True Confessions…

I’d like to share something personal today.  I discovered something about myself this week.  For the last 5 to 7 days, I’ve noticed that I’ve been tempted by and chosen foods that I would not recommend to others as part of a healthy diet.  For example, I made french toast loaded with butter and syrup the other day.  That same night, we went out to Ryan’s Steak House… need I say more?  Three days in a row, I ate dessert – which I usually only eat every once in a while.  Yesterday, I made myself some cinnamon toast.  Then later I enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate with a big fat marshmallow in it!  The other day, while I was grocery shopping,  I was actually tempted by a box of chocolate Lucky Charms!!!  I ended up going to the health food section & buying a cereal called “Peanut Butter Bumpers” – so that was my cheat cereal. 

So, I began asking myself what the heck is going on???  This is so not like me… anymore.  I used to do stuff like that years ago without batting an eye lash, but it’s not a part of my fitness lifestyle now.  I can’t let it sneak back into my lifestyle, either.  Fortunately for me, I have enough self-awareness that I figured out the culprit.  My husband and I have been in the middle of a home remodel for about 3 months now.  Things are in such a state of disarray and disorganization that I feel somewhat out of control.  My life has been disrupted to the point that a lot of my major routines have been thrown off (except working out and training others, of course).  It’s affected almost every area of my life, and now it’s infiltrating into my eating routines, too.  So, once I discovered that I’m beginning to allow my emotions to dictate my food choices, I realized that I need to deal with my emotions to prevent further issues.  So, I pitched a couple of major “hissy fits” a few days ago, had several good cries, vented to a few people, and now I feel somewhat better.  Yesterday, I made the decision to tackle some of the projects that are making me feel the most out of control.  I know that once I make some headway on those, then that will help tremendously, too. 

So, why do I tell you this?  Because I thought it was important to share a real-life example of how emotions can completely wreck your fitness goals if you allow them to.  I am not immune.  I experience the same pressures and stresses in life as everyone else (well, mostly), so I wanted to share how I try to deal with them before they get the best of me.  It’s definitely a challenge right now, and I have to take each day as it comes.  I refuse to just throw my hands up &  give up.  However, I know that I need to have a little room for some “comfort food” from time to time, too.  It’s all about balance and moderation, as well as learning to deal with stress and emotions.  It’s definitely not easy, but totally worth the effort.


How to avoid getting fat when the weather gets cooler

Ah, November.  I just love the fall!  The temperatures are cool and crisp, and it’s a welcome relief from the 90 and 100 degree temperatures we had just a couple of months ago.  However, I’ve noticed that this time of year also brings other joys that can pack on the pounds if you’re not careful.  For example, my husband and I have a special area in our backyard to light a bonfire on those cool evenings.  I actually bought the ingredients to make s’mores!!!  (We haven’t done it yet).  I also find myself browsing through recipes for special holiday desserts and hot beverages, like warm apple cider on the stove.  I honestly don’t want to give up these special seasonal treats just because I’m trying to stay fit.  These things are part of life that can bring joy, excitement, and wonder when shared with people you love.  I don’t plan to miss out on these things.  Another problem with this time of year is that there is a tendency to become less physically active now that the time has changed, and it gets dark so early – not to mention that it’s often too cool to want to be outside.  So, between special seasonal and holiday treats plus less activity – this could equal weight gain disaster if you’re not careful. 

What’s the answer to this?  I think everyone has to figure out what works for them, but to me, the key is to be intentional with your food and activity.  For example, if you know you’ll be enjoying some special out-of-the-norm treats, then plan some extra exercise and activity for that day to offset the calorie consumption.  You can also plan to eat VERY healthy for the upcoming days leading up to your planned splurge, as well as the days following it.  It’s not that you’re on a diet – it’s just that you’re budgeting your food intake.  It’s basically the same principle as what you do with your money.  In order to buy all of those Christmas presents, you might need to save some money and “cut some corners” somewhere else in your spending.  Also, you really need to be diligent with sticking to your exercise program during the cooler months.  When the sun goes down earlier, there is a tendency for our bodies to start to slow down earlier, as well.  This is something to keep in mind when planning your workouts.  Perhaps you would prefer to go to bed a little earlier so that you can get up earlier (with the sun) to work out.  You will definitely need those planned calorie-burning workouts to offset the additional calories consumed (and perhaps limited activity during the day) this time of year. 

To summarize, I say enjoy life and all the enjoyment this season brings – just do it mindfully and intentionally so that you won’t have to “pay the price” later with extra weight. 

Healthy Dinner Idea

I love to experiment and try new things with healthy foods.  Last night, I made a very interesting spaghetti.  I used texturized vegetable protein (otherwise known as TVP or soy protein crumbles) instead of ground hamburger or turkey meat.  I also put the sauce on top of spaghetti squash instead of noodles.  I served it with a side dish of salad (romaine lettuce, spinach, and red & green peppers).  So, basically the entire meal was nothing but vegetables (except for the 2 different kinds of cheeses I used on top).   I didn’t go by a recipe when making the sauce, but here’s the gist of what I did:

one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

water (about enough to fill up 2 of the tomato paste cans)

parsley (to taste)

oregano (to taste)

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

minced onion

one cup of TVP

spaghetti squash

I heated up the tomato sauce and tomato paste, then added the above ingredients and simmered it while I was heating up the spaghetti squash in the microwave.  I cut the spaghetti squash length-wise, and then pulled out the seeds.  I heated 1/2 of it in the microwave for 8 minutes.  When it was done, I used a fork to scrape the sides so that the squash flaked out in a very thin texture, kind of like noodles.  I then served the sauce over the squash with the salad.  My husband LOVED it!  I was concerned how he would like it since I snuck in the TVP (it’s a little different texture than regular hamburger meat).  He said it was very hearty and that I could make that again!  So, I thought I would pass along that dinner idea.  It really didn’t take long at all to prepare, and the ingredients are super inexpensive.  If anyone decides to try this, I would love to know what you think!

