Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 21 Progress

This week when I was at the gym I happened to run into 2 guys I went to high school with who knew me when I was overweight.  One of the guys was a casual friend and the other one I didn't know very well and he had a tendency to make fun of me.  Anyway, both of them made a point to come up to me at the gym and tell me how awesome I now looked.  I have to tell you - it made me feel good.  And not because I need anyone to validate me or compliment me, but because it's great that people notice and take the time to tell me what I did made a difference. 

So if you have a day where you don't feel like working out, or going to the gym, or running, or staying on your diet, think about how great you will feel when somebody notices a difference in how you look and gives you a compliment on it.

How is everyone doing this week?

Happy Memorial Day and take the time to remember those who have fought for our country.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 20 Progress

Last week I was asked about how to handle food cravings.  That's an interesting question.  There are lots of different ways to approach this.  Because let's admit it, we all crave something from time to time, be it chips, candy, a cheeseburger, cake, whatever.  How you handle and control your cravings will have a lot to do with how you tip the scales at the end of the week.

I totally understand lack of control, because I sometimes suffer from this myself.  I often have a difficult time moderating portions, which is part of the reason I gained so much weight in the first place.  Instead of eating a handful of chips, I'd devour the entire bag.  Instead of drinking one can of pop, I'd have 6.  You get the idea. 

My approach, the one that works for me, is to abstain from non healthy foods the majority of the time.  Once a week I allow myself a can or 2 of diet pop.  The diet pop satisfies my craving for a soda, and the diet pop is a lower calorie alternative than a regular pop. 

So here are some different approaches you can try.

  • Limit your cheat food to one day a week
  • Substitute a healthy alternative whenever possible.  For example, instead of ice cream, have sherbet.  Instead of regular soda, have diet.
  • Don't buy a large bag of chips.  Buy the smallest bag possible.  The same goes for candy.  Instead of the large bag, get a tiny bag.
  • Don't keep your danger foods in the house.  That makes it more difficult to grab them on the run.
  • Sometimes it helps to drink a glass of water first and then see if you still have the craving.
  • If you totally eliminate your favorite foods from your diet, you will probably end up craving them at some point.  So if you can exercise control, allow yourself to occasionally have a small portion of your favorite food.  Then applaud yourself for controlling the portion that you had.
So, what are some of your suggestions for handling food cravings?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 19 Progress

Reaching your goals should give you a morale boost as well as spur you on to continue with what you're doing.  The best way to do that and not fall off your plan, is to set small goals for yourself.  For example, instead of thinking - Hey, I want to lose 50 pounds this year, set a goal to lose 4 pounds for the month.  At the end of the month you can evaluate yourself and see how you did.  If you lost that 4 pounds, imagine how good it will make you feel?  And if you didn't, well, it's a good time to think about what you were doing wrong and give it another shot the next month.

Another problem that many people seem to have is that they go to the gym all geared up to do 100 reps of everything and end up hurting themselves in the process or being so sore the next day that they can't move.  Start out small.  Use light weights and do maybe three sets of 8 - 10 repetitions each.   Maybe work your legs one day, your arms one day, you stomach one day.  Mix it up a little.  The worst thing you can do is to over do it.

How did everyone do this week?  If you reached one of your goals, let me know what it was.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 18 Progress

This weeks weigh in was one day late in order to accommodate a book review that I think will interest many of you.  If you missed my mom's review on Vegetarian Everyday, I suggest you go back and read about it here.

I am often asked how I eat, or what I eat, or how I changed my diet.  At the top of the page under the Quick Links Tab you will find links to a few of my posts on the subject of food.  One of the things that I really liked about Vegetarian Everyday is that not only is it a good cookbook, but it's an excellent book to use as a reference on how and what to eat.  I bet many of you didn't know that you could eat great meals without meat, sugar or flour.  But the best part is that you do not have to become a vegetarian to eat healthy.  Read the book and find out how to put together meals from whole foods.  Then use that knowledge to make side dishes to a meal that includes lean meat, chicken or fish.  Instead of eating a hunk of chocolate cake, learn how to make guilt free desserts.  Have you ever thought about starting your day with a nutritious juice?  Learn how with this book.

I'm not receiving any compensation for suggesting this book to you.  I am only passing on the information because many people want to eat healthy but don't know where to start.  This book can help you learn.

So, how is everyone's progress going this week?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review - Vegetarian Everyday

Hi everyone:

Today I have a guest post from my mom.  She reviewed a book that I think many of you will find interesting and helpful.  Don't let the word Vegetarian throw you off.  This is a book of healthy and wholesome recipes that is good for everyone.  If you want to cut the junk out of your diet and learn how to eat good meals, then you may want to get a copy of this book.  Read the review and decide for yourself.

Rizzoli Publishing has just released "Vegetarian Everyday: Healthy Recipes From Our Green Kitchen."  Rizzoli New York, 2013.  

