the hamster wheel of weight loss

I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel at times. Figuratively speaking. And literally.

This blog was inspired by a conversation with my best friend that spiraled off into a million different thoughts and my brain going 100 mph.

The conversation is one we have on a regular basis. Typically after one or both of us has stepped on the scale, polished off a large pizza, missed several workouts, or worse, any combination of the three in the same day which really sends us into a downward emotional spiral. Like true friends should though, we always drag the other one down with us.

My very best friend since the first day of 7th grade gym. I was so jealous of her and you know what they say? Keep your enemies close. Then I couldn’t get rid of her. 

A few interesting useless facts before I get to the point of this blog.

We have both read, studied and researched fitness and nutrition to death over the years.

We have applied said knowledge to our own diets and workouts, so our base of knowledge has been put to the test and we are both well aware of what works for our bodies.

We are both pretty confident women who are savvy in most areas of our life.

We have both successfully balanced children, the gym, careers for many years.

We have been mutually obsessed with the scale for years.

Most people guess us lighter than our scale weight because we both lift heavy weights, so we are very well aware that the scale is a piece of &^% and should have no bearing on our self-esteem.

Why, I wondered, knowing all of this, do we STILL allow ourselves to fall into the trap of “never gonna be good enough”?

All I had to do to find the answer was take a good look around me. When I say around me, I mean in my real life, on facebook, in magazine articles, on television.

What I saw, what I see, is a society obsessed with physical appearance and world that fakes us out and plays mind games with us. I see photoshopped pictures of women older than us who have less than half the wrinkles. I see fitness models who constantly harp on how lazy we are if we can’t stick with our diet and if we were REALLY disciplined we could be ripped like her. I see un-photoshopped pictures of perfect bodied women, completely void of cellulite, stretch marks, or any physical flaws.

But then…

I run into someone and it literally takes me back how normal they look in person without photoshop. I read countless stories from fitness competitors and models about the horrors of starving themselves for a show then binging like the rest of us later. Their off season pictures, much heavier and less defined, because like the rest of us, they can’t sustain what it takes to keep their body looking like that either. I find out the perfect bodied women is young, childless, works part time therefore has the time to spend in the gym.

NONE of that makes ANY of them less, don’t mistake me. It makes them all very human and reachable, but I don’t think we realize that when we are striving to be just like them.

I lost 100 lbs in a very normal, sustainable, boring way. I exchanged unhealthy foods for better options, I worked out 3-4 times a week in the gym, I had one cheat meal every week. There was nothing extreme or crazy about my method, except that it was realistic and sustainable. Somewhere along the way, in the last few years, being normal wasn’t good enough for me anymore. Maybe I started reading too many fitness magazines, or obsessing over too many fitness models on facebook, but I wanted more. Better abs, broader shoulders, a tighter rear. I needed to be under 20% bodyfat and be in the 140’s on the scale. I have spent the last few years setting that standard for myself and being disappointed when it wasn’t met. I’ve met it a few times, but it never lasted and I got so angry with myself.

Things have changed in my life the last few years. Quite frankly, it’s the most hectic, but the best it’s ever been. Both girls are in school now, making straight A’s I might add, so with that comes backpacks filled with homework and notes to sign. They are both in pre-competitive gymnastics, which takes up another two nights every week. I am finishing college, that is another night every week. I started dating, basically, the greatest guy ever. I got really into photography and hiking and spending quality time with my daughters. These things are ALL investments in our future, positive activities that contribute to our well-being, but somewhere still, I feel like a failure when I say “gosh I just didn’t have time for the gym this week”. <——————– insert self loathing music

Then there’s the food. Goodness sakes, the food.

I psyched myself out earlier this year, started following these diets of fitness models. For awhile it was good, because I was eating tons and tons of calories on Jamie Eason’s Livefit. But I was eating so many calories that grocery shopping and prepping got really challenging. Single mom trying to afford and consume almost 200 grams of protein a day. When I stopped that program, I went back to 1500ish calories per day, which led me right into the arms of binging and overeating, my best friend for so many years. I know better than to restrict calories too much and yet I still fall under the “eat less to lose” spell in desperate moments. Desperate moments meaning, I step on the scale and find myself well into the 150’s, a number far enough away from the 140’s that I panic.

Panic.

Not over the death of a loved one, or the threat of disease, or even a sick child.

a.number.on.the.scale. How much food I ate. Missing a workout. Stop it.

