Category: dieting

European Style Grocery Shopping

veggies

I’ve spoken a number of times on this blog about food, cooking and the challenges of shopping for one.  Lately I’ve been trying a new strategy that has been working out very well.

This article explains the shopping philosophy and how it saves money, gives the best food http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style

Basically the idea is instead of buying in bulk or cooking large quantities, you go to the grocery store every day and buy what you need for that day or perhaps for 2-3 days.

This is smart for the following reasons

1. You get the freshest ingredients

2.  It avoids waste saving money and time

3. Fresh, seasonal ingredients typically are the least expensive

4. For a single woman who eats out a lot it makes it easy to eat out without spoiling food or meal plans waiting to be made.  You can just plan on eating out instead of shopping.

5. With a grocery store in walking distance of my house it isn’t really any  more work to shop everyday.

6. Less groceries and less mess.  Today I dirtied a few pieces of silverware and 1 plate instead of tons of pots and pans.  Of course, I can plan an everyday meal that uses a lot of pots and pans but at least I know that’s what I am doing and can plan accordingly instead of just having ingredients and trying to make something good out of it.

7.  It allows you to order what you are in the mood for on a particular day.  Not stuck eating leftovers or ingredients that sounded good a month ago.

Today for example I went to the grocery store purchased a rotiserie chicken, a kale salad and twiced baked potato they make at Harmons and stuff to make easy crepes for dessert

The other day it was a tub of chili, another it is chicken and sauce.  A lot of items are hard for me to purchase because I just can’t eat them fast enough.  A loaf of bread for instance is hard for 1 person to polish off before it is either stale in the fridge or moldy outside.

With European grocery store I can  buy just what I need for that meal and be done with it.

It may seem like this type of shopping would be more expensive and while I haven’t done the math I don’t think I’ve spent much more if any.

I know that such shopping might be impossible if you have a family but if you don’t, give it a try.  I bet you will love it!

Plus, you get to sound all suave and debonaire with your European shopping trip… 🙂

How do you shop for evening meals?  What strategies work for you?

Heroism and Weight Loss

fat-supermanI’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time.  Everyone who reads this blog is probably aware of my distaste for weight loss in the media.  I know many find shows like the Biggest Loser to be encouraging but for me they are the opposite.

What bothers me is they paint fat people as bad, and reformed fatties as good and that just isn’t true.   As I often say,  ‘a lot of people lose weight in prison’… Losing weight is hard enough without having these types of morality judgments thrown in our face.

So that’s media but this post is a slightly different take.  I would like to talk about how we as a culture often couch weight loss in heroic terms and how this is almost never helpful.

Just the other day I was watching a show and the reporter asked the man how he had ‘overcome his heroic battle with weight loss’.  This is not uncommon phraseology for our average conversation. All of us, including myself, have used such phrases when talking about weight loss.

What’s wrong with that you ask? I mean losing weight is really hard.  Why is that not heroic?

Well, let’s start with some definitions-

Over on about.philosophy.com author Kendra Cherry asked her readers How Do You Define Heroism?  Pretty much every response is something like this:

“A hero is a person who would risk life and limb just to save people or a person. these people standout as brave intelligent and loving. these people need to be recognized”

So what are the elements of being a hero:

1. They are brave

2. They are worthy of recognition

3.  They are loving

4. They risk their own safety to help other people

It is this last aspect that is the most common thread in all the responses.  Another reader says:

“Heroism is when you act out of the kindness of your heart. Whether you’re helping someone on homework, or helping someone who got hurt, the main thing is that your helping someone who is having a hard time”

So, heroism clearly involves being unselfish and serving your fellow men and women especially when doing so is difficult.

indexHow does weight loss fit such a description?  I can’t think of any other change of appearance that is lauded in such ways.  For example, if someone gets a face lift they are often derided, criticized but I’ve rarely heard that when gastric bypass is done.  Why is one surgical enhanced change heroic and another isn’t?

