It’s been a summer of a lot of fish for us and I am now feeling much more confident in the kitchen as I have learned fun and delicious ways to cook fish. My membership to the monthly Wild Caught Alaska Seafood delivery service has certainly helped with that. Having this beautiful fish ready in my freezer is convenient, healthy, sustainable and most of all delicious.
Today is the third and final blog featuring fun and delicious ways to cook fish, recipes I have either created on my own or taught myself from recipes I have found over the summer. I offer you a little bit of everything here today, from Thai inspired Cod to Ceviche from Peru and Walnut encrusted Halibut. Get cooking my friends! I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these delicious recipes.
Salmon Salad on Croissant
Whenever I cook a whole or half a salmon fillet, this recipe is one of our favorites to use for the leftovers. Although honestly we rarely have any leftovers. But we enjoy this salmon salad on croissants for lunch, hiking or even for dinner on a warm summer night.
6-10 oz cooked salmon, flake and bones removed
1/4 cup of capers
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 T dry dill
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise mixed with some of the juice from the jar of capers
Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix together and let refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying as a sandwhich.
Thai Cod in Coconut Broth
One of our favorite recipes for cod or white fish. Check out our YouTube video here on how to make this delicious meal. BTW we post a YouTube video EVERY TUESDAY for Tasty Tuesday. We sure would love for you to follow us on YouTube.
Crunchy Rockfish Tacos
I wasn’t familiar with rockfish when I first received it from Alaska, but I have found it to be a pretty versatile, somewhat nondescript fish that is perfect for breading and frying. It makes good fish and chips and crispy fish tacos. Here’s how I did that.
10- oz rockfish, thawed and dried with a paper towel
Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup panko, 1 T cumin, 1/2 t red chili powder or flakes and salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the dry mixture.
Cook in air fryer about 6 min first side, turn over for 3 more minutes. Or fry in cast iron skillet in vegetable oil, set on paper towel to drain a minute before serving.
Salmon in Lemon Basil Sauce
Easy but elegant.
2 6 oz salmon fillets drizzled with olive oil and the salt and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes.
In food processor or blender mix together;
1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 T fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixed. Pour in small saucepan and bring up to medium heat.
Meanwhile cook salmon about four minutes per side in skillet. Place on plate and pour warm basil lemon sauce over.
One of my favorite foods from around the world is ceviche; it is so very easy to make, and healthy too. Here is how we did this on our YouTube channel for Tasty Tuesday.
Walnut Crusted Halibut
I found this recipe on Pinterest and I changed it up a bit and made it for two people. Oh my did it turn out lovely. This is something you could easily serve to guests.
2 6 oz halibut fillets; salt and pepper them and let them air dry for a few minutes
Combine 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add 1 T melted butter, 1 T stone ground mustard, 1 T dry dill, 1 t lemon zest.
Place the halibut on greased baking sheet and cover with walnut mixture, pressing into the fish to get it secured. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and then back in preheated 425 oven for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile in small sauce pan heat 1 t olive oil, 1 T chopped shallots, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T butter and 1 t dry dill (or fresh).
Pour sauce over fish for serving or serve on the side.
What does F.I.S.H stand for?
Well, ” fish is so healthy” of course! Especially when you are buying, cooking and serving wild caught sustainable fish. I have learned a lot about how to prepare fish these past few months and I now am confident in my kitchen when it comes to delicious and healthy fish meals.
I hope you too will try some of our favorites here, and learn fun and delicious ways to cook fish. Be sure to check out our Salmon Recipe Blog and our White Fish Recipe Blog from earlier this summer. Enjoy!!
How to describe the unexpected, slightly annoying, and hopefully soon-to-be obsolete summer of 2020? I don’t think any of us will forget it soon. No sir, summer 2020 is branded on each of us forever; a somewhat sad, somewhat frightening, but often annoying period in history.
I approached this time of my life as optimistically as I could muster, setting my sights on goals and activities to keep me from going crazy. I can’t remember another summer in my life with so few parties, not a single concert, and zero festivals. No family reunion, no weddings, no fair or rodeo. No summer blockbuster movies, organized runs or even Seafair hydroplanes. Ho hum.
But most of all it’s been years since I haven’t had a vacation or trip looming on the horizon. The world according to Covid. So sad….
I knew full well as we flew half way across the world back to the United States on April 30th (abruptly ending our world tour) that nothing was going to be the same this summer. Our two months locked down on the island of Cyprus had us fully prepared with a good understanding of the dangers and contagion of the virus. We weren’t however prepared for the way the USA handled the virus with lack of cohesion, lack of preparation, lack of equipment, lack of communication. That part blew my mind. And thanks to all of that, we as Americans can’t travel now…perhaps for a very long time. Annoying.
The term ‘growth mindset’ is a bit of mantra for me, and I, sometimes to my husband’s dismay, tackle each problem head on with belief I can make something good out of the situation. And do it today. Generally I am a positive person with a somewhat Pollyanna view and so I set out to make the most of the situation. I lead a quantified life, meaning quarantine and lockdown seemed like another opportunity to tackle and reach some goals. This isn’t for everyone, but it works for me and damn I get a lot done!
So after four months stuck back in the USA it’s time to review my summer of miscontent, and consider what lies ahead.
