Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Things that make you go...

                      Press Play

It's that time of the year, again.  It's time to face the holiday weight gain and make a change.  I'm starting with the (wo)man in the mirror, I'm asking her to change her ways...sorry.  Within the last few weeks I've relaxed my rigorous gym routine and loaded my diet with tempting treats.  Now I must brace myself for the crowds at the gym and toss out all the merry crap in my pantry.  I like to do a little twirl as I say 'au revoir' to the Christmas cookies and their sugary friends.

I, along with the rest of America, turned on the television this morning and was bombarded with commercials for weight loss.  It's shocking to realize most of us are in the same (over weight) boat every time this year!  You'd think we would prevent this, or at least switch it up.  We are like cattle!!  Moo.

This morning I turned on the TODAY show and I counted 20 weight loss ads within a 30 minute spread.  TWENTY!!  There's the 'Special K' diet, some program called 'Genovine' that ships meals designed for your individual DNA, Jennifer Hudson is doing a duet (with her former fat self) for Weight Watchers and of course 'Bally's' has models (never fat a day in their life) suggesting the gym will produce buns of steel.  One can only hope.

Amidst all the ads telling us we're fat, I have to say...Hmmmm?  Will eating a Special K diet really work?  Should I really eat this, and not that?  Will pre-packaged food seriously shrink my waist line?  It's the things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmm.  

Do I need to pop on Amazon and order Jillian Michael's new (insane) work out dvd?  The answer to all of the above is a big fat N0!  The only thing truly worth trying out is fewer calories in the day and more physical activity.  I wonder if I could create a sexy ad for the truth.  I need to eat what God made, and his stuff does not last on shelves for weeks and weeks.  I need to shake what my mama gave me, more than usual.  If I follow these two simple rules, I will be ok.

I need to hold steadfast to what I know and not be suckered into these fad diets.  Prepare yourself for a whirlwind of things that will make you go Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eat. Pray. Gorge.

Nothing says Christmas like a diabetic coma!  'Tis the season to binge, hoard and over indulge.  If I get one more box of chocolates I can officially open a small candy business.  Folks say "I'm thinking of you" with sugar.  Why, as a society, is this left unchallenged?  I, like anyone else, can easily justify giving into my sweet tooth because it's the Holiday and everyone knows we'll all get back on the horse next year.

At the stroke of midnight on January 1st, we all collectively vow to hit the gym.  We fight and hustle just to get a spot in a Zumba class and sweat our (big) booties off.  For most folks, it'll last for two weeks and then people remember how much they hate exercising.  They start crossing off goals clearly too ambitious to accomplish.  And the cycle continues and we watch our midsections slowly creep into larger pant sizes.  We slip into elastic waist band pants and forget our resolutions.  
It's too late for this savvy foodie to admit to sticking to her savvy ways, I've tasted the sugar and it's good.  But, I still get my bootie to the gym and I try and cut corners when I can.  I'm just like everyone else, but my happy place has (hand to God) become the gym.  So I'll see you in my Zumba class next year, just try not to step on my toes ;)  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Be kind, rewind

If time travel were possible, I would want to rewind and reverse the technological advancement that is photoshop.  Photoshop enables celebs to be void of bloated tummies, cellulite, acne, flabby arms...you know all the stuff EVERYONE has.

Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup
I saw this picture yesterday and thought the actress (Blake Lively) might be sticking her tummy out a bit.  I read the article and learned these two are a new pair (I really don't care who floats their boat).  The article highlighted the events of their 'first date'.  They went out for ice cream (in that tight blue dress???).  Readers are allowed to post their thoughts on articles.  One person said, "Blake, lay off the ice cream your stomach looks huge in that shot."

Two thoughts popped into my   head -- could the angle not be photoshopped?  How unbelievably excruciating it must be to be in the spotlight.  I cannot tell you how many pics exist in my library where I look less then slim!  Fortunately, I trust they will either be deleted or never posted on a public site where I will be judged.

We all think celebs have access to the best trainers, personal chefs, designers and spas.  Indeed this may be true, but they are still human.  Photoshop may alter their appearance to such a degree they no longer resemble human beings...but they still are.

As the new year rapidly approaches, most of us are thinking about things we'd like to change about ourselves.  Just as predictable as morning following night, these same people will most likely fall off the wagon come February.  I'm striving to be savvy and have it show in photos.  I'm tired of editing myself.  I want to like the way I look in photos and not say, "Whoo!  Looks like I'm preggers there!".  I'd also like to read less of People.com.  I want to be savvier about my literature and I want to read less negativity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not-so-savvy Holiday

Opps I did it again!  I fell victim to eating like an idiot.   I did not resist the urge to indulge.  My state of mind was simple -- 'enjoy'.  No carb was overlooked, cookies were consumed in mass quantities and I 
promised myself come Monday I'd get back to my regularly scheduled eating habits.

