My Eat to Lose Plan 2015

Foodie Friday: My Eat to Lose Plan 2015

Hello People!

This is the one you have been waiting for!  Or at least it’s the one I’m most interested in when I’m looking closely at what one eats to lose weight. In the video I made for you I mentioned that I don’t measure things out; now I do. Some stuff has changed since then so here is the gist:

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I did a lot of searching on the internet at what different people eat to look a certain way.  Mostly I viewed the strategies of James Bond girls, and was led to many of the conclusions that I present here. Also, I got a lot of good nutritional information in the book Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy by J.J. Virgin.Unknown-1  For the record, I am not on a crash diet or any type of boxed food ordered meal program that I pay to eat (other than my vegetables that I will explain later).  This is a diet designed by me, for me, and works with my metabolism which thrives on the macronutrient ratios of: 50% Complex Carbohydrates, 40% Protein & 10% Fat.  This information I gathered doing lots of experiments through eating meals and by reading the book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek.Unknown-5

I eat 3 meals a day and sometimes an afternoon snack, but not always.  It depends on my hunger level and when I eat my meals in regards to spacing; also how much I ate at the last meal. Meals are generally spaced about 4 hours apart. I try to eat meals that will fill me up with lots of fiber so I am not constantly thinking about food which tends to happen to me when calories are restricted and I’m eating too many carbs, of any kind. I drink coffee with whole milk and 2 tsp of Manuka honey and one more cup with 1 tsp coconut oil and whole milk every day.  I am not omitting dairy, caffeine, fruit, carbs, saturated fat or chocolate from my diet.  This works for me, but may not work for everyone especially if you have an intolerance (like to dairy) or cannot eat one square of chocolate and be satisfied. The diet is varied and I cook all my meals myself.  I eat as close to “clean” as possible.  There are some exceptions due to the fact that I am not trying to be a body builder or become weird about food.  I love to cook and that will never change.  I love flavor andUnknown am not afraid to use marinades, sauces, dressings or seasonings/salts to make my food taste good. If you don’t know how to cook or what to cook I suggest the cookbook Cook This, Not That! by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. Let’s talk details:

Protein

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I eat a lot of protein because it tastes good to me and fills me up. I love animals and wish that I could be a vegetarian, but I feel like crap when I omit animal meat from my diet.  Sorry. Therefore, I buy the least offensive meat possible when I can in the form of organic and/or free range.  Most of the meat I eat is in the form of: Chicken (all parts, not just breast, but no skin due to calories), Skirt Steak, Lean Ground Beef, Eye of Round Steaks, Lean Pork Chops, Pork Tenderloin, Canadian Bacon, Whole Eggs, Salmon, Mahi Mahi, Talapia, Sole, Scallops, Shrimp, Ground Turkey, Turkey Breast on the Bone and Turkey Cutlets. I eat about 150 to 200 calories worth at every main meal which is roughly (depends on the protein source) 3 oz weighed after cooking.

Carbohydrates

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I’ve gotta have these or I won’t be able to stand up.  These have probably been the most limited in variety in my diet as compared to everything else I eat. The carbs I mix and match are: Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice, Basmati Rice, Squash, Carrots, Sprouted Grain Bread, Beans/Legumes, Fruits and Oatmeal.  These I try to keep low glycemic due to my body processing them like fire and leaving me starving in an hour if they are too high on the glycemic index.  Beans in the form of black, pinto, white, pinquito, lentils and black-eyed peas leave me feeling the most satisfied.  I put them in a crock pot with water or broth, a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of enchilada sauce and let them party in there for 6 to 8 hours on low heat.  I use a rice cooker to make rice and steam vegetables and fish.  I bake my sweet potatoes with no oil but eat them with butter. Squash, Carrots and whatever other veggie is laying around gets roasted in a hot oven with a splash of olive oil. I eat about 1/2 cup or 1 serving of Carbs at my meals. My carbs usually total about 80 to 100 grams a day.

