Thursday, December 15, 2011

Preparing healthy meals when you're broke

Here's an eating situation to deal with.  I mean a time in which money is short, as the money from your paycheck has been used for bill payments and taxes. Now, you have no cash for food because you've drawn out enough money from your savings. Yet, you have to eat healthy foods til that paycheck (hopefully) arrives the next day.

To cope successfully, you should have packages of cheese, rice, spaghetti and/or macaroni in your cupboard, along with cans of vegetables, soup, tomato sauce, stew, tuna fish. Making sure that there is bread or rolls ahead of time, along with fresh produce like potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. is a great idea.

Naturally, you won't need to eat all of the foods mentioned above. But just by having them available, you'll have better options in combining those foods into delicious, healthy meals the day before payday. Here are a few sample combinations to consider: Each sample meal is plain, simple to prepare and will satisfy your appetite in minutes.

- tuna fish salad and fresh tomato slices
- rice and "Veg-all" (peas, carrots, diced potatoes) combined together make an excellent meal that is quick to prepare and will fill you up.
- canned stew and rice
- rice in tomato sauce
- potato salad and cucumbers
- grilled cheese\
- mashed potatoes and corn or stringbeans or carrots

Please share your favorite combinations!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Foods that fill you up

Those calorie-filled in-between snacks that cost so much, come in a tiny bag and sold as treats just don't do the job of filling you up temporarily and keeping your satisfied until your next meal. I found that out the hard way --- in terms of paying more and then craving more after consuming several little bags of those snacks. And other snacks, such as large bags of potato chips, still fail to satisfy.

On a more positive note, there are a few foods that can be eaten in between that are filling. They include:

- Salads, such as potato, macaroni salads These salads frequently include bits of raw carrots that are healthy.

- Potatoes:  mashed potatoes, baked potatoes are filling and satisfying.

- Cold cereal in milk.

- Smoothies

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Eating the foods mentioned above is a healthier and more appetite-satisfying alternative than chips, cookies, candy, cake, pie, pretzels, etc. Some nutrition experts suggest eating raw carrots or apples, which is also fine. But my question for them is, suppose I'm not in the mood for those foods? Suppose I prefer other foods that happen to contain more calories and fat, but at least fill me up until the next meal? It's not that I dislike raw veggies. It's that I prefer something that is more appealing at the moment. Just because I like and eat that given food, I don't make a habit of eating it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fat Loss Moves: Why you shouldn't follow diet books

Fat Loss Moves: Why you shouldn't follow diet books: Books with titles similar to "Lose Weight in 14 Days" are clearly unrealistic. Authors of those books assume that everyone's health, body ma...

Why you shouldn't follow diet books

Books with titles similar to "Lose Weight in 14 Days" are clearly unrealistic. Authors of those books assume that everyone's health, body mass and needs are exactly the same, and that results will be the same. That is blatantly untrue. The authors don't know, or really give a damn, about your personal situation. So how can they suggest diets and foods that may or may not work for you?

Diet books very often feature foods that you don't like and won't eat and/or food combinations that you don't like and/or won/t eat. Ditto for seasonings such as garlic.

Diet books don't substantiate their so-called facts with reliable information.

If a given diet book really worked, would there be any need for more similar diet books?

Author'c credentials as "doctor:"or "nutritionist" can not be verified.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prepare a Care package for yourself now

Of course, it's easier to think that you will be able to maintain good eating habits all of the time. But what about those times that left you stressed out and with an insatiable urge to chew on something?  If you were prepared for those times, most likely you went to the fridge or pantry and found something to tie you over, like crackers, peanuts, chips or even dry cereal. There was something.

On the other hand, there may not have been anything. Not even a stale roll or stray cookie or pretzel.

Being desperate, you may have followed the path of least resistance and visited the closest convenience store and bought calorie-filled treats. They weren't cheap but they were convenient.

So why not prepare for all of those in-between times by stocking up on foods that you will likely look for when you just need to have something to chew on. I/m talking about stuff that you like and will eat only if there is nothing handy around. It's got to be a food that you won't likely to go overboard eating a lot of in a single sitting, such as Cheezits. And instead of a small box or package, buy a large jar or bag of the stuff. Then bring it home and place it in the corner of a pantry shelf. Now you have a sort of "Care" package to turn to in time of need and stress. Sure, you just may consume more ot if than you anticipated doing, but once you were done and satisfied, that was it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Go ahead --- Spoil your appetite!

Remember being told as a child not to eat those cookies or whatever between meals?  The reason given was that if you did, you would spoil your appetite for that upcoming lunch or supper.  And if you ignored the advice and continued eating, you found out at regular meal time that you could not eat everything on your plate. You just weren't hungry, not even for the smallest portion of your favorite vegetable, for example.

Fast forward to the present. You'd like to lose some weight. You've probably tried halving portions at meal time or have simply eaten less and were still hungry. You've used a lot of willpower in doing that, yet find yourself eating more than ever!

Eating or nibbling crackers or a sandwich or fruit or jello or whatever between breakfast and lunch might make all of the difference in the world. If you've eaten some food between those meals, you'll find that at lunch time, you don't really feel that hungry. You could, however, go for something light, say soup and a sandwich and beverage. See how effective that is? You've trimmed your appetite to a point at which you are more likely to resist eating that cheeseburger and opt for a light meal instead.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Dangerous" times

"Dangerous" times are those rare times when you are hungry and can't access food for some reason. Maybe you only have about ten or fifteen minutes left before that all-important bus or train connection. Maybe there is a nearby store or concession stand, but the prices, even for junk food, are extremely expensive, such as a slice of pizza for nearly three dollars.

You're literally between a rock and a hard place. By the time you arrive home, three or more hours will have passed.

Sadly, there isn't much you can do for now, other than searching your pockets for a stray piece of gum or candy. But you CAN avoid having to deal with this situation ahead of time, especially if you know that you won't be able to eat for a long time. And the solution is, pack a sandwich and/or piece of fruit, such as a banana. For sandwiches, cold cuts would probably work best. They tend to last longer and aren't messy to eat. Ditto for bananas, which don't ooze juice when you peel and bite them. And for more durable sandwiches, consider a hard roll instead of bread.

As for carrying food around, you don't have many choices. Most of those "portable" foods are high in calories and fat and don't really satisfy very much. But in a tough situation, where you're literally dying of hunger, something to munch on, such as non-sticky candy or gum or chips or pretzels can and do provide momentary relief by easing hunger pangs. And since you don't eat them regularly, eating them so rarely will not make you fat or harm your health.

For many commuters, this is the most convenient solution to temporary hunger pangs and dangerous times. Just last night, standing in a long line of commuters, I saw more than one person reach into a deep pocket or handbag and slip one or more of those snack foods into his or her mouth. Doing that helped those people find relief from hunger and provide something to do until the bus arrived.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Perfect weight loss???

Your weight, according to your doctor, is normal and about right for your age, height, body mass, etc.  As long as you maintain your current diet and exercise regimen, you should stay healthy. You don't really need to upgrade your diet or take on more strenuous exercises.

But, you're thinking, I could stand to slim down a little more in certain areas, such as my thighs and arms. Once those areas are slimmer, you should be satisfied. Everything will be perfect.

Not necessarily so. Nothing is perfect in this world. There's no way to achieve that perfection and even if you could, you still wouldn't be satisfied. You'd have found something else to perfect and so on. If only this would happen, you think, things would be perfect and I wouldn't want anything more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best bets for avoiding mistakes in losing weight

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding mistakes

- Believing that whatever diet or exercise fad that worked for someone else will work as well for you. You're not a carbon copy of that person, in that your needs are different. Best bet is to know yourself first, including likes, dislikes.

- Trying to accomplish everything, aka, running in different directions at the same time or setting too many goals. That is how to get nowhere fast. Setting one or two goals is fine. Best bet is to focus on one thing you'd like to accomplish, such as getting rid of belly fat.

- Looking for that silver bullet or shiny object that is supposed to work miracles regardless, such as losing weight by drinking grapefruit juice only. There are no such miracles. Those miracle items are disastrous for your health and well-being. Best bet is not to fall for or try any of them.

- Getting carried away with things like setting goals and going overboard with exercise and/or diet. Just as putting on pounds took time, dropping them will likewise take time. Overdoing an exercise activity for one or two days is not going to slim you down faster. Bet bet is to begin focusing on an exercise activity that you like and doing that regularly. You'll avoid injuries and illness.

- Constantly switching regimens and getting nowhere. You're doing this because you're not quite sure where to begin or whether you want to risk trying something out of your comfort zone. Doing this will become more confusing unless you know why you're doing it. Maybe you're trying to see if you can stand eating a food you've been avoiding. Basically, you're going through a trial-and-error period, which is okay, but can consume a lot of time and even yield the opposite results. Best bet is to get organized from the get-go, such as consulting a physician and/or following the advice of a trusted, professional health provider or expert.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

One simple little thing to do for great results

I find that going through the newest diet and exercise books is not only entertaining, but very similar to panning for gold. Sure, there'll be a lot of nonsense, lies and half-truths in the woodpile. But every so often, there is also a tiny nugget of gold, which when used, can yield great results.

In fact, I'm going to use that nugget today at my next meal.

And that nugget is that if you want to lose weight, drink some water before each meal. According to author Timothy Harlan MD in his book, Just Tell Me What to Eat (Da Capo Press, 2011, "drinking water before each meal may actually be a powerful, proven tool that's cheap, easy, calorie free, natural and good for you!" He also explains that there had not been good research about this til now. The upshot of the study that he mentions was that water drinkers lost around 15 and a half pounds and the non-water drinkers only lost 11 pounds. The participants were between ages 55 and 75, but still.