Learning New Garden Skills
I didn’t do much work on my garden last summer because we were up to our eyeballs in remodeling our new villa. This year I set out to learn all I could about deer resistant gardening as well as gardening with woodland plants. Read Deer Resistant Gardening post here.
I have learned so much this summer, mostly by trial and error and I can say a few things with confidence about deer resistant gardening. First, the deer will try anything at least once…even if it’s supposedly “deer resistant”. Second, the female deer eat like pigs in the spring when they are carrying their fawns. And finally, there really are some plants the deer don’t like…thankfully. My successes this summer include lavender and all herbs, canna, cone flowers, daises, peonies, most grasses, cotoneaster and most woody shrubs, day lilies, and mums. I won’t be planting much beyond this list in the years ahead.
BTW my Master Gardener friend Kim (who helped me a lot) reminded me that no matter if the tag on the plant says “deer resistant” the deer can’t read.
Getting My Glow Back
Something I wasn’t prepared for when we started our life of nearly full time travel more than four years ago is how hard travel is on your skin and hair. Yes, I said skin and hair. Sun and sand, chlorine and salt, dry airplanes, dehydration, humidity…you name it. I felt my skin looked ancient when I arrived back in the USA. So, since we were going to be staying close to home, it seemed like a good time to launch a much needed and long neglected anti-aging skin care routine. Within a week of arrival I was into it and here is the post I wrote about Skin Care at Sixty
It’s now been 18 weeks since I took control of the future of my skin and I can’t tell you how much better I look and I feel. It is worth the effort and the money and I will never go back to neglecting my own self-care again. Whether you use the products I used or another brand or approach, just taking the time to put yourself first and take care of you is an important goal in life.
While I’m At It – Let’s Get Skinny
The two months on lockdown in Cyprus was a time I taught myself all about Cypriot cuisine. It was fun to have the time to do that. We also had an amazing Airbnb host who brought us baked goods nearly everyday. Oh boy those were good.
But on touchdown in the USA I was at least fifteen pounds heavier than when I had left, and my weight then wasn’t ideal either. One of the best things about travel is the wonderful food around the world – and I want to try it all. But, back in the USA it was time to take some serious measures and drop some serious pounds. And so I joined Noom and got to work within a week of arriving back home. Here is the post I wrote about Noom Weightloss.
I also set out to make better choices of what I ate and Noom helped me with that. We joined a seafood club and began receiving delicious wild caught Alaska Seafood and I taught myself all kinds of delicious seafood recipes. Cooking fish has always been a bit daunting for me, but not anymore. See some of the recipes here for Alaska Wild Caught Fish.
It’s now been four and half months and I have lost 27 pounds and I am currently maintaining my new weight. My god I feel so great! Noom is a great program. It might not be for everyone but it was just right for me and my growth mindset life and I am going to do everything I can to keep the weight off.
Let’s Get Physical
Noom was my motivation, but running really helped me kickstart a quick weight loss from the beginning. I set out to train for a half marathon, knowing full well the virus was causing all organized runs to be canceled. But I decided I could do my own half marathons and gave myself twelve weeks to be ready using Hal Higdon’s training program. See the post I wrote about Half Marathon Training
The twelve weeks have come and gone and I have run my half marathon and plan to run my second one this coming weekend. And as long as this old sixty year old body will let me, I’ll just keep right on running. I love it and it helps me stay slim.
Learning Something New
We can’t travel but I live on a golf course…there it is right in my own front yard. So no time like the present to learn something new. I have golfed in the past but it had been at least 15 years since I picked up some clubs. So my summer of miscontent became my summer of learn to golf. I took 8 lessons and learned a great deal during that time. I got a new driver, new shoes and a whole new atititude and confidence to this game and I look forward to golfing through out the fall and even the winter as I work to feel natural with a club in my hand. Another great way to get my exercise in.
Staycations and Road Trips
Once I felt safe to be out and about on a limited basis, we planned some close-to-home two and three day getaways (see our Island Sanity Staycation #1 here and our Tree House #2 here). I also got outside to hike and cycle as often as possible, keeping social distancing top of mind. I was really grateful for those close to home activities with my husband, my grown sons and some of our close friends.
In August we decided to venture a little farther from home and did a 13 day road trip through Idaho to Colorado and back through Oregon. It was a lot of driving and in hind sight we should have added a few more days, but the weather was excellent, the scenery sublime and the ability to play my “get out of jail free card” really helped my sanity. I felt safe the entire time and we were careful and social distanced everywhere we went.
And Just Like That, Fall is Here
The virus is here for a long while, and learning to deal with it has been the unexpected outcome of my summer of miscontent. So now I look forward. I’ve done a little soul searching through all of this. Learning to accept the fact I can’t travel and I am not in control of when I might be able to again. Learning to find peace with that and find other things to occupy my over active brain. Learning to socialize primarily with my closest family and keep most everyone at arms length. No hugs. That sucks.
The weather will turn soon and I will turn to my arts and crafts and focus on healthy eating and working out. We might do another road trip…or even fly to the sunny parts of the USA if we decide it’s safe to do so. But learning to be kinder, quieter, more thoughtful has been good medicine for me. I’ve given up the news and refuse to engage in politics or hate. It’s not my way.
I know well there are so many people who have it so much worse than I do. I have a home, a family and I am safe and so far healthy. There is nothing more that I need.