You could say that gastric bypass is required where a face lift is not? Well, the research from the Health at Every Size movement would strongly disagree with that assertion, but even if you accept that gastric bypass is necessary I don’t see how it is heroic?  If I break my leg and have surgery on said leg (essentially fixing a problem in my body like GB) does that make me a hero?  No, it makes me a person with a broken leg that was fixed.

I can see no part of weight loss that involves risk to help other people. You can help people get in shape or encourage them to enter a race, but that’s not really the weight loss, that’s your service in the community and amongst your loved ones.  Anyone should be lauded who serves others no matter their size.  That is worthy of the hero label.

What about athletes? Who are they serving and we call them ‘sports heroes’?  One could argue such a term is misapplied to professional athletes but I would counter that most athletes are participating in a team or cause greater than just themselves.

For example, an Olympian is certainly worthy of individual applause but also their gift of performance on behalf of their country makes it worthy of the hero label.

There are a few sports like golf that are truly individual events and then I would say they aren’t really heroes but simply exceptional.  We like them because they are good at something and we are not. Nothing wrong with that!

But I hear you saying ‘Rachel it’s so hard.  Shouldn’t we be encouraging?’.  My answer is ‘of course, we should’.  However, there are lots of hard things we do in life that aren’t really heroic.  If I am a PHD candidate and I complete my thesis am I lauded as a hero? I’m encouraged, congratulated, cheered but unless there’s a disability or something extraordinary I rarely hear the kind of language we apply to weight loss for any other ‘hard thing’ in life.

Why? Because the diet industry in America is a 20 billion dollar industry.  They want you to spend money and what better way to get someone to spend money than to either make them feel really good or really bad about themselves.  A tepid, lukewarm person never bought anything.  They have a vested interest in convincing us that we need to change and that if we make said change we can be the hero.

Now, you might suggest that I am focusing on mere semantics and poor word choice.  I would argue back that according to the Huffington Post the average American woman has dieted 61 times by the time they are 45 and that’s starting at 16 (I would start much younger- 81% of little girls in America have dieted before the age of 10).

Assuming some marginal success in most of those diets, the average woman has been the hero 61 times,  and then fallen sometimes quite speedily off of her pedestal.  Then to make matters worse 35% of women gain more than they lost on said diet.

So, now we aren’t really a weight loss villain (to use the cannon of terms) that is probably reserved for sinful foods and the companies who pedal them but we are something even worse- the fallen hero.  I mean think about what that means.  61 times the average woman not only feels let down with her own frailties but is no longer the inspirational tool for her family and friends.  I’ve felt it and I bet most of you have too.  It is devastating.

images

I actually remember one time my sister telling me ‘you can’t gain the weight back because then you wouldn’t be this person that we admire’.  She was very little and didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but is that not what all of us go through on the roller coaster of weight loss? 2012 I was at my peak of fitness and weight loss, then I had a personal crisis, chronic pain and a herniated disk in my back.  Things changed and so did my body.

I’m not making excuses.  That’s just what happened.  I felt guilty for a long time.  Like I’d let everyone down, which is insane when you really think about it.  What had changed was something in my body.  My other actions were exactly the same.  I still swam my races, I still blogged.  I still worked.  I still held book club and spent time with my friends.  I still traveled.  All of it.  I can’t think of one thing for other people I could do in 2012 and couldn’t or didn’t do in 2013.  So why did I seemingly let them down?

Because I wasn’t the hero anymore. 

That’s why this language about our bodies is so important.  It can have devastating repercussions that can make us feel like failures, and we already feel that way because of the way we look.  The language just piles on. And sometimes it is not just language.  I have friends who’s parents were vocally disappointed in them for their weight loss struggles. Instead of sympathy and encouragement they received pity and disgust.  (Luckily my parets have always been pretty good about letting me live my own life)

What worries me most is if being the fallen weight loss hero is hard for adults, imagine what it must feel like for a child who has so little control over his or her bodies in the first place?  That I do know.  I remember vividly the feeling of disappointment after diet, after diet, not only frustrated at not looking the way I wanted to, which is hard enough for a young girl, but letting everyone down in the process.  For goodness sakes, now these kids are even letting down the President.

