Archive for June, 2007

The Salad Secret to Fresh Greens

June 29, 2007

I think everyone is aware that increasing the amount of fresh veggies you eat will help your weight loss efforts.  It’s a great way to be able to fill up on a food that tastes good but isn’t full of calories.  Plus, vegetables give our bodies many nutrients that our bodies need and that are missing from the processed crap that most of us eat.

When I first started my weight loss efforts, I added vegetables by eating a big-a$$ salad every day for lunch.  It’s a habit that has served me well, and one that I continue still.  I’ve gone from eating no veggies at all to having a diet that consists of AT LEAST 2/3 of each meal being vegetables.

And now, thanks to FitSugar,  I will be able to enjoy fresh salad green ever more.  I have discovered the secret to keeping lettuce and other salad greens fresh for longer periods of time!

This is so cool; I never dream it would be this easy.  Here’s the secret:

“Place the greens in a plastic bag, close the top of the bag lightly with your fist, and blow into the bag and fill it with air (carbon dioxide). Then seal the bag by twisting the top a few times before closing it firmly with a twisty-tie.  Place it in the fridge and your greens are good to go.”

 Isn’t that something?  No more eating greens that are wilted and getting a little funky.  Better yet, no more throwing out a ton of lettuce that went bad before you can eat it!

I know you can buy pre-bagged salad greens.  I have bought and used these bags, and have recommended them to others.  But by using this method, you should be able to save a little dough, and have no worries about how your greens have been packages.

How Do You Measure Up?

June 27, 2007

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I tell people not to put too much emphasis on using the scale as a way of tracking your progress.  The scale is a notorious liar; it can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle, it doesn’t take into account if you’re retaining fluid, and it fluctuates like crazy.  In fact, your scale weight will fluctuate as much as 5 pounds over the course of a single day!

A much better way of tracking the results of your diet and exercise efforts is by taking your measurements.   The thing is, though, that if you’re inconsistent in how you take them, you’ll get fluctuation with them as well.  Here are some tips to help you make sure you are consistent every time:

  • Relax — don’t flex or tense up for your measurements
  • The tape should be snug, but NOT too tight.  It should not be squeezing your body.
  • Don’t suck in your tummy for the waist measurement.  That will give you a false read.
  • When measuring any body part from the waist on down, be sure to stand with your feet together.
  •  Important — take your waist measurement at the smallest point around
  • Also important — when measuring your butt, calves, thighs and  biceps, be sure to measure at the biggest point around.

The last two points are the keys to being consistent whenever you take your measurements.Start today, and take your measurements once a week.  It really is the best way to gauge results, and best of all — it won’t lie to you!

And Now, for the Flip Side

June 26, 2007

On Sunday, I posted a little rant about the unfair standard of “you must be thin to be beautiful” that our society applies to women. Based on the comments and emails I received, this was an emotional subject for many of us, and one that hits close to home.

Today, I wanted to touch on the other side of the equation; the fact that there many out there who DO feel that beauty has nothing to do with size.

Check out this video that Pasta Queen has on her blog today. It’s the video for a song called, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” by a British recording artist named Mika. The song is awesome, but more importantly it celebrates girls “with curves in all the right place”. 🙂

It’s a lively, fun song and dance, and best of all, it’s not mocking or mean spirited; it appears to be a sincere tribute to plus sized women.

So, here’s your chance to fight back against the awful double standard towards women that we’ve been discussing. Just get yourself to the Butterfly Lounge.

Straight From the Mouth of Some Big Losers

June 25, 2007

Let me say this right up front: I am a not a fan of “The Biggest Loser” television series.

Why? Because I think it sets unrealistic expectations as far as weight loss goes. First of all, it’s WAY too scale-oriented. It’s nothing for the participants to have a 7, 8, even a 10 pound weight loss in a week. And we watch them get upset if they only lose 3 pounds or so. Most of us would kill for a 3 pound weight loss every week. I’ve also read (and don’t know if it’s true) that the participants work out 4 hours a day, every day they’re in the house.

This is just not the real world of weight loss. And I’m always afraid that there’s people watching it and finally getting motivated to get started eating right and exercising. And then I’m afraid that they’ll be crushed the first time they “only” lose 2 or 3 pounds.

