Welcome back to our series on Becoming a Healthy Teacher! This is post number two in a series of five that will share the easy prep meals for healthy teachers. If you missed the first post in the series click here to read: Healthy Teacher Series: Part 1 – The Why
Teacher health is a hot topic in education circles today. The number one reason a teacher leaves the classroom is health related concerns. Whether it is physical or emotional health, teachers are not sticking around for 25-30 years like our predecessors.“The number one reason a teacher leaves the classroom is health related concerns. Whether it is physical or emotional health, teachers are not sticking around for 25-30 years like our predecessors.” Click To Tweet
More and more, teachers are facing unyielding amounts of pressure and stress. That stress leads to teachers not taking care of themselves and finding that their health has deteriorated. This is exactly where I found myself in March of 2017. Becoming a healthy teacher became my focus out of necessity!
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The crisis had begun many years before when I entered the classroom. The daily stress that a teacher deals with had taken its toll over the course of 15 years in various Title 1 schools. Not that non-Title 1 schools are not just as stressful on teachers, but the reality is, Title 1 schools come with a set of obstacles that are not present in non-Title 1 schools and vice versa.
The point is, over the course of 15 years I found myself overweight and unhealthy. I wasn’t sleeping well and this led to more and more stress. A sleepy, overweight, unhealthy teacher, while having a heart of gold and loving her students, is not the most efficient and best teacher she can be for her littles.
Let’s get real here. When we are tired we are cranky. If you are overweight you don’t feel good about yourself. If you are unhealthy, you get sick! The spiral down the black hole continues, but you get the point. So, in March of 2017, I made a decision to take back my life, my health, my SANITY, and change my lifestyle in order to become the best teacher I could be for my students.
In this series, I am sharing my journey to becoming a healthy teacher! Your journey may be different, or you may not have started your journey. Wherever you are in your healthy teacher journey, I hope this series helps to inspire you to be the best you that you can be in your classroom and in life.
Healthy Teacher Plan of Action
So let’s get started with Part 2 in the series: THE FOOD. The number one question I get asked when I share my story is WHAT DID YOU EAT? Truth is, I pretty much ate all the foods I love! The struggle for me was not eating enough, and not eating the right combinations of foods.
Admittedly I had some bad habits I had to break! A 12-pack of Dr. Pepper a day was going to have to stop. That was on top of the Route 44 Sonic Dr. Pepper both before and after school. Surviving the school day on chocolate and junk was going to have to stop also.
I had to make a conscious decision to change my lifestyle. Was it hard? Not really. After the third day, the benefits and change in the way I felt made the challenge of breaking habits worth it. It really was life-changing.
So let’s start from the beginning and I will share with you how I changed my life and lost 65 lbs in only 5 months. Yep…you read that right! Not only did I lose that weight, I felt better, but my energy levels also were up, and I was sleeping with less stress weighing me down. Here was how I did it!
We have all heard that the most important meal of the day is breakfast. This is so true. Starting your day off with sustenance is essential to providing your body with what it needs to fuel you throughout the day. We wouldn’t drive our car to work on empty so why do we expect our body to get us around during the day without any fuel.
Personally, I am a procrastinator! I like my sleep! The snooze button is my best friend. So this part of the plan was going to be a struggle for me. Many of my teacher friends, and teachers I have coached get up and cook breakfast before leaving for work each day. Not me…I usually grabbed a Sonic toaster on the way with that Route 44 Dr. Pepper!
Fortunately for me, the system I decided to use to help me on my journey was stocked with an amazing protein shake that would give me just what I needed to start my day off right. Before you stop reading and say…um..yeah…YUCK!…let me tell you I am not a shake girl! NOT AT ALL! In fact, that was one of the reasons I first declined my friend when she first approached me about the system she used. I hate the flavorless, chalky, taste of protein shakes. I was usually sick to my stomach after drinking one and I didn’t want to start each day that way.
However, I was desperate so I thought…I will try it! She assured me it tasted good. And boy was she right. Man…my morning started each day (and still does) with a Peanut Butter/Chocolate Smoothie that tastes like a Reeses Peanut butter cup…NO LIE! Thick and creamy and smooth and cold! OH MY LANTA…HEAVEN! Most days I want to drink a double…but I don’t. But I want to.
PB and Chocolate are not the only flavors I have done either. I have a recipe that makes it a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty for those times when my sweet tooth is raving. I have also done a lemon cake flavor. The possibilities are endless. By itself, it tastes like vanilla birthday cake batter. Who doesn’t like birthday cake?
