On Dishing Up Nutrition: Hidden habits that sabotage weight loss

I was on Dishing Up Nutrition this past Saturday talking about habits that hold back weight loss. You can listen here or download the show from iTunes. We talked about a lot habits that keep us from reaching our weight loss goals, including “closet eating” episodes like wolfing down a bag of M&Ms in the Menard's parking lost. It was a great show, and I hope you enjoy it!

 


Reader Q and A: Post cruise weight loss slump

I have wonderful readers. This week, I wanted to feature a question I got from Jane, and my response. I thought many of you could relate to her question and my response.

Feet on a scale

Question from Jane

Back in April I attended your “Get Inspired” session at Nutrional Weight and Wellness in St. Paul; I was so inspired by your story.  I follow your blog and have been following the NWW plan since December 2011.  In the last couple of months I’ve been having a much harder time staying on plan and staying focused.  I was doing really well until July when my husband and I went on a cruise since then I’ve had a terrible time getting back on track and I’ve put on weight and feel so yucky!
I’ve been meaning to email you for months to ask how you do it?  How do you stay on plan and focused?  And when you were losing your weight did you have to be perfect all the time, or could you have the occasional slip but get back on plan and continue to lose weight?  At times I still worry that I’m eating too much fat, but then remember what I’ve learned and resolve not to cut back, but when I don’t lose I worry that that may be the culprit!  Before our trip I noticed that my body felt so good and looked good, but hadn’t really lost weight or inches.
Since we’ve come home and I’m not following like I was I’ve gained both inches and weight!  I’m so frustrated and thought maybe you’d have some quick advice for me.
Thank you so much for any help you could offer.

My answer

I am so glad you wrote. It’s such a struggle sometimes, isn’t it? Believe me, over the last four years I’ve gone through it all. And I am still going through it. I am working on losing the 10 pounds I gained in 10 days in Paris! My body is getting more and more fussy when I go off plan.
I absolutely was not perfect when I was losing the 90 pounds. I think I was on plan about 90% of the time. It was when I tried to be perfect that I slipped up most often. When I gave myself permission to be flexible and try my best, I did much better than aiming and missing for perfection. I found that over time, I was able to minimize the damage from those slip ups, and they didn’t matter as much.
It sounds like you are where I was at the end of my first year. The year that I didn’t lose one pound. I also wasn’t following the plan but for 40% of the time. I was still sliding into fast food drive ups and getting M&Ms at the checkout of Menard’s. I needed that year to get used to this way of eating. I know some people change overnight. I took a year to get ready for the change–I see this now in hindsight.
My body also needed that year to heal my metabolism. After all, I had been on a one woman mission to destroy it for the previous 25 years, with diets and bad food.
The fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil) is key to getting your cravings under control. If you don’t have the fat, you are going to crave the bad stuff (donuts, bread, grains, etc.–the stuff that makes you fat).
Lately, my cravings have been SO calm. I really do have a “take it or leave it” attitude toward carbs and sweets. Why? I think it is my pre-meal cocktail (3 times a day that is):

I also am getting all my meals and snacks in so I am not hungry. I have been doing this ever since I got back from Paris–when I went on a bread and beer binge–and my cravings have never been quieter. Now that my cravings are quiet, I can focus on getting good food, and I am SLOWLY losing those 10 pounds. I asked my nutritionist  about this and she told be that glutamine works so well for cravings because it is the only amino acid that the brain can use to make glucose. So, with your brain getting the glucose it needs from the amino acid, you don’t crave bread. It also heals your gut, which is key to metabolism and weight loss.

I hope this helps you re-ignite your efforts. I was totally hopeless after trying to do this for a year in 2008. In 2009, I really decided to eat this way most of the time. I started doing yoga and walking more, and things started happening. And they can happen for you too!
I will answer your questions, too. Just leave a comment!

Two hours of cooking made fun with recipe, music apps

I get many questions from people about how I maintain my 90-pound weight loss, and even better, lose weight. It's pretty simple and a bit boring–I plan, plan, plan, then cook, cook, cook. The key to my having healthy carbs, fats, and proteins at the ready is my weekly two-hour cooking session. Here's what I made today.

