Hello Readers!

Before we get started, I hope that you’re all doing well, and plugging along on your weight loss journey.  I am happy to report that, to date, I’m down 45.5 lbs (since St. Patrick’s Day this year,) and am working happily towards my final goal – I can see it!  It’s off in the distance, but it’s there!  In the meantime, I’m enjoying learning about new foods to include in my daily 1,200 calories that also keep me on a great nutritional track and ensure that I’m reaching recommended vitamin & nutrient intake models per day.  I highly recommend that you check out the site, www.caloriecount.com, and take advantage of the built-in logs (food, weight and activity) that they offer.  These are some great tools – and, they’re interesting, too!  For example, on the food log, after you’ve entered the items that you’ve consumed per meal, you can do an analysis that tells you which vitamins/nutrients you need more of or which you’ve eaten too much of (within your 1,200 calories, remember,) and which foods contribute to either of those conditions.  Using this as a tool, you can plan your meals better to ensure that you’re coming in right on target, and maximizing your nutritional intake.  In short, fabulous tool!  Again, here’s the site – check it out:  www.caloriecount.com.

It’s important when you’re on a weight loss journey to identify motivators that will help to keep you focused on your goal, and moving in the right direction.  For some, simply weighing in daily and seeing progress is motivation.  For others, setting firm milestones along the journey provide the encouragement that they need – for example, “For every 20 lbs. I lose, I can buy myself a new dress.” 

But, what about you?  What motivates you?  Have you identified those key-drivers to help you along your weight loss way?  You don’t have to, but you should.  But, why?  Can’t I simply lose weight and live my life?  Sure, you can.  If that’s what works for you, then go nuts.  But, for the rest of us, the majority of us, we need motivators to help us along, and studies have shown that by using goal-setting and motivational tools along the way, you’re more likely to keep the weight off.  So, if you fall into the latter category, think about how you will reward yourself when you see your positive weight loss results.

For the record, I’m a fairly simple person who is easily motivated, and also enjoys structure, so, seeing progress in the form of clothes fitting better, the number on the scale getting lower, hearing compliments from people I haven’t seen in a while … those all work for me.  Compounding that, I live by those logs that can be found on www.caloriecount.com.  That’s the structure I mentioned before.  I treat my food log almost as a puzzle – what foods can I eat to get each of the various metrics to read “good” and give me an “A” grade for the day?  To me, it’s a fun game!  Those are my motivators, and so far so good … the weight is coming off.

Are you supporting your weight loss with motivators that will help you to ensure that you, once you’ve lost the weight you want to, keep the pounds off?  If so, appreciate them and continue to incorporate them into your day.  If not, do yourself a favor and try to figure out what will encourage you to achieve weight loss success. 

Here’s one last little trick:  Be selfish!  Don’t share your motivators with anyone!  They’re yours – hog ‘em  up, and own ‘em.  Sometimes, through no fault of their own, friends and/or family members will make comments (good or bad) about your progress – 99% of the time, they mean well … they really do.  But, weight loss can be a very sensitive subject, and many of us can be easily derailed, even by innocuous comments made by loved ones.  Protect your motivators, keep them to yourself.  Imagine you’ve lost 20 lbs and, as you promised yourself, you get to buy yourself a new dress.  Maybe you have another 60 lbs to go, but you’re happy with your progress so far, and are treating yourself.  A comment such as, “New dress?  Why waste your money now – you have a lot more weight to lose!  Spend you’re money when you’re done … ” can send you into a complete tailspin and, if you’re easily affected by others’ opinions or comments, can derail you from your terrific progress.  Yes, keep your motivators to yourself, and celebrate what you deem as progress …. it should be nobody else’s business or concern, and you deserve it.  Plain and simple – you earned it, you worked towards it, you deserve it.  Protect your motivators … and celebrate those moments when you achieve your goals!

So, what motivates you?  (Ha!  Trick question!  Don’t tell me!  Answer that one for yourself!!)

“It’s good to have goals.”  “Keep your eye on the prize.”  “If you build it, he will come.”  Okay, that last one was from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” but it’s kinda in keeping with our theme here today, too – GOALS. 

Goals are great.  Why, Donna?  Because, they give you something to shoot for, and once you’ve achieved them they give you something to look back on with pride and say, “Look what I accomplished!”

Weight loss is inherently tied into goal-setting (or, should be.)  So, do you have a goal for this week?  Maybe  it looks something like, “When I weigh-in on Saturday, I want to have lost one pound.”  (That’s healthy.  Yay, you!) 

Now, if you don’t already kinda have one going, build a game plan that will carry you to that goal.  Maybe it looks something like, “Drink more water … walk an extra 15 minutes per day … stay away from snacking.”  Sometimes it helps to have concrete ideas right in front of you so that when you find that you’ve wandered away from  your goal, you have tangible items to work on and get you right back on track. 