This tip, I believe, is valuable for any age group and is definitely worth a shot.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Started a new fitness newsletter today! Posted first article

Yep, losing weight can be a hassle, but not if you go about losing weight nice and easy. This is the theme of my new newsletter, Fitness Times. I wrote my first article in it today. Visit http://tinyletter.com/strongwoman and see what you think. Right now, the subscription is free! If you're looking for other options for dropping those pounds without going through the expense and hassle, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.

reducing food intake and varying food choice

There have to be easier ways to reduce food intake and I believe that I've stumbled on one of those ways.....which is eat only half the usual portion of items like meats and other foods. But at the same time, fill up on fruits and vegetables. Eat as many of them as often as you want. Vary combinations of them so that you have a different meal each time.

This really works! For starters, there is complete freedom of choice and servings, which is as it should be. After all, no two people are exactly alike. They each have different food preferences and body builds, among other things. What works for one individual won't likely work as well for another.

Regardless, both individuals benefit from the vitamins and minerals in those foods and tend to eat less of calorie-filled, processed foods. They'll  likely enjoy the so-called "verboten" foods because they'll rarely eat them, such as cheeseburgers and french fries, making it easier to eat healthier foods.

Examples of foods for smaller, in-between meals

I've included a list of examples of food ideas that I've used and which work for me as follows:

- applesauce.
- soup
- bananas
- grapes
-sandwich
-salad
-crackers
-graham crackers
-nuts
-raisins
-bread sticks
-canned fruit
-pizza
-jello
-pudding
-popcorn
-fresh carrot sticks
-apple, orange
-beverage, such as coffee or tea
-plain cookie such as "social teas"
-bread and butter
-dry cereal, such as Cheerios, cornflakes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

more on eating small meals

In my "Beating Hunger" post, I mentioned that eating frequently during the day helps to reduce hunger and that those meals need to be small.

How to define "small" in this case?  Figure roughly a quarter of a regular meal. Something simple and practical, as a little dish of crackers and a nonfattening beverage as tea, coffee or seltzer water or water with a slice of lemon. Avoid sugary, sticky foods as candies, fruit rollups, cookies, cakes, donuts, pies and ice cream. If you still want something sweet, rry frosted flakes, applesauce, a smoothie, or fresh fruit.

Other ideas include mini-sandwiches, cucumber slices, cereal and milk, pizza, and salad. Avoid chips and pretzels. Nuts are fine as are blueberry muffins, tuna and tomato, buttered roll, ritz crackers, one sandwich, bananas, buttered bread, and the like. Remember to eat light meals. Beverages are optional.

If you're working at a desk, you'll want to consider foods that aren't messy, such as nuts or crackers. They are practical, easy to eat, and satisfy your appetite for the time being. They will also help cut down the amount of food that you put away during a regular meal.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beating hunger

The key is not to just eat three meals a day. Rather, eat frequent smaller portioned-meals throughout the day and you are not likely to be hungry. Of course, those meals need to be small.

I read this in one of those diet books and believed the author when he said that the French eat like this, which is why they, for the most part, are thin. I've been to France a number of years ago and saw this for myself. I always wondered how they did it!  I also noticed that the French took their time and savored their food as they ate, rather than gulp large amounts of food down in a single sitting. And I'm sure that they were trained as children to eat meals slowly. There's an advantage to that, as you fill up gradually and give your body a chance to digest the food. Gulping food down just forces the belly to expand in order to  accommodate so much at one time and if done often enough, will stretch the belly permanently.

Getting back to topic, I have to say that eating small frequent meals does curb hunger pangs. That food can't and shouldn't only consist of high calorie foods as cakes and donuts. Crackers, sandwich, salad, fruit, jello all fill the bill for helping you to beat hunger.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Being a fussy eater

I'm a fussy eater. I don't like fish, though I'll eat tuna. I don't care for broccoli and spinach.

On the other hand, I'm turning away from frozen meals and other processed food products --- and saving money to boot. I'm eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods.

It's not easy, though. The biggest disadvantage is that after awhile, meals begin to get boring. To make them less so, I'll occasionally prepare spaghetti or rice or elbow noodles. I try to include a salad or vegetable to round out the meal. It isn't easy. It's tempting to slip back into old ways of eating more often than not. Even if good healthy eating habits are established, you find that you have to become more creative in preparing meals if you want to avoid boredom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another way to lose weight without spending extra time

The answer is FIND EXCUSES TO KEEP MOVING IT.

Walk, run, hop, skip, do housework such as washing floors by hand. Dust by hand too, by using an old shirt as a dust rag and bending down and wiping chair legs, moldings, dresser mirror frames and surfaces free of annoying dust.

Find excuses to move that don't interrupt your normal routine. Walk instead of drive. It's easy and free. There's no equipment to buy or gym to pay for. And you can do it for as long as you like and still get a great workout, PLUS work done.

Go cycling sometimes in-between errands.

Make a habit out of moving around --- daily, at your time at your speed. If you find that you enjoy an activity, plan on doing it often, so long as it makes you happy. And be patient with yourself. Then after two months or more, try weighing yourself. You might be happily surprised. You lost a few pounds by moving and eating right. Those good habits will be a part of your life and lifestyle.

What goes through the mind of someone who's got a craving

Another dilemma that's quite common is dealing with a craving. That favorite food that you gave up so long ago keeps calling your name. You know you want me, it says. You've gone without me for the longest time and it shows. C'mon, stop fronting. You only live once, so why do you keep denying yourself?

It's so tempting. You've been so good about it, not to mention strong. But right about now, that food would taste good and it's not like I'm eating it every day.

Ok, you've convinced me. Besides, I need something different to eat.

With that said, I gave in, finally, and bought that McDouble burger and small fries, ate it, and washed it down with ice cold water. Do I feel guilty? Nope. I answered the call against my better judgment and am glad that I did. Having eaten that food, I was satisfied and quite full. No need to eat anything else.

I'm not the only one who gives in to an occasional craving, but found that the best way to prevent it from haunting me is to satisfy it once and for all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sometimes you just gotta nibble. What to do?

It's true! Say you're reading a great mystery novel or working on a project. And you're experiencing some anxiety. Will the detective in the mystery find the killer? Will you finish your project before the night or the week is over? For now, the outcome is uncertain.

But you just can't drop everything. You've got to continue AND handle anxious feelings at the same time. A lot of people do this by nibbling stuff --- candies, peanuts, pretzels, cookies, crackers, and so on. Those nibblers may have just eaten a meal and aren't really hungry. They do, however, need to calm themselves down, assure themselves that they will soon discover what's what in the novel or make some progress on that project.

So nibbling does fulfil an important need and it is a question of what to nibble on that doesn't damage weight-loss efforts that you may have going on. Foods as candies and cookies will aggravate an existing weight issue. But nuts may not. They must be chewed, not merely swallowed quickly. And they aren't about to do serious damage to diets or weight-loss efforts. Even crackers, preferably plain ones as matzos, may easily fulfil a serious need to nibble. They are thin and dry and you can probably feel comfortable about devouring quite a few. Fresh fruit as grapes and apples are always acceptable, much more so than pretzels.

And as you might have suspected, nibbling in between meals doesn't always work, as I have found. In spite of the food I've devoured, I have more of a need for real food and crave a real meal. In that case, it's a good idea to take a break, prepare and eat an appropriate regular meal and not bother nibbling anymore. You'll feel more satisfied, expecially once you realize that the real cause of your nibbling was your deep, inner craving for a real meal.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My little "diet" experiment worked!

For much too long, I've battled in-between-meals snack attacks. I'd be working at the computer, focused on my projects, with a growing need for something to eat during that time. For awhile, I relied on foods as animal crackers, plain crackers, cookies or candy to get through anxiety of producing a document that was just right. And I STILL felt hungry. No matter how many crackers I consumed, I couldn't win.

Tired of failing at curbing snack attacks, I began substituting fresh fruit such as plums, apples, oranges, grapes, melons and bananas. I'd keep the fruit handily stored in convenient bowls in the dining room and even on a small table by my work site. Nibbling on the fruit as I worked, I soon became full and more important, lost my craving for crackers and cookies. I really didn't want to eat those. Not that I could anyway, as none were available in the house. I had not bought anything, so the fresh fruit was my only alternative to eat during snack attacks.

So my little experiment worked!  Of course, I try to keep active by walking and in the fall, raking and bagging leaves. Now my biggest challenge will be maintaining my resolve and making sure that the house is well stocked with fresh fruits..

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the secret to traveling and NOT gaining weight

Quite a few yeats ago, I traveled to Europe, visiting England, France, Italy, Germany and Holland. I sampled a variety of cuisines. One breakfast in Italy featured sliced cantaloupe and ham slices. That combination was quite tasty and very filling. There were other combinations as well, but more commonly, a sparse selection of rolls, croissants, butter, jelly, coffee and juice. To stave off hunger pangs, I and one or two or my fellow travelers wrapped a few rolls in napkins to eat later on.

I also took advantage of an opportunity to sample a variety of dessert items, such as gelato.

Now after all of this sampling during the tour, you would think that I would have gained at least 20 more pounds. I'm proud to announce that such a weight gain never happened! Instead, I LOST about 20 pounds and looked and felt great.

Sure, I ate plenty, but also spent hours exploring various towns and their attractions, such as museums, by walking and browsing for a few hours at a time. In fact, I spent so much time just walking that my legs numbed after a bit temporarily. During that tour, I wasn't focused on diet and exercise, but the prospect of having a good time, so much so, that I didn't look forward to returning home. Walking constantly helped to melt away those pounds.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Experts need to explain exactly how we should do things to lose weight

Stating that you must do this or that to get trimmer, many fitness experts fail to explain how, specifically. Say they instruct you to eat more healthy foods. That's fine, but what are some ways to start doing that and even more important, maintain your efforts and succeed?

For example, one specific way is having more fresh fruit available in small attractive bowls around the house --- living room, dining room and kitchen. Whenever you feel hungry, you satisfy it sooner by reaching into the nearest bowl of fruit. And you can eat as much fruit (and vegetables) as you want in one day!

