Tag: weight loss (page 1 of 12)

Hunger always wins

Dear Readers,

Today I want to talk about one important factor that keeps us from losing weight, even when we’re “doing everything right.” The factor is not self-sabotage; it’s not conflicted emotions about weight loss; it’s not lack of willpower. That factor is hunger, and hunger always wins. Continue reading

Losing weight right, starting….now!

Dear Readers,

If you’ve been hanging around with us for a while, you’ll likely remember our long-running and popular “Weight Loss after 50″ series. With so many of us vowing to “live lighter” in 2015, this seems like a good time to reprise some of the basics. Continue reading

Weight loss after 50: What’s your Easter weakness?

Dear Wendy,

Well, it’s here again. Easter Sunday, which in this house used to mean hiding caches of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs around the back yard, then sending the kids out with their baskets on an egg-hunting free-for-all.

alt="IMAGE-karen-easter-eggs-chocolate-basket"

I’m ready to go. Just point me at the chocolate.

These days, we still celebrate the holiday with chocolate, though probably not as much of it; and our kids no longer leap out of bed at half-past-oh-God-what-time-is-it? to rush down to the dining room table in search of their giant chocolate bunnies in nests of shredded paper.

Still, there’s no denying it: ’tis the season for chocolate.

And even though those foil-wrapped eggs aren’t exactly Godiva quality, there’s something about the way they melt on the tongue…let’s just say that I find them hard to resist.

So I won’t even try.

Yes, you heard me. I know, I’m watching my weight, and chocolate isn’t exactly diet food, but I figure that if I can’t allow myself a bit of chocolate on Easter Sunday, I’m doing something very wrong.

After all, holidays happen, and food is an integral part of most holiday festivities. If I had to sit out the fun, pinching my lips together to keep myself from popping one of those delicious little morsels into my mouth, I know how I’d feel: isolated, left out, and pissed off.

Because really, denying myself the occasional treat would mean that I’d crossed the line from “watching my food intake” to “policing myself”…and is that really how I want to live the rest of my life?

I’ll answer that: Nope, it is not.

So. Chocolate it is, then. But here’s the deal I make with myself: I’ll eat the minimum amount I need to feel satisfied. And as I always do, I’ll write it down (okay, to be strictly honest, I’ll type it into my food tracking program on my phone).

By the end of Sunday, I expect I’ll have exceeded my usual calorie allotment by a few hundred calories…and that will be okay. Because on Monday, I’ll be back in the saddle again, my chocolate-noshing day behind me. At least until next Easter.

I know you’re a fan of jelly beans around this time of year. How will you be handling your holiday treat situation? Inquiring minds want to know!

Love,

Karen

 

Weight loss after 50: Kick-ass breakfasts keep you on track all day

Dear Wendy,

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: when our health teachers insisted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they were not in any way kidding. A great high-protein breakfast not only gives you the energy you need, but it makes it much easier to sail through the dreaded late afternoon munchies.

A couple of years ago I was having real trouble getting through the afternoons, even though I was doing all the things I was supposed to: I was eating 3 meals of at least 350 calories apiece, and 2 or 3 snacks of at least 150 calories. I was making sure not to go too long without eating—3 hours at the very most.

But still, I found that about an hour after my afternoon snack, my stomach would start growling, and it was really tough to hang in until suppertime.

alt="IMAGE-drip-coffee-maker-melitta-black-coffee"

Nothing happens without this.

I went over my food diary with my nutritionist, and he spotted the problem immediately: my breakfasts were kind of wimpy in the protein department. He suggested I bump up the protein component to at least 20 grams. I was skeptical, as I couldn’t see how what I ate first thing in the morning could possibly affect how I felt by late afternoon.

But I did it anyway…and the results were almost instantaneous.

Building a healthy, high-protein breakfast turned out to be less of a challenge than I’d feared, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite recipes with you. Keep in mind that my brain doesn’t really kick into gear until after my first (or sometimes second) cup of coffee, so I prefer to keep my breakfasts simple to prepare.

Breakfast 1: High-protein oatmeal

This is my current favourite. I use either steel-cut oats (which takes longer to cook, but has a nice nutty flavour) or a blend of old-fashioned oats (not the instant kind), rye, barley, spelt, millet, flaxseed, and quinoa. But I think any whole-grain oat would do quite nicely.

  • 1/3 c. oatmeal
  • Water to cook, as per package directions
  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder
  • 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries (or fresh, if they’re in season)

I cook the oatmeal according to directions—4 minutes in the microwave for the oat/grain blend, 15 minutes for the steel-cut oats. Then I stir in the scoop of whey protein (the brand I use has 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar). If the mixture is too sticky, I add a tablespoon or two of 1% milk. Then I stir in the raspberries.

