Grocery Sense: What NOT to Buy

Pardon my rant here. I really am not better than anyone else, and I don’t want to ever come across that way. But some things kind of get me going. =)

My roommate and I went to Wal-Mart last night (because Aldi was closed) to buy groceries for the week. We have our little list of 10 items, and we go in search of them. All the while my attention is being drawn to these young couples with kids hanging off their carts.

But it wasn’t the kids that caught my eye.

It was the food inside of their carts! It looked nothing like the picture above, that’s for sure!

I am 100% sure I make some grocery buying blunders sometimes. The occasional box of cookies or the occasional 2 liter of Pepsi but I have to admit that I don’t make these kind of mistakes on  a regular basis….

-Bottles of soda and fake juice hanging all along the edges of the cart
-Boxes and boxes of name brand sugar cereal
-4 or 5 frozen pizzas
-Boxes of different kinds of cookies
-Honey buns and, of course….
-Lots of frozen dinners

I’m sure this wasn’t all of it but my guess is that if people would take a little TIME to really cook that they’d be healthier and also save a little cash money. I know we all live busy lives, but I’m sure if we’d take a good look that we’d see it’s definitely worth it.

Maybe I’m wrong…I know I’ve only been living on my own for a week but I know my parents cooked from scratch way more often than putting some pre-cooked chicken wings in the oven and also tended to not buy the boxed brand named cereal when they could get the off-brand bags for a better deal. And soda, well….it’s just bad for you.

I’d say that the craving I get most often to waste money on at the store is some good ice cream. Yumm…there’s just nothing like it. Especially Braum’s ice cream. You might not have them in your area but if you did you’d wanna go on a weekly basis!

It’s amazing how much health and money sometimes go hand in hand.

What do you think? What are some big money and health traps at the grocery store?

Things To Do Everyday

Everyone has different and various goals at different times in life and we usually spend most of our time investing in those goals. But there are certain things that regardless of what our goals are it would benefit us to participate in every single day. Even if only for a few minutes. They are the foundation to the rest of life and will help you live a better life overall.

1. Be quiet.
Whether it’s one hour or five minutes, take time to just be quiet. Listen. Look out a window or close your eyes. It’s in this time that God will speak and you’ll hear more about your purpose and direction for the day.
3. Write it down.
Make it a habit to write things down. Whether it’s writing down what you heard while you were being quiet or just writing things down throughout the day that come to mind you will need to remember lately. Writing things down is such a stress reliever. You don’t have to worry about it anymore–it’s on paper.
3. Get moving.
Personally, I’ve joined a fitness club and try to go everyday. Some days I spend 30 minutes there and other days I spend 1 1/2 hours there. But regardless I try to get myself moving some everyday. It does wonders for your health and well-being and the endorphins released will definitely make you feel better overall.
4. Eat right.
I’m not the expert here, and I definitely don’t do as good as I should some days. But the key is just to be aware. Be aware of what you’re eating and deliberately choose healthier options each time you go to eat. Make sure you’re hungry and aren’t just snacking mindlessly and that what you’re putting into your mouth has some good nutritional value. Apple or cookie? Try to choose the apple more often. =) Same thing as with exercising, you’ll just feel better knowing that you’re eating a little healthier.

5. Do something new.
This isn’t easy because our days are filled with things that are “old.” Who has time for something new?  But just try something. Whether it’s saying hello to someone you’ve never met before or picking up trash you see on the ground or taking a walk in a new park–take a few minutes to do something you’ve never done before. You’ll feel enriched and probably learn something you didn’t know before.

Those are just a few things that came to mind that we can all do every single day to help build a better life.  Do you have any more ideas or thoughts on these?

First Trip to the Gym

I know I go back and forth in this blog and talk about lots of different things like life and love and health and finances, but all of it intrigues me so much. I hope it’s OK with all you readers. 😉 My goal is to help people live a better life in all areas and there are just so many!

So Sunday I took my first trip to the gym I am a new member of and left feeling really really good. It’s nice to have so many resources at your fingertips. Treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, so many different weight lifting machines to workout those muscles you never use at that desk job of yours.

I do have a desk job and then I come home and either do homework online or blog or sit around with the family. Very rarely is it required of me that I am extremely active, but it’s so KEY to our health.