What's nice about this is that you fill up quicker and lose cravings for that calorie-filled donut, slice of pie or cake. And what's nice about this suggestion is that it tells you exactly how to eat more fresh fruits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My discovery: You have to PREPARE and PSYCHE yourself into losing weight

Thinking about ways to become more trim and fit, along with my own experiences, I have concluded that my efforts would have been more rewarding had I prepared for them and the whole experience of losing weight.

Let me explain.

My experiences in losing weight began when I noticed that I had become heavier and could no longer fit in sizes 12 and 14. My tummy showed and stuck out in lycra tops, making me look like I was pregnant. So instead of preparing myself for the long haul of losing weight, I sort of jumped into things right off the bat. As time passed, and six months went by, I was still fat. I had switched diets, went off and on new diets, avoided certain foods, namely foods I hated, such as fish. I lacked organization and stamina.

However, what I should have done was some careful planning and preparation in order to psyche myself into the whole experience and integrate it smoothly in my life, THEN worried about foods and exercises. It's not too late for me to start again and get better results this time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get passive and lose weight

There is a way to do it, and that is sticking to fresh fruits and veggies. Start by buying veggies that go together well, such as potatoes and stringbeans. Prepare potatoes as mashed potatoes and cut and cook stringbeans and eat them together. For dessert, opt for a fresh orange, plum, banana, or cherries or melon.

If you fill up on fresh fruits and veggies in a meal, say for dinner, you'll find that you have no cravings for a piece of cake or pie. I've tried this myself during one meal by basically eating mashed potatoes and fresh cucumber slices and became so full that dessert, even fresh fruit, was out of the question! I lost my appetite for sweet processed foods and even slept better later on. That's what eating fresh does for you. It makes you feel nicely full and content, while taking away cravings for sweets and other processed foods.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Which would you rather?

I heard the following question on a radio talk-show. In my opinion, there's no really honest way to answer it. And the question?

Would you rather be fat and smart or thin and dumb?

I don't think that there's any choice at all  If you opt for being fat and smart, your overall health and looks suffer. If you opt for being thin and dumb, well, that's what you are then. You probably can't change.

I, for one, would rather be thin and smart.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot weather exercise options

I dreaded being outside in the heatwave, but had no choice. There was an errand that had to be done today. Once outside, I saw two cyclists, four kids walking down the block and a runner doing their thing in the 100-degree heat.

Like you, I wouldn't. It isn't healthy and could lead to heat exhaustion, among other things. The best option is to exercise indoors at home. You can run in place, use an indoor exercise bike if you have one, do jumping-jacks, dance, stretch, practice yoga, do push-ups, clean house and so on. Ideally, your indoor environment is cool and features an air-conditioner. Fans don't really help you to keep cool, as all they do during a heatwave is push hot air around.

Since you probably won't feel like eating much anyway, reach for fresh produce, such as tomatoes, lettuce, melon, cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries, oranges, lemons, carrots, pineapples, apples and plums. These foods contain water, but will fill you quickly and help you avoid sweets and other calorie-filled processed foods.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

personality and weight loss/gain

Did you know that if you have an impulsive personality that you're more likely to gain weight --- about 22 pounds more --- than someone who is more conscientious?  The key word is "likely." That is, if you're impulsive, your chances of gaining weight are likely that much higher.

But you have to remember that no two individuals are exactly the same, or are carbon copies of each other. Nor are their personalities.

But you can still use this information about yourself to make positive changes in your diet and exercise. For example, being impulsive about exercise and sports can probably help you more, as you probably won't hesitate to go the extra mile. If you have to think about doing so, that may not always work to your advantage. Still, you should remember that personality does play an important role in weight loss/gain.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Improve your feelings about your body = improving your body

Feeling good about your body may be an important key to losing weight. For a lot of women, however, that's a problem because they have poor self-images of their bodies which prompts them to stress which in turn prompts them to eat more. And a lot of times, what these women tend to eat to relieve stress only aggravates their weight problem.

Speaking for myself in regard to body-image issues, I've experienced and still tend to experience poor self-image. I'm trying to shrink my belly, and although I've gotten it down some, it still sticks out. No matter which way I turn in front of a mirror, that belly just naturally attracts my attention first.

But focusing on something like a protruding belly is wrong. What I should be focusing on is a thinner, shaplier butt and thinner arms. The bust line ain't bad, ditto for buttocks. That's all of the positive stuff and my job now is remaining positive about it. Then and only then will I use it as a supplement to eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.

Try this beverage instead of soda

With all of this heat and humidity, it's hard not to reach for that ice-cold glass of Coke or Pepsi or other soda. Soda seems to fit the bill in this weather because it is cold and sweet and satisfying. But soda has its downsides too. One of them is that soda is already loaded with calories and basically amounts to sugar water Even worse, it leaves a sticky aftertaste in your mouth.

A better alternative to soda is seltzer water, which is much cheaper and thirst-quenching without the sticky aftertaste. And you don't have to drink it "as is" either. You can, for example, mix some orange juice in it. You wind up with a drink that has far less calories, is more refreshing, and costs a whole lot less.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turn losing weight into a habit

Very often, it is easy to become "hooked" on a given eating and/or exercise regimen initially. Unfortunately, the charm wears off eventually, especially when desired results are not forthcoming fast enough. Discouragement sets in and that's the end of that.

Getting hooked and turning losing weight into a habit takes a little work and time. You should take inventory of healthy foods you already love to eat and find simple recipes that include them. And you should also consider indoor and outdoor activities that already motivate you to participate and continue doing them all of the time.

With this information in place, the last thing you have to do is consider how you already spend a typical day doing what and when.....and include favorite healthy foods and exercises during weekdays and weekends. Initially, you will be hooked and stay hooked while avoiding gaining more weight.

Avoiding behavior that makes you fat

Here are a few tips:

- Don't skip breakfast in the morning. Doing so will cause you to become very hungry later on in the morning and start eating any junk just to satisfy that hunger. From my own experiences, I can tell you that eating junk will not likely include healthy foods, but sugary calorie-filled foods like cake, danish, donuts and so on.

- Eat when you do feel hungry.

- Avoid starving yourself in order to lose weight. That plan will only backfire and cause your body to go into survival mode and store fat. Plus, that plan never works and you wind up gaining even more weight.

- Avoid fad diets. You've probably seen countless examples of such fads in books already, along with outrageous claims made by so-called doctors and experts. Also, remember that any fad diet is not going to motivate you to want to follow it even after you've lost some weight. You'll become bored and go back to those old, fat-producing bad eating habits.

- Avoid wasting time and spending money on commercial gyms unless you are doubly sure that you will use them regularly and that their programs motivate you to continue exercising. Also avoid such gyms if you don't feel comfortable with structured exercise programs. You'll feel more motivated and continue losing weight by following your own exercise regimen for free.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FORGET dieting

I Can Make You Thin author Paul McKenna argues that dieting is a futile activity. It is nothing more than a "training course in how to get fat and feel like a failure." I've looked at a LOT of diet books and didn't follow their recommendations for meals. I'm ready to forget dieting and been ready for as long as I can remember. It really doesn't work.

The real reason diets don't work has to do with human biology. Depriving yourself of food really doesn't help you to lose weight --- it only helps you to gain weight. You're just dying to eat certain "forbidden" foods and can't because those foods are not healthy or whatever. The more you think about those foods, the more you want them, say, you crave chocolate and would love to sink your teeth into a Hershey's bar. But you don't have anything like that at home, which makes your craving worse. And when you finally get that Hershey's bar, you wind up eating more than one, ie., you've pigged out. It was so good and you didn't enjoy one for the longest time.

Now do you see what's going on?  Where you might have just eaten one chocolate bar, you wound up eating several. However, what matters is that you enjoyed that food and satisfied a craving. What's wrong with that? After all, you're not on a diet. Being on a diet would have worsened your craving for chocolate and made you feel guilty about eating one.

How badly do you want something to eat?

I'm currently reading Paul McKenna's book, I Can Make You Thin. It's simple reading and pretty entertaining as well, especially in Chapter 2, where Paul discusses emotional eating. He recommends putting a big question mark on your fridge. That, he says, should make you stop and think and ask yourself if you really do feel like eating or are you just eating to change the way you feel?

Well, it is comforting to have a nice full tummy, but that's about it. Chances are better, though, that your emotions didn't prompt you to eat. All you wanted was something to nibble on between meals, some kind of cracker or cookie to munch on as you worked at your computer or tried to solve a problem. I, for example, enjoy eating those cheese crackers shaped like fishes in between, simply because it's something to do while I read or work at the computer or whatever. I'm following McKenna's advice then because I'm eating what I want, but have a hard time stopping even when I feel full, lol!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The worst foods that you can eat. Is that really true?

Recently, I saw an article on the worst foods you can eat if you're trying to lose weight. Among those foods,  margarine, whole milk, soda, hot dogs, and pizza were mentioned.

Now hot dogs are processed foods containing fat and various preservatives, but as long as they are not eaten as a meal every day, they shouldn't be that fattening. What's life without an occasional hot dog?  If you eat foods like hot dogs, margarine and milk in moderation, you shouldn't get fat, especially if you're active to begin with. I'm almost positive that the author of the article meant the type of pizza that's loaded with sausage and other unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, plain pizza should be fine, so long as you don't eat it daily as a meal.

But soda should be avoided entirely. Drinking it is like drinking cupfuls of sugar.

Let me tell you something. When I traveled in Europe, I ate practically everything, including pizza, gelato (ice cream), potato soup, and other assorted goodies, and you would think that by the time I arrived home that I would have gained enough weight to look like the Michelin man. But I didn't. If anything, I actually lost weight, some ten or fifteen pounds and why? Because I was active during that time. I walked quite a bit every day and burned quite a few calories.

My point is that you can still eat what you like, but you need to balance that by staying active all of the time, not just one or two days.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another reason to avoid fast-food places like BK

As if selling greasy hamburgers and fries wasn't enough, places like BK and another called Sonic are planning to sell beer and booze with their burgers. If you want an excuse to pack on additional pounds, definitely plan to visit them once those places feature booze in their menus.