Remember, when it comes to weight loss, it’s always a good idea to work toward “dietary lifestyle changes” rather than being focused exclusively on weight loss.  If you want to lose weight, and keep it off, you should be working on building a healthy relationship with food, focused on nutrition and good choices, so that your decisions will sustain you and keep you in check as you go forward.

Happy and Healthy Eating 1,200!

Donna  :-)

Site Recommendation:  Great tips on goal-setting!  Thanks, MindTools!

If you’re like me, you like to have a little after-dinner dessert and relax by watching the latest edition of “Real Housewives of (you name the town).” 

Of course, your dessert cals need to be counted toward your 1,200 cals for the day, too – but, you already know that.  So, here’s the recommendation that I have for you:  Skinny Cow treats!  They’ve been around for a while now, so you may already know about Skinny Cow, but I’ m here to tell you – GOOD STUFF!!  Most of their offerings have a caloric value between 100 – 150 calories per cone, ice cream bar or whatevertastygoodnessyousetyourchomperson.  Your tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised by these low-cal, tasty treats!

Check out their site at www.skinnycow.com!  They even have coupons in there for ya’!  Skinny Cow = Fat Wallet!

Hope you’re having a great day!

Donna  :-)

Hardly seems fair … here you have made a healthy lifestyle change and have decided to embrace vegetarianism, but the scale isn’t budging.  In fact, it’s going the wrong direction.  C’mon!  I mean, what gives?!  Well, math.

First of all, let me applaud you for deciding to go vegetarian or vegan.  Whatever your reasons are for making this change, I think it’s a positive, healthy choice.  Maybe you’re sensitive to the plight of the animals used in our food chain, or maybe you believe that consuming non-animal products is a sure-fire key to weight loss, or (insert your reasoning here) - bottom line, veggies, nuts, fruits, etc. are all healthy, nutritious, nourishing and, in a word, “good” for you.

But, again – a recurring theme on our blog here – the numbers don’t lie.  And, that applies to vegetarianism weight loss, too.  If your goal is to lose weight and eating only vegetarian/vegan items, that’s great.  But, in order to see results, you still need to stay within that 1,200 calories per day guideline.  You may think, “Well, I’m eating mostly fruits and vegetables, how many calories could those possibly have?”  Well, honestly, they can have a lot.  If you want to dine on truckloads of lettuce, you’ll likely stay within your 1,200 calories per day budget, but I bet you’d be pretty sick of lettuce in a short amount of time.

Let’s take a look at this example – one that I learned firsthand, in fact.  Say for lunch you decide to open a can of black beans, top those with some salsa and heat up your entree.  You might have a banana for dessert and maybe some almonds, just for good measure (you want to make sure you’re getting some fat in your diet – your body really does need some fat to function properly.)  Healthy lunch, certainly, but you’re also looking at approximately 600 calories – half of your daily budget – in just your lunch!  So, be careful with what you’re consuming and always keep in mind that you have a limited supply of calories within which to work each day.  Make it a game, a puzzle to be solved – “How am I going to make the most nutritious vegetarian meals today while staying within my caloric budget?”  That can actually be kinda fun to think about – it challenges you to come up with new, exciting ways to blend your two interests (weight loss and vegetarianism) creatively so that you don’t become bored with the same foods over and over, while watching the pounds slip away.  AND, added bonus, all healthy stuff for you, too, so GO TEAM YOU! 

Just remember, that 1,200 calories per day is what it all boils down to – no matter who you are, omnivore or vegan.  If you stay within those guidelines, continue drinking your water, continue moving your body, your body will start thanking you and morphing into the shape that it wants to be.  You’re gonna feel (and look) great!

Have a great day, Everyone!  Happy 1,200!

Donna

Site Recommendation:  VegWeb.com - great recipes and tips for the vegetarian lifestyle

… but, likely not many of them in your belly or your medicine cabinet.

Here’s a little poem I wrote that I hope that you will like: 

“All you tasty fishies in the sea,

thanks for all that Omega-3! ” 

(Hey, I didn’t say it would be a long poem … or, even a very good one.)

Do you have fish oil – where your Omega-3 (the stuff in fish oil that’s really, really good for you) comes from - in your house?  I’m talking about in tablet or caplet form.  Well, if you do and you are consuming it on a regular basis, stop right now and give yourself a big ‘ole pat on the back.  If you do NOT, then stop reading this blog, hop on your bike and head on over to Walmart and pick-up a big bottle of ‘em.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is, “No, I do NOT own stock in any fish oil tablet companies.”  I should, though, because you would be wise, and so would everyone, to make fish oil a part of your healthy-eating routine.  Study after study, and some more studies after that, have shown the countless benefits of including fish oil in your lifestyle.  From shinier hair to stronger fingernails, to a healthier heart, better circulatory performance and more, fish oil can help you with that.  There have been recent studies out of Japan and the U.K. that indicate that fish oil even has a beneficial effect on asthma - how cool is that?!  Answer:  Really cool!

