Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cornell Food Lab: Weight Effects of Cooking Shows and Recipe Books (You need to know this!)

The Cornell University Food Lab is putting out *useful research* for how to better watch our weight.

Here are two research discoveries they have found:

Viewers vs. Doers: The Relationship Between Watching Food Television and BMI, appetite, brian wansink, lara latimer, lizzy pope, cornell food and brand lab, food psychology, viewer vs doers, 2015


Marion's experience: 

I have personally found that I overeat recipes-- every time!!! Because I know this about myself, I try to stay far away from recipe books, choosing the cooking style of cooking whole foods well with added spices and herbs. I've gotten *much* better with using spices in the past few years, resulting in much better tasting healthy food.

Most of the TV cooking shows are what I would term, "holiday food," indulgent calorie-laden food that a slim person cannot eat on a daily basis without gaining weight. So why watch it?!!! 

Instead, head over to Andrea's blog to learn how to cook whole foods in a yummy way. When I first started reading Andrea's blog, I honestly didn't really think her type of cooking applied to me. It was very far from the food of my upbringing. However, I kept reading and thinking about what she said, and eventually, Andrea's influence changed the way I eat in a huge way. I now regularly make acorn squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, and many other healthy food ideas that I learned to grow *comfortable* about from reading Andrea's blog. I love her healthy food prep blog articles too, where she chops up, places in containers for the fridge and otherwise plans healthy foods for the week. She's practical and simple about healthy food cooking, and even beginners can learn from her.

I can honestly say that out of all healthy food blogs I've ever read, I've been most influenced by Andrea's blog. Thanks, Andrea!!! So, if you want to eat much better, or just get interesting whole food ideas, check it out. 

Food for thought: Practice deliberate thinking about food. Fattening food thoughts influence our weight in a bad way. Healthy food thoughts help us eat better and keep at a better weight.

What do *you* think? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic.

Have a Super Eating Day!!!

:-) Marion

P.S. I am going to the kitchen to make baked apple chips now. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Awesome Eating Advice from Scooby (Re: Daily Food Choices)

This morning, I was psyching my own self up to eat healthy and saw this outstanding Scooby video. If you don't know, Scooby is the weightlifter guy on who is in outstanding shape and very lean and tells you details of how he accomplishes it. His blog is linked on the side of this blog.

As I was watching this video, I thought of all of you!  You friends who are currently trying to lose a certain amount of pounds. Also, never forgetting, you maintainer friends who need to hear "the messages" in different words by different people to remain fresh in your eating mission and vision. We all need these messages!

So here is the Scooby video.

This is a very long video. If you only have a few minutes, here are my favorite quotes of the video, and at what point in time these topics occur:

46:17: Re Social occasions: 

“My nutrition for this contest is tightly controlled. There is no such thing as ‘live a little.’ There is very little wiggle room in…my daily calories. …Never go into social occasions hungry, because then you are just asking for trouble. Eat your meal before you go. …Find something to eat that has very few calories and meets your macro…pre-eat, and order a garden salad with dressing on the side…don’t eat the dressing…it looks like you’re eating a lot, but you are consuming about 50 calories.”

57:10 Re “Healthy but Bland” food choices: 

“No, I didn’t learn to like it. As a matter of fact, I don’t like it. I would rather have bacon-wrapped pizza. That tastes a heck of a lot better than brown rice and chicken breast. It tastes a heck of a lot better than plain oatmeal made with water and no sugar. It’s not a question of what tastes the best, it is the question of what is acceptable. …If I ate what I wanted and wasn’t concerned with health, I would weigh 800 pounds, and that wouldn’t be muscle, it’d be fat. I actually have to avoid really tasty foods because I have no off switch. I would eat an entire bacon-wrapped pizza. I would eat an entire batch of cookies. The way that I can stay healthy and fit is to not have those around. Yes, you do learn to like them [healthy/clean food], when you stop eating the pizza and artificially flavored things, the natural flavor of foods do come out and become a lot more interesting. …But it’s never going to be as tasty as a piece of pizza, but you can make it acceptable. I love my salsa. I love my hot sauce.”

Marion's Personal Notes: 

People ask me if I like apples as much as fattening desserts. The answer is No!!!!! Some people wish I would say that apples taste as good as cheesecake, but apples don't taste that good. Further, apples don't give the huge brain zing of cheesecake or satisfying tummy ache of cheesecake. Apples are a food that I eat everyday that allows me to be healthy and at a slimmer weight. Cheesecake doesn't. Apples are never going to taste as delectable as a sugar-y fattening dessert like brownies, cookies, or candy. Still, I do like eating apples, and they do taste good, and they keep me at this weight.

