Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
and : http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20100527/hl_hsn/rarecasesofliverdamagetiedtoweightlossdrug
Once again proven. There is NO easy way to lose weight. You have to suck it up, exercise more, eat less, and clean up your eating habits.
End of story.
Let me tell you, the biggest struggles I've had with weight loss was not actually losing the weight--it was getting my family to accept a new and different way of eating.
And, one of the most important changes I made was to dramatically reduce the amount of meat in our diets.
Now, I come from a large Italian family where meat was no-where in sight at many family meals.
My husband, however, was raised to believe it wasn't a meal unless it was mostly meat (and fish doesn't count).
So, when I started to introduce vegetarian meals into the family diet, there were some pretty bad knock-down, drag out fights. My husband was very resistant. But, I persisted. I explained the health benefits over and over. I also pointed out that his own doctor recommended the changes to confront his high blood pressure and a congenital heart condition.
Persistence pays. We know eat fully vegetarian (and often vegan) meals once or twice a week, and eat fish at least once.
But to further reduce meat consumption, I've developed a number of "almost" meatless meals. These are meals that contain meat, but only as a flavoring factor.
Pancetta, an Italian version of bacon that's cured instead of smoked, is a great for almost meatless meals. Just a little bit can infuse a pasta dish with that "meat" taste that satisfies my husband.
Last night I made one of my "Mostly Vegetables" fritattas by starting out sauteing a little pancetta in a pan. I then added tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, arugula and peas. Then I added just enough eggs and egg whites to "bind" the vegetables. The fritatta was finished off in the oven.
I got the idea for the "mostly vegetable" from Mark Bittman--the New York Times Food writer. It's simply a fritatta that's mostly vegetables with a little bit of egg, instead of one that's mostly eggs with a little bit of vegetables. To further"health it up" I use half egg whites and half whole eggs.
It's a healthy, quick to make dinner that satisfies my husband's meat cravings.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Since my girlfriend had been in the restaurant business for years (her first husband was a chef), the food was extraordinarily good, and I'm happy to report pretty healthy. The menu included salmon, pork and grilled vegetables.
But one thing mystified me--deep fried spinach. Yes, the chef took individual spinach leaves, deep fried them then coated them with a decidedly unhealthy dose of salt.
Why take something as healthy and nutritious as spinach, which tastes wonderful steamed or simply sauteed and deep fry it?
The taste certainly wasn't improved. It tasted like ultra-thin, green potato chips.
I only took a couple of bites out of curiosity, but it was definitely something to leave on the plate.
Which was a good thing since the wedding cake was my all time favorite dessert--carrot cake. And, it was YUMMY!!!
What can I say, every so often you have to treat yourself, and for me carrot cake is something you just go to go for.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I was never one for "exercise classes" and I never liked lifting weights at the gym. Frankly, I never understood the point of aerobics, Jazzercise or Zumba. I mean you go into a class, you jump around and where does it get you?
Even weight lifting. I tried it, and even slogged through the whole Nautilus craze back in the 1980's. But even that left me somewhat cold. Lifting weights toned muscles, but, again, I'd ask myself where does this get me.
I had always been athletic. I studied ballet until I was a teen-ager, and skied competitively in college. I also loved to bike, hike, play tennis and do just about anything that didn't involve going to a gym. I loved to push myself running, to see how far I could go.
And, I loved the freedom of not being tied to any schedule. If I had a couple of hours free I could grab my bike and take a spin along the Charles River (when I lived in Boston), or around Central Park (when I lived in Manhattan).
But exercise classes and lifting weights were just not my "thing."
Even yoga did not appeal to me initially. My first forays into yoga where found me lying on my back counting ceiling tiles. But, then I wondered into an Ashtanga yoga studio.
I was having back problems and a physical therapist suggested I try yoga. So, one day after I dropped my daughter off at her pre-school I wandered into a nearby yoga studio which was an Ashtanga studio. I never heard of Ashtanga yoga before. After my first class I was sore for four days. This, I realized was a yoga program I could sign onto. Ashtanga yoga is fast moving, vigorous and physically challenging.
And, there are "goals." And Ashtanga practice consists of an opening sequence, a closing sequence and then you work on one of six series in-between. For the last six years I've been working on mastering the primary (first) series, and I've done some venturing into the second.
