June 30, 2009

Better tUesday: Motivational Goodies and My Future Doom (contest!)

My friends at the AHA want to hook you up with MOTIVATIONAL GOODIES in the form of a Better U, Better Me Kit with a retail value of more than fifty bucks. Look, it’s full of win:

BetterU%2C%20BetterMe%20Kit%20Photo.jpg

o Super-cute tote bag for the gym
o BPA-free water bottle
o Go Red Grocery Guide to help you make heart-healthy choices at the store
o Go Red yoga mat
o Our signature red dress pin
o Heart-healthy snack, Craisins

Want one? I have two to give away. To enter, just leave your best tip for heart healthy living in the comments. I would especially LOVE some new healthy recipes (or a link to a recipe), even MORE especially, healthy crock pot recipes... I am getting bored with our usual dinners. If you HAVE no recipe and are tip-stumped, you can steal one of mine. Just cut and paste one of these:

---Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
---Try thin-sliced avocado instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich.

Just leave your tip in the comments before MIDNIGHT eastern time Thursday, July 2, and we will let the cruel and jaundiced gods of random decide who gets these cool things. The detailed rules are a click away, blatantly stolen from WANT NOT.

This week and the next are going to be HIDEOUSLY challenging because on Thursday, I leave for our annual beach vacation. I meet my WHOLE family there, all ten of us, so I only do 1/3rd of the grocery shopping. We plan to do a LOT of really fun things---rent a pontoon boat, see the Blue Angels practice their air show, long dawn walks on the beach, swimming, fishing, body surfing, snorkeling, so keeping my activity levels high is built in. BUT!

A huge part of this family vacation is ALWAYS the food. My sister in law makes her Satanic Chicken Enchiladas featuring about 213 types of cheese, I usually make a white chili that is as smooth as velvet thanks to a fat content equal to what’s found in your average chunk of whale blubber, my mother brings her famous cheese cake, my FAVORITE pecan rum cake and a triple chocolate cake she primly calls “Better Cake” because the real title on the recipe is “Better Than Sex Cake. “

It’s a decadent week. There are Cheetos in the pantry, and Chocolate Pop-Tarts, and Cap’N Crunch Cereal. WITH Crunchberries. Things that NEVER cross my threshold at home. All the time, they are there. Sometimes, we get crazy and have WINE WITH LUNCH like a buncha debauched Roman senators.

We go out to eat at a place that might as well be called FRIED UP HARRY’S CORONARY HOUSE OF GIANT PLATTERS. The portions there---one Captain’s platter could feed a pride of lions, and the Admiral’s platter could make every lion need some plop plop fizz fizz. You can get any kind of fresh seafood you want on these platters---shrimp, scallops, clams, fish, crab claws... but they all come fried. OR, if you really really really do not want anything deep fried, they are happy to “broil” you some shrimp and scallops. I put broil in quotation marks because they use that word to mean “completely submerge shellfish in melted butter and apply heat.”

I’ve never escaped from Beach Week unscathed by a few gained pounds, but I really want to try this year. If I can BREAK EVEN, just not GAIN any weight, I will call it TOTAL MORAL victory. Here are my goals this week, which have to change as I will not be commuting back to Georgia for six hours to attend boot camp four times a week.

---Continue to use WW to CHART everything I eat, even if it horrifies me. I read on the forums over there recently, “If I wasn’t supposed to EVER eat it, WW wouldn’t give it a POINTS value.” SO if I CHART, I will KNOW if I am splurging reasonably or if I have completely jumped the shark.

---Continue with my policy of FRUITS AND VEGGIES FIRST. Fill up on salad and fruit as I begin my meals, and THEN indulge in some Julie’s enchiladas, so the portion of SUPERFAT YUMMMMINESS that I need to feel full is smaller.

---Three Boot camps this week before I leave, and then a combo of beach walking/active swimming for at LEAST an hour every day. (This is going to happen without me even trying, I suspect. I love body surfing and snorkeling to see fishes and stuff, and I walk the beach at dawn ever day. It’s deserted then except for a serious fishermen like Mr. Nguyen. Remember him? And last year’s MORTAL DANGER? and I get to see the herons and all the little silly-footed panicky water birds and pelicans and one year I went swimming at 5 am and raninto a little pod of dolphins who parted and swam around me...love it.

---DO NOT EAT THE POP-TARTS. If I am going to splurge – and I AM, Best Beloveds---I will blow the calories on RUM CAKE, which is homemade and tastes like my childhood and which I can’t GET anywhere else. I will NOT waste calories on a sugary slab of petroleum by products that has less nutritional value than the BOX it came in. I WILL NOT. NOT EVEN ONE.

And while we are on the topic of deliciousness, my reward, if I do this all, will be to go to the theatre and see DEPP AS DILLENGER a week from Thursday.

LISTEN, in the comments, for your entry, if you have a tip for surviving vacation eating, THAT would be SO helpful. I recalculated my BMI today as part of week 5. It is 25.5, down from 26.5. 25 or less is considered a healthy BMI, and I am .5 away. I have lost over an inch and a half in my waist, and am down 7 pounds and change. I so do not want to blow it!
But I am weak, I am weak, I am weak, and the siren song of the Cheetos is MIGHTY.


Posted by joshilyn at June 30, 2009 9:33 AM
Comments

You are at my favorite beach! The Blue Angels are AWESOME and the museum is world class.

Healthy Heart Tip is the Mediterranean Chicken from WW. I cooked it at the beach for my family night and no one knew it was a WW dish.

Posted by: Kaye at June 30, 2009 9:58 AM

Despite the fact that I've lost not one pound or inch, you inspire me none-the-less.

Bravo for resisting the poptarts--at this stage in the game if it doesn't taste incredible, then I don't eat it. And they are NOT them same, but the baked Cheetos are mighty good in and of themselves. Take a bag with you to stave off the crave OR measure yourself a portion of the regular in a baggie for the entire day so you know how many you can have.

And HAVE FUN!!!

Posted by: Roxanne at June 30, 2009 10:01 AM

Ummm . . WINE is fat-free. If you drink enough after morning exercise, you'll be too comatose to eat. Also, sadly, too comatose to exercise again the next morning.

