Go “Bowling” on Superbowl Sunday!

January 30th, 2015 No Comments

Are you making plans for a Superbowl party? Gone are the days you drown your face in a bowl of nachos, nay nay I say! Try a flash-in-the-pan veggie pizza pie. Then go super bowling with a salad bowl full of flavour, crunch and punch! Check out these ideas to make your party EXTRA super:

Root for Arugula – Do you love a win that’s bitter, sweet? Turn over a new leaf and sub in some arugula in your super bowl. Add fruit to cut the edge and nuts for that SNAP crunch.

Superbowl Escarole & Pepper - Add some cut up pepper to your escarole and eensy bits of spicy hot salami for an extra kick for that 3-point play.

Long Bomb Cucumber, Fennel - Try this switch up of your greens with delightful ricotta. It will surely please your palate.

Hail Mary Staple Salad – Don’t want to fuss too much about putting something super in your bowl? You’ll be thankful for this flex idea. Use whatever you have on hand like the Tazmanian Devil on Bugs Bunny and serve it up with your pizza pie for a touchdown!

Franny’s Flash in the Pan Pizza Pie - My oh my, gotta love a fast and delish dish of pizza pie! This recipe is a hit when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Give it a try.

Gotta love lounging and watching the Superbowl. Who wants to spend half the day in the kitchen? Not me! The best part of the game is turning up the volume to the half time show, that’s when the game really begins right Katy? Get up off the couch and work in your activity routine as you lead some cheers before the 3rd quarter!

Who’s going to clinch it? It might be the year of the goat, but maybe it’s the year of the Seahawk, again!

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Endorphins: Mother Nature’s Blue Monday Boost

January 26th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have been doing quite a bit of blogging about ways to get and stay motivated this fine January. Many people take on the New Year and make a list of “what NOT to do from this day forward”. I say we should fill up our life and find ways to boost our motivation and spirits daily even on the coldest, cloudiest day. They say that the last Monday in January is the bleakest of the year. Say what? Time to tune your attitude in and work in ways to feel good, naturally.

We may live in a material world, but you can rely on the deep mysteries of your own body to lift your spirits. A special secret lies in the realities of endorphins, ahhh. It’s touted as the brain’s “feel good” chemical. Why not find ways to release more every day of the year? Flood your senses and listen UP!

Say Ommmmmm – Meditation and controlled breathing can help give you an endorphin lift. Visualize you at your goal weight and take the pressure off by taking it down a notch while relieving stress.

Unleash Your Giggler – Hearty belly laughs are an automatic joy lifter too. Look on the bright side and stop taking life so seriously. Turn that frown upside down while turning on the Comedy Channel!

Get Spicy – Hot chilli peppers added to your food can trigger a release. Sprinkle some on your eggs, pasta or stir fry and get all steamy with it as your endorphin elixir. Check out my Nan’s Arrabiatta recipe to spice it up a notch!

Turn On the Tunes – Crank up your favourite tunes and your spirits will lift as well. I love the motivation/pop music setting on Sonza as my mid-day picker upper. Check it out and work it into your routine, la la la la la la ba da ahhh.

Vamoose Your Caboose – Exercise and activity provide a whole lot of benefits on this front which can provide that “runner’s high”, decrease stress, ward off depression, boost self esteem while improving sleep to name a few of the many benefits. Make your interval training be comprised of moves you enjoy. Get outside and play!

Now here’s a spoiler alert that good lovin’, chocolate and light alcohol all boost your endorphins too. These can be enjoyed as a Valentine trifecta, which is right around the corner! Flood your senses!

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One Plan to Rule them All?

January 20th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

We all wish that there was one simple plan to guide us to nutritional nirvana, don’t we? If there were, we wouldn’t have a perplexing global obesity epidemic on our hands. You’ve heard that saying “viva la difference”. It’s true, we are all so different, so how can one plan be “it” for all of us. Simply put, it cannot.

1,000 Ways to Do the Same Thing Right – I have learned from counselling numerous families that there are a thousand ways to do the same thing right. When someone tells me they lost weight following Weight Watchers and someone else touts positive results by embracing Bob Greene’s regimen, I say “good for you!”. I believe the essence of success lies in owning whatever plan you choose and superimposing it into your everyday life. It may sound cliche, but it’s true.