Now, some mornings (especially on weekends) I like to cook breakfast for the hubs and I. So we have our typical bacon and eggs with some sliced avocado. Occasionally if we had steak the night before, I throw some steak on the plate with the bacon. The key here is you have to start the day off right. EAT TEACHER! You can’t run on empty!
Lunch and Dinner
Next on the plan was making sure I didn’t skip meals. You all know that your thirty-minute duty-free lunch is anything but! However, it is key that you don’t let your body run out of fuel. I will go back to the car example. Imagine your body is a car and your stomach is the gas tank. It’s a small gas tank and your road trip (your day) is a long trip. Your car would not make it from Texas to California without stopping to fill up with gas….neither will your body teacher friends. You have to refuel at some point in order to make it to your destination.
Lunch and Dinner are important. However, we have been doing them all wrong. Most teachers, myself included, bring quick microwave meals from home to cook in the teacher lounge or they simply grab a bag of chips and drink a sugar-filled soda to give them the energy to make it the rest of the day. Here is the problem. These are only going to give you a spike in energy…and what goes up…yep you know the rest!
When we skip meals, or worse fuel our car with the wrong fuel…we may get a little further down the road but we are going to die on the side of the road before we reach our destination. We must refuel, and refuel with the right foods. For a busy teacher, you, like me, are probably thinking great…one more thing to prepare for school! I don’t have time.
Well, I was in the same boat. My solution? That shake you heard me rave about up there…yep…I drank another for lunch! Not every day…but on days where I didn’t have time to pack something or maybe there weren’t any leftovers for me to bring from home. On days where the team was ordering out, I always found something I could order that fit within the guidelines of my meal plan. Remember I was still eating my favorite foods.
Now you may be wondering why I have a picture of bacon wrapped jalapenos up above! This was my go to lunch! I could make these up and keep them in the fridge. Then I would pop 8-10 of them in a plastic bag with a little container of Ranch dressing and voila…perfect fuel for my lunch! Yep you read that right…I ate bacon for lunch! Bacon makes everything better!
Bacon wrapped asparagus was another goto for lunch! Dinner usually consisted of steak, chicken, beef, and green vegetables. All cooked in butter and most of the time…you guessed it…wrapped in BACON!
Before everyone freaks out…I had my bloodwork done in February of 2018 and all my levels were normal! This 40 something (a girl never reveals her age) teacher is healthy and eats bacon! A lot of bacon! Ok…sausage as well! Not just bacon! But you get the drift.
For my vegan friends out there…don’t think you have to eat bacon. Not at all true! There is a meal plan for you as well! I share my story for most of my southern teacher friends who don’t want to give up their bacon and steaks! Should you want a less flesh inclusive meal plan…that is totally doable and you will see how you can have a personalized meal plan just for you through the coaching that is offered with the system. Keep reading to find out more about coaching.
Water Fuels Your Soul
One bad habit I had to break was drinking too many sodas. Well soda in general. Teachers, they are HORRIBLE for you! They are literally sugar in liquid form! So why do we drink them? Well we are thirsty…so we drink a soda…and we are still thirsty…more thirsty…so we drink another…etc! The cycle never ends. There is so much sodium in a can of soda your body quickly dehydrates…and a dehydrated body and brain can not function properly.
Our bodies are primarily made up of water. You all remember that from biology correct? Logic would assume that if your body is made up of mostly water that you would need to feed it water to make it healthy. Kinda like your car needs gas…your body needs water! Stop putting diesel in your gas powered engine! (You see what I did there?)
To help shed the weight it was recommended that I drink 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water each day. OH, MY LANTA…that was a gallon of water a day! To be honest…I hated the way the water tasted. Let me repeat…water makes me gag. How in the world was I going to drink a gallon of it?
Enter…infused water! I just had to find flavoring that would fit within the guidelines of my meal plan. I did so by drinking cucumber water, lemon water, and my favorite…water flavored with TrimStix. This little packet of heaven had multiple purposes but for me, it made my water taste like fruit punch! This little gem is part of the system I use and it does so much!
Trimstix levels your blood sugar with it’s patented formula to keep you from having dips that create hunger and energy drops. I use one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon and I immediately see the benefits. I no longer have that afternoon dip. After school, I have enough energy to come home and be a wife and a mom. POWERFUL!l. Not to mention I don’t have the sugar cravings that I was fearing. Nope…no desire to gorge on candy in the late afternoon.
However you do it, your body needs water. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the water in tea and coffee doesn’t count friends. In fact, for every 8 ounces of tea and coffee, you drink you should really drink an addition 8 ounces of water to flush it out of your system. Your road to becoming a healthy teacher must include drinking more water!
