Lunch Improv 2 Ways

February 10th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s My Lunch Improv to Try!
There has been much debate about which meal of the day is most important. Breakfast usually hogs the spotlight given it provides get up and go to start the day. While dinner is our meal to help us ease into the evening. Lunch often gets glossed over, yet it is no less important than any other. In fact, lunch can help revive that get up and go that got up and went boosting your afternoon productivity!

I wrote in my ebook Skinny On Slim how I shifted my noon-time nosh-fest some years back. The short story is that I now choose a 3-salad combo with one side of plain Greek-style yoghurt another side of low fat cottage cheese. One of the salad choices always contains pulses (chick peas, beans or lentils) to further pump up the protein and one always has some nuts or seeds. This routinely satisfies my hunger, fills me up, tastes great, yet doesn’t leave me needing to nod off like Dilbert as the clock ticks by late afternoon.

I used to buy the ready-made salads. But soon after this New Year I didn’t like the limited selection and mayo-laden choices, so I decided to move my cheese and try my hand at making a few simple ones. These combinations are a snap to prepare:

C’est Chick
Combine the following:
1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed (can sub in white beans or lentils)
chopped onion slice
chopped celery, radish &/or red pepper
dash of olive oil, season to your liking

Sunshine Carrot
Combine the following:
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
3 carrots, peeled and grated
chopped onion slice
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries or dried or frozen cherries or raisins
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Peck O Peppers
Combine the following:
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers, washed, cored cut lengthwise
chopped onion slice
diced defrosted frozen mango or peach
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Here are a few more lunch salads that I love:

These combos are fast and easy to make and keep well in air tight containers in your refrigerator. I make them on the weekend leaving the guess work about “what’s for lunch?” off the table entirely. Choose a different combination each week. They’re great for the whole family to enjoy.

Try your own lunchtime improv! Join me in making a few cinchy options.

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Press the re-Start Button…

February 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

It seems as if I blinked and February rolled in. How are your New Year’s resolutions progressing? Have they morphed from intention to action? Sometimes life’s commitments get in the way of progress, but today is as good as any day to press the re-start button. Reframe your thinking by considering these ideas:

Just for Today – Shift your focus and work on your goal “just for today”. Eat just a little better and find opportunities to stand and move a little more, more often. Sometimes we psych ourselves out wanting a mountain of change by next month, next season, next birthday and more. By keeping your head in today, those goals will come to fruition down the road.

The Weigh In – Early in January, Dr. Brian Wansink reported on the importance of weighing in throughout the weeks post holiday noshing. Like I always say “awareness is bliss” and the scale never lies. I have taken heed of this advise and weigh ins have served as a reminder to nip the nosh-fest in the bud.

Work in Intervals - Time can be on your side when you find 5 minutes here, or 15 minutes there to move more. Forget about finding a full hour or more if you have been out of any activity routine. You can more easily add up these intervals to 30 – 60 minutes by sneaking your moves in. You may eventually feel so good you may schedule in more activity to move, to destress and energize yourself!

Plan a Small Change – Next month (March) is Nutrition Month. The theme is “Take a 100 meal journey. Make a small change one meal at a time.” While you’re working on doing just a little bit better, join in starting February 23, 2016 and Take the Pledge. While you’re at it find ideas, follow the weekly topics throughout March from “Get Ready!” “Quality Counts!” “Prioritize Portion Size!” “Try Something New!” to “Make it Stick!”

Instead of life getting in the way of your goals, let your goals get integrated in your life little by little by taking the first step.

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Control, Alt, Delete

January 20th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

How many times do you hit these keys on your computer – control, alt, delete? Now that 2016 is in full swing, let’s consider how to apply this to our everyday lives. Listen up!