Of course, any time you can supply your body with naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, say, those found in fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, you’re on the right track!  Supplements, however, can also be helpful to your overall nutrition.  I don’t go crazy with supplements and I do prefer to get my nutrients from non-processed foods, but I also do regularly take fish oil (3x daily), iron, calcium and biotin.  It works for me, and I strongly encourage you to do the research to see what works for you!

I have a little seven-year-old friend who LOVES salmon!  She would eat salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner if that were possible!  If you are like her and you like to eat fish a lot, you just might be fine with your fish oil intake!  But, most people aren’t, which is why I wanted to put this out there for the entire world to read.  Get on the fish oil bandwagon … your body will thank you for it!

Now, I’m gonna go buy that fish oil company stock we were talking about earlier.  Ha!  (but, not really.) 

Have a great day!

Boop Boop, Diddem, Daddem, Waddem, Chew (and, they swam and they swam all over the dam.)

Site Recommendation:  Check out this interesting link regarding fish oil … good stuff!

Monday, Monday …

Posted: March 29, 2010 in Eating Well

It’s a gorgeous day here today!  It finally feels like Spring – HOORAY!!

So, here’s what I’ve had to eat so far today – keeping within my 1,200, natch:

For breakfast:  a banana (said in my head as, “Bah-nah-nah”) and some strawberries.  Not sure how many for sure, but approximately 10-15.  OH!  Fun factoid:  Did you know that strawberries combined with baking powder act as a great and natural teeth whitener?!!  I didn’t know that … just learned that today, and am sharing with you fine folks!

For lunch:  can of split pea soup, and an apple.  Then, my mother – who is an extraordinary baker – brought me a piece of pineapple cake that she’d saved for me.  Had that, too!  Just recorded those cals towards my 1,200 bankroll, so we’re all good.  (For the record, that cake was t-a-s-t-y!)

For dinner:  not sure yet, but think we’re leaning toward a sweet potato and some french cut beans.  We’ll see – but, that sounds really good.  (Typing this post is making me hungry!)

And, of course, lots and lots of water!  Right now, I’m at two litres.  That should be enough for the day technically, but I’ll have more with dinner.  Don’t forget to keep the water flowing, too! 

So, what is everyone else having today???????

What’s On Your Mind?

Posted: March 22, 2010 in Eating Well

… and, here’s why I ask.  Your weight control plan (your diet) shouldn’t be.  Does that sound counter-intuitive to weightloss?  Hear me out.

For many of us, the reason we find ourselves in the position of having to shed pounds is because we have a preoccupation with food.  For a subset of us, that preoccupation is actually classified as an addiction – we crave food, and not in the good way.  For others, it’s an outlet for stress.  “I know those cupcakes are up there in the fridge … but, I have to get this report done … but, I can’t stop thinking about those cupcakes … okay, I’ll have a cupcake or two, and then I can focus on my report, give it the proper attention it deserves.”  Sometimes, whether we realize it or not, certain stressors can trigger our brains to kick into gear and, instead of reaching for the stars, we reach for the fridge.

Another way of looking at it?  Food consumes us as we consume, or think about consuming, food.  Does that ring true with you?  If so, here’s something you need to work on – shifting that thought.  Get your mind onto something else, and away from automatically reaching for food.  Take up a hobby.  Phone a friend.  Pay some bills.  Here’s a really good idea … hit the gym!  Your mind has trained itself to want food when you’re bored or stressed or (fill in the blank.)  Your body on the other hand, which uses food for nourishment and sustenance, wants food to run efficiently.  You control your mind, and you need to recognize when it’s telling you to “go get some food.”  Take a minute to ask yourself:  “When did I eat last?  Is it really time to eat again?”  If it is, then grab something healthy, eat it and get on with your day.  If it isn’t, then make a note that your mind is up to its old tricks, and let it know who’s in charge – YOU ARE!

This pattern (a.k.a. habit) will eventually break, and your mind will calm down and stop with all of the, “Hey – let’s eat that” impluses.  Breaking this pattern may be difficult at first, but when you start to recognize what’s driving those thoughts and address them – putting yourself FULLY in charge – eating right and healthy will become your new pattern. 

And, remember to relax.  This weight control journey is about resetting some old switches in the brain so that eating well for your body is the only relationship you have with food.  Don’t shift your prior preoccupation with food to a preoccupation with dieting – just relax, start recognizing the signals that you’re receiving from your brain, tell ‘em who’s boss and your body will thank you for it.

I hope you’re all having a great day!

DK