Diet Plan (Current)

Foodie Friday: My Current Diet Plan

Hello People!

I am anxious to do this post not because I want to do it, but because I don’t want to do it.  Anxious as in, I am scared this may be my downfall and all hope will be lost, kind of way.  Other than that, life is great!

So…..I am quitting dieting.  Well, I’m quitting on a trial run.  I am going to throw out my diet books, cookbooks, low-calorie recipes (that taste like crap) and diet plans that I somewhat follow on a rotation basis.  I’m even looking at some of the food/recipe advice on some of my favorite health guru shows and thinking, “That looks like it would taste awful! But, in order to have a body like them, I should eat it.”  Well, if I wanted a body like them, I would have it already.  I am not that disciplined in the exercise department the way they are either – no surprise.

I want to look like a normal person who isn’t bulging with muscles and ripped abs.  I want to look soft and womanly with a few curves, but also feel comfortable in a bathing suit.  These are my small hopes.  Therefore, rigorous exercise is out (I’m not sure I think this is good on the cells overall anyways – it causes massive oxidation, read: aging) and eating/drinking/exercise in moderation is in.  WHAT???

A billion years ago (more like 20) I was going to a psychologist for fear/anxiety issues.  There was a point in the discussion where I mentioned I had been dieting for many years and was tired of it.  Imagine, I was tired then!  She, the psych, told me to stop dieting and eat what I wanted.  I was floored!  Why, that’s like walking the dog off leash!  That’s like driving blindfolded!  Holy Crap!  What will become of me?  It was also a very freeing moment for me.  No restrictions, no rigid rules, no obsessing over food and meals.  No more telling people, “No, I can’t go out because I’m on a diet you fool!”  This denial had made me into a machine I’m afraid.  At first I went crazy and did eat what I wanted ignoring calories and portions.  Ok, that’s not horrible, but not the point I think she was trying to make.

A few years before this occurrence, I traveled to Europe on a graduation present.  For a major portion of the trip I was in France – Paris and Nice – and did what you hear all the time about people to who travel to France and eat all that rich food – I lost weight;  5 pounds actually, in the course of only a couple of weeks.  I have a picture somewhere to prove it… Anyways, I was amazed because I was eating richly; in fact, one evening, the husband of the house I was staying in offered to make me homemade french-fries (we were joking about how they aren’t french and he was a chef) and suddenly, he lept upstairs from the table we were eating at and made me an entire basket.  Of course, I was obligated to eat and enjoy them!  Not gonna lie, we walked our feet off everyday too because my Spanish friend thought at the time that she was fat and refused to take the Metro anywhere but from the house to our daily starting point. Then, we proceeded to walk all over Paris from one side to the other for about 5-6 days.  When I was up in the Eiffel Tower, she showed me where we had been all week and I was flabbergasted at the distance we had travelled.  Blisters galore!  I did not bring exercise shoes to Europe.  Why did I tell this little story?  To prove my point about ignoring diets and eating what you want.  Life will not blow up, nor will your butt.

Also, a few years ago, I went off my “diets” and wanted to clear out my freezer that was containing a lot of food that I desperately needed to eat up because it was getting old (I have a tendency to stockpile in the tradition of my Grandma).  So I cooked up all sorts of yummy dishes containing the things I already had, in a sense, shopping in my own freezer/refrig for a few weeks.  Guess what? I lost weight again.  Yeah, I was exercising too, but nothing more or less than I do now.  3 pounds – torched.

What is my point?  I want to re-calibrate my system.  I think my metabolism has dropped and I think my “diets” have made me food crazy. (binging issues anyone?)  After 26 years, I need a break.  I understand food portioning, calories-in-versus-calories-out, balancing foods and food groups, eating healthy, etc, etc, etc, etc.!!!  This time, as opposed to the first time 20 years ago, I won’t go insane with my food choices due to this learned knowledge.  This time, I will only live by the “rules” of 1.eat when hungry and 2. stop eating when full.  Eating a balance of foods like fruits and vegetables at all meals is a part of my life now that I won’t ever give up.  It makes me feel better when I eat this way.  I don’t want to be fat, but I don’t want to live in a food prison anymore either.  I want to be normal and the way I have been looking at food isn’t normal.  Let me try this out for 6 weeks and I’ll get back to you on it.  It’s sure to be an adventure.

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Binge Recovery

Inspirational Sunday: Binge Recovery

Hey there people!

