Tag Archives: vegetables

Tuesday Tips for Weight Loss

As some of you may have noticed, I’m back to trying to lose weight and get healthier. Stress and other things made my weight balloon upwards to its own area code. So shortly after the New Year, I began a campaign to change my lifestyle by becoming more active and eating healthier foods. As of this morning, I’ve lost 30 pounds.

Yep, thirty (30) pounds and I’m very excited about that. I’m also excited by the fact that the way I am eating and working out now seems sustainable, which is the key to keeping off the weight. After all, it’s not about a diet, it’s about a lifestyle that you can keep up.

You’re probably asking what I’ve been doing? For starters I try to be more active every day. I’ve started wearing a pedometer and strive to reach 10,000 paces each day, not including my workout regimen.

That means walking to and from my office and getting up once an hour to move about. With the weather getting nicer, sis and I have even started taking a short walk at lunch hour.

I try to work out 5 to 7 times a week for about half an hour a session. I mix up doing cardio with weight training. The weights are important because they help strengthen your muscles and muscles have a higher metabolism than fat which means that you are regularly burning more calories to sustain that higher muscle mass.

Plus who doesn’t like sleek toned arms and legs? Here are some simple exercises you can even do at home to tone your arms!

What have I changed in my diet? Well my favorite food group – bread, rice and pasta (LOL!) is virtually gone. I try to limit those to once or twice a week. When I do have either bread or pasta, I make sure it’s whole grain bread or pasta. As for rice, I’ve substituted quinoa. I’ve even made a tasty Chinese fried rice by substituting the pre-cooked quinoa for the rice. Have also made something similar to a tabouleh salad with this grain. You can check out more recipes here.

We still eat beef, pork and chicken, but in smaller portions and I’ve also started eating a lot more shrimp and eggs. Both are high in protein and low in calories (but watch the cholesterol if you have problems with that).

As sides to all our meals – a big salad and more vegetables. Lots more. The key is to have lots of high volume foods with low calories. Greens of all kinds make wonderful side dishes or even a once a week vegetarian meal. Cook up some collard greens or kale with onions and mushrooms, add some chicken broth and cannellini beans, top with some chopped tomatoes and you’ve got a very filling and low calorie soup. You can even add some cheese to the mix for added protein. There are lots of nice lower fat cheeses out there now and we regularly put cheese in our salads as well.

As for dessert, we’re eating a lot more fruit and snacking on cashews and chocolate covered raisins.

Where do I go from here? Well, I’m going to keep on eating healthier and working out. My goal is to lose another 10 pounds by the RWA National Conference at the end of June. I try to set those goals in reasonable amounts because there is nothing worse than setting yourself up for failure by being unrealistic.

If you’re in the same boat as I am, I hope these tips help you! If you’ve found some good things to get healthier, please share them with us by leaving them in the comment area.

Finally, our Danger Women Writing Contest and Guest Blog continues with a visit from the RomCon folks and a giveaway of tickets to this year’s convention. Drop by the blog later and leave a comment for a chance to win!

Tuesday Tip – Eye Health

This Tuesday it’s something new, but which I hope you’ll find helpful. I recently went to the eye doctor and decided to have the test for macular degeneration. Imagine my surprise when the doctor told me that my macular pigment was low and that I needed to boost it!

So what does one do to promote macular health? One thing is to take vitamins which are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. You can find such vitamins at your eye doctor or health food store. But while such supplements are helpful, nothing is better than getting those vitamins from natural sources.

So hubby and I have been busy chomping down on an assortment of vegetables which will help replace that declining macular pigment. That’s the good news – it is possible to reverse certain kinds of degeneration.

What foods will help you rebuild that macular pigment?

Foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin are dark leafy vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, collard greens, swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts. Other good sources are romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, kiwifruit, corn, peas, eggs, spinach and goji berries. Paprika, olives, rhubarb, citrus, berries, corn and peppers are also high in zeaxanthin.

What’s scary is that my hubby and I regularly eat a lot of the above foods, but I guess we just have to eat more of them.

One other hint: It’s also better to eat your vegetables raw or lightly steamed. Prolonged cooking will lower lutein levels.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! If you haven’t had a test yet, ask your eye doctor if it’s time to get your macular pigment checked.

Confessions of a Carboholic

Back on one of the Tuesday Tips I mentioned that I was battling the bulge again and some of you asked for me to let you know how I was doing.

Well, I am doing great! I’ve lost 6.5 pounds in about a month. I feel better and my clothes are starting to get loose. I’m counting the minutes until I can drop a size.

But to accomplish that I had to do some soul searching and realize something very troubling – I am a carboholic. Worse yet, that being a carboholic was so not good for my system. All that bloating and big belly started to go away as soon as I curtailed my carbs.

I did that in part with that wonderful book my daughter gave me — Eat This, Not That. I have the supermarket edition which is great because it lays out in no nonsense fashion what to buy and what not to buy and the reasons for those choices (although there is one with which I do not agree and more on that later).

First I cut back on my carbs and the carbs that I eat are lower in fat and sugar and higher in dietary fiber. Fiber is wonderful because it fills you up and keeps you from having that empty sensation.

How did I do that? Thomas’ Light Multi-grain English Muffins. At 100 calories per muffin, they have only 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of dietary fiber. In the mornings I will have it with a smear of one of those Laughing Cow Light Cheeses – also great! Only 35 calories per little wedge, but packed with flavor.

For Sunday pasta meals, we switched to Barilla Whole Grain Pasta (suprisingly on the Not That list, but I don’t agree). With 200 calories per serving, it has only 1.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, it’s tasty unlike some other whole grain pastas.

At lunch I make sure to have veggies of some kind, whether alone or with grilled chicken, or a sandwich made with a muffin, low fat cheese and low fat ham (not a big turkey fan which would help, I know) or chicken.

For snacks – nuts, nuts, nuts. A handful of almonds (approximately 12), cashews or walnuts are a great snack at around 3 pm.

At night we try to keep it simple. Grilled steak, chicken or eggs with veggies and a salad. Actually, we’ve been eating a lot more eggs. They are not as bad for you as people think and if you buy some Eggland’s Best or another high quality egg, they are packed with vitamins and have lower cholesterol than regular eggs. I always look for a sale on them and stock up.

For a late night (around 8 pm) snack, I’ve been making our own desserts – like a low fat fruit-packed ambrosia — or having a small handful of Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegrantes. I get a 2 lb bag at Costco and they are absolutely delicious. 22 pieces are about 200 calories, but I stick to about half that amount because they are so decadent and dark chocolate and pomegrante are packed with anti-oxidants.

Adding all those fruits, nuts and veggies has gone a long way in helping as well. They keep me feeling fuller and I’m not having those horrible hunger pangs that wreck most diets. In fact, I’m not even thinking about this as a diet anymore, but as a lifestyle change because I can see myself eating like this for the rest of my life.

So, that’s my confession about being a carboholic and how I’ve changed some of my habits. I’ve also been going to the gym regularly and that’s been a big help. Any increase in activity is good for you, including a brisk walk!

Hope today’s Thursday Thoughts might be of help to you. 🙂