There is a sacrifice involved to losing weight and keeping it off. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to continuously eat at a lower daily amount of calories. If I go up in calories, I gain weight directly proportionate to how much more I eat. There is no other way around this point: To weigh less, you have to eat less. If you eat more, you will weigh more.

On most days, I don't eat favorite foods. I eat basic health food. I eat eggs, apples, oranges, chicken, tuna, mixed vegetables, and other stuff like that. These are not my favorite foods!!! These selections do not taste like yummy restaurant food! However, I do like these foods as being basic good food. I honestly believe that the food sacrifice is "very worth it." I am incredibly healthy and look my best. Physically, I feel wonderful everyday! That is worth some food sacrifice on a daily basis.

What do *you* think? This post actually took quite a long time to type out those Scooby quotes, so I hope it helped renew your healthy eating pledges to yourselves. It did for me!

Have a Great Eating Day!

:-) Marion

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dealing With the Anger-isms (that make you do angry-eating)

Yesterday, my husband and I spent over an hour cleaning up junk food wrappers and other various garbage left over around our block after the snowbanks melted. My husband had the tool with the clasp at the bottom while I held the garbage bag with an increasingly larger amount of nasty garbage.We joked about how the "human squirrels" have such terrible eating/smoking/drinking habits, while we cleaned.

Many neighbors are mildly angry, not just annoyed, but have a real form of anger about people going through our neighborhood and littering without any concern about how we, who live here, feel about it.

I can understand their anger, but I've found that it is better to have a "take-charge moment" where I just deal with the situation, rather than be angry at people/litterers who I know are not coming back to clean up their mess. My husband and I can count on *ourselves* to make the situation better. And we did. When we were done, it looked like we had taken a vacuum cleaner over the block's lawns and gutters. It looked great!

We did the cleaning for *us.* You need to understand that point. We saw other neighbors, who did not pitch in to help us. Still, this is *our life* and *our block where we live* and it was *definitely* worth our time to feel personally happy about our neighborhood's condition.

There are *many* situations that can cause, what my middle daughter calls "anger-isms," that anger past being annoyed that just simmers long-term under the radar that does *not* cause you to feel vicious or want to slug someone. However, this form of anger *may* make you feel like a victim and may make you feel like doing angry-eating.

So, instead of being angry about sloppy stuff people do, just clean it up. Have a "take-charge moment" and tidy up areas of your life that other people messed up, doing the cleaning for *yourself.* You deserve a happy life in a great place to live. Make it that way, without depending on others to do that for you.

Having a "take-charge" attitude will help you with your weight, because this attitude is about generally being happier and in better control about your life, which is a very happy feeling. Further, taking good care of your life is closely analogous to taking good care of your body. If you are happy, you do less emotional eating, including angry-eating.

Today, I am also doing some spring cleaning in my home. I honestly don't like cleaning, so I'm certain that Netflix shows will accompany me through the house today. But so will Keebler and a big glass of iced tea. It should be a great day of making my life happier in little tidy ways.

What do *you* think? How do you personally deal with anger-isms?

Have a Beautiful Sunny day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Re: Being a Food Addict

I was talking to a TOPS friend about this last night:

Just because I have been controlling my weight quite well for the past few years does not mean that I am "cured" of my food addiction. I am still a food addict. I spent over 15 years of my life being very overweight. During those 15 years, I continuously overate. Those memories and low standard of health and living are a sizable part of my history. During those 15 years, I ate down family-sized bags of candy bars by myself quite often. I could *still* easily eat down a family-sized bag of mini candy bars, and there are times when I feel the urge to do that.

I am still a food addict, even if I don't look like it. I still have a long overeating history that plays mind games with me. I still find myself trying to play those bargaining mind games about why I "deserve" an unhealthy food, or that I've seen slim people eat that same food without getting fat. When I do play the mind games and I talk myself into eating addictive foods, I gain weight from it.

I have kept my weight off, not because of metabolism, genetics or any other magic, but because I eat specific foods in specific amounts almost every day. I have food rules and mantras. I go to TOPS every week because I need to go. I usually avoid eating out at restaurants. I try to bring an apple or orange with me whenever I walk out the door.

If you struggle with your own weight, I still understand. Don't imagine that I don't understand it anymore. I still live the life of a food addict. Every day is a new day with new eating challenges. The day that I don't strongly face those eating challenges is the day I gain weight.