I knew my recent post on binge eating would identify with many readers.  It is unfortunate, but one that is common.  I have a feeling that many of us that do this are well-meaning people with kind hearts and intelligent minds.  We don’t usually do anything “wrong.”  Therefore, the guilt of doing this behavior can run very deep in us, due to our nature of always wanting to do the right thing in all areas of life.

At the end of the post I talked about not having all the answers and that I am still working on finding ways to end the cycle, for me, once and for all.  Yes, I think this is something that can be dealt with and healed.  Thinking positively about it is a start.  Telling yourself you will never get better will only reinforce the bad habit.  This is true for many things.

Well, I remembered watching a great video on YouTube about binge eating and looked around for it and found it.  It’s almost like a mini workshop.  There are exercises and homework questions in the video for you to try.  You may have heard and tried many of the things she is suggesting, but I am particularly impressed by her first point: What are you getting out of binging that is pleasurable?  I encourage you, if you are struggling with this issue, to watch and learn about ways to cure this self-sabatoging activity.  We can overcome this.

OR!!!

If you feel the above video is not helpful; one in which you have heard the advice of over and over again to no avail, then perhaps this next video will be of help.  This young woman did not fit into the conventional mold of a typical binge eater and sought alternative therapies to help stop the problem.  She did and has recovered!  Her 30 minute spiel is very honest and further enhanced by her insights into a book she recommends.  Hope this helps.

Snackage: Restaurant Style Hummus

Restaurant Style Hummus

This is the Artichoke version

This is the Artichoke version

So today’s post is about the yummiest of hummus recipes.  It’s not the ingredients that make this recipe so amazing, it’s the process of pureeing the ingredients together that creates a heavenly texture. Believe me when I say “this is the best recipe you will find for hummus – EVER!”  I have made this for friends and family and it has been gobbled up in no time flat.  If you don’t like hummus, then I guess this isn’t the post for you and you probably aren’t reading it in the first place!  Those of us who adore hummus probably already know of it’s great health benefits being that it is made from garbanzo beans ( a superfood, nonetheless), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and other good things.

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Here is the ingredient list:

  • 3 Tbsp juice from 1 to 2 Lemons
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 6 Tbsp Tahini, stirred well
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 (14 oz) can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small Garlic Clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp Table Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves

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Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Whisk together tahini and 2 Tbsp oil in second small bowl or measuring cup.  set aside 2 Tbsp chickpeas for garnish.
  2. Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds (picture A).  Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula.  With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube (picture B).  Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute.  with machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed (picture C). Do not stop machine to add the wet ingredients!!!
  3. Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro and/or parsley over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
picture A

picture A

picture B

picture B

picture C

picture C

I want to mention that this a recipe for Plain Hummus (but not plain, I can assure you!).  You can add to this basic recipe whatever extra flavors tickle your fancy.  Add artichokes – drained and chopped, roasted garlic, smoked paprika, sun-dried tomatoes, curry…etc.  This is a never ending bowl of happiness right here!  Just make sure if you are counting calories to limit your helpings.  I usually eat between 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup at a time, depending on the size of my snack/meal. I allot 70 calories to 2 Tbsp.

Recipe stolen from: Cook’s Illustrated magazine; May/June 2008 edition

The Secret Life of a Binger

Foodie Friday: The Secret Life of a Binger

Unknown

Hello People,

This is an awkward post. Not gonna lie.  One that I don’t want to post about, or rather, have been putting off because it is so difficult to talk about.  I suppose that is because it is personal and I don’t like airing all of my issues to the wind.  Maintaining that certain “air of mystery” has been my modus operandi for most of my life.  But, that isn’t always the best way to go.  Admitting to problems is the first step to conquering them.

Binging: what is it?  Plainly, it is eating lots of food, usually in secret (alone), till one cannot eat anymore.  At some point the mechanism for feeling full actually shuts off and you, or rather I, can’t tell if I am full or not.  The only thing that matters is tasting food, feeling food in the mouth, the smells & textures and the sheer joy of not caring about what I am eating.

So much of my life is about watching what I eat.  It has become a real chore to think about.  Strict low_calorie_food_rmn4edisciplines rule my eating habits such as:  I can only eat so many calories; I cannot eat too much sugar or carbs; I cannot drink alcohol; I must eat vast quantities of green leafy vegetables when all I want are potatoes; and so on. These rules tend to wear on me after a while (sometimes “a while” varies from 2 weeks to 2 days). Remember, I have been dieting since I was 15 and now am 41.  Just once,  I would like to eat what I want or at least not worry about the calories, fat, sugar, starch, etc, etc.  Then it just explodes into an eating frenzy.

