Eat organic: Why I switched

Did anyone notice all the organic fruits and vegetables in last week’s (sorry, only three) smoothies?

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

There were lots, right? Go me!

Now, who remembers when organic fruits and vegetables were too expensive and overrated and I refused to pay for them?

Not that long ago, I wholeheartedly believed that I could eat non-organic fruits and vegetables and get all the same nutrition and health benefits organic food offered. Then, I stayed up way too late watching documentaries about vitamins and minerals and chemicals and pesticides and what the chemicals and pesticides were doing to my hormones and fat cells.

It was so bad, you guys.

In college and graduate school, the budget was a little tight so I didn’t spend money on fancy fruits and vegetables…

…which were a shocking 50 cents more a pound.

I was satisfied to eat regular apples, potatoes and greens. I was A-OK with consuming FDA-approved pesticides. Well, I’m not satisfied or A-OK anymore.

I got over the 50-cent expense, and I switched.

Here’s why:

  • Non-organic apples are one of the worst offenders. Want to know why they’re so shiny?
  • Non-organic potatoes are so soaked in chemicals and pesticides that the people who farm them won’t eat them. I mean… potatoes are supposed to sprout.
  • Leafy greens are not only super awesome for us; bugs love ’em, too! They get sprayed with pesticides so the bugs can’t eat them and we can.

Plus, pesticides accumulate in fat cells… and, just, sorta, hang out. Making me more fat.

Awesome sauce.

Switching to organic fruits and vegetables on my last grocery run cost me:

  • 50 cents more per pound for apples
  • 40 cents more per pound for potatoes
  • $1 more per bunch of greens (Romaine, spinach and kale)
  • 50 cents more (per bunch?) for broccoli
  • $1 more per pound for leeks
  • $1 more per avocado for avocados…
  • 10 cents more per pound for bananas
  • Pears and kiwi were on sale!

I think I can live with that.

Bet you can lose weight with DietBet

My motivators are not always healthy motivators.

For example, my motivator in my professional life is my want to be successful. I want success. Why is passion for my career unhealthy? Because I often let it take over other aspects of my life. “I’m working” is an often-uttered phrase even when I’m “off the clock.” I manage all things social media at work so I check Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis… when I’m not at work. It’s hard for me to detach.

My motivators to lose weight, eat right and exercise are not clear.

I want to eat right, but I also want to eat French fries.

HomefriesI want to exercise, but I don’t want to spend money on a gym membership, and I have very little desire to work out in my living room.

Index cards with workouts to take to the gym or on a run

I want to lose weight, but it was easier to buy a new pair of jeans instead of melt away the inches that prevent me from buttoning my old jeans.

My healthy motivators are not strong motivators if I can defeat them with cravings, laziness and new jeans.

But there is something that motivates me to accomplish nearly anything…

…and it’s money.

Greed shines in the heart motivated by money, but I guess I can be greedy for weight loss, and DietBet makes it possible.

DietBet is a social dieting game in which players bet they can lose a certain amount of weight within a certain time frame, and players put their money down as commitment. While the website, DietBetter.com, claims that the game isn’t about making money, I’m only attracted to the game because of the opportunity to win big.

There must be a gambler living in my heart.

When I stumbled across DietBet in December by way of a Women’s Health Magazine article: Get Paid to Lose Weight, I immediately wanted to join the game.

Lose weight? Get paid? Um, yes.

The Transformer, the game I considered (and am stilling considering) joining, starts January 7, lasts six months and requires a $25/month bet.

DietBet screenshot

I’m not an impulsive person, which is probably why I’m not a gambler, so I went through all the fine print and made some calculations to see if it was worth the $150 investment. I calculated that the most I could win would be about $132. And that’s before the company takes its percentage. In order to “win big,” other people have to fail at losing weight.

And that made me sad in my heart.

I don’t want to bet that I can lose weight while secretly hoping other people fail so I can make money! Which might be why DietBet isn’t supposed to be about the money. It’s supposed to be about the community.

Looking at the game from the perspective of a social dieting platform, it resembles something like Weight Watchers, and it makes my heart a little less greedy and a lot less sad.

I am still considering joining The Transformer, but my thriftiness and inability to wish failure on others will likely prevail, and I’ll have to find some other motivator stronger than the pull of an unbeatable craving to lose weight.

What are your weight loss motivators? Have you ever participated in a DietBet game? What were your experiences?

2013 New Year’s resolutions

I make New Year’s resolutions every year.