I saw this video, of a fitness model crying over her inability to regain control of her eating and workouts.

Then the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which explains what the human body does in response to being starved. Starved, in this example, being 1600 calories per day. How many of us have eaten far less trying to lose weight and then shred ourselves mentally because our body does what it’s designed to do? Frantically grasp for food! We eat too little which leads to eating too much and that is the hamster wheel I believe many of us are stuck on. Even those uber fit chicks in the pictures who take water pills and go carbless the week before a shoot. Feeling like complete crap but dangit, her body looks amazing.

http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2009/12/the-minnesota-starvation-experiment/

I am just no longer willing to beat myself up for not being able to live up to an outdated routine. Or compare myself to women who don’t have the same obligations.

I am going to eat fruits, vegetables, pasta and red meat. I’m going to do my best not to overindulge because it isn’t good for me, and I am going to be mindful of what goes in my mouth. I am going to keep up with my workouts because it makes me feel physically and mentally sound.

I’m going to indulge in my love of food, by cooking it, planning it, organizing it and rolling around in it because the challenge of food makes me happy. I like finding healthier ways to make the bad stuff and staying within a grocery budget and sometimes, just making the bad stuff as horrible as possible.

I’m going to keep lifting weights, not in an attempt to look like a fitness model, which is unattainable for me, but because it’s a passion of mine and it will help me age better. (I learned that in class last week.)

I absolutely loathe cardio most days, so I’m just going to do it enough to keep my heart and lungs healthy and that’s it. Living in the gym isn’t doable for me anymore, it isn’t my first priority. I have a goal to get there 3-4 times a week, 30-45 minutes, and that’s that.

Oh, and I’m going to step on that blasted scale every day and record the number, because I want to show you how unpredictable the scale really is. I’ll share those numbers soon, as soon as I finish mourning my current weight.

I kid.

🙂

it’s called balance

I was in the zone on the spin bike today when it hit me. I mean ON the spin bike, head in the game, sweat dripping onto the floor and burning my eyes, mascara running like the crow. (Yes, I wear mascara even on a clean face because I love eyelashes.)

What hit me was that I’m still, after 34 years, trying to get my balance. It’s like I’m on the teeter totter of life every day, running from one end to the other furiously trying to hold it down. But you can’t hold both ends of a teeter totter down, or at least, you couldn’t last time I was on a real one. It’s just impossible.

Over the last five years, I have maintained a 100 pound weight loss, but that doesn’t mean I have a handle on it, that I licked obesity or that I’ve learned how to balance my weight loss with life.

I got lucky.

Sure, I’ve worked for it. I’ve been in the gym and eating clean more often than I haven’t. But when I lose my footing, stop working out, start binging and eating bad food, I overdo it without realizing that it’s all the old issues bubbling up again. I truly believe we become overweight because we are eating our way through something. Eating to soothe emotions, or stress, or maybe just to get our bellies so full we think about that instead of the chaos in our life.

A couple of months ago, right in the midst of the Jamie Eason program, when I was on track to seriously be in the best shape of my life, I bit the dust. I fell face first into “I’m one donut away from being 100 pounds overweight again” land. I told you in other blogs that there were reasons for my “failure”, a word I don’t like to use but it’s fitting here. And today, on the spin bike, two weeks into being back into my workout and clean eating routine, I replayed those reasons in my head.

I was juggling a career, two children, six day a week workouts, food prep, and never cheating. A plan that was never going to be sustainable long term. I had the luxury of working out at lunch, so the workouts weren’t interfering with my life. Then I changed jobs. My hours changed, the workload changed, my responsibilities increased and I was back to figuring out when to make it to the gym. Summer started, the girls and I love socializing, spending time with friends, going to the pool, the water park, the lake with our friends, all activities with temptation everywhere.

I should have been able to balance all of it, but in my black and white world, it was all or nothing. In my mind, if I couldn’t do it 100%, I lost faith in myself, despite the fact that I was still exceling in other areas of my life.

My good friend JC, not to be confused with Jesus Christ, has been preaching to me for years about my inability to live in shades of grey as he calls it. He says I am a control freak, and while I’m not necessarily a controlling ogre with other people, I definitely try to control the outcome of every situation, especially the ones that I have to show results for.