Control – Do you experience eating struggles? How much energy do you waste with preoccupations about food and eating? Break away from your current vortex and try something new by becoming more aware. As I often say “awareness is bliss”. When you understand what’s sending you into a tailspin you’ll be better prepared to reframe your way of thinking and change what you’re doing. Consider the following new steps to break out:
1) Start a Journalling Journey to create a love affair with food & activity. For the coming weeks scribble down details about food, eating and more as described in my ebook. Your journal will hold the keys to unlock your own personal eating mysteries, your own diet finger print.

2) Breaking Bad Habits – do the 3 x 3 – Instead of embarking on an overwhelming plan that twists your life into a pretzel to adhere to choose a few habits to work on at a time. What’s the rush? Why put any undue stress on yourself and take a slow and steady approach to make lasting change.

3) Thoughts on full – Instead of making food-related goals at first, change it up and choose behaviour goals instead with no food being deemed off limits.

Alt – Take a fresh, alternative approach to making new goals by being good to yourself. Work in as many positive ways to keep you stoked. You’ll love this new approach and wonder why you’ve been so hard on yourself depriving yourself, cleansing while not building yourself UP. Consider these new strategies:

1) Rewards to Stoke Motivation - From this day forward establish a reward system to treat yourself for good behaviour. Forget the punishment mentality once and for all!

2) Motivation 6 Ways – Work on an array of ways to stay motivated during the dead of winter. These will keep your motivation sizzling and NOT fizzling!

3) How are your goals taking shape? At various intervals take stock of your progress.

4) Reactivate your activity – If you’ve traditionally shut yourself in during winter, let yourself out! Renew a few ways to reactivate you moves. These will boost your endorphins and keep you pumped.

Delete – Put behind you old ways of thinking by finding new perspective:
1) One Plan to Rule them All - There are more than a 1,000 ways to do the same thing right. Figure out what’s right for you and custom create your own approach that fits your diet finger print that you will unveil while journalling.

2) Test, test do the Thanksgiving dinner test – If you do want to start a new eating regimen put it to my test, the Thanksgiving dinner test!

3) Eating Satisfaction Test - While you’re at it, this is a perfect time of year to put your favourite food to the test. Check this out as some of your faves might fall off your list. All of a sudden that Happy Meal is no longer making you smile…

There you have it folks, control, alt, delete yourself into the New Year. For more healthy and stealthy tips check out my ebook Skinny on Slim, The little black dress of diet books.

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Broccoli C-R-U-N-C-H Salad

January 13th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was invited to a pot luck lunch with a bunch of dynamo nutrition folks last week. One of the hostesses – Shauna Lindzon shared some nutritional nuggets about broccoli. “Broccoli gets top marks for its health benefits and disease fighting (esp for cancer) properties.” We were spellbound in discussion. So inspired by her factoids I added it to my grocery list and whipped up this crunchy creation and wanted to share it with you!

Ingredients
1/2 cup 1% sour cream
1/4 cup 2% plain Greek style yoghurt
1 T vinegar
1/2 finely chopped Spanish onion
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 bunch broccoli finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 T toasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions
1) Combine the sour cream and yoghurt and put aside
2) Add all of your chopped ingredients to a mixing bowl, then add the vinegar, seasoning and combine well.
3) Stir in the combined sour cream and yoghurt and mix well.
4) Cover, refrigerate and enjoy!

Commentary
Ummm YUM! I love a dish that tantalizes your tastebuds with flavour, crunch, savoury and creamy, biting you back while filling you UP. Whoever thinks that uber nutritious can’t be ultimately delicious is dead wrong. It’s easy to create half your plate with veggie & fruit! This dish fills you up and never lets you down!

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Best Face Forward!

January 6th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ahhh the New Year is upon us. As long as you’re on the green side of the grass things are looking up for you! This season is filled with opportunity that can help you sail into spring. A perfect way to start is to put your best face forward, so listen up:

Face the Cold – Hey baby, it might be cold outside, but working out in the colder temps may actually burn more calories. Don’t only face it, but embrace it! I’m sure more calorie burnage is in order post holiday noshing, don’t you think?