So, in a perfect world where everyone took all of my advice what would I suggest? How would I encourage others in this hard thing called weight loss? I would treat it like the accomplishment of any other worthy goal.  ‘that’s great’, ‘I can see you worked very hard’, ‘great job’, ‘congrats’, ‘I’d love to go jogging with you’, or any number of responses without vaulting the person up as a hero because of the way they look.

What do you guys think? Have you felt like you were letting down people when you gain weight or fail to lose?  Do you think the hero narrative is helpful or hurtful?  Please share your experience, as this is just what makes sense to me.  Love you all!

heroes03capamericapostyo8

 

 

Exercise and Weight Loss Success

Many of you know I believe in a healthy lifestyle or the Health at Every Size Movement http://www.haescommunity.org/. 

How do you determine the success of a health regiment or diet? I would wager that 90% of you would answer “weight loss”  or if you didn’t you probably would be thinking ‘weight loss’ in your head but saying something more socially acceptable.

Here’s the thing- THAT IS WRONG!!

Every day there seems to be more evidence that the link between weight, even obesity, and actual health is not as strong as we once thought.  This defies the logic of the ‘war on obesity’, Michele Obama, scores of trainers/dieticians but that doesn’t mean it is not true.

Read this book.  It will BLOW YOUR MIND

health at every sizeThink it is just one woman’s crazy enabling antics?  No.  The book has 7 pages of detailed recommendations from doctors, leaders, scientists etc.  (see articles for more back up

US News World Report 

New York Times, and New York Times

The Today Show

To start the book Dr Bacon (I know ironic last name) shares her testimonial.  Here it is directly from the book:

health at every size 2This quote might lead you to believe the book is merely anecdotal but its not.  There is real science to back up what she says about eating healthy, being happy and not worrying about weight.  She leaves no stone unturned answering questions about diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, bone density, and even has the most brilliant defense against gastric bypass I’ve ever read. I’m telling you it will change the way anyone, not just the obese, look at eating, health and exercise. Here is my favorite (this is also quoted in Amy Farrell’s brilliant book Fat Stigma):

UC Davis.

“In this study, a group of fat women was divided into 2 groups, one receiving coaching in restrictive eating (diet) and exercise, the other being encouraged to eat a healthy diet, listen to their bodies cues, to foster ways to engage in fun exercise and take part in a fat acceptance discussion group.

Significantly group 1- the traditional diet/exercise group- initially lost weight, but by the end half had dropped out; most had regained weight; blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had not improved and self-esteem levels had dropped.

In contrast, group 2 hadn’t lost any weight, but most stayed with the 2 year program; their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had improved dramatically; their self-esteem levels increased substantially; and they exercised regularly.  Encouraged to pay attention to their bodies, to stop restricting calories, to fight the discrimination they experienced as fat people, and to enjoy their bodies through physical movement and eating well- the non-dieters showed significant health improvements.  But, and this is the key point, they never became thin.”

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

One of Dr.  Bacon’s patients describes her battle and realization of her own worth so beautifully:

health at every size 3

I recently have become aware of the activist Jeanette DePatie, otherwise known as The Fat Chick.  She gets it.  I wish someone had explained this to me when I started exercising (instead I went into it expecting to lose 100 lbs in the first year. Sigh…)

I am happy most of the time. I love  my life most of the time.  I have times when I’m more fit than others but I’ve basically looked the same since I was 17 years old and I was always ashamed by that, like it was this big failure I could never overcome.  Now I just make sure I have clothes that fit me in lots of sizes and work out at least 3 times a week.  Would I like to be skinny?  Yes, but I’m finally not convinced I’d be any happier if I was (or healthier).  The guilt is for the most part gone.