Now if I could find my recipe for black bean fritters . . basically blend cooked black beans with spices and an egg (and maybe a little flour). Then I cook them in a non-stick pan so they're more like little pancakes than fritters. I bet they'd be good with a fruit salsa of some kind!

Posted by: Brigitte at June 30, 2009 10:25 AM

Okay, I am an idiot. I just wrote a whole long comment, previewed it, and then x-ed out of the box without posting it. However, I am an idiot with some HEART-HEALTHY tips for you.

My first one is similar to "take the stairs," but it is "take the long way around." Like, if I'm at work and I have to go to the work, I no longer cut through the big parking lot, I walk up the street, around the corner, and around the other corner. It's about 2.5 times the distance, so more steps -- and if I take it at a pretty brisk pace, which I DO, it's a little burst of cardio on the middle of the day.

As for Pop Tarts, why not try to come up with your own healthy version? Like, maybe take a whole wheat pita and fill it with some fresh fruit and some -- well, I'd say yogurt, but I know your feelings on THAT -- so maybe a bit of honey?

And one more for you, because I'm hoping to charm the random number generator. I make a really healthy ice cream substitute by SLIGHTLY defrosting fresh fruit (mango works very well) and processing it with a little bit of skim milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of honey. It is really yummy, and because the fruit is frozen it freezes the milk and make something that approximates a soft ice cream.

Have fun!

Posted by: Aimee at June 30, 2009 10:28 AM

Easy and chic: while waiting for dinner, whether stabilizing the counter or sitting in the restaurant, do not sip from that water glass -- down the entire thing, as early as possible. It's got to take them 20 minutes to bring your food in a good restaurant, and if you clutch the glass to keep from picking at whatever free munchies they've put on the table to placate you, you're good to go.

Also? Try not to order anything which wouldn't be good the next day -- that way when you're not hungry any more you have them box it up. Winwin.

(I covet that red yoga mat. I have never seen a red yoga mat. Insufficiently serene, or something -- but utterly joyful. Want. Hear me, or RNG)

Posted by: rams at June 30, 2009 10:38 AM

Okay, here's a tip: Find a diet buddy - someone who is also trying to eat sensibly. This should be especially helpful if you can find someone else in your vacation group who's also trying not to overindulge. Then you can support each other. Good luck!

Posted by: Caryn Caldwell at June 30, 2009 11:39 AM

My tip- when you go out to eat ask for a box as soon as they bring the food. That way you can go ahead and box up that extra serving every place gives you so you won't be tempted to eat it or to eat those last three dumplings just because they aren't quite a serving.
Oh, and 1/2 spinach, 1/2 arugula = the best pesto ever.

Posted by: Tequila Cookie Chris at June 30, 2009 12:00 PM

My favorite simple crock pot meal for one: cover the bottom of a small crock pot with sliced carrots and celery; add water to just barely cover vegetables; lay boneless skinless chicken breast on top of veggies and spinkle with chopped basil (I use dried); top with baking potato well-scrubbed and wrapped in tin foil. I let it cook in my mini crock pot all day and have a healthy meal ready to eat when I get home from work.

Posted by: Mindy at June 30, 2009 12:02 PM

When we go grocery shopping while on vacation, I always stock up on containers of pre-cut fruit and veggies. They can be expensive, but I eat the fruit for breakfast, and have the veggies as snacks while everyone else eats chips, etc. I also try to eat very well at breakfast and lunch, as those are the times we are usually at the condo, and it is easier to control portions and content, then splurge at dinner. Another trick I have is to go over the menu with my son and find something we both like, then split it, so I automatically cut my portions in half. As for a healthy recipe: cut up three or four Braeburn apples, put in a baking dish, sprinkle with a small amount of cinnamon and sugar (I use about 1/2 Tbs. sugar and 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon), stir to coat, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min., or until the apples are tender, but not mushy. Tastes like apple pie, without the guilt.

Posted by: Miss Shell at June 30, 2009 12:18 PM

I think you've already got the best "I don't want to eat my vacation away" ideas. Filling up on vegies & fruit before other stuff, more activity and not denying yourself SOME of the goodies. And a really really good reward to look forward to! On a cruise vacation a few years ago, we ate WAAAY to much, but countered it by taking the stairs everywhere and walking laps. Didn't gain a thing except happy memories.

Posted by: Kathy at June 30, 2009 12:23 PM

Skip carbs for dinner, and no eating after dinner + powerwalk before breakfast. I did this last xmas and even though I ate like a pig the rest of the time I didn't gain a pound.

Posted by: åsa at June 30, 2009 12:25 PM

Make your own trail mix:

dried cranberries or cherries
dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa)
almonds
Healthy and delicious snack!

Our favorite salad (modified from You on a Diet)is:

Spinach
Walnuts
2 oranges, sliced along the pith
1 grapefrut, sliced along the pith
One sliced avocado

Dressing:
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
cayenne pepper to taste

Posted by: Caryn at June 30, 2009 12:34 PM

So far, my best tip is the one you've already done: PREPARE for when you are feeling weak--because at some point, you probably will(Tar and feathers all around for the Buttmunches!!!!). My latest "preparation" discovery is Edy's Grand Triple-Slow Churned in the single-serving containers. Even if you are sobbing and flinging darts at photographs of Dr. BM, and you accidentally inhale the ENTIRE thing, it is 180 calories and 7 grams of fat. If you have a good day, like I did yesterday, and you have "leftover" available calories and fat after dinner, half the container is still quite pleasing, and virtuous at 90 calories and 3.5 grams fat. For mint-chocolate-chip, no less. I plan to keep an Emergency Edy's in the back of my freezer.

This is probably silly, but after watching some men I know vacuum down a piece of chocolate cake as if starving wolves were preparing to attack them for it, I tried something. I found out that a little bite of an indulgence has just as much flavor when it hits my tongue as a huge scarfy bite. If I want to eat something for the flavor, (like a cheeto, or, another fave, a Muncho) taking a VERY SMALL quantity and breaking them up or taking little bites gives me the pleasure part without the self-recrimination part.

