Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But, it's all good here in Sunapee, NH. The kids are enjoying themselves, and are out in the fresh air for a few hours a day. If we'd stayed home, they'd probably never venture outside.
It's good for me as well. I'm hopefully burning off some of my holiday weight gain through exercise, and, because my husband hasn't come up to NH yet, I've been focusing on eating light. I've had a salad for dinner every night this week in addition to salad and maybe some soup for lunch (you need that warmth when you've been out in the cold).
I'm also feeling so much better than I was last week. I was starting to feel lethargic, and now I'm re-energized.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Better to only lose 30 pounds in a year and keep it off then lose 30 pounds in 2 months and gain it all back plus some.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The east coast got socked with snow yesterday. We had eight inches, but it snowed upwards of a foot of snow further south.
I'm not one of those snow adverse people. As long as I don't lose power, I love to get snowed in. It's great to have an excuse not go anywhere. Everything just kind of stops, and it gives me time to breathe, read and catch up on all those nasty little chores around the house I haven't been able to get to.
But I have to admit, I'm somewhat bummed that it snowed down here in Connecticut and they didn't even get an inch up in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Right after Christmas I'm leaving on my annual "the kids have a week off after Christmas and I don't know what the hell else to do with them, so we might as well go skiing" trip.
This trip is to be distinguished from my annual "the kids have a week off for President's week and I don't know what the hell to do with them so we might as well go skiing trip."
Since I'm leaving to ski in New Hampshire for a week right on December 27th, it would have been nice if they had gotten some snow. But c'est la vie.
Still, it should be a nice trip. I genuinely love to ski with my kids. And, its great for working off some of the caloric indulgences of the holiday season.There is great site were you can estimate the number of calories you burn during any activity. Check it out here: http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc.
So, I thought I'd calculate how many calories I'll burn skiing. Now I usually down-hill ski a total of 4 hours, but the reality is between lift lines, waiting on the slope for the slow pokes, etc., running into the bathroom etc., I'll probably actually only ski 120 minutes out of the four hours.
Calories burned down hill skiing for 120 minutes is 1,029. I'll be down-hill skiing 4 days so that's 4,116 calories.
I'll also go cross-country skiing with the kids two days (your legs need the break from the down hill skiing). Again, between having to run in because the kids are tired, cold, need the bathroom, hungry, etc., I'll probably actually only ski for 120 minutes. Cross-country skiing for 120 minutes burns 1,341. Multiply that by 2 and you get 2,682 calories burned.
Potential calories I can burn on my post-Xmas Ski trip is 6,798. That can be almost 2 pounds of fat loss if I eat smart and stay away from the apre-ski hot chocolate and nachos.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Burger King Triple Whopper Sandwich with cheese and Mayo packs a whopping 1,250 calories. I can only consume about 1,650 calories a day, so you add a side a fries to this, and I just packed on some additional fat.
And, that's not the only caloric disaster-burger. Yahoo health has a list of the six worst fast food burgers.
In previous years, I used to either eat the food or had it rot in the house. Two years ago, I started re-gifting most of it.
Now, before you jump down my throat for engaging in tacky behavior, I should explain that don't re-gift to unsuspecting friends, co-workers or household help.
Instead, I re-gift to the local food pantry. Every year after Christmas I take a trip to the local food pantry and drop off any of the food gifts I received that are acceptable to donate. This usually means pantry stable items that are canned, in boxes or jarred.
I'm doing good, while doing myself good.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Plus, I've actually had quite a bit of work to do. You can tell the economy is coming back when freelancers like myself start getting busy.
The other thing keeping me busy is holiday season entertaining. Friends have invited me over, I've invited friends over, and I've gone to several holiday parties.
Getting together is part of the holiday festivities. The only issue is that when people get together, food is always involved, and alot of that food contains copious amounts of sugar and fat. There's always a fine line to walk between watching my weight and being the holiday Grinch.
As always, I try to stick to some simple rules this time of year. First, I enjoy myself within limits. It is the holidays, and eating is part of the fun. It's OK to indulge, although it's not OK to over-indulge. Second, I try to work in extra exercise whenever I can to offset the extra calories (made all the more difficult by overloaded holiday schedules).
In the end, I realize that trade-offs are necessary. The artisanal hand-made chocolates were worth indulging in, and I limited myself to just two. Yes, I'll have to spend some extra time on the treadmill for the indulgence, but they were worth it.
I can easily pass up store bought candy canes and mass manufactured candy, but the roast goose with orange Madeira sauce my friend served up at a holiday dinner party was not. Going extra light calorie wise for a day or two after the roast goose was not too taxing. Besides, I didn't want to insult my hostess by not eating the wonderful meal she prepared.
In the end, I'll probably put on a few pounds this month (I haven't dared step on the scale since Thanksgiving.) It's inevitable, like death and taxes.
The point is to put on as few pounds as possible. And, get right back on the diet band wagon as soon as I can. Perhaps even a post-New Year's cleanse.
I think I know what my New Years' resolution will be this year.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Its a UK report, but notes that eating less processed, meat and dairy products will help reduce greenhouse gases.
So, you'll be doing both yourself, and the planet good.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Essentially, the researchers found that if you increase the number of healthier options for people, they're more likely to choose them over the less healthier options. Here's one of the experiments done:
In another study, a tray with fruit and baked goods was placed at two entrances of a building, with a sign reading: "Please help yourself to one item." At one entrance, the researchers placed a tray containing a small selection: two types of fruit and two types of cookies. They put a tray with a larger selection at the other entrance so that passers-by were presented with
six types of fruit (bananas, red and green apples, pears, tangerines and peaches) and six types of baked goods (assorted cookies as well as croissants and banana nut muffins). While 55% of the participants chose fruit over baked goods from the smaller assortment, 76% did so when choosing from the larger
I had blogged a while back that one shopping rule to follow is to have the majority of your food purchases be fruits and vegetables. You can find the blog here: http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-food-shopping-rule.html.
