Archive for November, 2010

Monkey Business – Workplace Lunching Strategies

November 30th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am continuing on the “Monkey Business” theme to build strategies for healthier workplaces. We working folk spend so much dang time at our places of employment, we could really be more productive if our surroundings supported us better. Revisit this series posted: September 30, October 11, 25 and November 8.

In an ideal world it would be perfect to bring a lunch to work that’s balanced, healthy and economical. For many, this is simply a pipe dream to achieve some day down the road. Alas, we don’t live in an ideal world, but a real one. You can; however, eat well at the cafeteria, food court or surrounding restaurants near work with a bit of planning. As I often say, together we will overcome!!

Plan Ahead – Your eating regimen works out better when you plan ahead. The best time to do this is when you’re not feeling hungry. Somehow reason prevails during this time of satiety. Those hunger pangs can wreak havoc on your plan the hungrier you become. Deciding while in control is key.

We’ve Got the Power - Knowledge is power, right? These days there’s a multitude of food information about chain restaurant menu items on the internet. Surf yourself silly and read up on all of this ahead of time. Store in your memory bank some acceptable choices from the places you frequent so you’re equipped with options even when caught off guard.

Food Court Press - If you nosh in a group it’s strategic to go to the food court so everyone can scatter to get their food then reconvene to mange. There are many acceptable choices at the international outlets – pita and hummus, Japanese stir fry, you’re not a geek to choose Creek, be an Italian stallion, Mexican, Lebanese, Indian and more.

Lead Don’t Follow – Don’t be a sheep and follow the crowd. Make your decision and stick with it.

Share & Share Alike – If you do want a devilish delight like nachos and cheese or French fries, share these in a group and partake in some. These often are very calorie laden and add up to your day’s energy quota at one go.

Think About Your Drink - Pay special attention to what you’re washing your meal down with. All foods fit and your beverages are considered food as well. Be aware of the calories in your bevy’s. There are plenty of no-cal alternatives out there so it makes sense to be choosy. Mineral waters are a perfect accompaniment with any meal. If you do choose the 32 ounce juice smoothy because you think it’s healthier learn what the calorie content is. As I’ve said before all calories count even those from healthy foods.  Many fancy coffees pack of high powered energy punch. Just beware and choose wisely.

Workplace Policies – You may want to advocate for your fellow employees with the big cheese at work about having healthier options and policies at work. If your team is growing (and not in number) because of the toxic environment laden with unhealthy food, this could affect the company’s productivity and bottom line, right? You’ll certainly get your boss’ undivided attention presenting this notion using these terms. Speak their lingo. You can suggest, for instance, they make “the healthy choice the easy choice” by subsidizing the salad bar making it affordable. The gang may be going for fries and gravy more often because it’s so cheap and filling.

We spend a lot of time at work and that environment can certainly affect our health and well being. Why not for the better? Healthy work policies are a win-win-win proposition that help everyone. Your work culture can make a paradigm shift. It’s so much easier when you’re all in this together. Go team!!

What kind of “Monkey Business” policies do you have going on at your place of work? We’d love to know…….

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Policy for the People, Successful Loser Logic, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Plight of the Plateau on Your Weight Loss Journey

November 29th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Losing weight is not an easy task. If you’re on a sensible diet and working on both sides of the energy equation with eating and exercise your weight loss might start out steady but the closer you approach your ideal weight (if that is your ultimate goal) the slower weight loss becomes. Before you get into this life changing mode to lose weight for good it certainly helps to get your mind around this fact of life. You don’t simply lose 1-2 pounds per week as if you were a robot figuring a mathematical equations, then “DING” you’re there. Don’t you wish…..

My motto “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t totally apply here because yes it could be slow and steady at first then you’ll shift gears when weight loss is far from steady. Keep in mind you didn’t gain this weight over the last month or so. It might have snuck up on you for weeks, months and possibly years. It will take time, but trust me, the journey is worth it.

