Diet Plan

Today’s Foodie Friday Post:

I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you a diet that I am currently trying.  What’s that you say? “Don’t you know that DIETS FAIL!!!?” Actually, no I don’t know that, or rather I should say  I don’t agree with that idea. You see, I am of the belief that diets DO work, it’s people who don’t follow them correctly or consistently that make them “fail”.  Also, there is the consideration of choosing a diet that meets your metabolic needs correctly.  If a person is on a diet that eliminates major food groups (all carbs no matter what kind, for example),  I believe that this would be very difficult to maintain for the long-haul. And let’s face it, I’m in it for the long-haul and if a diet plan assumes that I will adopt an impractical way of eating for the rest of my life, I ain’t gonna do it at all.

Oh, and one other bit of info: the word DIET means what an organism eats.  It is a misnomer to call all diets DIETS.  What really should be said is “I am going on a lower calorie diet and changing the foods that I have been eating to other types of foods.” Then the criticism can begin such as “Why are you only eating cabbage soup for weeks on end again?” and “You really think eating all that bacon and steak is going to give you the body of your dreams?” Choosing the right lower calorie diet for those who wish to lose weight makes all the difference in whether it will work or not. That’s my speech and I’m stickin’ to it!

So, back to me. I read over the Thanksgiving weekend a book that I had seen laying around before in my parent’s house called the No Flour, No Sugar Diet by Dr. Peter H. Gott, M.D..  He was a columnist in nationally syndicated newspapers for quite some years. The column was called “Ask Dr. Gott.” I usually just walked right past it and thought “Hell NO!” about it.  But then it hit me: I have a real problem metabolizing sugar and flour is metabolized in the body like sugar. It makes sense, whole grains beaten to death and bleached and pulverized don’t take long to get digested in the body, even if it is 100% whole grain, as opposed to whole grain not turned into flour. Plus, most health experts and nutritionally minded folks would all agree across the board that sugar has become a huge evil in the American diet. It quite literally is in everything.

Dr. Gott's BookAnywhom, I liked it more and more as I read it and I devoured it in one sitting. It’s pretty simple, no sugar at all (not even honey or agave syrup) and nothing made with any type of flour.  I can have corn tortillas, rice, potatoes, tabouleh salad, oatmeal, sprouted grain bread/wraps etc, etc. You would think (as one of my friends dramatically acted out in front of me when I told her of this diet) that I would be dying the entire time to eat all the things I CAN’T have. But it’s funny, my gut tells me that constantly eating flour and sugar are what really create crazy cravings and not eating them eliminates the need to binge on them. Many diets allow some sugar and lots of flour on their plan. But when I eat a little, I end up craving a lot more later. Then the diet “fails” because I end up giving into the craving and going way over the calorie allowance.

I do know that I need to eat balanced meals and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.  He explains this in the book, but I can see how one might interpret this title and concept as “I can eat french fries all day long!!!” So far, so good.  I am not hungry all through the day as I was before, and most of my meals are only 3/4 eaten because I simply get full before I am done.  I’ll keep going and fill you in later as to how it pans out.

What kind DIET are you on?

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Re-Group, Re-Commit & Relax

Hey there,

I feel FAT!

I know that you may be like me at this time in the year where you feel anxious about what has just happened and now worried about what is to come.  I’m talking about Thanksgiving being freshly over with and Christmas/New Year’s/other Seasonal Holidays I’m not affiliated with, are on their way. This also includes the avalanche of sweets/treats/obligations/and zillions of reasons why “I just couldn’t work-out today” excuses. Yep, it’s a problem and I want to tell you how I’m going to handle this tricky situation:

Re-Group

Maybe Thanksgiving wasn’t just on one day for you (or me, but I’ll never tell) and it continued on through the wee hours of the weekend.  Then now is the perfect opportunity to think about how you’re going to remedy that fiasco. Personally, I’m not going to get crazy and depressed over how much I gained or how bad I ate or how little I exercised or, or, or….. I’m going to think about how to jump back into the swing of things; that being getting healthy and fit and remembering what goals I set for myself before the eating frenzy began. Yes, I do think it is possible to remain on a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays.  One can do anything they want if they want it bad enough. (This isn’t the post where I recommend what exact goals to keep in mind. I’m going to assume that you already have a plan of action and just need a kick in the butt to get going. If you don’t have a plan, well, start thinking of one! I love reading other people’s blogs to see what they are doing and what goals they have set for themselves. It gets me inspired and gives me ideas.)