Resolutions to eat better, to exercise more, to wake up earlier, to pluck my eyebrows… regularly.

Blah, blah, blah…

I have yet to keep and/or accomplish a New Year’s resolution. I doubt 2013 is my year to change my ways, but let’s be hopeful.

Here are my New Year’s resolutions… (Notice how I’m not doing crap about my eyebrows.)

Resolution #1: Commit to better health and hygiene habits

No. I am not resolving to brush my teeth. I do that anyway. I should probably floss more…

But I am resolving to take better care of my hair, skin and nails…Yes. I want to stop biting my nails. I did it once! I can do it again.

To consider this resolution a success, I will have used lotion at least every other day. I should also probably get a haircut… split ends… they exist.

Resolution #2: Eat better, exercise more, yada yada yada…

Well. Of course, I want to lose weight.

Goal: Fit. In. My. Jeans. I miss denim.

Here’s a break down with helpful links…

I’m not going for triathlete in 2013, but I would settle for regular old athlete. Settle = celebrate.

Resolution #3: Stop boredom eating

I will give up having relatively decent looking fingernails (let’s face it, they’ll never be pretty) if I can stop stop stop eating when I’m bored.

I would really like that a bunch.

Resolution #4: Master the art of preparing dried beans, lentils and rice

I cannot cook dried beans, dried lentils or, most recently, rice. Regular old rice. Messed that noise up.

I know these things are healthy and inexpensive so I should eat them, but to eat them means they must taste good. The “taste good” is where I get a little backwards.

Resolution #5: The financial resolution

Save more money. Spend less money. Use a real budget that makes sense and whatnot… Mint.com, people. Mint.com.

Five resolutions for 2013. Just five.

If I stop biting my nails and/or stop boredom eating, and if I use lotion so my skin doesn’t suck, and if I make ONE lentil dish that doesn’t taste awful, I will consider these resolutions successful. Also if I pay off some debt… for the financial resolution I threw in to make it seem like I’m responsible.

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2013? Tackling any big ones this year?

How to avoid weight gain during the holiday season

My waistline was lucky on Thanksgiving.

We did not celebrate with food.

I do not think I will be as lucky on Christmas because, knowing my family, I might have a few Christmas celebrations to attend and a few merry meals to munch.

Oh. I’m getting poet-y.

I do not want to gain more weight during the holiday season. In fact, I am currently trying to lose the weight I gained when I started my desk job. I know I do not need to overeat for my holiday merriment so I’m going to practice a few techniques I found around the web to avoid the holiday weight gain that is so inevitable for us Americans.

Especially for the ones who love food. Like me. I feel your pain.

The first trick I found was “eat like a king, eat like a prince, eat like a peasant.” I should consume the most amount of my calories in the morning for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, I should eat like a prince (less than a king) and like a peasant (the least amount of calories), respectively.

No 100-calorie yogurt cups with granola for breakfast. I need to prepare a healthy, more than 300-calorie breakfast for myself every morning: eggs, fruit, toast and coffee.

And my peasant dinner will most likely be the Christmas dinner that will tempt me to overeat, but NOT if I’m still full of breakfast.

The second trick I found was to bring my own food. For every holiday celebration I attend, I will bring my own healthy dish! I will make enough of said healthy dish to eat it the most but also have some left for others to enjoy.

What about spaghetti squash salad with feta? I’ll go easy on the butter and salt, and I’ll eat ALL OF IT. Looks so delicious.

 

The third trick is something I have tried in the past: DO NOT HAVE SECONDS. And by “tried in the past,” I mean “failed to succeed in the past.”

I have never been able to resist the tempting pull of seconds. My father-in-law is a ridiculously good cook and so are my family members: my mother, my Papa and my grandma. AND I live with my husband who is a much better cook than I am so I’m always eating everything (double that) he puts in front of me.

Guh.

My goals for the holiday season:

1) Eat a crazy healthy and equally crazy big breakfast every morning.

2) Bring a healthy dish that’s low in the usual holiday guilt (butter and salt).

3) Do not have seconds at any holiday meal I attend this season. Do not.

The only goal that sounds tough is #3!

How do you avoid holiday weight gain? What changes do you make in your diet or fitness regimen to make up for the calories you eat for holiday meals?

 

Say “I don’t eat that,” instead of “I can’t eat that”

I read I Don’t Eat That: Four Words That May Help You Lose Weight on Diets In Review in July, and, since then, I have kept a list of things I don’t eat.