I know a handful of people who have had the virus, all but one of them surviving. It’s real and it’s going to be around for a while…I am settling in for the long haul. Likely no travel for a while, but learning to live within the boundaries the virus has imposed. And do so with a positive attitude…as much as possible. Sometimes that means stepping away from the news, shutting down the social media, turning away from the screen.
My goal – a fall and winter of contentment. Putting away the miscontent and finding acceptance and satisfaction in the solitude this virus has thrust on us, and the major change in lifestyle that is now my routine. My autumn of contentment. My winter of gratitude. My Fab Fifties Life.
As women in our middle years we sometimes lose direction. Things that were familiar like kids at home, careers and busy family lives may have slowed or even disappeared. Maybe your marital status has changed too. We too often hear that midlife and then retirement is a time of loneliness, invisibility and stress for many women. A time when some women seem without a purpose. So today I am encouraging you to rethink it all. It’s time to join me in Re-wirement – Finding Your Midlife Passion.
I’ve been really focused on mindfulness for several months, and finding this focus has centered me in many areas of my life. I’m half-way through a 12-week online course from Yale University called The Science of Well-Being. In this class, and also in the Noom program I have been focused on, we talk a great deal about mindfulness and how it pertains to our overall well-being. I’ve also found myself during the pandemic reading lots of mindfulness books including one I just finished called The Four Agreements, and one I am currently reading and loving called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Gilbert encourages a creative path towards an amplified life – a life driven by curiosity, courage, and peace. Not a life of fear. Because fear disables our ability to move forward. Realizing you are brave in midlife is how you can finally take that step towards your passion! Exactly what we are talking about here today.
None of this is about hocus-pocus or Dharma or religion or voodoo or cosmic forces…but it is about transcendence and our ability to move forward towards what your vision of ultimate happiness is and those things that are standing in your way to get there.
The Science of Well-Being course introduced me to the term “re-wirement”. It’s not a term just for people in middle-age. Or just for women. It’s a way to look at our lives and find the causes of our unhappiness, stress and anxiety and then work to re-wire.
Re-wirement – Finding Your MidLife Passion began for me about a year before I retired. I was lucky to retire at 53, but considering I had been working since I was 14 – I was ready to re-wire. I put my courage hat on and went looking for a life where I could focus on inner peace and outer well-being. I found it with the help of my darling husband. I found it by re-wiring our lives, letting go of both people and things that bogged me down or were not in sync with my vision, and focusing on our dreams. In the years since I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked how I re-invented myself. My answer is always the same – I did not. All I did was peel away the protective layers I had built around me, and found underneath my authentic self. By the way, she’s awesome at 60.
Everyone can re-wire. It costs nothing, other than focus and commitment. Today I introduce you to four women who have done it. Four amazing women of different ages, different backgrounds, different strengths and different aspirations. Four fabulous women who stepped out of their comfort zone, grabbed hold of their dreams and didn’t let go. In doing so each found their midlife passion.
Ann Hedreen, 63
What was your previous career? After college, I worked in publishing for a year and a half, but realized I longed to write my own words, not edit other people’s. I finally landed a cub reporter job in Chicago, for the City News Bureau, a local wire service, and then for UPI. When I returned to Seattle at 25, I started in local TV news as a news writer, and went on to be a producer. After five years (followed by a wonderful sabbatical year of shoestring travel around the world with my new husband, Rustin) I got a job doing PR for the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). When I wasn’t writing press releases, SAM asked Rus (who is a cinematographer and editor) and me to produce several videos, which we worked on when he wasn’t busy doing freelance gigs for network news. The good news was that video production was now more affordable for nonprofits, because we could edit at home. Technology made it possible for us to make a big leap and we focused on making short films for non-profit clients.
We also made longer documentaries of our own choosing. It was one of those documentaries—Quick Brown Fox: an Alzheimer’s Story—inspired by my mom’s young-onset Alzheimer’s disease—that finally led me to take my own personal writing seriously. At 53, I earned an MFA in creative writing. My thesis project became my first published book: Her Beautiful Brain, a memoir about what it was like to become a mom just as my own beautiful, brainy mom was losing her mind to Alzheimer’s disease.
What is your current career? Rus and I continue to make films for nonprofits and I also write and teach memoir writing. I have finished a second memoir, for which I’m now trying to find a publisher, and I’m starting research on a third book. I also enjoy writing shorter articles, blog posts, and essays.
How old were you when you changed careers? I left TV News at 31, and White Noise Productions became our full-time gig when I was about 43. I began my MFA program at 51: that was another big turning point.
Was there a moment, an inspiration, an epiphany when you knew you wanted to pursue something different? When I was 50, my daughter went off to college and shortly thereafter, I suddenly had to have surgery (a benign tumor), which meant I found myself on this island of extreme quiet for the first time in many, many years. I started writing: about my childhood, about my mom, about my Finnish great-grandmother. And the more I wrote, that fall, the more deeply I knew that I wanted it to become an important part of my life. I’d written copiously as a child, but when I was a broadcast journalist in my twenties, I just sort of stopped doing personal creative writing, although I always kept a journal. I also wrote an (unpublished) novel in my 30s, when my children were young. But at fifty, it suddenly felt essential to rediscover, and to honor, my inner writer-self. Like she’d been waiting patiently for me all along, and she’d just that minute run out of patience.