Was I able to get all that water in? YES!!!! Surprisingly enough my body started craving it! Before long I wasn’t having to infuse my water with anything. I like water now…My body needs water…it must have water. I don’t measure the water I drink anymore but I still get about a gallon a day. (Don’t worry teachers, the needing to go to the bathroom every 30 min wears off….your body adjusts….you will be fine).
Healthy Teacher Snacks Fuel Your Stomach
The next biggest question I get is “What can I snack on?” As teachers, we like to snack. There have been studies done that show when you are chewing your brain is more focused. That’s why I never understood why we didn’t encourage gum chewing during test taking. We let our students have snacks in class…you need a snack too!
For snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon I would eat some nuts, some cheese, pepperoni sticks or I might have another shake. Just depended on what I was in the mood for. The most important element was I ate something.
I liked to keep snacks on hand in my classroom. This way they were easy to reach and I could snack and teach at the same time. Easy peasy! A healthy teacher is prepared. Preparation doesn’t have to mean hours of work. Keeping easy snacks in a container that is easy to access is key. Just make sure they are the right snacks.
By fueling my body every three or so hours I kept my brain functioning and kept my energy levels up. But I was also teaching my body to burn a different source of fuel. And that brings me to our next segment…the ever dreaded carbs!
Carbs Fuel Your Brain
First, let me say this teacher friends…CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY! Not entirely! Anything in excess can be harmful. You need to find a balance…and you need to make sure you are getting the right kind of carbs. Your brain needs carbs to function. It’s science people! That is why so many of my friends reported that when they went on a 0 carb diet…they felt all foggy and brain dead. Well um…yeah silly…your brain needs carbs
The kind of carbs and the source from which those carbs come from is key! We have to make sure our body is getting the right amount of carbs and the right source. Carbs from sugar and starches are not bad in moderation…but the carbs you get from green vegetables are the most nutritious and most efficient. It’s the difference in putting regular gas vs. premium gas in your car.
What I was doing with this system was retraining my body to burn a different source for energy. I had spent so many years letting my body burn carbs for energy by eating high starch and high sugar foods. Even some foods that I thought were healthy but in reality are full of sugar…even natural sugar. I had to retrain my body to burn a different and more efficient form of energy…FAT!
Yes, I taught my body how to burn FAT for energy! Guess what…it did so in no time! The truth is that a fat molecule burns more efficiently than a carbohydrate molecule. So your body can not only burn fat more efficiently but it can sustain energy levels much longer than when you ask it to burn carbs for energy.
Athletes use carbs to fuel them in short bursts. This is why carbs are so great for them. However, for us teachers who need a long journey fuel source…carbs are not the answer. They are what is causing us to feel tired, gain weight, and crash as soon as the school bell dismisses our kids.
Turn your body into a fat burning and energy producing machine. But don’t forget to feed your brain the carbs it needs to survive. Don’t know how to do that on your own….that is why I am here to help!
Let Me Help You
I have been where you are teacher friends. You are not alone! The image above was taken day 1 on my journey when I weighed in at 260 lbs. I can not believe I actually weighed that much. In only 5 months, I shed 65 lbs and then went on to lose a total of 80lbs from between March 2017 and January 2018! I lost weight through the holidays! I am healthier, have more energy, get more sleep, and am rocking this new body! If I can do it anyone can!
Are you ready to be a healthy teacher, take back your energy but don’t want to go it alone? The system I use worked for me and I believe it can work for you too…if you are ready to make a lifestyle change and make a commitment to your health then you have nothing to lose but weight and stress.
Sometimes you need a partner, a coach, to help you see your full potential. I can’t lose the weight and get healthy for you but I, along with an amazing team of coaches on my team can give you coaching and guidance that will help you meet your goals and fulfill being your best self.
Our system gives you the tools needed to overcome the obstacles, take back your health, fight cravings, and change your body into a machine that will work with you and not against you.
So what are you waiting for? Want to know more? Fill out the form to get a free consultation with myself and my amazing coach! Learn how you can gain energy, healthy sleep, and less stress, lose weight….and eat the foods you love! No starving….no cardboard food!
With our system, you will learn how to turn your body into a FAT burner instead of a FAT storer. Shed those pounds and get healthy just in time for summer! Let’s do this teacher friends…the time is now and YOU DESERVE IT!
Do you have easy prep meal ideas you would like to share with other teachers? Leave them below and share! You might be helping a fellow teacher get over a hurdle to becoming healthy and being their best self!