It only makes sense, if you surround yourself with a great selection of fruits and vegetables, you'll eat mostly fruits and vegetables. If your kitchen is laden with crap, you'll eat mostly crap.
The same thing goes with restaurants. If you go to a restaurant with only one salad on the menu (and its a salad in name only), you're not likely to order a salad. Go to one with a wide selection of salads, and chances are you'll order a salad.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
When trying to reach a goal, I always think its a good idea to really analyze why you are doing what you are doing.
I smoked for years. I started in High School when it was cool, and started my efforts to quit right after law school by which time smoking was decidedly uncool.
Now, I was never one of those people who was truly "addicted" to cigarettes. If the situation called for it I could go for hours without ever having a smoke, and didn't have to run out to the parking lot immediately afterwards to light up.
But, none-the-less, I found quitting difficult. When I analyzed why, I realized that it wasn't the nicotine in cigarettes I craved, but the actual act of smoking.
There where a number of situations where I would always automatically light up. For example, if I got on the phone to speak with someone I always had a cigarette in hand. I also always smoked when I was studying. Anytime I went to a bar or a party, I basically hung in the back with a cigarette (I'm not much of a drinker or a party animal).
I came to the realization, that I needed something different to do with my hands and my mouth when I was doing these activities. Kind of like Pavlov's dogs, when you rang the bell, my hands and mouth expected that cigarette.
My solution was to drink water. Holding a bottle of water gave my hands something to hold and my mouth something to do during those times when I normally smoked. Once I started doing this quitting smoking was a breeze, and I never looked back.
I think it's a lot like that with eating. If you're craving a certain food item intensely, it might not really be the food that you want. For example, if you always ate potato chips while watching a football game, it may not be so much the chips you're missing, but the activity of eating during the ball game.
Or, like me, if you crave cookies, it may be the sweetness and crunch you're looking for.
Once you analyze why you're craving, it becomes easier to find the healthier, low-cal substitute that will satisfy that craving.
So, don't try to just ignore your cravings. Really think hard about them.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
So, now that I pretty much swear off cookies except for special occasions, I had to find a substitute for those times when I just really crave one.
The substitute I found is trail mix. It provides the "crunch" of a good cookie, and dried fruit provides the sweetness. If I'm tempting to hit the cookies, I just grab a handful of trail mix and I'm satisfied.
Now, most store bought trail mixes are loaded with all sorts of junk you don't need--such as salt and sugar. Plus, I like to keep my mixes "raw." So instead of store bought trail mix I just mix my own. It's easy. I just buy dried fruit, raw nuts and seeds, mix and viola--trail mix.
My favorite combination is raw pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. I just mix it all in a resealable container (I don't use any measurements), and keep it in the pantry for those times I need something sweet and crunchy. I have to go easy, however, since nuts and dried fruits have a lot of calories.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I actually read this article when it was originally published in the New York Times but it was great to read it again.
No country obsesses over food the way we do here in the US. And, what has it gotten us? We are the fattest country on the planet.
That's because our obsessing leads us to crazy fad diets and eating synthetic over processed foods that promise to make us skinny, but only lead to making us fatter.
The message is clear, if you want to lose weight, eat sensibly. That means focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and leave the overly processed foods behind.
It's simple. There's no need to obsess over carbs or fat, just eat real food. As Pollan says, food your great-grandparents would have recognized.
Eating a bunch of grapes will do a whole lot more for your weight-loss/weight-maintenance efforts then a bag of low-fat, low-calorie, low carb cookies.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Throughout the year my daughter sporadically has been doing yoga, running and other exercises on the Wii. The reason why she didn't use it more, I reasoned, was that the the work-out activities were really geared to adults.
Since Christmas and Hanukkah are around the corner, I thought it would be great to get her some new Wii work-out regimes geared to children. Specifically I wanted a kid's yoga routine.
So, off I went to the local GameStop in Westport this morning. Guess what? There is no Wii Kids Yoga program. In fact, there are no Wii Fit exercise routines specifically geared to children. There are games for kids for Wii Fit, but nothing emphasizing exercise and the importance of working out.
Now, that is just not right. My daughter will do the adult work-out routines from time to time, but you know she would exercise even more with the Wii if they actually produced yoga, running, etc. specifically geared to kids.
I did purchase her the new Wii Fit Plus disc, but its still geared to adults.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Well Jack, it's all about remembrance. Proust may have needed to take a bite out of that Madeline to send him on his journey of remembrance of things past, but for me its the actual baking that does it.
You see, my Grandmother was a holiday baker extraordinaire. Nana would bake at least a dozen different types of cookies every December. There were sugary cookies with an orange glaze she called "Aunt Louise's Cookies" after my Grandfather's aunt, rum balls, Jewel Cookies that were crusted in nuts with a dab of jam, these amazing almond meringue cookies that were covered in pinoli nuts, and so on.
Nana never used a written recipe. Although she only baked each cookie once a year, she kept every recipe in her head. Me, my mother and my sisters often baked alongside her, and had the foresight of actually writing most of the recipes down. We'd ask questions like "how much flour do you use?" and Nana would answer "about three handfuls." From there we had to concoct that "a handful" generally meant about 1/2 a cup.
Nana also made Fruitcakes which were actually baked as early as October and were an alcoholics delight. The process began by soaking dried fruit in rum for a week. After the fruitcakes were cooked, they were wrapped in cheesecloth and carefully tended to with generous douses of rum to preserve them every week for two months.
And she also made Stollen, which is a bit unusual because Stollen is actually a German Christmas bread. My Italian Grandmother usually never diverged from the Italian repertoire, but for some reason, which nobody understands why, she made Stollen at Christmas and not the more traditional Italian Panetone.