I'm (still) reading the Mayo Clinic Diet book and I'm being bombarded with bad habits to toss out. Suddenly I feel gross.  Granted, I know I don't usually eat like this everyday and I reserve the right to put my convictions on hold for special occasions, but nonetheless the feeling of guilt is palpable.

I let myself down.  I have been working diligently on my exercise routine and making sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies everyday.  In the last few days I have placed an overextended pause on my usual routine.  

"...remember, this is about you - when you come up with your own solutions, you're more likely to be successful."  (Mayo Clinic Diet, pg. 61).  This spoke to me!  Not just after over eating for Holiday weekends (!!!) but this is true for life.  I realized the importance of committing this to memory and applying it every single day.  This life...it's mine and this way of living is to improve ME!  I need to enjoy special occasion meals and not put myself on the rack of guilt afterwards.  Here are some thoughts to help keep me strong...feel free to try them out yourself
  • no snacking, reserve the indulgence for what I truly want
  • move my booty (a lot) prior to eating
  • tell family I will be exercising for specified amount of time and will gladly help afterwards
  • no desert, afterall it really is all about the mashed potatoes and gravy
  • for every glass of wine, chase it with a glass of water
  • heck, put water in wine glass to play with the mind
  • do not pass out after meal
  • prioritize what I really want
  • eat lots of veggies instead of mac n' cheese as a side
  • do not wear Thanksgiving pants, keep the tight jeans buttoned at all times

I have to also honor the fact that I have been working really hard at the gym and consequently building muscle which has helped raise my metabolism. This mindset can lead to a slipperly slope though.  My poor father thinks that going to the gym balances eating 'whatever you want'.  His little tummy is evidence enough for me to realize the error in his thinking.  It does help, but I cannot justify every decision with this mindset otherwise there goes my behind into a larger size.

I was super happy to re-join my favorite strength training class this morning and the entire room, instructor included, admitted to gorging (a bit) over the weekend.  I was thankful!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

We are all just trying

                                                   PRESS PLAY

I recently concluded a part-time gig which had me hanging out at Whole Foods Markets around the Chicago-land area.  I was offering shoppers a chance to try out (relatively healthy) products.  Sounds fun right...well I sure did meet a lot of fun people.  I talked to so many shoppers and what I found is virtually everyone is trying!

Examples: low/no-fat, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, no corn, only things wife selects, allergic to_____(pepper/nutmeg/celery/parsley), lactose free, low sodium, no carb, no sugar,  seeds only, no seeds and my personal favorite - don't care, will eat whatever (these were mostly men with noticeably naked ring fingers).

After being bombarded with everyone's restrictions it hit me...with the exception of the few men who ate 'whatever', we are all just trying!

That's when this classic BoDeans song popped into my head...at the heart of it all I believe we'd all love to be free!  My darling grandmother was a vegetarian (practically vegan) for 40 years.  The last two years of her life, she gave up trying.  She ate whatever she wanted.  Now I don't know about you, but I don't want to wait until the end of my life to enjoy food.

I have met many people, self included, who have fallen off the vegetarian wagon after years of passing up meat.  My cousin had been a vegetarian since she was 11 and after years she admitted, "Life is too short to not enjoy it"... and the vegetarian community lost another member.  Friends who had been veggie fell off once they became pregnant.

We have a plethora of food education surrounding us and I freely admit it is entirely too difficult to keep up with everything!!  We are all just trying to be closer to free.

My advice - be a savvy foodie and get thee to a gym, regularly!  We may never be truly free, but at least we can be savvy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Defeat is not an option

"There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow."  -- O. S. Marden

Photo from JonathanFosteronline.com
These two words, when used in sequence, are quite powerful.  The last few weeks I have been working for a health food company.  I've encountered so many new and interesting people as I have touted  products around the Chicago land area.  Most of what folks have shared with me is forgettable, but there has been one comment I've received that struck a (very loud) chord in me.  This 6 foot something, middle aged man began chatting with me about eating healthy.  He said, "It's easy to be unhealthy, it's damn hard to be healthy".  He then slipped back into the crowd of shoppers and left me with this thought: don't quit.

I joined a gym 8 months ago, befriended a nutritionist and the results have been incredibly positive.  I have more energy, I sleep better at night, I'm happier with my image, I've gone down in weight and body fat, I ran a 5K and I continue to do better (because I know better...remember my mantra?).  

