Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: A Lazy Chick's "Diet"



There is a lot of talk about dieting, getting in shape, squeezing fitting into that bikini for the summer (bikini--so, so funny), and that abandoned treadmill. This got me to thinking about my own battle with weight. Whether it be 5 lbs, 25 lbs, 50 lbs, or 100+ lbs, losing it can be a struggle. And let's not even talk about all the diet plans and fitness routines that are being touted in the media, by Aunt Sue, and by our next door neighbor . . . everyone has ideas, tips, strategies . . . even me! This week I am dedicating my Thursday Thirteen to some tried and true tips that have helped me in the past--NOT a diet, just some strategies that helped me shed some extra pounds and feel better without punishing myself (or the treadmill).

Now, before I move on to the list let me quickly tell you my story . . . (did I lose you, yet?). About five years ago I was in denial that I had gained over 25 lbs. How? I got married. I got busy. I got lazy. But, being in denial I went to the doctor to see why I was feeling blue, tired, lethargic, my hair was dull and thinning, my skin looked horrible (I sound awfully attractive, don't I?) . . . you name it. I was ICK. I knew part of it could be attributed to the PCOS, but that didn't explain everything. I started unzipping my pants and tucking back the button. I started wearing larger and larger sizes. My wedding ring became stuck on my finger (I just figured I was swollen--water retention). The clues were all there--including the ever increasing number popping up on the scale.

The doctor wanted to put me on some meds to combat some of the symptoms. I decided that before I went the medicinal route I was going to try to tackle this with my diet. Why did I decide this if I was still in denial about the weight gain? Simple. I knew I wasn't eating all that well--I'm not that naive (and I have a biology minor and a background as a personal trainer--clearly not using either at the time!). I knew that a lot of the foods I was eating could very well be impacting my moods, skin, hair . . . so, why not? Plus, I finally realized that ALL the scales in the doctors' offices I had been on could not be wrong. (Though I did think for awhile there was a scale conspiracy.) What did I have to lose? After reading/skimming a bunch of diet/nutrition/fitness books for ideas, I started to formulate an easy, lazy chicks plan to eat healthier, lose weight, and feel better. I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all plan. I educated myself, took the best ideas for me, and put it all together. My overall philosophy is MODERATION. I don't really eliminate anything . . . why deprive yourself? Life is way too short. What I did may or may not work for you--but consider the tips as more weapons in your get healthy arsenal . . .

Without further adieu, I give you some of my top 13 tips/strategies:

1. I love cake. Can't live without it. Well, eat it! But, instead of adding the eggs and oil to your favorite cake mix, add a cup of pumpkin and a cup of water. Bake according to the directions on the box. Top with whipped cream and viola--YUMMY!!! AND, you save nearly 100 calories per serving!

2. I hate salad. I mean, I don't hate hate it. I just hate making it and hate the fact that it sits in the fridge for way too long . . . so, instead of salad, I am big into veggie marinades. Take celery, carrots, olives, red and green peppers, green onions, and any other veggie you like (I avoid cucumber and tomato unless you'll eat it all within a day or so). Mix it with olive oil/vinegar and some Italian seasoning and put in the fridge for a few hours. Super low fat, low calories, and satisfying.

3. Take the above recipe, cut the veggies into even smaller pieces, heat it up (stir fry is best), wrap in a tortilla shell (careful, these can have lots of calories) or lettuce. Add a little mozzarella (lower in fat, melts nicely, and tastes yummy).

4. I have a major sweet tooth. Some of my not-so-guilty pleasures: Dark chocolate, Jello squares, Nilla wafers topped with a banana and whipped cream, apples and peanut butter, yogurt (Activia and Yoplait for digestive health are my favorites).

5. I am a carb addict. I mean, who isn't. Warm, buttered, white bread . . . oh my. I opted for a 100% whole wheat variety when I could. However, when wheat would just NOT do it for me, I bought a bakery loaf of white bread and cut it in really thin slices. I got my white bread love without the extra calories (and I barely noticed the difference).

6. Warm liquids. I don't know what it was, but a cup of tea or coffee when my appetite was raging was enough to calm it down.

7. EGGS!!! I love eggs. You can buy Egg Beaters or just nix the yolk. Use olive oil instead of butter. Add veggies, a little cheese, some garlic salt and viola! I would eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Protein=appetite suppression . . .

8. Stir fry city. I loved stir frying. Broccoli, mushrooms, onions, peppers. Throw in some water chestnuts, pineapple, nuts, edamame (soy beans). Meat eater--chicken, lean beef chunks. Some seasoning and/or Teriyaki sauce and you are good to go. Serve over brown rice or noodles--or not!