Wild rice meatballs, salmon patties, and healthy sloppy joes

Wild rice meatballs, salmon patties, healthy sloppy joes, cranberry wild rice salad, and zucchini supreme

I will use the food from these recipes to make: meals for my family, my son's lunches, my husband's snacks, and my ample snacks and meals (remember, I eat 5-6 times a day to keep my blood sugar balanced–the best way to lose weight for the long term).

How I make it fun and easy: apps, podcasts, music

Seems like a tall order–making food prep and cooking a fun activity and not a chore–since I have a long list of things I'd rather do. I use Paprika, an iPad/iPhone recipe manager app, to help me keep my recipes organized and easy to follow. I enter recipes into the app or load them from the browser, and then when I'm ready to shop I simply add the recipe to my grocery list. The app is also on my iPhone, which I use to shop and track what I buy.

I like to listen to nutrition podcasts while I cook (yes, I'm that much of a nutrition nerd). I use Downcast to download them and keep them all organized. If I'm in more of a music mood, I turn on the 70's station on Spotify.

Food planning is self care

This is what it all comes down to. When you make food that nourishes your body, you are caring for yourself and your family. I've found that unless it's fun, or at least enjoyable, I won't do it.

I hope you can use these tips and apps to inspire your self-care cooking session!

Have a favorite app that helps you plan? Share a comment now.

 


A book review for your health: Wheat Belly

For many months now I have been obsessed with how unhealthy everyone looks. It logically started when warm weather hit and I was at the pool a lot. I couldn't help but notice all of the teenage girls in bikinis, thin everywhere but a protruding stomach. And all of the men with large, very hard bellies. Or, shopping at Target and seeing so many people looking pale, tired and, well, very large. Having been overweight most of my life, I used to feel very alone. If I were obese now, I would have lots of company.
Which brings me to reknowned cardiologist Dr. William Davis's book, Wheat Belly. My interest in his book was piqued when I first heard him on Dishing Up Nutrition. When I read the book's intro, I was struck by his memory of when women and men, in the Mad Men era, were effortlessly thin. The most exercise he ever saw his size 4 mother do was vacuum the stairs. Women and men with large bellies were rare. He also remarks that today, even marathon runners and triathletes carry extra weight–America, where even the thin people are fat–and despite all of their working out can't maintain a healthy weight.
Apollo 11 Astronauts eating breakfast before launch in 1969
What's the difference between then and now? The abundance of wheat and “healthy whole grains” in our diets that's what. Look at this photo of the APOLLO 11 astronauts the morning before launch. They are eating steak and eggs (cooked in butter no doubt). The toast was likely an afterthought because they would have been so full from a protein and fat-rich breakfast. Bread was used like a condiment. Today, it is often the main course. And my guess is that these guys didn't work out nearly as strenuously as today's weekend warrior triathlete. And yet they are lean and healthy.
Dr. Davis asks, “Your dad called his rudimentary mid-twentieth-century equivalent a beer belly. But what are soccer moms, kids, and half of your friends and neighbors who don't drink beer doing with a beer belly?” He calls it a wheat belly, and it results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone that stores fat. He goes on to talk about how the negative effects of consuming wheat show up in every organ of the body, including the brain and skin.
I hope you check out the podcast and the book. I know so many people who are suffering needlessly because of gluten (the protein in wheat) intolerance, manifesting in joint deterioration, brain fog, obesity, and more. Remember Dr. Davis is a cardiologist, and he has observed amazing changes in people's health and improvement in heart disease at his practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I commend Dr. Davis for his book. Coming out against wheat and “healthy whole grains” (the food companies way of grasping at straws to make health claim) is sacrileage in this country. When I tell people that I don't eat wheat I get the “You're crazy” look or the “But, it's the staff of life!” comment. I have lost weight because of giving up wheat among other changes. I think when it comes to our health, we need to question what we are being told is healthy and stay open to changes that may scare us.