I hope this encourages all of you.  I started my journey saying I was the Only Happy Fat Woman in America and I had friends who fought me on it.  They thought I was just being patronizing or disingenuous but it was true then and today it is still true (I really had someone argue with me saying I was basically full of crap.  Not true).  TV will make you believe you have to be miserable if you are fat (biggest loser sorry)  but its a lie! Be healthy, be happy, be human, have bad days, eat cake and then work out for an hour the next day, find stuff you love, therapies that work and live the best life you can.

Every time Tanya and I swim together people look and have a surprised expression.  I know they think ‘I’ve never seen a girl that looks like do what they are doing’ and that makes me so happy.  It may be my greatest legacy of all.

So thats what I have to say on that.  Get active.  Be happy.  Love life and Follow God.

And just keep at it.
And just keep at it.
Do something you never thought you could do.  I love MMA (kick boxing) and I'm not too bad at it!
Do something you never thought you could do. I love MMA (kick boxing) and I’m not too bad at it!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans.  Who cares!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans. Who cares!
Find something you love.  Even after all the swims I've done it still makes me smile
Find something you love. Even after all the swims I’ve done it still makes me smile
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks.  I really love her.
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks. I really love her.

I would also just add that my times in the water when I’m at my thinnest and best trained is about 3 minutes faster than when I’m not.  My recovery is much better but my time really isn’t.  Funny. It just goes to show what your definition of success makes such a difference in achieving it.  If I was only focused on times I’d never be successful.

Gwynnie Bee

Hi guys! I wanted to tell you about a cool new service for plus size fashion.  Readers of this blog may remember my feelings on plus size fashion as featured on this blog https://smilingldsgirl.com/2010/10/16/a-note-on-plus-size-fashion/ 

However, bad fashion aside one of the problems bigger girls like me has is that our sizes can fluctuate greatly depending on a ton of different factors.   I’ve changed sizes in as quick as a month both on the upswing and downswing.  This can be extremely discouraging and expensive.  Most of the time it leaves us girls wearing frumpy clothes that are too lose or tight (both depressing).  You don’t feel pretty but you don’t want to invest in new clothing that you may only wear for a couple of months.  So you end up buying something cheap that is hardly flattering.  Basically you settle.

Well, someone has finally figured out a solution to this problem.  Its called Gwynnie Bee.  It is basically the netflix of clothes.  You log on to the site and then build up your ‘closet’ full of shirts, skirts, dresses and blazers (no pants for some reason?) and all of them are size 10 to 30 and designer names.  You can then pick a plan ranging from $35 for one piece of clothing, $59 for 2, $79 for 3.  For basically the price of a pair of jeans you can look fresh and new.

It only takes 2 days to send you your clothes and it includes a usps bag to seal up the garments when you are finished.  Then in 2-4 days you get the next items on your list.  Here’s an overview

Don’t you think that is a clever idea?  My only concern is that I need pretty modest clothes because of my religion and they have too many short dresses (I am also 5 ‘8 so what is short to me may be just right for some).  Right now you can try for free for 30 days.

http://goo.gl/pSDOfQ

What do you guys think?

2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee.  What do you think?
2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee. What do you think?

Box Month Continues: Goodies Co and Naturebox

Got two more boxes today for box month and they are both food boxes.  I think the last of my food boxes.  If you want to do a box month contact the different subscriptions, tell them about your blog and you may get lucky.  Its been really fun.

Goodies Co-

This is a great box for those that want to dabble in boxes but don’t want to invest much money . It is only $7 a month!  I spend that much on a cafe rio burrito!  They also have a points system where you can add reviews and get discounts, free shipping on products.   It is a smaller box and the value came to right about $7 so its not a huge value box but the cost is so low I think it has its appeal.

