As we all know, the hardest part about making the decision to lose weight and get in shape is changing the way you eat. You can exercise all day long, but if you don’t make a food lifestyle change, you won’t see results. Plus, changes in the way you eat will show faster on your body than exercise. You will find you have more energy, sleep better, and you are more regular.
The second hardest part of dieting, is affording this food change. Eating more fresh produce, meats, and switching to organic can really take its toll on your wallet. Let’s face it; it’s a lot cheaper to eat processed food then fresh. Well I have compiled these few tips to help you in your food shopping and cooking endeavors. In the future, I will be posting a video following me shopping in the grocery store to help you pick healthy options.
1- Shop for in season produce. Summer is great for strawberries, cherries, kiwi, mangos and pineapples. For veggies, try to pick up some summer squash, zucchini, green beans, and ears of corn. Summer salads are great quick and easy meal ideas. If the produce that you want is not in season, buy frozen. They still have the same nutritional benefits and last longer in the freezer. Avoid canned veggies and frozen veggies with sauce and oil. You can add your own.
2- Grill meats and fish whenever possible. You save a ton of calories grilling. The fat melts off and away from your meat, you add flavor from charcoal grilling, and it’s so hot in the summer, why turn on your stove?
3- Invest in a slow cooker for healthy one pot wonder meals. Slow cookers are great to help you cook healthy meals without slaving over a hot stove or oven. You don’t have to do a thing but add all the ingredients, set it, and forget it. Try chili,
goulash, and pot roast recopies. They are low cost to make and full of fiber and protein.
4- Summer is a great time to incorporate more fish to your diet. Fish is abundant during the summer months. They are spawning and starting to swim around. Because of this, you can save money and buy fresh fish at your local store for a lot less money. Plus, prices on frozen fish are down as well. I am not saying go buy tons of fish sticks and other Gordon products loaded with fats and sodium. Buy the plain filets. Catfish, whiting, and tilapia are great starter fish and perch as most available during the summer months.
5- Sometimes, frying isn’t so bad. Yes I said it, you can fry sometimes. Stay away from batter dipped frying. That is where majority of your calories come from, not necessarily the cooking process. If you fry, try to use flour coating on chicken and light cornmeal coating on fish. Fry using vegetable oil and do a shallow fry as oppose to deep frying. You will only add about 30 to 60 additional calories to your food depending on the amount of breading.
6- When choosing dairy products such as yogurts and cheeses, go for full fat instead of low or fat free. We are so programmed to choose the low fat or fat free options of everything, convincing ourselves that it’s better for us and we will get used
to the taste. Sometimes choosing these alternatives will hurt us in the long run. When they take out all those calories, they take out a lot of natural probiotics and calcium. Even thou the name says it has probiotics, research the brand compared to the full fat version. They don’t have nearly enough. You will end up needing to get more of the fat free version to get the same nutritional benefits of the full fat.
7- During the summer buy fresh herbs and dried spices. Herbs are abundant during the warmer months, and because of that, they are pretty cheap. For a big bundle of parsley or cilantro will cost you less than a dollar. Fresh spices are very expensive
no matter what time of year. Buying dried versions are cheaper and give you a richer flavor profile. Substitute these instead of lots of butter and oil to your food to add flavor.
8- Cooking with olive oil cooking spray gives you the same taste of EVOO without the added fat.
If you are one of those people who are uncomfortable cooking with sprays such as PAM, invest in a MISO can. These cans are great. You can fill them with your own oil. You pump the top three to five times until it’s hard to do so, and your oil comes out as spray!
I hope these few tips help. Remember, small changes lead to big results.
1. Eat Dessert First!
So many of us are so focused on losing weight and watching what we eat, that we deprive ourselves of food we like. The first thing to go is dessert. Oh sure, we try that fat free and sugar free options, but they do not satisfy our sweet tooth like we want. By doing so, we end up eating more of the stuff you don’t like then just a little of what you really wanted. Here is my tip: eat the dessert first.
