All I want for Christmas… are these in every color!

Chayas

Just in time for Christmas gifts, Patricia is selling these awesomely comfortable and cute chayas for 5000 CFA.

His modeling career begins today!

His modeling career begins today!

One size fits all, including five-months pregnant. 🙂 Seriously, they really do fit all. The elastic waist is very, ahem, accommodating and the elastic at the ankles makes them work for even a shorty like me. The elastic is good quality, as is the lightweight tie-dyed fabric. I’ve been looking for pants like these for a long time!

Toddler not included in price.

Toddler not included in price.

To place orders, call Patricia at 77 631 7437 (English, French, Wolof…). Please plan on one week for your order to made. And send us a picture of your purchase!

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The advantages to Senegal!

photo (13)Today’s post comes from guest writer Angie in Thies. You can read her first posts on this topic here and here.

We have plenty of challenges to losing weight while living overseas. We don’t have access to all the convenience foods that make it easy to throw together a healthy meals in a flash. But I’d like to point out some of the advantages we have.

  • Remember the song by Dione Warwick, “That’s What Friends are For”? Whenever I think of our maid Germaine and all she’s done to help me get in shape, I break out in my own rendition, called “That’s What Maids are For”! Whether it’s babysitting, doing food prep, or mopping our sandy floors so we have a clean surface to work out on, our wonderful house helpers are an indispensable part of our life here, and I’m so thankful for them. In addition, if you want to hire a cook with years of experience and a growing collection of lowfat, healthy, Weight Watchers approved recipes, I’ve got just the one. Let me know if you’d like her number.
  • We may not have access to flax seeds, hemp seeds, maca, chia seeds, and all the other super foods that are trendy right now. Not to mention fresh blueberries, broccoli, hass avocadoes, salmon, etc., etc. But we’ve got access to fresh coconut (with which we can make our own milk and oil, with a little work). We’ve got fresh moringa all around us (a.k.a. nebeday). It’s the latest rage in the West, as it contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. To our friends in N. America, it’s only available in capsule form. We can get it raw and throw it in the blender for a breakfast that beats any kale smoothie, nutritionally speaking, hands down. And have you ever used fresh red bissap? From what I understand, it has many of the nutritional properties of cranberries, and it’s also delicious in smoothies. Hunt some down when the season comes and store a bunch in the freezer for later use. If you know of other obscure fruits, veggies, and foods that are a secret source of super nutrition, let us know!
  • We may not have Target, Walmart, or discount outlets around the corner to buy cheap, temporary clothes to wear when we’re in between sizes, but we do have the beloved fëgg jaay (swap meets). If you have a lot of weight to lose, like I did, you may not want to walk around in baggy, unflattering clothes while you reach your goal weight. Where else in the world can you buy a whole wardrobe for $20? And the best part is that because you paid so little, once the clothes is too big for you, you can give it away, instead of holding onto it in case you ever need it again. Don’t think that way. Let’s not give ourselves the opportunity to fit back into our old clothes, ladies. 🙂
  • Again, we may not be able to reward ourselves by going to the mall when we reach our goal weight, but we’ve got HLM fabric market and some of the best tailors in the world, who will make us custom made outfits to flatter our new figure and make us feel fantatic. You gotta love it here!
  • A final word to those of you who are discouraged about the seemingly insurmountable obstacle ahead of you: You can do it! I rememer the first week I weighed in, and only lost 2 lbs. I thought to myself, “How am I ever going to do this? I have 45 lbs. more to go!” But, by the grace of God, I’ve made it this far, and you will, too. (I have 10 lbs. more to reach my goal weight). I’m here to help you, and so are lots of other friends, so don’t be afraid to take that first step towards becoming the healthy, strong woman you want to be.

For those with more questions, comments, or tips to share, let me know if you’re interested in starting a Facebook group.

Exercising in Senegal

Today’s post comes from guest writer Angie in Thies. You can read her first posts on this topic here and here. You may also be interested in this post on running clothes in a Muslim context.

Find something you enjoy (or at least tolerate!) and do it. Get out there and shake what your momma’s given ya!