But if you're thinking it must have been easy, think again.  I have a superb support system, which I have vented to on numerous occasions.  My body ached as I strengthened it, my joints took a beating and when my scale didn't tip in the downward direction my peeps got an ear full.  I cried at times thinking 'this is too hard'.  Indeed, it is hard work to be healthy.  It would be so much simpler to just give up.  But I kept on my path, stumbled off course a few times, and now I can look back and realize it was just apart of my journey.  The easy thing to do would be to quit, but only I would lose in this situation.

I am a proud, card carrying member of the 'No Deception Club'.  Currently, I am the only member but I'm always open to new members!  I had to stop lying to myself! That's the only thing that works.  "I've had a hard day"..."I'm tired"... "It's the weekend so I can cheat"... or my usual get out of jail free card..."Aunt Flo is visiting so it's ok to eat everything in the fridge and then proceed to the contents of the freezer."  Who the hek am I kidding?  These exact excuses got me in the maternity yoga pants.  I am the only person I can blame if I don't like what I see.

What truly breaks my heart, people who give up on themselves.  It is hard, true, but when a person honestly believes they don't deserve a better way of life...fail!  Strap on the big boy/girl pants and get cracking.  It's only your life.  If that isn't enough reason then smack my butt and call me Sally!

 Into everyone's life, challenges will (surely) fall.  We all have that little voice inside of our head that encourages us to quit.  "Get the hell out of dodge and find another way to shake your booty" is the usual thought that pops into my head when I'm running/spinning/lifting weights, etc.  I want out just as much as the next person...but I don't quit.  

Mentally, I compete with myself.  Whatever my previous mile time was, or pounds I was lifting, whatever...I challenge myself to go farther or lift more.  I do more squats!  I kick higher!  I position myself in front of the instructor!  I run longer!  ANYTHING that gets me to kick my own butt!  If I feel the burn, I know I'm doing it right.  I won't let a little thing called a 'challenge' stand in my way of being healthy.

It's 11pm now and I'm ready to face tomorrow and hit the gym first thing!  I know I'll have my coffee and breakfast and I'll be off...I can't wait!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Lets start at the beginning, a very good place to start.  When we were little foodies, it was common for a cookie to be a reward and/or pacifer.  Mommies say things like, "If you're good, you can have a cookie," or "You won't get desert unless you finish your veggies".  Hmmmm....lets analyze, shall we?  The equation looks like this: veggies = punishment whereas sugar = reward.  What child wants to suffer through their veggies?  Just gimme a cookie!!!  No wonder we're all jazzed up about the way we think about food.

Now lets think about emotions and food.  If you're stressed out, what do you want?  If you're lonely, what do you reach for?  Depressed? Treating yourself?  Celebrating?  We can justify a splurge for nearly every emotion we experience.  Stir in low blood sugar and you have yourself one hek of a disaster.

The other day I was running errands all afternoon. Before I left my house I grabbed a banana guessing  my normal lunch time would be altered on account of my chores.  I turned down a wrong street in a new neighborhood and voila...my lunch time got pushed WAY back.  I was glad my banana was sitting shot gun, it kept me from pulling over and getting fast food.  But it hit me like a TON of bricks....I'm hungry and irritated.....I WANT FOOD!!  I was angry because I could not find the store I was looking for and the minutes kept ticking away.  I was surrounded by golden arches, Taco Bell's and Burger Kings.
I nearly caved.

The thoughts racing through my head: "Get food.  Eat hot and greasy food.  Very angry, eat whatever you want."  I was looking at a possible fast food frenzy!!  I thought about my savvy foodies and kept on the straight and narrow.  It's not easy and it takes a lot of retraining.  I did reward myself with some fat-free frozen yogurt AFTER I had a spinach and veggie salad.  I'm an advocate for rewards, but I'm savvy about them.

With education, dedication and a commitment to being a savvy foodie it is possible to resist temptations.  It takes awhile to retrain the brain.  I have to think about food in a different way and stop letting sugar be a reward.  It's a treat, sure.  But my reward comes from never having to think maternity pants are the only comfy pants again!!  WHOOP!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quit your diet!!

Do you ever remember a time when you were NOT 'on a diet'?  I have heard of the few random people out there who are trying to put weight on, but for the rest of us mere mortals...we're always watching what we eat.

With the exception of the occasional weekend cheat feast or a Holiday free-for-all, if you're reading my blog chances are you've considered yourself to be 'on a diet'.  My definition of a savvy foodie: a smart-minded individual making good choices about the food they put in their mouth.  Guess what else I define as being savvy...diet free foodies!  Can I get an AMEN?!?!