Go ahead! I won’t kill you to do this every once and while, but make it an experience. Enjoy it. Don’t eat that slice of cheesecake while watching TV or reading a book, concentrate on the taste, smell, and feel of it on your tongue. Savor each bite. If you’re still a little freaked out about this notion, just eat half of the dessert or share with a friend. Then when you eat your main meal, you are more likely to eat less of it because your taste has been satisfied and you are not as hungry.
2. Take one exercise day a week and do something you love. AKA Swimming, play soccer or learn the moves to your favorite music videos
I dub this your exercise day off. You need to relax and enjoy yourself. We can get so regimented in our routines that we can end up dreading our next workout session. This dread can lead to procrastination, then to giving up exercise all together. In the end, you gain back the few pounds that you did lose and are at square one. Choose a physical activity that you love to do. If you love to swim, this is the perfect weather for it and you won’t sweat! Like to take up a dance class, do it! If you can’t afford a dance class, check out your favorite music video with chorography, study the moves, and practice the whole video for about 30 minutes. Trust me, this works just as well. When I was in high school, I did this all the time. I learned the whole dance from Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” music video. I had a ball, and had new moves showoff to my friends.
3. Take some time out for yourself and enjoy your favorite show or movie with no interrupts. Treat it like a theatre. Pop some popcorn and enjoy a glass of wine or soda.
I do this about once a week. This really comes in handy after a long day or week. My favorite show is True Blood on HBO. I love it! I let all my friends and family know that when that show is on, don’t care if I am watching the DVD or on television, do not talk to me or disturb me in anyway. I pop some popcorn and pour myself a nice glass or Verde champagne with a cherry in the bottom, or make myself a skinny girl margarita and enjoy my hour. Sometimes my boyfriend joins me and he is just as into it as I am.
4. Eat one meal without any distracts. Sit at the table (no TV, no book, and no computer)
Pick a meal, any meal, and plan to eat it without any distractions. Don’t eat while watching TV, playing a video game, reading, or at your desk at work. If you can, eat at an outside café. That’s a great lunch break. Set the table at home for one. Have a center piece of a vase full of flowers or candle light and enjoy. Eat with a friend or partner without distractions. If you do this, you will slow down your eating and give your mind enough time to register when you are satisfied. When you eat while doing something, it’s kind of mindless and you end up consuming more than you needed to because you simply weren’t paying attention.
5. Listen to music you like while you work to make the day go by smooth
I do this every day. Don’t play your music so loud that your co-workers can hear it, and don’t use headphones or ear buds because you might get in trouble. Just set it as a like background noise. It will really help you be more productive. Happy worker performs better, and who isn’t happy listening to their favorite song? My personal favs to listen to at work; Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Kanye West, Lloyd, Usher, and Beyonce. Also, music will help keep you calm under stressful situations.
6. Wake up to music using a clock radio or clock with CD player
Have you noticed when you are jarred awake by your buzzing alarm clock in the morning, your heart is racing, and you are automatically on edge for the next hour or so? Then you are hardwired for stress for the rest of the day. To wake up relaxed, try waking up to calming sounds or your favorite song. These will gradually enter your consciousness and you will wake up peacefully.
7. Try to take time out for minimum of two minutes of silence
This might seem like a hard one to do, but try it. You can do this anywhere at any time. There is so much noise out there that you can’t even hear your own thoughts. Go to the ladies room, or your bedroom, or where ever, close your eyes, and just engulf yourself in silence. Listen to the sound of your breath, the hum of the air condition, feel your chest feel up with air then decompress. Become one with yourself. This is your time. Don’t forget how special life can be with its simplicity. Goldie Hawn suggests this in her writings on becoming a happier person.
8. Go for a walk. The fresh air will revitalize you.
Flesh air and sunlight does a body good. We need fresh air to improve lung function and flush out any impurities, and we need vitamin d in our system to be healthy. Too many people are vitamin d deficient. But besides the health benefits, going for a walk outside can help clear your mind, awaken the senses, and give you a natural energy boost. Take your Mp3 player or nothing at all, and go for a 10 minute walk the next time you are feeling overwhelmed. Also, physical activity improves brain function, so it you were working on a project and got stuck on a problem, I bet after your walk, the answer just comes to you.