My self-observation has also revealed that being rigid and demanding with myself turns my Inner Child into Oppositional Defiant Child, so I need to be flexible and nice to me. Lately, when I haven't felt like walking, or it's too durn hot and wet, as I sit on the couch I ask myself, "Well, okay; what ARE you willing to do? Right now?" and then I do that. From last night's experiment, I can tell that 1) I will probably get a good bit of exercise trying to re-learn how to hula hoop and 2) I should probably videotape myself trying to re-learn how to hula hoop (it has got to be funny. Nothing can feel that goofy and silly and just-right-after-a-long-day-of-pretending-to-be-a-serious-adult-person without being funny. Heck, I could probably charge admission to watch.)

Jennifer

Posted by: JMixx at June 30, 2009 12:38 PM

Okay, here's my recipe for avoiding Cheetos: read the nutritional information on the bag before eating. If I remember right, they're about a gram of fat PER CHEETO! I don't need the neon-orange tastiness that much!

For recipes - I really like Cooking Light. Here's their recipe for Penne with Mushroom Sauce, one of our favorites, but not super-quick:

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1809033

A good quick healthy recipe we like - saute a LITTLE diced bacon (a couple of strips worth), 1/2 an onion, then add a can of diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Serve over angel hair pasta with some grated parmesan or romano cheese.

Have fun!

Posted by: Becky at June 30, 2009 1:00 PM

I agree with lots of the comments above: it's all about portion control and NOT eating things that aren't worth it. Those Italians with their teensy gelato shovels have it just right - one can enjoy smaller bites at least as well as big ones, and it makes the treat last longer.

Try for conscious eating, not the mindless kind - sit away from bowls of snacks. If you want something, take the amount you think is right in a separate dish.

And I agree with Miss Shell that spicing up an apple is a fine thing, but it can also be done in the microwave! Also with Becky that Cooking Light has excellent recipes, and a very handy online search engine.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at June 30, 2009 1:24 PM

Sadly, all the exercise in the world cannot undo one big serving of enchiladas--calorically speaking. You are smart all by yourself. Fruit and vegetables first, water all along. Keep a pitcher on the table. No ice means you can drink it faster. Pay attention to what your body wants--not your pride, your emotions, or your mouth. Develop a relationship of trust with your body, rather than one of war.

Posted by: Melissa at June 30, 2009 1:42 PM

Ok, so I have to vent a little bit, today I was babysitting for my summer job, and the sweet little four year old boy I take care of was sitting next to me at the picnic table. He looked at me and said, "Wow, you have big chunky thighs. Do you know what chunky means? It means really big." Charming... Anyway, since that incident, (and also knowing that I have gained a little weight) I am trying to do better.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is just stir fry whatever veggies we have on hand and then put them over whole wheat pasta or brown rice. The Mccormick grill mates seasonings make them taste AWESOME even if you are not so wild about veggies.

Posted by: Abby at June 30, 2009 1:54 PM

Good for you with your weight loss and BMI loss - congrats! Good luck with staying on track while on vacay - I've got no tips for you but please let us know what you do bec I've got a few getaways this summer.

Posted by: Justice Ny at June 30, 2009 1:55 PM

When everyone else is having cocktails, I love club soda with a splash of cranberry juice on the rocks with a twist. It looks like a grownup drink without any of the guilt or useless feeling the next morning. Not nearly as boring as water, but you still feel kind of full after you have a few before dinner. Best yet, the bartender tops you off at no charge, and you can have them with breakfast without your kids needing therapy later!

Love all the tips. We are headed for the identical situation in the coming days and I will use them all. Have a great time!

Posted by: Jen at June 30, 2009 2:02 PM

Joss, you seem to be well prepared already!
If you're aware of the danger areas you should be fine.

I signed up to WW here the other day and am already saving points for my weekly blow-out (going to visit an old friend & guildie who thinks ringing for takeout=cooking dinner), the WoW fun is great, the takeout not good for the waist (wait, what waist?).

So no-one mentioned saving points, possibly because you know that already (I'm new to this WW stuff and the points system is wrecking my head...). Also, the buddy up suggestion is great. I have 2 friends and my mother enlisted to do WW at the same time as me, and it's keeping me honest.

Bring some WW treats for yourself (the toffee bars are yummy, do you get them in the US too?) and some low-cal chips to keep you away from the cheetos.

Most importantly - enjoy your vacation!

Posted by: Rompompom at June 30, 2009 2:02 PM

Heart Healthy Tip: Before you eat a cheeto, really look at it for a second. Say to yourself: This is not food. This is an industrial mix of sugar, fat, and salt directly from the devil, meant to addict. I will save the calories for real food, which includes home-made desserts but not industrial imitation food.

Posted by: kac at June 30, 2009 2:05 PM

Well my DH and I have been exercising alot. We eat healthy and we try to keep our kids playing and outside in the summer (usually with sunscreen).
I know this is soup and maybe save it for the fall, but man oh man is this good! I admit I just used chopped broccoli from the freezer and it's still just as yummy.
DELIGHTFUL BROCCOLI & RED PEPPER SOUP

1 medium onion, chopped 3-4 cups vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, minced 1 TSP Braggs (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP olive oil ½ TSP dried tarragon
4 cups broccoli, chopped ¼ TSP thyme
2 medium red peppers, chopped 1/8 TSP black pepper

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in oil until the onions are translucent. Add the broccoli, red pepper, stock, Braggs, tarragon, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. IN a blender or food processor, blend ½ or all of the soup until smooth – return to the pot and reheat.

Posted by: Michele D at June 30, 2009 2:16 PM

It is tricky, isn't it? (Recently I have been eating turkey slices wrapped round avocado for lunch, no bread - sorta like a sushi wrap, only easier. The no-fat Fage Greek yogurt is expensive but satisfying - an implausibly large number of grams of protein per helping.)

What I would do for the trip: log calories scrupulously every day, except allow ONE big blowout meal/evening where you really do not count stuff (makes it easier not to be grumpy about the other days); and (this is painful) choose alcohol OR dessert each day, but not both, and try and keep quantities very moderate. Definitely no Pop-tarts or Cheetos, because it is not the calories per se but the fact that they are incredibly unsatisfying - an hour later you will want something else - mixed nuts or peanuts are ALWAYS a better snack choice than chip variants (and if you get unsalted, they are less addictive than salted - good for portion control).