The word 'diet' is a four letter word and should be banished from everyone's vocabulary.  Every time you say the word, you owe me a quarter!  Current research is proving diet products can be useless.  I hear the word and shudder.  I equate it with deprivation.  I have lots of savvy friends who say things like: "Tomorrow my diet will start" or "I'll get back on my diet after this meal".  It's heart breaking!  These words translate into failure.  Feelings of guilt usually follow.  Food is meant for us to enjoy and be nourished.  So you know what I say...to hek with it!  Who needs to feel deprived in a world that is already stressful enough.  Stop the madness and quit your diet, TODAY!

Stop being a slave to guilt.  If you want to eat a cheeseburger and fries and you're fairly convinced you'll die if you don't eat it...GO FOR IT!  There are ways to be savvy about your passion for greasy goodness.  When you get the burger and fries skip the bun, use half the ketchup, have a few french fries and eat slowly.  If you think you won't be able to resist temptation you can ruin the rest.  I tried this with a piece of pie and my grandmother nearly fainted as I poured pepper over the pie we were not going to consume.  She wasn't used to trashing uneaten food, but it certainly kept me from mindlessly consuming added calories.

Here's the thing, you have to carefully select the meals you want to splurge on.  Plan ahead!  If there's an event that you know you won't want to be as savvy as you usually are, maybe skip the greasy meals that week in preparation for the upcoming splurge.

If you order wine with dinner, don't get desert.  If you have an appetizer with your savvy spouse, perhaps you can split your dinner entree.  This takes some compromise on both parts so it's best to figure it out before hand.

A savvy foodie also knows the importance of being physically active.  If I know I'm not liking the way I'm fitting in my jeans, and I refuse to eradicate my cheeseburger, I'll make sure my butt is at the gym as much as possible.  Go to a class and stay for the full hour.  Do an activity that you know you enjoy, otherwise you'll fall off the exercise wagon.

There are ways to have the food you truly enjoy and still maintain a healthy lifestyle.  The two are not incompatible.  It simply takes some planning ahead, dedication, will power and a large pepper mill always at hand!

Here are some of the tricks this savvy foodie employs:

  • Skip what you really can do without
  • Plan ahead and omit some portion of the appetizer, dinner, desert and wine
  • Think about your week in advance so you can plan a good cheat meal (or two) ahead of time
  • If you know something is coming up, get your booty to the gym
  • Eat slowly so your tummy can fill up in time with your brain to say 'STOP EATING'
  • If you don't like something, for heaven's sake don't eat it
  • Pack a lot of veggies into your mealS.  Veggies are rich in fiber and fill us up with yummy goodness, not just senseless calories
Go out there a live your life!  Enjoy what you love and before you know it you'll be a savvy foodie, without even thinking about it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

One life

This song by James Morrison really got me thinking.  We only have one life.  It's such a simple idea but yet many of us take it for granted.  We excuse our bad choices.  We justify procrastination.  We think 'tomorrow is another day'.  We only have this one life.  

I've heard all the cliche sayings: "Live like you're dying", "Live without regret", "Do what makes you happy" and things like "If I could only know what I do now, I'd go back to kick my younger self in the butt."  These so-called 'motivational' sayings are usual heard out of the mouths of people who have been struck with multiple struggles.  It's usually something that hits us after we face an obstacle.  We grow stronger, change our ways and perhaps we get on a savvier path.  But for so many folks, if something scares them they'll change temporarily and then slip into their old ways.  It's human nature.  

Until we actually alter our habits and believe we can do better, this is when true change happens.  If we do it for an non-organic reason, we're wasting our efforts.  We have to believe in ourselves.  It's not easy.  Easy is sitting on a couch and steering clear of challenges.  

I'm so touched when I see people prioritize their health and sincerely want better for their one life.  These folks are inspirational.  Challenges can be beautiful.  Pain is a feeling we cannot be afraid of.  It's never too late to change ourselves and make our one life even better.  Live it right!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Moody food

You feel what you eat, seriously.  Fortunately, you won't turn into what you eat...but you'll be affected by food.  Some food can leave you feeling sluggish, tired and down right lazy.  Some food will make you feel sick after eating it.  Other food will leave you feeling greasier than a car mechanic on a hot busy summer day.  Blek!

Ask yourself this, do you ever feel disgusting after eating an apple/pear/broccoli/brown rice?  Think of people like walking labs.  Not labs, as in the dog, but labs with beakers and test tubes.  Our bodies will react to sugar, fat, carbs, protein, etc.  Protein will give us more energy, carbs make us crave more carbs, sugar can send us soaring and fat will hang on to the others and show up in places we'd rather it not be.  Not all of the above are inherently bad or good.  We must educate ourselves and eat what's right for our bodies.