I often made the Stollen with her. We'd start the night before by making a starter of yeast, flour, eggs and butter. The next day we'd form the dough by adding more flour, then adding raisins and currents soaked in rum or brandy, dried fruits and nuts. Then we'd need the dough until it was soft and silky and left it to rise. It was then formed into loaves and allowed to rise again. Then we'd bake it, and when cooled dust the bread with powdered sugar.
None of us bakes the repertoire that my Grandmother did. My mother, me and my sisters all seem to have inherited a few of the recipes.
I bake two or three different cookies a year and have become the official Stollen baker (the Stollen is then passed out among family members). Whenever I do this baking, my Grandmother comes alive again. As I knead my dough, I can still hear her voice over me, guiding me, to make sure I get it right.
So now when I bake I bake with my children. It's through them that my Grandmother, and our traditions will survive.
I've often heard weight loss referred to as being a journey. But I think we need to remember that although moving forward is progress, we can't forget where we came from.
I doubt that for any of us Twinkies, Big Macs or crappy over processed foods really connect us to who we are, and our families.
But, if there is food that connects us to our past and our loved ones who have passed on, then we shouldn't give it up simply because we are trying to lose and maintain weight.
Eat less of it for sure, but if it's part of who we are, then we shouldn't just leave it behind.
I'm also still getting fresh herbs from the garden--parsley, cilantro, sage and thyme.
Since I know that its only a matter of weeks until this end of the season produce is gone, I'm savoring it whenever I can.
It's also comforting to know that I can throw together a meal in less than an hour based on locally grown, organic produce.
Last night was one of those nights. My daughter had ballet from 5 to 6 which meant I had to begin preparing dinner prior to leaving (I'm not a big fan of eating past 7). In the afternoon I opened the refrigerator and realized that I had better use up a head of cauliflower I had bought at the last Farmers' Market.
I cut up the cauliflower into 1 inch florets and spread them on a large cookie sheet. I tossed in some coarsely chopped red onions and some organic grape tomatoes from the market. I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables, sprinkled on a little salt and pepper and tossed the entire concoction with my hands. I then roasted the vegetables at 425 degrees for 35 minutes.
When I got back from ballet, I cooked up some whole wheat pasta and tossed it with the roasted vegetables. I sprinkled on some fresh parsley and sage from the garden, and dinner was served.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Despite my best efforts I always put on a few pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. I've already been cheating like mad. I limited myself to just one piece of pumpkin pie (and two chocolate covered pretzels) on Thanksgiving, but even that tends to be too much these days, particularly when you consider the heavy meal I ate before the pumpkin pie.
Christmas time has its own vices. Every year I make a gingerbread house with my kids over Thanksgiving weekend, and every year a few too many pieces of candy wind up in my mouth and not glued with icing on the house.
I also bake to give as gifts, etc, and you just have to taste what you bake to make sure that those cookies, Stollen, etc., are worthy of giving.
Then, there are the parties and the entertaining.
I try to balance off the extra eating with being really good on other days, but I always put on weight.
But then, I'm a post-menopausal woman who's giving birth to two children. If I even look at a piece of pumpkin pie, I'll put on weight.
So, when I can, I'm committing myself to doing more cardio this holiday season.
I'll probably still gain weight. I'm just hoping that the effort will allow me to gain less weight than usual. That way I'll have less to lose once January comes around.
Monday, November 30, 2009
A chatturanga is essentially a reverse push up, and during the course of an entire Ashtanga practice you might do 50 or 60 of them. However, in the last couple of weeks I've had to cut them out, along with anything else that puts stress on my shoulder. It's really frustrating to know you can do a full back-bend, but can't because your shoulder will ache because of it.
It truly sucks getting old. I can't point to a single "ouch" moment where I actually hurt myself. Instead, this started as a little twinge, that turned to a minor ache, which then became a major ache. It's what I call a "wear and tear" injury. I'm getting old, so along with my aching knees, I now have an aching shoulder.
The good news is that it does seem to be getting better. Last week I started adding back in some of the postures I had stayed away from. I still can't do the majority of my chatturangas but at least I can do a few as well as bakasana and bhujapidasana.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Essentially, the piece discusses how the pilgrims fasted in addition to feasting. Specifically:
To the Pilgrims and Puritans, the community-wide fast, or “day of public humiliation and prayer,” and the thanksgiving feast, or day of “public thanksgiving and praise,” were equal halves of the same ritual. But the fast was not merely a justification for a community-wide gorging. Both customs were important components of a religious rite that served to pacify an angry God who was believed to punish entire communities for the sins of the few with starvation, “excessive rains from the bottles of heaven,” epidemics, crop infestations, the Indian wars and other hardships.
According to the 19th-century historian William DeLoss Love, the New England colonies celebrated as many as nine such “special public days” a year from 1620 to 1700. And as the
Puritans were masters of self-denial, days of abstention outnumbered thanksgivings two to one. Fasting, Cotton Mather wrote, “kept the wheel of prayer in continual motion.”
I thought this was interesting because it once again illustrates how food obsessed our culture has become. Now-a-days if you mention to someone you're going on a fast, they look at you askance and write you off as some kind of new-age, freak.
But, fasting is part of the natural cycle, and our bodies were actually designed to go through periods of fast. It's the whole reason why we store the fat to begin with. Don't forget that the pilgrims underwent a forced fast the Winter prior to the first Thanksgiving.
The whole reason for the feasting around harvest and Christmas time (a ritual which pre-dates Christianity by thousands of years), was that once Winter hit, food was scarce. You ate in abundance around harvest time and the Winter Solstice because that's when the food was available, then lived off the fat you put on then until Spring when food started to become abundant again.
So, it is OK to indulge a little around the holidays. Just remember that it's also OK to fast a little afterwards. You can skip a meal or two, or even a whole day's worth of meals, and it's completely, totally natural.
Monday, November 23, 2009
When I go to the movies with my kids, I can't get the movie popcorn because even without the butter topping, there's usually milk ingredients in the popping solution. Since my son is allergic to milk, that means popcorn is a no go at the movies.