I come by it naturally, honestly. I was raised in a pretty immaculate, structured home. I was a very competitive athlete from a young age. I was a prissy girly girl sometimes, but when I stepped onto the softball field I had tunnel vision. I don’t even remember it being about winning against the other team as much as living up to how good I wanted to be.

So I have to hault the Jamie Eason program, I finish school and start again, all the while eating and lounging to my heart’s content. And people, I love food. I love it so much that if I could have one superhuman power it would be eating anything I want without consequences.

But the truth is, loafing and binging does NOT make me happy. It does nothing positive for me because it’s coming from the weakest part of me. Everything I have preached since I started this blog, maybe I do it in part because I need to hear it, too.

Anyway, back to balance.

I’ve been doing something these last couple of weeks that I have never done before. I don’t have a strict plan. I have a plan, but it’s loosely arranged and there is room for trial and error. I know I need to exercise anywhere from 3-5 days a week and I’m satisfied with either end of that range. If the gym isn’t possible because the girls are growing up and out of going with me, I take them to the park and run. Or I go to the gym a night they are doing something with friends. I do my workout at home, or I swim laps in the pool. Weightlifting is still my first gym love and something I definitely try to fit in a few times a week, but I absolutely refuse to beat myself up anymore because I didn’t specifically work my triceps this week.

I make sure I have my lunches planned for the week, because my lunch hours are spent doing homework, but the snacks have become much simpler than ever before. Almonds and a protein shake. String cheese and an apple. Yogurt and a banana. They don’t make for pictures as pretty as the creations I was whipping up a few months ago, but things change and you either change with it or sink.

A conversation with another good friend, and another, and even one more after that got me thinking a lot. The more people I talk to, whether they are obsessively over-exercising or trying desperately to start, the more I learn about myself through their struggles. One friend, in particular, stopped running obsessively for hours upon hours every week and started eating like a normal person. I almost cried when she told me this had been going on for quite some time, and her reason?

“I just wanted to enjoy life more and I was too busy either exercising or beating myself up to do that. So I just stopped. I get there when I get there and if I don’t, it’s because I’m doing something that makes me happy. It gave me back the joy I used to feel working out, instead of feeling like something I had to do or I would die.”

My mom told me recently how much I remind her of my biological father. Another story for another time, but I got to know him late in my life, and didn’t have many years with him. I haven’t done any scientific research into hereditary genes, but I am almost positive that our blood definitely got mixed together and inserted in my veins.

“He was ALWAYS searching for something, Billie. It was like he would go from one extreme to the other, never finding what he was looking for on either end. I think he spent his entire life living extremes, when he might have been truly happy in the middle.”

In the shades of grey.

What I do know, is that I’m happiest when I’m just living life. Spending time with my little girls, without worrying about when I’ll make it to the gym, stressing out about not having enough time for everything, or what’s going to happen five years from now. I’m happiest when I’m eating healthy and exercising, because that is when I feel best physically and mentally. I’m happiest when I’m living up to my own expectations of myself, but I am also learning that it’s just impossible for me to be 100% at everything, all the time, so I have to allow myself latitude.

And I’m happiest when I remind myself of those things daily, because internal peace is like anything else, if you stop working on it, it gets away from you.

Today, I was craving that spin bike workout. Heart pounding, sweat dripping, music thumping, feel like I could go hard for hours workout. But a few days ago, I just wanted to walk at a moderate pace and zone out. It feels freeing to grab hold of the idea that I don’t have to choose either, I can do what feels right in the moment by listening to my body.

If you learn anything from reading my blog, I hope it’s that I am a human, just like you, trying every day to maneuver through this crazy world. While I know I will never go back to being 100 pounds overweight, mentally sometimes I’m already there and have to yank myself back to reality.

So if you need me, I’ll be over here. Living in the shades of grey 🙂

http://www.facebook.com/healthyisthenewhappy

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back to basics

I was 19 years old when my friend Chris introduced me to the Body for Life book written by Bill Phillips. The short story is that Bill Phillips owned a company called EAS and challenged people to try his program for 12 weeks and the winner would be rewarded with his cherry red ferrari.

The finalists and their journey was chronicled in a video and I bawled like a baby while also falling head over heels in love with Bill‘s body.

Prior to the baby bawling video, I was no stranger to physical activity. I was a competitive athlete growing up and did cardio in the gym on occasion. But I never lifted weights. Ew, I didn’t want to be all big and veiny and tough and strong. Where would any of those qualities get a woman?