Fats

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I am not afraid of fat and nor should you be.  Fat makes you feel full and gives your brain something to fuel itself with.  We can live without carbs and protein for a while, but not fat.  I cook with fat and eat fat on my salads and in the form of sauces.  I love Butter and Coconut Oil in organic form.  I sauté a lot of vegetables with garlic in Olive Oil and dress my salads in Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Flavored Oils.  I eat Avocados and Nuts a lot too.  Cheese (1 oz daily) is also a fat source for me as well as Whole Milk in my coffee and black tea.  These are of course all measured out using spoons or scales because a little goes a long way.

Vegetables/Produce

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I don’t love vegetables, but force myself to cook them or eat them raw or find recipes to make them taste good.  Sometimes I make soups with them or chop them up raw and eat them mixed with romaine lettuce.  I recently went back to my twice monthly order of a box of mixed organic vegetables delivered to my front door.  This helps me eat them and use them in recipes.  Otherwise, I may not buy them or eat them in the quantities that I should.  I aim to have 5 to 7 servings of fruits (no more than two of these) and veggies a day. Lately I have been planning my meals around the fresh Vegetables I have and not the protein.  My favorite salad dressing recipe is: Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the highest quality, fresh Meyer Lemon Juice, Crushed Garlic, Salt and Pepper.

Calories

Bean Chips

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I messed around with the number for this for a few weeks because I need to lose weight, but I need to not feel constantly hungry too.  Hunger can be tamed by the types of food you eat and the ratios, but know that when you are on a diet to lose weight, there will be a bit of hunger; you are eating less food and creating a caloric deficit – so one must get used to it!  Maintenance will add a few more calories back in, but not MANY more. I initially started with 1,400 but was not losing weight.  Then I dropped it to 1,000 to 1,200 but felt I needed a snack at the mid-day point sometimes.  So, I have settled on 1,300 for now. This seems to be a good set point for me and works with my BMR.  This number may be fiddled with again later on, but for now it is working like a charm.  I do add in 3 cheat meals a month.  These are chosen carefully in advance and I enjoy them without guilt.  It is 3 cheat MEALS though and not DAYS. Also, on Sundays I am allowing myself to eat 1,500 calories and take it easy on exercise. Variety will keep my body guessing.  I also have alcohol occasionally, but it is rare.

Is that what you wanted to know?  Hope so…I am tired of writing now and need a snack :)

 

When in Doubt…Go Back to Basics

Think It Through Thursday: When in Doubt…Go Back to Basics

Hello People!

I was going to film this update for you but decided to spread out the info over the next few days in separate posts.  I want to make the posts really personal from now on and make this blog more about me and my journey and what exactly is going on in my personal transformation.  In the past it tended to take on a more general approach to weight loss and staying in shape; although after saying that, all of which I have formerly posted I did and am doing.  Right now though, I want to be extremely selfish because I am fed up with the way things have turned out in regards to my getting and staying in shape…read: NOT.

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First things first, it is NEVER a good time to start.  There is always a reason why it is too hard to do these things.  The fact is if you don’t do it now, then when?  I had to just make up my mind to stop staring at the clothes waiting patiently in my closet (for years now!) to wear because they are 3 sizes too small thinking, “I’ll wear those when I’ve lost weight.”  I am also wearing out my shape wear (a.k.a. gut suckers) and don’t want to buy more to flatten out my belly and thighs.  I just want it done and the only way to get it done is to start and then keep going until it is finished.  No dilly-dallying anymore.  No taking time and the easy route.  That has kept me in maintenance mode and in falling-off-the-wagon-one-too-many-times mode.  I have hitched my trailer to a fast car and am speeding down a highway called Lose Weight Now!  This is the only way for me to do it.  I am focused and have a plan with a mission.  Some may be shocked at my plan and may think I am a hypocrite because I have gone back against my word that I have written posts about, but it is all temporary to get the weight off.  Maintenance will be a different plan.

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So that brings me to my next point: Make a Plan.  My plan is mine and works for me but may not work for you. I’ll share it with you, but don’t think that I believe this is a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. Losing weight is personal and you must experiment (as I have been doing for years!) with what works best for you.  The long and slow routine wasn’t working for me, so I created a more direct approach with fewer pit stops.  The specifics of which I will share in later posts this week.  Just know that I have it in writing and I live these “directions” every day until it is done.  It’s sort of like following an instruction manual; do this, then that, then another until you reach the end.  It has specific guidelines to follow.  I write it all down and look at it and go back and look at other days I have recorded before just to reflect.  I’m using a small spiral bound notebook to track all of my food and exercise info.