On the now rare occasions when I actually get to go to a movie with my husband, it's usually combined with going out to dinner, so I usually avoid the popcorn as well.
Good thing. Who would have thought that I could blow through the bulk of my daily caloric load on popcorn?
It just goes to show. Knowing what you're eating is key to weight loss and retention.
I'm looking over my schedule for the next few months, and I'm dumbfounded over just how busy I'll be.
Sticking to a weight-loss/weight-maintenance regime is hard enough as it is. Sticking to one during the holiday season, is doubly difficult, and sticking to one during an incredibly busy holiday season is quadruply difficult.
And, things don't get any less busy after January 1. I don't think I'm going to have a completely free weekend until March at this point. With skiing, Special Olympics and family obligations, I'm going to be driving from New Hampshire to New Jersey all Winter.
All I can do is plug on and remember my long term goals.
Friday, November 20, 2009
This time of year, I normally get into this lethargic, its-getting-colder-and-darker-so-I-don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed, funk. I had been in that mood prior to starting the cleanse on Sunday. But, after just four days of just a "mini-cleanse" I now have more energy. Getting out of bed isn't a struggle, and I am more clear headed.
Now, if I could only muster up the ambition for a deeper cleanse right after the holiday.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
With that thought in mind, here are a few facts to keep in mind:
- Turkey skin is the most caloric dense part of the turkey, has the most fat and the least protein. The skin contains 482 calories and 44 grams of fat. A whole turkey with the skin has 231% more fat, 59% more calories, and 23% more cholesterol than a turkey with no skin.
- Breast meat without the skin is the healthiest part of the turkey. Breast meat without skin has only 161 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving.
- Two tablespoons of cranberry sauce will give over 1/3 of the sugar you need for the day. And most processed (not homemade) cranberry sauces contain high fructose corn syrup.
- Two tablespoons of processed gravy products give you over 1/3 of the sodium you need for the day, and some contain trans fats.
So, a good rule of thumb to stick by is to eat the turkey without the skin, and stick to home-made dishes made with fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
And, remember, there's always leftovers. You don't have to have the stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes all on one plate. Eat one, and save the others for left-over meals.
Plus, I'm head coach for the local Special Olympics Alpine skiing team this year, and had to get reams of paperwork done last night. All I can say is that I just ran out of time yesterday.
I had a nice little mini-cleanse this week. Last night for dinner I made myself a simple dish with beans, brown rice and brussels sprouts with lemon and olive oil. That, along with lots of fruit, salad, and oatmeal, was pretty much along the lines of what I've been eating all week. I don't know if I lost any weight, but it definitely feels good on the digestive system to just keep away from meat, fish, dairy, wheat and alcohol for a few days.
But my husband is back today. He took the red eye from the West Coast and should be walking in the door any moment. He already called from Greenwich and asked if I could make him eggs for breakfast.
I just had a banana this morning, and will probably have a salad for lunch, so I'll keep the vegan streak running a bit longer. Dinner is up in the air for now. When the kids get home today I'm taking them to the last Farmer's Market of the season in Westport. Dinner will depend on whatever I find there.
I'm sure my husband has been on a meat-fest all week, so it's probably a good night for a nice vegetarian pasta dish. Maybe some sauteed kale with onions, olives over whole wheat linguine?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It was so wonderful to be outdoors with a good friend. We could have easily gone an another hour if we both didn't have work and appointments.
I think its so important to have social workouts. Individual workouts are important as well because we all know just how hard it is to arrange schedules. But, when you're working out with a friend and having a great conversation, it just doesn't seem so much like a workout.
At the end of the hike, we took some time to practice Tai-chi. It was really a perfect day.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Too bad I still have the kids.
Still, with the holidays coming up, I'm taking this little break from the ball and chain to do a little mini-cleanse and diet. With the holidays coming up, God knows I'll need it.
This morning for breakfast I squeezed myself a tall glass of fresh grapefruit juice (yummy), and ate grapes. Lunch was a raw, vegan salad and I'm going to saute up some kale with currents and olives for dinner. I'll eat completely vegan for the next few days (I actually started yesterday), and drink no alcohol.
I'm not going completely raw because I just find that I crave hot food too much in the Fall and Winter. I can easily go completely raw in the summer, but I just need the warmth in my belly when the thermometer drops.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
As you can tell, Thanksgiving is on my mind. I love holidays. I love being with family and friends and celebrating. The problem is, of course, being a little too celebratory. One day can throw off weeks of weight watching if you're not careful. So, here are my own personal rules for the holiday:
1. Eat lightly the week before. I try to build up a "calorie reserve" by being really careful about what I eat for the entire week beforehand.
2. Get a good work-out in that morning. Usually I try to find the time to get in an extra long walk and a short yoga practice.
3. Eat extremely lightly for breakfast and lunch that day. After all, you're going to have a huge meal later on. Sometimes I'll just juice up some fresh grapefruit juice and have an apple for breakfast, and maybe munch on a few carrots around 12. The holiday starts around 2, so I know I'll be eating soon.
3. During the "appetizer phase" start with some water and stand away from the food. In our family, we put out platters of "appetizers" and mingle and socialize for a few hours before the meal. Wine, beer and liquor flow freely. I start with just a glass of water and initially just enjoy being there and talking with people (away from the food). I will nibble eventually, but I give myself a good 30 minutes or more before I do.
4. Go for whatever raw you can. Usually we do have a crudities platter, and maybe some fresh grapes. I'll start with those so that I'll eat less of the cheese puffs, etc.
5. Eat what you love, but don't eat everything. My family tends to go for the smorgasbord approach. Besides the turkey, there are usually a good 15 to 20 side dishes. I go for the food I really love (like mashed turnips, stuffed mushrooms and homemade pumpkin pie) and pass on the stuff I don't love (unless it's meets the "healthy" requirement below).