If you don’t know where to start the key is to just get MOVING. Do something besides just sit there. For me, I needed the motivation that comes with being a part of a fitness center and paying every month. Maybe that’s not what you need (but don’t make an excuse either because maybe it IS what you need!)

If you’re starting to feel a little guilty because you know you are in the category of many many people who just wake up and get in their car to go to work and sit around for 8 hours and eat fast food for lunch and then drive home and sit there and watch TV everyday, then this is a good sign! It’s good because now you know what you need to do! =)

Don’t wait until your health starts to fail before you get moving. Find a way today. And find a way tomorrow. And the next day. I promise you won’t regret it! Let it become a part of your lifestyle, not a temporary change. You’ll look better, feel better and BE better.

Are you wanting to get active? What is your plan to ‘get going’?

P.S. I’m reading a lot on nutrition and health in general so I’m hoping to start sharing some of that with all of you! Because what you eat is just as important as the exercise you do.

Sacrifice to Meet the Goal

I did it. I bought a 24 month long gym membership to Anytime Fitness. That is a long time. A very long time. And guess what else? It’s a bunch of money. Money I could be saving for ______________.

But that’s totally ok. Because this–is totally worth the investment. It’s an investment not only to health but to well-being and happiness. The best shape I was ever in was when I had a gym membership in high school, so I am definitely looking forward to getting back in.

I’d been putting it off until I moved to the city but that is finally happening (at the beginning of April!) so I went in yesterday, talked to the owner of this particular Anytime Fitness and signed the deal.

This is going to help me stick to my goal to work out 4 times a week. And as an “extra” the owner threw in I have a cool “Nutrition/Exercise Tracker” online that I’m loving.

Sometimes, will power isn’t enough. Sometimes we need resources. And guidance. And encouragement. And a kick in the butt to get going. And for me that was all available by paying $45 a month for the next 2 years (of course this includes tanning. 😉

What about you? What do you need to sacrifice in order to meet one of your goals?

The Bad Decision Mud Slide

Sometimes one bad decision leads to another.
Most of the time.

It’s an unfortunate scenario but I think it’s true. Do you agree?

I try to not eat sugar and on the third day I eat sugar and instead of continuing on with not eating sugar I choose to eat sugar…and lots of it.
I say I’m going to work out 4 times a week, but by Tuesday I’m tired of being away from home and skip “workout Wednesday” and instead of 4 times I’ve only worked out twice. And then why even go back the next Monday?
I make a decision to not take any money–EVER–out of my emergency fund (um, unless it’s an emergency) and put my tax refund money in there so I don’t touch it but after a hard first of the week at work I’m ready for a pedicure. And of course I wasn’t planning that in my spending money for that week so where did it come from? Oh yeah…my emergency fund. Thankfully that’s the only mistake I’ve made with this one but the opportunity to make another and another and another until I’m in a mud slide of bad decisions is definitely there.

Sound familiar? Maybe not. But it’s pretty familiar to me.

And it has to STOP.

And it can stop. It’s all about thinking rationally and being at peace and stepping away from the situation. Let me think about today…

I should have worked out but I didn’t. How do I stop the bad decision mud slide here and now? Go the gym tomorrow.
I shouldn’t have eaten 7 packets of ‘fun-sized’ m&ms. And the bowl of cereal. And the piece of chocolate pie. What now? I go cut carrots right after typing this and put them in a sandwich bag to munch on tomorrow.
I had planned to finish at least 1/2 of my biology homework for the week but I only finished about 1/4 of it because I got distracted by American Idol and Facebook and the internet in general. And now….Take a deep breath and realize I still have the rest of the week to do it. No biggy.

Sometimes we get to worked up about things we didn’t do or we messed up on it only prohibits us from moving forward. And instead of making the right decision the next time we make another bad decision because…well, heck, I messed up last time.

But take heart, the bad decision mud slide can actually be reversed and instead of going down the mountain you can make right decisions and it have the same effect but going UP the mountain. Generally, good decisions lead to more good decisions. And that’s when life get’s exciting.

Follow peace. And if you don’t have it–go find it. I promise it’s there. But you might have to step way back from your situation. Get outside. Go to a place you don’t go to often. Get away. Good things are waiting.

