Monday, August 09, 2010
In the 80s, low fat diets were the rage. Americans were eating too much fat, so we were warned we could lose weight and live longer with low fat diets.
Now we're warned away from carbs. There's nothing in recent history more controversial than carbs. To carb, or not to carb?
The truth is, we are eating too many fat and carbs. We are also eating too much protein, sugars, and salt. The western diet is too much of EVERYTHING. (Except fruit and veg, but I'll talk about that in a separate blog.)
Carbs are good for you, and essential for good health. Unless you're eating only meat, you're eating carbs. Veggies have carbs. Fruit have carbs. No one will say, "Don't eat veggies and fruit! Too many carbs!!" What people usually mean by 'no carb' or 'low carb' is reduced refined carbs. A white bread roll is an example of refined carbs.
A typical western diet has way, way too many refined carbs. Let's look at a spaghetti lunch at the Olive Garden.
Salad - fiber, carbs, fat and sodium from salad dressing
Breadstick - carbs, fat, sodium
Spaghetti - carbs, protein, sodium
If you are what you eat, what's your main ingredient? Carbs, fat and sodium!
Even a salad at the Olive Garden you should go easy on because it is coated in salad dressing. You can make this better by skipping the breadsticks, eating half of the spaghetti, and taking the rest home for tomorrow's lunch. Tada, you just reduced the carbs and fat!
What's a typical southern dinner? Spare ribs, cornbread, mashed potatoes, corn, and maybe some collard greens. Carbs, carbs, carbs, fat, fat, fat. Have ONE of the following carbs: cornbread, mashed potatoes OR corn. NOT all three!
I've maintained my 30 lb weight loss mostly by cutting almost everything I normally eat in HALF. I do not avoid carbs and fat, but I do pay attention to them. If I'm given the choice of corn, bread roll, or mashed potatoes, I chose one, not all. If at all possible, I load up on the biggest plate of salad I can get, dressing on the side. I try to limit my sugar intake. I used to drink 3-4 cans of fully leaded soda per day. Now I drink maybe one a month. Most of my sugar comes from fruit. I do not eat a lot of processed/packaged food that is loaded with sugar and salts.
I've done this over 6 years now, and can confidently say I wouldn't have it any other way. I think I do have a 'reduced carb/fat' diet, but only because I was eating way too much before. These are 'lifestyle' changes that comfortably fit with my lifestyle, and I don't have to put a lot of effort into maintaining.
So to answer the title question: LESS carbs is plenty.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
My fiance and I have been going in circles about our wedding plans. We plan on the date to be in 2012, so we still have some time. At first we wanted a small, intimate destination wedding somewhere in the Caribbean. Our families live halfway across the world opposite each other, and we thought that might be a good midway point for our friends and family. However, it is quite remote, so we don't expect a big turnout, which is ok with me. I like small and quiet.
Then his parents said it was too far to travel and weren't coming. My dad is on an oxygen tank after a bout of pneumonia damaged his lungs a year ago, and has arthritis in his back, so he can't go. So the only family we have coming are my mom and his brother. We thought maybe we should change to location to my home state of Colorado since my dad can't travel, but that meant a traditional wedding, which neither of us are terribly enthusiastic about. When I found out how much a traditional wedding with a location, reception, and photographer cost, I was shocked. We could get our destination wedding AND a head start on our honeymoon for the same price.
I guess the tipping point was when my dad said that we should just have the wedding we want to have. Breaks my heart to think my dad won't walk me down the aisle, but if his health wasn't an issue, we would definitely have the destination wedding. We have his blessing, so we're going to back to our original plans, even though I tear up at the thought of my dad not being there.
So while we haven't exactly settled on a location/date yet (though it will be 2012), I've been procrastinating on the dress. After we first got engaged, I made a digital scrapbook of internet clippings for dresses that I liked. I haven't tried on any dresses because in my mind, I keep saying that I'll lose 10 more pounds before trying on a dress - teehee. But I'm wondering, should I just get the dress, and in the event I lose 10 pounds, have it taken in?
Anyone have thoughts on this? Is taking in a wedding dress that easy or no?
