#TransformationTuesday #TuesdayTip Walking Your Way to Better Health

A little while ago I posted a photo of myself and my transformation. 40 pounds lost and working on losing another 30.

Of course, a large part of that is diet and anyone that tells you that you can lose weight without eating healthier has a bridge to sell you (will kids even understand that saying today?).

Exercise, while important for losing weight, is also important for improving your overall health. It’s not good to be sedentary and even the smallest amount of movement will benefit you.

When I took the first step in my transformation, it was literally a first step: walking my way to health. It’s a great form of exercise and little by little I built up to how much I walk. Today I usually do about five miles a day (if not more) over the course of the day. How do I do that? Walking everywhere I can and having my Fitbit buddies challenge me to new goals.

My favorite place to walk is the beach, of course, but anywhere will do and it doesn’t take much. Just 15 minutes a day has been shown to improve your overall health.

If you’d like to get started, here are some links with good articles on the benefits of walking!

The Benefits of Walking by Real Simple
Benefits of Walking by Arthritis.org
Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health by Mayo Clinic
This is Your Body on Walking by Prevention Magazine (I personally love this magazine!)
3 New Walking Workouts to Blast Fat by Prevention

Another hint for those who work in an office and sit all day: Buy a cheap kitchen timer and set it to go off every half an hour. Get up, walk around, move, squat, lift, do anything! Be Mobile. You will feel the difference in your body once this becomes a regular habit.

walking

#FoodieFriday Lower Fat/Carb Mac & Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s the kind of comfort food that warms the belly and calms the soul, but oh man, talk about fat and carbs.

There is a way to cut back on both and still have a hardy and rewarding meal with a little less guilt or worry. This is my version of a lower fat/lower carb Mac and cheese. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Ingredients

4 cups Cauliflower
1/2 pound pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped ham
1 chopped onion
3 cups 1% milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
Panko bread crumbs

Directions

Cut the cauliflower into one inch pieces. I was able to find an orange cauliflower at a local farm stand for only $2.00! Yes, I love being frugal also! Steam the cauliflower until just a little tough to a poke with a fork. It will cook some more when you bake it. After steaming, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
mac1

Cook the 1/2 pound of pasta until al dente. I used cavatappi since they hold the sauce and add a little fun to the mix. After draining the water, rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
mac2

Chop the ham and cook in the olive oil to get rid of that extra moisture. Then add the onion and cook until just translucent. Turn down the heat a little and add the flour. Mix it all up until it’s a little on the dry side. If you’re using some kind of cast iron stove to oven pan, this will happen quickly from the pan retaining the heat, so really turn it down until you add the milk.
mac3

Add the milk to the ham, onion, and flour mix. Stir until sauce is thick enough to coat the spoon. Add the cheese and stir. Then add the cauliflower and pasta and mix well.

If you haven’t used a stove to oven baking pan/dish, place the mixture in a greased baking dish. Top with the Panko and if you’d like, some additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and then broil for about 2-4 to brown the top! Voila, you are done!

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#ManCandyMonday Chris Powell

You all know I’ve been on a lifestyle change and it’s done wonders for me. I’m 45 pounds lighter, my cholesterol is down and I’m feeling fantastic! Like many people who have struggled with weight issues throughout their entire lives, I look for inspiration from both inside and out to help keep me focused on creating a healthier life for myself.

So, I’ve been a fan of BIGGEST LOSER, but I’ve just recently found EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS on ABC and let me tell you, I’m impressed. Why? Well, put people in an artificial environment where they can workout 4 or 5 hours a day and I’m pretty sure you’ll get results.

Teach and help people create their own 24/7 365 healthier and happier place. Not so easy.

Enter Chris Powell, today’s Man Candy choice. Besides being a total hottie, his upbeat personality, caring and thoughtfulness shine through and really help inspire the people on the show. It’s amazing to watch people learn to deal with getting healthier at home and during their regular lives. It’s also interesting to see the impact on those around them and how the entire dynamic of their lives changes.

So today’s hottie and totally awesome guy is Chris Powell! Go check out his show if you haven’t seen it. You can also find Chris at chrispowell.com and www.facebook.com/realchrispowell!

Tuesday Tip – Weight Loss Progress & Tricks

Both my husband and I used to say, give us good bread, tasty cheese and a yummy bottle of wine and we’d be set for life.

The truth is, we’ve found that only two of the three have been good for us — the dairy and wine part. The carbs, not so good.

In our desire to pursue a healthier lifestyle and control our weight, cholesterol, etc. we’ve been decidedly better at choosing what to eat, namely, lower fat dairy, lean meats, more vegetables and fruits and the occasional glass of red wine (and yes, I know 100% grape juice has the same benefits!)

But when it came to weight loss, the one sure thing that helped and also reduced our belly fat — lowering our carbohydrate intake. We haven’t totally eliminated it, but we are much more conscious of eating high fiber, whole grain, low calorie carbohydrate products.

Of course, each person’s metabolism is different, so it’s a give and take to find out what works best for you. To help you, here are some more tips for you to consider.

Chocolate milk is a wonderful choice. I had hubby substitute it for those expensive high protein supplements and not only is it working, it’s natural! You can read more about the health benefits of milk by clicking here.

Substitute tea and iced tea for coffee or soda. Tea is packed with antioxidants and the polyphenols in tea can help ward off cancer and diabetes while providing a gentle boost of energy. Just make sure not to steep the tea too long to avoid releasing tannins which can cause stomach upset and constipation. Here’s more on the benefits of tea in your diet!