  • Make a commitment to work out consistently. Make a date with yourself and keep it. “But what about my little ones?” you may say. You know that maid you pay $1-2/hour to clean your house? Pay her to watch your kids for an hour so you can keep that date. How many of your friends in the West wouldn’t give an arm and a leg for a $1-2/hr babysitter? I may not have access to all the gyms and equipment they do, but I’ve got my sweet housekeeper Germaine, and I couldn’t have done this without her!
  • Build up gradually to avoid injury or discouragement. When I first started my weight loss journey this time around, I began with a fairly easy workout video I got from a friend. I transitioned from that to Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo workouts. Then, for a real challenge, I decided to “dig deeper” and put my body through the most physically challenge exercise program I’ve ever known, Insanity (Preview) . If you’re up for a serious challenge, check out the link.
  • Incorporate resistance training into your workouts. Walking is good, running is better, running while doing weights is best (not simultaneously, unless you want to fall on your face, Khady!). This doesn’t require you go out and buy weights. You can make your own body weight work for you (see, all those pounds are good for something!). Push ups, squats, tricep dips, etc. You can find moves online, or you can look for workout DVDs that are right for you.
  • Once you’ve been working out consistently for a while, try to increase the intensity of your workout in spurts. If you run, I recommend interval training. If you do workout videos, choose ones that push you to the max, for shorter lengths of time, rather than exercise videos that have you going at a moderate pace for a long period of time. Studies show that high intensity intervals are the most effective weight to strengthen your heart and your muscles.
  • Find a buddy or coach to work out with, or at least to keep you accountable. Get your husband on board, too. Even if he’s not exercising with you, he can at least help you exercise self-control by keeping temptation away from you as much as possible (especially if he’s a junk food junkie!).
  • Next time you or a friend go to N. America, consider investing in a variety of workout DVDs, a heart rate monitor, a pedometer, and some workout gloves. Tile floors here are so slippery that it makes any floor exercises difficult to complete otherwise. You may also want to bring back a yoga mat, although I’ve always used the cheap foamy “nattes” made out or rice sacks.
  • Move around as much as possible throughout the day. Studies show that working out rigourously for one hour a day, but maintaining an otherwise sedentary lifestlye, may not provide the health benefits we might think. So, if you work at an office job, consider using an exercise ball instead of a traditional office chair (to work your core). Even better would be a standing desk. If you’re at home with the kids, make it a point to do as much physical activity with them as possible – that way you will both benefit!

Focusing on your diet in Senegal

Today’s post comes from guest writer Angie in Thies. You can read her first posts on this topic here and here.

Here are some strategies that have worked for me, many tailored to our unique circumstances in Senegal.

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  • Invest in a good food scale and several sets of measuring cups and spoons. These are essential for portion control. Do your best not to eyeball things. Be diligent. It matters.
  • Avoid simple carbs as much as posisble, especially white bread. Baguette for breakfast, for example, isn’t the best choice. Not all carbs are bad, but, like I mentioned, try to get them from fruits. My favourite meal, post-workout, is a banana and a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Yum!
  • Hunt down sources of lean protein and hoard them. 🙂 If you have access to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, buy them. If not, hopefully the rest of your family enjoys dark meat, because those breasts are for you! When lotte becomes available, stock up, and same goes for shrimp. Keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge. Another suprisingly good source of protein is “triangle cheese,” whether you splurge on “La Vache Qui Rit” or you cheap out on one of the no-name brands.
  • Cook in bulk and freeze in individual portions, so you can pull out a quick meal for yourself as the need arises. If your family prefers pizza, mafe, and other mounds of greasy goodness, you may need some separate meals for yourself, especially if you’re hoarding the lean proteins that are at times hard to come by.

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  • While I’m on the subject of bulk cooking, this is the best way I have found to cook up ground beef here and make it as lean as possible. Prepare 2-3 kilograms at a time, with just onions and garlic (so that you can separate it into portions for different recipes and add spices then). Drain thoroughly.
  • Find out where to get the best variety of fruits and veggies, and make that salesperson your new best friend. You Dakarois are blessed with a greater variety of nature’s bounty, so enjoy it. I haven’t gotten much into imported frozen veggies (the frugal zealot inside of me couldn’t justify doing so regularly). But if your budget allows for it, this can be a good way to add variety to your diet.
  • You can still enjoy meals with Senegalese friends, you just can’t sit by that bowl till you’re in a food coma. White rice with sauce is always easiest to eat clean with, because you can tell how much grease your ingesting. A pure Wolof’s oily cebu jën, however, can kill your whole week of hard work! Either way, what I always do is that I kindly explain to my friends that I’m working on getting rid of my “jaay fonde” (big butt), and can only eat a little bit. Then, I pull out a huge cucumber (or other veggie that travels well) and ask them if they mind my eating it along with their delicious ceb (I usually offer some to those I’m dining with, who politely decline). I’ve never had anyone refuse, and that way I get to enjoy a small portion of their meal and fill up with my healthy side of veggie(s).
  • Allow yourself treats. Some people prefer to limit their desserts to once a week or special occasions. If that works for you, more power to you. I’m not that person. I need a treat every day. So, I just save enough points/calories up so that at the end of the day, I can enjoy a sweet treat.
  • Make it small and make it count. Savor every bite. Don’t waste it on mediocre cookies (Can you say Biskrem?). I brought back Lindt Lindor Truffles last March and enjoyed several a week as a reward for working hard and being good throughout the day. I just ran out, so if anyone wants to give me some of yours, I’ll glady take them off your hands! 😉
  • Enjoy one cheat meal a week. Maybe two, if you can do it and still see results. If you decide to go with Weight Watchers, your points tracker will tell you if you have enough points left for more than one meal, depending on how many points you earn through exercise.