It may not start out intentionally wanting to binge.  In fact, when I am in the midst of it, I am not thinking “I’m binging and LOVING IT!!!”  It starts with wanting something off the diet – real bad, knowing that I cannot have whatever that is today because I’ve already had enough or it just isn’t a part of the plan.  Then, I have a bit of that delight.  Then I have a little more.  Then….it’s gone.  ThenI_Ate_TOO_Much I assume that since I ate that “bad” thing, I might as well just keep going because I broke my diet. After about an hour or so, many things have been eaten and some entire packages of previously unopened food have been demolished and the empty containers have been thrown away.

Then, for whatever reason but not the feeling of fullness, I stop.  Eating this much takes my digestive system a long time to process.  My sleep is often terrible, if I do this in the evening right before bed.  I feel like a skunk has crawled up into my gut and died.  My abdomen is bloated and I may even feel a bit sick.  It’s awful and yes, I do feel remorse after about 8 hours have passed.

I don’t have any special radical remedy like 6 hours of intense exercise or purging or being anorexic images-7the next day.  Nope, I just binge and that’s where it ends.  My mom says it’s being half bulimic.  We just don’t throw up.  Yes, she has this problem too.  It has become the bane of my existence.  I want to dump this enemy like no other.

I know that it is intensely psychological.  It is also hormonally driven and a learned behavior.  It is also a habit that has become familiar like an old pair of shoes.  But I’ve been giving it some thought.  It needs to go.  I don’t completely know how, but it does.  I’ve told myself in the past, many times over, to stop doing it.  But it returns.  However, it is getting better and better and less and less frequent over time, meaning that I am learning how to control the issue.  The last time, I stopped eating halfway through the cycle and threw the diet saboteur I was currently chewing on in the outside garbage can.  I knew that I wouldn’t fish it out because that can has had maggots in it and I won’t be eating anything that was near a maggot.  (ucckkk! I can’t believe I put the “m” word in one of my blogs! EWWW!!!)

Most of my help with over-coming binging has been through the Inside-Out Weight Loss podcast.  Rene Stephens is very gentle in understanding this issue (she is a licensed therapist) and has many tips

The Butterfly Logo = Transformation

The Butterfly Logo = Transformation

on binge recovery.  One strategy is feeling the effects of the binge before the frenzy begins.  If the mind can think ahead of what will befall them once the damage is done, then one may not want to venture down the binge path.  This is difficult because in the act of binging (and right before), the mind almost glazes over and the feeling of eating is euphoric like being on a drug.  I actually prefer this feeling to being buzzed on alcohol.  Stopping this feeling can be almost impossible.  This is something that I am still working on, and successfully, but it is no where near cured.  Perhaps in the future, I can post again on my progress and insights.  It is a nasty little habit, one that I’m sure has kept me at my weight for these 26 years.  Getting this devil off my shoulder will free me to become the healthy-weight person I really long to be.

So…….yeah.  That’s my story on this particular bad nemesis.  I can’t be the only one struggling with this.  Do you or someone you love?  What is your best advice?

How to Accomplish Goals

Think it Through Thursday: How to Accomplish Goals

Losing-Weight

Hey People!

I am not doing so amazing on my weight loss! LOL.  This is such a disappointment because I have been almost blogging for a year now and only have about 5 – 6 pounds lost to show for it.  It should also be said that I don’t have tons of weight to lose in the first place, but still!  This is not how I envisioned the plan working out – or NOT working out in my case.

Therefore, it has come time for a re-boot of the program; a re-setting of goals and what I want to accomplish.  This post could be used for a variety of topics in regards to going after what you want, but I’m going to use my weight loss endeavors as my example.

First of all, I will say I have learned valuable things along the way during this year process.  My gluten-intolerance realization has been a God send.  I had no idea a year ago that this was something I would have or deal with for the rest of my life.  I have also done a lot of research on health and have come across so many great pioneers on the trail to wellness.  Their insight and truths about food and our culture have been phenomenal in the choices I make towards my eating and exercise programs.  I also adore my French research on how that culture views food and health.  There are plenty of posts on all of these subjects throughout my blog.

