Monday, September 28, 2009

If you don't know where you're going...

... you may end up somewhere else.

I love that saying because it's so true. I am a queen of over-committing and I always have a full plate. I also tend to set expectations for myself that may be unrealistic - especially when it comes to weight loss efforts. In fact, I find that most people do the same.

I'm trying to combat this by setting some realistic and short-term goals for myself. I've been teetering about 3-5 pounds over my goal weight for the last several months. It's as if I've been sabotaging myself for some reason. I find maintaining weight much more difficult than losing weight because you don't have that constant motivation or change happening.

I've been creating some excitement again by writing down and posting different goals for myself - they are always specific, easy to reach in a short period of time and I tack on a small reward if I reach them. Taking these baby steps should help me reach my ultimate long-term health and fitness goals.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Going Greek

One of my favorite things to eat is salmon. Tonight I made it for dinner along with my homemade yogurt sauce. I typically make this with non-fat plain yogurt, but tonight I tried Greek yogurt for a change. Honestly, when I bought the Greek yogurt, I didn't really know the difference between it and non-fat plain yogurt. I found the taste to be so much better, so I figured I'd better do some research. Usually better tasting means worse for you. But, I was pleasantly surprised!

8 oz. Greek Non-Fat Yogurt stats:
--121 calories
--151 milligrams calcium
--20 grams protein
--83 milligrams sodium

8 oz. Non-Fat Plain Yogurt stats:
--127 calories
--450 milligrams calcium
--13 grams protein
--175 milligrams sodium

Since I really watch my sodium, this was good news for me. I was disappointed about the calcium difference, but I take a supplement to meet calcium requirements. As far as the taste, I discovered that Greek yogurt is strained to get rid of the liquid that's found in non-fat plain yogurt.

Verdict: I think I've just gone Greek!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If you could eat anything, what would it be?

Before I changed my lifestyle to a healthy one, I ate whatever I wanted. I ate whenever I wanted to and I ate as much as I wanted to. (And, it showed...)

If you could eat whatever you wanted - health aside - what would it be?

For me - pizza!

Second question - if you have changed your ways to healthy ones, is the answer still the same?

Personally, I still love pizza, but I don't care for it in the frequency that I did before. Also, I love having fresh veggies or a salad with pizza. Even better, I love making homemade pizza. It's not nearly as greasy and I can make it just how I like it - lots of veggies, lean meat and a whole wheat crust.

Remember...getting healthy doesn't mean giving up foods you love. It just means having certain foods in moderation or making some adjustments to make your meals healthier.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good carb vs. bad carb


Never has one word brought so many conflicting thoughts to my mind: sugar-simple-energy-processed-calories-bread-complex, no-NO-NOOOOOO! But, no matter how much negativity is associated with carbohydrates, perhaps brought on by certain commercial diets, you do need carbs to maintain an overall healthy diet. Choosing the right carb is key to successful wellness.

Complex carbs include fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds/nuts and whole grains. These foods are not typically processed, so they are high in vitamins and minerals. These foods are high in fiber, keeping you fuller longer and providing you with a slow release of energy. Complex carbs foods are great options if you are trying to lose weight or manage hunger - GOOD CARBS!

Simple carbs are easily spotted - they are processed foods that provide little or no nutritional value because of the high fat and calorie content. Because they are difficult to digest, you'll feel an energy spike, then crash. Examples are candy, soda or baked goods made with refined flour - BAD CARBS!

Stick with the GOOD CARBS! Check out - it's a great resource to help you determine the portion of good carbs you should have per day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dinner tonight...and lunch for tomorrow!

I made a new recipe yesterday and it turned out fabulous! It had all of my recipe requirements: quick, easy (meaning I understood what all of the ingredients were and there were less than 10 items needed) and did not taste "diet" (meaning husband-approved!)

Credit for the recipe given to Women's Health magazine. It's called Superfast Stir-fry, however it seems more like fried rice to me. Next time I may try adding pork or shrimp. Either way, this was delicious and satisfied my Chinese food craving. If you double/triple the recipe, it could easily be used for leftovers during the week.

Superfast Stir-fry

Serves: 2 Prep time: 7 min. Cook time: 12 min.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, precooked chicken
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • hot sauce to taste
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper and saute until the onion softens (3 to 5 minutes). Add the egg, stirring frequently, and continue cooking until the egg firms up (2 to 4 more minutes). Add soy sauce, chicken, rice, scallions, and hot sauce to taste; stir and cook about 3 more minutes, until well blended.

Nutritional Facts per serving

(For those following Weight Watchers, I figured 8 POINTS per serving.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cravings - All in your head!

It's true! Lack of serotonin, a chemical produced by your brain, can cause you to cave into cravings. Your serotonin levels may be reduced due to lack of sleep, stress or even sunlight. Also, if you are eating poorly and not exercising, it's likely your level of serotonin will be down as well. This can lead to a case of the tireds, which in my case and likely yours, means that you are more likely to give in on your diet.

What can you do to curb the cravings?

--Boost your serotonin levels by eating a balanced diet. Foods like turkey, chicken and brown rice help to produce serotonin.

--Go for a walk! Or do some other activity to keep yourself busy while the craving passes.

--Get an appropriate amount of sleep.

--Figure out what you really want. Are you bored, tired, sad, angry? Or, maybe you are just plain hungry. If you truly want the food you are craving, it's best to just eat it! Plan for it within your daily calories and enjoy it! If you put it off, you are likely to "eat around" it, then eat it anyway, eating more calories that you typically would have in the first place.

--Keep an anchor with you at all times. This is a token or a picture that will remind you why you want to reach your health goals.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The most important part of your workout

The most important part of your workout

STRETCHING! Don’t skip this step! Take 10 minutes per day to stretch – even if you are not working out – and your body will thank you. Stretching will help keep you flexible and reduce body aches.

Warm up stretches help to wake up your muscles and get you ready for your workout. I highly recommend doing only dynamic stretching during your warm up. Static stretching could cause injury if your muscles are not loosened up. Spend five or 10 minutes doing the following: light jogging, jumping jacks, butt kicks, jump rope or even skipping!

Cooling down is important because you want to bring down your heart rate. Also, you want to stretch and lengthen the muscles you just worked, so they look fabulous! When you are cooling down, you can incorporate static stretching. Be sure to stretch the muscles you worked: hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexors, chest, arms, etc. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and remember to relax the areas of your body you are not stretching.