You will do yourself a great service to know that you might (and many people do) experience a weight plateau. A weight plateau is what the words implies – your weight is sitting in one spot for a prolonged period of time. Remember, we are biological beings that need time to regroup and our bodies to readjust. Also, we have heart and we WILL overcome. Here are a number of tips to take heed and think about:

Plan for It

Expect you’ll hit a plateau so you’re not caught off guard. Be like a Girl Guide and “Be Prepared” for when it arrives.

Work in A Number of Rewards

It certainly helps when life is full of a multitude of rewards and losing weight and reaching your goal is merely 1 reward. To you it’s probably your ultimate reward. This is understandable enough. I suggest you work on a list on non-food, behavioural rewards you get when you achieve a small goal.

For example, let’s say I’m Sigh Master written about November 14-18. One of my behaviour goals was to track hunger and satiety cues. Well, why not give yourself a non food reward at the end of each week if you followed through with this 80% of the time. Another example is if you’re following a new exercise regimen and make your goal to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 times per week. Each week you achieve this give yourself a “treat”.  No, I don’t suggest you include lavish rewards or this routine can really get out of hand. Consider life’s simple pleasures and take it from there. I have mine, you have yours and Sigh Master has hers. Got it??

Phantom Weight – Your Minds Eye Delay of Your Physical Status

As I mentioned your body is readjusting itself while plateauing. I’m sure anyone who has lost weight successfully can attest to a few other interesting phenomena. First, people will tell you for months “you’ve lost more weight” long after you achieved your goal. A sure sign of bodily readjustment. Second, long after you’ve lost weight is that your self perception of your physical self will lag from your original weight to your new lower weight. It’s a freakish thing and I’m not sure why it isn’t studied more.

When I lost weight decades ago it was still a year after I lost weight when I continued to dream about myself as my larger former self. I question how we see ourselves in our mind’s eye might send us back 10 steps on the Snakes and Ladders game – Weight Loss Edition. Truly though, if you’re not staying in the moment, embracing the changes you’ve made. If you still see yourself as fat you might slip backward. I’m telling you this to beware and be aware of this so you don’t slip.

I’m a big believer in working on losing weight once. If it’s a really long process that’s even better. You may more optimally embrace the physical, mental and psychological shifts when it’s very slow.

Re-evalute the Details – May Be Slippage

I am also a realist and understand how eating and activity behaviours can wax and wane from month to month, season to season and year to year. If you’re stuck at a weight plateau take out your trusty notepad (or i-Pad) and keep a food record including tracking your hunger and satiety cues outlined on November 17.

I’ll admit there are times of year when I eat out more often and I sometimes ignore my full cue. If you do it once in a while, that’s no big deal. If you find yourself getting used to that super-stuffed feeling of fullness by eating into your serving size, well then that’s a totally different story.  Also track how you’re eating. Are you nibbling standing up while cooking? How about while “cleaning the dishes” or does that now have a double meaning, acting as the human garbage disposer? The sooner you identify this “slippage” of behaviours the sooner you can make a goal to change this around. Pronto, already!!

Remember the plight of the plateau. That is Mother Nature’s way of rejigging the junk in your trunk. In our instant society it isn’t easy to wait 1 second never mind a few weeks for what we want. It’ll be worth the wait so keep focusing on your behavioural goals and stay on track. You’ll be glad you did.

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My Christmas My Way

November 28th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Well I’m pretty much set with most of my Christmas preparations:

  • The truffles are made – check
  • My door bell’s on the Christmas setting – check
  • The front mat is changed to reflect the season – check
  • My coveted Josh Groban’s Christmas CD is installed in my car from my niece – check
  • Some gifts are bought and wrapped – check
  • The snowman soap dispenser is out – check
  • The nativity scene my Mom bought us adorns a special place in my dining room – check
  • The decorations abound – check
  • The Sirius Christmas station is set…”I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus….” – check

It’s funny how every person has their own special idiosyncrasies to prepare and make this time of year right. Hearing Josh Groban’s “I’ll be home for Christmas” for the first time since last year warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. I have a few cherished decorations from when I was a little girl in key areas of my house that make MY season right.