Being a savvy foodie, I don't always eat what's in front of me but I'll listen to what others say about their chosen meal.  Usually the bad stuff goes down with the greatest of ease.  Then comes the belly rubbing and I hear "Oh my God, I should not have eaten that.  I feel gross."  I'm not a self-righteous foodie and I don't judge.  But I do ask (in my inner dialogue), "If you feel gross, why did you eat it?  It's probably not the first time you've put that down and now you feel like crap.  WHY?"  

My savvy hubby will say, after a delicious meal, "I feel good.  I didn't overeat and this was healthy."  If we know what our body needs, why do we give into our teeny, tiny little taste buds?  Alright, I'm not an idiot...I got it.  There are bigger forces at play here, but c'mon!  Why eat the crap and beat ourselves up for doing so afterwards?  It's a crazy roller coaster ride we put ourselves on.  We have the power to get off the stomach turning ride and stop the madness!

Eat foods that make you feel good!  That's the moral of this lesson.  Ask yourself, before chowing down, "Will I feel guilty afterwards?" If you can answer with a resounding YES, DON'T DO IT!  If you know it won't be a problem, DO IT!

Happy Friday!  Be good to yourself this weekend!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When did husky become the norm?

There's a show on MTV called "I used to be Fat".  The show is clearly aimed at overweight teens.  Brilliant idea since childhood obesity is on the rise at a staggering level.  Google the word 'childhood' and the first link that pops up links you to 'childhood obesity'!  This truly breaks my heart.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has the ugly truth.  "Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States - triple the rate from just one generation ago."  Is it because kids are too busy on Facebook and not running around outside?  Is it really McDonald's fault?  I mean what the hek is going on?

Even Mrs. Obama is aiming her efforts at this frightening trend.  We're not just talking about kids who are going up a size.  Most of these young people are looking at very bleak futures riddled with disease, aches and pains they would not face if it were not for the fact that they're overweight.

How many times have you seen families with kids and it's obvious their apples didn't fall from the tree?

It's not hard to tell they're all drinking  the same Kool-Aid.  I think, in cases like these, the duty falls on the parents to support and encourage their youngsters.  Not all families are created alike and some family members are super thin, eat whatever they want and don't gain weight.  They may have children who will forever struggle to look like them, but no matter which diet they try or exercise regime they flirt with...it's just not in the cards for them to be naturally thin.  However, if you as a parent have struggled with your weight and you see your child with the same build and same struggles....do something FOR THEIR SAKE!!!

In the episode of "I used to be fat", Josh's entire family was naturally thin and he was not.  He admitted that he did not want to diet because he enjoyed eating the same foods as the rest of his family.  Dieting, to him, was too hard and he'd rather 'feel good' and eat the double cheeseburger with his brothers.  Who can blame him?

But he found himself, at age 18, weighing in at 318 pounds.  He made losing the weight a priority and he succeeded.  Guess what one of the keys to his success was, MAKING SAVVY FOOD CHOICES!  Additionally he also made exercise a part of his daily life.  His parents were 110% behind him and were beyond thrilled their son exceeded everyone's expectations.

It's not rocket science and you don't need a master's degree to understand that every thing you eat will have some type of effect on your body.  That's why it's crucial, non-negotiable to make savvy choices about what you put into your mouth.  If you have children, there's no excuse in the world that will let you off the hook when it comes to helping your children make savvy choices, either.  We need to do something.  We need to look ourselves square in the eye and realize we have the power to reverse this trend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fabulous Day!

Angel Eyes Photography by Hilda Burke
That's me on my wedding day, one year ago yesterday!  I weighed 145 pounds and let me tell you...I was proud of the way I looked.  In order to become picture perfect, I steered clear of carbs and swore off sodium.  In other words, I put the fun in 'dysFUNctional'!!!  Naturally, once I cleared my goal I fell right back into old patterns.  Once my honey and I hit the beach in Bermuda I gorged on carbs (again...sigh). It didn't stop there.

My honeymoon was O-V-E-R on April 28th, 2011. This was the day of Kate and Will's wedding.  Sure my actual honeymoon had come to a close months earlier, but when this gal got hitched reality struck HARD.

On the day of their wedding my mother and I held hands, cried and poured the bubbly as Kate strolled down the aisle.  She was a vision!!  Redefining the idea of the words 'princess bride'.....
she was completely breath taking.  I couldn't help myself, I had to bust out my own dress and make the comparison.  To be honest, I had two dresses for my wedding.  A big old ball gown and a short party dress. I pulled out the short dress, frankly because it's much easier to get in and out of.