According to the study featured in the article, saying “I don’t eat that,” rather than “I can’t eat that” tricks a person’s mind into thinking they are not giving up something they want. Instead, that person is making a conscious decision to avoid the food in front of them or the food offered to them.

Since I started saying “I don’t eat that,” I’m having a less difficult time avoiding foods I don’t want to eat, such as French fries. For example, when I my husband and I order sandwiches to go from a restaurant or bar, I usually sub in a side of soup, instead of chips or fries.

Of course, that still hasn’t stopped me from eating fried pickles…

My list is still pretty short. Apparently, I do not eat too many foods that should be on my “I don’t eat that” list.

Here’s my list:

  • Ice cream
  • French fries
  • Hot links
  • Pizza from Papa John’s
  • Vending machine cookies

When I put each food on the list, I did so after I had eaten it. Ice cream, and most dairy, makes me feel terrible. The French fries I ate before putting them on the list were greasy and made me feel terrible. The hot links, the pizza from Papa John’s and vending machine cookies all made me feel terrible.

I put foods on my list that made me feel terrible… if you didn’t catch on.

So far, only those five foods have made me feel terrible, but I’m sure that list will grow and grow and grow…

Although, in the future, I hope to put food on my list before I eat it because I know I don’t eat it ;)

Weight gain… it happens

Remember when I lost 10 pounds?

Well, I found them.

They came back, and they brought friends.

Yay…

It is so easy to fall back into old habits. I fell back into my old habits: eating too much dairy, drinking too many of my calories and sitting around on my behind… a lot.

And it is so hard to get back to the good habits: like avoiding food you’re allergic to, drinking less and not sitting… a lot.

However, I also believe that it isn’t too hard to enjoy eating a well-balanced diet and to enjoy running and yoga when you’re doing it.

Does that make sense?

For example, last week, I went to the gym three whole times. Go me. I haven’t been to the gym in forever. I haven’t really worked out in forever. But I ran on the treadmill. I lifted some weights. I did some yoga.

And I loved it.

My legs were tired after half a mile. My shoulders were sore after one set of push-ups. My wrists and ankles were weak after 20 seconds of plank.

I L.O.V.E.D. it.

Another example: Apples are not in season in the summer, which is fine, whatever. I still buy apples and eat them… but they’re gross. They taste like cardboard so I never really eat the whole thing. I am missing out on my apples. I LOVE APPLES.

I fell out of fitness, but I know I can fall right back into it, and I know I’ll love it just like I have before. I fell out of my healthy eating habits, but I know I can fall right back into them, and I know I’ll love the way I feel when I do.

So here is my pep talk.

Get up. Get back. Get fit.

I can do it. I did once before.

Eat food, lose weight

Sensa, a scent-based weight loss product, is inhaled to reduce appetite before meals, or, in this case, during the meal.

According to the commercials, a person can sprinkle his or her food with Sensa and lose weight.

I think that the commercial a tad misleading.

I mean… she’s eating an ice cream cone… with Sensa on it. Is that healthy ice cream? Probably not, friends.

You have to do more than eat the food you sprinkle with Sensa to lose weight. And, technically, eating Sensa will not help you lose weight. You have to… smell it… I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

My vote: A healthy diet and regular exercise win again! Smelling won’t make you lose weight unless you’re very sensitive to smells and you vomit a lot. You’ll most likely lose weight if you vomit a lot, but then you’ll have another problem.

POINT BEING. (Sorry.) You can totally lose weight by eating, but not by eating Sensa. You have to eat the right kind of food, and ice cream is generally not the right kind of food.

For example, high fiber foods help with weight loss. Apples, sweet potatoes and chickpeas are nutrient-rich and loaded with fiber. Fiber fills you up and nutrients keep you healthy.

And, as I have said before, apples are the cracker of the fruit family. I eat an apple every day. Sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes with cheese.

Eat apples. Smoked Gouda tastes really awesome with apples.

In addition, cooking with canola oil, eating whole grains and beans and drinking low-fat milk can shrink your waistline.

What apples, canola oil and low-fat milk have in common is the fact that they’re full of nutrients that promote health.

Certain nutrients, such as calcium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, have been proven to burn fat if eaten in the correct portions and manners of cooking. (Fried meat might have protein, but it’s still fried meat.)

How?

The body needs calcium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids to run efficiently. An efficient body is a healthy body. A healthy body more readily burns fat and leads to weight loss. (You need to exercise, too.)

So…

Eat an apple every day.

Try these delicious baked chick peas.

And don’t eat, or smell, weight-loss products that are not known as “healthy eating” and “regular exercise.”