My plan is to work in 6 week segments.  I will weigh myself once every 6 weeks (YES!) and measure myself as well.  I have a chart to write down this info on.  I have a goal date of June 10 which gives me about two 6-week groups.  If the weight isn’t all off by then, I will continue until it is. This is a hard-core plan, so a lot should be off by then.

Losing-weight-naturally

 

One funny thing I want to share with you all is that I have been weighing myself all these years on a broken scale!  My scale is probably from the 1970’s and apparently weighs me about 5 pounds less than I really am.  Now that’s a problem!  I only just realized this and was horrified to know that my starting weight was much higher than I had thought. Here are some stats:

Age: 43

Height: 5’2.5″

Starting Weight: 152 lbs.

Hip Measurement: 42 inches

Weight to Lose: 34 lbs.

Goal Weight: 118 (I’m short!)

Reaching Goals

Now I know that weight/weighing oneself is not that great of a measuring tool.  If I find that at 123 I look and feel great and have muscle tone to die for, then that is where my weight will stay. 118 is a goal that I am working towards and that number can be adjusted later if I want it to be different. I formed this very specific plan after I filmed my last video for you but am incorporating things I was doing then into what I am doing now. More to come on this topic later…

 

Sugar Anyone… Again?

Inspirational Sunday: Meditation for Sugar Avoidance

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6 months ago I posted my thoughts on a book I had read and typed out half of one of the meditations in the book.  I want to finish what I started and give you the rest of the meditation.  This part is a little hard to handle…fair warning.  But it may be just what you need to complete the mission of erasing bad habits from your subconscious. Remember, this is to be done lying down in a restful state. Or, if you are an experienced meditator, do what you prefer.  I recorded this on my phone in a calm and clear voice and play it sometimes when I need a hit! To read part 1, click here.

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Meditation: Sugar Avoidance (part 2)

  • You are going to see yourself seated at a large table covered with cakes, cookies, gallons of ice-cream, candy, and even bowls of pure, granulated sugar. The table is piled high with sweets and people are watching as you become increasingly embarrassed by your indulgence in sugar.
  • You are seeing people who are important to you watching you stuff your mouth with all the poisonous sugar food.
  • Your family, your friends, your colleagues watch you as you poison your body with sugar and you are becoming embarrassed.
  • That’s right, you are literally becoming embarrassed as you stuff yourself with sugar.
  • You literally see yourself becoming fatter and fatter.
  • You see your clothing becoming tighter and tighter as you get fatter and fatter. The buttons on your shirt are popping off. The seams of your slacks are splitting.
  • You are imagining pure, granulated sugar in your mouth.
  • It is almost repulsive and nauseating because you can hardly swallow.
  • As you hold this picture in your mind, think: For my body, sugar is poisonous; I need my body to live; I owe my body this respect and protection.
  • Anytime you are confronted with a decision to eat refined sugar, you will bring up that image of yourself stuffing your body with sugar, and you will repeat: For my body, sugar is poisonous; I need my body to live; I owe my body this respect and protection.
  • This will block almost any desire for sugar.
  • Imagine holding the remote control for your television.  Press the “off” button and that negative image of yourself is gone.
  • Return now to the confident, excited, strong image, having no desire for sugar and feeling so good about yourself.
  • Just notice how much better that image of yourself feels.
  • That’s right, you are feeling confident that you can control your craving for sugar.
  • It will become easier and easier to limit refined sugar because you want to live to see your children and grandchildren grow into healthy adults.  You want to experience life to the fullest.
  • You know there will be no situations in which you would allow yourself to overindulge in sugar.
  • You know that this desire for sugar reflects a malfunction in your brain and not a real need to put sugar into your stomach. That’s right, you are gradually changing the nature of your brain. Any urges for sugar are going to grow steadily and markedly less.
  • You are feeling very good about yourself and you feel certain that you have the strength to avoid refined sugar when you choose. Your mind is gradually changing your brain so that you will no longer crave sugar.
  • Just allow yourself for a moment to imagine what sugar, that poisonous lethal habit, does to your body.
  • That image is going to help you to cope totally with any desire to eat sweets.
  • There would be no situation in which you would allow yourself to overindulge in sweets.
  • Visualize your head held high, your shoulders are thrown back and you are feeling so good about your growing strength to avoid sugar.
  • Becoming stronger and stronger and having almost no desire for sugar.
  • You really enjoy that image of strength and confidence. You will take that image of strength and confidence wherever you go.