I do have to admit, though, that I get very excited about the success the contestants experience and the fact that these folks are learning, many of them for the first time, how to eat right and exercise. And I get thrilled along side them as the see the benefits of getting fit and thin.

I read an article today with weight loss advice from some of the Biggest Loser contestants, and I have to recommend it to you. You can find it here. The advice in it is AWESOME; it’s very apparent that they have truly been taught how to lose weight. Here’s 10 tips from the article:

10 More Tips From The Biggest Loser

To help keep you moving toward your weight loss goals, Lyons, Alexander and several of the “Biggest Losers” offer these additional tips and tricks:

  1. “Eat often — snack often,” says Alexander. While this may seem contrary to traditional dieting advice, the chef says that as long as you keep an eye on calories and portions, eating often will stave off hunger attacks that ultimately sabotage your diet. “When you’re starving, you grab whatever is available — and that’s the quickest way to get off your eating plan,” says Alexander.

2. “Eat your carbs in the morning,” says Biggest Loser contestant Brian Starkey. “It gets your day off to an energetic start.” Lyons adds that carbs are quickly burned with activity, so eating them may help motivate you for that morning walk or bike ride.

3. “Post a picture of yourself on the refrigerator — at your worst,” says Biggest Loser contestant Dana Desilvio. “The next time you’re thinking of grabbing something you shouldn’t from the fridge, you’ll be reminded of what you don’t want to look like!”

4. “Instead of watching the clock during workouts, listen to music,” to make the time go faster,says Erik Chopin, TheBiggest Loser‘s season-three winner. Lyons reminds us that everyday activities, like bike riding, tossing a Frisbee, or walking your dog, count as physical activity, too.

5. “When eating out, always ask for a ‘to-go’ box — at the start of your meal,” says Biggest Loser contestant Bobby Moore. Then, when your food arrives, immediately put half of it in the box, he suggests. This way, you’ll not only get used to eating smaller portions, but you’ll have a snack for later.

6. Learn to cook healthfully. “Cooking healthy doesn’t have to be hard — or take more time,” says Alexander. While many “Biggest Loser” contestants said they thought cooking healthy would be complicated or time-consuming, Alexander says, most found that cooking healthy is actually easier, less expensive, and faster.

7. “Never overlook the power of seasoning,” says Alexander. One way she made even the blandest diet foods grab the contestants’ attention was by using low-sodium seasonings.

“People never realize what a major difference spices can make on even simple dishes like grilled chicken or salmon,” she says.

8. “When it comes to cooking in flavor, it’s never about the oil,” says Alexander. Many dieters believe that unless food is fried in oil, you don’t get much flavor. But, she says, the real secret is pan-browning, which can happen without oil. The trick to getting restaurant-quality taste, she says, is to never overload your pan with food. “If you put too much in the pan, the moisture content causes the foods to steam and not pan-fry,” she says. “By reducing the amount of food in the pan you get that tasty pan-seared browning, without the use of any oils.”

9. Don’t try to do too much exercise, too soon. You not only run the risk of injury, but you’ll also get quickly discouraged. “Don’t try to stare down 45 minutes of exercise,” says Lyons. “Tell yourself it will be OK to quit after 10 minutes, because most of the time once you get going, you’ll keep going.”

10. Remember: Self-esteem feeds on self-esteem. Accomplishing a little something toward your weight loss goal every day will not only get you on the road to success, but help keep you there. “You are not just losing weight, you are changing your life and your lifestyle,” says Alexander. “If you keep that in mind, you come to see that every change, no matter how small, comes together to make a huge difference in not only your weight, but your life,” says Alexander.

See what I mean?

There is some profound wisdom in this article. There’s even a couple of recipes from the Biggest Loser Cookbook that I’m going to try. So do go spend a little time with this article.

You may not lose 10 pounds in a week, but if you take this advice to heart, you can lose weight EVERY week and keep it off. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

They Go Way Over the Line

June 24, 2007

I may not be the brightest or most observant man on the planet, but I do know that when it comes to weight loss, men seem to have it better than women.

Now, I’m not referring to the fact that it seems like men are able to drop more weight with less effort than women. What I’m referring to here is the pressure that society puts on women to be thin.