( photo property of Rizzoli Publications.  Do not reproduce) 
Vegetarian Everyday: Healthy Recipes From Our Green Kitchen is hardcover, 8" x 10" and loaded with 100 recipes and beautiful color photographs.  It's written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, who are the couple behind the renowned blog "Green Kitchen Stories."   In addition to the recipes, David and Luise share stories of their lives, as well as a few photos of their adorable daughter, Elsa.  Most of the recipes are accompanied by a short story or personal history behind the dish.  Not only did they develop the healthy and simple recipes that are in the book, they also eat these foods each and every day.  The recipes generally avoid dairy, refined flour, and sugar, providing inspired dishes for vegetarians as well as those with gluten and other allergies. 

So what exactly is left to make a meal with?  I'll be honest, that's exactly what I thought at first.  No dairy?  No flour?  No sugar??  Come on!  Impossible!  I cracked open the book and glanced at the index, which showed ten chapters covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with snacks and drinks.  If you're interested in improving your eating habits, "Inside Our Pantry" is a great starting point.  There are many detailed categories, including...
•Butter, Vinegar and Oil
•Nuts and Seeds
•Dried Beans, Lentils and Peas
•Plant Based Milk and Cream
•Natural Sweeteners
•Pasta and Noodles
•Flours and Grains (my favorite category.  Who knew there was such a wide variety?)
•Kitchen Appliances
Each category is broken down into items with excellent explanations on where they are used and what they are good for.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I recognized a great deal of the foods, with the exception of the flours.  I need to broaden my flour horizons!

If you ever wondered how difficult it would be to introduce your children to healthy eating, then you'll be interested in reading their "8 tips on how to give your children a healthy start in life."  With childhood obesity on the rise, these are helpful tips that are easy to apply.
Personally I never imagined that such a wide variety of yummy sounding vegetarian dishes even existed.  The more I read, the more willing I was to try different recipes.  As I read through the book, I made a running list of recipes that I wanted to try and I made three of them for this review.  I like to try my hand at a few of the recipes to see if they actually taste as good a they look and to see how difficult they are to prepare.  The recipe that first caught my eye was Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate & Raisins.  It consists of 8 ingredients, pomegranate seeds being one of them.  None of the stores here currently had fresh pomegranate's in stock, so I just improvised and substituted dried pomegranate.....

...... and quickly mixed up the salad.  Start to finish took all of 5 minutes....

This salad was a huge hit.  We ate it the first day for lunch with cheese and crackers, with our dinner as a side dish, and the next day I piled a scoop of it on top of a fresh salad and had it for lunch again.  Delicious!
Next up was Flour-free Banana & Coconut Pancakes.  After seeing this photo in the book, I knew I'd be making these....

( photo property of Rizzoli Publications.  Do not reproduce)

This was another super easy and quick recipe to make as there are only a few items needed and no flour.  I had a little trouble cooking the first two pancakes because I think I poured too much batter in the pan and they burned on me.  I made the next two pancakes a little smaller and they cooked up much better...
Now I admit that my finished product doesn't look as photo perfect as the one from the book, but I will tell you this - they were fantastic. I added a little maple syrup on top.  I think they tasted like a cross between a pancake and an omelet.  They were incredibly light, fruity and flavorful.    My daughter dug into them and declared them "a winner!"
The third recipe I tried was Herb & Asparagus Frittata....

 ( photo property of Rizzoli Publications.  Do not reproduce)
Since Chablis and I were the only ones home for breakfast, I cut the recipe in half.  First I cooked up my veggies....

Then added the egg mixture and asparagus.  Now the recipe called for fresh asparagus, but I again improvised with canned since the store was out....

I then baked the end result for one minute and I was finished.  Now I know you’re thinking that my Frittata does not look anything like the one in the book, but then, I never said I was a good cook either.  LOL!  But I will tell you this - it was good!  And even if mine didn't look like it was supposed to, I learned how to cook a dish that I'd never have thought of on my own.  It was healthy and wholesome and filling.  And more than enough for the two of us.
Vegetarian Everyday is by far the best vegetarian cookbook I've seen and I'll tell you why. Last year my daughter was having some health issues and she cut meat, sugar and dairy out of her diet for 4 months.  Her biggest complaint was finding interesting recipes for meals that she would eat and enjoy.  I spent hours on-line and at the library searching for a vegetarian cookbook that she'd like.  We checked a few out of the library but I didn't find a single one that I really liked enough to go out and purchase.  Vegetarian Everyday would have easily filled our needs. 
If you want to eat healthy and don't know where to start, then I suggest Vegetarian Everyday.  Vegetarians will find a nice selection of recipes that vary ingredients so you're not eating the same foods all the time.  A blend of influences from Sweden, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France and India gives you a wide variety of tastes and textures.  Let me stress that you don't have to become a vegetarian to take advantage of this book either.  Feel free to add some of the recipes as side dishes, start off your day with an all-natural juice, or end your dinner with a guilt free dessert.  The possibilities are endless, and I just didn't know how to pull it all together.  This book will show you how!
(I was provided an advance copy of the book for review purposes and asked to give an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

I'd like to thank my mom for her review on this book that sounds like a winner.  I'm often asked what I eat or how to eat healthy meals.  I think this book sounds like an excellent book for people who are trying to make some positive changes in their eating habits.

Come back on Tuesday for our Weekly Progress Weigh Ins!