Now, how do I propose to change my ways this time?  Well, it has come to my realization that I need more structure.  This is not going to be something everyone will agree with or even work well with.  But, over the years, when I think of how I accomplished great achievements, such as my Bachelors and Masters Degrees, learning a lead role for a musical or opera, training for a marathon, etc, there was some major structure in the program in the way of planning, rules, consequences and set-points. You know, if I don’t read the material, I can’t write the paper, then I fail the course – type of stuff.  How does this translate to losing weight?  Let me explain…

PLANNING

“Not planning is planning to fail!” Who said that?  I don’t know, but I’ve been hearing it all my life and unfortunately, this has been the mantra for my non-weight-loss this past year.  Planning takes some organization, so I suggest, if you are anything like me, you get yourself to pen and paper (or colored pens if it makes it more fun) and write your shit down!  This can be done in the form of just a plain piece of paper and then tack it onto the refrigerator or bathroom mirror; buying a daily planner and writing down to-do lists everyday and/or monthly; or composing some sort of planner on the computer or tablet that you update and look at frequently.  I prefer writing it down, because then I remember it better and I just like that tactile exercise.  For instance: I bought a cute french-looking weekly paper planner that has all sorts of goodies in it.  On one side of the planner it has a weekly outlook where I can write in what types of things I want to accomplish each day.  I mostly use this to organize my week so that I get things done, but I also use it for food and exercise planning.  I write down daily what I’m eating and if I exercised.  I also write down how many calories I burned during my workouts.  It helps me to keep track of what is exactly going on.  I also include upcoming meals I plan to make and shopping lists for those meals accordingly. This writing process gives me a sense of things to do.  It isn’t just willy-nilly so that I’ll eat whatever is lurking around the house that day.  What I’m going to eat is already scheduled way in advance.  I have definite plans to exercise that include the exact time and what activities I will do during that time.  You plan to dress each day you go out, right? You plan to brush your teeth and feed the dog/cat?  Then, try planning for the goal of losing weight.

(Disclaimer: I actually use my daily calendar on my iPad for more specific planning, so in a sense, I use two planners to keep my life in order!)
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RULES

Icccckkk….rules.  But I love them too.  Nothing makes me get on task then trying to work within rules (I know, I’m a psycho.)  Children need them, they respect adults more if they have them.  If we didn’t have rules for driving how much worse would it be out there?  Some people like breaking rules, not me.  There is something self-satisfactory about making rules and sticking to them – within reason of course.  I don’t carry a whip…or do I?  I’m talking about rules like: No eating after dinner and/or 8 pm; dessert is for the weekend; Drink 64 oz. or more water a day; etc.  That kind of stuff.  I have made a brightly colored list of rules for myself and and I will continue to work on it as I see the need.  My biggest problem is not eating enough fruits and vegetables.  This is a new rule: 2 servings of vegetables at dinner.  This, in addition to other servings throughout the day.  I just never eat enough at dinner.  Another rule: Exercise 5 days a week planning what, where, how and when – again, back to the planning. And this one: No eating out – pack all meals eaten out of home.  That may not work for you, but I can make it work for me.  One of my biggest downfalls is not knowing how many calories are in food prepared in restaurants, plus, I lose all resolve once I sit down at at table.

CONSEQUENCES

Ok, this one goes with the rules.  If perhaps, rules are “accidentally” broken, there must be a pay-back.  This must me swift and brutal.  Don’t wait a few days to correct the problem or you will find an excuse.  For example: I ate too much the day before – next day will have a calorie deficit (in approximation of extra calories taken in) and/or extra exercise to work off said extra calories. Another one: I skipped my workout – I will add 15 minutes to the next 3 workouts to make up for it.  If I don’t want to deal with consequences, then I don’t commit crime in the first place.  Stick to the plan+follow the rules = no consequences. Brilliant!

SET-POINTS

I use this term in reference to an actual goal that is tangible and doable in a certain period of time.  In other words, you should have big and small goals for your major accomplishment.  My big goal is to lose 26 pounds.  The small goal might be: I will lose 5 pounds in 4 weeks or a month. Write these things down as well.  Put them on the calendar in bold and a bright color so that they scream out at you to be remembered.  That is your cheerleader egging you on to keep going when the going gets tough.  And the going will get tough, I can assure you. When I was training for the marathon, I set daily walking goals for myself that I HAD to accomplish because I was up against time running out for training.  If I didn’t accomplish the small goals, the big one suffered too.