Backyard Coffee Talk #1

Hello People!

Yep, it’s me.  After a super long time of disappearance, I have resurfaced from the ashes.

Rather than go into a long explanation here, I’ll let you view my video and hopefully that will answer any questions. Since I made the video (about 2 weeks ago) I have been staying on track and doing well.  Hopefully, you are too.  If you are new to my blog, welcome and please join me on my weight loss journey to lose weight once and for all.  My intention is to inspire healthy habits for everyone.

Exercise Plan

Exercise Monday: My Current Exercise Plan

Hello People!

I wanted to update you all on what I am doing in the exercise department.  I told you a while back that I was doing an 8 week challenge series that was really toning up my body.  I finished that one and am on to the 2nd one and love it!  It is by FitnessBlender and here is a video showing the results of people who participated in these programs:

Basically, it is a lot of strength training and cardio alternating days with different body parts.  They include about 3 days worth of high paced interval training (hard!) and alternate with days of not so strenuous stuff, like, standing abs, or kick boxing routines.  It has really changed the shape of my legs and butt as I can see in the mirror and the fit of my clothes.  I have not lost weight doing it, that is my fault – not theirs, but if I had, my body would be smokin’!  It is average about 5 days on, 2 days rest, although they give an alternate 6th day of pure cardio.

Also, I have not been walking my dog as much due to the extreme heat of the summer lasting well into the night (he has a weak heart and gets overheated easily).  But I did add walking myself at night briskly for one hour.  I usually do this on days I’m not doing the FitnessBlender workouts or if I am up to it, I do it in addition.  That was the summer though, and I was not working as much as I am now, so that may change soon.  Time will tell.

I am not disillusioned to the fact anymore that exercise will keep my weight down.  I have written numerous posts on why that is, but the fact is, I love the feeling of exercise and I feel better about life and myself when I move around.  Plus, I love the shape of my body better.  Having more muscle does help the metabolism, but that will not take the weight off – it will be diet alone that does that officially. Remember: 85% diet and 15% exercise is the recipe.

Sugar Anyone?

Inspirational Sunday: Meditation for Sugar Avoidance

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Hello People!

Yes, yet another post about sugar being bad.  Are you catching a theme here?  Not that I have ANY PROBLEM with the white stuff! And by that I mean, hell’s yeah I do.

If you haven’t seen the video for Sugar the Bitter Truth, well get yourself a viewing ASAP!  It really tells all the ins and outs of what sugar truly does in the body.  Long story short, it purely gets stored as fat, well in most cases it does, by 100%.  If you are trying to lose any kind of weight, sugar can be your greatest burden on that journey especially if you are past the age of 40. Remember too that “sugar” has other forms in addition to glucose or sucrose (white sugar) such as white flour, white rice, refined grain products, and alcohol.

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We could take a few more liberties when we were young, right?  Remember how you could eat a binge meal on the weekend and it really didn’t effect your weight too much?  After you reach mid-life, the metabolism changes, especially in us women…and I don’t care what the research says on the matter (it says we lose muscle which slows it down, but most of it says the slowing of the metabolism is a myth!); it does change. Until you get to my age and are a woman, no one gets this!  I hear a lot of younger women touting advice, but they have no idea what they are talking about.  They are still young!  This metabolism issue has been my problem since I started this blog.  After age 38 I gained 10 pounds in a month and have been struggling for 4.5 years to take it off.  Every meal, morsel and sugar crystal counts these days. It was never this hard before. Do you have the same issue?

