Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Slimmed-Down Restaurant Dishes

OK, just to catch up - the holidays weren't as bad as I thought they were going to be. I didn't lose any more weight, but I didn't gain any either. I didn't pig out, but I didn't deprive myself either, so that's good, right?

Anywho, my niece talked me in to doing a Isagenix cleanse - which I started after the new year. I'm on day 2 of juice and water only. If it gets me over this plateau (yup, another one), then I'll be fine with it. If not, then I'll be really mad as going without food makes me grumpy. I'll let you know.

This morning Spark People sent me an email with a link to 10 Slimmed-Down Restaurant Dishes. In looking them over, they look yummy. When I'm allowed to eat again, I'll have to try one. Again, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Calendar

I received an e-mail this morning from Spark People with a link to a 31-day calendar with daily tips on how to survive the holidays: Holiday Calendar

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just for the halibut

Had a delicious (and easy) dinner last night, courtesy of Robin Miller's Robin to the Rescue. The recipe was for tilapia with mango sauce, but I used halibut instead.

Grill, pan-fry, or bake the halibut (seasoned with salt and pepper)

Serve with Mango Sauce:
1 Mango, peeled and diced
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. minced ginger (I used fresh ginger)
1 Tbs. water
1 clove garlic
Blend all ingredients until smooth - if too thick, add more water

Delicious. And did I mention it was easy?

I served it with oven-roasted veggies - also easy. I don't have a recipe, per se, I just wing it:
Put 1 Tbs. olive oil in a gallon-size Ziploc bag
Add salt and pepper to taste (or any other seasoning as desired - garlic would be good, maybe some rosemary)
Cut veggies - last night I used potatoes, parsnips, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. I've also used beets, peppers, etc. If you like carrots, feel free to use them
Add veggies to Ziploc - shake to coat NOTE: Beets bleed, so I use a separate Ziploc for them
Put veggies on a foil covered cookie sheet
Bake for 20-ish minutes at 400 (to 425) degrees until all veggies are done
NOTE: if you want, you can start with the veggies that will take longer to cook, i.e. potatoes, parsnips, etc. and add the other veggies later - however, I just cook them all together. The mushrooms and onions get nice and crispy.

I don't have the nutritional information for either recipe, but halibut is healthy, right? Mango is a fruit, right? Healthy...

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm still here

I know it’s been awhile. What, with three weeks in New Zealand, one week in Tallahassee, etc. time just seems to get away from me. However, just because I haven’t been posting on this site doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working toward my goal.

New Zealand was the first time I was able to put my fab and fit goal to the “travel” test. Although I continued to lose weight during the trip, I had both successes and failures.

Success – I didn’t have a rental car, so I had to walk everywhere, which I actually enjoy. Built in exercise. One nice thing (well, nice until I got all sweaty) is that my hotel and the office where I worked was on a hill. So, anytime I walked to dinner, lunch, or anything, getting back to the office or hotel required a workout. Sweatiness aside, that was a win because it counted as exercise. I also did a lot of hiking, walking, etc. over the weekends, so even more exercise.

Failure – Although I had a mini kitchen in my apartment, I only cooked a couple of meals there. I did have breakfast in my room every day, consisting of whole grain cereal, skim milk, and low fat yogurt (as well as delicious kiwi), but I ate out for all lunches and most dinners. Eating salads got boring quickly, especially being in a foreign country with so many different things to try, so, I’ll admit, I did eat some non-diet food (like yummy fish and chips). However, I did manage the portions, so I either took the leftovers back to the hotel, or just left the rest on my plate. And, when I did eat something that wasn’t especially diet-friendly, I worked out a little bit harder the following day. Input cannot exceed output. So, kind of a combination success/failure.

So, I’m down almost 30 lbs. from where I was when I started this thing. Feeling so much better, but I know that I have more to go.

Tip of the day – exercise in the morning. This is actually easy for me, I can’t seem to exercise in the afternoon/evening – too much to do (or I get too easily distracted). Getting up in the morning and getting it over with is the easiest thing for me to do. This article gives other reasons why exercising in the morning is better:

1. Exercising early in the morning "jump starts" your metabolism, keeping it elevated for hours.
2. Studies have shown that exercise significantly increases mental acuity (which I really need before spending a day at work).
3. Exercising first thing in the morning is the most foolproof way to ensure that other things don’t overtake your fitness commitment (see, this is what I said)

My niece recently started a Biggest Loser competition with a bunch of people, and I gladly joined. Wish I could count the 30 lbs. I've already lost, but, oh well, it's all part of the adventure known as life, right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Too little of a good thing?

I know it’s been awhile. A little over a week ago my mom started having some health problems, so I have been otherwise occupied. However, I have been (mostly) keeping up with my quest to be fit. Today, my Spark People newsletter contained an article that I want to share: 6 Risks of Eating a Low-Fat Diet (By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian). Risks? Low-Fat? I've known for awhile that fat-free is not always better - it's all about the right kind of fat. And we all are aware of the risks of a diet too high in fat. But I didn't know that there were actual risks if your fat intake was too low. According to this article, your fat intake should be anywhere from 20%-35% of your daily caloric intake (although an article linked to this article says your fat intake should be less than 30%). That seems like a LOT.

