Mixed results

I’m back! Okay I never really went away, but I was kind of ignoring you all for a bit. So I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seats, waiting to hear what happened over the past month. Actually, quite a few things happened.

First, my 3-month boot camp ended. Which means I can eat again. Although I likely won’t be indulging like I used to, because I still have a long ways to go. I can tell you that I successfully lost over 7% of my total weight. And I ran/walked/staggered through a 5K. And then later a 10K. Not too shabby!

Second, NaNoWriMo. One crazy month to write 50,000 words of a novel. I’ve actually been attempting this for years, but have never been successful. I did write a decent 15,553 words though, so it wasn’t a total loss. It probably didn’t help that most of my free time was spent either working overtime, recovering from the flu (yes it was likely H1N1) or exercising.

And Third. Well, I’m going to have to abandon all of you again, this time for a period during March. You kind of had a hint with the post I put up a couple of weeks ago. I’m going on another holiday –  this time to places where I will be stuffing myself silly with tangines and paella. There’s going to be a very brief stop in London (England, not Ontario) too, so I’m hoping to include a specific restaurant to that list as well.

So that’s all of my news. I have about a month’s worth of other people’s blogs to read, so please bear with me while I catch up. What’s new with you?

Healthy eating

A friend’s complaints about her (imaginary — she’s a stick) muffin top, and my upcoming commitment to a boot camp has me thinking again about healthy eating.

These are the tips I picked up the last time I did that boot camp. Most of this is obvious, but sometimes it helps to have this stuff written down in one place. (And to be honest, this entry is probably more about reminding myself what I need to do, as I’ve backslid over the summer with stuff like ice cream and Vegas buffets.)

  • Drink water, not pop or juice. Not even diet pop if you can help it. Avoid caffeine and alcohol if you can. Do not drink sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade unless you’re training for a marathon. Or the Olympics.
  • Watch those flavoured coffees as the flavourings are usually sugared.
  • Eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Probably more than you think you might need. Figure out how big a portion size really is. Canada’s Food Guide is very helpful with this.
  • Read labels carefully — the serving size on a box is not necessarily the serving size you should be eating.
  • Eat more fish and white skinless chicken, less pork and beef. Even better if you eat more vegetarian meals. If you want to gain muscle mass, you need more protein but if you want to lose weight limit it.
  • If you’re looking to gain weight in a healthy way, don’t start eating high calorie sweets. You’re better off speaking to a dietitian and a doctor. Eat more lean protein and lift some weights to gain muscle, as muscle is heavy. Drink caloric beverages like Ensure if you have to.
  • Eating natural foods helps you to avoid corn syrups and artificial sweeteners.
  • Whole grains and fibre (which you can get from the fruits and veg) is your friend.
  • Chicken wings have a draw-dropping amount of calories. You’re better off just staying away from them unless you’re making them yourself and taking off the skin.
  • Try writing a food diary for at least a week and figure out the calories of everything you eat and drink. If you want to be really keen, figure out the fibre content as well. You’ll be surprised at how much we put in our mouths are really pointless, nutritionally-wise. And you’ll be shocked at how much (or how little) you’ve eaten.
  • If you’re losing weight and limiting your food, you will start to crave stuff so don’t force yourself to avoid completely. Moderation is key. Forget about cheat days though; that’s just a convenient excuse to pig out.
  • Don’t tie yourself to your scale. A better way is to take a measuring tape and record your measurements. Dropping dress sizes and inches mean more than pounds.

Various links and news

Biggest Loser contestants must learn to change their relationship with food: In Kitchen, ‘Losers’ Start From Scratch

OpenTable files for IPO and reveals their finances

Possible layoffs and changes for Slashfood (I stopped reading the site months ago, preferring to read Serious Eats instead.)

PETA punked with parody site

Gordon Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare (Although there is still lots of swearing, I like this Gordon much better than his Hell’s Kitchen and US Kitchen Nightmares persona. And apparently this is much more like he is in real life, as opposed to the cartoon that FOX likes to promote.)

Marco Pierre White hosts new reality show on NBC called Chopping Block

Vegetables and fruits and whole grains, oh my!

I suspect that eating healthily is starting to make me grumpy. If I’m eating the same things over and over again, bordom sets in. With eating 4 fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every day, there are only so many times I can tolerate a steady diet of apples and celery. And so I’ve been trying to become more creative with varying my food.

This morning, for instance, I combined my fibre goal and my fruit goal by eating a (light) peanut butter and banana sandwhich on whole grain flax seed bread.

A couple of nights ago, I was trying to figure out what to do with a container of baby spinach that I hade bought over the weekend. A salad would be easiest, but frankly, I’m tired of salad. That’s when I stumbled on this sautéed spinach and garlic recipe on Simply Recipes. I’ve eaten variations of this before, and the recipe was a good reminder. The sautéed spinach was so good that I didn’t even bother added salt to the dish. Didn’t bother taking photos either, as my spinach looked just like the ones on the website. I think I’ll have to buy more spinach soon….

See link for recipe

Healthy eating

In my exercise boot camp, last week’s nutrition challenge was to eat 4 raw fruits and 4 raw or cooked vegetables, plain, per day.

This week’s challenge is to increase our fibre intake to a minimum of 20 g.

One week later, I’m still keeping up with the food diary, although it is getting irritating.

Meanwhile, the leftover muffins and pound cake from someone’s meeting is taunting me from the office kitchen. “Eat me,” they say. “You know you want to.”

Keeping track

I just joined a boot camp-style program in an effort to shed some pounds. Running for three months, they push you to change your lifestyle and become healthy. A part of the program includes keeping a food diary of everything (and I mean everything) that you eat or drink.

I’ve tried keeping a food diary before; that attempt lasted about two weeks, after which I promptly tossed it aside and declared that I was horrible at remembering to write things down.

There is value in keeping a food diary. It definitely makes you think about what you’re putting in your mouth. And about the quantity. And it shows you when you didn’t eat enough vegetables, have enough milk, etc.

It’s only been two days and already I’m tired of writing down every sip or bite. 😦 Here’s hoping I don’t throw out the notebook before the three months are over.