Tuesday, June 17, 2014

21 Tips for 21 Pounds!

Here are 21 tips to mark the 21 pounds I have lost since February. Folks are beginning to notice (me too!) and are asking what I'm doing to lose weight. It's not as much dieting as making lifestyle changes. Here's the list so far. I can't wait until I can add to it! 

Life choices tip #1These days if I want something fizzy I'm drinking sparkling water instead of diet soda. The brain reads artificial sweetener as real sugar. This triggers an insulin response --which prompts the body to store fat. 

Life choices tip #2: I'm substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes. Microwave for about 5 minutes, split open and add one tablespoon of real cow butter. Sweet potatoes are low glycemic and have more fiber, minerals and vitamins than white potatoes. 

Life choices tip #3: More fiber = more full. 
  • I'm switching out white bread and flour tortillas for whole wheat. 
  • I'm adding extra lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers to sandwiches. 
  • I'm eating lots of salads, vegetables and fresh fruit.
  • For spaghetti sauce or taco filling, I mix 1/4 cup oat bran and 2-3 finely chopped carrots with the meat while sauteing. The carrots adds a sweetness, and the bits blend in by the time the sauce is cooked.
  • Instead of bread crumbs, I make meatloaf with a cup of old fashioned oats. 
  • When making grits and rice, I sub 3-4 tablespoons of oat bran for an equal amount of the dry ingredients. (It really isn't noticeable.) I buy stone ground grits and brown rice. 
  • I add a can of drained and rinsed white beans to soup. Even Healthy Choice soup gets a boost of fiber and protein.
  • My chili is 1/2 meat and 1/2 pinto beans. 
  • I add an extra can of drained corn and black beans to enchilada filling. A can of Rotel Tomatoes with chili peppers is good the enchilada sauce too. 
  • I add whole kernel corn to corn bread with 3 or so tablespoons of oat bran. 
  • I eat lots of 3 bean salad, pickled beets, chopped cucumber salad with an oil and vinegar dressing, and a German-style green bean salad. (I'll post the recipes!) They are fast to fix, high fiber and store well. The "mayonnaise menusha" - pasta salad and coleslaw from the deli department are, well, usually just pitiful.
Life choices tip #4: I have a weakness for pizza. I figured out a skinny version.
One whole wheat tortilla
2-3 Tablespoons spaghetti sauce
Assorted veggies, sliced thin

1 slice of deli turkey or turkey pepperoni
2 pieces of string cheese, sliced

Layer it all on and bake at 400 degrees in a toaster oven for 15 minutes. 

Instant Dry Milk Powder
Life choices tip #5: Use non-fat dry milk powder in your coffee. Flavored creamers have lots of sugar and 100 calories for 2 tablespoons. Not to mention casiansulphamagnalooloo -- actually, I just made that word up - I can't pronounce and definitely can't spell what's really in it!

Life choices tip #6: Eat meat/high quality protein once a day. Other meals eat lots of veggies, 1 fruit and low-fat dairy or nuts.

Life choices tip #7: Eat food as close to the way God made it as possible: Apple > applesauce > apple juice > soda.

Life choices tip #8: Make sure every meal has 1 tablespoon of good fat. Olive oil. Salmon. Real cow butter. Nuts. Avocado. Coconut.

Life choices tip #9: With some foods you're hungry in an hour. 
  • Cottage cheese holds on longer than yogurt. 
  • Oatmeal > Corn flakes... 
  • Try whole wheat English muffins in place of hamburger buns. 
  • If you have the munchies, eat a scrambled egg sandwich instead of a bag of chips.
Life choices tip #10: Nuts are your friend. Get roasted peanuts or mixed nuts in the shell. Have the munchies? Crack away!

Life choices tip #11: Grocery stores are a mine field. Go into them on guard. 
  • Always remember if you don't look at it you can't buy it. If you don't buy it you can't eat it.
  • Stay in the outside aisles: produce, dairy, meats.... 
  • Be wary of display tables, like the Entenmann near the cash registers.  
  • The longer you spend in the store, the more of a workout for your willpower. When faced with 150 yogurt choices alone, it is easy to get "Decision Fatigue" And when you get tired, it is easier to give in.
  • The aisles have extra displays to catch your attention and slow you down more.
  • Before you go in the store think of a good reward for yourself: a bag of fresh peaches or single serving of chocolate milk. If you're tempted by giant bags of pretzels or boxed "homestyle" dinners (that have no resemblance to homestyle anything), remind yourself of your reward. Pick it up last, on the way to the cash register. Congratulate yourself for making wise choices.
Life choices tip #12: I'm walking more. I got a pedometer. I'm adding 10% more steps per week until I get to 10k steps a day. Here's my pedometer:

A lovely lunch by my friend, Diane Ayers.
Life choices tip #13: I'm eating red meat only once a week. I'm not against red meat just calories are what makes it taste good.

Life choices tip #14: "Sugar! Oh! Sugar, sugar!" Spaghetti sauce. Ketchup. Salad dressing. McDonalds grilled chicken. (Yes! Even in the chicken!) You're smart. Read labels. Avoid it. Avoid sugar substitutes as much as you can too (see #1 above). I use Truvia in oatmeal. (I don't like oatmeal very much, so I "disguise" it with cinnamon, walnuts and Truvia.) Everything else I am eating without sugar. But know, I never cared for sweets much, yet it still took me about 3 months to wean off it.

Life choices tip #15Keeping your brain in a good place goes a long way for keeping your life choices in place. But, life happens! A knee jerk reaction is to grab a bag of chips - "I've had a bad day. I deserve it." Think about it. You have no control over traffic or the bossy lady at work. But you get to choose the food you eat or the number of steps you walk today. When you have a bad day treat yourself healthy. You really do deserve it.

Life choices tip #16: One morning I got up, groaning. My 15 year old dog hopped off the bed and beat me to the door. "Why is she friskier than me?" I asked! Stretching is the answer. Mid-nap she rolls over and stretches. She doesn't walk 6 feet to drink water without stretching. So, lessons I learned from Rascal: Stretch more. All day. Every chance you get.

Life choices tip #17: snack packs and 100 calorie "cute portions" encourage munching on empty calories. Have an apple! God loves you at least as well as Nabisco! :-)

Life choices tip #18: Find support wherever you can. Join a running club even if you only walk fast! Check Meetup.com or at your local pub for a running group. Ask your neighbors or co-workers. The bigger the group the more likely someone will show up to walk with you.

Life choices tip #19: Live or work with a snacker? Put their goodies in a closet in the guest room. Or in a file cabinet in their office. Out of sight - hopefully out of mind. You have no control over their habits. You have control over your habits however - make good choices

Life choices tip #20: "Fat" is subjective. 160 lbs or 260 lbs really doesn't matter. What matters is, are you fit? I saw a woman crying because she was 165 pounds -- but she ran 4 marathons last year. Be real. If you can walk for an hour at a good clip, congratulations! The answer is yes, you are fit!!

Life choices tip #21: Remember what mamma always said: "Drink your water. Get a good night's sleep." Take care of yourself, ok? Cause we sure do love you.
Good luck! Let me know your diet tips... or as I like to call them. "Life choices tips." Have a great day!