The first opening of that box with the musty smell fills me with joy, thinking of the laughs and giggles of me and my sisters putting them up together. I have 1 special old carousel my Papa used to put on his tree sitting on my kitchen window sill. I have a glass vase of a cherished selection of our old tree ornaments of different colours – red, gold, blue and one of our blue bells on my kitchen counter. To me that’s my Christmas tree – the miniature version without the needles or lights. I put some styrofoam drums arranged with my knife block. You know the drill.

If any stranger came in they’d think they were old relics that belong in a museum from days gone by. Some of the drums are missing the sticks. A reindeer is missing an antler, the carousel is broken and the shiny decorations are chipped and tattered with that old snow still attached. I’m sure the substance is banned and toxic. But for me they’re the best decorations in the world, my world. I would hardly win a holiday decorating contest, except perhaps as the sentimental favourite.

A few summers ago my husband discovered an old wooden box made by his Gido decades ago. I set it up in a place of honour in our home at Christmas and fill it with my home made truffles and gifts as our centre piece. To see his smile when he notices it brings me great joy. For me, that’s what Christmas is all about – love, tradition, celebrations, joy, connecting, giving peace and making peace…..and having a piece….

A week ago I splurged and bought a lovely crocheted sweater. I think in my life I’ve had at least one a decade just like it. When I was on a walk the other day I thought about that sweater and wondered, hmmmmm, what is it with me? Ok, I know I’m a hippy at heart and a Cher fan. But that wasn’t quite it. Then it hit me, when I was little my  sisters and I asked my Grandma to crochet something just like it, AHA!! Well I’ll be nice and cozy this season in yet another crocheted sweater. I guess that’s my way of connecting to my Grandma. Ahh fond memories of the past…..

So bring on the pity pudding and God bless us, everyone….tell me about your Christmas, your way, we’d love to know…..

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Francy’s Famous Truffles

November 25th, 2010 3 Comments
I have been making these terrific truffles to give away for Christmas since I was in school in the 80′s. It was something I first did with my Mom way back then. I have continued this tradition each year ever since. Just thought you’d be interested in case you like the idea…..This is something I get joy out of doing for many reasons while giving joy to others.

I don’t make a mantage of cookies and holiday treats. I make a mother load of these and give them away to family, friends, colleagues and confidants. My peeps look forward to these tasty morsels and I feel great spreadin’ the lovin’ around as part of the season!!


600gm brown, dark or white chocolate wafers plus another pound to dip truffles into if you choose

1 can (300mL) sweetened condensed milk

2-3 tablespoons suitable liqueur (Baileys or Kalua for brown, Cointrou or Gran Marnier for white) and a little shot for you, ho ho ho!!

edible decorations (whole pecans/almonds/hazel nuts, sugar Christmas decorations, chocolate shavings, cocoa)

packaging material (cellophane bags, boxes, ribbons)


Clean and dry all of your counter surfaces and tie back your hair (not in that order). Melt the chocolate wafers either using a double boiler OR at the extra low setting in the microwave. Avoid burning or getting moisture in the mix by mixing intermittently.

While melting the chocolate open the can of condensed milk and have the liqueur of your choice ready to pour. Stir the chocolate intermittently until smooth and fully melted. Once melted remove from heat and add the condensed milk using a spatula and the liqueur. Stir thoroughly until fully combined. Now cover the bowl and allow to set for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. You can prep this the evening before you plan on completing these.

Ready to Roll….Literally!

Take the mixture out of the fridge 1 hour before you plan to roll them. Ensure you have a clean, dry surface area and cover it with waxed paper and tie back your hair. Using a teaspoon and in a comfortable sitting position spoon out a teaspoon of mixture at a time and role with your clean hands and place on the waxed paper. Repeat until you rolled the entire mixture. This recipe yields 100-120 truffles. I make 5 times this recipe, shown in the photos. How crazy is that??!! Very…..

When you’re done clean your hands and utensils. Do your best to make these a small uniform size. The first few years I made these, the longer I rolled them the larger they got….kind of doubled as a meatball size. Nay nay!!