The Other Holy Grail - The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks key details of people who have lost weight successfully and kept it off for two years or more; as I tend to call them “successful losers”. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go to Bernie Madoff for financial advise, but would listen to a successful guru like Arlene Dickinson, wouldn’t you? The NWCR found that 45% of their study sample lost weight on their own plan while 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program. As I said, there are many ways of doing the same thing right.

Own It! – If you want my wisdom on what could be helpful for you, be an active participant in whatever you decide to do. If you want an easy-peasy plan, start right where you are and try to move a few small steps for the better, such as trying the 3 x 3. It’s kind of like dietary Snakes and Ladders where you do your best to land on the ladders as you progress! For me, many years ago, I wasn’t willing to “give up” any of my favourite food, but I was willing to work on small behavioural changes bit by bit. Examples included slowing down my eating pace, focusing on my degree of fullness and only having one serving of each type of food at meals (if I wanted seconds and was still hungry I’d have more veggies). I also made a pact that I would commit to a slow weight loss. After all, what’s the rush!

Biology & Physiology Prevail! – The other important element is that whatever regimen you choose, it needs to be in alignment with basic biology. Some people like the sound of a new fangled plan because it’s novel, in vogue and has cache. The last time I checked the fundamentals of biology and physiology, they haven’t changed….. for thousands of years. I’ll break it to you, our bodies need all nutrients consistently to function optimally. Period. Some people gloss over this important fact, yet it is essential to our health and well being. Ensure your plan is balanced nutritionally whatever you choose. Follow the manual and don’t mess with the machine… your bodacious body!

Save the date? NOT! – Also, dash the notion of losing weight by a certain date, occasion or season. Stay in the moment and do the best you can do “just for today”. When we focus on all of our “todays” all of the tomorrow will fall into place sooner or later. If you need a breather and want to work on maintaining for a while, take the time and do this the last time… ever!

Follow the Loser! – Check out the National Weight Control Registry for more information and learn from those who have succeeded already. It’s a perfect place to start! If you want some reinforcements, check out my ebook Skinny On Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Weighing In On Weighing In

January 16th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I have been focusing on myriad ways to keep motivated for the start of 2015. I featured creating your own personalized reward system then highlighted more ways to stay pumped too. I now want to discuss weighing yourself and staying positive. I divulged in my ebook Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books my salacious relationship with my bathroom scale decades ago. Weighing yourself is necessary, but find a schedule that isn’t going to make you nuts. Listen up!

Consistent monitoring – getting a reality check
Three quarters of successful weight losers weigh themselves regularly. Keeping tabs on your weight or dimensions is key.

Ignorance isn’t bliss; awareness is! Whether it’s on a Monday, before and after a vacation or during “eating marathon seasons” like Christmas, it’s important to have a reality weight check using the same scale or clothing to keep a handle on your handles.

Weighing in doesn’t necessarily mean tracking pounds or kilograms. I didn’t own a scale for years after breaking up with mine after our relationship went sour. During that time, I used my trusty skinny jeans instead as my reality check and got weighed at my annual physical.

Monitoring makes it near impossible to fool yourself; you can’t argue against facts.

However you choose to monitor yourself, do it regularly. It’s easier to get back in check after gaining a few pounds rather sliding with a ten-pound spike.

Motivation consternation – got that bloated feelin’ ladies?
I’m not a big believer in weighing yourself too frequently while you’re gunning to lose weight. Many gals retain water during those two “weeks of bloat” before the first day of your period (day 1 of your cycle). Why does every diet program ever created dictate you weigh yourself daily or weekly is beyond me? All you’re doing is demotivating yourself when you hop on the scale and witness the needle tilt upward due to bloat. As if we need another reason to get cranky. “Ok just hop on that scale 14 days in a row while you’re retaining fluid, sister.” Stop the madness!

Following this makes no sense whatsoever. This is why I suggest you only weigh yourself on days four and 10 of your cycle. Then do yourself a favour and stay away from anything that resembles a weigh scale in between. Not following my advice will give you consternation, just what you don’t need while you’re PMS-ing. When I think back to my heated obsessive relationship with my bathroom scale I’m surprised I didn’t go totally off the deep end when I weighed myself daily, especially during those two weeks of bloat.

I have been weighing myself every day this past week as an experiment of sorts while drafting this blog post. Case in point, my weight has fluctuated up and down, sometimes over 3 pounds in one day. I have been eating and exercising fairly regularly and I have not eaten out at a restaurant since last weekend. Despite that, my weight has gone up and down like a yo yo. Time for me to abort that mission now that this has been posted… Take a breather ladies, follow my advice and weigh yourself less often to help keep your motivation UP!

