superdumb supervillain: 31 Days: Reading Healthier

Friday, January 21, 2011

31 Days: Reading Healthier

One of the biggest challenges in adopting a healthy lifestyle is changing the way you think about everything. Food, sure, that's a given but have you ever thought about how your outlook on other things impacts your eating habits and your physical activity? It may not be a really big surprise to you but I've only just realized how much everything in life is interconnected.

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:

  1. Stick to restaurants known for their healthy food options
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Avoid bagels and muffins: Portion sizes have doubled in size and calories over the years, while muffins contain the bad stuff
  5. Swap artificial sweeteners for honey, a half-teaspoon worth is just the right sweetness
  6. Takes up to 20 minutes for food to digest: chew food thoroughly and slow down
  7. 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
  8. Anything “creamed,” “scalloped,” “au gratin,” “sautéed” or “breaded” is most likely loaded with fat: Go for “smoked,” “barbecued,” “roasted,” “grilled” or “broiled”
  9. 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
  10. 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.


  1. I love those tips, especially halving juices with water, which I do if I'm out (though I tend to just drink water or seltzer anyway).

    Chris was into the mindful eating stuff (and still is). One book he really liked was Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays, which is probably the same as Thich Nhat Hanh's. I really need to read it, since I'm the one with the issues! Truthfully, it is hard to eat mindfully while dining with a 2 year old.

  2. Kathleen- I will totally check that book out. I would like to make some progress with the mindful living stuff so that the kids grow up with it, intrinsically. So they don't have to reprogram their thinking as adults!

  3. I actually like Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Body (once you get past the machismo). Some of his tips were pretty good. That Pick it Kick is looks pretty practical - I'll have to check it out (almost looks like "Eat This, Not That" only healthier).

  4. Wow Naomi... sounds like some really good info there.

  5. I would love to have that book and read it. I would want to have mindful living with my family as well. Thanks for the review. I'm going to check it out soon. Thanks.:-)

  6. I'll have to see if I can find this book. I do agree with the tips, very valuable. You know I've been asking restaurants I visit (only 2 since the challenge) if they had a healthier menu or what they'd recommend for someone watching their calories and have been told neither had them and probably the rest of the restaurants in town didn't either. Course now I'm on a quest lol.

    Avoiding those favorites are very hard but I think if you cut them out you'll lose more weight than you first expect to lose. Someone once wrote it takes 30 days to break a habit. Course it takes only a few to begin one. :) Good luck on your journey Naomi.

    Think I'll be looking for Tim's book as well.

  7. You're absolutely right. I incorporated most of those rules into my life years ago but have not seen any results until I actually decided to do the last few. I gave up artificial sweetener (diet soda), stopped skipping breakfast, and stopped eating late night snacks. I have literally dropped 20 pounds and I can't believe what a difference it has made in my sleeping habits and other areas of my life! :) I plan to download Savor on my Nook and learn to control how my mind thinks next. Lord knows I need THAT! Thanks!


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