Risks are:

1. Poor vitamin absorption - "Eating a diet too low in fat can interfere with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Because these nutrients are fat soluble, your body needs dietary fat to utilize them." Maybe that's why I'm always low in Vitamin D?

2. Depression - "Both omega-3s and omega-6s play roles in mood and behavior." I found this especially interesting.

3. Increased Cancer Risk - "Colon, breast, and prostate cancers have all been correlated with low intakes of essential fatty acids."

4. High Cholesterol and Heart Disease - this one was weird because I've always associated high fat and high cholesterol, but according to this article "[w]hen your diet is too low in fat, your body's level of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) goes down. This is problematic because you want your HDL level to be high to help protect against heart disease."

5. Imbalance of Nutrients—Especially Carbs

6. Overeating - "Many of these [low-fat/fat-free] processed foods contain added sugars to enhance taste; often they're similar in calories to the original full-fat product." "[F]at helps carry flavor in our foods. It leads to fullness and satiety, which means you can get by longer on a meal or snack that provides fat without feeling the need to eat again soon."

It's all about moderation (and knowing which fats to eat), folks.

Good fats

#1 Monounsaturated fats (they help lower bad cholesterol while not lowering good cholesterol). Foods include: certain oils and margarines (canola, olive, peanut, sesame), avocado, nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, peanuts, pistachios), peanut butter, olives, and sesame seeds.

#2 Polyunsaturated fats (they help lower bad cholesterol but also lower good cholesterol). Foods include: certain oils and margarines (corn, safflower, soybean), walnuts, mayonnaise, most salad dressings, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

So, not only can you have too much of a good thing, but now you can have too little as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Am I Ready?

Like many Americans, I have watched The Biggest Loser. Sometimes I find it motivating (although obviously not motivating enough or I wouldn’t be where I am); other times I find it depressing (as I have yet to lose 10 lbs. in one week). But, regardless of whether I find it motivating or depressing, I LOVE Bob Harper (the fitness trainer) – so much so that I bought a few of his strength training DVDs and [now] I’m actually using them. Nothing against the other Biggest Loser trainer – I know that many people respond very well to her type of training – but she and I would have serious problems. She doesn’t motivate me, in fact she makes me want to punch her in the face. AND I would want to do the exact opposite of anything she asked me to do. (what does that say about my personality?)

Anyway, in addition to the DVDs, I also purchased a book by Bob Harper, Are You Ready! What I really like about Bob (yup, we’re so tight that I can just call him Bob) is that he seems to really care about the people he works with and wants to address the underlying reasons for an individual’s weight problem. I am living proof that someone can change their life enough to lose weight, but (I’m guessing) because there are still issues that haven’t been dealt with, the weight will come back (with a vengeance).

So, that said, I think I’ve finally come up with some type of format for this blog. Broad topics include: recipes, exercise info, food finds, weight loss epiphanies, and any articles I find interesting and/or pertinent. And, of course, I will be sharing any and all progress I make in my quest.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wrap it up

Update - still a plateau ! If this keeps up, I'm actually going to go see a doctor about it.

For my birthday this year, my friend Lisa gave me a couple of "diet" cookbooks, one being The Most Decadent Diet Ever! by Devin Alexander. Wednesday night I made Renovated Reuben Wraps. SOOOO delicious! I LOVE Reubens. To me, the sign of a great deli/sandwich shop is how good their Reuben is. So, I couldn't wait to try this recipe. It was a hit - I've even been asked to make them again tonight.

1 1/2 Tbs. Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
1 low-fat, whole-wheat tortilla
1/2 c. finely shredded, low-fat Swiss cheese I couldn't find low-fat shredded Swiss cheese, so I used slices - one slice per wrap
3 oz. 98% fat-free corned beef oddly enough, I couldn't find corned beef, so I used low-fat pastrami - just as yummy
1/4 c. well-drained, refrigerated sauerkraut

Prepare the Russian Dressing
Preheat a non-stick skillet/frying pan. I didn't use a non-stick pan, and it worked without a problem
Lay the tortilla in the pan. Heat for 30 seconds - flip.
Sprinkle the cheese in a 3-inch strip down the center of the tortilla (leaving 2 inches at one end).
Cover the pan long enough to melt the cheese and heat the tortilla. This took about 1 minute
Remove lid, top cheese evenly with the meat, then add the sauerkraut and dressing.
Move tortilla to a flat surface.
Fold in the bare (2 inches) end, then "wrap" the tortilla.

Russian Dressing
3 Tbs. low-fat mayonnaise I used 2 Tbs. fat free mayonnaise and 1 Tbs. regular mayonnaise because I didn't have any low-fat mayo
1 1/2 Tbs. ketchup
1 Tbs. minced onion
1/4 tsp. bottled horseradish
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients

1 wrap
309 calories
27 g protein
29 g carbohydrates
9 g fat (4 g saturated fat)
55 mg cholesterol
3 g fiber