9. I'm a snacker. I sometimes just need something. Anything. Quaker Rice Cakes, unbuttered popcorn, pita chips (cut up a pita, spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with either garlic salt or cinnamon/sugar-Splenda and bake), string cheese, trail mix (make your own--peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dark chocolate chips, whole grain Cheerios or similar cereal).

10. Other yummy desserts--make Rice Krispy treats without the Rice Krispies--use Fiber One or Kashi Go Lean cereal instead. Or, use 1 box of above cereals with 1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips. My sis-in-law refers to these as Poo Poo cookies. :) Click on the picture for more Fiber One recipes.

11. EZ Strategies that don't take a lot of work . . . I eat on a smaller plate. I try to eat my heaviest meal at lunch. I attempt to have all my eating done at least 3 hours before bed. I ask for a take-out box when my food comes at restaurants. I eat half at the restaurant and save the other for tomorrow's lunch. I FORK my salad dressing. Instead of having them pour it over, I order it on the side. I dip my fork in it and then load the salad on. Grab some snack size baggies and make your own 100 calories pack snacks of your favorite foods--a heck of a lot cheaper than buying them prepackaged--or try this idea! I opt for water with meals (I don't bother drinking a big glass before I eat with hopes it will curb my appetite--that just makes me have to go pee . . . ). I chew gum. I munch on nuts before a meal--especially going out to eat. I wear a belt when I go out to eat--not kidding. It makes unzipping and tucking my buttons back a lot harder.

12. Just move . . . even a little. You all know that my treadmill and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we like each other, we just don't like spending all that much time together--even though we know it would be good for out relationship. I love being in shape and feeling fit. I just don't always have the time and willpower to work out every day. So, what I do is SOMETHING every day. I make it a point to MOVE. In the am I wake up and right away do some crunches, modified push ups, mini squats, stretches. I do the same in the evening (just at a slower, more relaxing pace). I don't spend hours doing this--maybe 10-15 minutes max. You may ask, "What good will that do?" Well, it is more than doing nothing, right? Plus, it gets the blood pumping, muscles moving, and metabolism primed. There was a while when this was all I had time to do (teaching schedule was really hectic and my treadmill and I had a major falling out). My body may not have looked like anything you'd see in a magazine, but it remained fairly toned. I didn't put on any weight even though I had all but abandoned a regular work-out routine.

13. Finally . . . I can't stress this enough. Keep a food and activity journal. Use a little notebook, start another blog. I didn't keep up with one forever, though it would have been a good idea. But, the time that I did do it helped me understand my eating habits. For me it was valuable information to see that I was having issues with sugary foods and with portion sizes. I also realized that I was spending way too much time in front of the TV and computer. Also, keeping a journal makes you accountable. And, it might be the very thing that keeps you front eating certain foods. You'll ask yourself, "Ugh. Do I really want to get up, fetch my journal, and write about eating that Krispy Creme? Nope. Too lazy." Click on the picture for an article from Real Simple on how to keep a food journal. Want FREE online food journal? Try FitDay!

What was the outcome of my Lazy Chick's plan to get healthy? My skin started clearing up--it looked a lot brighter. My hair started falling out at a slower rate and eventually returned to its normal thickness. I lost a decent amount of weight. Although the actual weight loss per the scale was slow, the changes in my body were evident week after week. Clothes fit better. Areas were firmer. My belly fat didn't flop as much. My behind didn't feel all jiggly. Most of all, I felt better, healthier. To me, that was the most important. Out with skinny--in with healthy! Out with feeling yucky and in with feeling yummy! Life was good . . .

Where am I now . . . nearly 8 months post baby and I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Things have most definitely shifted, but that is to be expected and it not necessarily a negative thing. I don't stick to the "plan" above like a diet. Just suggestions, ideas, strategies for keeping me feeling good. And, best of all, with this "plan," there is no need to punish yourself if you eat a whole box or Crunch N' Munch or ignore your treadmill's pleas for attention . . . you'll survive. It's all about moderation, moving, and feeling good . . .

*Upon reading this post a fifth time I realized it was riddled with errors. I was so eager to get it out that I did a horrible job proofreading. Please forgive me . . . I think I caught most. If not, forgive me again . . . *English teacher bows head in shame*

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

47 comments:

Amy said...

Great post! Thanks for the ideas, as I am on a never ending quest to be healthy!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Fantastic tips, very easy, no-nonsense. Awesome.