(I also find that strength-training/boot-camp-type stuff gives me a more protein-oriented healthy eating impulse than straight cardio, so you may want to see if you can find half an hour here and there for some pushups and planks and body-weight strength exercises like dips - even 20 mins. of core stuff is always worthwhile, and if you swim afterwards it rinses off the sweat!)

Posted by: Jenny at June 30, 2009 2:49 PM

after gastric bypass I have to be careful at restaurants. The portions are hideous.
1. order a soup or side salad and sample a forkful of what others are having. Family never minds.
2. order the healthiest selection from the kid's menu. yes, grown-ups can order from kid menus.
3. order a soup or side salad for yourself and choose an appetizer you're lusting after to share with everyone.

Posted by: Dianna at June 30, 2009 3:00 PM

Oh, I really, really want a red yoga mat! I'm way too square for my yoga place... this morning I told the instructor that I Was Not Comfortable with His Touching Me So Much.
Me: down-dog
Him: behind me, pulling my thighs toward him.
Do you know how flaunty awesome that red yoga mat would look in that grey room with all the soft greens and greys and light purples??? WANT WANT WANT!

My tips-- beverages: remember that alcohol makes you hot! Seltzer makes you feel cool inside, especially with a few raspberries and a skinny slice of orange floating in it. Ice tea-- or a kombucha, also low cal, and delicious.

And you're in the south, so you probably do this already, but remember to put your fork down and your hands in your lap after each bite. Sort of paces you.

And I'm a big fan of splitting everything-- entree, salad, dessert. I leave the waiter the tip I would have left had we ordered two of everything and feel good in my tummy and my soul.

Other sensations-- the sun, the ocean breeze, sand in your toes, children laughing, windchimes-- make these luxurious indulgences.

Best wishes with all this!

Posted by: elizabeth at June 30, 2009 3:20 PM

My tips are not anything new, but they have helped me in the past.

Start each day w/ exercise. Once I have put in the time exercising I'm more consious about what I eat.

Share a meal at a restaurant.

The first 3 bites of any dessert are the best, so only have those 3 bites.

Congrats on your success thus far, you are a great inspiration! Have an awesome beach week!

Posted by: sherid at June 30, 2009 3:45 PM

Yeah, nothing new here either, but the stuff that seems to work for vacations for me is to stay active (I try to turn running/walking on the beach into a "treat" and if that makes me sound crazy, um, so be it, it's better than running on the concrete here in Hellanta lately). And also to eat what you really want. Yeah, Cheetos are fake food, but if you are going to think about it all week, eat a friggin cheeto. or three. Then give the bag to whoever's near you.

Have a great week! I am scheming a beach trip soon.....

Posted by: Beth at June 30, 2009 4:09 PM

Good luck on your vacation - I would so gain all my weight back.. I struggle so when I'm away and it's easier to pick up junk food.

My tips are common amongst many:

Use Canola or Olive Oil when needed to heart healthy -

"Grazing" seems to work - you eat small amounts all through the day. While on vacation and active, you should be working off any calories you have as you go. That might be perfect!!??

Have fun!!

Posted by: Pamela L at June 30, 2009 4:12 PM

First of all, your blog is the highlight of my day, even when it may (read: does, like, right now) cause me to procrastinate at work.

Over the course of a year and a half I have managed to drop 15 pounds and keep it off. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. HUGE kudos to you for all your hard work and success! It's very motivating for me.

I think the most important step is knowing what you are putting in your mouth. I love me some Smores PopTarts, Good Heavens do I ever - until I saw one package is 600 calories - which is half my daily intake! Yeah, I love em, but I love a lot of things a lot more. Here's what I do for breatfast:

1 La Tortilla Factory tortilla (b/c they have STUPID amounts of fiber and protein and only 100 or so calories)
1 scrambled egg (sub in Egg beaters here if you really want to cut - I just can't justify that I pay 5 times more for the same amount of eggs, b/c my cholesterol is really good.)
Assorted veggies of choice, scrambled with egg
1/4 cup 2% shredded cheese
Wrap all ingredients in tortilla and go! I wrap mine in foil and eat it in the car - no mess, and the foil heats the tortilla and melts the cheese.

Posted by: Amanda at June 30, 2009 4:33 PM

I love the avocado in the sandwich trick - thanks!

I don't have much novel to add, but do think going into your trip with a plan is your best bet for success. Good luck!

Posted by: redzils at June 30, 2009 4:36 PM

I make a healthy shake every morning.

Into the 'magic bullet' goes:

Soy milk
frozen fruit

Whirl whirl whirl and breakfast...

Posted by: pam at June 30, 2009 5:44 PM

brown sugar baked bacon. Mmmmmmmmm :0

Posted by: the brother at June 30, 2009 5:47 PM

I am not much for organized tips, but here goes....I needed to avoid the onion and garlic in ranch dressing, and then couldn't find another single salad dressing that I liked. One day I decided to mix oregano with olive oil and just drizzled a little over romaine, boiled egg, and a handful of blueberries. It was the best salad I have ever eaten! I mixed up a pinch of oregano with the last inch or so of olive oil in the bottle to keep on hand.

Posted by: Kristin at June 30, 2009 5:48 PM

I love this recipe for strawberry dumplings from Smitten Kitchen. It's a dessert but has very little sugar and is totally delicious.

Posted by: RandomRanter at June 30, 2009 6:15 PM

Okay, the embedded linky thing didn't work - so the recipe is here:
http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/06/strawberries-and-dumplings/

Posted by: RandomRanter at June 30, 2009 6:16 PM

To avoid eating the Cheetos on vacation, my advice is to read *out loud* the ingredients, go look up any that you do not know, by the time you're done with this exercise you will be completely grossed out and no longer craving those evil neon orange sticks of doom.

For a heart-healthy cooking tip: how about subsituting yogurt for part of the oil when you cook banana bread to use up the turning black in the summer's heat bananas on your counter. I substitute one single serve thingy of yogurt for about half the oil in a normal recipe, no one misses it and it makes the banana bread moister.