More importantly, I've seen how my body has changed because of my practice. When I started practicing yoga I couldn't touch my toes. Now I can hold onto my foot and get my forehead on my shin. I can sit in a lotus position, and do a head-stand. Asanas that I initially thought I'd never accomplish have been accomplished, or are near being accomplished.
So this week the Shala I attend announced that they will be holding a teacher training program. After the completion of the program (which will take five months), I'll be a certified by the Yoga Alliance to teach at the 200 hour level.
I've given it some thought, and I'm going for it. I don't see it as a money making proposition, but as a way to expand my knowledge of yoga.
Six years ago, I never thought I'd reach this point but here I am, moving from student to teacher.
Sometimes when you start a journey, you think you know where you are going, but the path you embark on takes you in a direction you may have never seen yourself taking.
Weight loss is a lot like that. You get yourself on a path, and if you keep on it, you probably will wind up someplace you may have never seen yourself.
But, it's important to stay on that path, no matter what road blocks emerge, and how scary the curve ahead seems.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Three years ago when I started to try to lose weight I cut calories and began exercising diligently. But few pounds came off. Then someone introduced me to the idea of cleansing as a weight loss technique, and I was intrigued.
The theory behind cleansing (and I'll admit that there is zero scientific evidence to back this up) is that the toxins you absorb during your life, from foods sprayed with pesticides, to toxins in the environment you've been exposed to, are stored in your body's fat. Thus, your body is unwilling to release the fat as long as the toxins are stored there. By cleansing the body of toxins, your body becomes more willing to shed fat.
Now, I have to admit that some of the cleanses you read about sound extreme--and they are. Consuming nothing but water laced with lemon juice and cayenne powder for ten days is probably beyond the ability of anyone but the most dedicated cleanser (and not something I'm inclined to do). But there are a number of cleansing regimes out there that are quite sensible.
Three years ago, for one month I ate nothing but organic, raw fruits and vegetables, and during that time I did a few short juice fasts. I got a couple of colonics (recommended during cleanses), and practiced yoga and other exercises daily that were supposed to help with toxin release.
I lost 10 pounds in that month which never came back. But, more importantly, I finally began to shed weight. For the next several months (until the holidays hit), I started dropping one or two pounds a week (previously it took me a month to lose two pounds).
Since then, I haven't done as extreme a cleanse, but I have done a number of short term juice fasts and periods of going completely raw. Every time I find that weight starts creeping back on and refuses to come off, I find that if I do a cleanse, the weight soon comes off.
There are numerous ways to cleanse, but the basics are easy.
- Drink eight to ten glasses of filtered water a day to flush your system
- Don't eat anything containing sugar
- Eliminate all refined carbohydrates (e.g., white flour) from your diet
- Eliminate caffeine from your diet (that includes chocolate)
- Avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats (that means that McDonalds and just about anything in a box is out)
- Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables
- Eat less meat and dairy, and when you do consume it, make sure its organic and free from hormones and anti-biotics
- Limit your exposure to environmental toxins. Explore replacing your household cleaning supplies with less toxic "natural" products, and take a good look at the soaps and cosmetics you use.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I've also been a bit "sluggish" if you get my drift. I need to get things "moving" again.
So, earlier this week I decided to start a cleanse on next Monday. Nothing too dramatic, just eating and drinking right and taking a colon cleanse product.
Why put off the cleanse to Monday? Well, I have to get myself off caffeine first. I happen to love my cup of coffee in the morning, but I totally eliminate caffeine (along with sugar and alcohol). So, this week I switched from Coffee to green tea in the morning. The green tea still has caffeine, but a lot less then coffee.
Monday, I'll start the cleanse and will be caffeine free.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Like Jack, I went through the same journey until I finally owned up to myself about what I had to do.
First, of course, there is DENIAL. For me, this was done by just avoiding mirrors, never letting myself be photographed (there's basically no pictures of me from ages 42 through 46) and if I did let myself be photographed, I'd stand behind someone else. I also never let myself be seen in a bathing suit. I also never stepped on a scale unless forced to in a doctor's office.
Second is ANGER. Like Jack, I'd start all these crazy diets looking for a quick and easy way to drop the 40 pounds, and then got angry when they didn't work. I was also angry with myself for letting myself get so out of shape and I routinely cursed my body for not letting me eat as I had always eaten in the past.