Kat said...

I really needed this today :-) I have been doing weight watchers...but keep getting sidetracked by Girl Scout cookies and now Easter Candy. Thanks so much for the tips and the reminder to get myself back on the program.

girlymom said...

I love this 13~ You have so many wonderful ideas. Thank you.

Lori said...

what great tips... I think the first thing towards getting healthy is a healthier attitude... I like that you aren't denying yourself stuff... I'm big on the everything in moderation movement of life!

Chris said...

Those are some great ideas! Happy TT>

byrningbunny said...

All great ideas, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I had no idea about the pumpkin! I experiment with applesauce and had been thinking of trying the apricot sauce I buy for my son.

Kathryn said...

Such fabulous tips! I do just about every one of those! I am a HUGE believer in "everything in moderation". I think when you start depriving yourself of things you like, it is a downward slope from there, and the "diet" will never last.
Running has been my life-savor. I just can't believe how quickly I shed the pounds when I am running regularly. It is awesome.
And like you said, I usually don't eat (well- currently I have been- hence my slight weight problem) after 7:00 at night. I LOVE fruit for a snack. The best! I can't wait for all of the summer fruit!

This was a great TT! I love it!

Pamela Kramer said...

Good tips! Have a great TT.

Marmarbug said...

Great ideas! I try to cut carbs when I can. After not having them as much you really don't miss them.

Au Naptural said...

Kudos to you for putting these tips together! I'd heard of using applesauce, but never pumpkin. Hmmm. I might have to experiment with that one. My biggest struggle is getting enough water. Maybe a squeeze of fresh lime will make it more palatable? Thanks for sharing.

Kami said...

These are fabulous and I have had epiphanies about all of them. I never deprive myself... well a little before the Bahama bikini experience but then moderation is all it takes to maintain. Oh and I love to move it move it too

;-)

Tracey said...

Yay for you!! Glad you are at a good weight for yourself. I keep saying that the best weight-loss for me was having a baby and nursing. Best results, you know...

tulipmom said...

Great tips! I've been using smaller (salad size plates) for the past few years and they really do help. For me the most important thing is having healthy low-carb snacks easily accessible ... this means cut-up (or as you said already marinated), sliced, cooked, whatever ... just ready to grab and eat. Otherwise it's too easy to make a bad choice.

I'm going to try your pumpkin tip the next time I make a cake for SB. I've heard of adding applesauce but that constipates him, so pumpkin would be a great alternative. Thanks!

Pam said...

GREAT post. GREAT tips.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Good for you!

My motivation's been off since I got back from Yellowstone. I'm not sure why; I usually love to work out, but lately, I've been slacking. Weird.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Great tips! I agree with you--it's the little things that can add up to make a big difference.

Melinda Zook said...

Wow, some really great ideas. I am been feeling the guilt since Easter. I have all good intentions but then weakness takes over. This was a really good refresher of some things I really need to start doing. Great post!

Lori said...

Thanks for the tips - I need the easy approach to loosing weight b/c I HATE working out and don't want to give up my food! ha! Not a good combo!

I do dip my fork in my salad dressing too though!

Tara R. said...

You can also sub applesauce for oil in a cake... works great. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful info.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Ok.. I so need to get you on my favorite blog list!

I completely got side tracked with easter candy and the vacation diet....

Law Student Hot Mama said...

The happiest day for me was when I fit back into my pre-preggo pants! Only to discover that they were worn out and I had to buy new pants anyway. *sigh*

Stacey @Real World Mom said...

What great suggestions! And perfect timing for me too. I've been feeling very 'blah' lately, and I know it's because I'm not eating right or getting enough exercise.

Sandy C. said...

You are my savior! When reading the beginning of this post, I swore you were talking about me. The weight gain, feeling blue, lethargic, thinning hair, bad skin....ALL me right now. And I KNOW I'm not eating right. I'm starting to implement some of the things on your list, such as stir fry, yogurt, and the warm fluids (which works really well BTW). But I will certainly put some of these others to good use. You've given me some inspiration and hope that if I stick it out, I may eventually see and/or feel results. Thank you :)

kellyo75 said...

Great ideas! I am gonna have to add you to my blogroll so I can keep checking. I need to lose weight like WHOA!! I love your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine, too! I love new reader-and commenters!!

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

I was an English teacher, too, and I cower when I notice errors. I'm glad to see it works if you try hard enough.

Kristen said...

Great post!!