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Motivation 6 Ways

January 13th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hey baby, it might be cold outside, but hey, each day is getting a little brighter. They say that mid-January is when most New Year’s resolutions fizzle. Who’s “they” anyhow? If you’re adopting new lifestyle habits, doing the 3 x 3 or if you want to just feel jazzed every day work in a wide array of measures to keep your motivation sizzling and not fizzling. Don’t ever give UP!

Dress to Inspire Success & Joy – Dawn an outfit everyday that fits properly and makes you feel fab right from your undies to your coat. I don’t know about you, but slump-wear brings me down. How about you? Get some trusty ironside jeans and create your outfit around them. If you find yourself mindlessly eating, that tug on your tummy is your reminder to rein it in a little. Whether you’re working to achieve a lower weight or to just feel more inspired awash your outfit with colour too. That rainbow will lift your spirits as you take on the world!

Thought Stopping – What’s the tone of your inner voice? Are you loving yourself or berating yourself with criticism? Pay attention to those voices in your head and stop yourself when you’re about to self deprecate. Replace those thoughts with prose of kindness. You ARE enough!

Visualize the Prize – Have you spent a lifetime trying to lose weight when deep down you really don’t believe you can reach your ultimate goal? Not believing in yourself is the biggest barrier to success. Find time in a quiet place to meditate and visualize the prize daily – you at your goal weight. After all seeing IS believing!

Reward Building – For people who set realistic goals, reaching your ultimate weight loss goal will take many months. Work in small rewards to treat yourself for good behaviour throughout your journey and stay stoked.

Lead, Don’t Follow – When you make your personal goals aim to stick to them even when those shallow saboteurs try to throw you under the bus. Hey soul sister, we’re surrounded, so find strategies to block them. If you’re a consummate pleaser, start pleasing yourself first!

Just For Today – If you’re really feeling in a slump, don’t fret! Sometimes we plan so far in advance – for next month, next season, next year which seems soooo overwhelming and far from this moment. Take a breather and reframe your thinking to focus on the here and now “just for today”. When you just focus on today, all of your tomorrows will fall into place.

Finding ways to supercharge your motivation and attitude will help you sail through the rough spots we all face. Check out my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books for more strategies to keep you sizzling to success at Slim Town!

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Reward to Stoke Motivation to Sizzle & Not Fizzle

January 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Who doesn’t love a reward? That positive burst of reinforcement. An adrenaline rush is a reward. Feeling good is too. Buying new stuff is a nice incentive. Wearing something you feel divine in has its benefits. Taking a quiet, hot bubble bath or having some Zen “alone time” can feel like a treat.

As you set goals to shift your behaviour doing the 3 x 3 consider starting your very own reward system. We all value different incentives. Tap into your personal preferences to identify what inspires you. We will, however, not use food-based rewards for obvious reasons.

As you build a system of rewards for yourself that provides positive reinforcement ensure it won’t break your bank. I wouldn’t want you to develop a lavish scheme that results in economic foreclosure. Focus on and identify some simple pleasures you personally feel are worthy. Your weight loss might hit a plateau, but your goals that get rewarded should help carry you through sizzling over the weeks, months and seasons. This will keep you pumped about your achievements and build momentum to propel your forward. So, go on, make a list of non-food rewards meaningful to you.

Reaching your ideal weight goal is your ultimate reward. Yes folks, that moment when you can zip up your skinny jeans without lying on the bed! That day will come months from now, perhaps longer. Why only use that one moment as your ultimate reward when you’re working at making changes each week? You deserve perks throughout your journey!

In hindsight, I didn’t realize just how impactful rewarding myself would be. At first, when you begin to lose weight, the number on the scale is a reward, but when the rate of loss slows down, you really need something more to keep your resolve stoked. These perks carry you through. As corny as it sounds, rewarding myself got me loving myself more fully. I am worthy.

I’ve counselled lots of people trying to lose weight. A common barrier I’ve observed is the “doormat syndrome”. You know, those good-deed doers – but for everybody else. They often put themselves last. Bestowing rewards isn’t selfish. It is paramount to your success. It’s a reminder you that you don’t have to martyr yourself to the cause. You ARE worthy. Details are described in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Breaking Bad Habits? Do the 3 x 3!