Face the Scale – Yes folks, you already know that awareness is bliss! Although I’ve scanned enough tweets about “don’t let a number define you” you still need to know where you stand. Let’s not poke our head in the sand and be oblivious if you have gained weight. If you slipped up a pound or 5, stopping this trend in it’s tracks is strategic. Lock and load yourself in your trusty iron-side jeans for the season and get a handle on your handles!

re-Face the Fridge – The old adage “out with the old and in with the new” certainly pertains to stocking your fridge up with tasty, healthy food and drink options. Out goes that jug of sangria, replaced with mint or berry infused water. Load up on an array of Mother Nature’s bounty – fruits and veggies and organize them “right in your face” so when your resolve is tanking with your blood sugar before dinner, perfect choices are right there and ripe for the taking.

Face the Facts – Let’s read and follow advise from reliable sources based in fact rather than fiction. We are biological beings that need all of the macro and micro nutrients regularly to function optimally. Be kind to your bodacious body! Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face by trying illogical schemes.

Face the Music – Find time to sooth that savage beast within bound by excess stress and work in ways to chill. Turn on your favourite tunes to help shake off the stress. You’ll be calmer, happier and more positive which is a great way to kick off the New Year.

Let’s face it folks, we can’t slow down time but we can embrace it with a positive outlook when we put our best face forward. Upward and onward ho!

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Check, check….Time for a reality check

December 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

As the year comes to a close it’s only natural to ponder what was, what is and what could be for 2016. It helps to clear your head of all of the ‘would have’, ‘could have’, ‘should have’s’. We’re ready for a clean slate as the New Year rolls in, right? Instead of setting an array of unrealistic expectations and goals work on one thing – keeping it real.

A perfect place to start is readying yourself for the usual barrage of unsubstantiated health and nutrition information that bombards us. Like Tim Caulfield suggests, steer clear of bunk!

As I write this I reside in the ultra-contrived city of Las Vegas, adults’ very own Disney Land. My first impression is, “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Auntie M!” like Dorothy proclaimed in the Wizard of Oz. One of the many billboards I passed during my time here read “Make Better Choices.” I thought, hmmmm, I don’t think their definition of “better choices” is the same as mine….

“Keeping it real” is far from this place’s motto, from fake eyelashes, to volcano eruptions at the Mirage, to silicone implants and more. Every hour is happy hour it would seem. People here put photographs on their business cards. All of them seem to be missing one important element… that would be business attire….They even have a “Menage a Trois” wine. I expect the flavour floods your senses with hints of exotic spices with a strong oaky finish…. twice…. Ahhh I digress.

Yes, I have written many times that “awareness is bliss” and keeping it real is the name of the game. When you know better, you do better. Keep this in mind for the dawning of 2016 as you do your own reality check:

  • May the advice you find and follow be steeped in scientific evidence
  • If something seems too good to be true, realize it probably is, then forget about it, and
  • Work Mother Nature into your life regularly – on your plate, with your outdoor activities and with your de-stress strategies

Peace out.

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Activity level’s up a notch, thanks Apple Watch!

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

Thought I’d give an update on the Apple Watch I’ve been sporting since May. I have been wearing it religiously, despite it not always matching my outfits. My relationship with it has been growing stronger. Truth be told, I thought the novelty would have worn off by now. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t.

I wrote about it back in June: A Wee Nudge to Help Me Budge. I particularly liked the Activity App with friendly reminders to help get and keep me moving. My schedule over the past 6 months have put a proverbial monkey wrench in my routine with travels galore. This could wreak havoc on anyone’s routine, but the friendly reminders on my watch kept me moving even for short bursts wherever I have been.

When I browse my calendar I realize that one thing my routine lacks is well…..a routine. This is where the Activity Apps on the Apple Watch keep me mindful of making the most of each day to get me moving whatever I’m doing. The prompts shift with your varied routine.

Activity App to Nudge You – The Activity feature touts “Live a better day by achieving 3 daily fitness goals.” These include goals to move (in calories), to exercise (in time) and to stand for one minute (number of times/day).