Dippity Due Da Day

Ok now you’re ready to dip these puppies. This step is optional. However if you do this, they keep well for weeks. I usually dip truffles in the same colour chocolate for sensory reasons. You don’t want to confuse the eater!! Melt the chocolate on low and prepare the candy cups. Cover your clean counter with waxed paper. Dip each truffle and using a spoon put each truffle in a candy cup. Try not to drip chocolate on the candy cups. Fat chance there, but at least give it a try!!

Decorate & Look Great…..Mate!!

Decorate the truffles. I usually drizzle melted green and red melted chocolate done in stages. You can decorate some with nuts and others with sugar decorations. This year I found white and dark chocolate shavings that look lovely and taste delectable….so I’ve heard. It all depends on your preference. Allow the decorated truffles to dry thoroughly for an hour or so before boxing them up.

Package ‘em Up Folks & They’re Ready to Give

Now you’re ready to package up your creations. Wash your hands well and dry thoroughly. This is an individual step to make these any way you wish. There’s really nothing like giving something you’ve made as a little part of you, for the holidays that look so professional too.


Let me tell you, I only make these once a year because it takes me that long to forget how sore I felt the year before when I finished – ug. Note to self, avoid doing your weights and stretching exercise routine before making these, because all of these steps take longer to finish than doing the Iron Man. Trust me. Come to think of it, once I was done I headed out for a walk just to clear my head and I realized every muscle in my body ached. Every last one. Even the palms of my hands and the balls of my feet ached. Also, between doing this for hours with the Spa radio channel playing paired with the cocoa intoxication aroma I thought I was going to have a seizure. Lordy!!

One thing though, all of that rolling is good for your pec muscle development. You might even need a larger cup size, if you catch my drift. And I’m not talking about candy cups here ladies….lift and separate…..get rolling!! A gift to yourself :-) Hello Victoria Secret!!

I’ll level with you though. Any Betty Baker knows this recipe is really glorified fudge with a splash of booze. Ok I plead the 5th. You can do this easy and put ‘em in a pan and cut into squares – presto you’re done sans back ache in 10 minutes. But it’s Christmas time, so go “ALL-THE-WAY” like Chris Berman says when he broadcasts football. You’ll be earning the hero sandwich on this one, that’s for sure!!

I enjoy sharing these with my Mom and Mother Dearest to give away as well. I’m already in the good books with both of them and it’s still November!! Isn’t that what the Christmas season is all about anyway? Sharing. Ho ho ho. You may want to make 1 batch for starters and take it from there. It doesn’t need to morph into the Truffle Triathlon, if you don’t want it to be.

There is no doubt you’ll be ready for a bubble bath or better yet a back massage when you’re done :-) It’s definitely worth the effort though….
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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes | 3 Comments »

Thank You Thank You – A Tradition Rethink

November 24th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ah yes, American Thanksgiving long weekend is upon us. It’s a perfect marathon combination of football, family meals and shop-til-you-drop all rolled into one. I don’t know about you but Chris Berman and his iteration of “All-The-Way” needs to have a sock put into it by Sunday, don’t you think??

I must say that I love festive family traditions, but some might be ready for a re-think.  I get a little bit crazy with all the news about the slow economy and the so-called wisdom that “all we need is for consumers to start spending again”. Perhaps I missed something regarding the 2008 economic bust, but the reason it happened was because people WERE spending…. when they really didn’t have the money to do so. Good for the national economy, bad for your bank account if you don’t have the dough to pay with. The motto “give credit where credit is due” makes a lot of sense on this topic.

Ya I told you before I’m a material girl, just like the next gal, but I don’t think I need to take one for the proverbial team and put my savings at risk getting all the bells and whistles the social-istas are suggesting we “need” to do my part to get the economy in better shape. I find the older I get the more prolific techno gadgets are becoming, with the price-tags to match – yowza! With Christmas around the corner, now would be a perfect time to pause and think about gift giving from a different perspective. Here are some ideas:

  • Are you a crafter?? You might want to consider giving something you’ve made to people on your list – jams, jellies, hot peppers, truffles (I’ll post this tomorrow), cookies, notecards
  • Time is our most precious resource – how about making a special occasion with someone you love wrapped up like a gift certificate to be used by a certain date together?
  • How about enlarging that special photo and framing it? “Memories, do da do do do da doooo”
  • How about recycling with a twist – giving a treasure of yours that you no longer use to that special someone who would? Try this every season, but not as a gift though……
  • How about a donation to your favourite charity – food bank, hostel for single moms, Kiva?