As a woman in midlife how do you feel about your life goals today? Writing will always be important to me. I wish the part about getting published was easier! But teaching has also become very meaningful. I love seeing the light bulbs go off. I’ll continue to do both. The filmmaking work may begin to taper, though we enjoy it and are grateful to have it.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or what are you most proud of in your life? I really think the hardest thing I ever did was go from public high school in Seattle, WA to Wellesley College in Massachusetts at 17. I had never traveled. I was so homesick. But I had a full grant/loan/work package-deal scholarship, and the fact that Wellesley believed in me enough to fund my education was—huge.
What advice would you give to your twenty year old self? Don’t put those notebooks away! Write!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I want to continue doing what I’m doing now: writing, teaching, occasionally film-making with Rus, and also hiking, backpacking, traveling (oh I do miss travel during this pandemic!). Who knows? Maybe I’ll have grandkids by then. Which I look forward to!
Any additional advice to the greying goddesses of the world who might feel trapped in a career, marriage or situation that would help them rewire? If you don’t keep a journal, there’s no time like the present to start. Don’t feel like you have to write every day. Be messy, be casual, but the point is to pay attention to your own life. To take it seriously. And to ask yourself, and the world, a lot of questions. If you are feeling trapped, writing can be so helpful in working out how to get un-trapped. I think of writing as “thinking on the page.”
What was your previous career? Broadcast Journalist What is your current career? Health and Wellness Educator and Communications Pro
How old were you when you changed careers? 38 or 39
Was there a moment, an inspiration, an epiphany when you knew you wanted to pursue something different?
Around 2005, when I had been practicing yoga regularly for about five years and was without pain and able to manage my stress decently for the first time I could remember. It was about that time I realized what I had been inflicting upon my own body, through lifestyle choices. I needed to make a change to realize the life I wanted to live, which was more personal time, time for my family, and freedom to actual live the way I wanted to.
My healing journey was a revelation that people could be so much more in charge of their own health and wellness, and therefore their own lives than they probably think. That’s why I wrote Happy-Go-Yoga.
As a woman in midlife how do you feel about your life goals today? I don’t really have goals, per se. I have things I aspire to do and explore. There is a difference between mentally gripping an outcome and mindfully laying a foundation for your own life vision. I just try to live well, be well, support the people in my life and let the rest take care of itself. Something always guides me to where I need to be.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or what are you most proud of in your life?
Becoming more self-aware and aligned with my purpose. Everything else that the general population would consider an “achievement” is just a manifestation of that.
What advice would you give to your twenty year old self?
Invest in knowing who you are and how to best use your energy.
Don’t waste time on superficial drama and disregard those who try to pull you in.
Don’t be an asshole.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Healthy. Enjoying life. Everything else is a manifestation of that.
Any additional advice to the greying goddesses of the world who might feel trapped in a career, marriage or situation that would help them rewire?
A well-lived life is probably what we’re reflecting upon now. Has it been one? Is it too late to have one? Ayurveda, yoga’s 5000-year old sister science, encapsulates a variety of systems. Philosophically, it includes four distinct stages in life (but all are at play and influential to whatever stage you’re in). When these are in balance, it’s said we live well.
At approximately age 50, we enter the KAMA stage in life, which follows a long period of establishing the use of our energy in alignment with our purpose and arranging material stability (life essentials) so that we can spend energy being productive. In this stage, the question we can ask ourselves is how are we allowing pleasure and pleasurable living? Are we doing the things we’ve always wanted to do? Can we make space to explore the creative side of ourselves that has been less prioritized in our earlier years of responsibility? To make space for this, we must practice letting some things go to make space for our own pleasure. At this stage, we can embrace this as not selfish, but self-care. Some conventional philosophies may refer to this as a “bucket list,” which isn’t entirely accurate. This stage of life is less about checking off boxes (places and experiences) and more about the general way of living. How do you allow yourself to give to yourself with love?
What was your previous career? Program Director and outdoor guide for a kayak company What is your current career? Spring Courtright Home Organizer How old were you when you changed careers? 37
Was there a moment, an inspiration, an epiphany when you knew you wanted to pursue something different? I came home after a long day of work and was laying, exhausted, with my boyfriend (now husband) in a hammock. When he asked how things were and I started crying out of sheer exhaustion, he said, “I know you love your work, but this doesn’t seem sustainable,” and I knew he was right. (And I knew he was a keeper!)
As a woman in midlife how do you feel about your life goals today? Amazing! I’m so excited for the rest of my life!
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or what are you most proud of in your life? I think one of my greatest achievements is finding happiness on the other side of depression that gripped me hard as a youth. One of the things I’m most proud of is the Outdoor Adventure Camp I created with an environmental education grant and a dream, and it’s still happily running 15 years later. Countless youth have fallen in love with outdoor adventures as a way to connect with the natural world, get exercise, relieve stress and safely do things like kayak, stand-up paddleboard, mt bike, rock climb. And they learned about the natural world around them through stealth education.