Art of Planning

So I think I have an obsessive compulsive thing going on with planning. I like to plan. A lot. Probably too much sometimes.

I plan my time. Hours. Evenings. Days. Weekends. Weeks. Months. Years.
I plan my finances. Bi-weekly budgets. Monthly budgets. Short-, mid-, and long-term savings goals. Investment strategies.
I plan my health. (And fail frequently.) Work out routines. Eating habits (that aren’t habits yet.) Sleep cycles. Relaxation.
I plan my career. Positions. Money. Experience. Satisfaction. Passion. Purpose.
I plan my education. Credit hours. Classes. Research. Homework. Tests. Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree. Doctorate degree.

Of course all of that is hypothetical in a sense because it’s all PLANNING. And if I spent all my time planning I’ll never spend any time LIVING. And from the deepest part of my heart I want to live. Who knows if I’ll ever do everything I’ve planned to do; but what I know for sure is I can live this moment to the full.

So do we plan or not? My short answer is YES. Plan. And plan big. Because if you don’t plan big, you won’t “go big.” Set a goal to reach a goal. So spend a few days a year, a few hours a month, and maybe a few minutes a day planning. But then put down your pen and paper, take a deep breath, and start living.

Strawberry Smoothies

So I have to admit I still haven’t stuck with my sugar detox. Where is Ellen to help me?? It’s too bad I don’t get to see her show every morning. One day I’ll have DVR. But until then I work a 40 hr work week and then come home to do homework and enjoy the evening with my family and best friend, so no Ellen Show for me right now.

But I am trying to eat healthier overall. Lots of soups and celery to snack on. Like right now I”m going into the kitchen to help Chara make a strawberry smoothie for us. Fresh strawberries. Yummy yogurt and some ice is really all you need. It’s a little easier to be healthy than I thought it would be. But when I move into my own place and start buying all my own food I’m hoping to dive more into it than I currently am.

Does anyone have any tips or thoughts on eating healthy on a budget and things that don’t take forever? I want to get several awesome healthy recipes and buy fresh food at the beginning of the week and know exactly what I’m going to eat each day/evening for the week. But that’s a couple of months away. Still waiting to hear from the apartments we want to live in as to when they will have a room for us. I’m excited but if it takes much longer we may continue our search elsewhere!

On another note–I’m interviewing for a new position at my current employer tomorrow. It pays more and I think I’ll enjoy it more. So here’s a toast to hoping I get it!

The Sugar Detox

So last Monday I saw Ellen Degeneres tweet about a sugar detox she was going to do. Of course, I’m always thinking of doing these kinds of things, but I never have the motivation to kick me in the butt to start it. But I think Ellen is a pretty cool person and that if she could do it so could I.

So Tuesday morning I started, and I did pretty good–munching on celery and all that. First day wasn’t so much fun. My stomach was kind of cramping and the beginning of a headache was coming about. The headache continued on into Wednesday but I read that a headache would be normal so I was actually a little happy about it.

Wednesday night I decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings with my good friend Chara and we had honey barbeque chicken and of course I dipped mine in ranch. I’m sure both of those things had sugar in it. But I continued on with the detox.

But I have to admit–this weekend hasn’t been so great. Yesterday I had some cake for my little sister’s party and then I had some more today.

All that to say, I think by now I’ve broken my detox, and it hasn’t even been a week. But I’m going to start back up now drinking lots of water and drinking my all-natural, light chocolate soy milk to crave any kind of sweet tooth.

The point of the sugar detox? Well, one: it’s healthy! You can get plenty of the “good sugar” you need from fruits, you don’t need refined white sugar. And two: I want my energy to be all nat-ur-al. =) I don’t want the fake stuff. When I’m awake I want to be fully alive and energized by my own body not some outside stimulate. (I gave up caffeine recently for the same reason but that can be another post…I’ve actually stuck to that one!

I find when I don’t eat sugar I am more focused and energized to do all the things I want to do in a day. And since today is all I have, I want to grab it by the horns and LIVE IT, not let sugar make me feel antsy for a little while and then groggy and gross afterwards.

What do you think about a sugar detox? Would you do it?