9. If you hear your favorite song, don’t hold it in, sing out loud!
This one can be hard to do for some people because we are all so self conscious and scared of what other people think. One of the happiest people I know does this, and not only does she sing out loud, but dances down the street! She doesn’t care what people think, just rides the feeling. She inspired me to do this. So far, I just sing in my house and outside when I think no one is around, but I am building up my courage. I will say this; singing full heartily without any regrets or fears is a great feeling.
10. Take a long shower or bath to wash the hustle and bustle of the day off of you and relax.
I love to take a nice long hot shower after a workout or a long day at the office. I feel as if the weight of the world washes right off me. We are so prone to be in a rush that we forget to take time to slow down and pamper ourselves. This is far from the spa, but the steam will open your pores, so a great atmosphere for exfoliating and deep conditioning. Just make sure no one has to use the
bathroom when you do this or the stress relieving purposes are gone.
11. Smile whenever possible.
Ever hear that it takes more muscles to frown then it does to smile? Sure you have. But it is harder to smile when you don’t feel it. Try it anyway. If you smile long enough, pretty soon, your brain will get the message, “Hey, maybe if I’m smiling so much, I must be happy.” Your mood will improve. Smiles are contagious so spread yours around.
12. Last but not least, act like a kid again.
Do you remember how it felt when you were little? I’m talking ages five to ten, before the opposite sex and puberty came into play? How freeing it was to have no responsibilities and just do what you wanted, even if that meant you might get in trouble? Too
many of us forget that feeling. We get so wrapped up in our own drama; we forget how to have fun. Try something to night. Go in your bedroom, take off your shoes, and jump up and down on your bed. Even if you feel a little silly, do it anyway. Be careful not to break anything. Run around your house with no purpose at all, just cause. It’s a great feeling to dump all that crap out of your head
and just feel the endorphins and spin, jump, and run around.
This subject is what many women think about when making the discussion to go on birth control or maintain it. Will it make you gain weight? Well, I have searched around the internet including WebMD and The Mayo Clinic, and they both say it’s a myth. They chalk it up to women just aren’t watching their weight like they should and that’s why you are gaining weight or having trouble losing it. I don’t quite believe this logic.
When I was in college, I was using the Patch as my method of birth control. I was on it for about a year, and during that year, I was trying to lose the few pounds I gain over freshmen year. I consulted with a nutritionist to set my caloric and nutritional goals and started working out five times a week for minimum of an hour each time. I combined strength and cardio in each of my routines. I ate a healthy diet full of protein, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and good fats. When I saw the weight was not coming off, I bump up my workouts to 90 minutes in length. Still nothing. I became very frustrated. I talked to my doctor about it and she says she could not explain why I was having such trouble losing weight. She did routine blood work on me and everything came up fine.
I took matters into my own hands and decided to take a break from the Patch. Within a week of doing so, I dropped 10 pounds! Now it seems I am having similar problems again. I was at a lower weight last year while on my current birth control, Loestrin, but like I stated in previous post, I had a serious eating disorder. I only consumed max 600 calories a day so I would be at a lower weight. Sometimes I went up to 1100 calories but only after over exercising. Now that I am working with my support team to get my weight and health on track, my weight has gone up some, but to be expecting in the first few months. Now that I am eating a very healthy diet, no fast food, 5 servings fruit and veggies, lean protein, cook all my food myself, and working out 5 to 6 days a week doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 minimum of 60 minutes a day, my weight is at a standstill. Had blood work done again, and still normal. My fitness level is higher than ever. Running six miles without stopping at 10 minutes and 30 second miles. My body has shaped up, my stomach is flatter, and my upper body is stronger than it has been. I don’t know. I do not want to place blame on my birth control, but since it has happen to me before, I don’t know. Check out these clips I found online and form your own opinion.
I love summer. You get to trade in those dreary winter clothes for bright and light festive frocks. Plus, you can spend more time outside because you don’t have to worry about freezing your buns off. I love summer because I get to be more active outside. The only problem is, when I have date night with my boyfriend, he only wants to stay inside. He is not what you would consider an outdoorsy person. But neither am I. I don’t do camping or hiking, but I still enjoy being outside.