What advice would you give to your twenty year old self? Don’t worry, you’re going to be ok. And say no to that cute, charming guy you’ll meet at your high school reunion. Please.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Raising chickens and goats and a giant edible garden with my hubby and friends living nearby so we can travel and still have a happy garden
Any additional advice to the greying goddesses of the world who might feel trapped in a career, marriage or situation that would help them rewire? If you’re thinking of going-doing-leaving-trying…do it now. Don’t wait. Fear may seem like a wall, but if you take a deep breath, walk up to it and give it a push, it often turns into a thin piece of fabric that you can push aside and find beauty you never imagined on the other side. Be brave.
Was there a moment, an inspiration, an epiphany when you knew you wanted to pursue something different?
I have always known I wanted a restaurant I guess, but never acted on it. It has always bounced around in my head. There is always that question floating around… “What would you do if you couldn’t fail?’ Owning a restaurant was always my answer.
As a woman in midlife how do you feel about your life goals today?
Well…. Covid happened! I can honestly say that this has been one of the most challenging times of my life. The amount of thought and time I have put into processing how a restaurant survives Covid has made me stronger and more tenacious than ever. I feel good about my goals, the struggle has made me realize that I’m a pretty strong person.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or what are you most proud of in your life?
My marriage. My husband and I have a beautiful love story and an incredible friendship. He is my biggest fan, and believes that I am capable of almost anything, (I’m happy to let him think that!) I’m proud of the honesty, support, communication and absolute love we have built our marriage on. Every day I wake up and choose him.
What advice would you give to your twenty year old self?
Travel more, simplify your life, cherish your friends because you never know when they will be gone, always love yourself first and tell your parents how much you love and cherish them.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Sitting at our lake place, drinking a gin and tonic with my husband and reminiscing about the “Covid days”.
Any additional advice to the greying goddesses of the world who might feel trapped in a career, marriage or situation that would help them rewire?
Be quiet, get still…. You already know the answers in your heart. Then act, but buckle up it’s not easy but worth every minute of living your life full and true.
We each have a different journey, through out our life and in our midlife years. Don’t fear the aging process. Instead strive for a healthy, courageous vision and look to re-wirement – finding your midlife passion. Focus on your aspirations, your intentions and your happiness through mindfulness and intent. Deep in the vault of our hearts, there usually is a passion waiting to be unlocked. I’d love to hear from you if you need encouragement.
I am a goals driven woman. I have always been this way. It has both positive and negative effects. When I was a career woman, sometimes my drive was perceived in a negative way by those who don’t work in this same manner. I don’t have those people to worry about anymore, and setting specific goals has been paramount in getting me through lockdown and quarantine. I set a self-care goal and gave it my nearly undivided attention. My self-care journey with Noom diet plan, getting healthy inside and out, has been a success. Here is how I did it.
As we flew in an empty 787 across the planet during the height of the pandemic, I spent my airplane time trying to imagine what it was going to be like back in the USA. We had been gone for seven months, and stuck in Cyprus for two months. Nothing was the same, and my once highly controlled and organized life had fallen into chaos. If the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that I really am not in control. It’s been a silver-lining lesson.
The only thing I knew for sure was I was going to have a lot of free time on my hands. And so my overly active goal-setting brain began to percolate ideas.
Without too much effort, I had laid out a plan for my personal self-care goals that for the next three months would focus on bringing me back to a healthy, active, confident and inspired Fab Fifties Life.
Becoming a Noomer – My Self-Care Journey with Noom Diet Plan
The Noom Weight Loss program is one I had been hearing about, and I knew several people who had been successful on the program. I debated about spending the money (about $260), telling myself I had the knowledge to lose weight, from all those other weight loss programs I had done over the years. But what I knew down deep in my heart, I needed some motivation and something to keep me accountable. So I signed up and began my self-care journey with Noom diet plan.
Best decision ever.
What is Noom? Well, before I explain it from my perspective, please go back and read the very first sentence in this blog. What does it say?
I am a goals driven woman.
I ask you to read it again, BECAUSE my ability to focus on my goals is why I have been successful on Noom. Because Noom is not going to do it for you. Noom is a tool to ASSIST you in personalized healthy eating plan that should help you lose weight. BUT IT’S HARD WORK. Yes, I said it. Losing weight is hard work. And although Noom is designed to be entertaining, educational, and inspiring, you will only be successful if you set goals and and DO THE WORK – EVERY DAY.
I started out my self-care journey with Noom diet plan using the Noom app to determine my weight-loss goals and how fast I thought I could accomplish it. I was very realistic in my goal setting, choosing both specific and achievable goals that included a target weight and work out plans. Knowing how much harder it is to lose weight at sixty than it was twenty years ago, I considered all the factors in my day to day life in search of realistic goals I could set for myself.
The next thing I did was create an action plan. For me this was just in my head but some people might want to write it down. It took me about two weeks to feel I was following my action plan effectively with daily workouts, nutrition study and focusing on well-being and mindfulness through both Noom and other online programs, lessons and videos.
I dropped 12 pounds before I began to share online that I was on Noom. I needed that time to find my rhythm and feel confident. Sharing your goals helps keep you accountable and also helps you find like-minded goal setters who can be part of your support system.
Today, my sharing continues and I am thrilled to have inspired several friends to join Noom and give it a try.