January 6th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s game time folks and back to reality from living in La La Land of late. For many the past month has been chocked full of fun, food and frolic without the fitness. At some point, something’s gotta give as you plan to get back on track. Don’t you think?

Journalling Journey – Have you decided to start a food & activity journal instead of hopping on to that fad diet treadmill of old? Good for you, that’s a perfect way to start the New Year off right! Instead of putting your food under the microscope, put your eating behaviour under it and take the pressure off. Listen up as I explain an easy approach to nudge you in a healthier direction:

The 3 x 3 Triad - Research shows that it takes about three weeks to adopt a new behaviour to the point where it feels natural. If you choose to change one every three weeks, in one year you’ll change 17 habits. Research also shows we can change up to three new behaviours at any one time. Theoretically that means you can take on and change three things every three weeks. Think about it: if you follow this 3-by-3 religiously, in one year you can trade 50 unsavoury foibles for positive ones. Imagine!

Be Flexible – Although scientists say it can be done, you don’t have to be so rigid. Let’s be realistic and take the pressure off. When working on easier challenges, take on three at once. For the more difficult ones, though, focus on one at a time. Be good to yourself and use a moderate approach. You’re looking for small successes to beget larger ones. You’ll eventually feel like you’re soaring.

Easy Approach – If you’re seriously pondering making some changes this 2015 consider keeping it simple by doing the 3 x 3. Don’t give dieting another thought. Review any diet: most are so dramatically different from your current regimen, they are almost impossible to adhere to for the long haul. There are often so many restrictions you feel hungry, listless, cranky, deprived plus most don’t pass my Thanksgiving Dinner Test while they have you make 10 – 20 (or more) significant changes that feel so unnatural to do all at once. Ditch dieting for good!

Make a List, From Easy to Hard – Review your journal and create a list of behaviours you feel you need to change, from easiest to hardest. Review your list and plan to start with the easy ones. Years ago when I tried this, I wasn’t ready to make any changes to my food choices so I focused on eating behaviour instead. This totally kept me motivated, on track with zero feelings of deprivation!

Time to Make Goals – Decide how many new habits you want to change – up to three – and write out goals for each in your journal. Focus on accomplishing these until they feel second nature for at least three weeks. Review and reflect how you are progressing weekly.

Review, Reflect & Reframe – If after three weeks you feel these new behaviours have become second nature to you, congratulate yourself. You’re ready to move on and set new goals to adopt new behaviours – again, up to three. If you’re not quite ready, reframe your habits and keep working on them until they become automatic. Continue following this process on an ongoing basis.

Food For Thought, Ideas to Propel You Forward – Consider working on some fundamental behaviours such as daily visualization, thought stopping and dressing presentably to keep your motivation sizzling. Ensure you include an activity goal as you progress. Ensure you also address your hunger and fullness cues, sitting down when eating, using a dish and utensils and slowing down your eating pace. These are key if you routinely eat on the run with distractions.

For more details on using this approach refer to my ebook, Skinny on Slim The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Propel to Change All Year…

January 3rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well folks you know where I stand on this topic of waiting only for the New Year to make resolutions. In two words I don’t! Every day is a new frontier and affords us an ample opportunity to make small changes. Whether it’s a Monday, a Friday, a vacation day or any day of any season, it is always an opportune time to make better choices. Here’s a running list of ideas to consider now and to refer to all year though toward a better you:

DO – Aim to get & stay more active every season of the year.

DON’T – Eat with distractions, especially in front of the TV.

DO – Work toward having more meals together as a family.

DON’T – Start any fad diet & check out Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

DO – Try a new easy, healthy recipe every few weeks and aim to cook more with your kids.

DON’T – Weigh yourself every day. You’ll make yourself nutty.

DO – Talk with your fellow employees and employer about making your workplace healthier.

DON’T – Eliminate your favourite foods, you’ll just crave them so much more. Create a love affair with food!

DO – Plan to make food choices using all of the food groups.

DON’T – Follow the crowd, follow your own inner voice and plans.

DO – Choose half a plate of veggies & fruit at each meal… an easy way to enjoy your 5-10 each day.

DON’T – Make excuses. Trust me, there are people worse off than you, so tune your attitude in.

DO – Get in the habit of reading food product labels AND finding out what’s in the restaurant food you frequent. Knowledge is power.

DON’T – Change your plans like the wind changes direction every time the news reports on a different study. Stay the course!