Re-Commit

Do I really need to explain it? Just start doing what you know is right and do it NOW! Don’t wait for tomorrow or the day after or after Christmas or after New Year’s or, or, or…. Today is Thursday as I post this, so, for example, I will be doing my Thursday workout DVD and Yoga program. I will also eat the food/meals that I planned prior to Turkey Day (yes, I did that) for today. And I will continue this pattern right on through the month of December.  Yesterday there were two GIANT trays of treats in the lobby of my work and I passed by them like the wind all the while thinking “I’ll feel much better about myself if I ignore it.” Plus I always remind myself about bacteria hanging around food sitting out in the open and that grosses me out. Side Note: I’m not saying never partake in any holiday festivity or to always pass up the seasonal foods/drinks (eggnog w/brandy anyone?); I’m talking about keeping on track most of the time. Make room for splurges, but not a habit.

Relax

Relax, it’s just weight and it will come off eventually (if consistent). Try not to be too frustrated this time of year. It’s supposed to be a happy time and people don’t want to socialize with a dieting grump. If all else fails, just stick to your exercise routine to maintain your fitness level. You don’t want to really begin again on Jan. 1. Let others fiddle with those elusive goals.  You know what you want and you can achieve it. Don’t let some holiday cookie platter spoil your dreams.

Get Going!

Turkey Leftovers 1

Turkey Day in the U.S. is officially over for 2012 and Black Friday is on.  If you’re like most people who feasted on turkey, you will be stuck with a few (or a lot) of leftovers. Here is my suggestion for today’s Foodie Friday post:

Turkey with Fall Vegetables & Brown Rice

Ingredients: 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric; 3-inch long cinnamon stick; 1 fresh hot chili cored, seeded and quartered; 3 cups chicken stock (boxed, canned or home-made); 1 medium sweet yellow onion cut into wedges; 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces; 2 medium parsnips peeled and cut into large pieces; 1 cup peeled butternut squash cut into large dices; 2 medium zucchini, cut into large pieces, 8 oz. plum tomatoes (about 2 large), cut into large dices (try to squeeze out some of the seeds); 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained; Kosher salt; 1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey in large pieces; 1/4 cup golden raisins; 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves; 1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves, chopped fine; Indian Style hot sauce

Tip: Try to cut vegetables into equal sized pieces for even cooking

In a large stock pot or dutch oven pour in stock and stir in turmeric, cinnamon stick and chili. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the onion, carrots, parsnips, and squash; continue simmering, covered, for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and tomatoes, cover, and simmer until all the vegetables are just tender, about another 5 minutes ( you may need to raise the heat to return the broth to a simmer).  When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chickpeas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the turkey, raisins, and cilantro. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit covered until the last ingredients you added have been heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings if needed.  Meanwhile, make the rice (you can substitute any type of starch here like wild rice, basmati, cous-cous, quinoa even potatoes) according to the package instructions. If using potatoes, cut into large pieces and boil in salted water to cover for 20 minutes. To serve, mound a large spoonful of the rice into a shallow soup bowl and ladle the turkey, vegetables, and broth over it. Sprinkle with parsley and add hot sauce to taste. EAT!

Serves: 4

Turkey with Fall Vegetables & Brown Rice

 

Celebration Survival Skills

Let’s Eat & Be Merry!

Happy……….Whatever!

Today as I write this post it is indeed Thanksgiving.  The American mother of food holidays.  It is the day that we all gather together (the good, the bad and the ugly), and we give thanks to whomever that we have what we have and eat until we are blue in the face. For dieters and weight losers, it can be a holiday as scary as Halloween in that, when faced with our favorite food temptations, we may throw caution and all of our hard work out the window.

“What to do???” one may ask! It’s a conundrum that is real and these types of events can produce major anxiety in many different ways. The way I see it there are 3 different ways to approach a holiday, celebration and/or special occasion. There is the What-the-Hell! approach, the Compromise approach and the Stick-to-Your-Guns-No-Matter-What approach.

What-the-Hell!

