"It's bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children's health than the pediatrician." ~Meryl Streep
Are you one of the many who have resolved to lose weight this New Year?
I know that so many people intend to lose weight, eat differently and exercise more every New Year. In fact, many make this same resolution year after year. If I didn’t know this from my business, all I’d have to do is turn on my TV and watch the commercials that start in late December.
Have you seen the long commercial with Janet Jackson talking about one weight loss system or that very cool ad with a before Jennifer Hudson singing with an after Jennifer Hudson for another diet plan?
Losing weight and maintaining it is important; yet so many of us dread it because we think about it in terms of deprivation.
So what are you going to do? Will you eat fewer calories, fewer carbs, less fat?
Will you join one of the many weight loss programs and/or a gym? Will you go it alone, skip breakfast or have a just a salad for lunch? And then maybe a frozen “diet” meal for dinner because it feels easy?
I don’t know about you, to me that sounds terrible. It does not seem like a way to live even in the short term and definitely not a way of life.
So here is my suggestion. While this may sound inconsistent with weight loss, I am going to encourage you to eat. Yes, eat!!!
Eat real food. Eat high quality foods that include carbohydrates, protein and good fats. Don’t think about what you can’t or shouldn’t eat, don’t skip meals or under eat. Instead think about nourishing your body with lots of fresh and delicious food.
Here are some ideas that focus on nourishing you and your body rather than deprivation so that maintaining your weight can become a way of life rather than a yearly resolution:
Eat Wholesome Food: Eat things that are as close to the way nature created them as possible with all of their edible parts. Avoid things that have been stripped of nutrition and processed with chemicals. The unrefined and minimally refined foods are typically found on the outer aisles of the market and are things like vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, meat and eggs. The more you nourish your body, the more it will want to be nourished. This is how you will eventually get rid of cravings and will find it easy to make the healthy choices on a regular basis.
Eat lots of fresh vegetables: From leafy greens to carrots and winter squash. These all taste delicious and will give your body tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber and are naturally lower in calories than most other foods. Make this a big part of your plate. If you’re looking for ways to prepare vegetables so that they taste great, you can find that here. If you add meat and/or fish consider smaller portions, almost like a condiment for the vegetables.
Eat a good breakfast: Are you thinking about skipping breakfast to save calories? Not a good idea. A good breakfast will set the tone for your day. If this means waking up 10-15 minutes earlier; do it. Don’t grab a bar that you eat in the car or a low calorie cereal with skim milk. Eat a real meal that will keep you full and your blood sugar balanced. A combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat should accomplish this. If you need some quick suggestions you can see them here.
Consider that a salad may not be your best lunch choice: Yes, of course, I LOVE salad. But don’t be tricked into thinking that a salad is your best lunch choice when you are trying to lose weight. Salads can come with lots of down falls. Depending upon where you get it, it can be full of unhealthy fats and unnecessary calories from the ingredients to the dressing. And the dressings are often full of artificial things and/or things that are in there to extend shelf life and are not good for you. I am a big fan of making your own dressing for a salad. Also, even a good salad can simply not be enough food for a meal. Just like breakfast, make sure you eat a lunch that will keep you full and your blood sugar balanced. You can see my idea of a good salad below and if you want to see me demonstrate a simple salad and dressing, you can see that here.
Stock your pantry and refrigerator: Take time to set yourself up for success. Make sure that you have what you need in the house to make the meals that you will support your goals. I personally went out yesterday with a long list (mostly produce) of things that I wanted to help me get back on track after a lot of holiday eating and drinking. Not having what you need, when you need it will sabotage your success. So think about what you want, make a list and go to the store and buy it.
Find an exercise routine that works for you: This is a big piece of the puzzle. Combined with wholesome eating, exercise will keep you feeling great and once you’re feeling great you will want to feel even better. I know this from personal experience too. Find something that is fun, that you look forward to doing and enjoy. See what’s around, try out new things and make it your “you time”.
These are just some ideas to get you started and I don’t mean to over-simplify how challenging weight loss and maintenance can be.Once you begin to feel great, it will be easier to stay on track. Imagine feeling really good about your food choices, making them easily and feeling great in your body. Do you want help getting started? visit www.TheConsciousPlate.com
Kitchen Salad with Seared Tuna
I call this a kitchen salad because I made it one day from food that I had on hand in my kitchen. Feel free to vary the ingredients using what you like and what you have available. The remarkable thing to me is that this salad tasted great, had a variety of textures and flavors, was very healthy and took under 10 minutes to make.
Use the amounts you like of each ingredient
- Wild arugula
- Roasted Beets, diced medium (I bought these already steamed and vacuum packed)
- Avocado, diced medium
- Pine nuts
- Sushi Grade Tuna, about 1 ½- 2 inches thick
- Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
Heat a heavy metal sauté pan over high heat (do not use a non-stick pan). While the pan is heating, assemble the 1st four ingredients in a bowl. Season the tuna freely with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to it. Wait about 30 seconds and add the tuna. When the tuna begins to change color on the bottom, turn it over with a pair of tongs. Wait until that side turns color (at this point you’ll see a line of pink in the middle). Place each remaining side down on the pan quickly and remove the tuna from the pan to rest for a few minutes.
Slice the tuna against the grain and add it to the salad. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Tip: When dressing a salad, you will typically use 3x as much oil as acid (vinegar or citrus). Play around with this and see what works for you.