Thus, still another reason to avoid such places if you can. Even if you can't because much of the food is tasty, you can at least opt for foods with the least amount of calories and avoid super-sizing  at all costs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Do you really need a gym?

At least I think so. They feature the usual equipment and similar exercises and maybe a trainer or two. Sometimes, a few of those trainers do not seem to know what they are doing. For clients who do use gyms regularly, they socialize with others and maybe gain a few more friends.

You can do so much better than this. You can, for example, choose a sport to particpate in and join others who are enthusiastic about it as you. Doing that is way more exciting and probably a lot cheaper than a gym, as the motivation for exercise (participating in the sport) is more interesting and exciting than a gym.

Plus, you can create your own exercise regimen and implement it for as much or as long as you want. You can even opt for a personal trainer.

Gyms don't offer such options, although they charge money for using them. Before joining one, consider how often you'll use it, how much you'll be paying, types of equipment and other features.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is there such a thing as a bad workout?

I think that there is, but it shouldn't be anything to obsess or getting upset about. We're human, after all, and have our share of good and bad days, including good and bad workouts.

A lot of things can make a difference in workouts anyway --- your motivation, stamina, health, type of exercise or exercises, availability of desired equipment such as weights, bicycles, etc., and weather. You can also "feel" like doing something or not, depending on the weather. For example, hot and humid weather slows me down. The steamy air makes me sweat even if I am standing. I'm not about to exert myself into heat exhaustion.

All you can do is what you can do, and shouldn't worry about achieving perfection. Nothing is perfect in this world anyway.

Avoiding carbs completely such a good idea??

I did some web surfing today and read a few posts on various forums on fitness and losing weight. One of the posters suggested that eating carbohydrates like bread is what really makes you fat. To be honest, I've read a number of conflicting views and advice concerning carbohydrates. Each of the writers seemed to relate that advise from his or her personal experience(s) in getting fat or losing weight based on avoiding carbs.

From my own experience, I have found that eating balanced meals and exercising are among the best ways to lose weight, so long as you can turn the regimen into a habit. Not just any old habit, mind you, but things that you look forward to doing each and every day. If you force yourself to avoid certain foods, such as those containing carbs, you will surely do yourself a disservice. Of course, you should check with your doctor to see if avoiding carbs completely is the wisest course for you to take.

Otherwise, get those healthy habits started, making sure that each one you do is something you'll look forward to doing every day and you should be well on your way to losing weight.

Stop eating out and start losing weight faster

This morning, I heard a talk-show host briefly mentioning that eating out all of the time increases weight. In fact, that's nothing new. Years ago, I used to love eating out, mostly at fast-food places, which was the worst thing I could do to my body. My meals were basically hamburgers or cheeseburgers and an order of fries. Inside of a few weeks, I gained weight, especially in the belly. My tees practically stuck to my skin and I had to move back into size 16's. However, once I began eating at home because I didn't feel like going out just to eat, my weight came down. Plus I saved a LOT of money!

Occasionally, I enjoyed a restaurant meal. The meal portions were rather large, but worst of all, the sauces tend to drown the meat and don't taste that great. Coleslaw is usually served in a tiny paper cup and consists of about 70 percent mayonnaise. Calorie city, LOL!

I think that every so often, dining out is a great treat. Sure, it costs enough money and probably includes a lot of calories, but what the hey? It's not like you're dining out every day or have become habituated to doing so.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Losing fat isn't just a physical thing

So often, a lot of the focus in losing weight is on doing this or that. Exercises are recommended and good diets are encouraged, which is all well and good. But someone who is trying to lose weight has to avoid losing focus on his or her mental state in the meantime.. He or she has to be persistent and commit to getting results.

It isn't enough to merely think about getting results, but to do something to support that positive mentality. In other words, documenting those results in writing. Just recording somewhere, such as a journal, that you lost five pounds last week, will support your positive mentality and encourage you to keep at it and maintain the results you've achieved. Losing only a few pounds in a week or two is really a great accomplishment! It needs to be recognized and acknowledged some how some way. Even if you haven't achieved anything much now, you've still done something and your efforts paid off.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Planning your fat loss moves

When I first began, I didn't plan anything at all because it seemed like too much pointless work. As long as I did something every day, I should not have had any problems. But I did have problems.

My haphazard efforts did not help me to lose a lot of fat. If anything, I gained more weight.

I constantly used strategies that didn't help, or used strategies inconsistently for any positive results. Bad idea!

I was disorganized, which led to my having to figure out a single fat loss movement every day, which became too stressful and even pointless.

Planning your fat loss moves

. Weigh yourself and write the number down in a convenient place. Remember where you've written this number, as you'll need to refer to it again after three or four weeks.

. Decide what fat loss move you will do for each day of the week. You could simply repeat the same move or implement a different move each day. It's up to you and your weight loss needs. And WRITE IT down, preferably on a kitchen wall calendar.

. You don't want to limit yourself to performing one or more fat loss moves per day. You want to go back and check off or record what you did, how long you did it for, when you did it, and how you felt doing it. Would you perform that move again, and why or why not?

. After a month, weigh yourself. Are you weighing less, or more? If you're weighing less, go back and review what you did in the last three or four weeks and plan on repeating those moves!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Taking things one step at a time

In the beginning, I became overwhelmed in my weight loss efforts by trying to deal with everything at once, such as diets, exercise, the whole nine yards.

What I overlooked was focus. I didn't focus on one problem at a time and try to overcome it systematically. Insead, I took multiple problems on in a single go and lost traction and focus. I was literally spinning my wheels.  I became confused and dropped everything altogether. What was the point?

Now I know better. I take one problem, such as a bad habit, and deal with it one at a time. Doing this gives me time to become acclimated and substitute a good habit. The thing about things like this is that they take time to deal with. Another bad habit shouldn't be tackled until the first bad habit has been overcome in some way. Success in overcoming that bad habit and concentrate on losing weight 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Staying motivated to lose weight

On first thought, losing weight doesn't seem to be terribly complicated. You begin and maintain healthy eating habits and exercise. Even better, you turn those activities into good habits. Doing and maintaining them will seem like second nature. You wouldn't feel right if you couldn't do them daily. Once you feel that way, you know that you have established good habits.

Maintaining those healthy habits is the biggest problem because a lot of things can go wrong before those healthy habits are established. You can resort to yo-yo dieting or slack off exercising or return to eating calorie-filled and processed foods. Ultimately, the fat and weight return and you are back at Square One.

So you have to find ways to reinforce those healthy habits. For example, you may keep a journal, record your progress on a wall calendar, compete with a friend or family member to see who could lose the most weight in say, half a year, try different sports, excell in a favorite sport and so on. The whole point is to reinforce and maintain healthy habits and weight loss.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looking for another excuse to walk? You just found one!

I've thought of another (free) way to lose fat, and that is to volunteer to walk dogs at an animal shelter. Since I haven't yet done that, I couldn't tell you how long or how many dogs you get to walk. What I do know is that a reputable shelter will make sure that you are right for the volunteer job. They'll probably hand you an application and even check references. They take their job of dealing with animals quite seriously, although they are grateful for the extra help.

Once you've been approved, the shelter will insist on training you to walk dogs, even though you might have done that job before. They have rules and regs to follow and maintain and will want to make sure that everything goes the right way. I'm sure that the amount of training time varies. A few shelters are private, and I would guess that the majority of shelters are public.

Altogether, it's a win-win-win situation for you, the dogs you are assigned to walk and the shelter. You'll get plenty of exercise and have fun doing it, all for free. This beats paying money for a health club and getting stuck in an expensive exercise regimen any day.

the power of walking

Traveling to Europe one summer, I did a lot of walking. In England, for example, I walked to places like the British Museum and visited the shops afterwards. In between times, I stopped for a quick hamburger and fries or headed for the well-known department store, Selfridges, where I enjoyed tea and scones in its spacious dining area. Throughout my travels, I packed away various meals and desserts in countries like France and Italy.

Now, you would think that I would have also packed in those pounds and resemble the Michelin man on my return to the United States. That didn't happen. Instead, I actually lost a good 20 pounds or better, in spite of all I ate in England and Europe. But I walked a lot too, sometimes so much that I couldn't feel my legs any more. There was too much to see and do.

If I could only do the same amount of exercise here at home, I would probably shed more than 20 pounds. The whole key is to move, get in the habit of moving and keep it up! Better yet, plan on making a habit of moving, because onee you've shed the weight, you've got to keep it off.

Getting in the habit of walking

Many times, the choices you make can and do affect how much fat you'll lose. Getting bad habits to good ones is about half the battle. You can, for example, decide to drive a short distance to do errands or walk that distance instead. Usually, it's way too tempting to just get in the car and drive to your destination --- it's quicker, more convenient and comfortable. So you opt for driving.

But there's no reason why you shouldn't at least consider walking a few times. Having done this myself, I can tell you that the first time you walk the distance that you normally drive in, that walk can feel like it's going to last forever, even for short distances! To make matters worse, you see cars whizzing past and think of how comfortable their drivers look covering a short distance in a few seconds.

Ok, that was the first walk. But then you walk that short distance again and this time, it doesn't seem so long or slow. Nor do you feel so tired. A few more walks after that and you find that you're used to walking. You're also stronger and even a little slimmer! You can also control how fast or slowly you move, where to go and what to do. You're getting used to walking and are now looking forward to that little jaunt. Personally, I prefer taking that walk ---and run ---in the morning, but found that early evenings work just as well. It's a personal preference thing. Even more important, it's a thing that can quickly become (good) habit-forming.

Dealing with breakfast issues

If you're like me, you have a hard time eating breakfast in the morning, simply because you don't feel hungry at 5 or 6 am, whatever time you get up in the morning. The situation is even worse when you don't have adequate food in the house. What to eat? I dunno. This is one of the biggie mistakes a lot of beginners make and one that I keep making.