Posted by: JulieZS at June 30, 2009 6:30 PM

Well, most of the tips that I was going to share have already been shared. And there are some great looking recipes I'm going to try - thanks folks!

My one tip is hard to do sometimes, but it's a mental tip: Remember that this is NOT the last meal where you will get [fill in the blank]. You can have it again, so you don't have to gorge on it now.

And it's been scientifically proven that our tastebuds lose sensitivity to a food as we continue to eat. So the first few bites of something DO actually taste better than the rest. So if you stop when it stops being incredible tasting, you can save some calories that way.

Have fun and enjoy your family!

Posted by: Beth R at June 30, 2009 6:53 PM

Crack open that bag of Craisins and put some on your salads! Antioxidants and delicious!

Posted by: 5elementknitr at June 30, 2009 7:01 PM

I wish I could help and advise you, but I am the last person to do so. I am a Comfort Eater, and since my dad died recently, I have gained plenty. I would like to return to the days when my stomach did not sit on my lap, but right now I still need to eat.

(Is that TMI?)

Best of luck on your vacation goals!

Posted by: ccr in MA at June 30, 2009 7:06 PM

Oh, Joshilyn, you're making me nervous. We are leaving on July 15 to visit my sister in Wyoming. She has already warned me that I won't be getting much of that healthy stuff while I'm there. ;>) Thus, I will be depending totally on portion control.

In the meantime, I'll be practicing portion control at home, as I have been doing all along, often using Weight Watchers meals as my main course at dinner (accompanied by a truly huge salad). I'm hoping that by the time I get to Wyoming, limiting my portion size - especially pasta portions - will be second nature.

By the way, I've posted my latest BetterU update over at my blog. I've lost 8 pounds this month. YAY!

Now, my Heart Healthy Living tip: Walk. Just walk. I've discovered Nordic Walking Poles, and they have been transformative. A one-hour walk is routine now. Today I walked for one hour and twenty minutes before lunch, including some hill work. I posted about the poles here:

http://sandarastraveljournal.blogspot.com/2009/06/nordic-walking-before-i-talk-about-my.html

...and my post includes a YouTube video describing the poles and how to use them. They take some of the strain off your joints, they give your upper body a workout - and they enable you to use up to 40% more calories on your walk.

I am just so in love with my walking poles.

Posted by: Sandra Leigh at June 30, 2009 8:43 PM

want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want want

Okay, now that the whining is over... Anything stir-fried is yummy and usually pretty good for you, and it's easy to sneak in a lot of veggies and lean chicken breast. And it's easy - you don't even need a recipe, just some veggies, low-sodium soy sauce, olive oil with a dash of sesame oil for flavor, maybe some sesame seeds? And some brown rice.

Avoid appetizers and have small dessert at home - not at the restaurant - fill up on salad, fresh veggies and water before tackling the main event and so keep portions small. Seems like you've already got all of that planned well :)

Posted by: Jen A at June 30, 2009 9:26 PM

We got a wii game so I got the wii fit. It is so much fun it doesn't feel like excercise but I am always a little sore the next day so it must be doing something!!

Posted by: Allison at June 30, 2009 9:46 PM

**drooling over red yoga mat** We just put in hard wood floors and I didn't consider lying down to do exercises without any padding (on the floor!).
If you want a really good appetizer, I found this one from Cooking Light a while back: Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip - http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=520064. Just don't tell my neighbors where it came from cause they think it's my recipe and I always have to bring it to get-togethers for those of us trying to watch what we eat.

Posted by: AmyJo at June 30, 2009 10:03 PM

Here's the tip: Get thee to a grocery store (when you are doing your 1/3 of the shopping) and buy seedless grapes (preferably the red ones, but green will work, and a combo of the two would look festive), wash 'em up, cut them into snack-sized clusters, let them air-dry and then...(drum roll)...freeze them in little sandwich-size Baggies, ready to grab. They make a cool, tasty treat on even the hottest beach day, and you can take them anywhere and have nothing left over but an inoffensive stem (as opposed to a stinky banana peel, a messy apple core, etc.)!

Posted by: JMyersbook at June 30, 2009 11:01 PM

I do not know if someone already said this, but, when it is safe - like not midnight in a deserted alley or whatever- park at the back of parking lots, far from the door. Extra built in walking. Also, raw squash and raw green beans make excellent snack foods (I don't like carrot sticks or celery, but fresh green beans? Are delicious).

Posted by: Megan at June 30, 2009 11:19 PM

I have recetnly een ablet o re-focus my "treats" and look at them objectively after hearing a piece on NPR where the guest described how industrialized food is meant to addict.
Yes, it's the same riff others hav been singing, but it clarified this for me when Dr. Kessler said read the ingredients and use the terms "fat," "salt," and "sugar" where applicable. (The food industry and the end of overeating on Hear and Now in May).
One of the things I realized was that I get bored with vegetables and don't necessarily want 3rds or even seconds to fill me up. So, my trick is to make two vegetables and a salad, so I don't feel like I'm being deprived. I actually like vegetables, but reach a saturation point mid meal.
I think the prizes are Fabulous, but I already have many of the items, so please keep me out of the drawing.
I just wanted to push veggies. :)

Posted by: JulieB at June 30, 2009 11:52 PM

A tip for betterU: There was recently a study done that showed that soft, puffy foods contribute to weight gain. This is because they don't take as much work to digest. Your digestive system will actually BURN CALORIES for you, so you want to give it more work. That's why high fiber and multi-grains are encourage because they take more work to digest.

Posted by: Michelle at July 1, 2009 12:16 AM

Our household (except the scrawny teenager) is diabetic, so as yummy as all these recipes sound -- and they do, they DO -- we have to severely limit any fruit, and starches are right out, which means no potatoes, bread, rice. . .

Ah well.

One of the recipes we use is to put a bunch of pork ribs in the crock pot. They need to have bones in for flavor. Cover them with a medium salsa. Turn on low and walk away for the day. When you come home, you've got a great pulled pork that doesn't need anything added to it.

May the great random number generator pass me by and land on someone who will appreciate the prize more!