There is not much different between maintaining a weight loss and losing weight except that those of us who have lost weight and kept it off have learned to be more consistent in our efforts over the long term. But don't ever think that a person maintaining a weight loss has an easy-going time of it. Most of us wish we didn't have to concentrate on our food selection and portions as much as we do. Most of us wish we could eat "anything" and keep our weight off. But it is not effortless for us, or we would not have gained so much weight in the first place.

Part of food addiction is: When we eat an addictive food, we do not stop at a moderate portion. Even lately, I have tried and failed to eat a moderate portion of spaghetti. It is not doable for me, unless you hand-cuff me and tie me up, or something like that. Moderation does not work for me. I either avoid certain addictive foods, or pay the price of gained weight.

I am writing this partially for myself because certain people have asked me why I can't just follow good eating habits I have set and focus less on my eating while maintaining my weight loss. My short answer: I am a food addict, and it doesn't work like that.

What do *you* think? Is this helpful for anyone? Is any of this true for you? Do you agree or disagree with statements made above for your own situation?

Have a Beautiful Day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stop The Cravings To Lose Weight

This is the time of the year where some people are beginning to feel an obvious lack of motivation. They started out with New Year's resolutions, but stuff happened. Life happened. The great news is that you don't need motivation to get to a better weight. What you need is great strategy/strategies.

There are 3 basic types of strategies for losing weight:
1) Stop cravings that make your eating out of control;
2) Eat less calories/food; and
3) Increase physical activity (however, it does *not* as much for weight loss as most people expect).

Today, I'm discussing stopping the cravings. Yes, it's doable goal for all of us.

Regarding Stopping the Cravings/Eating Out Of Control

1. You should *never* listen to experts who say "Eat when you are hungry," especially if you have no idea if your urge to eat is from a craving. Most people eat far too much food/calories because they think they are "hungry" when they are actually experiencing food cravings/food addiction.

2. A craving regards that itch to eat sugar/sweets/flour/salt/oil. People rarely have a craving for asparagus or oranges. If you need to "scratch an itch with food," that is a craving.

3. Being genuinely hungry feels like little cannons going off in your stomach You haven't eaten for quite a while (several hours) and any type of basic food will do the trick. An apple will make your stomach much happier.

4. To beat cravings, you must stop eating foods that are addictive. They are generally all of the foods you would go to for satisfying "scratching an itch with food" -- sugar, flour, processed food, noodles, bread, buns, muffins, cake, cookies, candy, cheesecake, brownies, breakfast cereal, granola bars, crackers, pancakes, waffles, potato chips, french fries, etc....

5. To beat cravings, you eat basic food--food that can be picked off a tree, comes from a garden, comes from a farm, or fished out of the lake or ocean. Your basic food menu should have mainly whole foods -- fresh fruit, fresh or frozen vegetables, beans/legumes, lean meat, fish, tuna, eggs, etc... Yes, really!!!

This may sound tricky in this culture of prepackaged food, but it really isn't. Apples, oranges, and bananas can be thrown in a purse as "fast food." I've done that for many years now. A baked sweet potato is easy to eat on-the-go too.

For a simple meal: Cook a lean protein serving, a big helping of low-carb vegetables with a small pat of butter on top, and finish with an orange or apple. How easy is that?!!!

Basic food will quickly turn your eating around to something remarkably normal. I really don't know anyone who overeats plain apples, eggs, or broccoli.

6. If you eat the right foods, you will notice that you can easily go for several hours without eating. Your focus for your business/reading will get remarkably better. You actually forget about food for hours at a time. That is because you are effectively dealing with cravings. You will eat less food, overall.

My testimonial: When I stopped eating addictive foods that triggered binges, my weight quickly dropped, and I have remained at a much lower weight with less struggle involved.

My suggestion to you: If you struggle with binges, cravings, food obsession, etc... do *not* be stubborn. (Being stubborn is often a form of self-sabotage.) Do try drastically changing your food choices to whole foods, and find out what happens. I was truly amazed at what a HUGE difference what type of food we eat makes for weight control.

What do *you* think? Hopefully, this is helpful to some of you. I often don't think I say this crucial weight management information enough.

Have a Delightfully Wonderful Day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back to Good Habits!

This is a post about specifically what I'm doing to make a comeback from the flu.

Okay, so I previously told you that I had a long terrible bout of flu, which kept me from exercising for weeks and I also gained some pounds during that time.