This is not specifically a healthy box; although all of the products appear to be all-natural and ingredient conscious.  Mostly its a snacking box. They have an adult box and one designed for kids.  I got the adult box to to try and enjoyed it.

goodies

Goodies
2.77 alo light exposed drink
0.31 tangy zangy
1.5 poplets sea salt and butter
0.4 sunflower seeds
1.1 veggie sticks
0.75 pronto
0.48 sales tax
7.31  total

Naturebox

I have already talked about this box on my blog because its one I have done for a couple of months.  I love it.  Its my favorite food box.  The great things about this box is you can pick what products you want, they are full size, all nutritionist recommended and yummy! This box is a great bargain too.  My box this month was valued at $27.11 and that is being conservative.  I think it would be great for an office breakroom.  You could get healthy snacks for your employees without having to go to the store or to Costco!

It is definitely the largest of all the food boxes I tried and still my favorite.  I highly recommend it.  They also have lots of gluten free and vegan options so you just pick what you like.   I can’t recommend it highly enough.

This month I tried a few new things like the guacamole bites and garlic pumpkin seeds and some of my favorites from past boxes like the cheddar pub pretzels (so good!).  You can also be suprised by snackbox if you prefer and you can add on to your box for a very reasonable fee.   Naturebox is not a sample box.  All of the products are made with the naturebox label which is part of the reason why you are given such generous amounts for the $19.95 cost.  I love it.  Give it a try!

naturebox

Naturebox
4 pumpkin seeds
3.34 cheddar pub pretzels
4 plantain chips
4 peanut butter nom noms
4 guacamole bites
6 veggie chips
25.34 subtotal
1.77 sales tax
27.11 total

Slowing Things Down

I don’t think I have mentioned on this blog I have started a new pain treatment at the Utah Chronic Pain Center.  This is a dual approach of hormone balancing and laser/decompression treatment all supervised by nurse practitioners and doctors.   As part of the treatment I am supposed to remain active but not cause my muscles to be overly swollen, tender or pulled.   This would revert all of our progress.  I am also supposed avoid bending, twisting or sudden movement.  As a result I have moved from working out 4-6 times a week to more like 2-3 times a week.  I have also been a little less intense on the diet; although I don’t really have an excuse for that.

I have also been specifically told by the doctor to stop mixed martial arts for the moment because it is too jarring and too much potential for my muscles to be strained.  I miss it and hope to be back soon but for the moment, the treatment is very expensive and I’m inclined to listen. :).

Here’s the weird thing- I feel great.  I feel energetic, happy, and relatively free from pain.  In all the years I was working out hard core I kept expecting to be energetic from exercise but never really felt it.  All those endorphins were a myth to me, never a reality (and I mean never).  I can’t explain it but I feel healthier now than I have in years.  Hmmmm… Why does my body have to be a freakazoid and not response like everyone else’s!  Can any of you relate to what I am saying?  Please, please share your experiences.

Now I have to get training again soon because I have the GSL swim coming up and I have been woefully out of the water this year.  (With everything crazy for Poler and Grabber I haven’t had time to get to the pool as much as I would like.  Going tomorrow though!).

What do you think of this?  Am I just deluding myself that these behaviors are making me feel good.  I don’t think so.  I really feel good.  Most importantly I am not in constant pain when I breath, move, bend over or walk.  What should I do in the future because I don’t want to lose all the training I worked so hard for but it was making me feel terrible and it never got easier after 3 years?  Never.   What would you do?  It’s like I have to decide pain or fat?

It’s so hard because you feel like you should almost be feeling bad when you are training but usually that goes away after a while.  For me it was a constant bad reaction to exercise.  Even swimming would leave me weak and frustrated.  There’s a limit how long a person can live like that especially without losing much weight.

I’m puzzled because it seems to go against what doctors and medical science thinks for me to feel better not exercising.  Thoughts?  All I know is what my body is telling me and it is definitely telling me to slow things down.

slow and steady wins the race
slow and steady wins the race

Twinkie Conundrum

So Hostess has closed.  We have all heard that.  Another American brand down the drain, no bailout for those 18k workers, no recourse for a union that flushed workers down the drain.