Third is BARGAINING. I'd bargain constantly with myself that I could eat this or that and I'd work it off later (which of course never happened). Like Jack, I was always promising myself that I'd work out more and eat less, but for some reason couldn't do right then and there. I was always putting off the hard work.
Fourth is DEPRESSION. Yes, I was really depressed, not only about the way I looked, but the way I felt. I was always tired, couldn't do the things I had always done for the length of time I used to. If I went out in the yard to garden, I was wiped after about an hour, when I used to work the whole day in the yard (and loved it). I was depressed that I couldn't wear the clothes I liked (without looking ridiculous), and that I could grab huge wads of fat all over my body.
Fifth is ACCEPTANCE. One day you wake up and realize that you have to get real. You have to realize that there is only one way to lose weight and keep it off. You have to EAT LESS AND EXERCISE MORE. And, you can't just eat less, you have to eat better. You have to cut out the processed crap and stick to wholesome, natural foods. I think my wake up call came after I went to a plastic surgeon to discuss liposuction. After I got a price to have fat suctioned from my stomach, hips, thighs and arms, I drove home, took off my clothes and really stared at myself in the mirror. Even if I spent the $15,000 to have the fat removed from those areas, I realized, I still wouldn't have the body I had before I turned 40. The next day I started shopping for treadmills, and began researching what I really needed to do to finally drop the weight.
Needless to say, the $2,500 I spent on the treadmill was a better investment then the $15,000 I would have spent on liposuction. It still wasn't easy to lose the weight after that, and in the first three months I had the treadmill, I actually only lost five pounds.
But, it was a start, and the more I got into my weight loss journey, the more I learned, and the more weight came off.
It hasn't been easy, and, in fact, it's been damn hard.
And, its still hard. I constantly struggle with not gaining the weight back. Even with my new exercise and eating habits, pounds still want to creep back on (it's a function of hitting menopause).
But, I've accepted the struggle, and fight on.
Thanks for the great post Jack.
We should all look this good at 95!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Normally, for most of the year, getting up at 5:15 to do my walk three times a week (because that's the only time I can fit it in when I know I'll do it), means it's pitch black outside, and I'm consigned to walking inside on my treadmill watching DVRed recording of Mad Men, True Blood or whatever else strikes my fancy.
But every year, at the end of May, something magical happens. I wake up to light!!! That means I can go outside.
Now I enjoy my walk either way (especially when you consider all the male eye candy available on Television these days), but I have to admit I prefer being outside.
When you're out walking at 5:30 am it's just me, the robins and lots of deer (who generally look at me as a pass by with a great deal of curiosity then continue munching on my neighbors' azaleas).
I'll have to enjoy it while I can, because in a few more months, it will be dark again.
And, besides going outside, the light just makes it so much easier to get out of bed in the first place. Once it gets really dark, all I want to do is cuddle under the covers and sleep. But, I see that light in the morning, and I'm ready to roll.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Since I've lost my weight, people are always asking what's "the best" exercise to lose weight.
My reply? "The one you'll most likely stick with for the rest of your life."
It does you no good to run out and buy a Stairmaster because you read it burns the most calories in an hour if getting on the thing makes you want to puke.
You have to find ways to incorporate exercise into your life that you'll like and will want to continue doing for the rest of your life. It may not be the most efficient exercise, calorie burning wise, but it has to be something you'll WANT to do.
Earlier this year I discovered Tai Chi. It's a slow moving Chinese Martial art, which I'm just totalling loving. It only burns about 230 calories an hour, but the bonus is that I do it every day, even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes. I love practicing the forms. And, this practice is on top of my normal power walking and yoga routines. While practicing Tai Chi 10 minutes (in addition to the two one hour classes I take every week), may not burn a lot of calories, over time those extra burned calories do amount to weight lost or not gained.
Yoga is another one of my exercise staples. I use it for strength and toning. I would probably see faster results if I lifted weights (and burn more calories to boot), but I positively loathe lifting weights, and really can't stand the whole gym atmosphere.
Yoga, however, is something that fits better with my personality. I've been doing it steadily for six years now, going to the studio at least 3 times a week and practicing at home regularly as well.
So find an exercise you love, and (to steal Nike's thunder) just do it.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Like the majority of Americans, I've watched the Biggest Loser--absolutely awe-struck at the weight loss the contestants experience. But, even though it is a reality show, the reality is that the Biggest Loser is not reality. As this story shows, the weight loss many contestants experience is actually illusory:
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
But, when we get to the point where we want to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds or more, we have to rouse ourselves to leave the zone of comfort. We have to make ourselves do things we don't really want to do, such as getting up an hour earlier every morning to work out, eating just fruit at home for breakfast, or making dinner every night.
