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.

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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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two motivators for my continuing to eat healthy foods

I'm really into eating fresh produce with regular meals. Just last night, I had lettuce and cucumbers with a plate of Spanish rice, applesauce for dessert and a cup of tea. The meal, though simple, was extremely satisfying and filling. I had no cravings whatsoever for hamburgers or donuts or other processed food.

And today, I bought blueberries, bananas, 99-cent lettuce, tomatoes, plums and cucumbers. Of course, I'll include them in balanced meals. I'm also looking through various books for simple recipes featuring healthy foods also. In my research, I've found that boredom is the cause of a lot of bingeing. Keeping busy leaves no time to think about food, which only makes sense.

AND I have two motivators to keep me on track. The first is a pair of jeans whose zipper I need to get all the way up. I can only get it half way up now....this is a sure indication that I'll have to shrink the tummy more. Otherwise those new jeans are fine.

The SECOND motivation is the fear of looking like this overweight neighbor across the street. I'm doing everything I can to avoid getting so fat that I'm sporting two big butts instead of one trim butt. Also, I want to avoid wearing "fat" clothes. Ugh. Everytime she gains weight, she discards her old clothes and buys new larger ones.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's wrong with eating REAL food????

I finished reading an interesting book in which its author made an interesting point. Instead of eating packaged and processed low-fat, low-carb, no fat, etc. foods, why don't we just eat real food, period? For one thing, real food is healthier for us and nature's way of sustaining us. Plus, the French manage to basically eat what they want and still stay slim, for the most part?

And many of the French are slim, as I have observed from my visits to France. Also, the food, aside from processed foods and carbonated drinks, is real.

Anyway, the real food does taste better than the processed junk available in stores today. Take orange juice, for example. When you squeeze fresh oranges into juice at home, you have real orange juice. Sure, it's more work to prepare, but its taste can't be beat. And the mashed potatoes that you prepare at home are far superior to that artificial junk that costs twice as much at the local supermarket. You know that it is fresh and what ingredients are in it. Ditto for a lot of other foods.

These foods are natural medicine for your body! They are filling and leave you satisfied. They don't contain harmful chemicals to make you sick. Potato salad prepared at home is good and tastes better. There's absolutely nothing wrong with eating real food, now or ever.

So ultimately, you can eat practically anything you want, in moderation. There are of course no limits to amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can eat at mealtimes and beyond.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Five tips for kicking up home exercises a notch

Here are some ways to do that:

- Involve each limb, one at a time, in your stretching warm-ups. If you lift up your arm, for example, teally lift it. Add some incentive by forcing yourself to do this by rolling a ball under the bed or couch. Then get down on your hands and knees and try reaching out for it.

- Jump a bit longer. That is, turn on your boombox or radio to an oldies station, and jump to a song that inspires movement, such as "YMCA" and "I Will Survive." Try jumping to a given song from its beginning to its end. You can jump practically anywhere, except on the bed. This is fun, but may not be fun for the bed if it splits in half as you jump. And if you're feeling energetic, do a few jumping jacks.

- Run in place for 3 minutes or more.

- Put a few books in a cardboard carton or laundry basket and lift that carton, then put it down for five or six times.

- Walk briskly up and down the stairs four or more times.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

the more colorful your diet, the better! Consider adding these colorful vegetables and fruits

Next time you plan a meal, see if you can't make it as colorful as possible! Below are a few vegetables and fruits that will not only add color, but make you healthier --- and thinner! Plus, if you eat enough of them, you will soon feel very full and not feel tempted to have dessert, although fruit as a dessert choice is excellent!

Green vegetables - lettuce, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, green peppers, cucumbers, string beans, asparagus

Red vegetables - tomatoes, red peppers

Sweet potatoes

Carrots

Fruits - blueberries, peaches, melons, green apples, cantaloup, papaya, pineapple


Colorful meal idea:  Cut up green and red peppers, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes into dice-size bits and mix them up in rice, either brown or white. This meal will really fill you up and keep you filled til the next mealtime --- I've eaten meals like this on many occasions. Didn't experience cravings to stuff my face with sweets like cake or donuts.

How the "natural" diet is coming along - day 3

In keeping with my self-imposed focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, I bought three cucumbers at the supermarket this morning and was tempted to buy the 99-cent head of lettuce. But I let the lettuce pass because there's no way I could eat it in sufficient quantities before it wilts and begins to rot. But I haven't given up by any means. I'll buy a head of lettuce and attempt to eat a lot each day, along with some freshly chopped tomato and cucumbers.

I also bought tuna fish for sale at 79 cents a can and gave in to a desire for Hellmann's mayonnaise by buying a small jar of the stuff. Once I'm done with that jar, that will be it for awhile. No other brand does it like Hellmann's. You can believe it when I say that I've tried brands as Miracle Whip and generic store brands whose tastes don't come anywhere near. It'll be a treat. I plan to  whip up some tuna salad and eat it with sliced tomato.

On the down side, I bought a small pound cake because I had nothing else in the house to eat as far as sweets go. Sure, I could have followed some of the suggestions that I mentioned in my last post, but let that all pass because I'd easily go overboard and eat everything up. The way I figure it is that if a given sweet is not in the house, I can't feel tempted to eat it. If it were, it would be on my mind constantly til I caved in and ate it.

One way or the other, I will lick this gradually --no, never mind --- slowly.

150 (or lower)-calorie snacks that may help you overcome a craving issue

In the May issue of Woman's Day, there's an interesting one-page article that lists possible foods that you can eat when a snack-attack hits. The author of this article, Joy Bauer, is a well-known nutritionist.

I'm not going to include all of the possibilities here, just a little sample. Again, Ms. Baur claims that the foods she mentions are 150 calories or lower. So here goes: chocolate-type snacks include items as 5 Hershey's Kisses, half a cup of chocolate pudding, two fun-size chocolate bars such as Milky Way. The only problem I'd have with each of those items is that I could easily eat way more. For me, eating just 5 Hershey Kisses would only be the beginning --- I'd wind up eating about half a bag, they are that good, LOL! They are like potato chips in that you can't eat just one.

In fact, the problem of easily eating more than the limit, for me, anyway, also happens in the other categories that Ms. Baur includes. Take the "Sweet" category, for instance. Under that category, items as one cup of chilled or frozen grapes or 8 vanilla wafers or one frozen fruit pop or Italian ice wouldn't even begin to satisfy my craving --- they would make me crave more.

You can test your control in satisfying a craving by trying the treats Ms. Baur mentions. I obviously can't, but maybe you're stronger and more determined. Anyway, enjoy!!!