Here’s the funny thing since the news came out I have heard basically this same conversation from almost all of my friends/family (even my Dad!):

“I’m not going to miss all those unhealthy foods.”

or  “America is sure going to be healthier with out all the trans-fats clogging their arteries”

but then the statement is almost always followed by ‘I will miss those cupcakes though’, or ‘I wonder how much longer we can get a snowball?’ or ‘hard to imagine no more wonder bread or twinkies’.

What makes me laugh is that almost everyone I know plays the part of the healthy eater, glad Hostess is gone and ridding America from its guilt-ridden treats but secretly are lamenting the loss.  I guess it is the definition of a guilty pleasure!

I wonder if part of the remorse is like watching Saturday morning cartoons. They are syrupy and stupid but you kind of like them.  They remind you of being a kid again and for those of that had pleasant childhoods the remembrance is pleasant.  Perhaps we like such food because when we were a kid we didn’t have to worry so much about carbs, organic food, clean eating or any of that crap? We could just eat a twinkie if our Mom told us it was okay.

Perhaps we like things like hostess because we secretly LIKE THEM! In one Washington Post article about the mass selloff of twinkies on ebay a vendor described the situation well:

“If buyers do not bite, Mr. Edmonds is not sure what he will do with his supply. He does not even like Twinkies.

“I do like to have a Ding Dong every once in a while though,” he said.”

(I swear that same caveat is being said by nearly every American)

I remember when I saw Martha Stewart making her own peeps and I felt tired and a little disgusted.  What a waste of time when the original are delicious. I’m sure she would be insulted at the idea of store bought peeps but at Easter I wouldn’t want them any other mixed up, gussied way, just gooey, crispy peeps.  I like gourmet food but I also like familiar food where I know how it will taste and what it will be like.  I think that is the appeal of a lot of foods like Hostess. They are easy to eat, absorb and enjoy.

What foods do you like that you are slightly embarrassed to admit liking?  Come on, let it out.  I can think of some:

1- Chicken Nuggets- not fancy chicken strips (although those are good too).  I’m talking about crunchy little chicken pieces of manufactured yumminess and I get all the sauces I can muster.

2- pizza- This is really a guilty pleasure but I like all variations of pizza, not just the bubbly gourmet kind with fancy cheeses but the greasy pepperoni from Little Caesars (and I love Crazy bread!)

3- Movie popcorn- I love popcorn in general but I like the salty, yellow, intoxicating smelling popcorn at the movie theater.  I do! (With extra butter of course).

4- Sweet/Sour candies. When I went on my sugar fast the thing I craved the most was sour patch kids.  Strange but something about that lip puckering sweet and sour sounded so good.

5- Ice Cream- I’ve never met a flavor or brand of ice cream I don’t like.  I love the fancy gourmet kinds but also the big buckets of generic vanilla.
I also love ice cream novelties like drumsticks and fudgicals

6- Popsicles- I love those double popsicles in cherry, root beer, grape, banana, orange, etc.  You know the one’s?

7- Ramen noodles- I don’t like canned soup- ever, ever, ever!  I don’t eat it unless I’m forced and if I’m sick I’d much rather have ramen than canned soup.  I just don’t like the tecture of it.

8- Really hot fresh french fries.  They just aren’t the same baked.  Need the deep frier.  I love sauces.

9- Pillsbury- I think those crescents and biscuits are delicious.

10- Slurpees- Love all the favors, all the time.

11- Donuts- I love chocolate, maple donuts, simple glazed, powdered, whatever!  The smell makes me crazy.  Even those little powdered one’s make me happy.

12- Crackers- I love Chicken n’ biscuit, ritz, saltines, club crackers whatever.  YUM!

13- pudding snacks- not fancy kind.  Just standard pudding cups.

14- On same line lunchables.  Ah the decadence!

( I could keep going…)

What about you?  What do you have to talk yourself into getting a salad for?  What transfat nightmares do you linger over in the market and then head for the whole wheat section…

Be honest!  Who out there is secretly going to miss the twinkie?