Let me compare Noom to Weight Watchers. Now to be fair, I have not done online Weight Watchers but I did successfully lose weight on Weight Watchers many moons ago. I know a lot of people have used Weight Watchers in the past, so I’ll use it here as comparative. Noom is designed very close to how Weight Watchers is laid out. On Noom you are tracking your intake of food every day. On the app the foods will be designated a caloric number (instead of points) and will be put into one of three categories; green, yellow and red. I liked this part very much and here is why;
Watching what I ate each day and learning the caloric count was such an eye opener to me. I was fascinated to learn if I need a little snack I can eat a whole dill pickle for 4 calories, or a granola bar for 180 calories. That’s a no brainer. I also liked seeing the green, yellow, red foods at the end of the day. It helped me to recognize that some red foods (cheese, meat, hummus,nuts, oils) I have been eating more of, so I should cut back on and add more green foods (vegetables, fruit, fish, yogurt). Noom also has a library of recipes on the app, easy and at your fingertips.
Like Weight Watchers, Noom has a community you can get involved in, or if you don’t want to you can blow that part off. There is an online coach who checks in with you and you can ask your coach specific questions. The coach puts out daily challenges and there are daily “stories” to read that cover a wide variety of psychological, physical and science-based information about our bodies, our brains and weight loss. I thought it was well presented.
One major difference between Noom and Weight Watchers is that on Noom they want you to step on the scale EVERY DAY! What? At first I thought that was ridiculous. Back in my Weight Watcher days you weighed in once a week (it was always kinda scary). But on Noom I weigh each morning and log the results on the app along with my food intake and also exercise. And I really learned to LIKE weighing everyday, and watching my body slim down oz by oz. I found it exciting and motivating.
Now for exercise. You aren’t required to exercise, but if you do you can add that to your daily log and then your daily calorie goal will automatically be adjusted. This I think is one of the reasons I was able to lose more than twenty pounds in two months…I was working out a lot. But like I said, you can work out a little or not at all, but your weight loss will be slower and calorie intake more restricted.
Day In The Life
Let me share my day in the life on Noom. Wake up usually around 6am. I always go pee before I step on the scale. Then I make coffee and take it back to bed, where I open the app, record my weight and read the challenges and stories and teachings for the day. As you progress through Noom the daily lessons become more interesting and are filled with science and psychology.
Next I go for my run and then come back for breakfast. Almost every morning I have a bowl filled with fruits, spinach, carrots, nuts, rice or grains and yogurt. I also have a hard boiled egg. It totals about 350 calories.
Then I go about my day. I rarely eat lunch but I’ll have a piece of fruit, or maybe a slice of lunch meat as a snack. Sometimes I might have a pickle, or some carrots. Occasionally if I am really hungry I’ll have some soup. I record this all on the app. I drink water throughout the day and I almost always have a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. It fills me up and warms me up. Sometimes I have another cup in the evening. Zero calories.
Since we don’t eat lunch, we usually have dinner early around 4-5pm. Dinner is often fish, veg, grains. Sometimes chicken or pork. We eat several different kinds of veg at dinner. I will occasionally have a gin and tonic or a beer but not too often. I record all this on the app. We have eaten out a few times, but with the lockdown I was on Noom for many weeks before eating out was even an option. But when we have eaten out I record it and adjust my exercise or my calorie intake.
After dinner I don’t eat again until about 9am the next morning.
I have stopped eating most dairy and have limited my bread. The most surprising thing of all is I have stopped having heartburn. So, I’ve been able to get off the omeprazole heartburn medicine I have been taking every day for YEARS! Because of my heartburn I also used to drink a Coke often when I had indigestion or heartburn. I haven’t had a Coke in three months. Boom.
So let’s recap. My Lockdown Self-Care Journey has focused on skin care, running, healthy eating and weight loss. I am going to need to stay focused on each of these goals, or lose traction and end up back where I started.
One of Noom’s goal setting tools
I acknowledge that the fact I am retired, I have a lot more free time than many people. But, if you are serious about getting healthy and making yourself your number one priority, then you might choose one or all of these goals I am working on and begin your own Self Care Journey. Your goals will look different than mine. You know what you want. But Noom will only work if you make it a priority. It’s not magic.
I’ve had a few people say to me they don’t have time because of their job. Yes your job takes a lot of time. But what are the other excuses you are using? Boards and committees? Watching television? Projects around the house? There is ALWAYS something…in your goal setting you need to prioritize what it important and maybe weight loss just isn’t important to you. And that’s okay. Just don’t sign up for Noom or any other program and say it didn’t work for you, when the reality is you didn’t make it a priority. Wait until you are ready.
I’m here to help. Ask me questions in the comments or message me privately. Join me on this healthy journey while we wait to find out how our life in post-Covid is going to look. Let’s do all we can to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health as we live through this stressful time.
Not everyone is up for a staycation right now. But for me, getting away even for a day, or two, or three, is a great boost to mental health during pandemic paralysis. Since it looks like it might be awhile until we can fly off to the Alps, or the Cote d’Azure or the Azores…a little sanity staycation is a perfect pandemic prescription.
We’ve decided to do several sanity staycations in the weeks and months ahead, visiting places within a few hours or a few days from home. Places reachable by car with low impact as far as crowds or contact with humans. Our first sanity staycation was to the beautiful Whidbey Island less than two hours from my home in Washington State where we have been on travel pause for two months.
First, traveling mid-week is a great way to avoid crowds. On Whidbey we felt like we were the only visitors, and that was okay with us. We rented a cottage on the grounds of the Quintessa, a wedding and events location. But on a Tuesday, we were the only guests and it felt really special to have it all to ourselves.