6. Avoid the processed crap and go healthy. If the dish mostly comes from a can, I skip it and go for the sides that are mostly fresh vegetables. I'm making a roasted vegetable dish and kale, so I'll be sure to eat those.
7. Remember there are always leftovers. If I really love a particular side (and it's reasonably healthy), I'll just take more of it home with me (along with leftover turkey etc.). Thanksgiving leftovers are just another reason to give thanks (one less meal to cook).
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Over the last few years, I've not only been trying to reduce my consumption of meat, but increase the quality of the meat I actually do eat. The reason is simple. Factory raised meat is so loaded with unnecessary hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, etc., that I'm really jeopardizing mine and my family's health by consuming it.
I'm not saying that I never buy meat in the supermarket, but that my first option is to try to find locally sourced meat, or, in a pinch, look for meat in the supermarket that is at least, organic, grass fed, free range, etc., (although as the article explains the claims of these labels is dubious).
The bottom line is to know your food. As the article says, you can pay your grocer now, or your doctor later. What you eat translates directly into how healthy you will be. Factory raised meat may be cheaper, but only in the short term. You'll pay more for it later on.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
But, I know that if I didn't drag myself out of bed and I did eat that tuna melt I'd pack back on all the pounds I lost faster than I took them off.
So, I look for motivations to keep me on track.
This blog is just one motivation. Writing about losing weight and keeping it off everyday inspires me to stay the course (as well as reading about the weight loss journeys of my fellow bloggers).
I also always look for special "events," a big night out, a wedding, Bat Mitzvah or some other gathering where I want to look svelte and sexy. I think to myself "Amy's wedding is in May, I have to look fabulous in my black, sleeveless sheath."
Today I think I may have found the ultimate weight loss motivation--my 30th high school reunion. The class of 1980 of Wayne Valley High School is having their 30th union on July 24, 2010.
I have to look good particularly for that one, since I have never attended a high school reunion. I've gone to a number of reunions for my law school but never one to my high school. So this will be the first time my former classmates have seen me in 30 years.
A few months ago I signed up for a Facebook account and started getting "friended" by a number of former high school classmates. To be perfectly honest, I had no recollection of most of these high school "friends" but it was nice to touch base again with the one's I did remember.
It was through Facebook that I learned of the reunion, so now I'm pretty determined to go. If I go, of course, I have to look drop dead gorgeous and sexy so what better motivation to keep the weight off I lost and hopefully lose a bit more?
Gee, I guess I also now need to save up for a new dress, shoes and bag. It's a summer affair so I can probably get away with something slinky that shows a bit of skin.
After all, I'll probably run into quite a few of the guys I had crushes on way back then who are now balding and overweight. I have to look real good for them.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I, however, believe that not only can you not lose weight by just exercising, but that you can not lose weight by just dieting only as well. You need to do both.
Another interesting factoid. According to the article exercise alone won't help you lose weight, but it will help you maintain weight once you've lost it.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I couldn't understand my behavior. I know that not only is the candy full of calories, sugar and processed chemicals that I shouldn't be eating (nor should my children but you can't deny them everything). Still something changed.
Then it occurred to me, that losing weight is really all just a state of mind. I didn't start losing weight until I became absolutely resolved to do so. I was so focused and so determined to get back into a dress size that I could be happy with, that food like Halloween candy just held out no temptation for me.
Now I've been a size 4 for two years and I guess some of that resolve is evaporating. Yes, I'd still like to lose some more weight, and see my post-kids and menopausal "muffin top" dissipate, but basically, I'm happy with myself.
But I have to remember that I won't stay a size 4 if I fall back into old eating habits and exercise patterns.
If I start eating again like I did when I was a size 10, then I'll eventually be a size 10 again.
So, I have to fix in my mind that Halloween candy is still off limits. Not just for my weight, but for my health.
It's also so much harder to stay on the raw food routine during the day. I just crave warm food (which I try to offset by drinking lots of herbal teas).
My other issue is sleep. I swear that I just want to go into hibernation and stay in bed all day. In the Spring and Summer I can just pop out of bed to go for my morning walk. This time of year, I literally have to drag myself out of bed.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I found the article intriguing because of my own personal experience. A few years ago, I was a mess. I had put on quite a bit of weight. I had never had a weight problem before because I was always fairly active. I have exercised in one form or another every day for my entire life.
I was also very ill. I had bronchial problems and allergies for a number of years, and had a persistent post nasal drip and sinus congestion. Air born allergies to pollen, mold, animal fur, etc. also plagued me, and I was constantly taking anti-histamines and other products to deal with the allergies.
Worse, three years ago, within the period of six months I had pneumonia twice (I had also had pneumonia twice before). The steroids they put me on to treat the pneumonia caused me gain even more weight (I put on 25 pounds in six months), and the heavy duty anti-biotics caused me to have a systemic yeast infection.
Worse, even after the second bout and cure for the pneumonia, my lungs just never seemed to recover. A friend of mine recommended a naturalpathic physician, and since I was desperate to finally get better, I went.
The first thing the physician zeroed in on was my eating habits. I, at the time, consumed large quantities of dairy products. My standard breakfast was yogurt with fresh fruit in the morning, and I usually ate cheese at some point in the day.
The naturalpathic physician suggested that my nasal, lung and weight problems were all due to a dairy allergy, and suggested that I eliminate all dairy from my diet for a few weeks.
I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. Well, within a week my nasal congestion and post nasal drip began to clear up, and were completely gone within three weeks. My bronchial issues also began to finally go away. Furthermore, I had begun to eliminate the dairy in May, a month in which I was usually miserable due to tree pollen, and that was the first May I didn't have to live on anti-histamines to get me through the month.
Best of all, the weight that I had been struggling to lose, finally began to show some inclination that it was willing to come off, and as the months went by with me not eating dairy, I finally shed pounds as opposed to just packing them on.