I don’t know where or when it first happened, but somewhere along the line, “You must be thin to be beautiful” became an accepted way of thinking. But only for women, as far as I can tell. Men do NOT have this kind of pressure on them. Good lord, you only have to go to a public beach or swimming pool to see evidence of that. In fact, the recent spate of ads on TV promoting an expensive diet plan starring a famous retired football star is the first diet-marketing campaign aimed specifically at men that I can recall.

As unfair as this way of thinking is to women, unfortunately it does exist. But I saw something today that takes this way of thinking to a new, all time low.

 

A Brazilian yogurt company thats’ pushing its “Fit Light Yogurt” has produced a new series of commerials that are running on the tube in Brazil. These commercials parodize scenes from American Beauty, Seven Year Itch and Basic Instinct. But what these jackass marketers do is replace Mena Suvari, Marilyn Monroe and Sharon Stone with plus sized models, and add a tagline that reads:

“Forget about it. Men’s preferences will never change. Fit Light Yogurt”

Frankly, I was appalled. I hope you are, too.

I realize that I don’t need to say it, but I’m going to anyway: beauty is NOT determined by weight. And I hope that none of you reading this, women or men, buy into this hurtful way of thinking.

And Fit Light Yogurt…screw you.

And Speaking of Burning Calories…

June 22, 2007

Yesterday, I posted about 8 different ways to burn 100 calories. Today, I want to show you a nifty little tool that will help you determine how many calories different activities help you burn off.

The West Virginia Dietetic Association web site has some awesome calculators that will measure how many calories are used in various activities. You can see the calculators here.

Now, the link I just gave goes to the calculator that figures out the calories burned in gym activities. But if you look at the bottom of the page, you ‘ll see links to other calculators. You can determine calories burned by participating in sports, in activities at home, or even at work. You can figure out how many calories you need a day to maintain your body weight (HINT: use this to figure out your calorie needs, then deduct 500 from it to give you a good ballpark figure of how many calories to eat when you want to lose weight), or estimate your Body Mass Index.

There is a lot of information you can learn from these calculators, and I recommend adding the site to your favorites. I certainly did.

By the way, if you know of a good web site or tool pertaining to weight loss, exercising, diets, recipes, nutrition, motivation, etc, be sure to let us know about it!

8 Ways to Burn 100 Calories That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of

June 21, 2007

As much as I believe in scheduling regular exercise sessions 3 – 6 times a week, I also believe that there’s weight loss benefits in the simple act of moving.  That’s why I always tell people to just get off of the couch and move.

I got an email today that’s been forwarded a billion times, listing dozens of ways to burn calories.  I’m not sure the origin of the list, but I found it really interesting.  I thought that you might, too.  So here’s 8 fun ways you can move to burn 100 calories, and I bet you haven’t thought of most of them:

  1. Hula hoop for 22 minutes
  2. Cut your lawn with an old push mower for 17 minutes
  3. Jump rope hard and fast for 8 minutes
  4. Do 780 jumping jacks
  5. Ride your bike for 7 minutes at 20 miles per hour
  6. Got a WII?  Play WII tennis for 13 minutes
  7. Play “Chopsticks” on the piano for 41 minutes
  8. Pole-vault for 15 minutes

Of course, none of these will ever replace regular cardio or strength training exercise sessions.  But I think they illustrate what can happen by just getting off of your butt and moving.

So c’mon; grab the hula hoop and meet me outside.

🙂

Gotta Eat-a Pita

June 20, 2007

I’ve been on a pita kick lately, and with good reason.

You can use them to wrap meat and veggies at lunch, you can scramble some eggs, cheese and turkey in the morning and eat a breakfast pita, you can even use pitas as a crust for mini-pizzas.

All in all, a handy, nutritious, tasty food.  Especially the whole wheat version.  🙂

I’ve got a recipe I want to share with you for a Grilled Veggie & Yogurt Sauce Pita that is awesome…I urge to give this a try.  It’s kind of tangy and has a Mediterranean taste to it.  It’s great by it self or with a salad.

Man, when I eat things like this it’s hard to believe that I’m eating healthy!

