Thursday, October 7, 2010

Freezing for Weight Loss Success

No, I'm not talking about freezing your buns off as you walk in the morning...although walking is good, that kind of freezing isn't so much fun.

One of the "weighs" that I save money and time and have had weight loss success is by making extra portions and freezing them. Buying fresh fruits and veggies is awesome...but if you throw it in the garbage because you didn't eat it then you are just tossing your money out along with it.

Rather than buying already frozen produce I will often freeze my own...whether it is tomatoes I got as a great deal at the farmer's market or organic raspberries on sale at the grocery store...they all freeze well. Then, during the dark days of winter I can pop out a couple frozen berries and have a reminder of the glory days of summer!

I've long been a "freezer" as opposed to a "canner"...canning scares me. Perhaps irrationally, but the thought that if I do it wrong I could poison my friends and family has kept me from this past-time.

People often think that if you freeze something it will last forever. I had a roommate who ate her frozen fish 2 years after the catch. While it won't kill you, the taste and the nutritional value is just not the same.

So it is a good idea to date everything you put in the freezer and then rotate the contents so you use the oldest things first.

If you want specific tips on how to freeze items, check out this article from The More Conscious Consumer blog...but I definitely discourage you from adding sugar or sugar syrup to the items you are going to freeze. And the info I got this summer about freezing whole tomatoes was fantastic--so easy, no blanching required!

So stocking up makes sense...but as a general rule, plan to use the food in the next 2 months. See this quality chart from the Food Safety and Inspection Service for more details. won't hurt you to eat it if it has been frozen longer as long as it has been consistently kept cold. So you don't have to throw it away...but start to use up the old food and only add what you will reasonable use in a couple months.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happiness vs Weight Loss and Fitness--Which Comes First?

Following up on yesterday's post about the link to happiness and weight loss success, I received a comment:
Being fit and attractive is a great benefit to your happiness.
While I don't exactly disagree with this...everything else being equal (which it isn't...but for the sake of argument...) of course we would be happier as fit and attractive people than if we are out of shape slobs...

The thing is, that being "fit and attractive" is no guarantee of happiness! Just ask the myriad of celebrities and models, considered to be among the most attractive how they feel. Being "attractive" is a completely subjective thing...and it doesn't really matter if other people find you attractive if you feel like you are anything but.

What I have learned is that when we are happy then we learn to love ourselves...all of us...include our limitations, "flaws", weaknesses, and yes, even our big noses and thighs and cellulite. When we can do that...scratch that...when we can BE that person...then we are attractive from the inside out. We take care of our bodies because we WANT to. We eat foods that nourish us, that give our bodies the energy, vitamins and minerals we need...AND the taste sensations that please us.

This creates a wonderful cycle...because by eating better and moving our bodies we set up a fantastic chemical reaction within our bodies and we feel better. We feel better so we care for our bodies. We care for our bodies and we feel better.

I've tried to use getting fit as my goal...saying that I would be happy when I lost "x" pounds (10 or 20 or 100...depending on where I was in my life.) But that never worked for me.

If you are not happy NOW the chances are you will not be happy "if/when." Instead IF you do lose the excess weight you will just find something else to be unhappy about.

If you decide to have a specific weight or size (or physical fitness level) be a requirement for you happiness then you are setting up yourself for a sad and sorry life. If you don't figure out why you are really unhappy you will just remain fat--as your safe excuse for being unhappy.

Instead of waiting for "xyz" event--make a choice to be happy now. Why miss out on the beautiful things life has to offer to you just because you aren't perfect? And why deprive the world of your light just because you don't see yourself as perfect?

My goal is to be the happy person first. I firmly believe that when I am happy and loving FIRST then I am healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. It doesn't mean that I never cry or get means that I accept myself as the imperfect human I am.

That acceptance of my imperfection is what, ironically, allows me to improve and become better each and every day. Or not!

And maybe, just accepting myself right now I can help someone else in their journey to health and fitness and weight loss success!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weight Loss Success and Happiness Linked

I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo back a few hundred years ago...and even then the city was a great place to live, work and study.

Today, SLO or "SLO Town" as we lovingly called it, is ranked the No. 1 city in the United States for overall emotional health. Not surprisingly, physical health also ranks high there as well, including low rates of obesity...some 9% points below the national average in fact!


I think not.

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, a book that teaches us how to live longer, healthier lives, long touted by Dr. Oz, has a new book soon to be published entitled, Thrive. You can preorder the book through Random House by using this link. The book isn't actually available until Oct. 19, 2010.

In Thrive, Dan connects happiness to our health and fitness...and what may surprise some folks, connects art with happiness!

Being a sculptor myself, I find this as no surprise. Art has a way of tapping into our emotions, often without our conscious awareness of it. Looking at a sculpture or painting can bring our feelings of joy or anger...and artists have long used that ability in order to engage audiences and patrons.

In the book, Dan mentions the former mayor of SLO, Ken Schwartz, and that he likes to quote a Persian proverb:
If you have but two coins, use one for bread to feed the body and the other for hyacinths to feed the soul.

Dan continues that art is like flowers, that both feed the soul and claims that,

Happy people usually have access to art--painting, film, sculpture, theater, music--and live in places that are attractive to the eye.

It is a natural extension then, that if we want to be happy, healthy and more slender that we should take time to appreciate things that nourish our soul. What nourishes your soul? Are you energized or calmed when looking at flowers (hyacinth or other blooms)...the mountains or the sea? The grasslands? Beautiful trees reaching for the skies? Cloud-filled vistas? Or paintings or sculpture?

Or are you touched by listening to music? Poetry? Watching a theatrical performance? Film? A dance?

Beauty is, as the saying goes, in the eye of the beholder...but finding beauty around you and appreciating it is more than just a treat for the eye!

Just goes to prove my theory that weight loss is not just about what you put in your mouth, it is truly what you put into your mind and spirit.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Scary Time of Year

This has always been a scary time of year for me.

Is it because of ghosts, goblins and little witches that are appearing and will increase in numbers as the month progresses?

Only in part...

You see, it began with back-to-school and continued through Valentines...well, Easter actually if I'm being completely honest.

So what was this fear that consumed half my year?

Food. Specifically--candy!

Yes, candy scared me!!!

Because I felt I had no control over it. Instead, it seemed to control my life. I merely had to walk by the aisle in the know the ones...loaded with bags and bags of candy. The mere smell was enough to give me a sugar high. And the sight of chocolate instantly added 10 pounds to my already abundant thighs.

At least that is how it felt.

Fortunately now I AM in control. Candy no longer has this insane power over my life. It isn't that I don't eat candy...I do...just occasionally and in small quantities. And I have the power to control when, what and how much I eat. It is pretty amazing.

I am so grateful that I've experienced this change in my life...because not only has it allowed to drop 125 pounds, I am physically, mentally and emotionally so much more healthy.

Look, I still love a good piece of candy, but I'm free of the ghostly chains that had me consuming bag after bag that I bought "for the kids"...and I don't even have any!

If you want to know more about how I did sure to visit my other site (conveniently named Refuse to Diet)...and read my book for the tools that I developed that helped me on my weight loss success journey!