3 recipes to rev up your metabolism

Sweet potatoes roasted with coconut oil and sea salt

For the past two months, I have been training to be a nutrition educator. I am learning so much about nutrition and how to help people make changes in their eating. Part of my training is to observe other teachers. One of my teacher trainers, Angela, is simply masterful at connecting with her students and meeting them where they are. One of the things she reminded me of this week is that “people just want to know what to do and what to eat.”

So, I am going to get very practical this week and give you three of my favorite recipes–recipes that will rev up your metabolism and help you lose weight. You can combine these into a meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This meal is a perfect balance of protein, healthy carbs, and fat–what you need for a healthy metabolism.

  • Crispy sweet potatoes (this is one Angela gives out to her classes): Slice a bunch of sweet potatoes and put on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (makes clean up easy). Coat them with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. I eat a half a cup of these with this meal.
  • Salmon cakes: These are awesome. A great way to get some omega 3s while getting protein.
  • Spinach with red pepper flakes: This one is easy. Cook up a couple large handfuls of fresh spinach in butter or coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and red pepper flakes. Done!

I use a half a tablespoon of organic ketchup with the “fries” to get the full experience of an old unhealthy favorite.

How do you plate up a healthy meal? Leave a comment.


Why Jennifer Hudson doesn’t inspire me to lose weight

Jennifer Hudson is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers

I just finished watching a special on 20/20 called “Gaining and losing Weight Means Big Paydays for Celebrities” The story confirmed what I have long believed about celebrity spokespeople for diet plans like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers: that they get paid gobs (about $30,000 per pound they lose) and they don’t really follow the plans they promote (personal chefs likely contribute more to their weight loss success).

With the success of Jennifer Hudson’s promotion for Weight Watchers, the trend of celebrities shilling for these plans is going to continue and grow. Jessica Simpson is going to be paid $3 million dollars to lose her considerable baby weight. Kirstie Ally, too, famously lost weight with Jenny Craig, only to put it all back on, and then lose it all again with her own company’s Organic Liaison diet (a pretty run of the mill, low-fat diet with a dependence on high-priced supplements).

Jessica Simpson will be paid 3 million to lose weight with Weight Watchers

I don’t begrudge these celebrities how great they look and say they feel now that they have “lost the weight.” I also don’t blame them for the money they make–these endorsements work on huge numbers of us, getting us to buy these tired old diet plans that fail 95% of the time. I myself followed Weight Watchers 13 times in 25 years, ending that journey with 100 extra pounds and a broken spirit.

I guess I just don’t find these loud, look-at-me commercials, filled with stunning before and after pictures, very inspiring anymore (the last time I was tricked by one of these endorsements, “Fergie, the Duchess of York” was the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers). They don’t reflect the reality that I have discovered about what it takes to lose weight for the long term. They don’t tell me that it will take time, or that my body needs to heal from years of metabolic damage (brought on by these same diets). They don’t tell me that I have to eat and nourish myself six times a day with protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fats in order to drop weight. They also don’t cause me to challenge a belief system–filled with messages like “lose 40 pounds by summer”–that promises a quick fix. I searched for a quick fix for most of my adult life. For this problem of weight, one does not exist.

So who does inspire me? I meet inspiring people every day who are taking risks by going against the grain and challenging the information sold by these tired, failing diet plans. Katherine from Andover, Minnesota who lost 100 pounds on Slimgenics, and has gained all but 10 pounds of it back. She is now looking for a better way to deal with this complex problem. Or, Mary from Cottage Grove who was a dieter her whole life and who expresses regret for modeling this behavior to her two daughters–one obese and one dangerously thin. She is now showing them there is a better way to lose weight and be healthy. These are real people with real, inspiring stories. I don’t know about you, but I’ve left the fantasy of easy, fabulous, quick-fix weight loss promises behind. For me, reality is inspiring.

Who inspires you? Leave a comment.


3 recipes to lose weight and feel great

My sister is just beginning to eat the way that I have been eating. She asked me yesterday about what I cook for dinner to keep things interesting. Here are 3 recipes I gave her that, when you eat them all together, make a perfect, balanced, satisfying dinner!
1. Garlic green beans
2. Turkey wild rice casserole add 8 ounces of goat cheese to make it creamy.
3. No sugar cheesecake