I hope this gives someone hope to keep trying no matter what.  Even though I have gone another year and “failed” to lose weight, I’m not going to see it entirely that way.  I’ve learned things that have worked and a whole lot of what doesn’t.  Planning my food and exercise will make it actually easier to stay on track because it is a daily/weekly/monthly reminder about what it is exactly, in plain sight, that I want to accomplish.  Irritating, yes, but doable.

Workout Routine

Exercise Monday : Current Workout Routine (Past)

Hey People!

Here with a update on what I am doing to workout.  I change my workouts faster than underwear, well, not really, but almost as fast.  It’s just that I get bored REAL easily.  Not sure what I was doing the last time I posted about exercise, but I usually rotate through things I enjoy.  That is really the key to keeping up with exercise.  You must make it fun (new) and do things your body likes and doesn’t fight.  I know for me, climbing rock/mountains is not an enjoyable act.  So, I’m most unlikely not going to do that activity.  I do enjoy the rowing machine, so perhaps canoeing or kayaking might be fun to try at some point.

In the latest October edition of Shape Magazine it has a little 1-pager on a running program (plus 3 pages devoted to a strength training set).  The article teaser is in the largest font on the front cover: “DROP TWO SIZES! In Just 4 Weeks”  I love how that’s put.  It’s Unknownso…..convincing. We’ll see, right?  Anyways, it talks about increasing your run/jog a little at a time but unlike the other running program I have done it doesn’t go as long, only about 20-30 minutes of total time.  I add a warm-up and cool down, so it lengthens the workout, but that’s my preference.  It seems to be easier and more enjoyable than the other program to my body.

I also supplement with some kickboxing on days I am told to “Cross-Train” and do the strength training workout plans suggested in the magazine, rotating through the three total plans that they have (different ones).  I must say that the plan for those who wear high heels seemed easy as pie doing it, but MAN – the day after I was sore!  Don’t underestimate these programs put together by professionals.  The only caveat is that you must do things with excellent form or you may not be doing the exercise right.  Therefore, I try to do the workouts in front of a mirror to make sure I look like the pictures suggest.

Also, I have been going to a Yoga studio.  I think it is amazing and if you have been on the fence about really going to a proper yoga class, you should definitely go!  It is anything but easy.  And depending on what the instructor has planned for each class, you will feel it the next day.  It is strength training for sure!  Unfortunately, I have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right wrist and even with a brace, I was in pain half-way through.  If this was not the case, I would definitely continue.  However, I don’t want to strain and ruin a part of my body that I really need for the rest of my life (I am right-handed).  Otherwise, I would gladly pay the $15.00 for each class because it is so worth it.  For now, I will continue with my easy DVD yoga practices.  YouTube has some nice routines too if you are interested.

So that’s it for now!  What are you doing?

What’s Up?

Think It Through Thursday: What’s Up?

Hello People!

Again, I have taken a few weeks off.  This time I was deeply immersed in a home project to make vast improvements to my bedroom.  This was one of my New Year’s Resolutions and I really wanted to accomplish it.  I have been putting it off for 3 years, and knew that I couldn’t do that any longer.  Blood, sweat and tears later…it is almost finished.  I’ll show you some before and after pics perhaps next week or whenever I feel it is ready to be shown.  Maybe I’ll save it for a New Year’s Resolution re-cap.  Who knows?

I just wanted to drop in and say that I’ve been thinking about all the posts I want to do and have planned.  It is coming up on a year that I have been a blogger, and I want to up the ante with posting and improving the blog site. Lately, I’ve been toying more and more with not counting calories, but just eating normal food (healthy) and in small portions.  This is of course the French way, which I am so obsessed over.  I have been counting calories for 20+ years and where has it gotten me?  Nowhere fast.  Actually, it has gotten me to be a trained Binger, which is a post I plan on doing, perhaps tomorrow.  Food should not be analyzed so much.  Most of the world’s population do not count calories, nor do they have any knowledge of carbs or fat grams or cellulite or blah, blah, blah.  They just eat, and when they are full, they stop.  Why is this so hard to do in America?  Ugh.  Sometimes I think I am a freak of nature who is just meant to be fat.  But, I know that this is not true.  I will talk about this in a future post as well.

I hope this post finds you in the upswing of losing weight.  Don’t lose hope.  Even if it takes a lifetime (it won’t), keep trying and looking for answers.  Keep up your exercise and get enough sleep.  These things are crucial to a weight-loser.  It will keep your hormones in check and your feel-good chemicals running smoothly.  Also, continue to read my blog for more ideas to keep you in the game. Sail on!