the WHAT of tracking

You want to track. You intend to track. But, what do you track?

Don’t say everything. Unless you’re already tracking close to everything, everything might be too much.  Since tracking helps you focus your attention and energy on changing behavior and habits, consider what you want to change.  Then track that.

You could track…

individuals walking shoes

Your steps: If your goal is to get more steps, then tracking the number of steps you get each day is important.  If you don’t know how many you did yesterday, then how will you know you got more steps in today unless you track it. Check out how 100 more steps add up.

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner10 minutes of activity: If your goal is to move more, you could track your time in 10 minutes blocks of physical activity.  A walk around the block for your morning break could be one check-mark. Vacuuming the house could be another couple of marks. Walking the dog, yet another.  Soon you’ll want to mark off one more block then you did yesterday, or you’ll make the effort to get at least one in today. Change it up.


green and red healthy foodYour servings of fruits & veggies: If your goal is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits & vegetables each day, then give yourself a gold star for every serving.  Soon you might be planning your weekly menu around your veggies to ensure you get your gold stars. Increase your plant slant.


water with mint, cucumber, and limeYour water: If you’re trying to make water your go-to beverage choice, tracking the number of glasses or ounces you grab each day can help.  Celebrate and mark each time you choose water over soda.  Drink up.


use the remote control to change channels on TelevisionYour TV time:  Your tracking goal doesn’t just have to be about increasing the better choices. Sometimes tracking can help you decrease behaviors that you want to change.  With a goal of no more than two hours of recreational screen time each day, you could track your TV time to identify your baseline watching and then make changes from there.  Remember, I may have written TV, but this could include your computer, smartphone, and tablets too.  What’s in your day that shouldn’t be?


bigstock woman decision donut fruitYour emotions, feelings, level of satisfaction, or stress:  Tracking creates awareness about choices, situations, and behaviors.  If you track your emotions or stress level before you eat, you could identify a trend that when you feel bored, you reach for crunchy snacks.  After certain situations, you note that you’re feeling extremely stressed, and you go for chocolate.  If you track your satisfaction level during meals, you may find that you stop eating when you feel comfortable and not waiting until you feel full. Make each day delicious.

WHAT will you track this week?

if you want more potassium, grab this instead

When I get leg cramps I tend to grab a banana, but there are more ways to get potassium than you may have realized.

Forget the sports drink after a hard work out – grab your fruits and vegetables.  They’re a much better source of the vitamins and minerals you need.

But, why is potassium important?

Potassium is a mineral that is found in most foods. It helps your body in several ways. Potassium helps to balance fluids and minerals in your body. It also helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure. Potassium helps your muscles contract and your nerves function normally. 

 There is also indication that increased fruit and potassium consumption is associated with stronger bones.  A diet rich in potassium may decrease the risk of stroke and kidney stones.   It can also help with keeping blood pressure down.

It’s recommended that an adequate intake of potassium for men and women, ages 19+ is 4,700 milligrams (mg), but with the average American diet, we’re not getting enough.  This doesn’t mean take a supplement, this means eat more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium (unless your doctor has specifically told you to stay away from potassium rich foods).

Foods such as:

  • 1 cup cooked beans (more on dried beans)
    • white beans (1189 mg)woman shopping for vegetables
    • edamame (970 mg)
    • lima beans (707 mg)
  • 1 cup steamed greens
    • Swiss chard (961 mg)
    • spinach (839 mg)
    • beet greens (1300 mg)
  • 1 cup baked, cubed acorn squash (899 mg)
  • 1 medium baked potato with skin (751 mg)
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato with skin (542 mg)
  • 3 ounces of cooked halibut  (449 mg)
  • 1 medium banana (425 mg potassium)
  • 1/2 papaya (390 mg)
  • 3 ounces of baked or broiled salmon (319 mg)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (312 mg)
  • 1 medium raw tomato (290 mg)
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms (280 mg)
  • 1/4 of a medium avocado (245 mg)
  • 1 small orange (240 mg)

Various sites provided differing amounts of potassium in the foods above.  That’s okay since you’re not necessarily trying to add your potassium up to reach 4,700 milligrams exactly.  The goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Reach for these foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need to get and stay healthy & happy.  Also keep in mind, how you cook it is important.  Stay away from boiling.  Instead bake, broil, grill or lightly steam them.  Of course, some you won’t even need to cook.

Here are the sources I used for my list:

Huffington Post – Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana – Potassium Content of Foods List

WebMD – Are You Getting Enough Potassium?