Before you head out to shop-til-you-drop I encourage you to sit down and think about the post Christmas pandemonium from years gone by. Do you get a sick feeling in your stomach because of what you spent with all of the excess? What was actually used and appreciated? Was all of this really needed? I’m not  saying don’t give gifts, but I am saying to give with thought, heart and sensibility and focus on what’s important.

By the way, how’d you love Oprah’s Favourite Things x2?? Weren’t they just the greatest??!! She’s the absolute best, that’s for sure…..All-the-Way :-)

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Business Travel Bupkiss – Humour at 40,000 Feet

November 23rd, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Oh, the joy of domestic air travel. A good sense of humour is your best companion most times in life, especially when you travel. I’m on one of those 4 hour jobbers, give or take. When I travel, my secrets for staying sane are very intricate and learned over years of experience.

My rule number 1 is get a seat on the aisle. Even though seats feel oh so small and uncomfortable AND way too confining, at least you can do a leaner into the aisle if you need to when claustrophobia strikes. That’s provided the no-longer-svelte stuardess is coming through with her cart. STOP banging my arm again lady.

Hmmm a cart. I’m on one of those manga-cake flights that offer no food unless you buy it. Funny I’m sitting in economy class, paid over a thousand bucks to go to NoWhere Ville for a biz meeting and I get bupkiss to eat unless I pay for it. Ya right, I’ve been on 1 hour puddle hopper flights in Europe where they will at least serve a panini by a chic stuardess with an accent. But today, I get bupkiss.

Ok, rule number 2, which I’ve written about before on July 26 is to bring earphones to shut out the world. Ya, there’s Mr. Business Guy sitting a few rows back who looks like Will Farrell with his on oblivious to his surroundings la la la la. Once I feel ready to watch something on the monitor I press the panel until I reach the HBO TV station for this month’s stand up comedian. Ahhh comedy, one simple way of soothing the savage beast. What do I find? Bupkiss again. Perhaps my 4 digit payout for the cheap seat didn’t provide enough revenue for them to buy the rights for a good stand up routine. Good grief! Ah well, a colleague of mine is sitting in the row behind. I wouldn’t want her thinking anything untoward of me anyways….

So I opt for the back-up plan and find, yes you guessed it, the Food Channel. Hmmm let’s see. First of all, I can’t really see because the font on the screen is oh so small. I’m still in my needing “reading glasses denial phase”. This phase short changes me from reading anything other than a headline in the newspaper. I can barely view what’s being served on a decent restaurant menu and what’s being featured on the in-flight TV system. I decide – Michelin Stars, a show narrated by a food writer William Sitwell on master chefs’ plight to obtain Michelin Star status. “Sit well”, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Pretty well, I guess….

I get lost in the restaurant drama and elaborate descriptions of delectable dishes mmmmMmmm. My blood sugar is dropping to 4 now and on the “hunger scale” out of 10 I’m feeling an 8 – rumble rumble rumble. All the while the big boned couple beside me decide to partake in the purchased pseudo-food fare on the flight. What do they order, let’s see, a styrofoam-esque bun sandwich with unrecognizable meat inside wrapped 3 times in cellophane. Yummy yum. Yes and a can of neatly stacked Pringles. All that goodness washed down with local hooch that doubles as red wine. The bird picture on the label looks like it was drawn by a 6 year old with developmental delay. So appetizing. All this juxtaposed while I watch Raymond Blanc talk about his restaurant at The Manoir au Quat Saison. Oh mon dieux….I digress….

A few hours into the flight and the stuardess strolls down with her pile of mini plastic cups and plastic jug with foggy water inside. Somehow my thirst just subsided. I don’t have a hankering for plankton, thanks. I think I’ll wait it out a few hours before I find a drink. Even one I must pay for. An hour later she returns with some “plankton-free” water, so I splurge for some.