Thursday, August 05, 2010
It is necessary to raise calories when pregnant, however, I was shocked when a pregnant friend of mine said she can eat whatever she wants, as much as she wants - fried chicken, hamburgers, cakes, whatever. The strange thing is, she had a pretty healthy diet before she got pregnant, but seems to think a junk food diet during pregnancy is ok. From what she was saying, it sounded to me like 'eating for two' was interpreted as doubling her daily calories. I tried to gently point out to her that a developing baby needs good nutrition. An article I read recently said pregnant women should increase their calories intake by 300 per day - that's it.
An article today on MSNBC suggests that overeating while pregnant with a weight gain of 50lbs or more may put the baby at risk of obesity troubles later in life.
I hope I remember this when it comes time for our family planning. 6 years after my 30lb weight loss, occasionally I still talk myself into overeating. I can see the temptation during pregnancy to be a very real worry for me...
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
I saw an blog article today about Ann Taylor's website accidentally displaying unretouched models instead of their photoshopped 'enhanced' versions. Take a look for yourself.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the original photo, and the photoshopped version is actually a bit distorted. She's beautiful, and in great shape without the 'touchup'.
While I'm sure many of us have celebrity inspirations on what we wish our bodies could be, remember that what you see in magazines and online are artistic renditions. It used to be called 'airbrushing'. These days, photoshop is able to do things the airbrush was never able to do.
Here's an example. Watch this YouTube video on how to get a virtual 'diet' with photoshop.
Now don't get me wrong. Visuals can be great motivators. If I had a wish for an ideal body shape, then I would love the physically athletic form of Janet Jackson back in the Rhythm Nation days. Cindy Crawford was my hero - curvy, but toned. And I'm totally stealing these photoshop techniques to touch up my own beach photos - LOL.
While the model on the cover of Shape or Cosmo magazine may look fantastic, they are a digital sculptor's interpretation of a goddess. None of us can compete with that, not even the models these are based on.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I'm a petite woman at 5'0" tall. My goal weight is at about 120-125lbs. I arrived at that number because that was what I weighed in high school and college at the peak of slimness and fitness. I was very active with soccer and later martial arts. My waist size was about a size 4, but my hips were a size 6 (I've got the J-lo hips going on).
So I'm often surprised when I hear of other petite women with goal weights of 110 or less. The last time I weighed 110 lbs at the same height, I was 12 years old.
While we are all shaped and proportioned differently, I can't help but think there are unrealistic expectations based on so called 'supermodel' ideal.
Take Lady Gaga for example. She is 5'1" tall and weighs approximately 126lbs. By runway model standards, that's fat. So how in the world does she have that superflat belly most of us covet?
It's simple. She is very fit. She has a lot of muscle. Muscle on women doesn't make them bulky; it makes them tone and sleek, like a cat (meow).
Fat makes bulk, not muscle.
She doesn't eat a runway model diet of water and crackers, either. The July 2010 issue of Shape magazine has a small blurb about her tour diet which comprised of 5 meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks.
Breakfast: Frittatta made with 3 egg whites, 1 leek, 1/2 zucchini, 1/4 cup basil, and 2 tbsp parmesan cheese.
Snack #1: Peach-rasberry smoothie made with 1/2 cup peaches, 1/4 raspberries, 2 tbsp nonfat yogurt, 1 tbsp OJ, and ice cubes.
Lunch: Fresh herb falafel made with 1/3 cup chickpeas, 1 tbsp minced onion, tbsp whole-wheat bread crumbs, 2 tsp each of parsley, cilantro, and cumin cooked in 2 tsp canola oil and served with 4 tbsp tzatziki on a bed of romaine lettuce.
Snack #2: 1/3 cup citrus yellowfin cerviche with lime tortilla chips.
Dinner: 5oz halibut with Chinese five-spice powder and 3/4 cup brown rice.
I calculated the calories and it comes out to approximately 1200 calories. It is a whole lot of very nutritious calories, and spacing out the calories staves off hunger. There are only a few refined carbohydrates (tortilla chips), and no refined sugars. From my estimates, the ratios of carbs/fat/protein are approximately 40/30/30.
Her fitness routine is working out five times a week doing cardio, weights, and core exercises. Plus all that dancing in concert - whew!
Weight is just a number. If you really want to be healthy, then go by measurements and body fat ratio. Lady Gaga weighs more than she looks, but there's no denying that ironing board flat stomach.
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