I’m not adding a picture, because the mixture looks vile, and you’d immediately be convinced that a) I’ve lost my ever-lovin’ mind, and b) you would never eat that in a million gazillion years. But it actually tastes great…and best of all, it staves off the late-afternoon munchies.

Breakfast 2: High-protein cold cereal

alt="IMAGE-cereal-about-one-cup"

Rachel calls this hamster food. I call it a great start to my day.

 

This one is even easier to prepare.

  • 1 cup high-protein cereal, like Kashi GoLean or GoLean Crunch
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk (because I think skim milk is gross)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat, no-sugar Greek-style yogurt (beware the flavoured ones, which often contain sugar)
  • 3/4 cup berries, or a sliced peach, or whatever takes my fancy that day

I’m not going to spell out the preparation here. I think we can figure it out, right?

I know some people who like to get their morning protein in the form of smoothies, and that’s fine too. Whatever works for you.

But my point is: eat protein, as much as you can, within an hour or so of waking up. You’ll thank yourself later in the day.

Love,

Karen

 

 

Weight loss after 50: You’re not failing, your diet is.

Dear Wendy,

alt="IMAGE-diet-fix-yoni-freedhoff"Last week I mentioned that I was reading Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s book, The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work.

Well, I whipped through that book in record time, in part because it’s written in such a friendly, accessible style, and in part because I found its overall message really compelling and inspiring.

We all know that most diets fail. The statistics are pretty grim: among people who do manage to lose their excess weight, about 95% regain every pound, often with interest. If any other medical treatment had that kind of failure record, it would have been outlawed years ago…and yet people keep embarking on diets, hoping against hope that this time they’ll succeed in keeping the weight off.

So whose fault is this?

Some blame the diets—whether low-fat, low-carb, no-gluten, no-sugar, no-yeast, or whatever else is currently in style. Others (many others) blame the dieters for their presumed laziness and lack of willpower. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “Just eat less and move more, and you’ll lose the weight,” I’d be a wealthy woman.

The thing is, while we’re told that losing weight ought to be easy, most of us have a great deal of experience that tells us it’s really not. We can come to believe that the fault lies in ourselves, in not wanting it badly enough, or not having the inner fortitude to buckle down and just lose the weight.

Dr. Freedhoff takes a very different approach. He starts from the premise that diets that are overly focused on restriction are by nature traumatic. And most people who’ve tried to lose weight repeatedly with these diets suffer from something he calls “Post-traumatic Dieting Disorder” or PTDD, the result of years of failed dietary efforts that leave us demoralized, discouraged, guilty, and ashamed.

PTDD symptoms can include feelings of ineffectiveness, shame, hopelessness, and a sense of being permanently damaged. Sufferers often have poor body image, and may withdraw socially, feel threatened by food (especially high-calorie treats), or have impaired relationships.

Moving beyond traumatic dieting

So what’s the solution? In the first half of the book, Dr. Freedhoff describes the “seven deadly sins” of dieting, followed by “dieting’s seven traumas”; and then he lays out a 10-step method for overcoming traumatic dieting and replacing it with a foundation of behaviours that he calls a “10-day reset” to change the dieter’s relationship with food.

Drawing on the habits and behaviours of those 5% of dieters who’ve actually managed to sustain significant weight loss over a 5-year span, the “reset” includes gearing up, learning to track your food, banishing hunger, cooking, thinking things through, exercising, learning to indulge realistically and sensibly, eating out, setting goals, and troubleshooting.

The second half of the book is an “everything else” section that includes a guide to resetting any weight-loss program—so long as you can imagine living with it for the rest of your life, Dr. Freedhoff states that it really doesn’t matter whether you choose paleo, low-carb, low-fat, Weight Watchers….any system can be reset, and made non-traumatic.

My one quibble with the book—and it’s a small one, overall—is the idea that the 10-step reset can be accomplished in 10 days. While some steps (learning to track your food, embarking on an exercise program) take little time, others (like learning the habit of cooking rather than relying on prepared foods) are more of a long-term thing for most people.

This is the most compassionate, practical, and ultimately useful book I’ve read on the topic of weight loss…and I’ve read a great many of them. Even if I weren’t one of Dr. Freedhoff’s former patients, I think I’d feel just as enthusiastic in recommending the book to anyone who wants to move past the “LOSE WEIGHT NOW!!” mentality of most popular diet programs, into a healthy lifestyle at a healthy weight…for the long haul.

Love,

Karen

Please note: I have not been offered any form of compensation for this book review. It represents my personal opinion and endorsement only.

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