Have fun at the beach, and keep an eye out for Danger In The Water!

Posted by: Fran at July 1, 2009 12:18 AM

(want want want want want want that red yoga mat and bhp-free water bottle)

My tip only works if you live in an area like I do, where there is shopping at the end of the block that literally goes for five miles. ;) But it's what I do to add in extra exercise, so here goes: WALK THERE. Yes, I know it's 105 degrees outside, but if you really, really need to run to Kohl's for those jammies on sale for your kid, put on your tennies and HOOF IT, BABY! The cool air when you get there will feel soooo good, and you'll limit your spending since you have to carry whatever you purchase home with you! Win-win! Be sure and remember your water bottle ~ Kohl's even has a water fountain in the back where you can refill before the walk home. :) When you're walking back, do arm lifts with your bags o' goodies ~ bonus! Strength training! lol

Same goes for Michael's, Target, and Bath and Body Works. If you aren't willing to walk there, you don't really need to go, now, do you? ;) (That's what I tell myself, anyway! LOL)

Posted by: Kim at July 1, 2009 12:56 AM

My number one tip for people trying to lose weight is drink water. If you don't like water, get some of those packets of tea or lemonade to flavor your water. All too often, when someone thinks they're hungry they're really just thirsty. Water makes you feel full, it keeps you hydrated, keeps you cool, keeps you alert, and keeps the body working properly. Kidneys are flushed and fiber is properly "inflated" so it can - ahem - "move" through the system.

Tip 2 - Be aware of what you eat. This has three aspects - record keeping, portion size and nutritional value.

Tip 3 - Forgive yourself. If you eat something that you regret, get over it and get on with it. Don't use it as an excuse to hoover up everything in sight.

Tip 4 - Move. It's a vacation at the beach - you've already identified lots of activity, and I don't think this will be a problem for you.

Tip 5 - Guilt you family and friends into helping you. "I'm working hard to be healthier. I need you to help me." People like helping.

Tip 6 - Remember, you are a "spokesmodel." We're looking to you for inspiration. We're also here cheering you on.

Tip 7 - Enjoy yourself! Being happy because of where you are, who you're with, and what you're doing is far better than being happy because of what you're eating.

Recipe:
Cowboy Caviar
Drain and rinse a can of black beans, thaw some frozen corn, and toss them together with a drained can of diced tomatoes (seasoned or with jalapenos, if you like spicy). Optional additions include sweet onions, cilantro and avocado. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and half a teaspoon of sugar - I like to put it in a lidded container and just shake the heck out of it. Pour it over the veggies, give it a toss, and refrigerate. Scoops (tortilla chips in bowl shape) filled with this stuff are about 20 calories. It's a great snack, and it also makes a yummy side dish.

Posted by: Sandi at July 1, 2009 9:20 AM

Drink water first and eat what you want to eat in half size portions. It is ok to be a little hungry - it builds character!

Posted by: Chris at July 1, 2009 9:22 AM

It's not my personal recipe, but here is a link for a yummy and healthy crockpot soup with veggies and pasta:
http://southernfood.about.com/od/crockpotsoup/r/bl43c10.htm

Posted by: Carol at July 1, 2009 9:23 AM

Dear Abby: Your comment about the DARLING child who had to try out his New Word For The Day on your thighs made me think of Joss's blog entry of June 17. How in Second Kings the two she-bears "tore two and forty" of the (slowest) rude children.
I know, little kids often have no filters on their mouths, and may not be capable of learning to filter. I also personally think that there is no harm in chatting casually about how sometimes words like "big" are nice things to say (i.e.,"You have big muscles!") and sometimes they might hurt someone else's feelings (i.e., "You have a big mouth!"). Anyone reading who is a parent, relax! I don't babysit. I am not emotionally scarring anyone's children for life.

I am also the person who, as the story goes, had my mother galloping around the grocery store and hiding behind end caps when, as a six-year-old sitting in the grocery cart (sans mouth filter), I POINTED at a person and said at the top of my lungs, "Mommy, look at that GREAT BIG FAT LADY!!"

Fair is fair. I grew up to BE the GREAT BIG FAT LADY. But not for long...!

Jennifer

Posted by: JMixx at July 1, 2009 9:27 AM

Peanut Butter roll-ups fill you up and are very portable: spread THE GOOD KIND of peanut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla, sprinkle raisins and (optional) walnuts on top. Roll it up and wrap in foil. This past weekend I found one in the car that my son hadn't eaten - we were at his out-of-town baseball tournament. I had not had lunch and sure enough it was still fresh, delicious, and healthy.
Tip 2: Any time you finish any exercise: walking for a half hour, running, swimming, lifting weights - it is crucial to tell yourself how great you feel and how awesome you are. Then when you don't feel like doing it next time, you can call these wonderful thoughts to the forefront of yuur mind and say "Wait - I actually enjoyed that workout session last time." It really works.
Best, SFL

Posted by: Susan L. at July 1, 2009 9:28 AM

I would say during your walks/runs on the beach, take a break occassionally for the boot camp stuff. Use a bench to do dips or step ups. stop somewhere along the way and do planks (the gorgeous view makes it much more bearable). Take the kids along and turn it into a game, have them do the exercises with you.

Posted by: Patti D at July 1, 2009 9:36 AM

As easy as crock potting, I've been loving making frittattas with whatever my CSA box contains.

Brown some potatoes in a cast iron pan, then add onions or spring onions, garlic, garlic scapes, lots of pepper, zucchini, broccoli, greens, whatever you like... then dump on a couple of eggs and some feta cheese and brown the whole thing on the stove till the bottom's crispy. Then stick it in a hot oven until the whole thing is done. Makes for a delectable mass of veggies held together with a bit of egg. Served up with a salad and a grain it's a great meal.

On the other hand, I find that a glass or two of wine in the stomach does a lot to keep the appetite down :)

Posted by: ailo at July 1, 2009 10:51 AM

You already are doing my tip, which was going to be to eat a little of what you want, and to save your splurge for the really good stuff not the junk like pop tarts and cheetos.