Back to the video. Bill couldn’t pick one winner since they all worked so hard, so he sold the ferrari and bought each of them a corvette. Tears. Again.

I tucked the book away for future reference and dug it out again after the birth of my second daughter, several years later.

I believe in this book so much that I have contemplated re-writing a modern day version and giving it away free. It’s that good. The concepts laid out in this book are the true foundation for a solid exercise and nutrition program and are implemented in almost every program out there that works.

Notice I said, “that works”. <—————— write that part down.

The website takes the guesswork out.

The nutrition plan.

http://bodyforlife.com/library/articles/nutrition/nourish-your-body

The grocery shopping list.

http://bodyforlife.com/library/food-list

The sample meal plans.

 http://bodyforlife.com/library/meal-plans/content-sample-weekly-meal-plan

And recipes.

http://bodyforlife.com/library/recipes#pg-1

It’s that simple. In the words of one of my favorite peeps, “it’s not easy, but it IS simple.”

The workouts are easy to plan, take less than 45 minutes and with cardio and weight training on opposite days, it really cuts down the amount of time spent in the gym.

http://bodyforlife.com/library/exercise/weight-training

His approach to cardio is my favorite and it’s the way I did cardio the entire time I was losing weight. My favorite quote from Bill, who happens to have an incredible physique STILL, is, “who wants to spend an hour doing cardio? To keep increasing the length of cardio? What’s the goal, to eventually just spend all day in the gym?”

20 minutes of cardio? I am sold. Ten thousand times over. I cannot focus longer than that. Maybe it’s ADD, or maybe my mental hamsters are too active, but I absolutely won’t do an hour of cardio. Notice I said won’t, not can’t. I won’t.

I hope this helps some of you who are struggling. I did learn through Jamie Eason’s program that I LOVE having a program. I like writing it down and following it. I do need more wiggle room however, because I am   not a childless woman with lots of idle time to devote to this lifestyle. I tried doing that, and my life suffered in other areas. Which is fine for some people, to each their own, but it’s not fine with me.

Five days a week, less than 45 minutes, and sometimes only 25 minutes, works for me and I hope it can work for you!

http://www.facebook.com/healthyisthenewhappy

 

Pardon the dust…

I’m not great at sugar-coating. I know HOW to do it and I’m quite well at it, it’s just uncomfortable for me. So for the purposes of this blog, I’m not going to.

I’m going to get straight to the point and do what I’ve done since I started this blog and that is to share the truth with you. The honest to goodness ugly truth that’s hard to say out loud.

I completely totally fell off the wagon, into the black hole, in every way that is humanly possible.

I’ve still been eating clean 80% of the time and for a few weeks I kept up with workouts. But I have not stepped foot inside my gym in two weeks and you know who sabotaged me?

Me.

I did.

I am the ONLY person to blame for letting my negative thoughts and circumstances in life wash over me like an ocean tide and not getting back up immediately.

Have I ever told you guys that I want to be good at everything? Not just good, but I want to put 100% into every single thing I do and when I feel like I’m not doing that, I tend to be hard on myself. I literally woke up one day and realized that for months, I had been keeping up with this blog, six day a week workouts, 12 hours in school, a job, a house, a dog, and raising two little girls. With the end of their school year approaching, it seemed every day something came home in their backpacks. They need money for this, I need to take off work for this, they have to wear red on this day and a hat the next day. I don’t have every other week or weekend to re-group as a single mom, so I felt like life was eating me alive.

I completely, totally crashed. My wires got all crossed and short-circuited and suddenly I was mentally and physically exhausted every moment of every day. I wasn’t interested in any of the things I normally loved, I was doing the bare minimum just to get through the day, it was taking an act of GOD it seemed just to drag myself out of bed in the morning. One might say, oh yeah, so you got depressed, but the truth is, trying to do and be everything just caught up to me.

My dear friend has told me more than once that I have to learn to live in shades of grey. Life is not always black and white and it’s OKAY to let things go sometimes. The laundry doesn’t always have to be done, the house doesn’t have to be spotless and it’s okay to miss a workout when I really just need a break.

Sometimes, I think we really just need a good cry, a week long pity party, and a nice cheeseburger binge to bring things back into perspective.