I slipped into the dress and then begged my mother for help.  "Ok, suck it in", she commanded as I turned blue in the face.
I thought I was going to pass out.  The dress wouldn't zip.  It wasn't even close.

My heart sank.  My mother tried to console me by saying, "At least you don't have to worry about wearing it anymore."  She was right, I would never have an excuse to wear my ivory lace party dress.  I mean, I can't exactly show up to a dinner party in a WEDDING DRESS!!!  My spirits were, nonetheless, dashed.  I was sure Kate would not let herself go after the big day.

So today...October 11th (366 days after I said "I DO!") I got back into my little party dress.  Ladies and Gents...IT ZIPS!!!!  And to be completely honest, I have not sworn off carbs.  I'm a happy little foodie!  I actually eat what makes me happy!!  I have wine, chocolate and carbs and my dress fits!  It's a good day!

The difference between me now and the me getting ready for the wedding...I make savvy choices!!  No seriously, I think about portions, working out and doing it again and again.  There's a guy at my gym who frequents many of the same classes as I do.  The instructors are aware of his commitment to the gym and feel compelled to share his 100+ pound weight loss story.  His key to success: KEEP COMING BACK.  He inspires me, much like Kate Middleton.  He keeps at it!  No matter how many pitfalls or countless days when he doesn't 'feel like it'...his dedication to his physical well being resulted in an inspirational story.

I'm not 100+ pounds overweight, but his message speaks to me.  I will forever be dedicated to my own well-being and preservation.  It's not a short term goal.  Being a savvy foodie will require a lifetime promise to doing better.

Angel Eyes Photography by Hilda Burke

Friday, October 7, 2011

Spanx = happy bridesmaid

Well my fellow savvy foodies, if you read my post 'Forgive me Father, I ate carbs', the wedding I was stressing about is just 48 hours away.  I loaded up on spanx, with spares just in case I get a runner, and I am ready to go!  To my delight, the dress fits like a glove.  Those carbs I had been cursing and (simultaneously) consuming (it was a bit of a schizophrenic scene) didn't hang out on my hips, after all!  I have sucked and tucked everything into where it should be.  I am ready to roll.  The challenge will be to keep from bloating.  I'm going to drink plenty of water and steer clear of beer and salty treats.

I kicked my butt at the gym, have maintained my savvy foodie ways and now it's (nearly) party time!  It's great to have a goal.  Something to strive for.  To say, "Yeah!  I can do it!"  I must always remember, after the goal has been met, it's still my health I must always honor.  So I will let myself off the hook, every now and then.  But it's back on my horse come Monday morning.

I'm throwing this picture in for a good laugh!  Hope you enjoy and be good to yourself!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I kicked my own butt

In addition to being a savvy foodie, I also make exercise a normal part of my life.  There's no weight loss goal, I gave up on bikini season and I'm happily married (so he wisely tells me I'm a beautiful everyday).  I try to switch up my training, so as to avoid getting bored.  I "enjoy" yoga, strength training and I've survived 2 spin classes.

Over the weekend there was a substitute for my favorite strength training class.  I thought the usual teacher was tough, this sub was BRUTAL!  I've been working out, regularly, for 8 months and I consider myself to be strong.  Today is the first day I have actually been back to the gym.  I took 2 days off, not because I was busy but it pained me to walk.  So today I got back on my 'wagon' and I decided to take a spin class.  Oh sweet Jesus am I hurtin!  In a class of 25 regulars, I was the only gal who hadn't taken this class in months and the instructor was new to me.  He said I would probably hate him afterwards, and while I refrain from hating anyone...if I never see his face again, I'd be ok with that.

I know I'm in a ridiculous class when I keep looking at the clock.  That was the longest hour of my life!!  I kept trying to plot out an escape route, but my ego kept my butt on that uncomfortable bike seat.  I would have been too embarrassed to walk out after 15, 20, 35, 55 minutes.   I was the youngest person in the class and I felt a sense of obligation to the other spinners.  When I ran out of water, with 15 minutes still to go, I nearly justified a walk of shame.

The reason I'm blogging about this is to share a trick that keeps me going.   When I'm in a class with other people and there's no easy exit, my tendency is to stay right where I am and gut it out.  I mean, obviously I would have left if I thought death was the only alternative.  But seeing as how I was still very much alive and spinning, I had no other choice than to remain in the center of the room and keep on cycling.

It's amazing what your body will do when you put your mind to it!  I may not be able to walk for another 2 days, but at least my integrity is in tack.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Negative calories?

Do you know what a negative calorie food is?  According to Wikipedia "a negative calorie food is a food that is purported to require more food energy to be digested than it provides".  The brief synopsis also says there is no scientific proof, but the list consists of none other than fruits and veggies!  Shocking, right?  Sorry, that cheeseburger didn't make the list.   My idea of heaven....mac n'cheese burning more calories than the calories it actually has.  Can I get an AMEN?!