I’ve been reading a book called Think Yourself Thin – Change Your Brain for Permanent Weight Loss by Darcy D. Buehler Ph.D.  It is an interesting book on using mediations for focusing on your trouble areas of weight loss.  There is nothing new in the book about how weight loss works, but she is a psychologist who understands that the brain needs a little coaxing in the area of the subconscious to change its old ways.  This is a fascinating area of study for me.  We consciously know what to do, but because of old habits and old ways of thinking, we repeat bad eating choices and continue to have eating issues despite what we know is right.  Why?  The subconscious is playing that old record of sabotaging good eating habits over and over and we won’t change the subconscious until it learns to think differently.  Somehow, someway, the subconscious has learned to think along one path and it will take a bit of work to make it ditch it’s former beliefs.  And actually, she tells in the book how you can literally change the shape of the neural pathways in the brain with new thinking patterns. As she puts it:

 “The mental process you are about to embark upon will, over time, imbed the new thoughts into the brain.  Once this is done, the new thoughts and urges will outweigh the old – and you will stay thin.  Your brain circuitry will now support – and sometimes even initiate – the urges fundamental to your new healthy lifestyle.”

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I leave you now with one of her meditation verses.  It is written for you to do while laying down and relaxed.  Focus on the phrases that speak to you and repeat them over and over until you really feel their solidity in your thinking.  Mumbo jumbo?  Try it…what have you got to lose?

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Meditation: Sugar Avoidance (part 1)

  • In a nice, relaxed position, begin to breathe slowly and rhythmically, inhaling and exhaling, as you relax your shoulders and soften your belly.
  • Allow your body to breathe rhythmically and naturally.
  • Notice the support of the cushions beneath you as you begin to relax.  Notice a heaviness throughout your body as you become more and more relaxed.
  • Over the next several days you will find yourself in many situations, many situations in which various forms of refined sugar will be available to you.
  • You know the situations, so begin to see yourself.
  • See yourself at home, out at your favorite restaurant, at work, at the grocery store, at the convenience store when you go in to pay for your gas -many situations- and the growing image you have of yourself is one of strength and confidence, feeling almost no desire for sugar.
  • Your head is held high, your shoulders are thrown back, and in your eye is a glimmer of hope.
  • You are feeling so good about yourself and your desire to limit refined sugar from your lifestyle.
  • That’s right, you are going to limit refined sugar in your lifestyle because you know that sugar may be the number one culprit in lowering the quality of your life.
  • You will go as far as beginning to see sugar as almost lethal when ingested in your body.
  • You are becoming convinced that regardless of the situation, you will not allow yourself to overindulge in sweets.
  • Continue to develop this image of yourself feeling strong and having no desire for sugar.
  • With this image of yourself in your mind take two or three nice deep breaths.
  • With the first breath just feel the confidence welling up in your chest
  • With that next deep breath feel the psychological strength centering in your body.
  • One more deep breath as the excitement courses through your veins — the excitement of knowing you will dramatically decrease your intake of sugar.
  • You are feeling so good about your decision to limit that old-fashioned and embarrassing habit of eating sugar.
  • You feel sure that you very often will be able to avoid refined sugar.
  • You are becoming more and more confident that you have the strength to AVOID REFINED SUGAR on a regular basis.
  • To assist you in developing an aversion to sugar, you will be doing a rather difficult visualization.  This visualization will help you to gain the strength to almost completely eliminate refined sugar.

To be continued……HA!

To continue to part 2, click here.

Snackage: Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Hello People!

Yum, yum, yum & yum! This is all you will say when you try this recipe. It is one of my favorites. It’s up there with my delicious Hummus recipe as “Wow! This is amazing!” I hope you can try it out. It can not only be used as the classic dip with crackers and/or vegetables, but it can also be used as a vegetarian filling for wraps or sandwiches. You could have it with eggs, or even stirred into some other type of sautéed vegetable you are having for dinner. Or how about mixed into your favorite type of pasta? Go crazy with it because it is delicious! I can’t get over how low calorie it is too.