Here is the good news. I changed jobs after three years of being in a position that I didn’t feel challenged and that has helped tremendously. I leaned on every person who constantly offers to be there for me. I put my pride aside and just told my close friends, “I’m having a really tough time dealing with life right now and I feel completely overwhelmed.” I accepted that being a single mom is the TOUGHEST job I have or will ever have and would test the strength of even the strongest woman.

All this to say, I am at my best when fitness and health is at the forefront of my life, so it’s non-negotiable to let it go too long. Hiatus is one thing, but removing it from my lifestyle can’t happen. What the past month has shown me however is that I cannot possibly be superwoman in the gym, at home, at work, and not have a mental breakdown so there has to be a better balance in my life.

What that perfect balance is still remains to be seen and will probably require some tweaking, but I will find it. I do know that I want this blog to be about my life and all that encompasses, not just eating and exercise.

Most importantly, I have to keep going. KEEP GOING! 🙂

I am going out of town for the holiday, for some much needed fun and relaxation with the Adorables and some of our best friends. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

the self actualization theory

I am a self-admitted overanalyzer. It applies to every area of my life and while it definitely keeps things interesting, it can be a royal pain in the neck to be inside my head sometimes.

I studied Sociology last semester and I got obsessed with reading about Carl Roger’s Self Actualization Theory.

Carl Rogers (1959) believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize – i.e. to fulfill one’s potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can.  Like a flower that will grow to its full potential if the conditions are right, but which is constrained by its environment, so people will flourish and reach their potential if their environment is good enough.

However, unlike a flower, the potential of the individual human is unique, and we are meant to develop in different ways according to our personality.  Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative.  They become destructive only when a poor self-concept or external constraints override the valuing process.  Carl Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence.

This means that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e. who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image).  Rogers describes an individual who is actualizing as a fully functioning person. The main determinant of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood experience.

No theory could be more significant to losing weight. When I don’t stick to my eating or exercise plans, I feel like I failed myself. When I am doing the right things, I am even more motivated to keep going. Why? Because I am the worst person I can let down. I am stuck with me. All day, every day, forever and ever. I am a constant reminder of my success and failures.

Self acceptance is a process and one I don’t pretend to have figured out. I do think in my thirties I am pretty clear on who I want to be and sometimes my behavior doesn’t match that image, so like the theory says, I temporarily lose my mojo.

But I don’t give up on myself. I won’t give up on myself. I am a fighter and every time I find myself without my mojo, I think back on all the things I have overcome. I do not believe anything is impossible for me if I want it.

What I am learning and constantly attempting to apply is that life is never going to be perfect. There are good days, bad days, cirumstances out of my control, and I cannot predict or determine other people’s attitude or actions. Unfortunately, all of those things affect me, no matter the imaginery shell I attempt to build around myself.

I am trying to get okay with working on one thing at a time. Conquering one demon at a time, and allowing myself a little rope to hang myself occasionally. I am that person who doesn’t believe there is a brunette eating alligator in the pond until I jump in and learn my lesson the hard way.

When I don’t prep food for the week, I know without a doubt at week’s end why it’s good for me to do it. When I skip workouts for weeks and then go back, it’s crystal clear why I shouldn’t lay off for a period of time. When I eat one handful of chips with no intention of eating more, I learn that for me, one handful turns into the entire bag.

If there is one thing I hope my daughters learn from having me as their mom, I hope they learn being a flawless, perfect person is impossible. I hope they learn that how you recover from errors in judgment is far more important than the mistake itself. I hope they learn that a genuine apology and self forgiveness is powerful and freeing.

Sometimes mistakes serve as a reminder of the person we want to be. A reminder that it’s time to hit the reset button and start from scratch. When I look back on my life thus far, there are SO many things I regret, but upon closer examination, I’m not sure I would change them. Some of my worst moments as a person were the most fun and where I learned the most about myself.

Strive to be better every day, and forgive yourself when you aren’t. <—- I repeat this daily.

www.facebook.com/healthyisthenewhappy

 

how do i get started losing weight?

This question gets asked often, and I SO appreciate all the messages people send me who desperately want to know where to begin on a weight loss program.

MAKE A DECISION

This is step one. Not because your doctor says you need to, or your husband complains about your weight, or you have a trip coming up, it works when the timing is right. The timing is right when you want it more than you want to hold onto unhealthy habits. Losing weight takes an incredible amount of self motivation and dedication to a goal, and that only comes from within. You will be solely responsible for your success, so YOU have to want it.

