Friday, December 28, 2012
You know what I think is one of the biggest reasons people don't lose weight on a program? Because they don't follow the program in it's entirety. They do part of it, but not all of it. They hire a coach and do the exercises he says but don't follow the eating plan. Or do a pretty good job of following the eating plan 5 days out of the week, but go off the rails and eat whatever they darned well please two. Or follow the eating plan perfectly but don't exercise the way he tells you to. Or decide they're going to have rice with dinner even though the coach told them to just have asparagus and fish. You get the idea.
Here's the thing: With most programs, whether they are a company-owned plan like Jenny Craig or a pricey one made by a coach personally for you, your best success is dependent on doing ALL of said program. It's made to work as a whole. You take one part of it out, and like the gears in a watch, either the whole mechanism stops working or it isn't nearly as effective as if you did the program in it's entirety.
Particularly i you are working with a coach, I would advise to put blinders on and just DO it. Don't read Weight Watchers material if you are following Julie Lohre's program. Don't decide it's time to brush up on the Paleo diet or read "The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women" when you are paying Mike Davies to make a program for you. Why? Because in there somewhere is going to be something that isn't going to be what your coach or program has lined up specifically for you. They have you doing a particular program, either completely made or heavily tweaked for you, because in getting to know you a bit their instinct is telling them it will work. By taking in information from other sources you run the risk of doubting the effectiveness of what they have you doing. And with doubt comes lack of enthusiasm. And with lack of enthusiasm comes lack of adherence. And with lack of adherence comes lack of results. And who wants to pay someone the big bucks to create a program for them and not get results?
Commit to whatever plan you are doing in it's entirety. Focus like a laser beam, block everything else out, and just GO! Pick a plan, follow the WHOLE plan, and stick with it. You'll be the one getting the results while others are saying "This plan just doesn't work for me."
Friday, October 26, 2012
I love having hard boiled eggs around, but they can be a pain in the tush to make. The pot can boil over if the eggs break in there, making a horrible mess to clean up; there is a risk of not getting them done enough; and there is always the chance that I'll forget about them and wind up with smelly, exploded egg on the ceiling (now THAT'S a riot to clean up!).
Then I read about baking whole eggs, in-shell, on-line and gave it a try. I gotta tell ya- I was nervous. But amazingly, it worked! I am certainly not the first person to blog about this, but thought I would pass this on to my readers in case they did not know about it.
Here's how it's done:
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Put an egg into each of either a regular sized or mini muffing tin. I have two muffin tins that make 12 muffins each, so I can either cook one or two dozen eggs at a time. (Alternately, you can put the eggs right on the racks in the oven, but if one of the eggs cracks I'd rather clean up a muffin tin than the bottom of my oven.)
Stick the tin in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. (Now you have something screaming at you at the end of the cook time, so you won't forget and boil all the water out of the pot and risk your whole kitchen smell like burnt egg shells. Nasty!)
Hang on to your egg cartons- You'll store the cooked eggs in them when they are done.
When the timer goes off, take your eggs out of the oven, but leave them in the tin for 5 minutes at room temp. They will have little brown spots on them, but don't worry about it: They will come off in the next step.
In the meantime, fill something with cold water (I just plug up my sink and turn the water on, filling it enough to just cover the eggs). At the end of 5 minutes, put the eggs into the cold water. (I use tongs if they are still too hot to handle.)
The muffin tin is usually clean still, so I just put it back in my cabinet.
When the eggs have cooled, put them in the saved egg carton. Be sure to mark it, so that you know which eggs are hard boiled and which are not in your fridge. I put an "HB" on the sides of my carton with a sharpie so I can see it easily when I open the fridge.
That's it- Perfectly cooked "hard boiled" eggs without the watch-time and potential mess of doing them on the stove. Yay!
Monday, October 22, 2012
I'll come right to the point: Guys, we women like for you to have butts. And it seems that as you age, if you don't get your.... er... butts into the gym, you wind up with flat backsides.
This flattening pretty much expressly comes from sitting a lot. I can spot a guy with a desk job who never visits the gym within 100 feet: Wide, flat, and almost narrow at the very bottom. Yeah, guys- We women notice nice butts on men that are in their 40's and beyond. It impresses us. If you have one, endeavor to keep it. If you don't, get to the gym and get one!
Now, I'm a gal who loves a nicely defined upper body. I'm a self-admitted chest girl. But true fitness is displayed in a man in his midsection and his butt. That's the area that takes the most self discipline for you guys to build up and maintain. So while a moundy muscular chest gets my initial attention, I have respect for a man in mid-life with nice glutes.
Not only is it about appearance, but having a well-developed lower body is good for your health and quality of life. A strong lower body will carry you around longer, be less likely to suffer things like back problems in the lumbar spine that so often start hitting men in their 40's, and greatly reduce your likelihood of suffering broken bones when you fall as you age. (Does hip replacement surgery sound like fun?)
Chances are that if I have inspired you to go to the gym, you will head for variations on the squat and leg press, because not only are those the grand-daddy of moves to develop the lower body, but they're also done on masculine equipment: REAL men use the big plates. (Insert caveman-type laugh here.)
But the fact is that the guys I see with good butts in midlife and beyond are the ones in the gym that aren't too proud to do lunges, step-ups, all variations of split squats, and cable kickbacks. And you'll see them getting cardio sometimes on the step-type equipment. Yeah, I know all those have the rep of being girly, but they do NOT create a girly look for you guys! They create a butt that gets our attention.
We women miss your butts! Please, bring them back!
Guys, are you listening? And women, do you agree?