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  • Learn creative ways to get your veggies – grill, broil, sauté, steam, in soups, salads, au naturel. Double the veggies most recipes call for (adjusting for seasoning). It’ll make your meals more filling without adding many calories.
  • Experiment with different spices. I’ve really gotten into Lebanese cuisine, as ingredients are readily available and it can be super healthy, when modified. Baked falafels, lowfat homemade hummus, tzatziki, chicken kabobs, taboule, you get the idea. If we decide collectively to start our own group on FB, we can share recipes, helpful websites, and the best places to find healthy ingredients.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. Especially for nighttime munchies (if you’re anything like me). Cut up fruits or veggies, popcorn, plain yogurt, a few (and I do mean a few) homemade whole wheat crackers, etc.
  • Decide what you’re going to do about the use of artificial sweeteners. Some say they will kill you. My thought is, you could feed a lab rat anything in those quantities and it would kill them. So, judge me if you want, but I’m not giving them up. But I use my Splenda packets from N. America in small amounts to sweeten yogurt and an occasional coffee. The same goes for using Maggi cubes. Considering how much I’m cutting back on delicious fats and carbs, I need something to enhance the flavor of foods, so MSG it is!
  • Don’t drink your calories. When you think about how much sugar goes into the bissap or attaya here, you really don’t want that going into your body. I certainly don’t want to have to run an extra mile or two just to burn off the calories in that Coke! Ice cold water is my constant companion.

Check out Angie’s blog: http://ambassadorofreconciliation.blogspot.com

Losing weight in Senegal

Today’s post comes from guest writer Angie in Thies. You can read her first post on this topic here.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a diet in my 39 years of life. Sometimes I’ve been successful, sometimes I’ve thrown in the towel, but I’ve always had different strategies depending on my season or station in life. When I was in seminary, I lost 30 lbs. through regular exercise and healthy eating – which consisted of tons of Subway sandwiches and Starbucks coffee (a natural appetite suppressant for me). In Senegal, I’ve had to create a whole new strategy for success: Weight Watchers.

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I first learned about Weight Watchers (WW) through some friends who testified that it had worked great for them. WW assigns a points value to the foods you eat, as well as to the exercise you do. Other programs are available that help you track your food intake by counting calories, and I know plenty of people who have found that effective as well. I’m told My Fitness Pal is excellent. One thing I like about WW versus calorie counting is that fruits and veggies are “free” (zero points) on WW. That doesn’t mean you can eat a huge fruit salad in between every meal, but it does mean that points for other foods are calculated to take into account your consumption of free fruits and veggies. This is a smart way to encourage us to take a good portion of our carbs from healthier, whole food sources and not from refined, processed foods. And since I have a big appetite, it means I can grill, sautée, or toss a side of veggies with every meal and fill half my plate with yummy, healthy colours of the rainbow.

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Either way, what matters is that you keep track of everything you eat. Everything. Because everything counts. Every bite I finish off my daughter’s plate. Every sip I sneak of my husbands bissap. All those “hidden” calories can spell the difference between success and failure. And for those of you who have tried and tried to lose weight without seeing results, this may very well be the source of the problem. This can be especially discouraging when you’re exercising consistently, because you may say to yourself, “I exercise so faithfully? Why am I not losing weight?” The sad truth is that we may be sabotaging all that hard work with the little bites we take here and there.

 

If you’re saying to yourself, “I can’t afford Weight Watchers,” well, you’re in luck. Becaues you can download an app that does everything WW did for me for $3! It’s not as if they have meetings out here anyways. And if enough people find this an interesting option, we can start a Senegal Weight Watchers group on Facebook and help each other out.

All that having been said, in the next posts I’ll be sharing some strategies that have worked for me, many tailored to our unique circumstances in Senegal.

Check out Angie’s blog: http://ambassadorofreconciliation.blogspot.com