Use honey in your tea or for your other sweetening needs. Honey is one of nature’s wonder products and you can find out more about the health benefits of honey here. I had tried using agave nectar and found it quite sweet. In retrospect, and beyond all the hype about its wonders, I’m starting to hear a lot of negative things about agave nectar. So, if you’ve got diabetes or problems with your tri-glycerides, you may want to avoid it.

In my case, I had reached a plateau where I was stuck at a certain weight. No matter what I did eating wise, I could not get that scale to budge which I have to do for health reasons and not for vanity’s sake. The solution for me — increasing my weight training by adding more weight and increasing the work during my aerobic workout by likewise adding resistance. Both helped me bust through a plateau! I’ve lost 13 pounds and am looking to keep on losing until I am a recommended weight for my height.

You can read some other tricks for busting through a plateau by clicking on this link!

I hope you found this Tuesday Tip helpful! I’ll keep you posted on my progress and if you’ve got any suggestions of your own about losing weight and getting healthier, please share them in the comments section. And as always, check with your doctor about what you can and can’t do in terms of diet and exercise.

The 100 Calorie Crave

dietfork.jpgOne of the things I’ve found during my last two weight loss campaigns is that it was easier to lose weight if I ate more times during the day, but watched what I was eating.

Why is that? Well, skipping meals may slow your metabolism as will crash diets (anything less than 1500 calories per day). Your body will sense that you aren’t providing it with enough fuel and slow down to retain the stored energy it has (in other words — the fat you want to lose).

The other problem with skipping meals and eating less is that when you do deplete the energy you’ve taken in, you will crash and experience major hunger. That may lead to poor food choices.

What’s the answer and this Tuesday’s Tip? Those ubiquitous 100 calorie packs that are now available everywhere. The problem is finding the ones that are actually satisfying since there’s nothing worse than opening one of those bags and finding that there’s not enough there to satisfy a craving.

Which ones have I tried and found to be fairly good? Here’s a list of some of the better ones I’ve tried:

Is there anything bad about the 100 calorie packs? Price for starters. You’re going to pay more for the convenience. Also, as you can tell from my list, the snacks on my list aren’t all that nutritious — they are for satisfying your sweet tooth.

That also means they are probably high in carbs and may only provide a temporary sugar rush.

The good part about them, besides the taste, is the portion control. You know exactly how many calories you’re taking in without having to count or measure.

What other 100 calorie (or less) things can you eat that are probably better for you? Well here’s some of the things I also munch down on:

Cabot’s Reduced Fat Cheddars (which also come in pre-packaged slices)
Polly-O Skim Mozzarella and String Cheese
Apple
Orange
Low Fat/Fat Free Sugar Free Yogurt
Strawberries (10 large)
Blueberries (1 cup)
Hard-boiled Egg
Jello Sugar-Free (one serving is only 10 calories!)

Not sure of the calories? Click here to use an easy Food Analyzer from Kraft. com.

Hope this Tuesday tip was helpful!

Copyright 2008 Caridad Pineiro Scordato www.caridad.com

New Years Resolution Update

Maybe you’ve noticed the progress bar to the right of the blog. Maybe you didn’t. It’s a bar that’s measuring how much progress I’m making in keeping to my New Years Resolution to lose weight. I decided to put it up on the site for a couple of reasons. First, I hope it keeps me honest and keeps me off the sweets wagon. Second, I know a lot of you had the same resolution and maybe seeing how I’m doing will help you reach your goals as well.

I do have some hints to help with the diet.

First, we know why diets usually fail. Diet food is so damn tasteless. I’ll give you a quick recipe later on for a quick snack or meal that isn’t tasteless and will satisfy. I think that’s a key to staying on a diet — learn to make food with lots of flavor so that you feel satisfied after eating.

Remember to drink lots of water. It helps wash out the byproducts of burning all that fat and keeps things moving along.

Next, try to increase your activity, even if only a little bit each day. A fifteen or twenty minute walk at a nice clip will really help. Can’t do that much at one shot. Do 2 ten minute segments. Studies have shown that the effects of exercise are cumulative (but 20 minutes is key for aerobic health).

Last, but not least, don’t give up just because you blow one day. Nobody is perfect, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t stick to your diet. Just don’t do it too often.

Anyway, here’s that tasty snack/meal. I can’t take credit for all of it. The basic idea for the soup came from something on HGTV. I think the garlic bread thing came from Giada’s Everyday Italian, but regardless, it’s tasty and relatively low fat.

The Soup:

  • Plain Ol’ Campbell’s Tomato Soup (to keep it low fat, made with water and not milk. If you want to use milk, use skim or low fat milk).
  • One of the following:

  • Chopped or minced Jalapeno peppers
  • Your favorite chunky tomato-based salsa
  • Here’s how easy it is:

  • Make the soup as per the instructions on the can. When the soup has been thoroughly heated, add either the jalapenos or the salsa to your taste. If you like it hot, add a lot. You know what you like.
  • Warm the soup a little more.
  • For an extra-special treat, while the soup/salsa is at a low low simmer, toss in a handful of cheddar cheese and stir until creamy. Want to keep it lower fat? Use the 2% Cracker Barrel. It’s quite good.
  • While the soup is warming: Toast a slice or two of a good quality bread. Peel a clove or two of garlic. Once the bread is toasted, take the garlic and scrape it across the toasted bread. The roughness of the toast will grate the garlic. The final result — an oil-free tasty garlic bread!

    Saturday is a full day for me. I’ve got my monthly NJRW meeting and other running around.

    Hope you all have a great weekend!