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Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

Even though I’ve heard over and over again how amazing Trader Joe’s is, and even shopped there a few times, I’ve never been a convert (until now).

Why? Because it’s hard to switch to Trader Joe’s. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours examining products at grocery stores, learning which products match my hypoglycemic diet and which ones don’t. Very few of the brands and products I know and love are at Trader Joe’s, meaning for almost every product I want to buy, I have to re-learn what I can eat. This means, as we did yesterday, spending a lot of extra time re-assessing all of the bread in the bread aisle and deciding what would be the best option. Then move to the cheese and do the same thing.

It took a lot of time and mental energy. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity to re-examine our habits and what we were eating. It gets so easy to just grab products and “forget” to think about whether they are good for you or not. While I’m most certainly not saying that everything at Trader Joes is good for you, I’m saying it’s a good moment to take a look at everything anew, and, if you can’t find something in Trader Joe’s, it’s a good time to ask why (usually they are really bad products I can’t find, but not always).

And THEY ARE CHEAPER! Ok, I don’t know about where you live, but in New Orleans? Food is ridiculously priced for no legit reason I can find.

Examples:

  • Applegate Natural Turkey at Rouses (New Orleans chain): $5.99 per pack. At Trader Joe’s: $3.99 per pack. We go through about 2-3 of these per week, so $4-$6 savings per week!
  • Green/Red peppers at Rouses: $1/1.99 each (and many look awful). At Trader Joe’s: $.79 and $1 each (and all look very fresh). We go through 4-6 of these a week, so about $2-$4 in savings.
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I was just a little excited to find some Weisswurst at Trader Joe’s, can you tell by this text?

Does Trader Joe’s totally eliminate my trip to the “regular” grocery store? Nope, there are some things we need, like Fairlife Milk, Beanitos, and quick oats, that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry, but I can go a lot less often.

So if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, spend the time and give it a try. It’s worth it.

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Me: Look, I love you, but I made exactly the amount of cheese and crackers I want to eat right now. Wife: But I only ... Me: EXACTLY the amount

I can relate to this tweet so much, except it’s not my fiance usually saying it, it’s me. Before I put food on my plate, I portion-out exactly what my diet allows; meaning what will keep me healthy and keep my blood sugar even.

Also, my brother used to take food off my plate, so I have a strong reflective action to anyone who takes food off my plate.

So take at your own risk, or better yet, ask before you take. I’m a sharing person, I really am, but you may just hear from me that what’s on my plate is EXACTLY the amount of food I wanted.

 

 

 

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Ah, the new year is upon us, which means the gym is flooded with new year’s resolution people. Most regular gym goers hate this time of year because the gyms are crowded, but know it will be short-lived. I get inspired by more people trying to become healthier.

One of the main reasons I think people quit coming to the gym is that it seems so complicated. But here’s the secret: It isn’t.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me to go with them to the gym and learn how to weight lift. I go, and the main question I get afterward is, “That’s it? That seems to simple.” Yep, it does, and it is.

So why does it seem so complicated?

  • Trainers make it that way. I’ve blogged about this before, trainers are salespeople. Their job performance at most gyms is based on how many of their clients they get to renew their training packages. So think about it, their goal is convince you that you need them, and one of their favorite ways to do this is to make things look so complicated that you couldn’t possibly do it on your own.
  • Gym regulars get bored. So they try new things. Or, they haven’t realized yet that muscle confusion is (mostly) a myth. This is one of the reasons why you see the regulars doing crazy, complicated things. But you don’t need to. After a couple of years, if you get bored, sure, go ahead, try something fancy now and then, but when you are just getting started, you don’t need to make your workouts complicated.
  • Gym regulars have different goals. Yes, professional athletes and bodybuilders do more complicated things. That’s because they have vastly different goals than most people. Unless your goal is to become one of them, you don’t need to do fancy stuff.
  • The fitness industry tries to hook you with “new” things. This isn’t necessarily bad, I like trying new classes and such. But, as someone who has been an athlete since age 4, I can tell you that “new” is actually “repackaged.” For example, High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) looks suspiciously like the old lactate training I did in high school swimming.