So what does this actually mean?  Eat your fruits and veggies, regardless of the scientific proof, or lack thereof.  If you watch the news, read the magazine covers or hit the gym...you get a consistant message: eating fruits and veggies is truly the best thing for you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's not easy being green

Last night, I made the Deceptively Delicious vegetable sloppy joe's (again) for some friends.  It was another instant hit!  I confessed to my friend's husband it was loaded with veggies. To my shock he said he really enjoyed it. He's very much a meat and potato type.   I knew it wasn't lip service because he went back for a second helping.  AND I left them with the remaining leftovers.  It gave me great pleasure to do something kind for them.  They have a 1 year old and I could tell my friends appreciate some homemade cooking, even if it is from a veggie loving savvy foodie.

After dinner we started to talk about my new adventure.  I encouraged them both to eat naturally occurring food instead of resorting to popular processed foods.  My girlfriend, who is usually very laid back, said, "I hate taking my baby to the grocery store because she pulls everything within her reach off the shelves.  I frequent the place as little as possible.  And if you're suggesting I start eating more produce, I can't.  It's too expensive and I'd have to be making trips to the store every other day in order to get fresh fruits and veggies.  I'm a full-time mom and I work from home.  It's too hard and it's too expensive.  I need cheap and easy."

I got the sense she wanted to tell me to 'shove it' because she's currently in survival mode.  What she said is valid.  I agree, produce can quickly add up and it does require frequent trips to the store.  I don't have a child, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to raise another human being and take care of yourself.

I gently reminded her it's her health I'm advocating for.  Her pocketbook may take a more severe beating later in life when she's popping pills and frequenting doctor's offices for health related problems.  She has the power to fill herself, and her family, with savvy choices!!  It's not impossible.  It will take some tweaking of previous habits.

I suggested she buy frozen fruits and veggies.  I also said in order to make these changes it takes determination and planning ahead.  One trick (that may take some time to get used to) is to redefine what you consider as a meal.  I, for one, don't believe in eating traditional meals every time.  I eat until I'm full and if I load up on string beans and almonds for lunch, it's cool.

I gave up on processed deli meats awhile back. They're the work of the devil, in my humble opinion.  There are alternatives!  I take a whole wheat wrap, put some mayo and mustard on one side, layer it with green leafy lettuce, 3 slices of cucumber, 2 tomato slices and a slice of swiss cheese.  It's filling and scrumptious!!

My friend inspired me to continue educating myself on alternatives for busy moms.  I picked up a book, Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein, after my nutritionist friend recommended it.  It has a TON of easy to follow recipes.

Being savvy foodies is something anyone can do.  Let's continue holding hands and support each other.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Food on the brain

I usually wake up with a bit of a song on instant replay in my head.  This morning I had this little diddy thrashing around.  I mean...of all the songs, THIS ONE?  Even I had to laugh.  After a few minutes of trying to figure out WHY this was on my brain, I came to the conclusion...I was hungry.  I mean, after all it was 5:45 am.  So I threw back my covers and got my grub on!  By the way, I'm interested to see if anyone has ever tried combining the lime and coconut?  Sounds like it might be good.

This is a great time to talk about the importance of breakfast!! My previous belief was to consume fewer calories in the am.  I knew adding breakfast to the party would help get my metabolism going.  But what I have now discovered is it's really the best time to consume your largest meal in the morning.  This way you have the rest of the day to burn off the calories!!
I'm not suggesting you just mindlessly munch, like this gal...
It's an American way of life to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Dinner, for most of us, involves an appetizer, an entree and a desert.  We shovel it all in right before passing out for the day.  If we have a dinner with a huge dose of carbs, it's no surprise that we fall asleep.  Ever seen Aunt Sally after a big Thanksgiving Day dinner...she turns into sleeping beauty.  Guess what that means...all those unused calories convert into FAT!  BLECK!  

Maybe this Aunt Sally needs to lay off the vino, too!

Be savvy about your food choices.  The internet is chock full of sites dedicated to informing us of the content of our meals.  There are apps for us to download and become savvy.  I recently downloaded an app that breaks down the ugly truth of many popular restaurants.  Some are free, others are relatively cheap.  We really have NO excuse anymore...guess what, we're not eating good in the neighborhood.  Once you become a savvy foodie, you may never eat outside your house again!  Kidding!  But no seriously, check it out.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Forgive me Father, I ate carbs

Being a savvy foodie, it is my duty to steer clear of carbs.  Carbs are the gateway food into sugar, fat and other naughty pleasures.  I try to defend the silver lining in my decision to 'splurge' but the truth is...there's no silver lining.  I never feel better.  I inevitably have eater's remorse.  I feel like I have fallen off my dang horse and I want to cry.  


