Tag Archives: health

Small change #14: Buy and/or make a new food

Do your best old lady voice: What’s all this I’m hearing about kale?  What is this here Quinoa (KEEN-wah)?  How do you make an eggplant anyway?  

Buy a little kale, quinoa, or some other food you haven’t yet experienced.  Look online for a recipe or instructions on how to make it and give it a try as a side dish with dinner.  You might discover something you couldn’t believe!  You’ll also round out your diet with balanced, healthy foods.

I was asked recently by a lady in her 60s how to cook fresh broccoli as I was adding some to a bag.  I was so happy she asked! (You can boil broccoli for 2-3 minutes, but I prefer to make a shallow pool of water in a wide skillet, put the lid half on and let it steam for a few minutes.  Add a little grated parmesan over the top, and/or add a tiny bit of butter to the pool of water for serious yum.)

A couple of years ago a kid from my daughter’s school was visiting and wondered if she could taste vanilla soy milk.  She loved it, and I was moved by her enthusiastic response: “I could have gone MY WHOLE LIFE and not had this!”  Tasting one new food made her realize the importance of new experiences.  And she was all of 9 years old at the time.


Small change #9: One less sugary drink

If you don’t drink sugary drinks, don’t walk away just yet.  What about the sugar in your coffee or tea or iced tea?  Not you?  Okay, now you can walk away.

If you drink sugary drinks — Gatorade, Frappuccinos, etc.  this would be one of the easiest things you could do to lose weight and become healthier.

I’ve had students who drink 5 sugary drinks a day.  To them I say: Make it 4.  Maybe work down to 1 a day over time.

If you drink coffee and you add cream and sugar each time, it adds up.  And don’t EVER use that powdery creamer crap — it’s got trans fat that will raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.  It’s rubbish.  It will hurt your heart.  You’re better off with cream.

Have one coffee a day with all that crap loaded in, and after that, pace yourself.  A little artificial sweetener and a bare minimum of cream for the rest, and cut down wherever possible.

Drink water.  By the time you register thirst, you’re already a little dehydrated.  Try out herbal teas and let them cool a little so you have a little flavor in your water.  Give a few berries a light squeeze, then throw them into your water and it helps also.

Gatorade is for athletes working out over an hour doing vigorous exercise.  It isn’t for watching the game.  Also, it tastes like blue sweat, so what is all that?!

Be mindful of the sugary stuff.  Split a frappuccino with a friend (bring a cup with you do this — save money too!).  If you do more than one a day (forehead slap), drink half and put the other half in the fridge for later.  Do what you can to cut back and you will see that you are less hungry because your insulin levels won’t spike through the ceiling, then crash down leaving you starving.

DO eat something to make up for the sugar when you cut back.  I don’t mean just lettuce either.  A few nuts, a yogurt if you haven’t head one already (provided that it’s Greek and less sugary over all — less than 16 g) — these will keep you fuller longer than a Coke or a Slurpee.

Small change #5 — How to handle free, awesome office food

Bring a container to work for free dessert food windfalls.  Keep the container in a desk drawer.

I used to have a rule: If it’s fruit, go ahead and eat it.  If it’s plain salad or veggies, without dressing, go ahead.  If it’s anything else, it has to come home.  Delicious brownies or cookies from that great bakery they got for the meeting even though all the executives say they’re off sugar for life, I’m talking to you.

If the treat is good enough to eat, it’s good enough to bring home later to have with a nice cup of tea after dinner instead of snorfeling it/them down in front of the computer.  This will prevent you from having another dessert later on top of the one you ate at work, while still reaping the rewards of free and delicious dessert.

What about the kids and mate?  There’s always someone with a candy dish on their desk.  Poach a few for them and you’re good to go.  All of it goes in the back seat, nowhere near your hands while you are driving.  Not that I don’t trust you, but I’ve been there myself.

If the treat is just so-so?  Don’t eat it at work or at home, because you are not a human garbage can!!

Small change #4 – Find the sweet spot between all or nothing

Eat less of one thing you normally eat but feel you probably shouldn’t.

If you go to the movies, get a small popcorn instead of a medium or a medium instead of the large you normally buy.  You can pocket the quarter that makes up the difference — I know it seems like a bargain to get the bigger one.  It isn’t in terms of your health.  If you like candy at the movies, buy a small bag of candy from a store before attending, rather than a giant box.  If you just can’t stand not “saving money” bring plastic bags to divide the candy among you and your friends, and likewise the popcorn.  It’s only a bargain if you exit as healthy as you came in.

If you eat french fries, order a size smaller than the one you usually get.  If you normally eat two doughnuts, just eat one.  If you normally order a burger with two patties and 2 slices of cheese, and 2 slices of bacon, try it with just one of each.  And if that is too much and makes your face look like a sad puppy just thinking about it, just take off ONE thing.  Even that will help, really!

In place of the food you have given up, feed yourself something from the low-calorie category — like a piece of fruit (not dried, not juiced — the real 3-D McCoy).  If you are eating fast food and trying to cut back, order a side salad and eat that ahead of the meal.  I know it’s more expensive than the dollar burger.  You’re totally worth it.  Ditch the dressing or measure 1 tsp. onto a spoon and then add it.  If that’s not palatable, ditch the salad altogether and get fresh apple — or bring your own.

Then think about the experience later in the day.  Was it enough?  Sometimes the answer will be an easy yes.  If it’s a no — and you can judge this by honestly asking yourself if you felt deprived — then make adjustments.  Will 1.5 doughnuts do the trick?  If you can find the sweet spot, you might be able to shave off just enough to enjoy the food without giving it up altogether.  Start with a bite less, if that’s what you can manage.

Don’t white-knuckle your way through it.  If the only amount of that food that will do is the amount you normally consume — change something else!

Small change #3 – eat without distraction

Small change #3: Eat a meal without doing anything else at the same time.  Don’t read.  Don’t watch TV.  Don’t play video games.  Sit quietly and eat and pay attention — just for five minutes if you can’t manage more.  See why kids eat just enough, then leave half on the plate so they can go play?

Small change #2 – Hide the goodies!

Small change #2: Store less healthy foods out of sight.  When you come into your kitchen or dining room, you should not be able to spy chips, candy, cake, etc.  Store them in the pantry, drawers, etc.  Instead, place healthier choices — such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains (bread, not too fatty, not too sugary crackers or bars), etc. out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.  You’re more likely to eat what you see first.

Small changes #1

The other day I was thinking about the importance of small change.  We like to think big, and I like that.  But we make the mistake of thinking that big changes will get us there faster.  That may be true of some things, but when you’re changing your diet and/or exercise and your health, you are trying to change your habits — and that takes time.  Little things make a large impact over time, but they don’t challenge us so severely that we throw up our hands and go face down into a cake using one fork.

I think I may try suggesting one small change a day for as long as I can think of some little ones and see what happens.

If one doesn’t sound good, just wait and see if another tip feels right.  Maybe try one a week, or just one of the suggestions one time.  See how it feels.

If something works for you, feel free to comment!

Small change #1: Brush your teeth after dinner so you don’t come back to eat later.  Don’t cheat.  Act like a spokesperson for the American Dental Association.  Floss completely, then do a really good job — you know, like the day you’re going to the dentist and you take all that time to get it just right after 6 months of gummy bear consumption?  Like that.  When you feel like hitting the fridge you might find that you’re just too lazy to go back brush all over again.

You may also need less in the way of dentistry, leaving more money for new clothes, or a trip!