I still try to minimize my consumption of dairy products. I will have some cheese now and again, mostly because I just love it, but when I do I feel the effects. My sinuses become clogged for several days and I even now get head-aches from it.
So, in my experience, I found that there is some truth to the notion that some of our chronic conditions and weight gain may be from what are otherwise healthy foods. By eliminating dairy from my diet I cleared up a persistent problem that had plagued me for years. I spent God knows how much money on drugs to treat the symptoms of nasal congestion and allergies, when all I really needed to do was eliminate the cause of the symptoms--dairy products.
And, eliminating dairy also finally got me on the track to losing weight as opposed to just gaining it.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I don't have time to comment/write about this now, so I'll come back to it later.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In the late Spring, Summer and early Fall I can eat just fruit for breakfast. But it's getting cold again, and I just need something warm in my belly first thing in the morning to start the day.
Having a little oatmeal in the morning is the perfect solution. According to the directions for the organic oatmeal I use, I need to combine 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of water to produce a portion.
Now, if I made the full portion size as directed it would contain 190 plus calories, and is just too much food for me, particularly since I still like to pair the oatmeal with a piece of fruit.
So, looking at the directions given, I see that the proportion of oats to liquid is 1 to 2. I just reduce my portion of oatmeal to 1/4 cup and add 1/2 cup liquid.
So when I make my oatmeal I use 1/4 cup oats plus 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup almond milk (to give it some creaminess and extra flavor). I also add a sprinkling of cinnamon and either raisins, chopped apple or fresh berries (blueberries are my favorite). I then nuke it in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes to get a hot, steamy bowl of delicious oatmeal.
I reduced the portion size appropriately, and reduced overall calories as well. I find that my bowl of oatmeal plus either a banana or apple is enough breakfast to take me through the entire morning (which usually includes hiking, walking or yoga) until I'm ready for lunch.
A new study suggests that people who eat lots of processed foods have a higher risk of depression. Conversely, those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables and fish had a lower risk of depression.
So, in addition to making you thinner, eating less processed junk foods will make you happier.
Friday, October 30, 2009
"After a year long study by exercise physiologists it was found that only those who continued exercising kept visceral fat from returning.
These results were tracked after participants went on a strict diet and lost an average of 24 pounds. They split the study participants into 3 groups of aerobic exercisers, resistance exercisers, and non-exercisers. After seeing great results in weight loss maintenance from the exercising group, the achievements of the non-exercisers were discouraging.
The group that did not exercise after losing the initial 24 pounds averaged a 33% increase in visceral fat within the next year. The point of the story is that exercise + diet is the key to long term success – not dieting alone."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Huh?? Making kids eat a vegetarian meal ONCE a week is somehow "indoctrinating" them? Indoctrinating them into what?? I make my kids go meatless a couple of days a week (in an effort to teach them better eating habits), so am I some kind of a Nazi-Mamma or something?
Did you notice the grill with ribs and hot dogs in the back-ground while he's ranting about the school district's mission to try to teach children healthy eating habits???? What in God's name is that supposed to represent? Everything that's good and pure in the American diet?
A couple other questions/points. Beck seems to be arguing that if you are a climate change activist, then you're a hypocrite if you eat meat (at least that's the argument I'm assuming he's making).
Now if the argument is if you are a global warming activist, then you shouldn't be eating meat, then why should Al Gore have to give up chocolate chip cookies? I understand the argument that he should give up cheeseburgers (and if you saw how tubby Gore is lately, if he is still eating cheeseburgers, who should be giving them up in any event).
However, I don't ever recall adding meat to the batter when making chocolate chip cookies. I agree that Gore should be giving up the cookies, for his health, but what does that have to do with the global warming activists who eat meat are hypocrites argument?
Also, I'm not a big fan of PETA, but how can it be "consistent" on climate change when it's an animal rights organization?????
I don't know what I'm more embarrassed by. The fact that Glenn Beck is an American, or that there are Americans who watch this Bozo and agree with him. There's probably some dufus out there now arguing that Al Gore is a hypocrite because he eats chocolate chip cookies.
Well, most of those ads are from an outfit called the Center for Consumer Freedom, or some outfit affiliated with CCF. And, just who or what is CCF? A marketing/PR arm of big agribusiness. Check it out here: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Consumer_Freedom
In a nutshell:
"The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the "Guest Choice Network") is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them "the Nanny Culture -- the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who 'know what's best for you.' "
So, the next time you see some ad telling you that something that's bad for you really isn't bad for you, just remember where it's coming from--people who want you to spend your money on their products, even though those products will make you sick and fat.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
T-Rez over at Queen of My Domain has ditched her scale (http://www.queenofdadomain.com/2009/10/i-want-to-let-yall-in-on-secret.html).
I usually agree with what T-Rez writes, but this time I have to disagree. I'm a big believer in keeping track of one's weight when trying to both lose it and maintain it afterwards. I weigh myself several times a week religiously, and note any trends.
Note, that I say "trends." I don't obsess every time it shows a pound or two gained. Weight fluctuates a lot of a number of reasons, including water retention, so if I see I'm up a couple of pounds, I usually give it a day or two to see if it's an anomaly, or sign of a permanent weight gain.
And, tight fitting jeans aside, watching the scale tells you a whole lot faster if you've been gaining weight and need to make exercise and dieting changes than not weighing yourself regularity.