My flying “washroom rule” is to avoid waiting until I can’t wait any more. Sounds logical but the logistics can be tricky at times when unexpected turbulence occurs. But my aging bladder is fickle so I need to pay special attention to “down dere”. The last think you want to do while travelling is to decide to go AFTER turbulence and especially after being used by any man who was stuck in their when turbulence started…. if you catch my drift. I hate a mess….especially someone else’s…

I think Daisy May beside me is having a hot flash now and the heat is reverberating off me. Oh no!! Time to tear off my blazer and crank up the air flow before it sets my hot flash sequence off – seven, six, five, four….. Ground control to Major Tom….Ok time to pretend I’m a yogi and concentrate on my deep breathing, close my eyes and relax. In deep out, in deep out, in deep out, in deep out. Ummmmmmmm. Are we there yet??

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A Calorie is a Calorie According to Professor Twinkie

November 22nd, 2010 No Comments Tags: ,

As the saying goes, you are what you eat, right? Interestingly, a brash professor Mark Haub, of human nutrition at Kansas State U conducted an experiment being the sole subject. He wanted to show that to promote weight loss, calorie counting matters most, despite the food source from where the calories come.

Well this sugar daddy ate a steady stream of chips, cakes, cookies, cereals, Twinkies and the works. The hitch was that he limited his daily caloric intake to 1,800 calories, which was reduced from his typical 2,600 calorie a day diet. What did he find? Well in two months he lost 27 pounds. This sounds like the perfect PMS special diet, don’t you think??

I must say that we often get caught up with the “eating healthy” mantra and may get lost in that halo effect by eating to much of the good stuff. It’s true at the end of the day all calories count, every last one. When your intake of calories is less than what you’re burning each day you’ll lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

I know my trusty T & T followers already know why we need to eat a balanced diet, so I won’t go off on that tangent. My hat’s off to Professor Twinkie – Dr. Mark Haub for stepping up to the goodie plate by conducting this study to prove a profound point: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie….and every last one counts.

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The Babbling Blog – Celebrating 200 Posts

November 21st, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Well today marks my 200th blog post. Oy where has the time gone. July 20th marked the 100th post. Can you believe it?? Let me tell you, I got a little bit jittery that week thinking and wondering what more I had to say. I guess I’ve done more blubbering than any 3 whalers I know!!

Thank you Trusty Commenters!!

Back then I mustered about 100 comments on the entire blog. Thanks to you all I now receive hundreds of comments weekly. I have 4,476 comments and counting throughout the site. For this I am truly grateful. Molto grazie everybody!! I continue to look for new topics to write about so please don’t be shy and let me know what you’d like to read about. Feel free to use an alias and blubber back to me any idea, dilemma, questions, thoughts, etc…..

Call for Family Recipes

I’d like to call out for your tried and true family recipes. Feel free to send them as a message to “admin”. If you can add a photo, that’s even better. I encourage you to add what this recipe means to you and your family with any funny little anecdote because this will add greater meaning. Food is so much more that just the core nutrients. It’s also about connecting with family and with our ancestors who passed the recipe down.

Join Me on Twitter, Won’t You??

If you’re on Twitter I encourage you to follow me and I will follow you back. My link is on the blog-roll to the right. Twitter gets a bad wrap, but it’s really alright. Learn about it, get involved and I’m sure you’ll be interested in it in time. Who ever thunk I’d be a twit on Twitter who tweets??!!

More to Come….

We have experienced a lot together, you and me. As we look ahead the holidays are looming and yet another New Year to ring in. All this and I’ll be turning 50 AND celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in 2011. Let the bells ring!! I’m sure I’ll be searching my soul as these days approach. It’s much easier to get through when you do it with friends, don’t you think?

Do pass this blog link on to your friends, family and colleagues who can relate because really we’re all in this together, aren’t we? Through Thick and Thin :-)

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Dear T & T – Giving Your Move On a Move On

November 18th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ok, so this is the final segment of a series of 5 over the past week. I have a few suggestions to make about giving your move on a move on to my trusty follower!!