Get the Facts_ Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines - Sodium_Dietary_Guidelines

When you find information about potassium there is usually a link to information on sodium.  If you’re  interested in learning more about salt in your diet?  Check out the CDC’s Get the Facts –  Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines.




What potassium rich foods will you reach for this week?


Organizing Ideas for Getting Your Potassium

Make a meal plan this week around the foods listed above.

Put 5-7 of the foods listed above on your shopping list now.  If you don’t have a shopping list, start one.  You can use:

  • sticky note on your refrigerator – Your family as well as you can add to it, and you can grab it when you’re headed out the door to go shopping.
  • white board on your refrigerator –  Again you and your family can add to it, then you can take a picture of it before you head out.
  • there’s an app for that.  I use ShopShop which allows me to email or text or share with another app user.
  • if you’re using a meal planning app or program, there’s probably a shopping list feature built in.  Use it!
  • join the Paperwork Party on Saturday (May 30th) and make the time to finally create that master shopping list you’ve been meaning to.  Click here to register.
  • What do you use for a shopping list?

Pre-cut, -chop, -wash, and prepare several snacks from the foods above.  You’re more likely to reach for the healthier snack if it’s ready to eat.  If you have to fix it, it’s probably too late.

eyes still bigger than your stomach?

Small Steps grilling potatoes of a reasonable size - DhucksWe got our new grill!!!

Grilling is a great way for Steve and I to make healthier choices and simplify summer eating. We (all right, it’s usually Steve) throws lots of veggies on the grill (sometimes even fruit). Enough vegetables to add to a slow cooker dish or as a flavorful side in a meal later in the week.

On our first night as grill owners, we chose steak and baked potatoes. Steve brought out two small potatoes as our bakers and my first reaction was “not enough”. They in fact were enough and very tasty, but my eyes are still bigger than my stomach. My inner five-year old still yells for MORE, but here are some strategies I use:

  • Acknowledge that I feel/think I want more, but the smaller portion is really sufficient and enough.
  • Give permission ahead of time to have a second helping if I’m still hungry afterwards.
  • Measure! Using measuring cups, spoons, and the scale, helps keep portion creep at bay.
  • Use smaller plates and glasses. Check out my YouTube videos on 3 ways to lose 10 pounds:

What strategies can you use to keep your eyes smaller than your stomach this week?


Organizing Ideas for reasonable portion sizes

Move your larger dinnerware up to the top shelf and keep your smaller plates, bowls and glasses within easy reach.

Keep your food scale out on the counter and easy to use.

Serve your food buffet style instead of family style.  Use measuring spoons and ladles for serving utensils.

quote if at first you don't succeed, find out why - stephen covey

revisit & revise

collection of forks with vegetables and fruitLast week I talked about putting your fork down, which then led me to revisit the concept of not putting food in my mouth when I have food in my mouth (if there’s food in your mouth).  Sometimes we’ve made changes and found strategies that worked, but over time, we may have drifted away from using them.  It’s now time to go back and revisit one strategy, change or idea that worked for you.  Put it back in play this week.

In addition to focusing on putting my fork down and finishing my food one mouthful at a time, I’m looking at my habits around what and when I drink.  In the morning, I drink coffee, and that’s not going to change (at least this week), but I do want to revise what I reach for in the late afternoon.  As the days transition into summer, it’s time to make water more exciting than my other options.  I could drink more water by:

  • Adding mint leaveswater with mint, cucumber, and lime
  • Adding fresh or frozen berries, cherries, or other favorite fruit
  • Choosing mineral water with a slice of orange
  • Adding cucumbers
  • Making flavored ice cubes from fruit juice (I miss my lemon tree!).


What change or strategy will your revisit?
What habit or behavior could you revise?


Organizing Ideas for choosing water

Pull out your favorite pitcher and fill it up in the morning.  Either place it front and center in the refrigerator (blocking your previous beverage choices) or put it on the counter with your best water glass.

Prep the mint, cucumber, or fruit ahead of time so that’s it’s easy to add.

Challenge family and friends to find refreshing and tasty zero-calorie ways to liven up your summer beverage.

Track the amount of water you get each day or gain awareness of what’s in your other options — drink up.

let go of your fork

Put your fork down between bites.  I don’t know how many times I’ve read that strategy for losing weight.  And I always gave that advice a nod and a ‘yeah, yeah’, but I never really tried it.  I always thought of it as a behavior or a habit that I couldn’t quite change.  But that changed when I read The Jean Nidetch Story by Jean Nidetch:

…people who are overweight still do the same thing.  They hold on to the fork all through a meal.  They never let go, because they’ve never learned how.