GRILLED VEGGIE PITA WITH YOGURT SAUCE

Ingredients:
Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cucumber
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
1/2 clove garlic

Sandwich
1 whole grain pita (7-inch)
1 1/2 ounces feta cheese
1/3 bell pepper
1/3 carrot
1/4 medium onion
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice

Chop the cucumber into small pieces, mince the garlic, and combine both with the yogurt to make the yogurt sauce.  Let that marinate for awhile, somewhere between an hour and overnight.  And yes, it makes a difference — the longer it marinates, the better is tastes.  Slice the pepper, carrot, and onion in thin strips and place them on the grill. Spray lightly with olive oil and the seasoning. Grill for 5 – 10 minutes,  to your taste. During the last minute or so of grilling, warm up your pita. Spread the sauce on the pita, then pile on the grilled veggies, and top with crumbled feta.

Time Well Spent

June 19, 2007

What do you think is worse;  not exercising at all, or performing ineffective exercises that don’t give you any results?

In my humble opinion, I think you’re worse off by performing ineffective exercises that don’t give you results.   If you’re not exercising at all, you have no expectations. You KNOW that you’re not going to get thinner or fitter, because you’re not putting forth any effort.  On the other hand, the person who is performing ineffective exercises has the intent to lose weight or get healthier and is taking action to do so.  Just think of how frustrating it must be to those people who are exercising and not seeing any results.

Yet this is happening every day, all over the world.  I see it every morning when I stroll down to the hotel’s fitness center to work out.  People using bad form, using weights that are too heavy, people using exercise machines that really don’t offer any benefit…I see them all every morning.

While I applaud these folks for at least doing something, I wish they’d take the time to at least educate themselves a little bit, or even spend a little bit of money on a personal trainer for a session or two (not that a personal trainer is necessarily an answer…I’ve seen some “personal trainers” that don’t know diddly about how to help people  achieve their fitness goals).

Here’s an article about 10 ineffective exercises that I urge you to take a few minutes and read.   Hopefully, you’re not wasting your exercise time with any of these.  I want to see you get the most out of the time and effort you’re spending exercising.

Like almost everything in life, you’re going to get more out of exercise if you’re doing it correctly.  Take the time to go to the library and check out a book or a DVD to learn the correct methods to exercise your way to fit and thin. The time that you spend learning how to do it correctly can mean the difference between your success and failure.

TAGGED!

June 18, 2007

OK, I got tagged by Tammy for one of the “get-to-know-you-better” posts that circulate from time to time. They’re usually fun, so here it goes:

“INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.”

1. 3 Boys and a Lady

2. Life is Just Around The Corner

3. Tom LeDree

4. Tam’s Fitness Journal

5. Lose Weight With Me

“Next select five people to tag: (if you haven’t done it already)”

Here’s the 5 people I tagged –

Lady Rose

Kery

SFF

Chicken Girl

Kathy

Now for the hard part — the questions

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was working as a Dispatcher on the midnight shift at the police department in my home town.  I was newly divorced, and the custodial parent of an almost 12 year old boy.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Working as a manager in the marketing division of a big family owned company.

Five Snacks You Enjoy

1. Watermelon….Mmmmmm

2. Almonds and cashews

3. String cheese

4. Hard boiled eggs

5. Popsicles

Five Songs to Which You Know all the Lyrics

1. Anything by James Taylor

2. Girls, Girls, Girls — Motley Crue

3. Panama — Van Halen

4. Take the A Train – Duke Ellington

5. Never Smoke Weed with Willie Again – Toby Keith

Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire

1. Buy an old home on one of the squares in Savannah, GA

2. Make sure that my mom and dad, brother, and in-laws were all debt free and comfortable

3. Start a foundation to help help obese kids learn how to eat right and exercise

4. Arrange a private Wiggles concert for my 2 year old grand son — he LOVES the Wiggles!

5. Buy a big-ass RV and hit the open road

Five Bad Habits

1. Drinking coffee — a LOT of coffee

2. Ultimate fighting — I can’t get enough mixed martial arts

3. Expecting others to be as passionate about things as I am

4. Spending money on books

5. Having trouble saying “no”

Five things you like doing

1. Reading

2. Writing

3. Music — I love all types of music, and would rather have music on over the TV any day.

4. Spending time with my family

5. Traveling

Five things you’ll never wear again

1. bell bottoms

2. combat boots

3. a “KC and the Sunshine Band” tee shirt

4. a leisure suit (man, am I dating myself, or what?)

5. underwear — heehee

Five favorite “toys”

1. my guitars

2. lap top

3. cd player

4. ?