Here is my progression:

1) As soon as I had the energy, I went grocery shopping to get whole foods: eggs, tuna cans, several bags of oranges and tangerines, green pepper, onions, a big bag of apples, dried peas, frozen mixed vegetables, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and milk. I also got cheese slices, cottage cheese, yogurt and chai tea latte mix. Then I stopped eating the refined stuff that I ate when I was too exhausted to care what I ate during the flu. I care now!!! Back to good food habits. It's pretty easy to eat good with the right food in the house.

2) For the past two weeks, I've been back to the gym on Sundays. I've also been doing some pushups on Wednesdays at home. Today, I did 130 pushups. I'm focused on great *effort* since I do feel somewhat weaker from not working out for about a month. My personal gold standard will take *time* to work up to again. I've had fun getting back into routine. I loooove working out!

3) I'm back to running up and down the stairs in my house. I'm not quite energetic yet, but I'm close. Going up and down the stairs many times per day is exercise! It all adds up! And my house is tidier for it.

4) Last night, I went to TOPS. I'm grumpy about gaining weight, but I still went even though I didn't feel like it. It's crucial to be accountable--on those "chubby days" when you absolutely 100% don't want to be accountable. It's a pivotal moment to go when you have gained weight and feel despair --separating the quitters (who give up on the program and gain serious weight back) from those who persist to fight each pound gained. Yesterday, I went a little down in weight, so I'm going in the right direction, which is happy.

Something that made me feel fantastic -- I did my first standing back bends at age 47! It's a fine way to celebrate being 47. I also did the Dancer yoga pose, which I really have not done since about February 2014 because of last year's knee injury. So, it was a bit more wobbly than usual, but very fun to do an artistic balancing pose.

So many of you have told me that you had this same flu--I hope you are all feeling better.

What do *you* think? What have you been doing to maintain good habits?

Have a Terrific Week!

:-) Marion

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What To Do After A Weight/Fitness Setback...

I have just gotten over at least 3 full weeks of the flu. During that time, I felt like a wretch, which reminded my husband of the song, Amazing Grace. I was a wretch who needed saving. Being as I could barely get myself to walk around the house, I certainly was *not* up to exercising. I ate the only food I could taste, gaining a few unwanted pounds. It took over 3 weeks before I could taste raw onion (and boy, did that taste great!!!) By 20 days of this flu, I was waking up in the middle of the night feeling like a total disaster, quickly turning squishy while having a hard time breathing due to sinus build-up.

So what do we do when we have a weight/fitness setback? I've been going to the gym for over 8 years in a row now. One thing I've learned is that people with longevity for fitness have to routinely bounce back from various events. Surgeries, flu, fitness injuries, abrasive relatives in the home too long, indulgent vacations, too busy of work schedule, friends/family sick or dying, and just a lack of motivation that eventually catches up with you, etc.... Eventually, some of these things will happen to all of us. We are suspended in a situation in which we have less than our normal control over our life, which makes us vulnerable to setbacks.

Firstly, we need to recognize that *everyone* has setbacks--it's not just you. Every time I've come back to the gym from a month away, there has been another gym buddy who was also away that long for surgery or some other fairly serious reason. We have the same feelings about being gone from fitness--it feels miserable, but it could not be helped, for any of us.

Secondly, we need to not get overly dramatic of it. Feeling "wretched" is dramatic. But as soon as I got better, I started to realize that I was no longer wretched, just a human building back up after a horrifying flu. I'm just human! These things happen! Unfortunately, I eat more when I'm sick (vs. friends who lost weight during their flu episode). Just don't make a mind game out of it. No one gains zillions of pounds or goes totally flabby in a few weeks. So we shouldn't act as it that's the case. Make it "no big deal" in your mind. Chin up!

Thirdly, we just start back at each good habit, one little step at a time, with many good steps each day. For me, I just had to get back to mostly whole foods again. So as soon as I was well enough, I went grocery shopping for oranges, apples, tuna, milk, eggs, etc... My basic food that I eat each week. Then, I started eating it as I did pre-flu. Just the same normal habits. I also got back to the gym on Sunday, still congested, but pretty good. Today, I did 80 push-ups. This was hard, but I need to get back on track.

That's it. You just keep bouncing back, over and over and over. Year after year after year. It's awful when you have a setback, but you should have the expectation that they will happen so that you are not overly disappointed when it happens. Then bounce back as soon as you can.

What do *you* think? How do you bounce back from setbacks?

Have a Healthy Week!

:-) Marion