cool guys, I'm wearing it ironically"
I wanted to introduce myself before barging
onto the blog scene. I hope you find my nutrition POV a welcome
addition to the Stic'. I'm pretty amped* about it!
*Note the subtle music reference! Am I fitting in already or what? :)
Wouldn’cha Know… “I Forgot My Suit”
Nice try, but when you hit the sandy shores sans suit, because you “forgot” your swim gear, nobody’s buying it. Getting bare-midriff ready shouldn’t come down to fibbing to your sun-worshipping sisters, nor should it be the biological equivalent of pulling an all-nighter and surviving solely on cayenne-spiked lemon water and ice chips. To sensibly and totally sufficiently slim down for swim-suit season, let’s start by making small, sane changes now, shall we? Here are some basic weight-loss rules to start following.(Forour readers who like it quick and dirty, take a scroll down to “The 3 C’s”.)
#1. Plan it, Janet! I hate to break it to all you free spirits out there, but real weight loss is nearly impossible without a lot of thinking ahead. We live in a dangerous food environment, and leaving you doorstep without a roadmap and some contingency strategies leaves you vulnerable to dietary missteps, back-tracking, and reckless surrender to your appetite. Do not succumb to Cinnabon’s siren song! Avert your eyes from the Golden Arches, for they will lead you into a world of shame and regret, not the divine glory they seem to symbolize! Arm yourself with a plan: pick out your meals and snacks for the week, and make a thorough grocery list. Sticking to a weekly menu of pre-approved foods (for you, by you) is one of the absolute most important things you can do to stay the course and continue to steadily shed pounds.
#2. Make like a boy scout.
While knowing eight variations of knots, or determining your cardinal direction based on moss-growth patterns may not help you out of a dietary pickle, it’s always important to be prepared, particularly when it comes to snacks. (Here’s where you really don’t want to look to the scouts’ female counterparts for solutions. Thin mints shouldn’t be a part of your survival strategy.) Snacking is a controversial issue – albeit not in a New York Times-y sort of way. While some may suggest axing snacks to cut back on calories, I for one am pro-Snack. Day-to-day schedules, like all physical matter, including my bedroom floor, are naturally prone chaos. Keep smart snacks handy at all times to cope when plans change at the last minute. A fiber/lean protein combo is best. Some top choices include plain Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of whole grain cereal or berries, your fruit or veg of choice with 1-2 tablespoons of P.B., a serving of whole-grain tortilla chips with bean dip and salsa, or just plain nuts! A ¼ cup of almonds are my go-to fave, and a recent study from Harvard University even suggests that eating a serving of nuts two or more times per week is associated with a healthy weight.
|Don't be a shy beach|
#3. Make time for breakfast.
I know, I know, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” hardly makes for breaking news… uhhhh, but seriously guys, it is. Kind of like making your bed in the morning or performing your ritualistic daily affirmations/psych-up routine in the bathroom mirror, eating breakfast sets the tone for the day. Skipping breakfast or making a poor breakfast choice (read: high in sugar/fat/calories, low actual nutrition) sets you up for cravings and out-of-control choices for the rest of the day. Now, here’s where I take a wild departure from tradition! Breakfast on the go seems to be the standard protocol, but I say don’t make breakfast a morning parenthetical. Don’t scarf down a wimpy cereal bar on your way out the door, or call your frappe-what-have-you “breakfast on the go”. Be mentally present for your morning meal and let it serve as a statement for how you intend to act for the rest of the day. Skip reaching for the snooze button a second time and devote a piece of your morning to making a stress-free, nutrient-rich breakfast with fruit, whole grains, and lean protein – and give yourself bonus points for working in pre-lunch veggies.
Your water bottle should be like your adult security blanket…er,adult baby bottle. Carry it with you always. For one thing, drinking between meals can help keep cravings at bay, since thirst is typically misperceived as hunger, and we wind up reaching for food to re-fuel when all we really need to do is re-hydrate. Plus,drinking water with meals helps you feel fuller faster. Fluids help fill the stomach with calorie-free volume. It also helps us pause between forkfuls, which in turn gives our hormones time to catch up with our tummies and signal that satisfied feeling. Think bite,sip, contribute to meaningful table conversation, repeat.
“But Jean,” you may find yourself presently thinking, “I need to preserve my mentalresources and focus my energy on my music as I try to find the perfect way to lyrically express the emotional confusion and spiritual crisis that so profoundly characterizes modern-day existence,” or, “I need to save up my brain juice for summer shopping and catalogue leafing to search out the halter dress that will perfectly hide my soon-to-be tan lines!” (Spiritual crisis indeed!) Ah, well then here we’ve arrived at the aforementioned healthy heuristics, The 3 C’s:
- Color good. The more colorful your plate, the more fruit, vegetable, and grain ingredients it likely has, which means it’s more likely to be nutrient-rich but not calorie-dense. Well done you. If your plate’s a spectrum of beige,look out.
- Consistency good. Try eating the same meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for the entire week. The less variety in your weekly meal choices, the more mental energy you save and the less variation you’ll have in calories, which can translate into consistent weight loss.
- Calories bad. Well, excess and poor-quality calories anyway. You have to count calories, because…[sigh] they really do count. You may only have to do it at the beginning of your Beach Bod Quest (BBQ!), but at least start by writing down everything you eat each day to get a sense of where to cut back.
Check out nutritiondata.com for nutrition facts on non-labeled items.
Spring has only just sprung and there’s so much more share! Let the BBQ begin! (In retrospect, this is a potentially confusing summertime acronym.)
Look for lots of follow-ups to come!