Note: This serves 20; I often change up the cheese on top depending on mood; I highly suggest the use of organic products when it comes to dairy; and grate your own cheeses for optimum flavor, especially parmesan.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray or 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped  White or Brown Onion
  • 2, 10-oz packages of Frozen Spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry; chopped
  • 1, 8-oz package of Non-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1, 8-oz carton of Light Sour Cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1, 14-oz can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
  • pinch of Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Reduced Fat Jack Cheese, shredded

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  1. Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray or olive oil. Cook and stir onion over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add spinach; cook until thoroughly heated, 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat and add cream cheese.  Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Stir in sour cream, parmesan cheese and artichokes; heat through another 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and season with peppers and salt to taste.
  6. Dump mixture into a microwave safe dish and top with grated jack cheese and heat until cheese melts.

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Recipe from: Shape Magazine, June 2000 created by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in Irvine, CA

Total Calories for Whole Recipe: 1,506

Per Serving: (4 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup) cals 75, 38% fat (3.1 g; 2.2 saturated), 25% carbs (20 g), 8 g fiber

Cardio Mash-Up

Exercise Monday: Cardio Mash-Up

I recently joined a local gym! Yay me!  It was because I yearned for spin classes and yoga but I’ve been mostly just using the equipment doing my own thing at my own time, ya know?  There is nothing wrong with the classes except for the fact that they are always at the butt-crack of dawn, but other than that, it just comes down to what I’m in the mood for.

If you like to use the machines but want a new routine, here is a mix of the treadmill and recumbent bike to spice up your calorie torching sessions.  I wear a heart rate monitor for this but you can guesstimate if you don’t have one by feeling how hard you are breathing or exerting.  It uses a scale called RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion.  It ranges from 1 – 10, 1 being easy-easy to 10 being not able to keep up longer than 30 seconds at a time.

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I got this from: December 2013 Shape Magazine

Burn 300 in 30

Time (minutes)             What to Do                        RPE

                                         CYCLING

0 – 5              warm-up: pedal at an easy pace       3 – 4

5 -7                       increase resistance                      5 – 6

7 – 8                     decrease resistance                      4 – 5

8 – 12       sprint for 30 seconds, then pedal at an easy pace for                           30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.                    4 – 8

12 – 14         increase resistance; pedal hard           7 – 8

14 – 15                  pedal at an easy pace                    4

15 – 18                 repeat minutes 12 – 15                 4 – 8

                                       TREADMILL

18 – 21                 jog at a moderate pace                5 – 6

21 – 23             increase speed by 0.3 to 0.7            7 – 8

23 – 25                 increase incline by 1.0                   8

25 -28              sprint for 30 seconds, then jog at a moderate pace                              for 30 seconds. Repeat twice.          5 – 9

28 – 30           cool down; jog at an easy pace        3 – 4

 

 

 

 

Meals of Yesteryear

Foodie Friday: Meals of Yesteryear

Hello People!

I have a yummy post for you today to enjoy when you are craving beef as I know some of you do.  I am always hankering for a ground steak I used to eat when I was in grade school in the midwest.  This recipe reminds me of that old favorite. It also has a french twist on it with the dijon sauce turning it into more of a Steak Diane in the end.  Either way, it is delicious.

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When I was in the 3rd grade or so, I used to check the paper menu that hung on the wall in my classroom for what the school cafeteria would be serving that week.  If there was anything good on it I would tell my mom when I got home which days I would prefer her to not pack my usual lunch.  One of the lunches I loved was Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes.  The potatoes were nothing to write home about, but the steak I could have eaten mountains of.  Whatever crazy sauce they put on those patties was out of this world good.  I’m sure it was anything but. This recipe is in the same vein as those forgotten steaks of yesteryear, but in a more grown up version.  I think this recipe is perfect for diets or non-diets.  It comes out of a low-calorie cook book, but who cares.  It is the flavor that is important.  The only thing I don’t like about it is the name.  It is very pedestrian.  I used grass fed beef for this recipe.  Use whatever you like.  Try it with other types of ground meat too, like bison.


Juicy Hamburgers Dijonnaise

Ingredients:

1 pound Ground Round

3 tablespoons Ice-Water

2 tablespoons minced Onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

1/4 cup chopped Parsley

1/4 cup Beef Broth

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

How To:

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  1. As lightly as possible, mix ground beef with ice-water, onion, salt, pepper and parsley.  Quickly and gently form into 4 patties 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet until hot over medium-high heat.  Add patties and cook, turning once, until lightly browned outside, about 2 minutes per side (don’t press on them!).  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, turning once more until hamburgers are brown outside but still pink and juicy inside, 4 to 6 minutes longer.  You can put a lid on them during the last 4 minutes if you want to cook them through even more.
  3. Remove burgers from skillet.  Pour off any fat.  Add beef broth and mustard and cook, whisking to blend until sauce boils.  Pour over burgers and serve hot.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle extra parsley on top of burgers

You can serve these with rice or mashed potatoes or even a vegetable gratin.  Save room for dessert!  With all of the fat you save with this steak recipe, you can have one.  I recommend a lemon sorbet or berries with whipped cream option. :)

Parachutes

Think It Through Thursday: Parachutes

Hello People!

First, I just wanna say that if you have been following and reading my blog for a while or even from  the beginning, THANKS!  I appreciate your support so much.  It really is a journey and you have really seen the ups and downs of what I go through which may be similar to your own journey.

Now, I want to discuss my recent decision to free-fall from the great heights of Diet Mountain.  I am of course referring to my last post that had a video talking about my choice to go diet-free forever.  If you haven’t seen it, I think it is worth watching because I make a lot of valid points about the realities of being a serial dieter…….for 27 years.

There are a few things I want to list and talk about in greater detail that I didn’t get to expand upon in the video.  They are mentioned, but not fully explained.  You see, when I said I was free-falling, I forgot to mention that I also packed a few parachutes along with me on the way down.  I’m using these as guideposts in my diet free life.  They give me some control in doing something that I feel I have no control over, at least not yet.  (It’s terribly ironic that being on a diet may seem to give a person control over food and over-eating and god forbid – bingeing, when in fact, and certainly in my case, it was nothing but being out of control.)  These are actually lessons that I have learned in my reading of the French culture and the way they observe the art and science of food/exercise/joie de vivre!

Parachute #1: Eat Only When Really Hungry

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Note: This tip has also many sub-categories such as – gauge how hungry you are towards how much you eat or plan to eat.  It really is simple though.  Feel hungry, then eat.  As a dieter, you tend to become afraid of hunger; I still am terrified of a rumbling stomach.  All I can think of is “Will I faint?”  In the book French Women Don’t Get Fat, the author recommends taking a snack with you everywhere you go “…just in case.” She calls this your “en cas.”  You don’t have to eat it, but it is reassurance if you get into a bind and the next meal is nowhere in sight. But the real magic in this tip is connecting to your body and feeling what it wants.  Diets tend to be very planned and timed.  I recommend eating 3 meals at least a day, but think about how hungry you really are before each.  If it is time for lunch but your hunger is slight, don’t eat all that you packed/prepared.  You can always save the rest for later or, gasp!, throw it away.  Or, find another time later in the day to eat if possible.  Check your hunger on a scale from 1 to 10; 1 being starving and 10 being maximum stuffed.  Try to feel about a 2 or 2.5 before really enjoying a proper full meal.

Parachute #2:  Don’t Snack

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This was/is a big one for me.  As an American, I know that there are entire food products made in my country just for snacking!  I also am guilty, or, errrr, rather used to having 2 snacks a day between my breakfast and lunch.  This was due to the fact that my meals were not satisfactory enough to hold me for four to five hours.  So, a typical lunch would only fill me up to a 5 or 6 on the scale.  Also, I did something called “preventative eating” which meant that I could get hungry after a meal between it and the next one, but a snack would thwart that.  Therefore, I never really experienced true hunger.  This parachute is key people!  That whole concept of eating small, snacky meals 6 times a day is bogus for me.  That is a body builder concept to “keep the metabolism running constantly.”  I don’t want my metabolism running constantly!  This forces me to always be thinking about food and when my next “meal” will be and I’m never really satisfied after eating.*  So instead, I would suggest really understanding what types of foods fill you up and avoiding those that don’t.  For example: Whenever I drink diet soda, I get ravenous no matter how much I ate before drinking it.  So, I avoid drinking diet drinks or using artificial sweeteners.  This also includes stevia I’m afraid to say.  It also tends to press my hunger button. Also, high-glycemic foods make me ravenous in about an hour after eating them; example: Jasmine Rice.  Time them wisely or combine them with other low-glycemic foods to balance them out in the same meal.  Snacking is fine if it is truly needed, but make the food choice carefully and try not to ruin your hunger for your next meal.  That is the goal.