This is because my bad breakfast habits are still ingrained in me. I'll be fine for one or two days in terms of making sure that basic items are available for breakfast. But once those items are consumed, I'm forced to visit the supermarket again and you know how that all goes. I have found that having oatmeal and fresh fruit usually works, as it does take awhile to get through oatmeal. Quaker's is superior to other brands, in my opinion. I've practically tried them all, including supermarket brands, which do taste like cardboard, but Quaker's, though it is more expensive, is worth the price. As for fresh fruit, oranges are good. If you live alone, though, you don't want to stock up on too much produce at one time, as a lot of it will spoil before you have a chance to eat it all.

Bananas are good, but any other fresh fruit, such as apples (in season) are equally good.

And as tempting as it is to nuke a frozen breakfast, don't, if you can help it. Such breakfasts are processed and loaded with chemicals and calories that will sabotage your efforts to lose fat. You're better off eating toast than one of those things. Ditto for fast-food breakfast sandwiches, although I admit that they can be an occasional treat.

Four examples of "brainless" exercises

Ok, the alarm clock rings, you wake up and get out of bed. Only this time, try to avoid slowly rolling toward the edge of the bed and getting up. I know, I know, I used to do that myself and my efforts to lose fat wound up being done in vain.

Brainless example 1:  Jump up and down 20 times, run in place for three minutes.

Brainless example 2:  "Climb" the bed. Pretend the bed is a giant step. Raise up one foot and place it on the edge of the bed. Then remove it, stand on the floor, and place the OTHER foot on the bed. Keep doing this for 3-5 minutes. Each morning, challenge yourself to do more.

Brainless example 3:  Do ten jumping-jacks. You can repeat one way of doing jumping jacks ten times or avoid boredom and change the way in which you do them. It doesn't matter. Just do them. Challenge yourself to do more.

Brainless example 4: Punch your pillow. Seriously! Place the pillow against your bed's headboard and start punching it. Punch at a fast pace. Pretend the pillow is someone you don't particularly like or someone who is always giving you a hard time or hassling your for something all of the time. You can't say or do anything to that person like murdering or hitting him or her, but you can pretend that your pillow is them and punch it quickly for two or three minutes.

Substitute "brainless" exercise every morning to lose more fat

I'm speaking from experience on trying to lose weight. It isn't easy. A lot of effort and time are involved. There, I've said it. And like I said, I speak from experience.

One of the biggest mistakes I made in my early efforts to lose fat was frequently returning to my bad habits. That is, I would take my time getting out of bed and didn't exercise. I also feasted on coffee and an orange for breakfast. Then around 10 am or so, I'd begin feeling hungry again, ravenously hungry. Instead of eating something sensible, I looked around or purposely went to Dunkin Donuts and ordered a coffee and one or two donuts. And so on. Ultimately, my efforts dwindled and I was right back into my bad habits.

So what should I have done instead?

Start gradually and focus on one thing at a time. That is, for example, focus on getting out of bed immediately and start exercising. I like the type of exercises that don't require a heck of a lot of effort to do, especially in the morning, such as running in place or touching my toes for x amount of times. In other words, an exercise that doesn't require a lot of thinking. Exercises that require a certain number of moves and so on require thinking. When you get out of bed in the morning, the last thing you want to do is think. You just want to get out of bed and do what you gotta do. So if what you gotta do is one or two "brainless" exercises after jumping out of bed, do it, and make a habit out of doing it to overcome any previous bad habit.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Recognizing" a healthy fruit of choice and lose weight

Many times, people who want to lose weight and try hard to do so eventually stop. They become bored and who can blame them? And the funny part is that varying what you eat helps, but doesn't go far enough. A way that might help is to jazz things up a little.

For example, set aside a Friday or Saturday and make the main focus of meal and snack times a different fruit. You could have cantaloupe or pineapple slices with ham, for instance. If you want to make a really big deal, figure out a theme, such as a Hawaiian luau party or a Sixties Fruit Fest or something like that. You won't be limited to what type of food, but a combination of healthy foods that focus on one or more fruits. You'll definitely eat more fruit and in addition, may try different recipes for preparing and eating it. Your imagination is the limit!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ways to sneak in more exercise

Here are more ways to sneak in more exercise:

Take the long way home - Instead of walking the most direct route home, extend your walk by a few blocks. I call this the "scenic route." You'll learn more about your neighborhood and beyond.

Jump rope often - This is really great because you can do it practically anywhere for as long as you want, like in the garage or basement or dining room or deck or....,.......

Try walking, then running, then walking - Especially if walking all of the time bores you, try varying it with running. You'll burn more calories and get in shape sooner.

Take the dog on longer walks - This is almost too easy to do if you happen to own a husky mix, but something that you can easily adapt to whatever breed of dog you own. Your dog will benefit from the exercise as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Started on the first phase of my running regimen

Heeding admonitions to "move around more," I decided to do something more proactive about it and try running. My first step involved reading the first chapter of a book, Run Your Butt Off by Sarah Butler. That chapter's advice focused on the concept of walking, ie, begin walking 30 minutes for three or four times a week.

Actually, this is something I'm already doing and experiencing the benefits of. I don't feel tired and can easily change to a more rapid pace. Instead of driving to do bank and store errands, I walk in nearly all types of weather in wind, rain, and hot sun. But somehow I've survived.

Okay, things get interesting in Chapter 2, where the workout consists of walking for 4 minutes and running for 1 minute, repeating that sequence 4 more times and ending with four minutes of walking. Hey, I can do this! However, the author still cautions readers to go slowly, meaning running slowly. Yep. Guess I can do that too. We'll see what happens. Will I be able to continue? Will I get winded too fast? Bored too soon? Time will tell..

Ease hunger pangs with these satisfying AND pleasantly filling snacks

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to eat less and exercise more, you still feel those hunger pangs between meals. And you really have to find something, anything to munch on. I used to munch on crackers and sometimes I still do. Anything to stave off that gnawing hunger.

One idea is to sip soup. I tried this out and found that it works. Of course, chunky soups work even better. At first, you think that you won't fill up but believe me, by the time you finish eating that soup, you're satisfied! You can still supplement it with a buttered slice of wheat or rye bread.

Another idea is to munch on "airy" snacks such as cheese puffs or rice cakes. Eat and savor each one slowly and you will find that you're filling up nicely.

Also consider nibbling fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, and oranges, or vegetables  cucumbers and raw carrots. I mention these as a last resort, because even though they are healthy foods, they don't have the same appeal as a nice plump donut. If you can possibly substitute soup or an airy snack, do so. You'll keep off the extra calories and unwanted fat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Practical tasks that get you moving and help you to lose fat

Examples of practical fat-losing moves include gardening, mowing, raking, doing laundry, lifting laundry basket, moving furniture before mopping or washing floors, cleaning shelves, using leaf blower, carrying groceries, packing items in boxes/crates and cleaning bookcases.

You don't perform each of these tasks every day, but you eventually do at some point. You can choose how many, when and where to do these tasks. Those are the best parts of simple, practical tasks as the ones listed above. They get you to move and do things to improve your surroundings and your life and cost you nothing.

Undoubtedly, you can think of other practical everyday tasks that have you moving around and doing things that involve bending, lifting, and walking. Every activity completed means additional calories and weight lost. The longer you sit around on the couch, the more you feel tempted to continue doing so. Vowing to get up and get moving doesn't do the trick. I should know and can't tell you how many times I've settled down on the couch, thinking, I'll get up to do this or that in about a minute. I never did. One minute turned into an hour and a half, making me realize that good intentions alone don't work. It takes moving around to initiate more moving around. Likewise, sitting idly brings about more sitting --- and weight gain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Turn an activity into a habit --- and lose fat fast

Losing fat and excess weight is never a one-shot deal. In other words, exercising one day a week and then forgetting all about doing anything for awhile isn't going to cut anything. Any positive results from yo-yo efforts will be nil.

I've had some experience with such yo-yo exercising and didn't get any results. I did, however, notice that my belly got slightly bigger, making it more difficult for me to even think about fitting into a smaller size again. Happily, I overcame yo-yo exercising, found an activity that I loved and incorporated it as part of my daily routine.

Of all the exercises I tried, walking was by far the easiest. I could vary my walking speed, walk longer distances, and even vary that with a bit of jogging. Walking was part of my daily routine, so much so that if I didn't go for a walk, I became uncomfortable. I also did other activities, like cycling, in between and did slim down. And if you're looking for motivation for taking a walk, get a dog. Seriously! For the most part, dogs love to go out for a walk and are fine companions. Unlike humans, they don't whine or complain. But I digress.

Anyway, the key is to find one or more activities that will get you moving and incorporate them in your daily routine. Religiously. Every day, at some point, morning, afternoon, early evening. Establishing that routine will take a week or two until it finally becomes a habit, but that is all worthwhile. The more "natural" that given activity fits into your routine, the easier it will be to maintain it and ultimately lose fat. It is practical and free.,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who should be blamed for fat kids?

I heard this question posed during a recent talk-show and quite a few listeners blamed the parents. That is, the parents set wrong examples, such as relying on fast foods for meals instead of cooking meals at home. If eating out happens frequently enough, the whole family will tend to gain weight. Another bad example at some homes is giving kids junk food for snacks instead of fruit or other healthy selection.

There's nothing wrong with an occasional candy bar or can of soda. Everything in moderation. But frequently indulging in these foods will lead to obesity eventually.

Another thing is that restaurants, schools, and other places have been blamed for making people fat. Now more recently, parents are receiving more of the blame and perhaps rightly so. Parents are their children's first teachers. If parents don't set the right examples by buying AND eating healthy foods, they and their kids will become fat. Feasting on processed foods and sugary treats also leads to diabetes and other diseases.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snug-fitting stuff

I happened to catch part of an infomercial promoting a new type of bra, one that allows its wearer to cover or "hide" fat. The new design and fabric used made all the difference in this new bra. Models were featured wearing the new bra and looking good. Whether this newly-designed bra is worth all of the fuss remains to be seen.

