Countries across the pond eat more and weigh less

Husband and I are moving.

Probably to Italy. Maybe France.

He doesn’t know yet.

I dream of living, dining and drinking under the Tuscan sun or along the river Seine. Uncorking wine bottles for my daily fitness, eating pasta and homemade tomato sauce for lunch and dinner every day and desserting on gelato well past my bedtime. And I have no intention of gaining a single pound!

Doesn’t that sound dreamy?

I could die living life like that in America!

I am not in La La Land, and my head is not in the clouds. This dream is not a dream.

According to MensHealth, countries across the pond eat more and weigh less. European countries like Italy and France do not have the high obesity rate ruining American health. These countries do not struggle with portion size and don’t have as many problems with processed food and empty calories like America struggles.

But, why?

In order to find the truth, I have decided to leave my homeland and explore foreign cuisine. I am going undercover in Europe! Who wants to fund my trip? In the name of investigative reporting, of course. Anyone? Any takers? Please… No one, then? Oh, fine.

I guess I’ll just do as the Americans do, and Google it! (I went to college. I know Google. We’re besties.)

SIGH.

According to the MensHeath article, Spaniards eat slowly, taking their time with each bite. Italians avoid processed food (and I am a sinner eating pasta sauce from a jar). The French, much like the entirety of Europe, do not eat in front of a television. Meal time is a respected tradition: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Of course, European countries are not the only nations eating real, whole food and keeping their figures trim. According to a Diets In Review editorial intern, southeast Asian fare is better than the Chinese takeout most Americans are used to.

I should know.

I snarfed down Great Wall’s Chicken and Broccoli with fried rice (not ALL of it) Monday night, and I am still feeling the after effects.

Ah, hindsight, you devious fiend!

Comparing my eating habits to those of the individuals living in European countries identifies a jarring reality. struggle with portion control. don’t get the nutrients I need from the often processed foods I eat. eat in front of the television… and I don’t even have cable to distract! (But I do own every season of Charmed.)

From now on, I am going to make a conscious effort to control my portion sizes, eat less processed foods and stay away from television when food is in my hand.

I am also going to stop fearing food.

Another little tidbit in the MensHealth article: in other countries, people respect food. I fear almost every calorie I eat and drink, but I don’t have to.

What are some of the most insightful things you have learned from foreign cuisine? Please share so that we, too, can learn for our neighbors.

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?

Get in a lunchhour workout without a sweat

When I am at work, there is little to no time for me to get in a workout plus my lunch during my lunch break.

It’s next to near impossible.

I have to make do with the time I have, which usually means I go for a stroll around downtown (not too far, mind you, I’ve got to get back in time to eat).

Walking is the perfect lunchtime workout because walking doesn’t build up much of a sweat… unless you’re power walking down the sidewalk…

I do not power walk; I simply pump my arms and walk at my normal pace. If you ask my husband, I walk ridiculously fast for a person out for a leisurely stroll. Hey, I was a server/bartender for almost seven years. You HAVE to move in that field!

If I walk too fast, however, or if I’m in my running shoes, then all I want to do is run when I’m supposed to be walking. I don’t feel too weird about running around in my work clothes -not a big deal for me. But I don’t want to work up a sweat and turn bright red for an hour and half after running around.

I have no time and no place to shower midday.

And sweat smells.

Well, my sweat smells.

AND FEET SMELL! I can’t go back to wearing open-toed heels after running around in my old, nasty tennis shoes unless I have time to shower.

And I don’t.

So running and sweating are totally out of the question on my lunch break. Gross.

During my September Fitness Challenge, which went about as well as can be expected when it comes to me and burpees, I worked up a sweat almost daily during my lunch break. And I was so uncomfortable.

In graduate school, when I was teaching, I’d do a few stretches in my office or wherever I could be alone (usually in the stairwell) before or after classes just to keep from getting to stiff from standing. I almost miss being on my feet all day…

I will probably have to go back to doing modified yoga during my lunch breaks.

Boring.

Power yoga is where it’s at, yo.

I want to sweat during my workouts. I want to turn beet red… literally like a beet. My skin turns soooo red.

I feel like I’ve had a workout when I sweat! It’s good for me to sweat during my workouts! Lets me know when I’ve had too much coffee and not enough water… Sweating is detoxifying. It feels good. It feels like… well, like I’ve really burned some fat.

Not in the afternoon! I’ll have to get up early. Ugh.

What are your favorite sweat-free workouts? Don’t say Pilates. I HATE Pilates ;)

How do you get your afternoon workout in?

Food and fitness journal for weight loss

I started my first food and fitness journal during my first year of graduate school. I wrote down everything I ate and drank and every workout I did, and I calculated calories in and calories out.

And I lost weight.

Diets In Review featured a study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that found women who keep food journals lose more weight than women who do not. I would like to be on the more weight loss side of that study.

I started the journal on the advice of my friend and co-graduate teacher Ashley R./T. Remember her? I miss her.

I stopped the journal because graduate school and teaching are incredibly time-consuming and stressful, and I ran out of motivation to calculate every package of Ramen Noodles I ate after midnight.

Depressing, right?

After regaining all of the weight that I lost, I decided that it was time to start another journal.

My first food journal was a professional food journal with space for food, fitness and calories in and out equations. It was pretty detailed, which might be the reason I didn’t have the time I needed to keep it up.