Whidbey is easy to get around by car. We’ve been here before so didn’t need to see everything, but if you haven’t visited before the cute shops especially in Langley and Coupeville are my favorites. If you are game there are also wine tasting rooms, distilleries and taprooms. Greenbank Farms will serve you wine and cheese and send you off with a delicious berry pie to take home – giving you a chance to savor your sanity staycation for a day or two more. Or pick up some world famous Penn Cove Oysters while here…the tiny sweet delicious mollusks are the best.
If you are an experienced cyclists it’s a great place to ride, but we left our bikes at home this time and opted for some easy hiking. We chose to do a really fun day hike in the Fort Ebey State Park, perfect for any fitness level and offering some really beautiful views. Exactly what my mental health was craving.
Although we didn’t have a reservation (highly recommended) we were able to slide in for an early dinner at the highly rated Prima Bistro in Langley. Both indoor and outdoor dining and a really great menu makes the Prima Bistro a top choice. If you want to social distance try to get a reservation off peak, although the restaurant was following all State of Washington distancing rules. On our second night we got take-out at the highly rated Joe’s Wood Fired Pizza. Excellent New York style pizza, in the Bayview area halfway between Langley and Freeland. We also made a quick stop for a treat at Coupeville’s Red Hen Bakery – killer cinnamon rolls, take out only.
A sanity staycation takes a bit of planning…don’t assume everything is open and running regular hours. For instance Joe’s is only open for take-out currently (July 2020).
Also very important is that you check the current schedule for the Washington State Ferries (unless you plan to arrive from the North over the Deception Pass Bridge). Currently due to reduced staffing Washington State Ferries are running at half capacity (July 2020). The Mukilteo to Clinton Ferry (closest from Seattle and King and Snohomish County and all points east) is usually a 2-3 boat wait unless you can travel during non-peak. Another option is the Port Townsend to Coupeville Ferry. If you are coming from points west and south ( Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason or Jefferson Counties) this is definitely the way to go. The great thing about this boat is you can make a reservation and be secured a spot on whatever sailing you want.
But that’s all part of the “fun” (she says tongue in cheek) during the time of Covid. Learning to live with new rules and guidelines will serve us all in the long run…and taking a mental health sanity staycation is a highly recommended way to feel better and wash away the blues – but only if you are comfortable being out. We plan to choose safe, quiet and unpopulated places to visit on upcoming sanity staycations.
Be safe. Be smart. And above all else, please be kind.
Being in lockdown, and returning so abruptly from our world travels back to the USA, put me in a position with free time to step back and take a look at myself. Everything that had fully occupied my time over the last four years had come to a complete and unexpected stop.
But this provided an unexpected blessing – an opportunity for me to focus on self care. Something I have been wholly unable to do most of my life; to no one’s fault but my own.
When we arrived in the USA I found I had a lot of free time on my hands. I began to realize I could use this stay-at-home time to accomplish some self-care things I had so often put on the back burner before. I immediately started a running training program, joined NOOM weight loss (to date have dropped 20 pounds and will be blogging on this later) and set out to focus on revitalizing my aging and neglected skin and focusing on skin care at sixty.
I’ve never been someone to spend a lot of money on beauty. I get my hair and nails done, but shop for myself infrequently and never too extravagantly. Most of my skincare products and makeup generally come from Target. When we travel I go months without wearing makeup and most days only use cleanser and moisturizer with SPF 15.
But here I am with all this free time…free time to get healthy both inside and out. Free time to finally focus on skin care at sixty. Better late than never? Well, you be the judge.
On arriving back home I contacted my friend Susi who is a Mary Kay consultant, because I had heard some good reviews about the MK line called TimeWise Repair. This line of skincare products is specifically designed for women like me, who are looking to repair damage from sun and sea, age and neglect.
I began using these products in early May. I did a video on YouTube at that time, to share the start of my journey. You can see that first video below. In the video I share all the products I began using; 1) TimeWise Repair Foaming Cleanser 2) Indulge Soothing Eye Gel 3) Eye Renewal Cream 4) Vitamin C 5) Lifting Serum 6) TimeWise Repair Retinol Night Cream and TimeWise Repair SPF 30 Day Cream 7) Deep Wrinkle Filler
Here is the first video…and by the way you will notice the 20 pounds heavier in this first video as compared to today…that alone makes my face look healthier.
I spent the next three weeks religiously following the night and day program for Mary Kay’s TimeWise Repair products and I immediately began to feel my skin was moister and generally all-around healthier. Once a week I used two more products in the evening; 8) TimeWise Repair Facial Peel and 9) TimeWise Repair Moisture Renewing Gel Mask.
Here is the second video I did at week three. I REALLY notice in this video the bags under my eyes. At the time of this video I had not yet been diagnosed with a sinus infection…but clearly it was raging and causing me trouble. I kept hoping the Mary Kay eye cream would take care of the bags, not realizing it was something more. Here is the second video.
So today at week six I am pretty happy about how my skin FEELS as much as how it looks. I also feel like by focusing on this for six weeks I have developed good skin care habits for both morning and night, something I never had before. I would say that the products I feel have been the best for me would be the TimeWise Repair Foaming Cleanser, the Indulge Soothing Eye Gel, the Day Cream, the Night Cream, the Facial Peel and the Gel Mask.