A few days ago I touched on this briefly that it’s a catch 22 to up the ante on activity which will in turn give you more energy when you’re feeling fatigue. It may be a slog for the next 2-4 weeks, then there’ll be a day when you’ll feel that extra jump in your step and increased stamina. That’s when you’ll begin to reap the payback for your efforts on this front. It’s certainly worth the effort.

Choose Something You Enjoy

I’m a big believer that you should be doing activities you enjoy. Everybody’s different. Sigh Master said she loves walking yet loathes pilates. Why not try to walk more? Can you fit in walking both weekend days and keep up your Thursday jaunt? If you ditch the pilates you can add in 1 more walk perhaps. Certainly something to think about. Aim for two and a half hours of activity each week minimum. For me, walking has saved me a bundle on therapy, because walking IS my therapy. It’s my quiet time to think, ponder over issues or problems and just clear my head.

Chunk it Down Work it In

For people so super busy I suggest breaking your “exercise intervals” down to 10 or 15 minute chunks. See if you can sneak in three 10 minute intervals OR two 15 minute intervals each day minimum. Some people can’t find a whole half hour or hour in a busy day. But, I do declare we can find 10 minutes here and there to use to your benefit. We ALL experience these little time-capsule-nuggets in our day, even the busiest people have them.

Do some reflecting about your day and when mini lulls emerge. When I was in my worst physical shape ever I started getting moving by working in 10 minute intervals of activity. After I started getting “in the groove” and in better shape I actually chose to do more at any one time until I worked up the time to a reasonable and realistic level to fit into my life.  Any exercise plan needs to be flexible for us working folks with a lot of balls in the air (see post on March 23).

Now about that gym membership and the trainer. If going to the gym motivates you then by all means go. I don’t particularly like going somewhere to exercise unless I’m travelling on business. The time it’ll take me to drive to and fro, change, workout, then shower etc. I would be done at home with time to spare. But that’s me and I’m not you. So you need to decide.

Along with my mat and weights, I have 2 exercise machines that I really love. One is a stair master that’s been with me for over 20 years, the other is a cross country ski machine that I’ve had for about 15 years. In addition to my walking I find 10 minutes on each, plus my mat and weights three times each week. This series of exercises keeps me toned and aren’t onerous to do. As I’ve said before, “slow and steady wins the race”, right!! (see posts on April 28, May 4 and August 7)

Finally, not only does exercise burn extra calories and tone muscles they help turn up that internal thermostat, so are GREAT for your metabolism. Every little bit helps, especially when you work in some weights. Muscle tissue is much more metabolically active, so aiming to build some will be very beneficial to you.

Keep Your Plan Flexible & Fluid

I have a list of a number of different activities I consider exercise. These work in nicely from day-to-day, season-to-season, with business travel or pleasure. I’m actually at a “happy place” where I work in working out and/or doing my “mat routine” even when I don’t have my mat with me. My motto is doing something is better than doing nothing. It has taken me years to reach this “happy place”. Work on finding your exercise “happy place”, you’ll be glad you did.

Full Circle to Success

Finally, I also find there’s something about being regularly active that makes us more mindful of what we’re eating. You start feeling a bit more toned and don’t want to blow your efforts by stuffing yourself. So balancing both sides of the energy in and energy out equation helps close the loop on a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you. It’s a positive feedback loop that keeps us on track.

Give this a try for the next month and let me know how it’s going. Good luck!!

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Dear T & T – Sigh-Master’s Meal Pattern Play

November 17th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday (the 3rd post in a series of 5) I briefly outlined the importance of an important meal pattern to my trusty follower – Sigh Master. I do realize with frantic schedules life and mealtime can’t always be perfectly planned. Let’s see what can be done to help on this front. If you try what I’m suggesting for the coming month or two you may find you’ll end up eating less while barely even feeling like you’re on any special plan. Sound good??

Meal Pattern Panacea

Ok, so when your eating pattern is not consistent and meals are skipped or left with a very long time in between that makes anybody super hungry. When you hit the “passed hunger” phase, many people stuff themselves pass the “full” cue because of this. You admitted to loving eating and overdoing. Welcome to the club!! Hey I’m Italian and I really love food too. When you’re guard is down with max hunger pangs anyone is likely to eat more than intended. Let’s try to get a handle on this pronto. I discussed yesterday about how this may effect your metabolism so I won’t repeat it again today…..

