, a lifestyle change does not have an end. I know it’s hard—been there, and done that. However, this is not about how you look. It’s about how you feel. It’s about reducing your cancer risk, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and degenerative joint disease. Stop shaking your head and read, and don’t stop reading. Your life depends on wellness education.

Here’s the bad news: if you want to improve your health, you must make a change. Sorry, there’s no way around it. If you do what you’ve done, you get what you’ve gotten.

But I’ve tried a gazillion diets and nothing works, you say. I’ve got too much to lose. The excuses are as numerous as our creative writer minds! So how can we soften the transition? Try the Quick Start. If you buddy-up, and make the change a fun competition, you can reduce the pain and maybe make it fun.

Quick Start Instructions

If you want to accomplish the following goals:

  • fit into your skinny jeans,
  • feel stronger,
  • step it up a notch with your mate,
  • decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, A1C,

Try Quick Start. What do you have to lose?

We all have different reasons to pursue a healthier lifestyle. We all want to do better and just need a little push. So buddy-up and do it with a friend or create a team with multiple friends—the more the merrier!

The point system and score sheet up the ante by adding a little healthy competition. You can do it by yourself, but a buddy or a team will help you with accountability. For additional fun, ask participants to contribute to a gift basket for the winning team. The Quick Start was designed for 6 weeks, but you and your buds can decide the time-period. The most important thing is that everyone is successful. As with all things, you will reap what you sow!

The good news is the Quick Start is not rocket science. You probably know how to lose weight: eat less and exercise more. However, here are the guidelines:

1. Buy a device to track your steps. Inexpensive counters are okay.
2. Be honest with your point totals.
3. Junk food definition: Any food you can’t grow in the ground, pick from a tree, shoot, or catch. Low fat dairy products are not considered junk food! However due to the high sugar content, granola            bars are.
4. Check labels for servings. Many packages have more than one! This can be a real eye-opener, especially with candy bars and chips.
5. Eat at least 3 meals of healthy foods per day. However, with healthy snacks such as raw fruits and vegetables, treat yourself in between meals to ward off hunger.
6. The really bad news: you must weight yourself. It doesn’t have to be in front of anyone, but you’ve got to do the deed. Yep, I know it sucks, but belly up to the scales and suck it up. How will you            know if you’re successful, if you don’t have a benchmark?
7. The rest is simple math. Read the point system, track your points, and add your total per day. At the end of the period, the winner is the participant or team with the highest point count.

Like I said, it’s not rocket science.


Quick Start Point System

PointsHealthy Eating
5Keep your daily food log
55-A-Day: Eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables each day
22-A-Day: Eat 2 servings of low fat dairy products
5Limit fried foods to 1 serving per day
3Eat at least three small meals per day
10Drink > 127 ounces of water per day
6Drink 64-127 ounces of water per day
3Drink 32–63 ounces of water per day
-5Eat more than one serving of junk food (candy bars, chips, cookies, etc)
-5Drink > 24 ounces of Soda or Alcoholic beverage per day
Healthy Activity
10Exercise > 1½ hours per day
8Exercise 1½ hours per day
6Exercise 1hour per day
4Exercise 45 minutes per day
3Exercise 30 minutes per day
2Exercise 15 minutes per day
15> 12,000 steps/day using pedometer
1010,000 – 11,999 steps/day using pedometer
99,000 – 9,999 steps/day using pedometer
88,000 – 8,999 steps/day using pedometer
77,000 – 7,999 steps/day using pedometer
66,000 – 6,999 steps/day using pedometer
55,000 – 5,999 steps/day using pedometer
44,000 – 4,999 steps/day using pedometer
33,000 – 3,999 steps/day using pedometer

Quick Start Tally Sheet

DayFood LogFive-A-Day2-A-Day< 1 Fried3 MealsJunk FoodSoda/AlcoholWaterPedometerExerciseDaily Total
Week 1

Yes! You can count the time you exercise and the steps you take. Try more than walking.

Eat Breakfast

No way! Yes, way. If you select a healthy breakfast, the meal won’t trigger you to eat all day. If you eat sweet fats such as, waffles, pancakes, sugary cereals, and pastries, you’ll spike your blood sugar. The bigger the upward spike, the bigger the dive, crash and burn. When your body goes into the blood sugar dive, guess what? You are HUNGRY!

Don’t Skip Meals

I can hear it now. No way! That’s how I keep from turning into a balloon!

Wrong. That’s probably one of the reasons you struggle to maintain your target weight. I know the excuses because I’ve used them all. I also had to shoot holes in those excuses to maintain my target weight

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it sucks. Why can’t we have movie star figures with no effort? Okay, back to the reality of our situations. We’re foodaholics. We eat to make us feel better. Of course, we only feel better for maybe five minutes after that candy bar, and then we feel guilty. To minimize our guilt, we eat! We create a cycle of overeating, so it makes perfect since why we can’t put the fork down. Time to pull up your big-girl panties and try something different: eat at least three meals a day.

Add Variety

Include at least one protein, one complex carbohydrate, and one fruit or vegetable in your meal, ESPECIALLY your breakfast.

What’s for breakfast? Try egg substitute and lo-fat cheese omelet, whole grain light English muffin with 1 T. sugar-free jelly, and fruit (mandarin oranges, sweet cherries, black berries, and raspberries.)

Our yummy breakfast includes an omelet made with lo-fat cheese. However, you can add a variety of veggies or lean meat to add different flavors. With veggies anything goes. Veggies are a win-win food for us because we can chow down. Volume reduces hunger. So, to add volume to your omelet, add sweet peppers, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and any other vegetable that makes your taste buds sing.

Know Your Triggers

A trigger food is anything that goes in your mouth and doesn’t satisfy your hunger, it stimulates hunger. Boxed cereal does this to me. I can eat a healthy portion and within thirty minutes my stomach says, ‘what’s for breakfast?” Not a good sign. Worse, when I get to this point, I want processed carbohydrates, not apples, not protein, JUNK FOOD. And when my day starts out sugar-charged, I want the high to continue throughout the day.

So, once you identify your trigger foods, try to limit of substitute them for somethings else. For our breakfast, we use the whole grain bagel thins, light English muffins, or a whole grain slice of toast. I no longer limit my lean protein foods because they satisfy and stay with me for a longer time-period, I also combine different protein foods to enhance flavor and variety. Dice Canadian bacon for a wonderful flavor blend in your omelet. Try a thin slice of cheese or reduce fat cheese. Finally, fruit satisfies my sweet tooth and doesn’t trigger an all-day eating binge.

Good Luck

Quick Start lasts six weeks and a habit can be formed after twenty-one days. The hope is the small changes you’ve made for healthy living continue. Try to kick the diet mentality. Diets have start and end buttons. Stop for a foodaholic can translate into a binge and weight gain. It’s amazing how fast the weight sticks to our hips and how slowly it melts off.

Here’s to your continued success to be a healthier you.