DO – Schedule your annual physical check up and dentist visit. Prevention is key.

DON’T – Take anecdotal advice from anyone. Just because Aunt Jane is a smart accountant, doesn’t mean she knows squat about nutrition.

DO – Work in small rewards and love yourself more.

DON’T – Aim for perfection. That’s as unrealistic as the hills are old.

DO – Work on looking and feeling better. You may do better when you feel awesome.

Ok, so there you have it, some food for thought as we propel ourselves into 2015. Upward and onward!

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Journaling Journey to Create a Love Affair with Food & Activity

December 26th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

How many times have seen the top lists of books to buy for the coming year? Here’s a fresh idea during this downtime between Christmas and New Year: buy yourself a book with empty pages and start your eating and activity journal today! Check out my ebook, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books that explains how to do this in detail. You cannot change what you do not realize. Awareness is bliss after all, right?!

Many studies have been done on the benefits of journaling your weight loss journey. Writing down everything that passes your lips, every crumb, sip and nibble makes you aware of what’s going down the hatch. One study followed 1,700 people on a weight loss program and found participants who journaled lost twice as much weight within 6 months as those who didn’t. Who needs to join a boot camp when you can be your own leader which could lead to a smaller booty?

These days eating happens in so many places: on the fly running to work, to working at the computer, to nibbling at your secretary’s desk, during food preparation, watching television and more. So much eating happens when people are concentrating on other things resulting in missing out on its ultimate enjoyment. Consider the following:

  • I Spy with My Little Eye – Train your eye and measure initially as you jot down the details, plus add your baseline activity each day
  • Let It All Hang Out - Jot everything down to get a clear picture, after all it’s for your eyes only
  • Daily Double – Do it daily either keeping your journal with you or by your bedside to complete before you turn your lights out before you lay your head down to sleep
  • Follow the 3 R’s: Review, Reflect and Reframe – This will heighten your awareness, get you thinking about what you truly need to adjust and get you on your way to making small goals each and every week as the days and weeks unfold in 2015

It’s helpful to take stock of what you eat and drink when you’re trying to lose weight. Once you get in the groove of journaling it’ll become second nature. These days you can track your intake electronically or the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Each page will hold the personal clues to what you need to change. Start now, why wait for the New Year….

Commit to creating a love affair with your eating and activity for the coming year… truly a noble goal that will enrich your life for years to come. Start today!

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Your Night Before Christmas

December 22nd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

T’was the night before Christmas and all in my head,
Was a real long “to do” list, and a big sense of dread.

I had come down to realize that I would make me a plan,
And to get started and make it, with ideas I ran.

I mulled some things over and made me a list,
One of these, one of those, eh, there was nothing I missed!

I would focus on what’s right during this most solemn time,
That brings joy and meaning, my thoughts turned on a dime.

With merriment, faith, joy, hope and love all abound,
Soul searching helps these feelings eventually come ’round.

For this outlook was different with focus on purpose,
Helps priorities align to what’s important to us.

Our neighbour is older and can use a hand,
With the snow shovelling perhaps or a sprinkle of sand.

My friend in my hood is going through chemo,
Could use a prayer, a kind word or allow her to give an earful.

What the season’s about, well it is all up to you,
It can focus on “me me me”, or it can focus on what’s true.

You can spend all your time fretting about what others will say,
Or you can do what is right and say “yo, what the hey!”

Soon the big day is coming, so will yours be alright?
With attention on others, bringing goodness and light?

Ya it’s fun to partake in the parties with wine,
After some goblets of “Oculus” you’ll be feeling mighty fine!

Try to remember what others are doing,
Is there food on their table? Are there some troubles brewing?

The very thought of that notion puts a lump in my throat,
Our Christmas Caravan gives to the needy with food or a coat.

What you make of this season is all up to you,
You can worry about you or what’s important to do.

Change of your focus from inward to outward I say,
With thought, time and effort you can make someone’s day.

It’s the littlest thing, that can mean so much in this world,
And one deed leads to another then another unfurled.

Then you’ll see that your focus on “me, myself and I”,
You’ll open your heart and look up to Heaven and say “my oh my”!

Find perspective on life, where priorities should be,
Cause at the end of the day it’s not all about me.

Get moving, get helping, be productive and then,
You’ll find the pieces of the puzzle fall into place again.

Merry Christmas to you, your family and others,
Cause we’re really all related, we’re all sisters and brothers.

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