Cue Into the Cues – Hunger & Satiety

Working on a regular eating pattern while focusing on hunger and satiety cues is a key to getting a handle on your weight. To me this seems to be your biggest issue. What this involves is committing to having 3 meals with ~2 snacks each day. For the next 2 weeks, before you go to eat rate how hungry you are on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all hungry and 10 is super duper hungry. What you are aiming for on a regular basis is being moderately hungry before meals, say 5-7. Similarly after you eat rate how full you are on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all full and 10 is totally stuffed. What you are aiming for is being moderately satisfied after meals, say 5-7 on a regular basis. Got it?

Plan out your meals as you usually do. You don’t need special food at all, just special attention to your hunger and satiety and how you eat. If you keep a small notepad with your daily ratings you can review this from day to day and week to week. Awareness of this is key. I’m sure in time you’ll see what an important role this plays with your overall intake.

Filling the Tank Perception Delay

I’m sure you’ve heard that when you eat it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register to your brain that you’re feeling full. If you’re a fast eater and are used to that “over full” feeling, this behaviour alone could be adding to your weight dilemma. I love focusing on changing a behaviour because they indirectly affect how much you eat overall.

The trick here is to get used to tasting your food, eating at a slower pace, preferably sitting down using utensils and a plate with few distractions. Funny, working on this one behaviour will ultimately bring you more joy when eating. How great is that??  Give this a try for a few weeks and let me know how it’s going.

Jumping Jack Stash – To Serve as Gas

Yesterday I talked about having some failsafe snacks and meal handy. No these aren’t for noshing on whenever and where ever. They’re your mini fuel saviours in times of schedules shifting that wreak havoc on your eating pattern. You want to avoid your hunger feeling before a meal to register at a 3 or lower. This is the zone when people end up eating out of control because they’re too hungry.

You have to really do some self reflecting on this because if you stash super tempting treats this strategy will surely backfire. Choose some good reasonable snacks that won’t make you day dream about them!! Here are some ideas:

  • Fruit (fresh or handy fruit cups)
  • Cut up veggies or preprepared ones (carrots, broccoli)
  • milk, yoghurt, cheese, pudding cup
  • trail-mix, raisins, unsalted nuts
  • cereal bars
  • meal replacements
  • small container of leftovers or prepared entrees

Managing Your Blood Sugar – Steady as She Goes

What you want to do is have better control of your hunger. Keep in mind that the main macronutrients in our diet are protein, fat and carbohydrates (simple and complex). Eating a mixed meal from a few of the food groups will ensure you get a mix of all 3 macronutrients. Eating a mixed meal or snack with get digested into your system slowly and steadily raising your blood sugar. Then over time it will decrease at a similar rate – albeit slowly and steadily. This is what you are aiming for ultimately.

Now if you only eat a carbohydrate food when you’re really hungry your blood sugar will rise quickly and go down at a similar rate. Equip yourself with a variety of snacks to help you through the very long stretches between meals.

If you’re only a little hungry a fruit will tide you over. Now, when I’m feeling more hungry at a snack time I’ll combine say a glass of milk with a banana or have a few handfuls of a trail-mix. I bring this in my computer bag when I travel as an example.

Getting prepared to adhere to a regular meal and snack pattern is key.

Next Steps

While you’re getting started with this set yourself up with supports at home and at work until you feel in the groove of this plan. Because you eat out quite a bit do some extra planning before these times to help set you up to succeed (see post on July 26, March 29 & August 16). You CAN eat out and still manage your weight just fine. It just takes extra planning.

Also, set some goals for yourself that are reasonable to strive for. I’m a big believer in setting small goals that feel attainable, then re-evaluate this over time in steps. Like I always say “slow and steady wins the race”. I’m here for you SM every step of the way. Let me know how I may be of further help and do read tomorrow’s post as well to set you on your way :-)

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