When I read those words, the light came on.  I realized that, for me, holding on to my fork was more of an emotional attachment.  It was a security blanket that I wouldn’t let go.   No wonder I’ve had such a hard time putting down my fork.  It wasn’t about changing a behavior, it was about changing my thoughts.  It was about overcoming that emotional attachment and seeing the fork as a tool for eating rather than as my Excalibur against life’s pain and frustration.  I will again be practicing letting go of my fork at least once each meal this week.

Can you let go of your fork this week?


Organizing Ideas for letting go of your fork

If you are eating with someone who eats slower than you, you could make a game or challenge yourself to:

  • put your fork down if you see their fork down.
  • sneak a peak at their plate when you’re half-way done and wait for them to catch up.

You could use your non-dominant hand to hold the fork.  I’m thinking that this would not be a good one to try in public initially.

snacking healthier

Make one snack healthier this week.

Instead of making sweeping changes to your snacking behavior, how about taking a small step and changing one of your snacks into a healthier choice:

  • substitute with fruits or vegetablesalmonds
  • add protein or good fats — 5 olives, 7 almonds, 1 tsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp wedge/spreadable cheese,   2 Tbsp guacamole
  • take a smaller portion
  • take time to enjoy the texture and flavor of what you’re eating
  • add something healthier before you have the snack
    • drink water
    • eat an apple or banana
    • take a short walk2003-01-27 15.21.24

I snack when I’m bored (or procrastinating), and when I was in Hawaii, I gave myself permission to snack by walking out to the backyard to pick as many rambutan as I could eat.  Now, I have to figure out what to do here in Pennsylvania.  I think an ounce of sliced cheddar cheese with apple wedges will hit the spot.

Which snack or snacking habit will you make healthier this week?


Check It Out – ideas that can have you snacking healthier

Take  a Snack Quiz — you might be surprised.  Test Your Knowledge of Snacks and their Calorie Counts

I’ve heard about various tips on dealing with cravings, such as brushing your teeth, waiting 15 minutes or chewing gum.  Here’s an idea to try:  rinse your mouth with a tsp of baking soda and warm water when you’re craving for sweets. You can find this tip at PWP colored three benefits info

If you find yourself snacking when you’re working on your paperwork, try making paperwork a social activity (and therefore less stressful).  Join my Paperwork Party and save the calories for something else.

Organize your PAPER for weight loss (and health)

Let it go or organize it now – organize your paper for weight loss

If you’ve been collecting exercise ideas and possibilities, now is the perfect time to get them organized.  Now’s the time to create an exercise notebook.

You can either go paper or electronic:

Available at or an office supply store near you

Spiral Bound Index Card Notebook

Pick through the stack of exercises that you’ve been collecting from your favorite magazines or handouts.

Sort by body part
(arms, legs, shoulders, etc) or build your routine for the week.

Cut and paste them into a index card notebook (spiral or ring bound). This is an easy way for you to flip through the exercises and remember which ones you want to do.  It also travels well.


Go paperless with Evernote or OneNote

Evernote logo

If you collect exercises from the internet and/or want to scan your paper stack, create a notebook in Evernote or OneNote.  Add tags to make it easy to find the exercise you want.  Add a reminder.  Take your exercises  wherever you take your smartphone, tablet, or computer.



If you’ve been collecting recipe ideas and food possibilities to make your own healthier eating cookbook, now is an excellent time to get it started (or finished).

Again, you can either stick with your paper or go electronic:

Go Paper with a notebook and sheet protectors or an expanding file folder.  Check out Organizing Your Recipes (As-is) for the specific details.

Or go Electronic with Evernote, OneNote, and more.  Evernote created Evernote Food specifically geared for food, recipes, and restaurants.  I haven’t tried the app yet, but over the next week, I’ll check it out.

Lifehacker wrote The Best Apps to Manage Your Recipe Collection.  If you’ve already had experience with a recipe app, I’d suggest you stick to it — if you use it and like it.  The time you spend on learning a new app may be better spent enjoying the meal with friends.

Get support and have a party getting your paperwork done.  If you’ve been meaning to organize the stacks of exercise ideas or tasty recipes for months now, but haven’t made any progress, consider joining the Paper Party on February 28th.  You won’t have to get your paperwork done by yourself.  Join us on-line. I’ll be there to offer suggestions and guidelines to move you forward and we will all be there to keep each other focused and on track.  Click here for details and to register.