Healthy recipe ideas...hmmm. Use plain nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream for added nutrition; stir fries are awesome; brown rice actually tastes better. Gosh I'm boring; I have no new ideas. But I do love the red yoga mat.

Posted by: edj at July 1, 2009 11:03 AM

I like starting my day with a big ol' smoothie. Two cups of blueberries/blackberries from the freezer, plus a handful of kale or spinach, a scoop of plain protein powder, a dollop of *whisper* yogurt, sorry. Blend that sucker up with a stick blender. The frozen fruit makes it all slushy and wonderful, the kale makes me feel all virtuous and like I wouldn't want to shovel CRAP into my vegetable-for-breakfast-eating maw, the protein keeps me going, and I am a happy woman.
You can get a ton of kale or spinach in if you steam it and blend it up, too. I promise you won't taste it.

Posted by: Kira at July 1, 2009 11:13 AM

Slow Cooker Turkey with Wild Rice Stuffing

Ingredients:
4 Cups cooked wild rice
3/4 Cup finely chopped onion
1/2 Cup dried cranberries
1/3 Cup slivered almonds
2 medium peeled or unpeeled (your choice)cooking apples, coarsley chopped (2 Cups)
4 to 5 lbs boneless whole turkey breast, thawed if frozen

1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except turkey.

2. In 3-1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker, place the turkey. Place the rice mixture around the edges of the slow cooker.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours. Makes 10 servings.

Posted by: Avallia at July 1, 2009 11:57 AM

These are some great suggestions so far-- I'm especially fond of starting my day with some exercise and walking for errands.

If I'm indulging (which let's face it, we must sometimes), I try to do it right-- slow down and savor every bit of it. Then I really do enjoy it more, and probably end up eating less than I would otherwise!

Good luck!

Posted by: stacey at July 1, 2009 12:29 PM

If this is a family thing then why not use the gathering to enlighten them about the risk of their diet on their heart??? Small portions and the thought of 15 years from now will I really remember THIS bite??? If the answer is no and there is only minimal health value HIDDEN in it then what's the point to it really??? Make it a contest who can healthy up their dishes while keeping the flavor??? Offer to do all the shopping with split funds of course then you will have to eat better the whole trip. And so will every one else with you. Do it out of love. Also if plan flat water is getting boring what about carbonated flavored water. No calories and a lot of flavor.

Weight loss over the past year??? 35 pounds less of me (10 in June alone) thank you very much!!!

Posted by: Linda J at July 1, 2009 1:42 PM

Oatmeal is a given for me. I tend to have borderline high blood pressure, just like others in my immediate family, so I indulge in oatmeal. Sometimes will mix with fruit, other times just a hint of brown sugar. Plus, it fills you and you may not be hungry at mid morning. (I tend to eat my breakfast spread out over the morning...I'm a grazer when it comes to the morning!)

As for the beach, we have spent many happy summer vacations at Navarre Beach and Perdido Key. It is heaven on earth, and I know you will enjoy it. The walk on the beach is enough to fill my kudzu soul with peace and joy. From one Georgia Girl to another, have a great time!

Posted by: kudzuhomecomingqueen at July 1, 2009 1:44 PM

I'm so jealous of your beach trip, but we may be heading for the mountains this weekend. I don't have time to get out my recipes, but my tip is: at home serve dinner on salad plates. For us that makes it easier to make sure portions are closer to what they should be. (I **really** want to win this prize ... hopefully the gods of randomness will shine upon me this time around!)

Posted by: Kim at July 1, 2009 2:54 PM

Sounds like you're facing a real challenge, there. All I can think to advise is moderation. It's okay to have some, and really enjoy it. Just don't pig out. Two tricks that help me with that are to drink a glass of water before a meal, and do things to make sure you eat slowly, like put your fork down between bites, so your stomach has time to let you know it's full. And of course keep eating your veggies first. That's a great one.

Good luck!

Posted by: Julie G at July 1, 2009 3:18 PM

Hmmmmm my healthy tip? I fixed my bike and pumped up the tires on the bike trailer and now on the weekends when my daughter is up super early, instead of making her wait for mommy to caffeinate I go for a ride and *gasp* it wakes me up!

Posted by: Heather Cook at July 1, 2009 10:05 PM

Wicked Good Crock Pot Moroccan Lamb, 6 servings
From Better Homes & Gardens Slow-Cooker Meals

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 8-9 hours on low (best) or 4-4 ½ hours on high

Ingredients:

- 2 lbs boneless shoulder lamb roast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (more if you really love garlic)
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 6-oz pkg long grain & wild rice mix
- 1 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried tart cherries
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (approx. 2 ½ cups)
- 8-oz pkg fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 to ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups water

Instructions:

1. Trim fat from lamb. Cut meat into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet, brown meat, half at a time, in hot oil over medium heat. Transfer meat to 4 ½ or 5-ueart slow cooker. Layer in order: onion, garlic, ginger, rice mix, dried apricots, raisins, dried cherries, squash, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with black pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Pour water over all.

2. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours or high heat for 4-4 ½ hours.

3. Stir gently before serving.

Key info:

6 servings, each with:
472 calories
12 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat)
95 mg cholesterol
505 mg sodium (From? Maybe I forgot the salt in the recipe.)
58 grams carbs
5 grams fiber
37 grams protein

Posted by: Susan at July 1, 2009 10:34 PM

Ok, so I don't really have any tips because I am doing HORRIBLE with my attempt....

But since I see crasins are heart healthy I fully endorse eating them. Yummy!

Posted by: Laura L at July 2, 2009 7:44 AM

Please pick me, o' random generator!

I don't really have a tip, since I'm just getting started, but I have noticed I do a lot of boredom eating, and it helps to have something healthy ready and available to grab if I absolutely have to eat something....

Posted by: Cathy at July 2, 2009 8:44 AM

I recommend frozen grapes (preferably red seedless) for a healthy treat. If you get red grapes, they have more antioxidants. Any frozen grape is good though, changing the flavor to some decedent, addicting dessert thing.