That said, I also back up my scale watching with measurement. I take my measurements regularly, and actually have records going back over ten years. It's easy, just keep a note-book with a measuring tape someone in your bedroom (or where you get dressed) and note down your measurements every couple of weeks or so. I record the following:
Just to give you an idea the last time I took my measurements, my stats were as follows:
Weight: 126.6 pounds
Bust: 38 inches
Under Bust 29 inches
Waist: 27 1/2 inches
Hips 35 3/4 inches
Right Thigh: 20 inches
Left Thigh: 20 inches
Back in May 2007 when I finally got serious about losing weight and toning up my stats were as follows:
Weight: 156 pounds
Bust: 39 1/2 inches
Under Bust: 31 inches
Waist: 32 Inches
Hips: 40 inches
Right Thigh: 23 1/2 inches
Left Thigh: 23 inches
Just to go back further in March of 1999 (which as before I had my second child), my stats were
Weight: 120 pounds
Under Bust 29 1/2
Hips 37 1/2
Right Thigh: 21 1/2
Left Thigh: 21
Notice that although I weighed less, I actually had bigger measurements in the waist, hips and thighs then I do now. That's because muscle weighs more than fat, and I'm certainly more muscular than I was then (I'm also packing a couple of fibroids which I'm sure ups the weight as well).
So, it's not that I think the scale should be the end all and be all of measuring your weight loss success. It's just that I believe that using the scale, in conjunction with other guideposts (which can be a set of jeans), is still a good idea.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I like to serve fish at least once a week because it's a great, lean, protein source and the Omega 3 in fish has many health benefits.
I usually have no idea what fish I'm going to serve when I go into the store. Rather than go in with some pre-conceived idea of what fish I'll buy, I like to see what looks good, and, most importantly, what's on sale. Why serve halibut if it's $20 a pound and looks like it's been sitting in the case for several days???
So, I developed a few recipes that can be used with a wide variety of fish. Dijon-Crusted Fish with Roasted Asparagus is what I made for dinner last night. It's a great recipe that can be made with a wide variety of fish (last night it was cod), utilizes any left-over bread I have in the house, and it's all baked on one big cookie sheet which I line with aluminum foil, so clean-up is a breeze.
Best of all, I can make the whole dish, from start to finish, including a big salad to serve on the side, in less than 40 minutes.
Dijon-Crusted Fish with Roasted Asparagus
1 1/2 pounds firm fleshed, boneless, skinless fish fillets such as salmon, halibut or cod
salt and pepper
Bread Crumb topping (see recipe below)
2 pounds asparagus spears, trimmed
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange fish on one half of the cookie sheet. Salt and pepper the fish and spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each fillet. Spread the Bread Crumb topping over the fish and press into the Dijon mustard.
2. Arrange the asparagus spears on the other half of the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss with your hands to evenly coat each spear.
3. Cook for 15-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) until the fish is cooked.
Bread Crumb Topping
1 six-inch piece of whole wheat, whole grain or multi-grain baguette, sliced in half lengthwise and toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Break the bread up into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then add remaining ingredients. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Coq Au Vin
Friday, October 23, 2009
Now this friend is part of a "group." Fourteen years ago six of us started a playgroup for our then 3-5 month olds. The playgroup lasted until the kids were 4, the friendships are on-going. We still get together for birthdays, holidays special occasions, and just because we feel like.
So needless to say, one of us going into surgery is cause for support lunch. I had gone for an excellent hike this morning with another girlfriend (not part of the group), and had actually discussed M's diagnosis with her. I commented that the "group" was trying to get together prior to M's surgery to show support.
I guess what they say about Karma is true. Just as I walked into the house another member of the group (I'll call her M2), telephoned and asked if I could do lunch at noon. I have Tai Chi at 1 pm on Fridays, so I didn't think I could do it, then M2 mentioned that lunch was at a local pub right next to my Tai Chi studio.
Destiny was obviously at play here. How else could six, busy Moms all be able to make lunch on a moment's notice?
At the Pub I didn't have a lot of time, but ordered the "Pub Salad," (lettuce, cranberries, apples, walnuts, croutons and warm goat cheese with Raspberry Vinaigrette). I remembered to tell the waitress to hold the croutons, but forgot to ask for the dressing on the side (at least it was a vinaigrette). I also managed to leave most of the cheese and nuts on the plate before I had to leave.
M really appreciated us making the effort to see her, and all the offers to make dinner for her, her boyfriend and her boys. I unfortunately had to leave to get to my class, but feel blessed that I could spend that time with M (who's very into local politics and is still busy working prior to the election on November 3).
I just now have to get cooking.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Jack LaLanne turns 95, looks great, is in perfect health and mentally alert. I loved the "fruit cake." I'd like to get one of those on my next birthday.
I remember my mother exercising to Jack LaLanne back in the 1960's, and even joining in with her for some of the exercises.
But Jack and Elaine LaLanne are prime examples of how good your life can be if you eat right and exercise.
My favorite line "You're fat because your father taught you to eat junk food."
"Add to these facts a recent study in the journal Environmental Health that found samples of the corn syrup also contained mercury — a metal that can cause neurological damage, especially in kids. A subsequent and more recent
industy-sponsored study at Duke University found no such contamination."
Because the Duke study followed the one that found the mercury in corn syrup, I'd like to find out who funded it. Chances are it's probably some outfit with financial interests tied to corn syrup.
I'm all for eliminated corn syrup from my family's diet, but if there's even the slighted chance that corn syrup can contain mercury, then I'm really going to step up efforts to do so.
BTW, you can read the rest of the opinion piece here: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/10/column-fight-obesity-by-taxing-calories-.html
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My general rule of thumb is to eat raw vegan for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but eat anything I want for dinner. That means that I'll generally eat fruit for breakfast, a salad or raw veggies and dip for lunch and fruit, veggies, raw nuts or dried fruits for snacks.
Now, I don't go hog wild and pile on the calories, fat, etc. for dinner. I try to make a sensible dinner for me and the family.
But, as T-Rez laments, when you have to please a family, you have to make compromises to your weight-watching regime.
Here's a few of the tricks I've picked up over the last two years to make sure that I eat sensibly at dinner while keeping the troops happy.