In my personal experience, holidays can be great or lousy depending on who’s at the shindig. The food is another character just waiting to be dealt with. I am not the type of person who eats so much at these events where at the end of it I feel sick or uncomfortable. This is not my issue, but I know many suffer with this. I do know when to stop and say “no more for me.” Nevertheless, at that point I have usually eaten way over my usual strict calorie allowance qualifying it as a binge. Even so, I

pass the turkey bitch!

allow myself on these types of occasions to indulge.  Although I know I will be eating way more than usual, I decide in advance that I won’t beat myself up for it.  This is because I think of it as a planned one-time-only binge. After this occasion, I am re-focused to commit to my goals and get right back on the road to continue the job (in theory). Now this will only work if a person can commit to their weight loss goals the day after and not look back. If one indulges one day and then the next and so forth, it could be a disaster. By the way, if there are leftovers and people are pushing me to take some, I am very selective and take only the items I know are healthy and that won’t ruin my future eating goals.

Compromise

I have been known to also practice this concept as well.  It has to do

choose wisely!

with sticking to a plan but loosely. Perhaps, for example, allowing oneself to have dessert, but sharing it with others. Or not having seconds. Or not having alcohol. Or only eating veggies as an appetizer. Or all of the above. This is probably a very good option for those going to multiple parties or celebrating on many different days. There is an element of controlled indulgence, but it isn’t a full out binge-o-rama on one frightful day.

Stick-to-Your-Guns-No-Matter-What

This approach is hard for me because I am usually with company that I love and I want to have a good time. Watching everyone eat their favorite foods feels like torture when I’m being super selective (especially if someone asks if I’ve tried their….whatever and I haven’t

all I’m having is this apple!

because it’s too fattening). However, it has happened once or twice, and will probably happen again, that I have eaten exactly what I intended to and stick to a reasonable calorie allowance that is in line with my weight loss goals. It may mean that I find out in advance about what will be offered at the event and make a mental note about what I will be dishing up and what I will definitely not be dishing up. If the celebration is at a restaurant, I look online at the menu and make deliberate decisions before going. This way I don’t have to deal with the repercussions of poor food choices the next day and so forth. Pre-planning the meal may be the only thing that works for those who suffer with having no control in these types of situations and there should be no shame in this choice.

I haven’t mentioned exercise and that should be included.  Try to exercise the day of such an occasion if possible. This will help quell the caloric excess. This may be common sense, but it bears repeating. Exercising always makes me feel like I’ve done something good no matter what comes after it.

On these types of occasions, try not to let the food rule you. You do make the choice to put something on your plate/fork/napkin. You also have the right to say “no” to things you know will get you into trouble.  Just get away from the open buffet or appetizer area and talk to others or do something active that distracts you from eating the entire time. You can always go back on the diet tomorrow, so don’t worry about today. This is a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of others with food. “Let us break bread together” as they say.

Toast to You and Your Goals!

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Hey all,

So, last week’s post on getting inspired to move was a general push to help motivate those not accustomed to working out to make arrangements to do so. Today’s post is about working out a little more specifically.  Now, I already said before that I won’t ever try and convince anyone that a certain type of exercise is the ONLY way to go.  That is a personal preference and each body is different. You must experiment with different types of activities to find what works best for you. Then, if you’re like me, you will alternate these activities to keep from getting bored.

Yet, the question remains, how long should I work out when I find that activity?  I’m going to say up front that this may depend

this is not a “normal” person

on your level of ability and your convenience of time (not everyone has the luxury of spending 2.5 hours in a gym everyday). So, my answer to this is meant for the average, normal person who has a normal job and normal commitments in life.

First off, let’s talk cardio.  You know, that stuff you do that gets your heart pumping and the blood moving and your body sweating like a pig in heat. Chances are if you are reading this blog, you want to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. This means that you probably need more cardio than say a “naturally” thin person or someone who wants to build bulky muscles. I should also mention that it is well documented that exercise is only about 15 – 20% of the equation in creating a slim/toned physique. Food choices and eating is the real game changer in this scenario. But we’ll talk about that later; right now it’s about the physical aspect. I’m going to now quote from one of my favorite books on the matter of weight loss (a tragedy that you won’t be able to get this as it had a limited printing) called I Can I Will! by G. Barton Payne:

“We have a different objective when we exercise for weight loss. We are trying to increase the rate of our metabolism and increase the number of calories we burn…The ideal commitment for optimal weight loss and increasing metabolism is 45-60 minutes per day, five days per week. You should never attempt to attain this level unless you start slowly and build up your strength, stamina, and flexibility. I do not recommend exercising in excess of 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. To exercise at that level, you must be in excellent physical condition.  Exercising more than 60 minutes per day produces very marginal additional benefits and significantly increases the risk of stress injury. To put it bluntly, ‘it ain’t worth it’! If you have a tendency to [do] compulsive behavior, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate to yourself your power to ‘be in charge’.”

a “normal” person working out

I seem to remember watching an Oprah episode once about exercising for weight loss and the amount and intensity seemed daunting.  It was like 8 days a week for 2 hours at a time which means you would have to add extra time to a few workouts because there obviously aren’t 8 days in a week. But, maybe that was if you only wanted to lose weight with workouts and the eating factor wasn’t included. For me, G. Barton Payne’s suggestion seems realistic, genuine and do-able. This is the way I prefer to workout, and if I am consistent (because that is KEY) I can feel that it makes a huge difference.

Now, in regards to weight lifting/resistance training, that will definitely vary on convenience and availability of equipment. I’m not sure you are aware, but there are plenty of workouts designed to build muscles and tone without using weights….ever. I can show you some if you would like later, but I enjoy doing a variety of hand-held weight exercises, body resistance, and machines at the gym.  From my various research about this topic, I have decided that for me, this type of training, in

probably wants bulk & bumps

order to have any results, must be done 3 days a week for about 30 minutes at a time. You may need to tweek your time if you want different results. I’m only interested in gaining toned muscles, sleek lines and an overall trim-yet obviously worked out body. If you want bulk or bumps, then that will be a different workout story.

In conclusion, you must do what you can in the amount of time that is realistic.  If cardio for 60 minutes per day,  5 days a week is a no-way situation, you may need to re-evaluate your weight loss intentions. You are trying to lose weight, right? Then you must make the opportunity and not just “hope that it will happen.” It either happens or it doesn’t. It’s that simple. You make the choice.

Drinking Problem

I’m on to you.  You have a problem and it’s getting worse.  You’ve tried to lick the habit but it remains and gets more out of control all the time.  Every day you wake up thinking “today will be different.” But try as you might, the issue remains and day after day, week after week, nothing ever changes.  Your best intentions to make plans and organize your strategy get constantly thwarted.

You know if you don’t get this under control you’re going to look like this sooner than later:


So, is this where you want to end up? Then listen up!  You need to DRINK MORE WATER!

 

 

 

Drinking water has tons of benefits.  Today’s Sunday post is meant to be inspirational, so let me help you out:

1. More water helps retain your body’s status quo meaning that 60% of your body is water, so it needs constant hydration to remain in that balance.

2. Water helps regulate enzymes which help you process food into energy and waste.  Not drinking enough may delay this process making you constipated (yuck!).

3. Water helps keep your skin clear and radiant.  Not necessarily wrinkle free, but it will “plump” up the skin more when you have enough moisture in your cell membranes.

4. It helps the kidneys rid your system of nasty toxins and waste materials.  You don’t want to be a holding tank for rank!

5. Also, it may help prevent tiredness/fatigue, headaches, hunger pains (yes!) and cravings for unhealthy alternative drinks.

reach for the water

So stop being lazy and make a plan of action to get that water into you more often. Buy water bottles that you fill each and every morning as a ritual. Plan to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day like 12 oz. before each meal. Have also half of your body weight in ounces as your guideline for how much you should drink. The 8 glasses a day rule is good, but it isn’t exact. Heck, just drinking water more than anything else is better than doing nothing. Just drink it!

Here are some water pix that may get you thirsty for the clear stuff!:

Comfort Food Recipes

Hello there, all!  Today’s Foodie Friday post has everything to do with one of my favorite tools in the kitchen: my Cook This, Not That! cookbook. If you are dieting and craving your favorite dishes that you USED to eat prior to the diet, look no further than this little life-saver. The boys over at Men’s Health have really put together a fine collection of scrumptious dishes that are careful on the calories but big on the flavor.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this little nugget.  There are not only recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but dessert, appetizers, salads and guides on how to create a gajillion stir-frys, crock pot wonders and skewered delights. Plus more!