If nothing else, the informercial highlighted parts of the body where fat was much more evident otherwise, such as in the back and the abdomen in the front. Naturally, snug items as bras and belts will squeeze fat wherever it is and make it more obvious. Take the matter of zipping up a pair of tight jeans, for example. The minute they are zipped up, the fat around the abdomen and thighs "pokes out,: so to speak, and sort of spills over the waistband of the jeans, creating a "muffin' top.

To make existing fat less obvious means avoiding snug-fitting undies and jeans and shirts. There's no other way around it. Instead, save the snug stuff for the slimmer, trimmer body that is in the process of happening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making yourself fully aware of how many calories you are really consuming

Recently, I read an interesting article in which the writer recommended writing down everything that you eat, even that miscellaneous piece of candy before dinner. No matter how insignificant that food was, just make a note of it anyway.

Once you've done this for a week or so, note down the calories of each item that you've eaten. You'll have a better idea of how many calories you manage to pack away. You'll also have a better idea of foods to avoid entirely or at least of which to eat in smaller portions.

I've tried doing this and it was very revealing. I found, for example, that times in which I was looking for something to nibble on tended to be the most dangerous for me, as I resorted to eating cookies, chips, or donuts, thus spoiling my appetite for a more sensible meal later on. Another thing is that writing down the name of everything you eat can be intimidating. You really don't want to, but at the same time, you know that you must, for your own sake. It's not easy to do and it does take an effort. However, it is all worthwhile in the long run.

Two ways to ensure that you'll keep excess weight off once it's been lost

The fact that weight loss takes time to achieve can be very discouraging. Weeks and months can go by without noticeable results. You see the same thing every time you look in the mirror. It can be very discouraging.

But experiencing so much boredom and few results don't have to happen for you. Combine newer veggies with your salads instead of eating the same boring salad each time. And plan to integrate your new eating habits in regular meals. If you have to, do so gradually. After all, once you begin to lose weight, you'll want to keep that weight off and in order to do so, you'll have to reinforce your exercise routine with sensible meals. Such meals are an ongoing thing. Going back to old ways of eating will bring those excess pounds back before you can say, where's the beef?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why buy these vegetables when you can grow your own?

The easiest vegetables to grow in your own backyard include the following:  tomatoes, radishes, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, herbs and squash. Tomatoes are especially easy to grow, as certain types can be grown in a hanging basket. You not only get freshly-grown tomatoes, but an attractive decoration for your home as well!

I may just try my hand at growing potatoes first. And I know from experience that stringbeans are easy to grow. As a child, I was encouraged by my mom to try growing stringbeans and wound up with a luscious crop of them! Believe me, whatever you can grow at home, such as tomatoes, will taste a whole lot better than the stuff you can buy at your local supermarket. Those tomatoes, for example, will taste like real tomatoes, not like rubber.

I'm not an expert gardener by any means, but I do possess a green thumb, sort of, and have had luck in growing grass and stringbeans. It's just like any other activity. You have to make up your mind to do it, and then just do it! The ultimate benefit is that you'll be motivated to eat more fresh veggies and speed up your weight loss.

Monday, June 13, 2011

the new jeans FIT

This morning, after placing my favorite jeans in the wash, I turned to the new jeans I've recently purchased. The last time I tried those new jeans on, I could only get the zipper up half way. This was really disappointing, as I planned to wear them right away. So I folded them neatly and placed them within handy reach.

No way was I going to leave those new jeans gathering dust on the chair!  For the following two months, I dutifully ate slowly and stuck to a diet containing mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. I also ate turkey and chicken, wheat bread. Occasionally, I cheated by eating donuts or cake, though I didn't make a meal out of those foods.

Today was the day to try those new jeans on, which I did after some hesitation, and THEY FIT. I mean that I was able to zip the zipper all the way up without struggling or holding my tummy in. Now, I hastily add that I still have some work to do. My tummy can stand to shrink a bit more. It's still too obvious, but there isn't that much to worry about.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Being able to tell when you've lost some weight

Looks are often deceiving. You find yourself, as I often do, looking in the mirror and not seeing a slimmer, trimmer body. But that's because you are used to seeing yourself often in the mirror. Therefore, any weight loss that may have happened in the meantime is frequently overlooked.

I think that this is not only a shame, but a discouraging factor. How can you try to maintain a good diet and exercise regimen if you're not seeing any results?

The thing is that those results may be there, but aren't noticeable just yet. To find out if that is so or not, go to the closet right now and choose an item that you haven't worn because it was a little snug-fitting at some point. So try putting it on now and see how it looks and feels. You might be in for a pleasant surprise!

In fact, try this item on again in two weeks. You may find that it fits and looks even better on you than it ever did!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Snacking at the airport

I rarely go or stay at an airport waiting for a flight and have to admit that while there, I didn't look for snacks. I was too busy coping with my anxiety about flying and details that needed immediate attention.

In any case, the question of snacking at the airport is interesting and challenging. A lot of snacks are rather overpriced and are way too sweet or salty. But if I were hungry and had the job of choosing a likely food, that food would have to be pizza. I prefer plain pizza to other varieties. For one thing, it's slightly cheaper. For another, you know and can see exactly what you're about to put in your mouth. And finally, pizza will fill you and be much better for your diet overall. And of course, foods such as cakes, doughnuts, hamburgers and fries are no-no's as snack foods. They are diet-wreckers that should be avoided.

Now for anyone with diabetes, choosing a snack is quite another matter. Normally, you can't eat foods containing sugar, although you can eat sugar-free cookies and candies. In some cases, a slice of pizza may be eaten. Fresh fruits should be fine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

adjusting your fat-loss activities in extreme heat

In all of this extreme heat featuring one hundred degree temperatures, it's really an effort to think, much less move around.

Speaking of which, the best time to walk or jog or cycle is early in the morning while it is still relatively cool. Make sure that you avoid wearing flip-flops, though. They do not properly support or protect your feet the way in which a good sports shoe can. A cotton top with short sleeves is cooler than polyester. Same goes for pants or jeans.

I also delay my shower until after I'm done exercising outside. I throw my sweaty clothes in the washing machine and then take a shower. Of course, after that, I try to keep moving, such as doing simple household chores or even dancing to music. I know, it's tempting to flop on the bed or the couch and go to sleep and sometimes this is exactly what I do. I justify napping by explaining that I needed it.

All in all, in extreme heat, exercising early in the morning is the best bet. Early evening may work as well, but you would have to try this out for yourself to find out if it works or not. Then by the time those temperatures hit the nineties and above, you will have finished doing what you had to do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are you consuming more calories than you think you are?

If after a period of time in which you have faithfully exercised and included lots of healthy foods in your diet --- and still your belly looks pretty much the same ---- maybe there is more that you can do to shrink it and get noticeable results.

First, you need some numbers
That way includes noting down every single thing you eat per day. That stray cookie or piece of candy. That ice-cold can of soda. Everything should be mentioned. Keep taking notes for about a week or so. Then check off items like cookies and next to each of those items, write down the number of calories. A single cookie consumed in a week and a half might not affect your weight or belly size much, but how about that half-gallon of ice cream, burger and fries, and carton of pizza with all of the trimmings?

Play the "Halving" game
Adding up the calories of each of those foods will produce a surprising total. Yes, you.ve actually consumed those calories during that period of time. Yes, you've satisfied a craving. All completely understandable. But now that you've seen how many calories you have consumed, you should plan to reduce them. Instead of three or four cookies, eat one or two.

Plan to avoid buying calorie-filled foods
Stuff like cookies and doughnuts should be left where they are in the store. Buy substitutes that will fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth, such as grapes, berries, peaches, bananas, raisins, plums and melons. These fruits also contain water, so they should fill you up and satisfy your cravings in practically no time. You will have consumed the equivalent amount of required glasses of water at the same time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ways to avoid looking (and feeling) fat

I went to get my hair cut today, and as I sat on a salon chair, I could see that I needed to stay focused on my efforts to lose weight. The "evidence" was that I still had a belly, though not a really big one, sticking out of my tee shirt. Seeing that kind of shocked me. I thought that my efforts were paying off faster than they were. Big mistake, lol.

So I learned what to avoid doing as far as disguising a small belly.

. Avoid tucking shirt in jeans. What happens is that you stretch the shirt over your belly and make it stick out more. Remedy this by wearing your shirt over your jeans or pants.

. Avoid wearing shirts that are two or three sizes larger. These shirts kind of drape over your belly without hiding it. The effect is that it looks like there's a medium-sized beach ball or cantaloupe under your shirt. You're better off wearing a shirt that is your correct size. If you normally wear size 14 or 16, then continue to do so.

. Avoid wearing jeans whose waistbands squeeze too much. Jeans that include waistbands that fit too snugly around your middle squeeze and as a result, make your belly stick out even more. If you have a large belly, you will find that it hangs over your belt. Holding yourself in to accommodate jeans that are too small has the same effect and is extremely uncomfortable as well.

. Avoid wearing stretch pants and jeans. The problem with these is that they cling to every lump of fat and other irregularities and actually emphasize those faults, making you look even fatter. Opt instead for denim or chino pants, jeans or shorts instead. You'll be more comfortable and look better.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why snacking on foods you love isn't "bad"

After posting a list of possible foods to munch on during snack time, I realized that I hadn't really explained why I eat them or why I included them in a snack-food list.

Generally, so-called "healthy" snack foods include a lot of fresh veggies and fruits, which is fine. If you look at the list in yesterday's post, you'll likely notice that I did mention a few fruits and veggies. Don't get me wrong, though. Such fresh produce should be eaten more frequently than foods that we'd rather eat. The thing about limiting yourself to fresh produce, though, is that you'll more likely become bored eating the same old thing day after day and even worse, you'll start craving foods that you love to eat, but are not good for your diet or weight-loss efforts.

