Posts Tagged ‘change’

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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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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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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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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Bountiful Beet Salad

November 8th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I have been inspired lately by my fellow foodies cooking up a storm this harvest season. I decided to join in and learn to prepare a veggie I have never cooked before, yet love – the bountiful beet. I savour the rich sweet flavour of beets and often order them when I dine out. I brought home a 10 pound sack of them bent and determined to move my cheese and cook something new.

Ingredients
10 scrubbed beets, with greens cut off (golden &/or purple)
Spanish onion, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
small package goat’s cheese or feta cheese
toasted walnut pieces
fresh ground pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the beets. Line a roasting pan with enough foil to cover them, put beets on the foil and sprinkle with water and cover. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel beets and cut in chunks or slices, whatever your preference. (Can do this step a day in advance.)
2) Add the ingredients to a serving bowl and combine. Serve and enjoy!

Commentary
I have prepared these a few times and roast as many beets as can fit in my pan. I put aside the roasted beets I was planning for a meal accompaniment then froze the rest in small bags, removed the air and labelled each package so that I can enjoy these another day down the road. My friend Dianne protects her hands by peeling the beets wearing rubber gloves… smart cookie!

I must say I felt a bit sheepish for never venturing into “beet prep” prior to this season and am delighted I branched out. What are you trying to prep this harvest season? Give something new a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you my foodie friends for inspiring me this harvest season!

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As the saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum…”

October 23rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We have all heard the saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This saying came to mind recently when the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s press release exclaimed “Cut the crap!” They revisited their nutritional recommendations for a healthy heart and slightly shifted their position suggesting we eat more whole foods and less highly processed, low nutrient junk food, AKA “crap”! How wise is that? Very!

Well, well, well, what a breath of fresh air these well thought out, new recommendations are for everyone! Over the past decades the masses have complicated matters of the heart and the diet, transforming the innocent act of eating into such a complicated affair. We got to focusing too much on micronutrients, while losing the essence and joy of food and eating somehow. It’s time to put “the bread” back into “breaking bread together”!

I am not proclaiming that nutrients in the food don’t matter. Our masterful machines – our bodacious bodies need all nutrients to function optimally. Changing our focus to one overarching goal – to consume mostly whole foods in a balanced fashion, is sage advise. Aiming to cook these whole foods at home more often can be life changing and for some life saving.

Instead of needing to remember a wide array of complicated food and nutrition rules – “…more of this, less of that, this percentage of the other… ” you simply have to ask yourself, “Is this a whole food or not?” When you look in your fridge, freezer, pantry and grocery list you can easily see if you are on the right track. Make small changes to move in the direction of eating whole foods more often in balanced proportions.

A few weeks back I made a vat of tomato eggplant sauce and froze it in smaller containers. Last week I made a lasagne with ground beef & mushrooms, spinach & ricotta and noodles using that trusty tomato sauce. This week I assembled this cinchy dinner of smoked salmon & brie, whole grain bread with a side salad. Next week I plan to create some calzones and dip them into my tomato sauce. Trust me, I am no Julia Childs and approach this to make food prep as easy and enjoyable as possible.

It’s helpful to take stock of your whole food enjoyment right now. If you have been falling short during this harvest season get a move on to your grocery store or market and load up.

Because it’s true, the whole IS greater than the sum of its parts. Eating more home-prepared, whole foods is better for you than consuming your nutrients from a bottle or elixir and following a plethora of illogical food rules, don’t you think?

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Weight Loss Through the Years & What YOU Can Do

October 7th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Perhaps you read some of the headlines recently on why losing weight today is harder to do than 30 years ago. Hmmm, I thought, just what people need, are more reasons to give up on their journey from Fat City to Slim Town, what gives? I must say I read those articles with dismay, not really agreeing with all of their rationale. I feel there are other reasons why we may be having a more challenging time trying to lose weight. So here’s my take on what I feel the more relevant issues are and what YOU can do about it:

Mindless Eating – We are a people who multitask in a rush rush rush culture. Eating and drinking or consuming no longer only happen at the kitchen table with family, don’t you wish. A lot of consuming happens with distractions – while driving, while working, while watching TV. We now have cup holders in our vehicles that can hold a mega sized slurp-ee or specialty coffee that was never conceived back in the ’80′s. When scientists study what people actually consume – those tasty morsels that are consumed mindlessly don’t get recorded. Our bodies haven’t evolved into a mystery system I suspect. We just can’t remember those dang items consumed while doing other things and they really add up.
What can you do? Work on eating and drinking mindfully without distractions. Make a pact to eat, drink and be merry with your undivided attention. You’ll probably enjoy it more when you do. Awareness certainly is bliss!

Size Matters – This axiom has many applications… In the world of food and eating over the years we know that serving sizes have mushroomed to much larger portions – from cans of pop, to muffins, bagels, combo meals, to mega sized family packs of food – so much comes super sized you almost feel like you’re on the set of “Honey I shrunk the kids” in those big box Club stores! Kitchen cupboards are built differently to hold all of this super sized stuff. Over the decades of consuming the same items that are now 30% larger, it is no surprise if you’ve tipped the scale by the same percent.
What can you do? Start by choosing to consume most of your food off of smaller “salad sized” plates sitting down. While you’re at it, slow down your eating pace and experience yourself feeling satisfied. Get in the habit of making half your plate veggies and fruit throughout the day which is one of my many healthy and stealthy strategies in my ebook.