Is eating healthy a “buzz kill”?

I was talking to a lady last night who has been diagnosed with diabetes, and she just insists that it is just not as much fun to eat anymore.  She feels like she’s on a constant diet, and when she goes out to eat – she just can’t bring herself to order a salad when “everyone else” is eating the “good stuff”.  I suggested to her that she is only thinking in terms of black and white… where is the gray area???  I have been eating healthy for years, and I rarely, if ever, feel deprived or like I’m missing out on life.  I told her that eating healthy has caused me to be much more creative with foods, and I enjoy experimenting with new and different flavors and dishes.  We then started talking about eating out on vacation (she just got back from Florida last week).  It was just TOO MUCH for her to think about avoiding the fried seafood when she is on vacation in Florida!!  She said the food is the main reason she goes to Florida!!  That’s when it hit me… some people really are RULED by food.  When I go on vacation, I look forward to all of the new and exciting adventures I will experience; the beauty of nature; spending quality time with my husband… things like that.  I rarely come back talking about the food I ate!!!  I don’t even remember what I ate most of the time. 

 So, I conclude with these questions.  Do you let food rule your life?  Do you eat to live, or live to eat?  I promise you, there is so much more to experience in life than just food!!

Do you sabotage your weight loss?

I facilitate a weekly weight loss class/support group, and last week we had a very interesting discussion.  We talked about how many of us sabotage ourselves whenever we get close to reaching our “ideal weight”.  Someone mentioned how she has a “magic number” on the scale that she wants to weigh.  She can do very well with her eating, but then when she comes within a few pounds of that number, she will intentionally start over-eating and binging again.  She knows that she does that, but she doesn’t know why.  Others mentioned that, although they are far from their ideal weight, they will only get so far and then do something to “blow their diet”.  I mentioned how weight is “easy” to fix, because you know that all you have to do is follow a plan or a program.  However, a lot of the time, the “weight problem” really disguises a much deeper emotional issue that is not quite so easy to fix.  Therefore, if we can keep ourselves distracted with weight – never quite being able to succeed – then it will prevent us from really having to deal with the deeper issues.  In other words, we sabotage ourselves so that we will always just keep our focus on the weight problem.  Emotional issues are often VERY deeply routed and require a non-judgmental outside party (usually a counselor or therapist) who can see things in us that we can’t see ourselves. 

So, I challenge you to think about this.  Are you sabotaging yourself with your “weight problem” in order to avoid dealing with the much deeper emotional hurts that need to be resolved?  Just a little “food for thought”…

Are you an emotional eater?

I have found that the 3 main culprits for weight gain are overeating, mindless eating, and emotional eating.  Take this quiz to see if you are an emotional eater:

  1. Do you think about food often or all the time?
  2. Do you eat to relieve tension, worry, or upsets?
  3. Do you eat when you’re bored?
  4. Do you continue to eat after you feel full, sometimes to the point of feeling sick?
  5. Does eating relieve your anxiety?
  6. Do you eat without thinking?
  7. Do you have to clean your plate?
  8. Do you eat in secret or hide food?
  9. Do you eat quickly, shoving in the food?
  10. Do you feel guilty after you eat?
  11. Do you eat small portions in front of people, but go back for more food when people aren’t around?
  12. Do you binge (eat large amounts of food in a short time)?
  13. Can you eat one serving, or do you eat the entire amount (a bag of cookies, or the whole half gallon of ice cream)?
  14. Do you feel out of control and impulsive when eating?
  15. Do you eat when you’re not physically hungry?
  16. Do you lie to yourself about how much you really eat?
  17. Do you have trouble tolerating negative feelings?
  18. Do you have impulse problems in other areas of your life (shopping, gambling, sex, alcohol, pornography, drugs)?
  19. Have you been on numerous diets over the years?
  20. Do you experience constant weight fluctuations?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, then your emotions often trigger your desire to eat.  In order to address this, you need to get to the bottom of why you are eating.  Most often, there are some unresolved emotional issues in your life that you need to deal with in order to stop the cycle of emotional eating.

(This quiz was taken from Lose it For Life by Steve Arterburn and Linda Mintle).

Sometimes eating healthy just isn’t worth it!

Last week-end, my husband and I took a rode trip to Florida to visit my sister and her family.  We left Friday before rush hour, so we needed to stop to get something to eat.  As I was already a bit anxious about what kind of food choices would be available all week-end, I was dead-set determined to eat healthy on the road – regardless of what I had to do.  So, we stopped at a Moe’s Southwest Grill in Montgomery, AL.  I had already decided to avoid the rice and the tortilla, so the only thing I could eat was salad (without the shell).  Since I’m trying to cut back on the amount of meat and dairy I eat (due to the hormones), this left me with tofu as my only remaining alternative.  So, basically my salad consisted of lettuce, cucumbers, tofu (which I’m not sure was even cooked), VERY little cheese, black beans, and salsa.  I had a little chipotle sauce on the side, but that didn’t help.  Basically, there was NOTHING on this salad to make it taste good at all.  Literally, as I write this I feel like vomiting just thinking about it.  My husband sat there and watched my face turn a lovely shade of pale green and felt so sorry for me that he cut off large parts of his “homewrecker” tortilla just so I would have something to eat! 

So, the moral of the story is sometimes there really ARE no healthy choices that are palatable, so you just have to do the best you can and resume your routine as soon as possible.  I have to say that I’m glad to be home and in control of what I cook and put in my mouth!