The first day I wore it I received a gentle nudge on my wrist with a message “Time to stand up!” When I did it, I received a congratulatory message “You did it!” There are varied prompts that focus on one of the 3 goals depending on your day. When I was captive on a train ride from Vancouver to Toronto that chugged from Friday night to Tuesday morning the prompts focused on my standing goal. These nudged me to try to move, even a little, which I did when the train stopped along the way.

Achievement Awards To Stoke Motivation – I have received a wide array of achievement awards from the App which totally caught me off guard. These are motivating to propel you to earn more. For example, one called “New Move Goal” saying “You’ve earned this award 5 times for reaching a new daily move goal.” Another called “Longest Move Streak” says “you earned this award for your longest daily move streak, 12 days.” I have received others for a “perfect move week” another for a “perfect exercise week” and recently one for “100 Move Goals” since dawning this device. My competitive spirit has me gunning to earn more!

Review, Reflect & Reframe – I regularly review my activity history on the app on my phone. I also review the dashboard of the Health App on my phone to review monthly charts showing daily steps taken, daily distance and active calories. These metrics have improved vastly from wearing this day 1. I am more mindful with the regular reminders to vamoose my caboose. Before all of this I’d take a 3 mile walk and do my 16-minute investment into my hourglass routine feeling as if I’ve earned a hero sandwich. Now I get up to move regularly even if it is to stand while talking on the phone. Each Monday I receive a “week in review” to help me review, reflect and reframe my goals, something I wrote about in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

So me and my Apple Watch have been through a half a year together and our relationship has grown stronger. We’ve been through sedentary times together on the train and active times together on bike rides on Myra Canyon, mountain treks up Knox Mountain, long meandering walks up to the escarpment of the old town of Lyon, near the Giants Causeway in Ireland, the hills and dales of San Francisco and a trail near Mount Cook with routine neighbourhood walks in-between. Despite the season changes, my activity goals are mounting, thanks to the messages keeping me mindful, motivated and moving!

It’s upward and onward from here, thanks to my Apple Watch! If you’re not sure what to ask Santa for, he might have one for you in his sack!

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Holiday Noshing 2.0

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

Whether you’re dining with family, partying with coworkers or enjoying another restaurant meal with friends there are some habits you can program into your robotic repertoire to help you through with minimal drift to your mid section… Review these pointers, reflect on how you did and reframe for the next time. Most of all, enjoy!

Eat Smart – Scale back your daytime meals a smidgen to allow a bit extra for the special meal. Don’t cut back too much or you’ll end up feeling so ravenous that you’re hungry like a bull when you arrive. Being too hungry will propel you to eat like a buzz saw.

Wee Nibble – Have a wee snack before you go to take the edge off your appetite. It’s easier to make wiser choices when you’re feeling in control.

Be Like a Girl Guide – Plan ahead and be prepared, find out what’s being served and decide what tickles your fancy.

You Look Maaaarvelous! – Dress for eating success by wearing an outfit that is cinched around your waist and makes you feel divine. You are more likely to eat like a moo moo when you wear a mu- mu! Elastic waistbands are out. Sport a belt or something that fits like a glove.

Think About Your Drink! – Offer to be the designated driver and save a load of calories on bevvies. Otherwise, decide on your upper alcohol limit. You don’t want to be the talk of the party afterwards now, do you?

Say Bottoms UP – Make the first few drinks something bubbly… mineral water that is. Enjoy your wine when you begin eating.

Decisions, Decisions – Forgo wasting calories on everyday fare like bread and butter, olive oil or regular side dishes. Try trading off.

Zone In – Think about how full you’re starting to feel during your meal and slow down if you’re shovelling the food down your gullet. If that zipper on your dress had a voice, what would it be saying right now? “Let me out!” Join in the conversation and put your fork down now and then.

