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Archive for category stop cravings

Eating. How to do it. {And other stuff}

Wondering what to eat to lose weight? Or maybe you want to know what to eat just to be as healthy as you can?

It’s no secret, diet is extremely important to weight loss and health and wellness. You can work out every single day, but until your diet is clean, you won’t see the best results possible. Some people will tell you that a calorie is a calorie. If you want to be literal, yes, I suppose it is. If you have a lot of weight to lose, counting and cutting back calories and thinking about little else will definitely help. But there will come a time when you’ll plateau. Not only that, if you’re eating low-calorie junk, you’ll still feel like crap. Not to mention, eating low-calorie junk food will not help your actual HEALTH any. A healthier choice at the SAME calorie count will mean more nutrients, more fiber, more filling, etc.

So, put down the 100 calorie snack packs, the pretzels, and the diet ice cream. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your results will be SO noticeable, and you’ll feel SO much better once you clean up your diet.

But I know you’re still asking… “How do I eat clean?” True, 100% clean would be nothing store-bought, really. Maybe bulk grains and of course produce from the store, but anything in a box would be a no-go. I try to work toward this, but I’m not there yet.

Instead, I want to share with you what I believe is some of the most important things to eat (and not eat) that will make a big impact but also be reasonable for those of us who still need a little convenience in our lives…

Here’s my “Rules to eat by”:

  • Get rid of enriched wheat products. Replace with items that specifically say “100% whole grain”. Doesn’t have to be wheat as the grain, you can think about rice, barley, oats, etc
  • Drink water all day long, every day
  • Get rid of sodas, inculding diet sodas.
  • Eat at least 3 servings of veggies every day. (1 serving of leafy veggies like raw spinach is equal to 1 cup. Small veggies like chopped carrots & broccoli is 1/2 cup as a serving.)
  • Eat 1 serving of fruit every day
  • Buy organic as much as possible, especially the types of produce and fruit that were directly exposed to pesticides and all that garbage. Berries, greens, apples, etc are especially important. Things that you peel, like oranges and bananas are less important.
  • Eat 1 serving of beans every day
  • Combine the ‘must eats’ as much as possible. Try having a big salad for your lunches…include beans, seeds, etc & plenty of veggies, then you get it all in at once!
  • Eat every 3 hours or so. Snacks can include small stuff if you’re not super hungry. Think nuts, greek yogurt, fruit, etc
  • Try to keep meat to only 2 meals a day to start. Try to work your way to 1 meat a day, then if you’re feeling amazing like I think you will be, you can go from there.
  • Get rid of as much packaged food as you can.
  • Check product labels, look for stuff with only real ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
  • Remember to keep your meats lean. Stick to chicken, fish, and turkey as much as possible.
  • Treat yourself some, but be reasonable. Have a drink once in a while if it’s important to you. But be real with yourself about how much you’re eating/drinking, measure it out. Stick to dark chocolate (72% cacao or darker), or red wine..or just a couple cookies a week,etc). This shouldn’t be a daily thing, work to kick your sugar habit. YES you can.

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A few random *other* tips for well-being & weightless/healthy living success:

  • Sleep 7-8 hrs every night. No excuses
  • Take time every day to relax. No, sleeping doesn’t count.
  • Drink more water (Yes, I know I said that already. Must be important, huh?) 🙂
  • Work on speaking to yourself in a positive voice.
  • Write out your goals. Not just your fitness goals. Write them all out and revisit often.
  • Laugh alot.
  • Make new friends.
  • Find old friends.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Be nice to yourself and to others, even if they may not deserve it.

Soooo….what your FIRST step going to be?? Tell us in the comments below!

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Our 2 week reset/clean eating challenge – {some recipes!}

Hubby and I usually eat pretty well. It seems that in the last few months though, we were slipping a little. We’d gone from eating really well about 90% of the time to more like 75% of the time. We decided to create our own 2 week challenge to reset. Our goal is to eat healthy like we had done for so long. Our challenge would go like this:

We’d be eating clean…as clean as possible at least. And we’d cut back carbs to 2 meals a day. We’d eat nothing with added sugar. No beer or wine. And we’d add in extra veggies and fruits. No fast food, very little packaged food – and the packaged food we did eat would be something healthier than most, like Quest Protein Bars(Have you tried these? SO delicious & a TON healthier than other protein bars – which are really more like candy bars. Check the labels!) and Lara Bars. We also decided to log our food for those 2 weeks. That really helps with paying attention to what you’re eating and becoming re-acclimated to what a serving size looks like, and how much our meals SHOULD include.

Today is our last day of our challenge. I lost 4 pounds! We’ll be celebrating with some wine and brunch at our favorite spot. (Can Can Brasserie in Carytown…yuuummm!!) But of course we’re very dedicated to continuing this eating plan at about 90% again now that we’re reset. That’s the beauty of doing something like this. Once you give some things up for a while, you crave it less. It’s a lot easier to continue!