Also, the added problem with staying inside all the time for date night is it is pretty limiting and repetitive. We don’t live in a big city so the only options we have to us are going out to eat, go to the bar, and go to the movies. These are all fine, but when I am trying to watch my portion control and caloric intake, these can be tough mentally. I love eating out, but to order your food to somewhat match your nutritional needs; you have to create a laundry list of don’ts. Sauce on the side please, no butter, can I have it grilled instead of fried? When you bake it, does it have to have the cream sauce on it? Where is the fun in that? Yes I know a lot of restaurants offer the lower calorie options, but some just don’t taste that good, or, the portion is so small, your left hungry. I’m sorry but 5 cocktail shrimp, half a cup of rice, and a cup of broccoli is not gonna satisfy my hunger pangs for very long. Plus you see all the servers walking pass with the sizzling skillets smelling oh so good, and you look at your plate and turn into “Bitter Bitch” for the evening.
If you spend an evening at a bar, there is nothing to do but drink. That is nothing but empty calories. It’s not a nightclub so you can’t fill your time with dancing; only drinking. You can end you consuming more alcohol than you planned to without even knowing it because you are filling the time, and let’s face it, trying to get tipsy.
And don’t get me started on the deliciousness that is known as the movie theatre butter popcorn. Doesn’t having that just making your moving watching experience complete?
Well, since it is summer, and I want to be more active outside, I am flipping date night upside down. Here are a few ideas to revamp your date, and maybe ignite some passion that you can finish later. (wink, wink)
1- Picnic in the park
This is a classic idea. Pack up your picnic basket with goodies like chicken salad sandwiches or roast beef, pretzels, sodas, and a Frisbee and head out to the green. If you have a trail there, walk the trail. Hold hands and talk about anything and everything. It’s a nice chance to silence the world around you and reconnect.
Great recipe for chicken salad sandwiches:
Shredded or cubed cooked chicken (8oz should be enough for two)
2-3 table spoons light mayo
½ cup chopped celery
½ slice grapes
½ chopped apples
Romaine lettuce leaf or Arugula
Whole Wheat Bread or 6’ baguette
Combine chicken, celery, grapes, apples, and mayo in a bowl. Spread on bread and top with lettuce and tomato.
8oz fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1 red tomato sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Alternate cheese and tomato slices on a plate. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for taste.
2- Bahamas staycation
Since you can’t afford to get to the islands with this economy, why don’t you turn your local beach into an island getaway? Wear a sexy bathing suit, something you know will catch your partner’s eye. No matter what your shape and size, we all have something that fits us light a glove, and make us catch our reflection in the mirror and say, “Damn!” Wear a colorful sarong to walk around in. Pack a lunch. Something you think you would have in the Bahamas’. Grilled salmon, tuna, or mahi mahi are good ideas with grilled pineapple. Fresh strawberries to feed each other, and since there are no outlets to blend the perfect tropical drink, buy one that is premade from your local liquor store and place in the freezer before you leave to make sure it is nice and chilled. Friday’s makes great ones like Bahama Mama, Hurricane, and Rum Runner. To make extra festive, place little umbrellas and an orange slice on the rim of your cup. If you want to watch your calories in your cocktail choice, try these quick recipes:
1 part orange juice (Try Tropicana 50 to save even more)
1 part pineapple juice
1 shot light rum (Malibu coconut rum is great)
Drizzle of cherry juice
Or something with more fizz:
2 parts brut champagne
1 shot vodka
1 part mango or peach juice
Now just enjoy laying out in the sun, sipping your cocktail, and splash around in the water.
3- Amusement park fun
This is the best for summer. Walking around a theme park is great exercise. You will probably log five or more miles during your day. Make your goal to see who can ride the most rides without throwing up. (Laughing) Let him / her win you a giant teddy bear. Grab snow cones as the perfect hot summer day treat. A lunch of a hot dog, small bag of chips, and an apple is a healthy alternative to funnel cake. If you want cotton candy or a candy apple, share with your sweetie. Don’t forget to end your day with a water ride to cool you off. Extra bonus for guys, if your girl gets wet, free wet t-shirt!