You'll miss those so-called "forbidden foods" because you haven't eaten them for some time and want to be able to taste them again real soon. Not only that, when you do eat them again, you'll likely eat them in large quantities until you've satisfied your cravings. In other words, you will have gone overboard.

On the other hand, you shouldn't deny yourself the pleasure of snacking on foods you love. You feel satisfied after eating them and at the same time, adding variety to healthy foods. Everything in moderation!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

17 Snack Food Ideas

Eating the same stuff in between meals can temporarily satisfy you, but it can bore you as well. Here are a few snack suggestions to consider and try:

- Raisins
- Buttered bread or roll
- One slice of pizza
- Ritz crackers and peanut butter
- Grapes
- Crackers
- Dry cereal, such as Raisin Bran
- Fruit, such as oranges and cherries
- Peanuts, cashews, walnuts
- Bananas, apples, cherries, blueberries
- Raw carrots, cucumbers
- Peaches
- Raisin bread
- Toast
- Breadsticks
- Cheezits
- Graham crackers

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A short progress report on my efforts to lose fat

Time for a quick update here:

On the value of moving around as much as possible
- In my last post, I've discussed the value of moving about as much as possible, even finding excuses to walk instead of driving. Yes, I do move, as I suggest, every day. Most of the time, I'll walk even if I have to force myself to do so. I've found that having an excuse to walk, such as doing an errand, provides some purpose. Otherwise, boredom is highly likely. After all, you can only take so much purposeless walking --- it's always best if you are doing so for a reason.

On drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day
- I don't actually drink 8-10 glasses of water every day, but what I do is drink equivalent amounts. For example, I drink two-three cups of green or black tea per day, I eat an orange or other fruit daily, and eat my share of green vegetables. All of that seems to work, as it fills me up and reduces the temptation to eat a doughnut, cookie or piece of cake.

On snacking
- This area has been the most challenging one yet. I do follow my own advice and make sure that I have enough fresh fresh produce around to nibble on in between meals. But I'm still struggling with overcoming temptations to eat other foods, such as doughnuts, that are not so healthy. I love them because I feel more satisfied after eating one and enjoy a quick cup of tea with it. Also, an occasional doughnut is a treat for me and something different than the usual produce.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get yourself to MOVE it everyday!

The whole idea is to move yourself everyday. When you first awaken in the morning, get out of bed immediately and start moving! Do simple exercises or walk really fast for at least a half hour or more, but DON'T just lie in bed thinking about it. You only encourage more fat in places where it is the least flattering to your shape and your health.

Your body was designed to move. If you sit nearly all day, you're doing the worst possible thing! Get back on your feet and move. Learn to dance, hop, jump rope, walk, run, jog, but don't stop there. Find excuses to move. Instead of driving five blocks to the store, walk and walk quickly. Walk for the fun of it. You'll feel better and burn more calories than you ever believed possible.

Do (Your Own) Kung-Fu

Learning a little kung-fu basics can be a great starting point for exercising. Initially, you learn and practice ways to focus your mind on what you are doing and then on the moves you are making. Then once you begin to execute those moves, you do so with grace, strength and energy. But you can easily let kung-fu inspire you to create your own moves, both mental and physical.

To begin with, you'll need to develop the power of focus. Your best bet will be to begin as simply as possible. For example, think about the way in which you jog. Are you merely putting some bounce in your step and one foot in front of another to move forward rather mindlessly? Then it's time to regroup!

What are you trying to accomplish? How is moving your feet this way helping you to meet your goal? Put yourself in your foot's place. What are you feeling? Where are you hurting?

In other words, you've got to get your mind into the habit in the discipline of focus. The questions above are designed to help you to begin and maintain focus and concentration. As you focus, you can't allow other thoughts or things distract you.

Should you literally drink 8-10 glasses of water a day???

Some people interpret advice on drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day literally, and are surprised that drinking so many glasses of water a day is not only borning, but not good for your health in the long run. To turn that advice into a technique that can work for you, you need to realize that you can get your water from a variety of sources other than glasses of water.

For example, you can eat jello, fresh fruits and veggies, and drink orange juice and grapefruit juice. All of these foods contain water. Lettuce and stringbeans are two examples of veggies that contain plenty of water. Eating them and varying your diet with other healthy foods will fulfill your need for water. Just remember to eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty and above all, take time to enjoy and savor your food.

Sneaky Tips to Lose Weight

I've done (and am still doing) the following and found that it works. Here are the tips:

- Plan your next day's fat loss "moving" activity, but keep that activity simple. For example, consider jogging around one block three or four times. That's it for the day unless you'd like to supplement an evening walk or bike ride.

- Make sure that any fat loss "moving" activity is fun and one that you look forward to. Otherwise, it will become just another drudge thing to do and get over with as soon as possible and eventually become easily forgotten.

- Definitely choose an item of clothing that is at least one size smaller than your present size and plan to try it on at the end of each week. You might be pleasantly surprised!

- Avoid stressing over any missed exercise sessions or pigging-out sessions. Those are history. Learn from them and move on. There's no point in indulging in should-have and would-have guilt sessions. Such sessions only increase stress, which isn't good for you or your efforts to lose weight.

- Plan to try healthy foods that you haven't eaten before or for some reason, developed a dislike for, such as fish. For example, for years, I limited myself to drinking black tea, but have changed all of that by gradually drinking green tea.

- Try a new exercise activity, such as learning how to play tennis. Developing your playing skills with practice will give you plenty of exercise, make you more limber, increase your endurance, and decrease your clothing sizes. This also goes a long way for increasing your confidence level and your can-do attitude similarly affects other activities with enthusiasm.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drink green tea and reap the benefits

So yesterday, I found and bought a box of one hundred green tea bags and had a cup of green tea last night. If I drink it long enough and who knows, become acclimated to it over time, I will gain benefits such as weight loss. My teeth will have less plaque on them and my risk of developing certain cancers will decrease as well.

Makes me wonder why more people don't drink and enjoy a nice cup of green tea.

It is healthy after all. But not a lot of us have ever been introduced to or ever heard of green tea and just got used to black tea. Certainly at home, no one ever mentioned green tea, much less recommending us to try it.

Well, I'm happy to report that there's not much difference between black and green tea as far as taste goes. You don't really taste green tea, for that matter. It is mostly water and its color is different, but there's no real difference in taste. Tea is tea. Once you've poured it in your cup, you sip it slowly as opposed to gulping it down hot.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Theory on why weight is lost so slowly

Here it is:  Weight is lost so slowly because moving around to lose that weight is a real drag, mind-numbing boring.

In other words, you're told to exercise and there's a difference between an expert's concept and your concept of what exercise should be like and how it should be done. This translates into expert's version = boring versus your version = fun. It all boils down to exercise being fun. All too often, it's just a bunch of pointless moves done with your arms, legs and body. That type of exercise is boring and pointless. You could do a hundred of those moves and still wind up looking like you never as much as raised your arm.

Exercise can and should be fun, rather than boring and pointless. Then you would want to do it and you would lose weight faster like nobody's business. Seriously.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Snack suggestions

- Plan a week of snacks in advance. Try to limit processed foods whenever possible.

- To vary snacks, try experimenting by including a different cheese (or two) and crackers.

- Usually, the simpler the snack, the better. Plain crackers and some soup, make a tomato sandwich by spreading mayonnaise on two slices of bread and placing two-three slices of fresh tomato in between, fresh fruit. grilled cheese, melon slices, jello, bananas and fresh grapes are all examples of simple snacks. They're filling rather than fattening.

- Two or three boxes of crackers serve as useful "in-between" meal fill-ins. Ideally, you can eat them plain. They're great substitutes for doughnuts, candy and cake.

- Dry Raisin Bran or cornflakes can also serve effectively as foods to nibble on if you're craving a snack.

-

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Does looking at a photo of your favorite food make you hungry?

I just got finished looking at a photo of a huge wanna-be Big Mac. My mouth watered as I looked at the photo and I couldn't help but remember all of the times I've eaten a real Big Mac and enjoyed it immensely.

I'm thinking that I probably reacted like that because I'm hungry. Or at least according to my brain, I'm hungry. But I'm just wondering if looking at photos of favorite foods make one hungry even if that person isn't, at the time. In my own experience at least, I'm not fazed by food photos when I'm not hungry --- I can take them or leave them. But I always believed that all I have to do is look at food, photos of it or the real thing, and I automatically gain weight.

I probably should have never looked at a photo of a Big Mac anyway.

Doughnut torture

We know perfectly well that we can't have things both ways. Something's got to give because a decision has to be made, and it's either/or. In other words, you want a doughnut and the other part of you doesn't, claiming that a single donut has a ton of calories and fats.

But already, you've pictured a nice fat donut in your mind that only continues to become more and more delectable with bits of extra sugar and icing. You turn away. You feel that it's starting to get to you, wear you down. That's not good at all.

You still can't get away. You need something to eat with that nice cup of tea or coffee and a doughnut would hit the spot. You can practically feel yourself biting it now, chewing that morsel with conviction and enjoyment. Nothing else will do. The donut is the only food that will fill you up. Besides, it's only one.

You've got to have it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coping with urge to snack

Lately, I've been making a few adjustments to snacking. Instead of cookies, for example, I'll eat crackers, specifically those small cheese fish-shaped crackers that taste like Cheez-its. They're not sweet, but they are probably a little less fattening than cookies or chips. I'll also snack on fresh blueberries if they're in the house, a few handfuls of dry cornflakes or slices of wheat bread.

I'm not doing any of that out of boredom. I'm taking a break from working at the computer for about a half hour or so and do like to eat something. It's more fulfilling.

I know, I know. I used to mistake my desire for a small snack as a sign indicating hunger from my gut. But now I know better. My gut isn't responsible, really. My brain is. It's got me believing that I'm hungry, even if I don't particularly feel hungry. And I'm still trying to resist it. At least, I'm substituting mostly nonsweets for sweets. But even so, it's going to take time to make a change. All I've done so far is taken the first baby steps.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Keeping yourself motivated in between diet and exercise

You know that your efforts to lose weight and excessive fat will lead to a slimmer, trimmer you. The problem is that these results will not happen overnight and that you still need a little motivation to keep up the good work. I've been trying out a few ways to stay motivated during these in-between times and am including them here for your perusal:

- Keep a clothing item that you look forward to wearing again in plain sight and try it on every week or so. You may find that you've indeed lost some weight!