I also use a small plate. I find I put way more on a large plate, but am completely full when I finish my small plate.

Great ideas, and I appreciate all that it took to write this out.

:-) Now, bring on summer!

WordVixen said...

Hi! I dropped in from Anglophile's blog. Fellow PCOS sufferer here. I've recently started changing my eating habits as well, and have been exercising more (the equivalent of 1/2 mile a day), but what I found to help the most was pumpkin seeds. I saw it on You Are What You Eat on BBC America- zinc controls your hormones. Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc.

I added 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds to my daily diet, and within two weeks about 90% of my acne cleared up. Bran muffins made with applesauce helped too.

I'm so going to have to try your trick with the pumpkin in the cake- two objectives with one recipe!

CC said...

Great ideas...but a lot of work :( Me even lazier.

noble pig said...

Those are great tips, I like the pumpkin one. I add it to my belgian waffles recipe and it works and tastes great. And moving helps. On ce I started walking 5 miles a day..extra weight just melts away.

Karen C. said...

I'm so glad you found me again, too!! Funny thing is, I lurk around here occasionally...this encourages me to comment and quit lurking!!

Thanks for these tips...I have 30lbs. to lose myself and a couple of these things I hadn't thought of.

Nissa said...

Great tips! Some I'd never heard before, even! I will go start a journal ASAP!

The Holloways said...

So if I've got TWICE that amount of weight, do I need to do all of this DOUBLE time or TWICE as long?? JK! Thanks for your inspiration...really been needing to do something!

Heather said...

Good for you. And thank you for the tips. I'm like you - I hate dieting. I look for more real life, practical changes. Can I add a couple to your list? York peppermint patties and mini whole-wheat bagels.

Huckdoll said...

Fabulous suggestions! I live by the one about eating the heaviest meal at lunch. A friend of mine spent a summer in Croatia where they eat their heaviest meal for breakfast, lighter at lunch and soup or something for dinner and she lost at least 20 lbs. I try to make this a rule for my own family.

Jen said...

Love the tips! And you mentioned the dietitian's favorite--Fiber One!

Hey it's Amy Shipp said...

Wow! Great Thursday Thirteen list! I love all your ideas. I have made a "graham cracker crust" using fiber1 cereal, you can't tell the difference!!
Come visit mine if you like :D

huddtoo said...

Great post, indeed!!

I feel like I'm in an uphill battle! UGH! But, I KNOW I have some food issues to sort out. It's got to be what I'm eating. I will eat to small of a lunch, then be starving for dinner. Or I have to many carbs and not enough lean protein and veggies. I love my fruits, and do like raw veggies, but I need more of that stuff and less of the old carbs.

Great tips tho. And I agree, you can't really cut everything out, I mean, everything in moderation, right? And why not have a treat now and then. You shouldn't have a gallon of ice cream on a daily basis, even if it would taste great! ;)

just jamie said...

I'm liking the ease and common-sense of these. Common sense is a little more difficult when a cupcake is staring at me. :) Now, that reminds me, where can I find a cupcake in this house?

I kind of missed the point, didn't I?

Thanks Laski!

Jenn said...

Oh thank you thank you thank you! I can eat cake again!!!!

OHmommy said...

Hmmmm... you and I could be best friends.

I puffy heart cake, eggs, and carbs. And I so do not puffy heart my treadmill.

girlymom4 said...

Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog and thanks for the terrific post here! I've been trying to lose a few extra pounds myself!

krissy said...

I am so happy that you decided to come on by the crazy girl's blog!!

I will warn you....too much information isn't a priority on my blog! I sorta write whatever I feel like writing. So, if you have a weak stomach, grab some pepto and come by anyway! :-)

I'm so happy I have a new friend! You look pretty fun too! Can't wait to see you back and I will make sure I come back too!!!!

Cheri said...

Now I'm hungry for Nilla Wafers. ;-)

Great ideas; thanks for taking the time to share them!

abby p said...

The cake with pumpkin is AWESOME! I tried it myself with chocolate after tasting the spice one you made and it was awesome. Reminded me of an Oreo. I think it is richer than when I make it with applesauce. Though I love both. I, like you, just plain love CAKE!

Mom24 said...

These are really sensible. Thanks for posting it. It's such a challenge to force myself to do the things I know I SHOULD do. I'll keep working on it though!

Cheffie-Mom said...

What great ideas! I am not so good at being super healthy even though I know I know I should because of my family health history. After my volleyball game with my family the other day I realized it felt good to move the muscles in ways they weren't used to lol!!!

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