DESIGN YOUR ROADMAP

If you fail to plan, just plan to fail. I’m dead serious. There are just entirely too many variables involved in managing a healthy lifestyle to wing it. Cravings, skipped workouts, overeating, binge eating, I believe most of these happen due to lack of planning. Sunday is my “plan for life” day. I outline homework assignments for the week, grocery shop, food prep, print workouts, decide which days we are doing what so I know exactly what is ahead of me and how to juggle it. The best way to succeed is to know on Sunday what you’re eating next week, when you’re exercising, and have a backup plan in case life happens, cause it will.

EDUCATE YOURSELF

I am pretty anti-enabler. When I was training clients, I always told them up front I was not a long-term trainer. I am results oriented and I don’t think people learn from someone doing all the work for them, so I wanted them to learn what I was teaching so they could sustain it on their own once I kicked them out of the nest. (Yes, I used that analogy often.) I HIGHLY recommend reading and learning, especially about nutrition, because if you rely solely on other people, you will stay confused. Everyone has different ideas of the “right” way and once you get the basic foundation of healthy eating, you gotta figure out what works best for you and your family.

BE PREPARED EVERY DAY

I am up at 6 a.m. most days, to catch up on homework, pick the house up, pack my lunchbag for the day and my workout clothes before I start my actual “day”. I am not a great morning person, but it’s necessary to stick with my plan, and my plan makes me feel so good that it’s entirely worth it to me.

EXPLORE EXERCISE

If you already know a gym will not fit into your schedule or budget, don’t go sign the dotted line in a moment of impulse. Think about what realistically works for you. Do you have to work out in the morning? Or can it be at night? Can you go at lunch? Do you need childcare? There are some great programs for at home workouts, it’s definitely not a must to join a gym. I am a gym girl, so it’s something that will always be in my budget, but I know plenty of people who do really well working out at home!

DO SOME SELF EVALUATION

This is a big one that I don’t think is addressed enough concerning weight loss. Figure out how you got here, the ways you sabotage yourself, what has stopped you before, your bad eating habits and come up with a way to combat them. Look, if you put a basket of chips in front of me and I have one, I will eat three baskets. Knowing that about myself, why would I put even one chip in my mouth and try to practice willpower when those chips are an emotional trigger for me? I think it’s easy for people without food issues to say, “just eat them in moderation” but I also think that slippery slope is what keeps many people from reaching their goals. I will blog more about this later in the week because I think it is a very important part of losing and managing your weight.

And last, but not least.

DO IT

I am going to be a little blunt here. You can read every book, ask every guru for advice, find out how long it took everyone to reach their goal and have someone write a menu and workout plan for you all day long, but it doesn’t matter unless you DO IT. Take baby steps. Set small, achievable goals for yourself that have nothing to do with the scale or pounds. This week, I’m going to walk three times for 20 minutes and I’m not going to drink any soda. Next week, build on that and add more. Whatever you decide to do, act on it and DO IT, stop talking about it, asking about it, do it. Do something.

I really, truly believe that ANYONE can accomplish so much more than they think. But you have to prove it to yourself to believe in yourself. Do it. Today.

www.facebook.com/healthyisthenewhappy

the benefits of small, frequent meals

This is an insightful explanation I found for the benefits of eating small, frequent meals throughout the day. This is a concept I learned and adopted early on in losing weight and it is the ONLY thing that makes me feel great, have energy all day, and manage my weight without feeling deprived at all.

This girl (ME) LOVES to eat. I grew up in a big family where everything centered around food, and every woman in my life could cook like nobody’s business. So telling me I can’t eat on a “diet” is worse than pointing a spray bottle full of water at my freshly flat ironed naturally curly hair 😉

Yes, you have to watch portions and make good choices. But if I am on schedule with eating, not only does my body signal when it’s hungry, I don’t overeat and rarely have cravings I can’t control.

Metabolism

The original train of thought was that more frequent eating boosted the metabolism by providing an energy source at regular intervals during the day. Skipping a meal sends the body into a preservation mode that slows down burning the excess fat stores of the body. A frequent energy source (in the form of multiple small meals) requires the body to rev up to process the foods using a process called the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food refers to the body’s expenditure of energy to chew, swallow and process foods. Proteins require the most work to break down and fats burn the least amount of energy. The body’s processes are kept at a more even keel, without the blood sugar spikes associated with hunger. This balance equalizes the body and allows for consistent efficient function for everything, including metabolism.

