And So It Begins

And so it begins.

This is the year I become all that God has meant for me to be and it starts in the kitchen; eating well to nourish the creative mind, body and spirit with which I’ve been blessed.

I hadn’t been grocery shopping since October and all the sweet temptations my mother loved to have in the house while dealing with her bone marrow cancer were either thrown in the trash or down my gullet. Yes, sometimes I ate as if I didn’t know the difference, especially when she was in pain and I felt helpless.

But mom is living the sweet life as a snow bird in Houston in an in-home hospice program with my sister where the wind chill is not so severe and her bone pain doesn’t seem to hit as deep. God willing, she will return to me in the spring. We had a wonderful Christmas week together as a family and my mom even felt well enough to make her famous sweet potato pie with a little assistance from her girls.

I returned home to empty cupboards, a new year and a clean slate. My favorite incentive store was giving 50 cents off a gallon gas tickets for every $75 spent on groceries. I expected to leave with my $1 off gas ticket and I did. I also left with yogurt, bananas, oranges, strawberries and pears, mixed greens, spinach and organic romaine lettuce. Coupons and a 6 for $10 sale got me a dozen lean cuisine meals for those days I just didn’t have the time or inclination to cook. A couple of chickens and a beef shank rounded out the protein. And just to be safe, I snagged a smart start dessert from weight watchers that had four separate 140 calorie treats inside.

Breakfast was easy with a chocolate slim fast drink and a banana. It promises 4 hours of hunger relief but my stomach was growling after 2 hours. So I grabbed a fried chicken thigh for my afternoon snack. Whoa girl that’s 150 calories. Of course I’d read that halfway thru the meal. Note to self, write it down on MyFitness Pal before you put it in your mouth. That way you can see what it will cost and decide if that is your best choice. It was bitter cold outside and I knew I wasn’t walking or going to the gym so instead I walked in the house. For 10 minutes I walked the circuit, front door, back door, kitchen and front.

I was tired after 3 minutes but I said that can’t be right, push yourself to at least 10. I swear somebody snuck into my house and kept turning back the clock. But I made it. It’s a good start and in time I will look back at these earlier posts and say “Dang girl, really?” Even better, someone just like me will look at these early posts and see the final results and think, “me too. I used to only be able to do three minutes too.”

Last night I signed up for a free daily email giving me directions on how to work my way up to a 5k. The author starts with alternating l minute walks and l minute runs for 20 minutes. I won’t be running but I my goal is a 20 minute walk on land. In the pool I’ve been making 20 minute walks combined with stretches and specific exercises for my new knees. Not sure why land is more difficult but I’m determined. And tonight I discovered on my Uverse channel an interactive show that shows targeted exercises and how many calories are expended. Ping. One more toy for my Theresa Healthy Soul toolbox.

The fried chicken made me realize I have to cook so I made a pot of mixed collard, turnip and mustard greens, 3 pounds that I will graze on throughout the week. I felt myself getting hungry again while cooking and this time I grabbed a navel orange. Making good choices feels good. So do goals.

In September 2014 I will walk the Mackinac Bridge, it’s at least a 5 mile walk and that’s exciting for this novice. My oldest sister Connie and I had always planned to do it. But in 2009, shortly after her 56th birthday, she died one week after contracting swine flu. My heart still aches for my sister and I miss her dearly. But her death, my mother’s cancer and my own health issues have put me on a path to wellness through food, exercise, humor and prayer. Here I will share my journey, missteps, recipes and discoveries. Each month I will try out one new exercise. In February I take on belly dancing. I’m pretty sure its BYOB but I’ll have enough for everybody. Other tries will include Pilates, boxing, water Zumba and countless others. I will continue this through September when I will be strong and healthy and ready for my bridge walk. Walk with me.

Theresa D. McClellan, a journalist, singer-songwriter and health advocate will graduate in October 2014 as a certified health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

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