Recommendations for the average person and general gym-goer

Unless you are planning to become a professional athlete or fitness competitor, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Focus mostly on diet. This is, by far, more important than the gym. If you want to hire a professional, I recommend a registered dietician vs. a trainer.
  • You don’t need to do more than an hour per day at the gym, 5-6 days per week. I plan to do a whole post about this someday, but seriously, no more than an hour per day, I don’t care what the gym regulars or trainers tell you.
  • You should enjoy your cardio workouts. I personally like to learn a new skill through cardio (such as dancing, karate, etc.). I can’t stand to watch the bored people on the cardio machines at the gym. Unless you genuinely enjoy that, don’t be one of them. Find something you enjoy and…
  • Know your target heart rate and make sure you’re in it during all cardio sessions.
  • Weight training should be straight-forward and simple. There are two books I recommend (pick one, then when you get bored, go to the other) to get started:
    • Body Sculpting Bible (the link is for the women’s version, but there’s one for men too).  I used to carry this book to the gym with me everyday I was on the program. I used it so much over a couple of years that I destroyed the binding! I love that it shows pictures, and comes with a DVD to show you how to do every exercise.
    • Body for Life. Ridiculously simple weight-lifting and cardio program.

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I first heard of Brian Wansink and his book Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think during my Influencer training at work. His video (above) intrigued me to learn more and finally pick-up the book.

The book is full or real, practical advice on how we and our situations around us impact our eating habits. Through real experiments and funny examples, Brian Wansink teaches you how to modify your environment and your eating to impact your long-term health.

The most helpful thing I learned from this book was how often we let the food companies and the places we eat determine our portion sizes.  If they say one bag of chips is a serving size, that should be what we eat, right? Nope. Maybe we should only be eating 1/2 of a bag of chips at a time.

Thanks to this book, I now work really hard to not let a package or plate determine my portion size. I decide how much of something I want (usually in calories, protein and fat) and then look at the package to be able to portion-out the right size.

If you are interested in long-term eating strategies, based on research, that work, I highly recommend this book.

 

 

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A very large bowl (I used my "Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

A very large bowl (I used my “Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

 

Sundays I nickname “Set yourself up for success day.” It’s usually the day I do everything I can to make it easy throughout the week to stick to my diet and fitness goals, including controlling my hypoglycemia.

It usually consists of:

  • Meal planning. I don’t plan-out each meal per se, but I plan out at least 2 fully-cooked recipes (which usually make 4-6 servings), so enough for the whole week.
  • Grocery shopping. Especially for fresh fruits and vegetables and any healthy meal items so I’m well-stocked for the week.
  • Chopping vegetables. I’ve learned a valuable thing about myself: an unchopped vegetable (unless meant to be eaten whole) will never get eaten in my house. I chop them all and prepare a huge bowl of them to take to work for all week noshing.
  • Prepare my workout clothes for the following day.
  • Laundry. Since I’m busy around the house anyway.
  • Ironing any clothes that need it.

Although it looks like a lot, it doesn’t take up the whole day, just a few hours. And it makes the rest of my week so much easier.

Do you something similar? What do you do to ensure success of your health and fitness goals?

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I ended-up running a quick trip to the grocery store a couple of days ago on my lunch break.  I got to the check-out line and piled my items on the conveyor:

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cauliflower
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Dried cranberries
  • Organic salad mix
  • Almonds
  • (I meant to pick-up tofu, but they were out)

The woman (most likely in her late 40’s, trim build) in front of me looked at my assortment of food and said “It looks like my diet. I keep telling my friend, if they want to be skinny, that’s what you have to eat.”

It reminded me of when I got behind some folks from Myanmar in a grocery line a few years ago. I watched them only pile fresh meat and produce on the conveyor. Part of me was annoyed because it took a long time for the cashier to key-in all the produce codes, but if I’m honest with myself, I was more annoyed because I knew what they were eating was better than what I was.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who scopes-out what others put on the line.

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Cut-up carrots and green beans in portioned containers

“going on a diet” by Roberto is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Ugh!!! I did it again without thinking!

I was at a conference, overwhelmed with people wanting to speak to me after a talk I’ve given and a woman I know came up and asked me what I do to stay skinny. She asked if I was a runner or something and I immediately rattled-off all of my workout routines (weight-lifting, Pilates, swimming…I conveniently didn’t mention karate because I hate getting stuck talking about that).

NOT ONCE did I mention my diet. Considering what a critical piece diet is in weight-loss, I’ve been trying really hard to make sure I don’t perpetuate the myth of exercise-only weight loss. But, I forgot once again

Hopefully this blog post will be enough of a reminder to not do it again.

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