By choosing to have five to six small meals each day, you’re teaching your body to never be hungry. You won’t have the blood sugar swings caused by hunger, nor will you experience the cravings that can derail even the most carefully planned diet. Eating more frequent meals also spaces out caloric intake over the course of the day. Eating more frequent meals requires more discipline than consuming three regular meals each day. You must carefully control portions to prevent overeating and space meal intake at even intervals throughout the day to avoid snacking. Some individuals find that using smaller plates and keeping a concise food journal helps monitor the foods eaten throughout the day.

Portion Control and Balanced Diet

Weight loss with any dieting or plan will never happen without portion control. Overeating at three meals each day often places people in the obese category. Overeating at five to six meals will create a dieter’s worst nightmare. Your aim is to split calorie consumption evenly throughout the day. Meals should be well thought out and balanced with adequate amounts of nutrients. Throw out the sodas and chips. Include a mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fat with every meal. For example, instead of consuming an entire turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch, only eat half and include a favorite fruit. Save the other half of the sandwich for your next meal three hours later, incorporating another snack-type food with this meal. Some good choices are cottage cheese, applesauce or some crunchy vegetables such as carrots or celery.

Snacks

Choosing to consume three large meals a day in favor of more frequent smaller meals doesn’t eliminate the need for snacks. Snacks have a different meaning using this meal plan. Snacks should ultimately be a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Snacks aren’t a single item when eating smaller meals. Instead, a snack should be a combination of two to three healthy foods in moderate portions that will fill your up for the next three hours. For example, a healthy snack might include a bowl of oatmeal and an apple. Pair healthy foods like whole-wheat crackers with applesauce, and fruits and vegetables with nuts and seeds for proteins.

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RECIPE – lasagna soup

From our Jersey Shore inspired Sunday Family Dinner. This takes a little time, but it is completely worth it! SO delish!

Lasagna Soup

 for the soup:

2 tsp. olive oil

½ lb mild Italian sausage

1 lb lean ground turkey

3 c. chopped onions

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 T. tomato paste

1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes

6 c. lower fat, reduced sodium chicken broth

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into thirds

1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 for the cheesy yum:

8 oz. fat-free ricotta

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

pinch of freshly ground pepper

 2 c. shredded 2 % mozzarella cheese

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and turkey, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes
  • Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
  • Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  •  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  •  To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

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RECIPE – bbq lime crockpot chicken

During food prep day this week, all my burners were covered, oven full and I still needed some shredded chicken for the week to make street tacos in corn tortillas, tostadas, sandwiches, etc. I checked out my fridge, and found these  ingredients…

I would say to exercise caution when using a marinade, they are often loaded with sugar and sodium, so while marinating is okay, I wouldn’t eat something covered in sauce. But they are GREAT to give protein a lil flavor kick!

BBQ lime crockpot chicken

 6 chicken breasts

1 cup Italian dressing

1 cup barbecue sauce

2 TBSP lime juice

Dash of lea & perrins

  •  Combine all three liquid ingredients
  • Spray crockpot with olive oil cooking spray
  • Lay chicken across bottom, cover with sauces
  • Cook on high 4 hours, or low 8 hours
  • Shred with two forks, drizzle with sauce from crockpot

Just noticed there are actually 7 breasts in there. Thank goodness I can laugh at myself. I just can’t count 😉

And the end result…

“There is only one thing standing between who you are and who you want to be. It’s you. So move over and let your best self through!”

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RECIPE – cinnamon crescent rolls

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

 2 cans refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls

1/2 cup butter substitute

3 packets artificial sweetener (I am currently using Stevia)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

 Glaze:

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsweetened almond breeze

  • Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, combine butter, sweetener and cinnamon; beat until smooth.
  • Separate dough into rectangles.
  • Spread each rectangle with about 2 tablespoons cinnamon butter mixture
  • Roll up each, starting at the widest side, as you would normally do for crescent rolls.
  • Firmly press ends to seal.
  • Place each cinnamon filled crescent roll onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In small bowl, blend all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls.

My girls LOVE cinnamon rolls and making the dough from scratch is SO time consuming. So I tried these, swapping some of the ingredients for healthier versions and I was mom.of.the.year. So simple, so delicious. I might have tried a bite, just to be sure 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

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