Some delicious examples for your tastebuds:

Dr. Pepper Ribs

Shrimp and Grits

Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Might I just say that this is just a taste of what you can expect from this gem.  One would have to have proper kitchen equipment and at least a small desire to enjoy cooking as well, but I think that is common sense.  However, the recipes are EASY!  Even if you are not “the best cook” or have trouble making food taste good, give this a try because the recipes seem to be foolproof and not lengthy to follow. The ingredients are also easy to find.  Happy cooking!

Let’s Get Personal

Hey gang,

This is the first video I posted on YouTube about my weight-loss journey.  I was going for a grainy, up-close and personal viewpoint that was organic in feel (that’s my artsy side speaking).  However, I just ended up with a poorly lit, bad/shaky hand held video that ended up looking like I was sitting in the dark talking to myself.  The video quality improved after this one, but I want you to know that I didn’t re-film this particular video because it was truly from the heart and that is hard to duplicate once it has been put out there. The group I refer to in the video is called The Lindy Sisters and you can visit our website if you want to see those dresses I’m referring to.

Get Moving People!

Work it Out!

I’m sure you’ve read millions of posts like this before.  The author imploring the reader to get out there and exercise!  Well, add this one to the list because maybe you (and I) need to hear it again.

I will never try and tell anyone what type of exercise is best because there simply is no such thing.  You see, for the longest time I thought that running/jogging was the only type of cardio that could only burn off enough fat to be effective.  But what if you hate running and the thought of it wants to make you crawl into a hole?  Then perhaps it is not so great after all.  One must find movement that makes sense to their body and be able to sustain that motion for a long period of time for it to be effective.

Different strokes for different folks.  What may be my ultimate cardio blast may be your idea of hell on earth.  So what?  Find what makes sense to you no matter what anyone tells you!  Not your spouse, trainer, friend, parent, child or whomever. You must explore different types of exercises to make a choice though. Don’t write anything off before giving it one good try especially if someone is recommending it.  For example, I always heard that cycle class would build my quadriceps to mammoth proportions and that the class would be too difficult to do because it is “SO HARD!”  Well, guess what? One day someone invited me to try their spinning class and I loved it and don’t care if it develops my quads more than dance or swimming would. It is fast paced, full of awesome energy, music is pumping and working out with others can be very encouraging.  No matter that I am not at the same level as the gal next to me.  Who cares?  She wasn’t always at her level either. She worked to get there and so will I.

If you are new to exercise, start small and work your way up the mountain.  Don’t go full out or you may burn out and become completely discouraged.  Try walking at a medium pace.  Alternatively, you could ride a bike casually around the neighborhood.  Also, try going in a pool and “running” back and forth across the shallow end; it will feel like more of a bounding bounce, but it will get your heart rate up which is the point.

So, you want to do things that get you moving for an hour or so a day and you want to get a good burn at the same time.  I will post soon about heart rate zones, but for now try to work-out at a level where you can still say your name and address at the peak of exertion, but not easily. If you don’t break a sweat, you aren’t pushing enough.  There should at least be some light dampness on you at the end. Don’t worry about it, just try and if you don’t like it, try again with something else.

What is your current favorite form of exercise?

Get Inspired!

Sundays have often been days of inspiration for me.  Whether going to church and being challenged to love my fellow man or taking long drives to view the landscape around me, I always think of Sundays as being lazy yet reflective days. I often think of how my week went and if there was anything more I could accomplish before a new one begins.  Cooking something “comforting” and surrounding myself with friends or family or both are also things I enjoy doing on Sundays.

This brings me to the point (thank goodness!). Sundays will be dedicated to inspirational posts.  Things that inspire me to keep on the path of health, wellness and slimness will be shared with you dear reader. Perhaps in doing so I can inspire you which is important to me. One can’t be too inspired after all, right?  Let this be my contribution.  Lots of things inspire me.  I am an artist of sorts and look to many of the things around me in my everyday environment to keep me motivated; and not just for losing weight.  Today’s inspirational idea is a basic one however. It is the visual of how I want to look when all is said and done.  You know what I mean, when I cross that far-off-in-the-distance finish line of slim, fit and healthy.  So here are two pix of what my ideal shape could look like.  One is more on the “cut” and muscular side and one is slim yet curvaceous, so I’m thinking about looking like something betwixt the two. This is my version of the word “Thinspiration” (which I loathe by the way). I have these tacked up in plain sight for me to see all day long.

My Ideal Bodyweight

So what about you?  Do you have a visual of how you want to look pasted up to view everyday?  If not, why?