4- Adventures boot camp style
What I mean by this one is that there are family fun parks that feature obstacle type course for you to play on. For one, the rock climbing wall. This is fun, but tough. It will be a great bonding activity to do with that special someone. If there is a maze, run the maze. The goal is to find your mate and win a big kiss. Go karts are great for the uber competitive couple. Harness your inner Rick Bobby and put the pedal to the metal!
5- Midnight rendezvous at the playground
Now this is my favorite to do on a hot summer night. Meet up like strangers in the night at your local playground when it’s nice and dark. Around 10 or 11p is good. Even later, even sexier. Swing on the swing set stealing kisses whenever you meet in the middle. Duplicate that scene from Spider the Movie on the monkey bars. One of you hangs upside down and engages in a sexy upside down kiss. Fool around on the picnic table. All this kissing and horsing around in the dark, waiting to see if you get caught, is great foreplay.
7- Love and Basketball
Now who doesn’t love this movie? So romantic. Now make it your own. Lace up your Nike’s and challenge your boo to a game of one on one.
Posted June 22, 2011on:
Here are a few go to drinks to order when your out and about this summer. No recipie needed to show the bartender. Write these down and keep in your wallet for easy reminder.
Bethenny’s Skinny Girl Margarita 100 calories for 4 oz
Mojito with splenda 150 calories with regular 200
Mike’s Light Hard Lemonade 100 calories
Brut Champagne 90-100 calories (Any name is ok)
Michelob 64 lemonade 64 calories as you can see
Glass of white wine 120 calories
Vodka Martini 160 calories
Mimosa 75 calories
Cosmo (Cosmo range from 170 to 200 depending on how they make it. I recommend 2 oz vodka, 1 oz triple sec, lime juice, splash of cranberry)
If you want to make your own drink, please reminber this little note:
80-proof vodka (40% alcohol; the most common
type) has 64 calories per 1oz
86-proof vodka (43% alcohol) has 70
90-proof vodka (45% alcohol) has 73
100-proof vodka (50% alcohol) has 82
Yesterday, I headed to the mall to do some shopping for summertime essentials. You know, tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, and cropped pants. I’m a total girl and love to shop, but sometimes it can be a bit daunting. I hate trying on bottoms and they don’t fit around my thighs and butt, or they do and too big in the waist. I start to feel my self esteem take a dive, and I quickly pulled myself out of it. A year ago, I would have let this total experience get me down and depressed sending me into a total tail spin and diving back into my old bad habits with my eating disorder. Feeling than I am less than then my smaller counterparts.
Another thing I have learned, the sizes in each store are different. You may be a size 12 in a store such as Forever 21, but a 10 in Express. One store that I caution every young woman to watch out for in shopping is Papaya. Yes they have very affordable clothes. They are attractive, but not made of the highest quality materials, but they couldn’t to be priced that low. My cousin is a size 5. She is very skinny with long legs. In this store, the clothes that will fit her are size 9s. This just seems really wrong. She doesn’t care either way, but a girl like me when I was a teen would be instantly think she needs to lose 10 pounds because she must have gotten bigger.
The difference this time, I knew how much hard work I was putting into my body. Keeping a food diary as my nutritionist recommended to help me stick to my calorie count and nutritional intake. I have been eating more veggies than I can remember. I have been working out regularly and I am proud to say I can know run six miles without stopping to walk at my weight of 172 than I was at my smallest of 155. I can pound out 12 guy style push-ups. That I use to never be able to do. Plus, I have been getting some many compliments on my booty lately I can’t help but feel good. Ladies, take my advice, if you want a little more junk in that trunk, make sure to add as many lunges and squats to your workout as you can. Even the modified version of the exercises gives you the same effect. (Extra bonus, stronger quad muscles in your legs helps protect your knees from injury.)
I still keep track of my body measurements and weight daily, but no longer will I allow the number on the clothes to let me know if I look good or not. I am all about the S-T-Y-L-E.