I wanted to share some of the meals and recipes we had…in case any of you wanted to try your own reset/clean eating challenge. Our meals were quick since we both work full time. And I am a big fan of things that don’t take a bunch of ingredients. So, you’ll find some pretty simple stuff here…. I’d love to know what you guys think. Do these looks like meals you’d eat??

Go-To Sandwich

We ate these for many lunches. And usually with mostly the same ingredients, but depending on what we had in the fridge. Here’s my favorite & what we put on it… (and a side note, isn’t it a beautiful sandwich?!)

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Ingredients:

1 slice Ezekiel sprouted bread, lightly toasted

1 tablespoon super hummus

3 slices hormel natural choice turkey (Applegate Farms is a great choice too)

1/2 slice sargento ultra thin provolone cheese

2 slices tomato

1/4 cup baby spinach

1/2 avocado, sliced

Salt & Pepper to taste

(Some optional things that I added some days: Thinly sliced apple, thinly sliced cucumber, or you could use dijon mustard, a little balsamic vinegar, etc)

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Easy breakfast scramble:

Again, we ate this or a variation of this many mornings. It’s super quick, easy, filling and tasty. Oh and healthy.

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Ingredients:

1 cage free, grain fed egg + 1 egg white

handful of baby spinach

a little Sriracha sauce

1 slice Ezekiel sprouted bread

1 tablespoon super hummus

Just scramble the egg and cook with the spinach. Add salt and pepper if you’d like. Spread the hummus on the toast and top with the egg scramble. Add sriracha to taste.

Some variations I like to use: add chopped tomato to the scramble and/or 1/2 of a avocado. You could also skip the toast.

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Quick and Healthy Stirfry
Also a very forgiving recipe to replace or add other veggies you may like!
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Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (use Extra Firm Tofu if you’d like)
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped baby carrots
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup steamed broccoli florets
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Sriracha to taste
Just warm the sesame oil over medium-high heat for a minute. Add the veggies and cooked chicken. Add the rest of the sauces, spices, and peanut butter. Stir constantly for a few minutes until sauces and peanut butter are fully mixed in and warm all the way through. Seriously. You’re done. And you could add more or less veggies as you’d like, but we added a lot since there’s no noodles or rice in this stirfry. This was SO delish!

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Sausages and Sauerkraut
(And quinoa.) Oh Em Gee….!!! So good!
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Ingredients:
4 links Aidelis chicken sausages
1 cup sauerkraut
1 serving Red Inca quinoa (or any quality quinoa)
Prepare quinoa according to package. Warm sausages on the stovetop over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add sauerkraut and prepared quinoa to the pan with sausages and warm for a couple more minutes. 1 serving is 1 link plus a scoop of sauerkraut and quinoa. This made wonderful leftovers for work the next day, too!

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Okay, that’s some of what we used….and all were very satisfying and filling, and super tasty. I’ll save the rest for another post so this one doesn’t get too cumbersome.  Comment below if you’d like me to send you the rest sooner, though!
Tell me what your favorite clean recipe is below 🙂


Try Quest Protein Bars!

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Plan of attack – Thin Mints, my nemesis.

I’ve said it before. I meant it. We all surely need to indulge in those things we absolutely love…once in a while.

But here I am. Looking at a bag of thin mints. This is my nemesis. These ARE the thing that I’m willing to indulge in.  I can say no to SO many things. My problem is that I love thin mints SO much that it’s hard to stick to that “indulge once in a while” part.

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So for accountability’s sake, I’m saying it here. I have a plan of attack for this dark day…the day the thin mints arrived. I will be packaging them in the little snack sized ziplocks according to the serving size. The serving size is 4 cookies. And there is MORE than enough calories, fat & sugar in those 4 cookies, so I’ll stick with that. Anyhow, my plan of attack is date each baggie. 1 baggie every other day. This is a HUGE improvement of my normal plan. Which is to see how fast I can eat 4 boxes, apparently. I’ll indulge still, but I’m attempting to only make it every other day, and keeping it to the serving size.

By the way, I normally wouldn’t endorse your indulgences to be every other day. I’m just being real here. If I used to eat one whole SLEEVE per night, I figure I don’t have the willpower to only eat 4 cookies once a week. You think I’m being too easy on myself? Any votes for pushing myself a little further and dating these baggies ONE per week??

Did anyone else get girl scout cookies this year? Am I the only one hopelessly addicted?

 

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UPDATE:

Alas, I was unable to control my thin mint addiction. Seriously. I finished a box in 2 days. So. I did the only thing I could think to do…I gave the rest of the boxes away. If I don’t have them at all, then I can’t eat entire boxes in 2 days, now can I?