*Note: I realize this is a personal preference.  If you like the small meal tactic and it works for you, by all means keep at it.

Parachute #3: Stop Eating When You Feel Full

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NO, you don’t have to finish what is on your plate.  Yes, you can throw away the excess or give it to the dog if you can’t eat it all and don’t want to save it for later.  If the fork is half-way to your mouth and you feel that sudden knowing of fullness, put it down and push the plate away.  It really is ok to only eat to satisfaction.  This is a real art to discover though.  Dieters lose touch with their feelings of satiety.  They weigh and measure and spoon specific portions and confine themselves to little boxes of food rules.  If you binge, then being full can be completely ignored and one only stops when they feel physically ill from over stuffing.  This means you have lost touch with fullness. Remember, stop at about a 7 or 8 on the scale.  If you aren’t sure, think about it without eating in the meantime.  Put the utensils down and just sit there not talking to anyone and think.  Wait a few minutes. Drink some water.  Take some deep breaths.  Think about happy things, not stressful ones.  Don’t distract yourself either.  Really think about it.

Parachute #4: Eat Only Whole, Unprocessed, In Season Foods

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Forget eating for health.  Forget eating to lose weight or be cancer free.  Eat to taste and enjoy.  Do you remember eating a vegetable that was delicious? Really…like a tomato freshly picked from the vine still warm from the sun, sweet and juicy?  Enjoying the taste of your foods and eating whole foods that are in season/ripe will fill you up much better than anything with a food label on it.  If you are one of these people who eats from cans, bags and boxes (I see you out there!) this is exactly what you need to avoid.  There is a whole British documentary you can watch on YouTube about how those prepared meals are designed (designed food???) with chemicals to make you hungry for more (MSG anyone?) so you will buy more and eat more thus paying the companies that make them more!  Again, simple: If it did not come from the earth or have a mother, don’t eat it.  Or, if it didn’t exist as a whole thing in nature 100 years ago, don’t eat it; READ: Cheetos, Progresso Soup, Healthy Choice Frozen Dinners.  Shop for most of your food in the perimeters of the store – Produce, Dairy, Meat/Seafood, Nuts, Eggs, etc. Get out of the Cracker/Cookie isle!  Yes, whole, unprocessed, in season foods are healthy and that is the bonus.  But that is a boring way to dine.  In other words, don’t eat boiled mushy broccoli because it is healthy and that is what healthy people eat.  Eat broccoli if you like it, but learn to prepare it in the most delicious way possible.  Enjoy what you eat or don’t eat it.

Parachute #5:  Learn to Cook Really Good Food/Meals

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If you have trouble with cooking, or hate it – learn to make a handful of delicious recipes that are simple to create but taste divine.*  I didn’t say quick though.  Quick cooking is not usually the most delicious way to eat, but not always.  This may mean you need to experiment with recipes and find 10 solid, go-to meals that you can whip up without thinking.  Some people hate the chopping and picking and bending over recipes to read the fine print meanwhile something is burning, part of cooking.  I get it.  But it is going to help keep your weight down much better than running to the nearest burrito shack every time dinner rolls around.  Plan your meals in advance and make more than enough for left-overs for days of the week you cannot cook.  I know, it’s a pain, but so is having cancer and sitting next to a chemo drip.  Soon I will post a group of vegetable recipes that are super delicious and easy to prepare. I’m looking out for you!

*Need ideas for yummy meals?  I have a section on my blog called Recipes and they are all delicious and road tested by me and my family and friends.  I always assume that the person reading and preparing them are not advanced cooks, so they are easy to make.  Also check out the book An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler for cooking simple, often cheap foods and making them taste great.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it can get you started if you want to jump off the carousel of diet-whirlwind.  Am I perfect at all of these things yet?  No way!  This list is definitely a work in progress that will take time to master.  But I am enjoying my meals more and I’m not constantly thinking about “how many calories are in that?”  It is a freedom that I don’t ever want to lose again.