We may have to make ourselves stop eating foods that we like and make us feel good, like french fries, McDonald's hamburgers, and cookies from a box, and eat foods we normally wouldn't such as salads, fruit and raw nuts.
Because if we don't confront our comfort zones, real weight loss becomes impossible.
I have a friend who has been trying to lose weight for years. She's over 250 pounds and needs to do it for her health. But she doesn't exercise. When I ask her why, she says she's too embarrassed to go to a gym and wants to lose weight first.
But, it's impossible to lose weight without exercising, I say. Even if it's just a mile walk daily around the neighborhood you need to do something, I tell her. But, my friend is insistent that she's too embarrassed to do even that. Because my friend won't leave her comfort zone, she not only doesn't lose the weight she's put on, she puts on more weight yearly. No diet alone has ever worked, and no diet alone will ever work. She's gone on every fad diet that has come down the pike and while all have led to temporary weight loss, she never fails to eventually put that weight back on.
Losing weight is a bitch, it's never easy. We have to confront what's easy and comfortable for us, and leave those old routines behind forever.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Whether you're a woman or a man, probably the best thing you can do for your health is get your diet in shape. Cut out over-processed and fast food, and try to aim for a goal of the majority of your diet being plant-based.
Exercise is also important, even if it's a non-sweat inducing walk to the store.
Eat right and move. If we all did that, we'd be a much healthier nation.
Friday, May 7, 2010
"What Would Jesus Eat? The New Science of Biblical Diets Could Be The Secret to Weight Loss."
LOL!!! Check it out here: http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2010/05/the-ultimate-newsweek-cover-line-updated-again/56270/
It's quite a compelling story about a girl who went from a normal weight, struggled with what seems to have been some form of anorexia, then went to being too heavy, and then back to a normal weight.
This young woman (she was just 22 when her eating problems began), had self worth issues and used not eating, then over-eating as a crutch.
One thing yoga has taught me is to be mindful about what I eat. To not just focus on the pleasure eating brings, but the health and ethical aspects as well. Mindfulness in our eating, should also lead us to analyze why we eat. Is it out of boredom? To fill some emotional need?
Sometimes we need to analyze not just what we eat but why we eat or don't eat.
Lisa did that, and now she seems to be on a healthier road.
Way to go Lisa!!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tonight I'm making quiche. One of my girlfriends started raising her own chickens, and she dropped off these farm fresh eggs the other day. Some of her hens are the Martha Stewart Easter egg layers, so in addition to brown and white eggs, I got these cool light green and blue ones.
To make the quiche I tossed some steamed broccoli in the bottom of a store bought pie shell and tossed in some cheddar cheese and fresh chives from the garden. I then cracked open eight eggs, and mixed them up with a bit of skim milk, salt and pepper. The egg mixture was poured into the pie-shell and the whole thing baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It's now sitting on my counter cooling.
To go with the quiche I made a big salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and red onion. It's the perfect quick easy to make dinner. Assembling the quiche and salad took less than 15 minutes, and I got to work for the 45 minutes the quiche baked.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
As if I need an excuse to eat salad??? I love salad. I had a salad for lunch yesterday, and then had one with dinner. For my main course last night, I brushed salmon steaks with a little olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper then grilled them on my indoor grilled. I made a big salad with lettuce, avocado, mango, almonds, cucumber and red onion, then drizzled both the salad and the salmon with a home-made lemon vinaigrette. It was a simple, quick, easy on the calories, but filling meal.
It's almost lunch time, and I think I'll whip myself up another salad of lettuce, cucumber, red onion and shredded carrots with a ginger-carrot dressing.
Monday, May 3, 2010
I have my reasons, for wanting a new car and it has nothing to do with breathing in that new car smell (which is probably bad for you anyway), or having a shiny new car.
Yes, like older cars, older bodies are drama queens. There's always an achy shoulder, a sore knee or some female or male organ that demanding attention. But, we can minimize some of the drama with good maintenance. The most important maintenance you can do on your body is maintaining an appropriate weight and exercising. Excessive weight can lead to diabetes, cardiac issues and cancer. So watch your weight and avoid the drama.