Posts Tagged ‘tuning in’

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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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Limerick for Ellie

October 15th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

There is a new baby named Ellie
Coming into the world she did dilly dally
Arrived Saturday by 10
Let the party begin!
To welcome our new baby Ellie

An armful of perfection she is
Took to breastfeeding just like a whiz
Awake and asleep
Oh so new
Love runs deep
That armful of perfection she is

Ellie’s parents are such a great team
A 2-some any new baby would dream
The love and the care
No one could
Quite compare
That Ellie’s parents are truly a dream team

Family love awashes Ellie all round
She doesn’t even need to make a sound
By her side we will stand
There to give
Her a hand
Family love awashes Ellie all round

Let’s rise up to make our world a better place
For all the Ellie’s of every single race
That’s what life’s all about
Go on
Don’t ever doubt
We can all work to improve this place

… welcome to the grand fam Ellie Francis, I will always have your back!

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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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To Snack or Not to Snack? Managing your Hunger Games

September 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently received this message from a book reader of mine. She gave me permission to blog about it to help others who might have similar issues managing hunger.

Dear T & T,
I just finished your book, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and thought it had a lot of great tips. I have started journalling and have set some 3×3 goals for myself. I have a question about how to strike a balance between only eating when I’m hungry and eating to ensure I won’t be too hungry at a later time (to ensure no pig outs happen when serious hunger hits). For example, I tend to workout after work but before dinner. So I will have a snack around 4pm to give me plenty of energy for a solid workout and I’m not dying for dinner right after. But sometimes I am not really hungry when it’s snack time. One of my goals, is to focus on what actual hunger is, and I worry that snacking like this may impede that. Any thoughts?

Dear PO,

You bring up an excellent point about managing hunger with a busy routine. First of all major props to you for working out, keep up the good work on that! Being active is beneficial for you on sooooo many levels. Learning about your own hunger and fullness cues takes time and is a huge balancing act AND certainly worth the effort to work on.

If you’re not hungry at 4pm I suggest you forgo having a snack. It is, however, totally trial and error. Keep yourself equipped with fruit for afterward – a perfect post-workout and pre-dinner snack so you’re not ravenous when you get home. I think marketing ingrains in our heads that we need a pre and/or post workout snack even though we’re not elite athletes. Follow your cues and act accordingly.

Also I find different times of the month like when I’m PMS’ing I feel more hungry. If that’s the case I’ll have a snack. Fruit is my go-to option or a handful of unsalted nuts if I need more staying power. Boredom can do the same thing with playing funny mind tricks disguised as hunger when it isn’t! Reviewing the 3 R’s (review, reflect, reframe) from your journal and observing the patterns will help you figure out true hunger. Plus it will help you with to how better you manage hunger. I find when I’m ravenous it’s too easy to automatically overeat so my personal trick is to avoid getting to that point. Easier said than done, but an ongoing goal. It’s a true balancing act and takes time to figure out and manage.

It’s a worthwhile effort to discern what actual hunger is for you as well. There are times when my tummy plays gypsy music disguised as hunger, esp post vacation and what I actually need to do is to get back on track, ensure I drink my fluids (water at my workstation), eat more fruits and veggies, choose a balanced diet including enough protein at each meal while I retrain those stomach stretch receptors to snap back to normal. As I like to say: Awareness is bliss! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have further questions.

Nutritionally yours,
T & T

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