My newest food and fitness journal is far less professional. I bought a simple, 192-page notebook filled with ruled paper. It is less of a food and fitness journal and more of… well, just a journal. I fill it with the workouts I have completed, the workouts I have missed and, occasionally, the food I eat and beverages I drink. I also use a smart phone app, Fooducate, to figure out what it is I am really eating.

Sadly, there are more workouts missed than completed. I’m not worried, though. I have to start somewhere!

Do you journal? What are your experiences with food and fitness journaling?

Lose weight, tone muscles, eat greens…

My to do list looks pretty fantastic!

skinnyshae’s summer to do list:

  • Go to the gym 3-4 times a week
  • Never miss Power Yoga
  • Do yoga at home
  • Walk the dog
  • Eat garden fresh greens every day (allthetimeforever)
  • Use less cooking methods and more raw food methods for breakfast and lunch

    (I’m not jumping on the raw food diet trolley car. My house is just so bloody hot in the summer time that I do not want to use my oven!)

Weight loss is my first goal.

I gained back some of the weight I lost last year after falling off the fitness wagon… again. My goal is to get rid of it! 

I do not have an ideal body weight to reach. Technically, I am at my ideal body weight. It just happens to be fatty and not muscle-y.

I do not want fatty. I want my big ol’ muscles back!

I also lost a lot of muscle tone by sitting on my rump all day at work and all night doing homework or in class. Rump-sitting causes rump sagging, and I’d like to make gravity work a little harder.

Toning is my second goal!

With a little weight loss and a lot of toning, I will surely look spectacular in my bikini (that I don’t actually own yet).

My slow journey back into fitness is about to pick up with Muscle Pump, Power Yoga and the treadmill… oh, that dreaded treadmill.

I’m also planning on incorporating a few lunch time workout routines into my day using these nifty workouts.

With a few modifications, I could do these workouts in the courtyard outside my office!

Hello, supercharged lunch period! It’s so nice to meet you.

How will you supercharge your lunch period this week?

Summer Series: Ab workouts

Summer season is swimsuit season, and I have a lot to work on before I can sport my suit.

My grandparents have a pool, and I love visiting them as often as possible despite the season, but especially in the summer when I can swim with my grandmother.

She mostly walks while I splash around like a 5-year-old.

Not since I was very young, though, have I worn a bikini. The only two-piece I own is a tankini that doesn’t flatter the figure I have.

It covers it.

I do not want to wear a bikini to show off my body or strut my stuff. I want to wear a bikini because I can! Right now, I can’t because my abs are not as bikini-ready as I want them to be.

Stinkin’ holiday food…

I need to lose inches across my abdomen as well as tone my six-pack to achieve bikini body success! Running will help me lose inches, and these ab workouts will help me tone my six-pack:

I’m not too worried about my muffin top because I don’t have much of a muffin top (and I wear pants that fit me so I shouldn’t).

I am worried about my middle jiggling while I’m splashing around like a child in my grandparents pool.

They won’t judge me, but I will, and I want to be fit!

An amateur gardener and an inspiration to others

Compost soil and plant food at Carpenter Place in Wichita KansasThat, friends, is a huge pile of dirt.

A huge pile of dirt I got to play in today!

Planting fruits, vegetables and herbs at Carpenter Place in Wichita Kansas

To celebrate Earth Day, I joined a group of volunteers to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs at Carpenter Place, a residential center for girls in crisis in Wichita, Kan.

Planting a garden at Carpenter Place in Wichita Kansas

Diets In Review applied for and received a grant from Kalso Earth Shoes for an Earth Day Project. Our project was to plant a garden for the girls and house parents at Carpenter Place.

Planting a garden at Carpenter Place in Wichita KansasNot only did I get to play with dirt and help Girl Scouts pot and plant herbs (omg. so cute.), I also got to meet John Thompson.

John Thompson, you ask? Who’s that?

John Thompson lost 155 pounds using Biggest Loser productsThis, friends, is John Thompson (king of acidified compost dirt).

Thompson lost 185 pounds by making small changes to his lifestyle and eating habits. Diets In Review featured his inspiring weight loss story in January. He’s somewhat of a celebrity. (I know a celebrity! Kinda…)

Thompson did not jump head first into weight loss. He didn’t go all-or-nothing. He made small changes to his lifestyle. He slowly adapted his eating habits –one healthy swap at a time. And, with healthy weight loss, you have to take it slow.

Thompson is 15 pounds away from his weight loss goal, and after he reaches 200 pounds, he doesn’t to plan to stop.

While Thompson had a lot of weight to lose, I understand that you might only have a little weight to lose. Perhaps you simply want to tone your body or be healthier. Whatever your end goal is, making small, simple changes to your lifestyle is the best way to go about it.

I want to lose 10 pounds and/or tone my body to a point where my pants aren’t too snug when I sit and my shirts don’t inch up when I walk –whichever happens first!

The best way for me to lose weight and tone up is to make small changes to my lifestyle. No more soda, more water. Less sitting, more moving. Moderate amounts of TV time, more amounts of gym time. And, as always, patience.

I also featured the Carpenter Place story on Storify! On Storify, you can read tweets from Diets In Review and other volunteers!

How did you celebrate Earth Day?

Do you have an inspiring weight loss story to share?