Mind Games – If your hostess is Foodzilla, a food-pushing saboteur, move the food around your plate. When she tries to dish you more, blurt out “Yes I took seconds and they’re divine, mmm…”

Bond Time – Focus on connecting with others, how great you feel, the enjoyment and laughter. Food ought not be your only focus. Branch out a little. There’s more to life than stuffing your face.

10 More – Up the ante on your exercise routine the following day to work off any excess and cut back a bit in the coming days if you overdid it. No big deal, you’ll nip that nosh-fest in the bud, yet will savour the fond memories.

A little planning and juggling make a world of difference. You can still party hearty and keep your weight in check – double the fun. Ho ho ho-ld the excuses once you prepared!

For more tips to handle life’s multitude of eating temptations check out Chapter 9 of my e-book Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books and enjoy!

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The 12 Days of Christmas Remix

December 2nd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ok my cherished T & T followers. Another year has come and gone. Let’s all sing along together from the same proverbial song-sheet now that the Christmas season is in full swing, shall we? Hem hem hem….

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

1 Daily Breakfast – Successful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

2 Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

3 Square Meals – Having a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps your metabolism fire on all cylinders while kicking hunger to the curb. A true gift to yourself.

4 Food Groups – Enjoying food choices in a balanced fashion from all of the food groups will optimally nourish you as you take on all that the holidays have in store, fa la la la la, la la la la!

5 Quiet Moments – Let stress flow away when you find daily quiet time to ponder life and all it’s wonders…. Ummmmmm.

6 Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active (at least six, five minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn-baby-burn extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

7 Beauty Sleeps - Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite regulation and allows you to be more productive. Nite nite.

8 Mugs a Chuggin’ – Keep your water goblet by your side and sip, sip, sip to my Lou throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Infuse your water with fresh mint, zesty citrus or frozen berries. Bottoms UP!

9 Suares to Go To – Put on your party pants and get down on the dance floor doing the hokey pokey at these shin digs will help you burn 276 calories an hour, by rockin’ round the clock! Bye bye trifle calories…..

10 Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these puppies everyday helps fill you up while easing those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Like magic.

11 Saboteurs to Deal With – Prepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite “no thank you” and avoid the battle ground. Refer back to #5 as needed as you say “fa la la la la…”

12 Times of Standin’ – Get up and move a little throughout the day, everyday. Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about! Down with sitting’itis!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year. Equip yourself with my e-book to get up to speed on some healthy and stealthy habits for 2016. God bless us every one!

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Test 1-2, Test: The Thanksgiving Dinner Test

November 25th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well folks, American Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Who doesn’t love this festive weekend, especially the lavish family meals that go with it, not to mention the football extravaganza. “All the way” in spades my friends!

That horn of plenty is bursting with all that harvest has to offer. Think about what is served at a typical Thanksgiving dinner: the turkey, the nutty dressing, those golden roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mashed yams, cauliflower and cheese casserole, homemade pie with a dab of ice cream. Ahhh gotta love all of this with a repeat to cover both sides of the bella famiglia.

Some people, might like this time of year though to kick off a better eating plan along with the football season. If this is the case for you put whatever regimen you’re considering to my special test – the “Thanksgiving Dinner Test” explained in my ebook Skinny on Slim. If a diet doesn’t allow you to eat the food served at this celebratory dinner, then forget about it, don’t give it another thought!

I’m not a lover of diets. They’re like living in a straight jacket with so many don’ts they’re hard to keep track of and even harder to adhere to for the long haul. Many do result in weight loss, for a little while, until your resolve caves making the food floodgates to fly open, then the weight rebounds. You end up feeling like you failed rather than the diet failed you. Think about it. Let this fall be pivotal for you and go on a plan you can adhere to for life, set in fundamental principles to help you lose weight, thrive, and soar for good. The best plan is one you can stick with “all the way”!

Look yourself in the mirror and make a pact that from this day forward you will set yourself free from dieting forever. Be darn sure that the plan you choose passes my Thanksgiving dinner test.

Read about this with solutions to help you along your journey in Skinny On Slim, The little black dress of diet books.

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