My consultant Susi feels strongly that the serum is one of the best things I can do for my skin. And I feel like the night cream with retinal has contributed greatly to the diminished wrinkles. It’s been nice having Susi at my fingertips for questions…something I can’t get from sales people at Target or the mall. Worth it for me in my busy life.
It’s not pretty, but I’m sharing with you my before shot that was done on the Mary Kay Skin Analyzer App the first week of May, and my After Shot taken this week. Note I’m purposefully not smiling…to really be able to see my problem areas. The skin analyzer is the tool we used to both determine the products that would be best for my skin issues, and to see the results. Here it is. Oi. Embarrassing.
However, I see much improvement in the wrinkles, and am hopeful with continued use it will get better still. Although some of my most prominent wrinkles, like the “11” between my brows haven’t really improved at all, I’m happy to accept those as part of my sixty year journey. I think those are just here to stay.
My final video, posted yesterday, shares a fun time lapse look at my routine to finish off the experiment. Here it is.
So, again realizing I have dropped 20 lbs in six weeks, and started running every day combined with this skin care routine I feel really healthy overall. I see a difference in my skin, especially how it feels and even how my makeup feels on my skin. Here is another before and after shot with my make up on.
AND since I am making all this effort, I bought a new hat with a wider brim to protect my skin more than any hat I’ve owned before. Sassy. I am feeling so much healthier over all, I hope all these new habits will stick, and I can continue to improve my skin, weight and activity level in the months and years ahead. Because, you know, I’m fabulous!
I would love to hear about your self care journey. Comment below or message me anytime.
We are all a bit anxious these days about our health and well-being. Remembering the important recommendations for social distancing, mask wearing and washing your hands A LOT remains super important. But what we choose to eat in our lockdown lives is another important factor in staying healthy. Immunity boosting foods for healthy life is something we should learn to do all the time, not just when the world is fighting a pandemic.
(The links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you. )
Choosing to add immunity boosting foods to your diet is really easy, without giving up the tasty comfort foods we all are enjoying during these anxious days. Over the past few years I have been working on a diet that is rich in both immunity boosting foods, anti-inflamatory foods and foods that are good for gut health.
I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist, just a lay person who has experimented and found some things that work for me. And maybe they will work for you too!
Last summer we purchased a sauerkraut maker, manufactured by a company called Cultures for Health. Now we eat a few tablespoons of homemade sauerkraut every day. Homemade sauerkraut is full of good bacteria for your gut. Unrefrigerated store-bought sauerkraut has been pasteurized. Pasteurization kills all those good bacteria and so you lose the healthy benefits. You can use this sauerkraut maker for other fermented foods too like pickles, beans, radishes. Eating fermented foods adds good bacteria and enzymes to your gut! And they taste good too.
Here is our fun video on how to make your own!
Now I know you’re gonna want your own fermenter. Here is the one we recommend.
Our daily breakfast nearly every day of the week includes a lot of immunity boosting foods for healthy life. Each morning we eat a bowl full of blueberries (antioxidants, phytoflavinoids & Vitamin C), spinach (fights cardiovascular and chronic disease), almonds or walnuts (packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals) and other fruits like apples, bananas, mango. We mix this with homemade yogurt.
The probiotics in yogurt (live cultures) are really good for your health. Yogurt is a great source of low calorie protein, as long as you aren’t eating the sweet and fruity kind. We make our own yogurt very simply in a yogurt maker we bought from a manufacturer called Euro Cuisine, through Cultures for Health. It’s really easy. All you need is a live-culture yogurt starter and milk. We make it once a week at night, and when we wake up in the morning it’s ready to eat. You can get one at the link below.
Eat the Rainbow
The rest of our daily diet includes a variety of immunity boosting foods for healthy life like ginger (free radicals build a defense system), garlic (anti-inflamatory), dark greens and broccoli ( full of good vitamins and anti-oxidant goodness) peppers and citrus (nothing like the Vitamin C in these foods to strengthen your immunity) and apple cider vinegar (used in small quantities is a great anti-oxidant boost).
We eat meat including beef and pork, although most of our meat consumption is chicken and fish ( watch for a seafood blog coming soon). We try to have salmon, canned sardines and responsibly fished canned tuna regularly, all foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Although I am a coffee lover, I often take a cup of herbal tea before bed. I love a ginger tea which helps me sleep as does chamomile, and I’m also fond of peppermint tea as a pick me up in the afternoon. I don’t drink green tea very often, but like the teas I mentioned above, these all are high in immunity boosting anti-oxidants. The world of tea is actually very fascinating…there are entire books written about it and tea is definitely a immunity boosting food for healthy life. For me, just an herbal cup each evening is both delicious, healthy and relaxing.
Staying healthy isn’t just about food of course. Finding ways to stay active, get lots of rest, drink lots of water and engage in activities we love during these stressful times are all part of keeping your immunity system thriving despite the stress. It’s okay to have that brownie, or burger too. It’s not about depriving yourself. It’s about making good choices, adding immunity boosting foods for healthy life to your diet, the things science knows help our bodies fight back anything from the common cold to an uncontrolled virus.
Take care of yourself my friends. Choose healthy options and be well.