Soon after signing on to the 31 Day Challenge (check out the new site!), I read a provocatively-titled post by Julien Smith: How to Lose 20+ lbs in January 2011. It's not as much of a how-to as a call to action, less about losing weight and more about taking ownership of your body. I dig it. He points out some simple things to consider and provides a good reading list to get started with. I borrowed Tim Ferris' much-ballyhooed The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman from the library but was kind of put off by its macho swagger. (It had some good info but overall read like a phone book-sized Men's Health article.) I'm not interested in getting ripped as much as being moderately fit. Yep, I'm a middle-of-the-road girl sometimes.
I received a copy of Oxygen's Pick It Kick It to review. It's not necessarily something I would pick up on my own (its bright colors and lascivious design makes it look like a tabloid tell-all mag about junk food) but it's really pretty smart. Little nutritional factoids and tips can help you a make smarter grocery shopping and dining out choices. For example, if you abhor healthier whole grain breads and will only eat white breads, it suggests you consider choosing sourdough. Why? Because the lactic acid in sourdough aids digestion. Smart, right? It's all about thinking about what you're eating.
Pick It Kick It author Diane Hart is the Executive Editor for Oxygen Magazine and Editor In Chief of Oxygen’s Special Issue Publications. She says that “Eating right doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive – it is a simple matter of making the right choices and that comes from knowing what foods are better than others.” Amen, sister! Here are her tips for eating healthier when dining out:
- Stick to restaurants known for their healthy food options
- To cut down on fat intake, order low-fat salad dressing on the side, and then dip your fork between bites to get the flavor without the extra fat
- To cut calories while keeping taste and nutrition, mix your OJ and other fruit juices with equal amount of mineral water, plain water or seltzer and give the other half to your dining partner
- Avoid bagels and muffins: Portion sizes have doubled in size and calories over the years, while muffins contain the bad stuff
- Swap artificial sweeteners for honey, a half-teaspoon worth is just the right sweetness
- Takes up to 20 minutes for food to digest: chew food thoroughly and slow down
- Don’t “save your calories” by skipping meals: Not only will you slow down your metabolism, but you will be famished by the meal and most likely overeat
- Anything “creamed,” “scalloped,” “au gratin,” “sautéed” or “breaded” is most likely loaded with fat: Go for “smoked,” “barbecued,” “roasted,” “grilled” or “broiled”
- Buffet-Style Dining: Avoid it but tips if you must-Do an initial walk around and find vegetables and other clean etc., next get the small plate and load up on the proteins and other clean foods. Watch out for sauces and fried foods, skip breads and pastas
- Portion control: Most people underestimate the calories in a meal by 150 to 400 calories; box off half of your meal for leftovers, less calories and two meals out of one saves money
Bob has been reading a lot of spiritual books by world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and has told me a lot about his theories about mindful living. I'm anxious to check out Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life written by Thich Nhat Hanh with nutritionist Lilian Cheung, which combines diet and meditation for a holistic approach. I'm interested in learning how to approach weight loss without the vanity commonly associated with it. Losing not to achieve attractiveness but a sense of balance, if that makes any sense.
What do you think?
Disclosure: In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I am being compensated for my participation in the 31 Day Challenge but all opinions are my own.