Posted by: CariAnne at July 2, 2009 9:09 AM

Ok, I once lost a lot of weight and have kept it off (and/or lost it again, after birthing children) for about 11 years. My biggest tip - make 5 fruits and vegetables a minimum. If given the choice of fruit of bread, always choose the fruit - you can eat as much fruit as you want without guilt, and once it becomes a habit, it is both easy to keep in public and helps keep your calories naturally in check without ever counting anything. I mean - apples with peanut butter instead of a traditional sandwich; broccoli in a restaurant instead of fries; fruit salad at fast food places instead of fries. It really really helps. Also, when you're getting natural sweetness in fruit, it cuts the cravings for artificial sweetness, like candy.

Though I still LOVE cookies and cakes. In moderation, of course. =)

Posted by: Stephanie at July 2, 2009 10:17 AM

Want, yes please!

Two snackish items: Frozen mango chunks, eaten while still frozen. I get big bags at Aldi for three bucks. It has this delightful, creamy consistency that feels sinful, but is not. Just trust me on this one. Also, it takes a while to eat since it's frozen. Double win.

Apple slices dusted with cinnamon and just a pinch of sugar. Like apple pie, without the larger pants size.

Posted by: Kristin at July 2, 2009 11:18 AM

Oh, and to Amanda, and anyone else who cares: Two egg whites plus one whole egg = egg beaters for pennies. Awesome for veggie scrambles.

Posted by: Kristin at July 2, 2009 11:20 AM

I quit smoking 4-1/2 years ago, and I've struggled with my weight ever since, so I enjoyed reading all the tips in the comments. Hopefully I can start applying them! My tip is watermelon. It tastes great, really sweet, and you can eat a lot of it for minimal WW points.

Posted by: Kathy at July 2, 2009 11:32 AM

I walk as much as possible --especially when I am mad and those cookies sound so tempting or I'm bored and think I'll have a snack. Usually by the time I come back from the walk I am not hungry and nothing but more cold water sounds good...

(Great tips here!)

Posted by: Kelly at July 2, 2009 11:44 AM

Ooooh, red. Purdy.

Speaking of color, if you are a particularly visual person, stick with foods that have natural looking colors. Like "If I came across into a frog that color I'd run screaming for the hills" means you probably shouldn't eat it. Not fail-safe, but often the comparison serves to make unhealthy things slightly less appetizing. Alternatively, you could try describing the color in your head, such as orange: "...it was the orange found on 1970's airplanes still in use in 1998, somehow flourescent, sickly, and aggressively cheerful at the same time..."

Oh, and as far as seafood goes, peel and eat shrimp are your friend.

Posted by: Alix R at July 2, 2009 12:30 PM

Keep your favorite snack food items out of the house. I don't seem to crave cookies or candy at home if I know they are not there.

Posted by: Marlene at July 2, 2009 12:31 PM

Best beach tip - do squats when you pick up shells. Squats and lunges in the sand are phenomenal thigh and butt toners! So when you're shell-hunting, squat/lunge don't bend!

Favorite summertime water treat - freeze favorite fruits (cut up big fruits/pieces before freezing) and use them instead of ice in your glass of water. You get a nice treat at the bottom of your glass!

Have fun!

Posted by: Charmi at July 2, 2009 12:38 PM

Ohhh man I want it.

:)

Posted by: Emily at July 2, 2009 2:33 PM

Oops, seemed I hit "post" a little fast. Let me try that again.

Ohhhh man I want it.

My tip? Drink lots of water. I know last year the debunked that "8 glasses a day" myth, but drinking water flushes your system and makes you feel fuller. Not TOO much, because that can be dangerous, but a healthy amount of water keeps my snacking down and makes me feel invigorated because my system is getting CLEEEEEEN!

:)

Posted by: Emily at July 2, 2009 2:34 PM

the "chunky" comment to abby sounds smarty-sass-pants to me. these kids today! letting him know that it is not nice to say something that will hurt someone's feelings shouldn't scar him for life -- and perhaps the reason he said that is because he's exposed to smarty-sass-pants folks who say hurtful things all the time. i'd gently set the kid straight -- it takes a village!
OK -- here's my tips: 1. Brush your teeth often (before cooking dinner to prevent "tastes," right after you finish eating to stop those few extra bites while you clean up, etc.) This also helps when someone pops out a snack a few hours after dinner. "nah -- i already brushed my teeth...."
2. This is an old college trick, from back when i was skinny: when watching TV, do sit-ups or push-ups during the commercials.
3. Put frozen blueberries in your breakfast cereal. it tastes great, and the kids love how it turns the milk purple.
4. Eat the rainbow. Every day, and each meal if you can, eat lots of (natural) colored foods. Red peppers, yellow ssquash, green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, purple eggplant, etc.

Posted by: dramamama at July 2, 2009 5:54 PM

I don't know if this counts as a tip (and, i admittedly will feel weird if i win, since i won a book recently and will be concerned people might think i am shacking up with the Random Number Generator to unfair advantage).

But! I recently took a trikke class and it was EXTRA DELCIOUS MEDIUM RARE AWESOME WITH A SIDE OF FRESH STEAMED AWESOME.

http://www.trikke.com/Home

It is basically like if a Razor scooter gave birth to conjoined twins, and is like the kind of no-impact workout you get on special gym machines, except you can ride it outside in parks with sunlight and stuff.

They are spendy, but i think i'm-a have to buy one.

Posted by: Rachel at July 2, 2009 6:57 PM

My tips are lots of water and lots of fruit! I'm thinking watermelon! Good luck and have a great trip!

Posted by: Berni at July 2, 2009 7:04 PM

instead of cocktails, Pelligrino water over ice with lime and a eeny, teeny drop of bitters. So refreshing!

Posted by: Rebecca at July 2, 2009 9:34 PM

Rather than sit in a comfy chair when gabbing in the phone - walk around the block! cell phones were made for heart healthy strolls!

Posted by: chris h. at July 2, 2009 10:53 PM

Go to your best friend's house. Say you feel lousy because you eat so horribly as a newly-single gal. Ask her to help you change your evil ways (even if you have no intention of changing, your body is just dying for something made by nature). She will cook you beautiful meals. Or give you fruity alcoholic drinks. Either way, you feel better.

Posted by: Penny at July 2, 2009 11:17 PM