You're not alone!
You’re not alone!


When will you organize your papers?

Check It Out

Get Your Paperwork DONE! Party February 28.  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to get your paperwork done.

Closet Clearing Party March 21 (early bird pricing ends February 28).  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to create a closet that supports you today.

These are online (virtual) parties so anyone can join from anywhere.

Get Organized:  How to Digitize Your Recipes from PC World (you can also use OneNote.  It’s not mentioned; this post was written before OneNote was available as an app.)

wine @ five

wine @ five  — the fourth Power 9®

enjoy a glass of wine with friends


Enjoy a glass of wine
each day
with good friends.

I was very excited to see this on the list.  Yes, I like my wine and didn’t want to give it up.  But this was a good reminder to stop ‘doing’ at the end of the day and relax with friends and family.
Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpg
Too many of us are either working late at the office, bringing work home, or starting the second shift of taking care of the family and home.  We need to stop, smell the bouquet, and take time to enjoy the people in our lives.  We need to be instead of do.

Now that I have made the move to Pennsylvania, I will be building new routines. Two of them will be enjoying time with new friends each week and ensuring some relaxing time with my husband each day.


What will your Wine @ Five  look like?

Check It Out

5 Questions to Simplify Your Life During the Holidays from zen habits

For those who will be traveling for the holidays (these stretches would work for car travel as well) –  Release Tension on a Long Flight with These Stretches from Lifehacker


reduce * simplify * experience * live!

plant slant

plant slant  — the third Power 9®


Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpg

Plant slant.  I like that.  It doesn’t declare that I have to become a vegetarian. It doesn’t announce that I have to give up meat. Slant makes me think of sliding in or leaning towards.  Slant is a great word to make me think about getting more fruits and vegetables each day in small steps.

The first thing that comes to mind is — put the vegetables (and fruit) on the plate first.  Easier to get more on when there’s plenty of room.  Your plate will have a plant slant.


Next is to have two vegetables (or fruits) at every meal.  Again, a plant slant.

Bulk up stews, soups, and casseroles with veggies.  I found that putting finely sliced kale in my spaghetti sauce was a great way of building up the sauce (reminded me of parsley) and getting lots of nutritional benefits.  Definitely a plant slant there.

Just so that the fruits don’t feel left out in my discussion — plan your snacks around fruit.  Some flavorful cheese and an apple is a great afternoon pick-me-up, grab a banana while you’re waiting for dinner to cook,  or crushed pineapple (in it’s own juice,not sweetened) with cottage cheese is a tasty dessert.  Plant slant!

collection of forks with vegetables and fruit

How will you have a plant slant this week?


Check It Out

Hawaiian Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Pennsylvania Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables  Yes, Pennsylvania has a shorter growing season than Hawaii (there was no snow for my arrival but the high will be in the 30 today) — I’ll be enjoying a lot more baked winter squashes.


Leave a comment and share the steps you want take ‘on purpose’. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

read for your health

I was reminded how important it is to read the label, each and every time.

bigstock-child-halloween-pumpkin-bucket-8862712I was baking cookies as a Halloween treat for one group of trick-or-treaters we get every year – our neighbor’s two young boys.  One of them has a nut allergy, so cookies are the requested choice for treats.  I was at the store, grabbed a roll of sugar cookie dough, checked the warning below the ingredients and it said ‘wheat and eggs’ only.  No warming about nuts.  Great!

I then spy a batch of the same brand of sugar cookies but they’ve already been pre-portioned and were ready to place on the cookie sheet.  No extra work of slicing the roll. I didn’t bother to check the label until several hours later when I started baking.  There, under the ingredients, was the warning that this dough could contain ‘peanut or macadamia ingredients.’  Yikes!

I hadn’t bothered to read the ingredients or the warning because I assumed the same brand of the same cookie was made in the same nut free environment.  I was wrong and it could have been bad.

I also remember finding a high amount of salt in canned tomatoes when I was searching labels for the sodium content due my brother’s hypertension and heart condition.  I never would have thought to look otherwise.

This week, read the label of any new foods you’re thinking of bringing home.  Check out the labels of some of your favorite foods.  You could focus on the ingredients, the serving size, the fat, the sodium, the fiber or anything you’re interested in tracking.


nutrition label fda ucm272448
What will you look for on your food labels this week?

Check It Out

Make Your Calories Count is an interactive learning program from the FDA on using the Nutrition Facts Label for healthier weight.

Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label