- Frequently, we become unmotivated because diets especially get boring after awhile, tempting us to go back to old ways of eating. To offset that boredom, find and try dessert recipes that incorporate fresh fruits as pineapples, cherries, melon, cantaloupes, lemons, or oranges. Later on, look for recipes featuring different ways to make salads more interesting, tasty and nutritious.

- Vary your exercise by learning a new sport, such as how to play tennis. As you improve your skills in that sport, you'll become more active and lose weight over time.

- Keep reading articles and books on weight loss for ideas on dieting and exercising. You'll be able to use your newly-gained knowledge to vary your diet and exercise regimen. Remember to take notes on things that you would like to try.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

to stick to a diet or exercise rourine or not

Even if you create your own diet or exercise routine and follow it faithfully, there's no guarantee that you'll always follow it every day. Doing that is like writing a novel. Even after you've outlined your novel and are beginning to write it, you'll still have to work on it a little each day. Otherwise, it won't be finished. Ever.

So you'll have to be persistent and keep at it, even if you're sick, even if you don't feel like doing it, even if you're busy. If you skip one day, you're back to Square One and have to re-establish your routine. Otherwise, if you're like me, you'll put it off, thinking that you'll go back to it "tomorrow."

But tomorrow never comes. To get around this issue, planning to do your routine for three days a week instead of five. Or every other week. That way, you get a break from the monotony and a chance to recharge your batteries. Planning carefully is the key.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Temporary strategy for a temporary emergency

Today was another rainy day and I stayed indoors. Not that I minded. There was enough work to do around the house and I never thought about eating until my stomach began to growl. That was not good. There wasn't enough food in the house to put together a halfway decent meal.

In the meantime, the hunger pangs increased, forcing me to head for the kitchen. There wasn't much, if anything, food to choose from. My fault for not going to the store. I'm still low on money. So what I did was find a temporary solution by making a mayonnaise sandwich. After eating three of those sandwiches, I felt a little better. At the same time, the cookies were long gone. There were two coups of pudding and two cups of applesauce. Not much of a choice. I should have seen this coming.

But the lesson was learned. And that lesson was making sure that staples such as bread, cereal, butter, peanut butter and fruit, even canned fruit were always available for temporary emergencies, such as lack of money or time to shop at the supermarket. I've experienced similar "emergencies" before, but this one time reinforced the lesson.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

what to do when you find yourself dealing with a snack attack

Eating healthy foods and being active are great ways to lose weight. Of course, enjoying foods you love in moderation is fine too. The problem is whether you have those foods and eat them because you want and need to eat between meals.

And so you are more likely to eat them and who can blame you?  Those foods taste good and are easy to snack on. But there is a dark side. You aren't happy eating one cookie, for example. Eating two or three or more cookies is more to your liking and you find yourself snacking away. Before you know it, you're hooked and can't find a way to stop.

If you have those foods at home, you remember that they are there. If you've eaten them all, but didn't buy any more, you tend to crave them anyway. If you had a few bananas around, you could snack on them. They're healthier than cake and cookies and chips. Other alternative "snack foods" may be plain crackers or fruit.

But suppose you don't want either? Your heart is set on something more satisfying. So if you absolutely, positively must have a cookie, compromise. Eat animal crackers or oatmeal cookies, vanilla wafers, but avoid oreos and similar sandwich cookies. That might help. You can't and shouldn't make a meal out of any of them and they just might fill the bill in the meantime.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Be sure you've committed, then go ahead

Being successful in losing fat or weight means making up your mind that this is what you really want to do and to persist until you've reached your goals. No guru, no book, no diet or exercise program can do that for you.

Once you've made up your mind, you can begin eating real foods that you already enjoy, such as fruits and vegetables, and find motivation in exercises that you love to do anyway, such as cycling, skating, swimming, etc. Then in the beginning, you can practically build an entire healthy eating and exercising regimen involving those foods and activities. If you follow your regimen on a regular basis, you should eventually fit well into a smaller size. Once you've noticed even the slightest weight loss, you'll feel like you've made progress and look forward to continuing and other ways to improve your efforts. Everyone is different in terms of diet and exercise needs. There is no magic bullet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yes, You CAN include your favorite foods in your diet if you can bypass this trap

Just because you're trying to lose weight doesn't mean that you have to ditch all of the foods you love to eat in one or two go's. So long as you eat those foods slowly in moderation, you should have few difficulties in getting rid of fat.

Obviously, this calls for a lot of self-control and let me tell you, eating only one of anything, whether that anything is a potato chip, a donut, a piece of cake or pie is just too tempting and what happens? You find yourself reaching for another one. I should know. Not having eaten donuts lately, I bought four of them this afternoon. Then about a half hour later, I ate one donut, followed by a second one, minutes apart. This was a temporary setback for which I've forgiven myself. I'll just have to try harder to resist temptation of eating more than one donut the next time.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eating slowly takes time to get used to....BUT YOU DO LOSE BELLY FAT!

Some things, like eating slowly instead of the rate many of us are accustomed to eating, are easier said than done. Acclimating yourself to eating slowly ---- as I found from my own experience ---- takes time and loads of patience.

But I'm happy to report that it does help to reduce tummy fat. After training myself for several days to eat more slowly, I managed to shrink my belly. I could almost zipper up my new jeans to the top. Almost. But noticing the tummy shrinkage did a lot to motivate me to continue my efforts.

I'm working on it. As I slowly eat, I spend some time meditating and focusing on the positive things. For example, I remember how pleasing it was to see a slightly flatter belly. I can do this, and you can too! If you are also trying to change the way you eat, don't quit now! You can do it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Eating slowly and losing weight needs a lot of time and patience

For the last few days, I have been training myself to learn to eat more slowly, such as making sure that I've chewed and swallowed the food in my mouth before loading the fork with more food. It's not easy. It's got to be done step by step, patiently. It's like learning how to walk all over again.

So instead of my trying to accomplish everything in one go, I've decided to break this in steps. For example, for now, I'm just going to focus on eating the main meal slowly. That is, I'm not going to shove forkful after forkful in my mouth until I've had a chance to chew and swallow first.

Once I've become acclimated, learning to sip instead of gulp will be the next challenging step. I'm so looking forward to seeing results that I'm finding it difficult to be patient. Looks like I'll have to train myself to be patient as well. LOL.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why you don't want to keep shoving down more food and gulping beverages

I can see that eating slowly is not going to be easy, but I'm doing that anyway. I have to train myself to finish chewing the food in my mouth first and then put more food on my fork, chew in a relaxed way and ignore the temptation to load up another forkful of food. And I still have a tendency to gulp down beverages and have to work on sipping them instead. Reprogramming myself is going to take awhile, lol.

You may wonder why would anyone even consider eating slowly.

Good question. The answer is that when you eat in a hurry, you're also stuffing your gut more, so much so that it has to provide more room for all of that food to go. The next time you eat in a hurry, you fill the new space and then some. As a result, your gut keeps expanding and pretty soon, you have a serious weight or belly fat problem! Your brain, in the meantime, keeps signalling you that you're hungry, making you eat more.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tried eating slowly and actually became full!

In my last post, I talked about eating slowly to lose weight and something about trying it myself and experiencing difficulties because ordinarily, I tend to eat quickly. According to my research, that is a big mistake. First off, I'm allowing my brain to let me know if and when I feel hunger or not, when it shouldn't be that way at all. So I eat more because of my brain --- therefore, I only think that I'm hungry.

The other things that I didn't mention have to do with just taking it easy during a meal and pay attention to the way food looks on your plate, its aroma and its taste. Got to admit that I never thought about doing that before. If I thought I was hungry, I'd eat until I thought I was full before stopping altogether. Another huge mistake.

So tonight, I thought I'd give this eating-slowly thing another shot. I prepared cucumbers, lettuce and some macaroni salad on a dish, then sat down and actually looked at the food before eating it instead of just diving in  I could have also meditated before eating. Then after noticing and admiring the food texture and aroma, I cut a bit of lettuce and a bit of cucumber and put it in my mouth.

In the meantime, my fork was empty. I chewed slowly and closed my eyes to appreciate and enjoy the food, forcing myself to calmly chew and swallow before using the fork to get more food. Since I'm so used to having another fork full of food waiting until I swallow the food in my mouth, it was almost torture to drag the meal out. Little by little, the food disappeared. It took me about three-quarters of an hour to eat food from that plate. Eating slowly, I avoided packing food in my gut and forcing my gut to expand just to accommodate the food that had just been wolfed down.

But you know what?  I actually felt full! Wasn't tempted to "supplement" the meal with bread and butter or anything like that. I am going to continue eating like this until the habit of eating slowly is established. Hopefully by the time two weeks are over, I will have lost some weight and become able to zip up those new jeans.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eat less s-l-o-w-l-y and lose weight

Next time, you sit down to a meal, you should try to avoid rushing through it because you'll tend to eat more and wind up overeating. And the overeating comes from a desire for a real taste of the food, which is possible, but more likely, it comes from hunger.

The key to eating less and keeping fat off is to take your time. In other words, try for a leisurely meal. If it's a full-course meal, for example, it shouldn't be entirely consumed in fifteen or twenty minutes. A half hour or more is more desirable.

I know, we all have things to do, places to go. And I know, from trying to eat in a more leisurely fashion, that eating slowly isn't easy to do. It takes time to get used to. But it might be something worth trying and waiting for results. One immediate result that I can think of is that you can reduce a lot of hunger and therefore reduce the amount of extra food that you might later consume. There are also fewer calories involved, since you will likely feel too full for more food anyway.