Sad I couldn’t control it, but glad I at least had the willpower to do something about it. Though it was slightly painful to give them away, I’m sure happier in the long run.

How’s everyone else faring with their girl scout cookie addictions?

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Help! I’m craving….

We all have cravings. When you’re trying to watch what you’re eating, whether you’re counting calories or just cutting back on things like sugar, preservatives, whatever, it’s still hard to curb those cravings. But there are ways to indulge or to divert those cravings with healthier choices. The hardest part is those first few weeks of trying to NOT eat something or eat a lot less of it. For instance, in December of 2010, I decided I was going to eat healthier, watch my calories, and I started running. Now, all went pretty well because I was motivated. However, I have always had a sweet tooth. Not many people don’t, I know. But when you’re trying to cut back on sweets, you feel like you’re the only one who could possibly know what that feels like to NEED your dessert. That’s it, you need it. It IS like an addiction. So you have to treat it like one. First, recognize that it’s going to be difficult. Now, accept that you may have moments of weakness. That does not make it a failure. Any time you have a bad day of eating or a few days of no workout, don’t fall of the wagon. Just jump right back in. A few moments of weakness doesn’t mean that your journey is over.

Once your mind is in the right place, it’s time to start working on cutting back or eliminating those things you crave. Now, if you’re craving broccoli…then please, keep on eating it! But for those of us that crave junk food, read on.

First, recognize when your cravings set in. To do this, keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat, and at what time. You may also write down things that were going on or what you were feeling when you ate certain things. This can be helpful if you’re an emotional eater. You can identify those triggers this way and start to divert the attention to another habit. After keeping a journal for a few days you will likely start seeing where your weaknesses are. Perhaps you already know yours. You may not need a journal to identify it. But for some people, those weaknesses are hidden, you can convince yourself they don’t exist or they aren’t that bad. For me, I was eating dessert after every dinner. But I was failing to realize that the random sweets I ate throughout the day amounted to as much as they did. So, maybe I had a cookie after lunch. Maybe I had a piece of dark chocolate after that. And then I may even have another cookie when I get home. I mean, one cookie can’t hurt, right? And then my usual dessert after dinner because, well, that’s usual. Writing all of it down and seeing it stare me in the face was enlightening.

But how can I overcome these cravings, you may ask? Well, for some people, cold turkey is the best way. Sounds simple. It’s not, really. First, you have to get rid of all temptations, get it all out of your pantry and freezer and your desk at work. You also have to have a powerful motivation to succeed here. A good motivator is to know that after a few weeks of cold turkey, your habit WILL be broken. It’s sort of a detoxing process. Your body craves something, like I mentioned earlier, like an addiction. Stopping that indulgence can be difficult in the beginning. You may experience mood swings, headaches, or other symptoms of that nature. If you can get through that part and get past it, you will get over those cravings.

Some folks can’t go cold turkey. Understandable. For those people, I recommend a replacement and weaning technique. Get rid of the REALLY bad indulgences from your kitchen and replace with LESS bad things. Start paying attention to serving sizes and you’ll have cut your intake already. So if brownies and cookies are your thing, get rid of them. Go out and get some replacements such as reduced sugar ice cream & light chocolate syrup. And actually measure out the serving sizes. This will start to help you teach yourself control over portions. Go get chocolate graham crackers (or regular ones), get sugar free chocolate pudding, Bear Naked chocolate chip cookies, and so on. As long as you’re actually replacing what you’d normally eat with one of these types of *better* things, you’re reducing your intake and also slowing weaning yourself from expecting the really awful things. This technique can be tricky. You still have to pay very good attention to how much of these replacements you’re eating. You may subconsciously eat more since you know it’s *better* for you. Keep writing everything in your food journal so you can watch it. And really, measure out those serving sizes and stick to it, it will help you control it.

Finally, when it comes to weaning yourself off of the *better* options, you can start with eating only one of your indulgences per day. A lot of this is mental, so if you’re trying to stop eating, say dessert after lunch and just want to keep it to eating it after dinner, you may need to find something else to DO after lunch. Replacing that time with something else, if you will. So maybe after lunch you go walk the dog now. Or you read a book for 10 minutes. Anything to keep your mind off of it for a few minutes and start a new habit in it’s place.

Eventually, if you want to cut it ALL out, you’d just repeat that weaning step again for any remaining servings you have been eating. For me, I eventually quit eating dessert after dinner. That was hard since I’d done it for so many years. I ended up replacing dessert with a workout. May sound crazy to you, but trust me, it’s not. Once you get ‘hooked’ on a workout and you really love it, you will WANT to do it. It’s a perfect opportunity to use that workout to replace another bad habit! That feeling you get after a great workout, one that was fun and taxing, it’s actually a type of high. It produces a new addiction. A good one. So go for it!

So tell me, have you had any experiences in trying to break a craving or a habit? How did it work out? Are you trying to break one now?

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