I ask myself what the underlying reasoning might be in my decision to make a non-savvy food choice.  Is it that time of the month?  Am I upset about my hair?  Did my hubby frost my cookies?  Am I in a wedding in two weeks?  BING! BING! BING!  There's the ugly truth, I'm in a wedding...I have a dress...I ordered a size down....PRESSURE!  Fortunately, I'll be able to rely on the power of my spanx to get me through the day, I will just have to stand the whole time.  Knowledge is power!  I can pinpoint the source of my anxiety.  Now what will keep me from self sabotaging?  
I lost 15 lbs. for my own wedding last year.  I never let a carb touch my lips (because it always landed on my hips!!!) and I steered clear of other bloat causing temptations.  I looked FABULOUS (tooting my own horn...toot) for the wedding.  I was so disciplined because I knew the photos would permanently capture my jelly rolls.  I would not allow myself to say, "Yeah, I had back fat because I was lazy and didn't take the weight off in time."  PHOTOS LAST A LIFETIME!  But, the weight loss didn't last.  As soon as my hubby and I took off for our honeymoon, I never passed up a carb.  I put all the weight back on.  I felt a tremendous amount of pressure and as soon as it was all over, maddness.  

I'm in a cousin's wedding next week and it's the size of my arse I'm worried about.  I bought a dress I MUST fit into and good Lord, I feel the PRESSURE!  I was in a wedding several years ago where I nearly had to sit it out because my stupid David's Bridal dress wouldn't zip!  Two days before the wedding I found myself paying top dollar to have their alteration department let out the dress.  It was humiliating, to say the least.  

I have a great deal of empathy for bride's maids...it ain't easy.  I'm getting back up on my horse and from here on out, I'm holding myself accountable for my food choices.  This blog will keep me honest.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deceptively Delish!

I recently purchased Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.  My family isn't wild about eating veggies, so these recipes incorporate the veggies into the dish.

There are many reasons why I love this book.  First of all, she provides an introduction that gives step by step directions for cutting, steaming and pureeing the vegetables.  It actually says: "cut the red bell pepper down the center, remove the seeds and the white stem", "steam for ____ minutes", "puree for ____ minutes"...BRILLIANT!  She also lists the benefits of the vegetables, just in case you had forgotten how healthy broccoli could be.  The recipes are geared towards kids, but kids aren't the only crowd needing to eat their vegetables!!

The one draw back to her method... it can take a super long time to steam and then puree the veggies.  After steaming the veggies, I throw them in a bowl and toss them in the freezer to aid in the cooling off time.  DON'T put pippin' hot veggies in the food processor.  If you are up for the challenge, heed my warning: make sure you read ahead to see how long the selected veggie will take to steam.  For example, the sweet potato (used in the sloppy joe recipe) takes 45 minutes to steam!  Prepare them ahead of time and freeze it.  This is what Jessica suggests for busy moms and dads.

So the two recipes I took on for tonight's dinner: Sloppy Joes and Spinach Brownies.  The Sloppy Joes have sweet potatoes and red pepper (you can use butternut squash instead and she also suggests carrots, but those are optional).  I was frankly too tired to cut the darn carrots!!  The recipe calls for 1 lb. of ground sirloin, I used 1.25.  Even with the quarter extra, I have very little for left overs.  I also used tomato paste flavored with Italian herbs.  I used 1/2 cup, instead of 1/4 like the recipe says.

It really helps to move things along if you keep all the ingredients conveniently next to the stove.  This is a recipe that you must stay on top of and constantly stir and add to the mix.  This was AMAZING!  I added some shredded cheddar and I'm tempted to have seconds?!

And for a special treat after dinner...I took on her spinach and carrot brownies.  Let me just say, when you puree the spinach, try not to let it deter you from enjoying the fruits of your labor.  I won't even say what I thought pureed spinach resembled!!!  

My mother reported, "They're not sweet, but you do taste the coco."  I think they're very tasty, but she's right they are not sweet.  One brownie bite and I'm left satisfied and I don't want to eat the entire batch.  This is a step in the right direction!  The book also lists the benefits of eating spinach and carrots.  These are wonderful!

I cut them fairly small so it's more like a brownie bite.  My father is always a veggie critic and he didn't mention a vegetable after taste with these.  Yeah!!!

Please allow for a lot of time to prepare her dishes.  I have dish pan hands and a sore back,  but it's worth it to know that my family is eating a healthy dish!