1. Start with salad. With bagged, pre-washed greens making a salad is easy as pie. I usually cut up red onions, cucumbers, peppers etc. in bulk once or twice a week and sprinkle them on my salads over the course of the week. I also avoid bottled dressings (two many chemicals, sugar etc) and make a big bottle of homemade dressing once a week. Here's the recipe for one of my favorites: http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/05/dieting-gadgets-i-love.html. I also like to thin out hummus with a water and fresh lemon juice for a creamy dressing. The kids may not eat the salad, but when I do, I eat less of the stuff that isn't so great for me.
2. Add veggies. If a recipe doesn't include any vegetables then just add them. I don't cook Mac & Cheese but you can easily steam and add fresh broccoli or add thawed frozen peas. Sliced cherry tomatoes are fantastic to add to a lot of pasta dishes as is baby spinach or arugula.
3. Increase the veggies, reduce the meat. I often make family favorites but with less meat and more veggies. For example, tonight's dinner is sausage and peppers. I used to use over two pounds of sausage when I made sausage and peppers. Tonight I'm using just a pound. I more than doubled the amount of peppers, tomatoes and onions I used to fill the family up, and serve it all over brown rice. I'll also generously sprinkle fresh parsley over the finished dish. If making chili, use less beef (and maybe switch to turkey or chicken) and more beans and tomatoes.
3. Cut calories where you can. My family loves breaded, fried foods, like chicken cutlets, fish, etc. When I make cutlets, e.g., I dip floured chicken in egg then the bread crumbs. Instead of just whole eggs, I now use just one whole egg and two egg whites. I also "dip lightly" and apply less breading than before. I also follow the "eat salad first" rule when breaded, fried foods are on the menu. Baking foods that are normally fried also works well in cutting calories.
4. Add a little raw to every meal. Whenever I can I try to add raw fruits and veggies to what I'm making. Meals like grilled tuna, pork or chicken with Mango salsa (see http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/04/have-little-raw-with-every-meal.html) or Crispy Skin Salmon (see http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/05/eat-little-raw-with-every-meal.html) work well.
5. Make Dinner a salad. There are many salads that work for dinner. Things like Chef's Salad (see http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/06/little-raw-with-every-meal-salad-for.html) or Tuna or salmon Nicoise salad. The Barefoot Contessa also has a great recipe for a Warm Duck Salad I like. You can find it here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/warm-duck-salad-recipe/index.html
Let's just say I'm wiped. I've hiked for 1 1/2 hours before, but not at the pace these gals took us through. I had to run at times to keep up.
I loved it. They're suggesting a 2 hour hike next week. I already told them to sign me up.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Check it out here: http://msbitchcakes.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-and-why-i-started-working-out-after.html
You go girl!!
Friday, October 16, 2009
In the summer I power walk outside first thing in the mornings. But once school starts and I have to get up at 5:15 it's just too dark. On the mornings when I sleep in, however, I still like to walk outside.
Unfortunately, I live in New England, and the weather does not always co-operate. We had a Nor'easter blow through here last night into this morning which brought cold rain and sleet. It looked like a walk outside was not in the cards (unless I wanted to get extremely cold and wet).
Wanting an alternative to the treadmill on bad weather days, a bought a dance cardio workout video several months ago. My girlfriend Maria, had been raving about The Tracy Anderson Method Dance Cardio Workout, so on her recommendation, I bought the DVD.
The first time I tried to use Ms. Anderson's workout, the DVD player in my bedroom didn't work. This week I finally got a new DVD player, and spent 45 minutes setting it up in my bedroom this morning.
But, it turns out the Tracy Anderson Method DVD didn't work. It's defective, and I probably can't take it back now since I've had it over three months.
The good news is that after I spent the 45 minutes setting up the DVD player, I looked outside and saw that the weather cleared up. So, I took my power walk outside.
I guess that all's well that ends well.
Now, I just have to buy a work-out DVD that actually works.
And, according to new research it can extend your life. Check it out here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090914/ap_on_he_me/us_med_octogenarian_exercise
CHICAGO – Even in the "oldest old," a little physical activity goes a long way, extending life by at least a few years for people in their mid- to late 80s, Israeli researchers found.
The three-year survival rate was about three times
higher for active 85-year-olds compared with those who were inactive. Getting less than four hours of exercise weekly was considered inactive; more than that was active.
The results "clearly support the continued encouragement of
physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start," the researchers wrote in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, which published the study.
They noted that exercise reaped benefits even for previously sedentary 85-year-olds; their three-year survival rate was
double that of inactive 85-year-olds.
Oldsters didn't have to be super-athletes to live longer; walking at least four hours weekly counted, even if it was just in 15-minute strolls a few times daily.
So, get up off your butt and move a little.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am a cooking show addict. When I switch on the TV looking for something to watch, the Food Network is one of the first channels I check. I'm always looking for new recipes and new things to cook (I love cooking), as well as just learning more about how to prepare really good food.
But, I have to admit there are a number of shows that I don't bother to watch. Sandra Lee bases her whole show on using processed foods, so I don't bother with her. Everyone else may think Rachel Ray is adorable, but she annoys the hell out of me.
And, the few times I've bothered to watch Paula Deen, I was just appalled at what she was making.
Well folks, the above creation of Paula Deen is exactly the reason why I just continue flipping through the channels when her show is on. It's a bacon cheese-burger on a buttered crispy Kreme donut. If you really want to pack on the pounds and increase your risk of a heart attack, you can add a fried egg.
I kid you not. Paula has made this caloric disaster on her show and serves it in her restaurants.
The health statistics of this cardiac arresting abomination are just outstanding. The donut bacon cheeseburger packs in a whopping 1,500 calories and 45-70 grams of fat (depending on whether or not you add a fried egg).
To burn off 1,500 calories, I'd have to walk on my treadmill at a 3.2 miles an hour at a 7% incline for 3 1/2 hours. I don't think it's worth it. Do you?In case you think I'm besmirching Ms. Deen's name, here she is making it: