Marcia's Blog is a lifestyle change and dieting blog written by a beloved and respected nutritionist/weight loss counselor/lecturer Marcia Bodenstein. She has helped thousands of kosher consumers achieve and maintain weight loss.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hi all! A "freilachen Chanukah to everyone. Well, we are about halfway through and there were so many many food challenges. But come to think of it, when are there not?
Every day there are different food situations to face and i guess the less I cave in to the cravings the more successful I'll be. So this week was a week of SUCCESSES!!
Starting with Chanukah - Day 1: A beautiful wedding - huge smorgasbord, luscious looking meal - but it was in the middle of the day and I knew I was having company at nite so I didnt eat there. At night, when I saw the donuts and the latkes and I thought about the oil, I also thought that I am doing too well to "test" myself. I made sure that I had lots of salads and veggies prepared for me - funny that NO ONE ATE THE SALAD-they were too busy eating the latkes and donuts (there was an entire fleishig meal too). So I had leftover salad for days. Each nite there were more latkes, more donuts and each day as I walked into the grocer store for this or that there were the fresh-baked-just-delivered-delicious smelling donuts. Every day I think "dont give up what you want most for what you want at the moment" . There are still a few more days and a few more parties to go. I take you all with me to each one and I'm also going with you....let me know how we did!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hi all. Just wanted to add a bit to my post - I forgot for a moment how much time I am spending thinking of Chanukah food prep - which leads me to answer RivkA's question about how much time I spend in the kitchen. Like a new job, I used to spend a lot more time preparing when I didnt know as much as I do now. Then, as I spent more and more timeat this "job", I became more efficient. I used to use ony fresh veggies in my soup - a lot of shopping and chopping. Now I use some fresh, some frozen. I prepare my food 2 times a week - Sunday morning and Wednesday night.
I make sure Ialways have soup, baked potatoes, steamed cauliflower, broccoli, a medley of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, tofu and broiled salmon. I also cut up the following and put them in separate tupperwares:
tomatoes, onions, radishes, mushrooms, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers,carrots, turnips, and fresh peas. Then when I come home I dump a bag of lettuce in a bowl and select from my "salad bar", top with dressing - select a protein, vegetable, starch, throw a mug of soup in the microwave and in less than 10 minutes after I get home a full dinner is on the table.
This Sunday night I am having my family over for the first night of Chanukah. During the day I am going to a wedding, so I'm not sure what I will be making for my company, but rest assured MY FOOD will be well-planned and prepared.
So RivkA, to answer your question, I spend about 1 1/2 hours in the kitchen twice a week. Is it worth it? You bet it is!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Good morning - it is so good to communicate with you in so many different ways - this blog, the forums, and via e-mails. It lets me know where the interests and concerns are - and let me tell you, I share them all with you. My busy life feels like it leaves no time for exercise, food planing and preparation - but I also know that if I dont put those FIRST, then I will be less productive, totally unhappy and angry. Last time I shared with you about how I am preparing my own food and eating out less and less often. It became a priority and I am much more satisfied. The other thing I have started to do (much to my amazement) is experiment with different kinds of herbal teas. Tea has never been one of my favorite drinks - frankly, herbal tea always made me feel like I was drinking perfume. One of my friends started to mix the flavors, putting a peach teabag and an apple teabag in the same cup - it was great. So here are the results of my "mixology" - lemon and mint, green tea and mint, apple cinnamon and "sleepy time", apple and raspberry, strawberry kiwi and peach - they all taste better than they sound and they are good hot or cold.
Let me know what you think.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hi all. Thanks for all your comments and support. It still boggles my mind every time I sit down at the computer that there are so many "lose weight quick" diets and so many things that dont make sense. One of the latest is a "colon cleanse". Here's the truth: Your colon has the ability to cleanse itself. It doesnt need any help to function properly beyond what every other body part needs to function properly which is: Proper nutrition, Proper hydration, Proper exercise and Proper rest. Slacking off in any of those areas (and find me someone who isnt guilty) will result in sluggishness, tired feeling, false hunger, irritability, and looking for some "quick fix"....the quickest fix is the Proper one.

We have recently opened our forum which we willpost on our homepage shortly. In the mean register and join the Start Fresh Community
I'd like to share my latest "experiment" with you. I've been making more of my own food rather than eating out. So, here's what I know:

- any food I buy outside will be prepared with more oil, more salt and more MSG than I would ever use at home.

- the portion size of any prepared food I buy outside is larger than I should eat.

- much of the food I buy outside has been laying around longer than I would like to think about.

- what I buy out is always more costly.

- I like my own food better.

But, I dont like shlepping my lunch to work and I am often too busy to cook for myself and buying out is so much more convenient - these are all my excuses (or some of them anyway, I have more)

So, for the past few weeks, I have resisted convenience and here's what I now know:

- I can find time to batch cook.

- Salads last for 2 days if I dont put in cucumbers or dressing and store in an airtight container.

- Soup tastes just as good at room temperature from my thermos.

- The ingredients I put in my salads far surpass any of those that are in the stores - mushrooms, peas, scallions,peppers,pickles, hearts of plam,artichoke hearts, marinated eggplant, olives, avocado and that's besides the usual lettuce, tomatoand cucumbers

- There are more lunch proteins besides tuna. I have packed fresh salmon (cooked the night before - leftover from dinner), tilapia, eggs, farmer cheese, tofu, beans - monotony is a big reason for going off track

AND FINALLY - I KNOW THAT WHEN I PREPARE MY FOOD IT IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED, PREPARED WITH LOVE AND A SENSE OF ENTHUSIASM AND ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Anyone out there game to try it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good morning all! Winter looks like it's here - and along with it less daylight. And, if eating at night is an issue for you, then there is more "night" to contend with. Moreover, because it's getting colder, spending time outdoorsis less of an option. So, this calls for some new thinking and strategic planning. What I have found works for me and some members' suggestions have been the followng:

1- Make that big pot of soup - it's warm and filling. Prepare a big mug for the microwavefor as soon as you come in from wherever you've been. It's warm and it will force you to eat more slowly and give you time to THINK. Sometimes that's all we need - a few seconds to think before we do something destructive.

2- If you have the ability, buy or rent some exercise CD's. They can be viewed right on the computer. Can't walk outside? Can't get to an exercise class? Here's the perfect solution. Either alone, with a daughter, or a friend or two, this can be loads of fun and advantageous to your weight control efforts.

3- Use the time at home to batch cook. A big ratatouille, roasted chicken pieces, turkey or chicken patties or any of your specialties can be cooked in bulk and frozen. Again, either enlist some help or turn on the music and sing while you work.
This can even be done while you make those phone calls you owe....

4- Attack that pile of magazines and newspapers you've been meaning to read. Write the thank you notes, or (gasp!) a letter to someone. Think of some non-food activities - family game night, knitting, needlepoint, art.

5- Take one night every 2 weeks and meet with some friends. Rotate your homes so not one person has all the responsibilities - remember they didnt come to eat - you can serve some nice fruit and a beautiful vegetable platter.

6- One of our members talks about her "spa" evenings - a long bubble bath followed by a loofah scrub and an avocado face mask. Makes her feel like a million...

Can you share your winter stay-at-home strategies for self-care???

Looking forwrd to hearing...and welcome back lovetoeat, it's good to hear from you.
MarciaB

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More parties - BH. They dont seem to end (that's a good thing) and the food challenges seem endless as well. So today there was a party for a 1 year old - extravagant and beautiful. The room, the guests, the gifts, the entertainment and the food. It was a brunch - so you can imagine what kind of food there was - hot dishes and cold salads and fishes, etc. etc (you know the drill). I would like to put in a plug for TIMING. How many times have you skipped breakfast and by the time you eat the first thing of the day you can't stop? Or have you ever waited too long between meals and felt shaky, cranky, out of sorts and irritable? Have you tried leaving hours and hours before eating and then couldnt control the cravings? It has to do with TIMING and BLOOD SUGAR! To keep blood sugar stable you need to eat approximately every 3-4 hours. This does not mean sitting down to a big meal - it means eating SOMETHING. It is also important to eat breakfast within 2 hours of getting up (or else the metabolism slows down 20% and 60% if you dont eat within 2 hours of getting up). So today I got up at 6 AM and didnt have a chance to eat breakfast until the party (11AM). So here I am - hungry and surrounded by all of this food. How can I make an intelligent choice when I am truly hungry and ready to eat anything? This is not good. SO - I quickly got a fruit and some yogurt, SAT DOWN and ate it as slowly as I could. I immediately felt better - not tired, energy returning and guess what? No cravings! Not hungry! Able to walk away from what I would be sorry I ate. Moral: Eat in a timely way. Eat something on program BEFORE you make the wrong choices for yourself. So, here it is 7PM - I ate lunch at 3:30 and am in the middle of cooking dinner and I FEEL SO ACCOMPLISHED and PROUD OF MYSELF. I wish this feeling for you too.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome to the winter. I hope it's not as cold where you are as it is here. And no, you dont need more food in the winter to keep warm. We keep warm enough with the fat on our bodies. In fact, have you ever experienced (or met someone who experienced) a significant weight loss and feels colder that first winter? The body isn't used to having less fat BUT it does adjust and by the next cold season your body keeps you warm again.
I hope your "re-entry" from Yom Tov to regular schedule wasn't too painful. Mine was OK. When I see how busy I am and how much I need to do, I begin to miss those days of
Yom Tov when I could relax a bit.
The other day I went to a beautiful Bar Mitzvah. Sometimes when a member tells me about "extraordinary" or "unbelievable" food at an event, I think to myself that I've seen it all. How "fabulous" and different can it be? BUT I never saw the extravagant array of food, in quality, in quantity and in preparation as was served at this simcha.
It was all buffet style and there was nothing overlooked or missing. With determination I took poached salmon, salad and some lightly grilled vegetables and put it at my place at a table at which I knew everyone. Problem was, when I got back to the table everyone was still at the buffet, so i went back to "look". As I was "looking" and deciding that I was hungrier than I thought, I "bumped into" the dessert bar, and I was "looking" there too. All of a sudden it hit me "what am I doing here". I shouldnt be "looking". There wss nothing for me to see, this was not my food, the last place it looks good is on display - it certainly doesnt look good as fat hanging off of different body parts (and that's exactly whre that food ends up). And as it says "the eyes see and the heart desires". I (we) am very influenced by what is around me. In fact, a recent study shows that when you are with people who are overeating, chances are that you will follow suit. And when your table-mates are not overeating, you have a better shot at eating better too.
So, I tore myself away from the "show of food" and went back to my table. Again and again, I realize "we are what we eat". Sometimes there is a disconnect between what we eat and what we weigh BUT WHAT YOU PUT IN IS WHAT YOU PUT ON!! So I looked around and saw what those NT's (natural thins) were eating and I saw what those people who looked the way I want to look and behaved the way I want to behave and those who were in control the way I want to be in control and I ate my meal. I was satisfied and HAPPY! And those people who overate were stuffed and sorry. Now which would you rather be? Don't give up what you want most for what you want at the moment!
What recent challenges have you faced? How'd you deal with them? I'm waiting to hear....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So - this is the "after Yom Tov" that we've been talking about for weeks, right?
"I'll do that after Yom Tov" , "I'll take care of that after Yom Tov", "I'll start losing weight after Yom Tov" "I'll get healthier after Yom Tov" - what? we're WAITING to get healthier? That doesnt seem like such a good idea, but since we are here THE TIME IS NOW!!
Get rid of the idea that "it's easier after Yom Tov" - there's always some excuse. Now it's simcha season, then there's the bad weather, then Chanukah and on and on and on....SO LETE'S START SOMEWHERE...there are so many behaviors that support good health and weight control. What will YOU COMMIT TO THIS WEEK? Some examples

1 - Write a food log. Be honest and record everything. It is THE #1 TOOL OF WEIGHT CONTROL

2- Make a big pot of "unlimited vegetable soup" - what a help for those tough times

3- Eat every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugar stable

4 - Start moving...this is self-explanatory

5 - BIG KEY - PREPARATION. Make sure you have your foods available for when you need them.

6 - Planning is a big help. Plan your meals for a day or 2 ahead, then you'll know what to shop for and you're in great control.

These are some of the "tricks of the trade" that have worked for me and countless others.
I am looking forward to hearing what you committed to and then what you actually did.

As for me, I had a great Yom Tov and I am trying to get used to the idea of going back to work tomorrow. Did great food-wise and so I am energetic and ready to go (I think). I am so looking forward to seeing OUR BRAND NEW START FRESH FOODS IN THE SUPERMARKET - that's right - muffins, blintzes, personal pan pizzas. They are really lower fat, lower calorie and delicious! It is an exciting time for us - thanks for sharing it.
It's a new year, a new season, and a great time to START FRESH.
Hatzlacha!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hi - I hope everyone's Rosh Hashannah was as beautiful as mine was, and again, I want to wish each of you a very happy and healthy year. This is one gift we can strive for - healthy by making healthier food choices, happy - what feels better than being in control? Dont ruin what you want so badly - what you have spent time in shul davening for, and what everyone is wishing you this time of year. And, loseweightima, we ALL have those same issues some times. Every day we "vow" to start and every day we end up full, sick and sorry. BUT you can never never give up - whatever you do is not as bad as what you could do if you werent thinking about your program. One day it will just click, and then the next day and the next, etc. The weight loss journey is not a straight line - it's full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys - we've just gotta keep journeying.
As far as preparing and cooking for many guests on Yom Tov - first, to be fair, the real cook is my beautiful, wonderful, emotionally and physically healthy sister. BUT it's MY house - so the trigger foods are there long before Yom Tov and the leftovers are there long after the last guest is gone. Tips? 1) Eat meals. Sit down and focus. Let your body and mind know that you ate. 2)Have a bottle of water handy and sip while you cook. 3) Talk to yourself - tell yourself what you really want (and it's not the food) 4) Have cut up veggies available, soup in a microwave mug ready to heat in an emergency.
I KNOW that the secret to success is SIDE DISHES!! Make sure you are satisfied when you walk away from the meal.
So, the guests came and it is no mystery why people look the way they do. The Natural Thins ate like Natural Thins and the others, well the others ate like the others, and were talking about which diet they would go on after Yom Tov. You see, once you declare your freedom from any kind of program, any control, all bets are off and you are vulnerable for anything.ACT AS IF YOU ARE A NATURAL THIN - watch them and imitate them!
And the leftovers - they leave when the guests leave. The choices? Send them away, give them away, throw them away, or flush them away. They're too dangerous when they hang around.
I hope everyone's fast is an easy and meaningful one, and the rest of the Yom Tov everything you wish it to be. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hi - first and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year. May you be blessed in this year with all good things, a lot of joys and simchas and few, but manageable, challenges. Now, how do we go about pursuing such a year? Davening, of course, but it is important for each of us to do our part as well. If we are incapable of doing something, we cannot be expected to do it, but if we are capable, then we are obligated. This means healthier food choices, healthier emotional choices, asking ourselves before every action "Is this the way I want to live?" "Will I be happy tomorrow with my choices today?" After all, today is tomorrow's past, and so much of our future depends on our decisions and actions of today. THIS IS YOUR YEAR!! This is the year that you GET IT - it's the year you take yourself off the back burner and start to take care of yourself FIRST, so that you can better handle anything that comes your way. This is the year that you will lose that weight and learn strategies for permanent weight control. This is the year that you get happier and healthier!!
It's Yom Tov time - full of beauty and newness and FOOD CHALLENGES!! And it's a month-long event!! What to do? First, think of the "salami method" - just take one slice (one day) at a time. Dont think about Yom Kippur till after Rosh Hashannah. During Yom Tov think of
Marcia's Yom Tov Rules:
1) Stay dressed when you eat - you eat differently with something around your waist. Feel every bite.
2) Sit down to everything you eat - especially if you are the server and preparer. It is so easy to eat the equivalent of a meal in the kitchen just preparing the meal 3) Drink water - even though you are out of routine and are not carrying around your bottle - find time, make time to drink
4) Eat breakfast - it focuses your mind and your day and
5) NO CAKE and its' relatives - once you start, it's so hard to stop. The sugar addiction takes over. And yes, it's addictive - that goes for sugar, honey, barley malt, rice syrup, maltose, fructose, all the -oses. Not any one is better than any other one (to answer your question , Anonymous).
So, while you are busy shopping, cleaning, inviting and preparing, please think of yourself- preparing for you, shopping for you - it will only enhance the season for you.
NEXT BLOG: How I handled the Rosh HaShannah Seuda for 20 people....

Again, A "SHANA TOVA" or "GIT, GEBENCHT YOR" to all. Thank you for all of your support, and I look forward to STARTing FRESH with you next year (5769)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hi to all of you, and thanks for being there. I can so relate to "I was off and now I'm back on", "I was off and now I need a jumpstart", "Yom Tov is coming so I'd better lose a few pounds to give myself some leeway" or "Yom Tov is coming I will start after...." Those diet conversations are so embedded into our consciousness that they are almost apart of us. I also know that there are 2 rules: begin and continue. This isnt on and off like a light bulb. It is one continuous journey-so we are either journeying forward or backward. When we think about starting over, or starting from the beginning it is with something "really strict" so we can lose those few punds that we "just put on". Sweet, you are so right - if we are continuously looking for a jump start we will be on a restrictive "diet" always.
We dont want to start "from the beginning" - what we want is the determination and enthusiasm that we started with - when the program, or any program, was a novelty,something new, something exciting! Please, please, please -dont look for excitement in the food or in the food plan. None of it is meant to be exciting - look for that somewhere else. The program is meant to teach us SELF-CARE, PRIDE, DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT. And that happens a soon as we decide to abandon those old self-defeating ideas and behaviors, cut up that salad,sit down and eat it, get a tall glass of water and drink it, toss out those trigger foods, put on a pair of sneakers and take a walk.
So loseweightima and sweet and all the others out there who tell me you much you love my blog: Yom Tov is a week and a half away - what you do on Yom Tov will be dependent on what you do NOW UNTIL THEN!!! If you have a "good" 11 days, chances are you will be fueled with some determination to work harder on Yom Tov - if you dont you are not beginning your healthy eating journey on September 29th.
Let's give ourselves what we daven for and what we wish for - good health, and happiness - it all starts with YOU!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Good Sunday morning to all!! As I look outside my window I am amazed - it looks as if there were no rain, no howling winds, and no flood in my hallway (yes, there was one - more about that later). What a difference a day makes. And to carry that over into our lives we all know that circumstances can change very quickly - so enjoy what you can today and fix what you can today because tomorrow everything can look vastly different. Now for my flood and what I learned from it.
I was so grateful to be home yesterday when it started to pour. All of a sudden I heard something strange right outside the door to my apartment and sure enough it was raining (pouring really) from the skylight above the second floor (I live on the first). The harder it rained outside, the harder it rained in. As I checked every few minutes there was more and more water everywhere (BH it never got into my apartment).
BUT IT WAS SHABBOS! No one to call, nothing to be done, couldnt mop - just had to accept what was happening, make the best and be grateful that it wasnt worse - it didnt hit any electricity (came close, though) and no one was hurt and no damage in anyone's house. What a lesson in accepting what cant be changed. The other thing that resulted was all the neighbors were in each others apartments all afternoon - and of course it was Shabbos so all the cakes, candes, cookies, nosh was being served in abundance. The more nervous the neighbor, the more eating she did. (Didnt help, it still was raining in the hallway) Amazing, isnt it, how everything boils down to food?
And after Shabbos, as soon as we could, we got in touch with the landlord, who fixed the problem temporarily and when I get home today I expect the halls to be dry and the skylight window to be fixed. What are my chances?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good Sunday morning. When I walk outside in my neighborhood (Flatbush) it is so apparent that this is a 3 day-summer-beautiful weekend. It seems like everyone's away. How peaceful! Of course, this is IT. By tomorrow night everyone will be back and the new season will start all over again. (Where did the summer go?) We will be thinking about school starting, fall clothes, Yom Tov. It will be a whirlwind of "re-entry", unpacking, shopping, planning, cooking. This is what I call a "transition period" - don't be surprised if it is accompanied by unusual hunger and feelings of "I need something good to eat" - it's just that displaced, not-in-routine-yet feeling masquerading as hunger. Lots of feelings masquerade as hunger (you know, anger, boredom, celebration, depression, stress, frustration, fatigue and overwhelm - how many do you have each day?)But it's not hunger, and it WONT go away with that sugar-laden binge - it never does!!
Sweet nailed it - when you overdo it, GO RIGHT BACK to what you know works. I'll also bet, Sweet, with your history, you didnt let exercise go by the wayside even though you were on vacation. That's the key - do what you CAN do, what you are WILLING to do. Just because your eating gets a little sloppy doesnt mean you throw out all the positive behaviors.
I dont often go to a huge supermarket - I prefer to shop at a smallish one in my neighborhood that carries everything I need. And even if I do go, I usually go with a list, am in a hurry, run around, get what I need and make a hasty exit. The other day I had some time, needed some things (starting to shop a little for Yom Tov as well) and I went to a mega-size store. No wonder 65% of Americans are overweight.
I counted 45 (that's not a typo) - 45 cold cereals and EVERY ONE OF THEM HAD SOME FORM OF SUGAR IN THE FIRST 5 INGREDIENTS! There was an ENTIRE aisle devoted to cookies. What's wrong with this picture? As we "swear" we believe that what we eat affects our health, we are mass producing and mass eating processed, unhealthy, fat-laden, full-of-sugar-and-artificial-ingredients foods. And without a demand, they wouldnt be produced - so what message are we sending? We are playing a game of "russian roulette" - we are killing our bodies and hope we dont get caught. It doesnt seem like such a smart game to me.
Who out there will pledge with me that MOST of our food for the day will be in it's natural form (fruit, veggies)? Who will pledge to be more cognizant and aware of ingredients? Who will commit to reading labels and limit those products loaded with fats and sugars and dyes and chemicals and additives and preservatives? Any takers?
Let me know!! Have a great week and WELCOME HOME.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good morning to you all (?) on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning. Where is everyone? On vacation having a good time I hope, and I hope to hear from you - sometimes I feel like I've been talking to myself! I need your support as much as you need mine! Let me know if you're out there.....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good morning - I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful day. With all the rain we've been having here "no rain in the forecast" is truly a gift. Unfortunately, I have to be in the office today - too much happening here for me to be able to relax at the beach (which would be my first choice).
Last Wednesday night the van we depend on to take us from class location to class location was involved in a pretty serious accident. No one was badly hurt (BH) anbd that's the bottom line. Everything else can be repaired (it will be weeks) and costs money (quite expensive) and aggravation (how will we keep our classes running upstate?)and long-term consequences (insurance rates increase), but seeing the airbags deployed,the front end of the van smashed, 2 frightened teens (who hit our car)puts everything in perspective. We were so so lucky - if it can be solved by money it is not a problem. By the time I got to the scene (no, I wasnt in the van at the time)everyone was standing, calmer and grateful.
SO HOW DO ALL THESE THINGS TRANSLATE INTO HUNGER??? Amazing that our reaction after it was all over was "what can we eat?" Another example of using food as a tranquilizer. Knowing that it doesnt work we were satisfied with fruit and yogurt - and felt much better for not giving in to something we really didnt want anyway but looked good at the moment!
Times like those really make me think of what is important in life - taking care of yourself as best you can - physically and emotionally - so that I can be "present" for whatever I need to do. Simple? yes. Easy? No way. It involves thought, effort concentration, preparation and prioritizing. It involves not only food but sleep, physical activity, hydration, and dealingwith stress in an appropriate way.Those things will determine the quality of our lives.
Wishinhg you good quality...and a good week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Monday morning to all - I hope you all had a good (?) fast. I am also glad the 9 days are over. I know many of you are going on vacation now - sometimes that can be such a trigger for overeating. Think of days that are not the usual routine (Shabbos, for example) and how that can lead to unplanned eating. Somehow vacation seems to signal freedom, relaxation, no schedule and no routine - but it shouldnt mean "I'm going to ignore my health" or "I'm going to do something I am going to regret". I know that I can't enjoy anything - certainly not a vacation - if I am angry about what I ate or am groggy and angry from eating too much sugar. I remember those times that I returned from a "real" vacation - one that I ate right, exercised and took care of my needs- and came back feeling wonderful and ready to take on the world.There are certain "non-negotaibles that we do takewith us(do you bring food with you? Kashruth is one of those non-negotiables). Healthy living is another non-negotiable, right?
So, think of what consititutes FUN!! Swimming, hiking, boating, conversation BUT NOT OVEREATING. Overeating takes away the enjoyment - IT DOESNT ADD TO IT!
So remember YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE VACATION - have fun,stay healthy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Good morning all, and yes, Optinosh, where is everyone? I know the summer brings with it vacations and weekends away, but I miss all the "commenters" on this blog - we are all such good support for each other. Also, Optinosh, it sounds like you are really "getting it" - this isnt about dieting - we all know how to do that very well - but about living, makig appropriate choices about food, and in general, taking care of ourselves in a way that says "I count!"
The 9 days is not my favorite time of year - in fact it's the time I like the least. It always brings with it a certain measure of fear - anyone else feel the same way?
No, not about eating - I dont ever eat fleishigs (no, not even chicken) so that isnt an issue, but it's more of "I can't wait till it's over and everyone's safe" kind of thing.
Also, the Tisha B'Av fast is so long and I am such a bad faster (thirst, headaches)that I am already starting to think about it.
As far as food, I continually hear in my classes "what can I eat?" As if meat were the only thing we live on. First of all, this 9 days includes 2 Shabbosim, so it's really like 5 days. There are at least 5 different kinds of fish to try (in addition to the old staple, salmon) - tilapia, sole, flounder, halibut, snapper, grouper, fresh tuna...and it's a great time to try tofu. Beans are also a great source of protein, and in this heat, some cold salads and simple omelets make some delicious meals! Be aware of how much lighter you feel.
If you want to make your fast a little more comfortable (and who doesnt) start about Thursday to de-caffeinate and to drink loads of water (which we all should be doing anyway).
Look for next week's blog on Monday - after Tish B'Av.
Have a good, safe week and an easy fast.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hi out there - another beautiful Sunday morning. The summer is half gone! Where did it go? As I look back on my blogs for the past few weeks, each Sunday they come from somewhere else -that's right - I havent caught my breath. There's so much to do and it seems that there is never enough time. Everything's a choice. Saying "yes" to something is saying "no" to something else. And so it is with food, too. We are a sum total of the choices and decisions we have made thus far. WHERE YOU ARE IS WHERE YOU GOT YOU! If you dont like where you've landed, make a different choice. Not happy in your apartment, your job? Make a change (yes, it's easier said than done, but it starts with a decision). Not happy with your weight? Muscle tone? Appearance?
Make a change. In fact, make a FEW changes - Food, Exercise and Water.
So,as I've told you, I've not been home on the weekends, and BOY! the opportunities to "pig out" abound. It's so easy to buy in to what other people say - "it's the weekend,come on" My answer to myself: I can negate on the weekend all the work I put in during the week. "You're always dieting" My answer to myself" No I'm not, I am eating in a way that always makes me feel good, healthy and proud. "Look what I made especially for you" My answer to myself: I appreciate what they did, but I know that they want me to be happy so I will ask for somethng else "especially for me" - some herbal tea perhaps and I will have something else while I watch them eat what they think they made especially for me. I know that it will not go to waste (or waist)
I also used some tips for going out to eat with other people: I order my meal first so I am not tempted by other people's orders. I never eat anything that I didnt order (like a nibble from someone else's plate). I check out the meal to see if I should take 1/2 home because it is too big (usually the answer is yes) and ask to have it wrapped up before I start. I ask for salad while everyone is eating bread.
If everyone is ordering dessert, I get fruit so I deont have to watche everyone else eat. Results have been that Iam the only one walking out of there feeling good - not overstuffed and sick. What a feeling - I hope you have it too!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Good morning (again) - I dont know what happened, but my whole blog got "eaten up" by the computer and failed to post - so here goes (again!)
For those of you who love the heat (and there are some of you out there) I'm sure you're happy these days. For the rest of us, I hope you are finding ways to keep cool (and keep your cool - this weather can make anyone cranky). Do you know that the more food and the "heavier" your food is, the hotter you'll feel? So, lighten up - concentrate on cool fresh fruit and veggies, and yogurt. Even those foods that are traditionally eaten hot, can be great eaten cold - chicken, grilled vegetables and potatoes! Let us know which "summer foods" you are enjoying (and depending on).
I don't know about you, but sitting around the pool makes me remember all the BLT's (bites, licks and tastes). It's hard resist comparing, isn't it? And dont you observe that women who look a certain way eat in a certain way too? Those women remember that you WEAR what you EAT! And they remember it all the time! Let's take a tip, huh?
As for sweeteners, that controversy has been around forever. Are they safe? Are they healthy? What about during pregnancy, nursing? For kids? Studies have shown 1) they are safe and 2)they are not safe. It depends on who is doing (and paying for) the studies. I'll bet the poweful sugar lobby is behind some of those nasty rumors. BUT remember, though sweeteners are less caloric, the first ingredient is "dextrose" which is sugar. These products were never intended for DIETETICS. They were made for DIABETICS. So the body cant tell the difference and pours out the same amount of insulin and leaves us in sugar craving. Optinosh, yes stevia is on the program and yes it is kosher (check the label to see if yu use that particular hechsher). It SEEMS TO BE the one with the least problems. Be aware, though, that when a product is "herbal" it simply means that the FDA did not test it and there is no data. All of these things are individual choice.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend - keep cool!!
Good morning everyone! Forthose who just LOVE the heat (and there are some of you out there) I'm sure you're happy these days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy Sunday morning to everyone. I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather (I hope it's just as glorious where you are as it is here), and that your summer schedules are a bit more relaxed than during the winter months. I am so grateful that mine is. It allows me to do some of those little things I dont have time for, or rush through. One of those things is browsing the bookstores (Barnes and Nobles in particular). I love to read and can't pass a bookstore or a library without going inside (and usually dont leave without a book). I am interested in many sections, but first, I gravitate toward "Diet and Health". Guess what? They all say the same thing!! Most of our food for the day shoud be natural, unprocessed. In short, it should look like what it loooked like in its original form - a baked potato, not french fries or potato kugel, fresh fruit rather than smoothies). I find this advice pretty simple (not easy!) in the summer when the fruits are beautiful and tasty and the veggies colorful and sweet! Save the slow-cooking for the colder months and eat your food fresh and cold (even chicken can be batch-cooked and eaten straight from the fridge). Every book talks about exercise - a cool refreshing swim sounds so appealing, no? And SO IMPORTANT - is drinking drinking drinking WATER!! During the summer we lose so much to perspiration, respiration and elimination. It has to be replaced and NOT BY SODA! Every function of our bodies need water (even the fat-burning process). Dehydration can lead to headaches, kidney stones, fainting and a host of other problems. Not thirsty? How come we dont wait to get hungry to eat but we feel we need to be thirsty to drink? By the time your body signals thirst, you are on your way to being dehydrated. So, remember to drink - it's easier during this hot weather, but important all year long.
By the way, there are some great novels in the bookstores, too. Grab a great read and relax!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hi everyone! I was away for the weekend so I am writing later than usual. I hope you all had a great Fourth of July...and now summer has officially begun. Of course I went to the requisite "4th of July barbecue" and of course I was astounded by the amount of food. What did not surprise me was how tempting it all was - no matter how long I am on this journey of self-discovery, of weight loss (and gains), no matter how "aware" I am, no matter how much I know about emotional eating and can discern what is physical hunger and what is not, the food will always call to me. Whether I answer or not is my CHOICE, and believe me, sometimes that decision is not easy or simple. So many factors go into making those choices, not the least of which is "am I sleep deprived?" Yes, Optinosh, sleep is definitely a missing link in weight control. First of all, when you are tired, all bets are off. You are more hungry (or what feels like hungry), you dont have the "strength" to fight cravings. Also, when you are asleep, your body is producting LEPTIN, which aids in the fat-burning process. While we are awake, we are producting GHRELIN, an fat-burning inhibitor. So...go to sleep! I find that if I wake up 1 hour earlier in the morning, I can accomplish much more than dragging myself through the late-night hours trying to do more than I am able to at that time.
Another thing I find invaluable to weight loss effort is SUPPORT! It is so important for me to have someone to talk to that understands these food issues, someone who doesnt say to me "just eat less" or "push yourself away from the table". I understand "roll yoursself away from the table". I have to have someone supporting me who "gets it". That's why I so appreciate all of your comments and I am SO EXCITED about our new START FRESH FORUM, vehicle for discussing anything and everything having to do with our weight-loss, healthier lifestyle efforts. I look forward to joining you all there!
Lovestoeat, thank you for remembering my friend. He is doing well, back to work but definitely changing some things. He is walking every morning, giving up some work hours, eating many more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and starting to drink water. Amazing what can happen when you feel pushed against the wall...but do we have to wait so long?
As always, I thank all of you for your appreciation of the efforts of startfresh.com - we're here to help.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good morning everyone from around the world. Every time I write here, I think of how small our world has become, how easy it is to reach each other via phone, internet, sophisicated transportation. And how, in these technologically advanced times, the one thing that doesnt change is our bodies and their needs. Proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise - the keys to how I am going to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Becoming irresponsible in any of those areas is the beginning of a downward spiral.
A few weeks ago I shared about a friend who had a heart attack. She's doing great(BH) and the advice given her? Proper nutrition, exercise, hydration and rest. Well, this weekend REALLY made me aware of 1) my age and 2) the importance of self-care. ANOTHER one of my friends had a stroke (mild, but a stroke nonetheless). He wisely did not ignore and "numbness and a little weakness". Tests showed some plaque and that he had had a series of mini strokes (called ischemic) in the past. THE ADVICE?
Proper nutrition, proper hydration, proper exercise, proper rest!! So, here's the question - WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START TO PAY ATTENTION? These problems do not spring up, they are the result of many years of abuse. So whatever your age, TAKE HEED. We tend to ignore health advice when we are young and feel well AND THEN WE PAY THE PRICE.
So, after hearing this news guess what I wanted? FOOD to make me feel better. I had to laugh at myself and think about how automatic my old thoughts and behaviors are, how strong that desire is, and how much some of my emotions feel like hunger. It was difficult to be rational, but I kept thinking about how my bingeig was not going to help my firend's situation (believe me, if it would make things better I would be eating out of control today) and it would only make things worse for me.
On a lighter note, it seems like the city has emptied out. It feels like everyone has made a mass exodus to the country. Less traffic, more parking, quieter streets - feels like a different Brooklyn. I also know that the 8 weeks flies by...as time goes so quickly. Take advantage of whatever time you have....have a great week.
MarciaB

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good morning all on this very beautiful Sunday morning. I wonder how many weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations, and barbecues you are all faced with - I know that my schedule is full - sometimes more than one in a single day! What a challenge this can be if you are not prepared, both mentally and physically. Every day there is a different "excuse" to overeat, to not exercise, to not drink water - and these days those excuses abound. So, mental preparation starts with a morning commitment - how do I want to take care of myself today? Do I love myself enough to nurture myself and to seek out the best for myself? Preparation for the day begins with breakfast - within 2 hours after arising or else the metabolism slows down 20%. I dont always want to eat at that time, but it is imperative to "jump start" the metabolism and the day. Certainly you wouldnt drive your car without gas, right? Physical preparation means having the right foods avbailable at home READY TO EAT! For me, that means having salad fixings all cut up ready to toss into a bowl with bagged lettuce (I'm lazy sometimes, or pressed for time, whichever sounds better, peeled carrots (or the baby ones in a bag, I'm lazy, remember?)steamed veggies in the fridge, and cooked fish (or chicken, if you eat it, I don't), a ratatouille to eat hot or cold, and most important a vegetable soup (made from unlimited veggies) ready to heat and eat. When I know I am prepared at home, it keeps me focused out of the house 'cause I know I am coming home to MY FOOD. A pitcher of ice cold lemonade helps too.
As usual, I thank you for reading and for your responses. Lovestoeat, the fact that you got back on program immediately is a HUGE SUCCESS - dont discount it. You could have just kept going on and on, but you didnt and thereby you saved yourself a lot of unhappy days and pounds. Imaof6, kudos to your husband. Notice that those "natural thins" are selective about what they eat. We can certainly learn from them.
Have a great week!
MarciaB

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Start Fresh



Good morning and happy Father's Day! I am back to reality - vacation is over and it was REALLY tough to come back. It was a dream trip. Now there's real life.
I hope everyone had a beautiful Shevuos (I did), and I understand it was hotter in New York than it was in Israel (a preview of summer, which is quickly approaching).
This period between Shevuos and the summer is something I call "transition time" - school year coming to an end, summer plans being made, weather changes, and so many weddings to attend (I hope that's true for you too). Transitions can be tricky - I always need to watch for "hunger" during these times. As far as simchas - never never go there hungry! If you plan to eat the meal, be prepared. Eat a salad, a fruit, some yogurt, maybe some soup before you leave so that you can go to the simcha comfortably satisfied. It is so important to be able to make intelligent decisions about food - and we can only do that if we are not binging or starving. If you go too hungry, the smorgasbord is not a safe environment - it's hardly safe even when you are NOT really hungry. Think about "Marcia's rule of smorgasbord" - your handbag in one hand and a drink (water or seltzer) in the other, and then socialize, socialize, socialize and dance the night away. If you are going to the simcha to eat - STAY HOME!! Think about what you are really doing there - sharing in the happiness of the occasion. Overeating is just not part of that mix, right?
Imaof6 - I am so happy for you that you are planning the trip. I would love to see you visit our Start Fresh office in Boro Park - 1323 46th Street. You are so right - snacks for the airplane is a MUST! I found popcorn (Start Fresh, of course), fruit, and an occasional Start Fresh Biscotti invaluable on the flight. Dont forget the WATER - hydration is so important when flying such a long distance - any distance really. Also, try to walk around on the plane if you can.
In Israel - rely on the luscious fruits and veggies - they are SO DELICIOUS! As far as the yogurt is concerned, Dannon is just fine. The sugar is lactose - milk sugar - and it will appear on any dairy product. Just check to make sure there is no added sugar- such as cane juice or fructose. If you see sugar free, fat free yogurt (not ice cream, yogurt with live active cultures) go for it!
Wishing you all a great week...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hi from Tel Aviv - I am still in Israel and getting ready for Shevuos. What a trip this has been! Lots of family and friends, loads of visiting, sightseeing, shopping and everything else one can do here. The time is passing so quickly. First, I want to say that I have walked enough this past week to last a month, but I am so grateful to be in good enough shape to do it. (Reminder: good, supportive sneakers are a must!) Also, since it is so hot here, I drank a small lake since I arrived, and I am so glad that I like water and have stopped drinking diet soda and coffee (neither of which quench your thirst). Some really good habits have helped me keep the food in check - 1) I dont stand when I eat, 2) NO SUGAR! NO SUGAR! NO SUGAR! - you'd be surprised how many things that leaves out! 3) no appetizers, no desserts.
The fruits and vegetables in Israel are so wonderful that it is really great to really taste and appreciate them. All in all, I think you can tell that this has been a dream vacation, a trip of a lifetime and it's hard to think about coming home.
Thank you all again for your comments - they keep you close to me. I am so glad, Shayna, that you appreciate the audio lecture. Lovetoeat, if there are "cheesecake kits" here, I haven't seen them not has anyone heard of them BUT it would be a great idea. Imaof6, your salmon blintzes sound divine. And as for the agave, it is like sugar, so I think I would stay away if I were you. Anonymous - I think it's great to get prepared food. Prepared food (and diet prepared food) is here to stay. It's convenience, a timesaver and keeps your exposure to the temptation to a minimum. Kudos to you that you realize this and are helping yourself. And to us all, everything is a process and a learning experience. Next year (please Hashem) we can look back and ask ourselves "what have we learned?" and behave accordingly. Never, never beat yourself up for a mistake. It is there to teach us for the next time.

A Good Yom Tov to all and next blog will be from home!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

SHALOM to everyone from Tel Aviv, where the air is permeated by the smell of fresh bread and there is a cafe on every block and each one is packed (even this late on Motzei Shabbos) What food challenges so far. Thank goodness I brought my own food so I didnt have to rely on El Al's snacks and 2 full meals on the flight. And, as many of you know, the time difference makes it tough to know which meal you're up to - so more opportunity to overeat. I was so grateful to be "grounded" before I left so that I was "safe". Airports, vacations, new places are always such a trigger for me, but anything could be a trigger to eat if I let it.
It's so nice to see all of you supporting each other through this blog - those people who have social support always do better than those that try to go it alone.
And, you all inspire me too.
I know that everyone is busy thinking about Shevuos. I know that whatever I do from now UNTIL Shevuos will determine what I do ON SHEVUOS. This week, when you are preparing the blintzes and cheesecake, MAKE YOURSELF FLEISHIG. Then there is no question, right? And when you come to that milchig meal (where by the way the tradition is DAIRY not CHEESECAKE) you will be so proud of your accomplishments during this week, there is NO WAY that you're going to indulge in something you are going to be sorry for right after!! Let me know how it's going.

Thanks for the inquiries regarding my dear friend. She is better B"H and back home!

As far as Shavuos menus are concerned, Fillet of Sole Florentine sounds good (make sure to count the fats)and Tofu Enchiladas might be a good choice too. Send the ingredient list to customerservice@startfresh.com and you'll get an answer.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wow - I am so impressed by your exercise routines and your desire to do more. I know it can be a "pain", but the result is so worth it, right? I find that when I do it first thing in the morning, the "pressure's off"; if I dont, then I am thinking all day about when I am going to get to it. However, when I am on my way home from work (often after a late-night class) I do see a lot of walkers. I also pass a health club with a huge glass window and I have seen committed exercisers there at 11 PM and later. So, I guess the important thing is to do it at a time that's good for you!
Lovetoeat, as far as buying equipment, there are places that will rent treadmills, bikes, elliptical trainers - and then use the rental fee towards your purchase. That's a great idea - you'll know in a week or two whether or not you will use the thing instead of using it as a clothes hanger.
To imaof6 - the recipe for kasha-cabbage is: make kasha according to package directions, saute onion and add some green peas, add the cooked kasha to the mixture.Boil whole cabbage leaves to soften, cool and stuff with the kasha mixture. Cook in tomato sauce, using sweetener only if needed.
Serve hot or cold. Program equivalents: 1 stuffed cabbage roll = Unlimited vegetables, 1 Starch selection. May be used beginning Week #2.
Oh my gosh! I just received a phone call (it's 6:15AM on Sunday) from a good friend whose first words to me were "don't panic, I'm OK". Well, you know if someone says that to you, the first thing you do it panic. She proceeds to tell me that last nite at midnite she got up with chest pains, was taken to the hospital and one artery was 90 percent blocked. By the time she called me, they had put in a stent and she is feeling better. My first thought was - she stopped exercising, she stopped watching what she ate and all she drinks is coffee and soda, she eats loads of sugar and salt and that she is too young for this! I think there is a lesson here. But it is so frightening, it makes me want to "clean up my act" quickly! You too?
I am in the midst of packing for my trip to Israel, and I'm both nervous and excited.
I've never packed "light", but I'm trying hard. It's been a long time since I've been there and this is a long overdue trip - lots of emotion involved. But, I also know that wherever I am, my food issues go with me so I am so grateful for computers so I can keep in touch with you all and lean into your support.
Have a great week - enjoy the beautiful weather!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Start Fresh

Good morning friends on this beautiful Sunday - here to remind us that Spring is finally (hopefully) here and coats are about to come off (ugh!). I hope you are all as sunny as the weather. Thank you for all of your praise regarding the audio "postcard" - I am so glad you enjoyed it, and we will TRY to make it a regular perk of your membership. Remember, it's not Marcia that's great, it's the message, it's the truth, it's the reminder that is so important. So I am hoping you will listen to the reminder throughout the week and let it help you stay on track!!
I am not "hearing" anything about exercise from anyone - how 'bout it? What're you all doing? I can report some extra walking. I can also (proudly)report that some of my plans with friends DID NOT INCLUDE FOOD!! We shopped, we talked, we drank iced tea and guess what? I had a blast!!
Now on another note....has anyone out there ever felt that if she ate one more salad, she would...throw up? give up? I have certainly felt that on some occasions and I started to feel that way last week. The beauty of working this program is first, realizing that food does not have to be a "party" and that I am not a princess, I could eat some foods even if I am a little tired of them. Hey,I never tire of "the same old chocolate" or the "same old pizza" - so what am I really looking for? I used to look for a lot of excitement in food - now it's important to look for non-food "treats" - a new book, a tape, some flowers (for no occasion)!
Also, I had to think of some easy and different foods to "spice up" my food plan -
kasha stuffed cabbage, spaghetti squash pasta (squash with tomato sauce), "creamed" spinach (made with cottage cheese), eggplant parmagiana (baked eggplant, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese and 1 oz. lowfat hard cheese)
I want to say "I don't have time" but the entire key to the program is SELF-CARE!! I know that we would do all of this (and more!)for anyone who is important to us. Who is more important than YOU ARE! When we take care of ourselves we are better able to meet our responsibilities and obligations with pleasure and joy. After all, isn't that what life is all about?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hi and Happy Mothers Day to everyone. It's amazing to me (it shouldn't be at this point) that every celebration calls for FOOD. Do you know that Mother's Day is the biggest restaurant day of the year? I have seen "Happy Mother's Day" cakes in every bakery I have passed (no,I didnt go in)all of last week? Food has become the center of our social existence. We can't even think of anything else to do when we get together with friends, it's always "where should we eat". I propose that each one of us makes a plan with a friend that doesn't involve food - how 'bout a park? a nice long walk? shopping? And speaking of proposals, how did everyone do with their exercise this week? I can proudly say I did some - of course not as much as I would like, but there's always next week, right? Did walking and treadmill - it really does make me feel better, both physically and mentally. I am going to buy a pedometer
tomorrow and see if I do the 10,000 recommended steps every day. I think I do, but I also know that we underestimate the amount of food we eat and overestimate our activity level, so we'll see....
I was away for Shabbos - it's always so much easier for me to handle the food challenges when I am not at home, BUT, I always have to remember that one of my biggest triggers is when I get back home - so I was well-stocked and well prepared.
I find that it is so crucial to know yourself,be honest with yourself, be prepared with the right foods. This is serious business - it not only makes a difference in how we look, but in how we live, in mood, energy level, and how productive we are. It truly involves lifestyle change, and most important to remember it's not an EVENT, it's A PROCESS!
Also, I want to thank all of you for your support - I need it as much as you do!

Join now and we'll do it together.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Good Sunday morning to everyone.I hope you all are settled and back to real life - I find that so difficult. You're right, lovetoeat, where is everyone? Now is the time to really get back on track and pay attention to ourselves and our program, our weight and our health. And now that the weather is getting better, maybe it's time to think about another topic I personally don't like to think about - and that's exercise. There's always an excuse - tired, the weather, no time, no partner.Through my exercise history I've done it all - walking, classes, gym, and now I have a treadmill at home,staring me in the face every time I walk into that spare bedroom, making me feel guilty - and it's so hard to do it! Of course, when I do, I'm exhilarated, proud, feel great and yet....In last week's New York Times (April 29th)
there was an article called "You Name It, and Exercise Helps It". And it does, from depression, to strokes to cardiovascular diseases, to 12 kinds of cancer. From circulation problems to chromic pulmonary disease - and not just prevention either; it actually helps in dealing with chronic health problems that already exist!
So, let's make a group effort to exercise and report in - what do you think?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good morning - I hope you all had a GREAT Pesach. You certainly were all with me during this very beautiful time. I can't believe it's over - THIS IS THE 'AFTER PESACH' WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR WEEKS. Isn't it true? Anything that came up during the last few weeks that didn't have to do with the chag, our thought was "I'll think about it after Pesach". Was that true when you picked up that unplanned food too? Did you tell yourself that you'd think about your weight 'after Pesach"? Well, here we are; what did you learn? It doesnt pay to look backwards unless we "get it" - what would I have done differently? What do I plan to do differently now? Take a little time out to think and reflect and PLAN to make those changes!
My time away was great - and I had yet another opportunity to observe eating behaviors - mine and the behaviors of those around me. It is no mystery why people look the way they do - the NT's (natural thins) have a different relationship with food than those who are not (and never will be NT's). They STOP EATING when they are no longer hungry. The KNOW when they are no longer hungry. They DONT USE food for emotional "medication". They EAT SLOWLY. If they don't absolutely love it, they don't eat it - those calories really have to be worth it! They MOVE - they walk instead of drive and take the stairs instead of the elevator. I can honestly say I really learned a great deal from watching and observing - and shamelessly copying them. These things don't come naturally to me, but BOY DO THEY FEEL GOOD!
So welcome back to reality - time to START FRESH!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Well, dear friends, this is it - I am leaving today for vacation and then for Pesach. What a challenge! I am going to visit 2 homes,and 2 quite different homes at that. First, there is my friend's house. She overbuys, overcooks, overeats, and guess what her weight is like? The challenge for me is to not fall into her fridge and cabinets where all my "red light foods" lurk. It takes a lot of talking to yourself... evaluating the consequences of the actions that you are taking. Can I live tomorrow with the decisions I made today? Sure, bottomless pit, it would be nice to have a personal chef, a "wife", someone to take care of your every need BUT I know that if I want to overeat, I will find a way, and if I want to eat right, I know I will find a way. The key is to "parent" yourself! And yes, it's harder - BUT - WHAT SEEMS EASIER IN THE BEGINNING MAKES YOUR LIFE HARDER LATER.
The next house (for the days of Yom Tov) is one where everyone eats somewhat "normally" - no food issues here. They eat until they are comfortably satisfied and STOP. They eat a bit of dessert and STOP. When they are not hungry, they don't eat. So, what's the challenge here? It's thinking that I can eat like they do - "If they can eat just a little, then maybe I can too". BUT my experience has shown me over and over that I dont STOP like they do, I just keep going. If I don't take that first unplanned bite, I never have to worry about where I am going to stop.
Dear lovetoeat, I know you love to eat the wrong foods too -we all do-BUT as much as we want the food - we don't want the consequences, they are just too great. I am so glad you are doing welll - keep up the good work!
Sweet - I am really happy that you are feeling better and back to your eating and exercise routine. It really doesn't pay to WORRY about Pesach - worrying without action gets you nowhere. Decide which actions you will take to insure some control during this very challenging time.
So whether you will be at home or celebrating elsewhere PLAN TO BE SUCCESSFUL - that's the most important plan.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a "chag kosher v'samayach", and to thank you for all your support - I am certainly taking you with me.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Start Fresh Today

Good morning all! Where is everyone?? Probably cleaning and cooking and preparing and pressured and tired. Did I leave anything out? This time of year is so challenging, with every emotion at the surface and no sleep - a dangerous combination, because for people like us all that feels like hunger. Every emotion translates into "I need something to eat". That's the fib we tell ourselves - that we are entitled, that we must have it, that we deserve it. What the truth? I'm tired, anxious, need some help and appreciation, etc. etc. It would be so helpful if before we ate anything, we stop and ask ourselves "What's my lie?" and "What's my truth?" I once heard a Rabbi say - "Between thought and action there is a moment to choose". Maybe I need more than a moment - maybe 2 or 3 moments when it comes to eating. Maybe if I thought one more moment I wouldnt eat the thing that in the long run I dont want. Maybe I wouldnt give up what I want most for what I want at the moment.
I totally get you, "lovetoeat" - we tell ourselves we are too busy to plan, to prepare, to sit down and eat right, but is that the "Lie" or is it the "Truth"?
In my busy schedule, I have made time for things that I would never have thought it possible to make time for, get it? I also know, "lovetoeat" that your screen name
has been shortened from "lovetoeattherighthealthyfoodsintherightewayfortherightreasons, right?
During this time it is so important for us to stick with some basics - 1)eat breakfast. For me it sends a message that the day has begun in the right way - it's putting fuel in the car so that it runs properly. 2)drink water - it is one of the foundations of a healthy body. When I have not drunk enough water I am more prone to headaches, low energy and irritability. 3)Have a big veggie soup or a stir-fry available for the "in-between" snack.
Just the act of loving preparation is a huge gift - and THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED, THAT'S WHAT YOU DESERVE AND THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT! - not the dry-mouth, nauseous, full, heartburn, no energy, angry feelings that come with overeating unplanned food.
As you are working so hard to create a beautiful, clean, airy, yom-tov atmosphere in the house, don't forget to create that in yourself too!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Good morning, my friends. Will winter never end? Of course it will. Time goes so quickly - I can't believe it's almost Pesach. And this is the right time to check out this great guide I came across. Your Pesach will be Perfectly Organized you will be in control of your life and you'll handle your food needs properly too.
So, if you agree with me that time flies, those few minutes (seconds really) that you feel like you are going to die if you don't have something to eat - that will also pass quickly IF WE LET IT. A craving is not a command, and we don't have to accept every thought that you have. Picture this - your doorbell rings, you answer and someone is delivering a beautiful basket of flowers. Wow! "What a gift", you say, as you find a place for the basket and look for the card to thank the sender. Picture this - the doorbell rings, you answer and someone is delivering a basket of snakes. "Ugh!", you scream as you slam the door, "Go away". Accepting every thought that comes into your head would be like accepting every basket that comes to your door. You have a CHOICE of which you will accept and which you will send away.
Bottomlesspit - you're so right - taking care of our food needs during this hectic time is really tough, BUT, isn't it true that if you are taking care of yourself, you will have more energy and better spirits, be able to accomplish more in less time? So,taking time out for yourself is actually saving you time in the long run. In addition to your great snack suggestions, may I suggest a nice big vegetable soup?
It's warm, comforting, filling, loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Have a mug ready to pop into the microwave when the "urge" stikes. We have added some new soups to our recipe library. This is the time when you need support and direction more than ever!!! Don't put yourself into a situation where you'll say "I should have done this much earlier..."
It's so amazing that while we are cleaning and busy and in need of a break, we rationalize the break by sitting down and "eating something". YOU ARE ENTITILED TO SIT DOWN AND EAT NOTHING - just take a break.
Yes, I know the feeling of "imagining the taste of the food in my mouth" - that is nothing more than romanticizing the food. It's JUST FOOD! It doesnt have the power to make you happy, rich, successful - you have all those powers inside of you. Overeating with make you full, sick, sorry and FAT.
Thanks SWEET for trying our recipe and letting us know how much you enjoyed it - keep cookin'.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dear "hug" buddies - of course I want to be a part of that hug! What a GREAT IDEA!
What wonderful reinforcement to think 1) I am worth it ! 2) I can get through this!
3) There is no acceptable
excuse for throwing away my health and happiness - and as we think these positive things during our group hug, the concept grows stronger and stronger within each of us.
I hope your Purim was enjoyable. I would like to say one last word about Purim -IT'S OVER (I know, that's 2 words)and whatever you did, whatever you ate, however you behaved - the only thing we do is learn from it and GO ON! (both positive and negative)
There is always an excuse to go off our plan - every day there will be challenges.
Today, mine are as follows
1- a problem with my home computer
2 - change of weekend plans
3 - leftover Shalach Manot
Or should I say those are my NEWEST excuses. Will eating change anything? Will the candy fix my computer? Will the food bring back my original plans? If it would work, then maybe....but I know that will never be. The key is to STOP AND THINK first. And realize that as uncomfortable that feeling of "wanting" is, it is infinitely better than that of having had the binge (because that's where the first bite leads me). Remebering that it is ALWAYS EASIER TO STAY ON PROGRAM THAN TO GET BACK ON!!
And now, coming to that challenge of Pesach preparation, cleaning, cooking, planning - well, that's a whole new set of "reasons".
So many times the food looks so inviting, so good and I can feel it in my mouth- BUT WAIT!! Look at the rest of the picture - the one we dont want to look at until it's too late - the picture of feeling awful, guilty, self-hate. The feeling of worthlessness, no energy, depressed - do we want that? The behavior of eating more and more because "after all, I runined the day"... When I look at THAT - well, which alternative seems better - to binge or not to binge?
So, my leftovers are being divided between my neighbors, the super in my building, and friends who know how to handle these things better than I do!
And with lots of energy and pride in myself I am going full speed ahead to the Pesach cleaning....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hi everyone. Hope your week was good - foodwise and otherwise. Wait! Isn't it true that if your week (or day) is good foodwise then it's OK in every other area as well?
I find that when I am in control of my food, I am better able to handle any situation that arises - and as you know, they "arise" all of the time. And, as you said, bottomless pit when you are "in the sugar" it is really hard to get out. Remember, it is ALWAYS easier to stay on the program than to GET BACK ON the program.
Welcome to our community lost21sofar,and congratulations on your accomplishment. We all look forward to hearing from you. Lovetoeat, your attitude is GREAT! YOU NOW KNOW that you can do it,and so do we all, right?

So, Purim is here, and this year it is 3 days long (Fri, Shabbos and Sunday),and for many of us it has already started with the planning, preparations, cooking, packages, deliveries in and out. Keep in mind too that Purim opens the door for one of the most challenging seasons of the year for us foodies. WHAT YOU WILL DO ON PURIM (AND BEYOND) WILL BE DEPENDENT ON WHAT YOU DO FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS!! If you have your "strictest" program days (you know what I mean) today, Monday, Tues, Wed and Thursday you will be more inclined to rise to the challenges of Purim. If you don't, trust me, you will not "start" next weekend.

Bottomlesspit, you absolutely have the right idea - get rid of whatever you can. Don't leave it around where you can look at it, yu will end up doing more than "looking".

I have found that as tough as Purim Day is, the DAY AFTER is sometimes even more problematic. It makes things bearable if I give away, send away, throw away (lovetoeat, your mom was "right on") those things I have trouble handling. Neighbors, nursing homes, hospitals, yeshivas, would so appreciate all of those things that would only end up in ME!

I hope you have all read this week's newsletter and have (or will) use some of the "tips" offered.

A Freilachen Purim.






Sunday, March 9, 2008

Good morning to you all on a cold Sunday morning (and no, that hot chocolate will NOT warm you up!). Again, thank you all for your comments and support - they keep the threads of our connection really strong. Boy, that $64,000 question sure brought up a lot of disucssion. BUT - the most important thing I want to tell you about the $64,000 question is THAT IT WAS ALL FIXED. Everyone knew the answers to all of the questions beforehand. AND SO IT IS FOR US. Everything we need, all the answers, are right inside of each and every one of us. At any one given moment we KNOW the right answer, we know the right thing to do for ourselves; however, the distance between knowing and not knowing is not half as great as the distance between knowing and not doing! So, here's the philosophical question: WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOU LET YOURSELF KNOW IT? What do you really know inside of yourself? What is the truth?
Just THINK and when you THINK, remember what THINK means
Thank You Hashem, I Now Know - so what do I know?
I know that I am responsible for my own food behavior and for having the right foods prepared for me.


I know that if I plan and prepare I am better able to overcome food challenges.


I know that sometimes I don't do my best, but that I am capable of doing better.


I know that sometimes I "make myself stupid" when it's convenient for me.


I know that sometimes I am in denial about the consequences of my behavior.


What do you know?


Last week I visited some friends where there was a 2 year old, a 4 month old and a dog.
The mom tried to feed the 2 year old something he didn't like - he wouldnt eat that or anything else he didn't like - he was willing to wait until he got what he liked, and then ate just until he was satisfied. He didn't overeat.
The 4 month old nursing baby spit back up (excuse me) anything that was too much for her to take - she instinctively knew the amount she was able to tolerate. Infants don't overeat.
The dog's food is in a bowl by the door - he goes to eat it whenever he is hungry; several times a day he eats just enough to satisfy himself and no more. Animals don't overeat.
We also have the ability to know WHAT IS ENOUGH. Our challenge is to pay attention to body signals, and honor them. Are you up for the job?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hi everyone. I feel so connected to you all when I read your comments, and, I see you connecting to each other, which is so crucial to personal success. Those of us who have social support around our food issues lose more weight and keep it off better than those who don't. That understanding we have of each other is one that I dont think we can get anywhere else. Who is going to cheer you on? Your "N.T. " girlfriend? The one who says "just push yourself away from the table?", your other friend who just keeps gaining more and more weight? Your spouse, who can't understand how emotions and eating go together? Not likely! We get the best support from those who are doing what we are at the same time we're doing it!! So, thank you all for your support and understanding - it really means a lot.
Now, bottomless pit - you ask "the 64,000 dollar question" (is anyone out there old enough to remember that?) - how do I learn to take care of myself and my food? Well, it's a process. First, you have to believe you are worth it. As you said, if it were for your husband....Rabbi Twersky in his book "The Thin You Within You" says that the problem is not the food, the problem is lack of self-esteem- YOU JUST DONT LIKE YOURSELF ENOUGH. So, the first job is getting to like (love?) yourself enough to realize how important you are. You are the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR WORLD, and if you don't take care of yourself, no one else will. Also, just think of the end result - you may not love to vacuum the rugs, but you love a clean carpet, right? So, even if some of the preparation, the planning, the exercise and all of those behaviors may not bring excitement, losing weight, feeling more energetic, fitting into some of your old clothes - that makes it all worthwhile - no? Another thing - you say that you would do it for your husband - well YOU ARE!! Of course, we get the most benefits from our positive changes, but those around us ALSO BENEFIT! So, we are really doing it for our families, our friends and mainly so that we can live our best life, feeling the best we can physically and emotionally.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Good Morning to all of you out there in "foodland". Where is "Foodland"?, you ask. It's everywhere! Look around - our whole lives center around food, eating it, cooking it, shopping for it, assaulted with ads for what is the best, the healthiest, the gooeyest, which food for which simcha and Yom Tov - my goodness, it's a wonder that we think of anything else! BUT our obsession has not served us well - neither collectively not individually. We are a nation of overweight, unhealthy people. 65 percent of us are considered overweight, 30 percent obese. On a personal level, has food and weight made you happy? (except for those few minutes of chewing?) Of course not. What used to be the solution is now the problem. So, why do we fall victim to what "bottomless pit" calls "that little angel on her shoulder? The one that whispers self-destructive thoughts to you -"one wont hurt", "just this time" and "you deserve a treat". Rebbetzin Jungreis in her book "The Committed Life" comments that the "yetzer hara" has the ability to temporarily blind a person. "I want it NOW, I want it ALL, and I WONT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER" - sound familiar? Solution: We must prepare for that little angel/devil when she appears. Like a part in a play we must rehearse, rehearse, rehearse before the opening night.
So, the next time you are invited out or go to a simcha or a restautant, rehearse beforehand:
What am I going to say when someone says "eat this?"
What am I going to think when the urge to overeast descends upon me?
How am I going to react when I feel hungry, knowing I am not really hungry, but feeling like I feel hungry?
How am I going to resist something that everyone seems to be enjoying and I know that this will only lead me to frustration and unhappiness?
And, most important, what can I eat beforehand so that I can go without being ravenous?
And rehearse and rehearse and know your lines so that on the night of the "big play" you are well prepared. Break a leg!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dearest Lovetoeat and all of my other compadres out there - if we could only be perfect! That will never never happen BUT there is "harm reduction". It is what I always take comfort in. What a coup that you didn't continue what you did on Shabbos. What a success that you went right back to your program on Sunday morning. I'll bet that is improvement over all of the times we "messed up" and kept right on going because "what the heck - I wasn't good so I'll eat till after Shabbos, Monday, after that simcha, after my vacation, till my next Start Fresh week, etc. etc." Refer to last week's newsletter "What's In Your Mind Is More Important Than What's In Your Mouth" - what you did is not important - what you learn from it is. So, what did you learn? How can you avoid the same traps next time? I know, I know it's constant vigilance, but worth it? You bet!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hi friends. I hope your week was good, healthy and productive - looking at your comments I see that it was. I had the unique (?) opportunity to be on jury duty last week; it was yet another chance to see how we use food. If you've ever been there you know it is just a lot of waiting around. When I got there at 8:45AM I entered a room where about 80 people were sitting and waiting - I counted 39 of them eating!! We were told that about once every hour 12 of us would be called by name and those 12 would be directed to another room to be interviewed for a case. The others, if your name was not called, were free to go downstairs, "get something to eat" and return. So every hour there was a mass exodus to the food concession. We were not allowed cell phones, video games, BUT FOOD WAS OK. After lunch (where I assumed folks actually ate lunch) most people came back with a bag of snacks - MORE FOOD. Amazing, but no longer a surprise to me, how food is so central in our lives. We use it as an activity when we're bored, quick energy, a tranquilizer, a friend - and we give it the power to do what it cant possibly do - MAKE US FEEL BETTER. I call it the "oranges in the hardware store theory" - the answer is not in the food. The other phenomenon that I observed is the number of people who are overweight (again, not a surprise) and the kinds of foods they ate - chips, cakes, sandwiches. The "thin ones" were eating fruits and salads, and those who I suspect were N.T.'s were on their computers or reading.
It is so hard to ferret out the signals - what is hunger, and what isn't. Hunger is what is created by the stomach - it's empty, it's been about 3 hours since the last meal, and I would be satisfied with a nice bowl of veg soup or a salad, or a fruit. Appetite is created by LIFE. It's the big black hole left there by uncomfortable feelings. It comes on "all of a sudden" (true hunger builds gradually), and there is NO WAY that a salad, soup or a fruit is going to satisfy this. THAT IS NOT HUNGER!!! You see, the stomach has no idea what you ate - carrots or carrot cake - it only knows if it's empty or full. SO - Jury duty is not hunger, mother-in-law is not hunger, financial difficulties is not hunger, children issues is not hunger, weather, vacations, illness, economy, who will be the next president - all NOT HUNGER. The problem is that it FEELS LIKE HUNGER...the signals seem the same. So the work is to discern what is HUNGER and what is EMPTINESS. Food will only take care of one of those.....right?

Monday, February 11, 2008

To anonymous, lovetoeat and all of my other wonderful "lantsleit"out there - your comments and support give me the motivation to continue blogging and working. It is so gratifying to me to be understood and supported in this very special way. I just had to stick in this extra blog this morning....
It's 11 degrees here today (11 below with windchill) and so much time will be spent indoors - don't use it as an excuse to run to the food! It will NOT warm you up (unless it's a big mug of soup) - not physically and not emotionally.
Keep up the good work!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hi everyone - the first thing I do each day is look for your comments - they are as important to me as this blog (I hope) is to you. It is really heartwarming to know that y'all speak my language, that we understand each other and are there for accountability and support. Who else in my life would understand "I can't stop eating"? (their answer: "control yourself") Who else would understand "I eat until I'm stuffed"? (their answer: "push yourself away from the table") - and these answers are particularly annoying when they are preceded by the word "just" - as if it were the most natural and easy thing in the world. Sometimes I don't even want to talk to these folks. BUT - what I know is that these N.T.'s (natural thins) can teach us a thing or two. Their behaviors will never come naturally to us, but we can mimick their actions and "act as if"....such as:

EAT SLOWLY - those natural thins don't wolf down their food. Did you ever finish eating your meal and look around and everyone else has barely begun? Put down that fork between bites, chew your food - don't swallow whole. A meal should last 20 minutes so that your stomach can signal your brain that you have begun to eat, that you are eating,and that you are satisfied. At each level, the brain releases different enzymes (insulin, glucagons and finally seratonin). The time between the first release and the last is 20 minutes; therefore, you can conceivably have overeaten before your brain knows that you have started.No wonder we don't get filled up!!

SIT DOWN - an N.T. would never dream of eating a meal while standing. And, I believe, that if we sat down to everything we ate, we would eliminate 90 percent of the overeating.

THROW OUT THE OLD CLOTHES - don't give yourself a "safety valve". Make sure that your clothes fit NOW (not too big so that you feel it's OK to gain a few pounds and not too small to make you uncomfortable) .

LEAVE OFF THE SAUCES - those "thins" favor plain food - not messy, saucy, gooey, where the food is hidden under a mountain of sauce. Take yours plain too and if you want sauce, add a measured amount after you are served. Those sauces add loads of calories and fat.

GIVE FOOD YOUR FULL ATTENTION - don't read, talk on the phone, cook, do homework with the kids, laundry - concentrate on eating!!

SEND BACK THE BREAD BASKET - In a restaurant that's the first thing that is brought to the table. Either send it back OR put it at another end of the table OR make sure your salad is served with that basket so that you can be eating something while everyone else is eating the bread.

THINK QUALITY NOT QUANTITY - Whatever you eat, make sure it's worth it. An NT doesnt eat what she doesnt like just 'cause it's there.

DONT PUNISH YOURSELF FOR A BINGE - yes, those N.T.'s overeat too (or so they say),but they don't make it a moral issue - they simply go back to their regular way of eating. We continue eating because we started - the guilt is the most "fattening" ingredient in any food.

We will never be those Natural Thins - but no one has to know that!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thank you everyone for the comments to Marcia's Blog. It is so reassuring to know that we are all on the same page, think alike and have all the same questions, concerns and challenges. Dear lovetoeat - the whole point of adopting this healthy lifestyle is to have the freedom to go anywhere and partake in every simcha and Yom Tov because we have mentally and physically prepared ourselves for success. "Binge-proofing" means taking all the necessary steps so that when faced with the temptation we are well armed. First of all, remember when a simcha was a dreaded event? Nothing to wear, hate the way we looked and felt? Now, a few pounds lighter, and a with a new "lighter" attitude, we go in pride. BUT, before you go, eat a soup, a salad, a fruit and a yogurt so that you go comfortably satisfied and not ready to eat anything in sight. Then when the food is served, you can make an intelligent choice (which you cannot do if you are overhungry or bingeing out of control). As far as the pizza store - not only can you walk past - YOU CAN WALK IN!! There are so many healthy alternatives now in all the pizza shops (not like when I was growing up), anyone's food preferences can be accommodated. What's more - you can have pizza. Yes, that's right - real pizza. They even have pizza with a bunch of veggies on top. BUT, make sure that you complement it with a nice salad so that it is a filling meal. Also, try cutting that slice in half and eating with a knife and fork - it makes the meal last a little longer and forces us to eat a little slower. As far as entertaining, what a great way to use your imagination, your ingenuity and your new-found knowledge. We think that we have to overcook when we entertain and overeat when we are entertained - neither is true. Your guests want to eat in a healthier way, like you do. Whatever dish you have prepared pre-Start Fresh can be made lower-calorie and lower- fat. And what are you emphasizing - is there loads of cake and not a fruit in sight? Are there loads of processed carbs with nary a vegetable or whole grain?
Simchas, eating out and entertaining needs to be about more than just eating. It's about the ambiance, the company, the comeraderie, the good conversation and some laughs. When the entire focus is on the food, it definitely takes something away, don't you think?
To bottomlesspit - talking yourself thin comes with training and practice. First, let's take a good look at our "diet talk" - "I can't do this", "It's so hard" "It's a lifetime struggle". So much of this is taping over those old tapes and changing our food talk:
Old talk "I'm on vacation..."
NEW TALK "I've been on vacation from healthy eating for years. I want to enjoy this vacation and come back looking and feeling good. I dont want to undo everything I've accomplished so far".
Old talk "It's free" (at a buffet)
NEW TALK "Nothing is free. Overeating comes with great consequence that I no longer want to pay" .
Old talk "I'll have just one"
NEW TALK "I have never been able to have just one and if I don't start, I will not have to worry about how much I am going to eat - one is too many and a hundred are not enough" .
Old talk "It looks so good"
NEW TALK "If I eat it, I'll have to wear it"
See the difference in the sef-talk? Remember that you really want to lose the weight and change the relationship with food. We have gotten through some really tough times in the past and will get through this too. The most important thing you can say to yourself is "I WANT TO DO THIS, I CAN DO IT, AND I WILL DO IT".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It seems I cannot open my computer without some news about dieting. I can't pick up a magazine or newspaper without an article about weight loss (and then the next page features a recipe for a gooey cake), and I can't turn on the radio or TV without an ad for some miracle pill or medicine to make losing weight quick and effortless. Fact: more money is spent on diet, nutrition and obesity research than on cancer research. Why? Because more people are overweight than have cancer! Today's AOL website news? Obesity may be due, in part, to a viral infection. It seems that "Adenovirus Ad36....one of a family of viruses that causes colds could be the culprit in some cases of obesity in humans and other animals".
Great cop-out, no? What next, an obesity plant, like poison ivy? Please, let's not use the virus excuse, like when we used "my glands don't work properly" (the only gland that didn't work was the mouth). Weight loss is the result of eating less calories than you expend, limiting processed foods and fats, exercising and hydrating properly. Weight management is making lifestyle changes, changes in thoughts and behaviors, changes in expectations of ourselves, our bodies and the food. It is about using the food as nourishment, not nurturance.
What the editors of Prevention Magazine call "the Ten Commandments of Weight Loss" can be used as a guide to keep us on the right path (like the 10 we received at Mt. Sinai)
1. Believe in Yourself
If you don't think you can do it, chances are, you won't. Talk to yourself - tell yourself "I am teachable" "I can change".
2. Set the right goals
Not number goals, those never work (I have to lose 5 pounds this week is not a goal - that's your body's job) The goals I'm talking about are behavior goals - the drinking water goals, the exercise goals, the planning and preparation of food goals. Start small and write them down. This takes the goal from a fantasy to a reality.
3. Eat more
Yes, I'm serious. Eating more (every 3-4 hours) keeps your blood sugar stable and your metabolism revved up so that you will not feel hungry and burn fat more efficiently.
4. Eat smart
Have you ever eaten in a stupid (sorry!) way? Then you know how to eat smart. Ask yourself whenever you are eating - is this going to bring me closer to my goal or push me further and further away?
5. Get moving
Activity is important whether a person wants to lose weight or not - it boosts the immune system, helps release endorphins (the feel-good hormone), strengthens muscles (including the heart muscle), helps ease depression, and is important for a host of other body functions - including weight loss and weight loss maintenance!
6. Build muscle
The more efficiently your muscle works, the better your rate of fat burning. Three days a week, 15-20 minutes each, of strength training helps keep calcium in your bones, tones the body and keeps those calories burning even when you are in bed reading that great book!!
7. Binge proof your life
Keep those favorites out of the house! Eat breakfast! Keep a food diary!Always have a healthy alternative available! Keep busy!
8. Talk yourself thin
When you see that binge food and the conversation in your head says "come on, it's only one", "I deserve a treat" "I need this" - you are talking yourself right into unhealthy habits. Your job is to talk yourself OUT of overeating, not INTO it!
9. Make motivation easier
Write a list of why you want to lose that weight, and read it DAILY! Review all the positive changes you've made. Look at the weight loss progress...do the calculation - how much did you weigh at the beginning, and how much now?
10. Reward yourself
No - not with food, but with a non-food reward. A new tape, agood book, a nap, an uninterrupted phone conversation, a bouquet of flowers, 1/2 day off from work, a babysitter so that you can have some much-needed alone time. No one will appreciate your hard work as much as you will - certainly you will not find that appreciation in a box of cookies!

Some of these commandments will become more important to you than others - use them as motivation and inspiration along the way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hello again. I love your comments - keep 'em coming. To "lovetoeat" - I understand just what you're saying...but the mistake, I think, is when we think that there's a"there". There is no there; it's just the day-to-day operation of our lives and looking for the joys in the small things that are not so small - zipping up a skirt without straining, looking in the mirror and liking what we see, receiving an invitatioin and actually wanting to go, feeling "powerful" with our food decisions and eating behaviors. I think we sometimes overlook and don't appreciate those little moments. "Weight", a "number on the scale" is not THERE. What do you think?
We seem to play out three themes of our lives.
1) We eat when we're not hungry
2) We dont eat when we are hungry because we're dieting and
3) We start to eat when our bodies are hungry but carry it out far beyond the point of satisfaction.
Very often we don't realize that it is our own negative attitude and our choices that determine our eating behaviors and our weight. It is all about US. Here are some "secrets" to changeing attitudes:
THE SECRET OF NO VOTING - your weight is not a democacry - it is a dictatorship and YOU are the dictator. No one gets a vote on if you eat, when you eat, whether you eat, how much you eat, if you are losing weight too slowly, too quickly, what program you should be on, blah, blah, blah. Someone will always have something to say - YOU have to be satisfied with what YOU are doing.
THE SECRET OF IT'S MY CHOICE - chronic dieters often believe that their weight is a result of "fate" and that we overeat because of outside influences (the kids, the job, etc.). Actually we choose how we feel - low self-esteem, crankly, edgy. We choose not to be an exerciser or take care of our bodies. Beating ourselves up and abusing ourselves wont make the situation better.
"Today I choose to like myself" "Today I choose to take care of ME" "Today I choose to exercise for my mind and my body"
THE SECRET OF THINKING YOU ARE FINE THE WAY YOU ARE TODAY - We always think weare going to be "better" when we lose the weight - that gives us the message that we are not OK today. We see ourselves as flawed and unworthy, so why bother to try? The secret is that you are the best person you can be today! You do this not because of what you will become but because you love yourself NOW!
THE SECRET OF SELF-MOTIVATION: SELF-NURTURANCE - It's always important to ask ourselves "what is best for me today" "what nurtures me?" it is neither nurturing or motivating to overeat, to judge ourselves harshly and punish ourselves, to feel guilt-ridden about eating, to deprive yourself of enjoyment,to neglect to exercise - why not choose to feel good?
THE SECRET OF CONQUERING THE INTERNAL SABOTEUR - so many things can act as sabotage to our program - people, places, things, situations and events - BUT - the biggest sabotage is inside of ourselves - that little voice that says "it's too hard" "you can't do this" "just this once". Ignore the message!! After being ignored the voice gets fainter and fainter. If you give in, that voice becomes more powerful and louder. Just refuse to act on the message....
The SECRET IS STICKING TO YOUR COMMITMENT!!
What SECRET has worked for you?

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