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Have you ever heard of coconut oil? I hadn't either, until I read about it in Tosca Reno's "Eat Clean" books. She says she eats 3 Tablespoons of it a day. Now, Tosca doesn't eat any foods that are not clean, so I'm sure that 360 calories of a good source of fat don't hurt her. But for the rest of us it might not be the best idea to consume this quantity if we are trying to lose weight. However, it's a great food to substitute for some other fats in your diet for a myriad of reasons. Here's an article that goes into detail, because I am too lazy to type it all out: www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/or
At any rate, I have discovered how versatile this oil is and how wonderful it makes food taste! I have tried substituting it in almost all of my recipes that call for fat, from stir-fries to baked goods. Every time, without exception, it improves the recipe tremendously. The texture makes even recipes where whole-wheat flour is subbed in for regular white (which usually results in a tougher product) melt-in-your-mouth.
Case in point: I'm GREAT at making pie crust, but have always had to use refined white flour for it to be flaky enough to grant my approval. Last night I made my traditional pie crust (my own recipe and technique), but substituted 1/4 of the white flour for whole-wheat and all of the shortening with coconut oil. It was wonderful! Next time I am going to try it with all whole-wheat flour. I'll bet it turns out terrific.
Coconut oil can be substituted strait over for any kind of fat a recipe calls for, but is especially good in recipes that call for butter or shortening, the latter of which is particularly bad for your heart and arteries.
An unusual property of coconut oil is that it holds solid at temperatures 76 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Above that and it starts to melt. I was keeping it in a cabinet where I always had and it was beginning to liquify. It finally occurred to me that it was being stored next to an exterior wall: With the Texas summer heat on the other side of the wall, the coconut oil was getting a little too warm to hold it's solid state. I moved it to my pantry, which is on an inside wall, and it went back to solid.
If you want to use it in a recipe that calls for liquid oil, just melt it first. In a recipe that calls for a solid fat (butter, margarine, or shortening), use it strait out of the jar.
Unlike olive oil (which is also heart healthy), coconut oil is heat stable. So you can use it for types of cooking that call for prolonged exposure to heat and it won't destroy the flavor of your food.
And it's not just good for cooking- I like to stir a teaspoon of it into my oats or whole-grain cream of what in the mornings. It adds a nice flavor and texture to it, and the added fat slows digestion and helps to keep me full longer.
Most stores carry coconut oil on the shelves with other types of cooking oils.
One caveat of coconut oil is that it is more expensive than most other commonly-used fat sources. But I think that once you've tried it you'll be sold and never go back to shortening, at least, again. It's worth the investment to get that artery-clogging stuff out of the diets of yourself and your family.
Monday, September 03, 2012
I've lost a majority of my weight on the Weight Watchers program. It is the plan that I return to most often when I need to reign things in again, and to this day I log my foods in my Weight Watchers Points Plus food log even when I am maintaining. (I've always done better with a pen and paper than virtual tracking.) But I've found that with the new program that came out earlier this year I was having a hard time losing weight when needed and others were commenting the same.
Now, let me say before I go any farther that if you are using the Weight Watchers program and losing just fine, don't change a thing! If you hit a stall down the line you can revisit this blog and see if it helps, but in the meantime there is absolutely no point in fixing something that is not broke.
It didn't take me very long to figure out what the problems are, and the biggest in my opinion is the unlimited fruits. Now, I've always thought and still think that fruit gets an unnecessarily bad rap, along with wheat, white potatoes, and corn. But to let people eat fruit without accounting for it can completely stall weight loss, and actually cause people who are maintaining gain weight.
The problem isn't that fruit is bad for you. The problem is that most people in the weight loss world have an issue with portion control. Fruit is higher in sugars, albeit natural sugars. I don't have enough room in this blog to explain the entire biological process (and you'd probably get bored, anyhow), so just trust me when I say that too many sugars of any source can actually change how the body stores calories, sending more of them to fat.
Yes, the Weight Watchers gurus tell you to eat fruit until you feel satisfied. But lets get honest here: If people who are or have been overweight could tell when they were satisfied.... well.... there wouldn't be a need for Weight Watchers.
Consequently, my proposal is that you count the first two servings of fruit as "free", and account for any after that in your daily points. In case you weren't around for previous Weight Watchers programs, a serving/points-worth of fruit is about 60 calories, or the equivalent of a cup of cut-up fruit. Or in the case of bananas, a half of a large banana. (So if you eat a whole large banana for breakfast, that's the end of the "free" fruits for the day.)
The unlimited non-starchy veggies are still good, though. While it's not portion control, it'd be almost impossible to eat enough of them to mess with fat storage.
The second tweak I would suggest is to up the intake of water from 6 cups a day to 12. And make it real water- not "non-caloric beverages". (To read my blog on why water is so important, click here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Another thing I would highly recommend is to rely more on whole foods rather than processed, to include Weight Watchers food products. While I think Weight Watchers is a good program, it bugs me a little that they don't put more emphasis on minimally processed foods. Calories are not all created equal, and the your body turns processed foods into fat much easier than foods the way Mother Nature made them. (This is, by the way, the reason I could never be a Weight Watchers leader: They push the employees to sell their products. I could not in good conscience sell people foods that I know aren't truly healthy.)
And lastly, eat your exercise points earned, but forget about your weekly Points Allowance, unless you are really desperate. Doing so seems to put the daily calories at a more metabolism-friendly level. And when you count your exercise points, err on the side of caution and don't be too generous with your estimations. But do go ahead and give yourself more than the 42 on the log, if you have earned more than that.
I realize this blog is not going to apply to the majority, and I am sorry for that. I just thought the few frustrated might find it helpful.
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