Easy Button Overload & Life’s Conveniences – On the other side of the energy equation, our lives have morphed into being able to press the “easy button” for everything. There are so many cozy conveniences from electric garage door openers, to moving sidewalks, to drive through’s, to the channel changer for the idiot box. You can say we now live on Easy Street which isn’t a word of a lie! Pair that up with our sitting epidemic and we have become so efficient we’re burning up less calories because of all of these conveniences. Good grief.
What can you do? Work on ways of moving more: take the stairs when you can, park further away, use active transport when you are planning activities close to home, work in 15 minute intervals of movement consciously and aim for an hour a day everyday.

Taste is King, Adds Caloric Sting!Food scientists have revolutionized taste perfection helping food companies find your bliss point in a vast array of ultra-processed food products. Who doesn’t want food to taste great? No one, that’s who! Let’s get real though, read the package labels and menu choices on-line to find out what’s in your food. Yes it might taste deadly, but it might just be addictive with all of the sugar, salt and fat added to it. I suggest you take my Eating Satisfaction Test and you may find that some of your favourite foods fall off your fave list.
What can you do? Get back to nature and eat more whole foods. The less packaged and ultra processed foods you and your family consume, the better. While you’re at it take my Eating Satisfaction Test!

Immediate Gratification – We the people have become so used to rewarding ourselves for every little thing we do with immediate gratification. We want everything NOW already. Yesterday is even better! And when it comes to taking the time to lose that 10 pounds we gained during the summer we want it to happen in a week. Stop the madness! If it took you 3 months to let 10 pounds sneak up on your back side it will likely take that amount of time to lose it. If you want to follow simple human biological principles, losing weight permanently FAST is next to impossible. Give a realistic game plan consideration.
What can you do? Get real and understand losing weight will be slow, but with small changes that stick, you can keep it off. Work in a reasonable system of rewards that are not food or drink related. Build a repertoire of behaviour that keep you motivated without needing to spend a slew of dough or eating some for that matter!

Final Word – Just because some experts tell you losing weight is harder to do these days doesn’t mean you need to throw up your hands and throw in the towel. Don’t give up and work on small changes that add up. In the process learn to enjoy your food and activity more. Tune out the negative nellies and know that you can do better when you’re aware of these modern day barriers. Kick them to the curb! So go on, take your lifestyle by the horns this fall in a positive direction!

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Fall Forward 6 Ways

September 23rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We all know the saying “Spring Forward, Fall Back”. I am a contrarian on that. Once fall hits, I get that motivational New Year’s feeling, don’t you? I yearn to dial it up a notch to move forward with fresh thinking, goals and plans as the new season arrives. Care to join me?

Last week I blogged about part of a conversation I had with a book reader of mine. Paige and I conversed a few times and she mentioned something about what she experienced so far in her quest to get healthier that I wanted to share with you.

During the goal making process, as my readers take the step to make changes in their diet, attitude and life I suggest they not even consider “food related” goals at first and focus on behaviour instead. Take the pressure off! I based this recommendation on my own experience. When I embarked on my very last journey from Fat City to Slim Town that shift in thinking helped tremendously. For me, it was so freeing to allow all food to fit and focus on improving aspects of my eating behaviour. In time I lost the guilt, the food and eating preoccupations along with weight. Those changes alone are worth working on and will help you find some peace from all of those struggles.

Until I did that I never quite realized how much energy I wasted on obsessing over food and eating. To say it was exorbitant is an understatement. So in my exchange with Paige, she exclaimed, “What a revelation!” about how not making food-related goals was for her. Does this strike a cord in you?

So with fall upon us, plan to fall forward, not backward into hibernation mode, into couch potato-dom, into draw-stringed waistbands and slump wear. Make plans to fall forward to progress your lifestyle goals to help you dial it up a notch. Start by shifting your focus. Take the pressure off and make goals that aren’t food or weight related. How novel is that? Very! Here are 6 ways to fall forward:

One – Here’s a fresh idea: Kick food-guilt to the curb once and for all and find practical tips galore in my book to get er done! Create a love affair with food and eating by allowing all food to fit.

Two - Keep the lovin’ alive by creating another love affair with activity and exercise by making moves you enjoy. Your routine shouldn’t be your punishment. Have fun already!

Three – Identify the food and eating knots that bind you by keeping a journal. Practice the 3 R’s – review, reflect, reframe each week to eventually free yourself from these negative, energy sucking relationships forever.

Four – Get real this fall and take your lifestyle by the horns by making systematic small goals doing the 3 x 3 and rewarding yourself throughout. Try a new approach.

Five – Work on staying stoked with myriad motivations to keep you in the game from when you start throughout the process, whatever your goals might be.

Six – Get reading Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books to help you find perspective, provide a slew of tips and be your support with you’re own RD and friend in your back pocket.

Unshackle yourself from mainstream “diet” thinking and focus your energy on living better! Experience your own revelation! Isn’t that what you really want – peace, not war? Let the changing leaves be a sign that it’s time to make positive shifts today. Join me in a fresh journey and fall forward!

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