Category Archives: Tips

The 10 Commandments of Weight Loss?

Have you seen Dr. Oz’s 10 Weight Loss Commandments? I ran across a link on Pinterest and was intrigued enough to check them out.

I mean, he was one of the authors of “You on a Diet,” so he has to know what he’s talking about, right?

That’s what I thought. While I can get behind most of his advice, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on one major point: No. 3.

3. Thou Shalt Not Eat Meat That Walks on Four Legs More Than Once a Week

Oz says that meat from an animal with 4 legs is higher in unhealthy saturated fat than meat from 2-legged animals such as chickens, or animals with no legs, like fish. He adds that women who eat large amounts of red meat more than once a week have a 50% higher chance of dying from heart disease and have higher cancer rates.

Give up steak, hamburger and pork? I think I’d rather take my chances. I’m not convinced those statistics are correct, anyway: My cholesterol and blood pressure are actually better when I’m low-carbing it.

I also disagree with No. 5: Thou Shalt Not Eat After 7:30 p.m. It fails to take into account the fact that some of us work until midnight and take a dinner break at 7 or later.

The most ingenious of Oz’s commandments is No. 9: Thou Shalt Not Carry Small Bills

Nothing loves a small bill better than a vending machine. When you have them at the ready, you are one step closer to an impulsive, calorie-loaded afternoon slip up.

That, friends, is solid advice. I know I’m more likely to hit up the vending machine when I have a single than if I have to break a $5 or something bigger. (Of course, I can only eat one thing in the office vending machine: Peanuts — and they’re a lot cheaper at the gas station across the street.)

I also found No. 7 interesting: Thou Shalt Not Chew Food Less than 20 Times Per Bite

And after reading “Drop Dead Healthy,” I know a lot more about chewing. Thorough chewing was one of the first new habits A.J. Jacobs tried to cultivate.

Oz explains:

Chewing allows your body to realize that you are eating food, prompting it to create a sensation of fullness at the appropriate time. When you don’t chew enough, you get ahead of that process, eating well past when you are actually satisfied.

The Boyfriend would benefit from following that advice, I think. He eats way too fast.

Oz’s commandments are kind of like Bob Harper’s new Skinny Rules. I agree with some (like the water drinking, protein eating, refined flour/white potato cutting, portion size watching) and not others (sweetener banning).

Hmm. Actually, when I look at Bob’s list, that’s really the only one that doesn’t sit so well. (I’m not a huge fan of the “eat apples and berries every day” edict either, if only because consuming both would put me over my carb count — and the idea of going meatless for an entire day isn’t feasible for me.)

But for the most part, I could live — happily — with Bob’s rules. Oz’s? Not so much.

Secrets of the successful loser

Weight-loss know-how is like this cactus: Somewhat painful to crash into.

With Round Two of Romance Biggest Winner about to start, I thought it’d be a good idea to outline a few of my favorite proven ways to lose weight.

There’s no better way to get ready for a weight-loss competition, right? And it’s a timely reminder for me, especially after logging no progress in February.

Like Jen over at Prior Fat Girl, I know what to do to lose weight. It’s not exactly rocket science. The problem lies in applying that knowledge day in and day out … making not-so-fun choices more often than not.

Take Tuesday, for example. When I hit Starbucks to write before work, I chose not to indulge my Faux Frappuccino habit. Instead, I ordered a venti chai tea — just hot water with two tea bags, to which I added a packet of Splenda.

Was it fun? Not so much. I discovered I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of chai tea. But as a result of my choice, I had carbs left for a healthy, veggie-filled snack after work: A cup of grilled zucchini slices … followed by the small indulgence of an Atkins nutty fudge brownie. That brownie weighed in at 2 Net Carbs; I estimate the Faux Frappuccino at 5 (and that may be on the low side).

Ahem. Forgive that tiny tangent and let’s move on to the tried-and-true secrets to weight loss as I know them.

  1. Find the plan that works for you. That means one you can stick to. For me, that plan is low-carb. I can follow Atkins without cravings and without constantly thinking about my next meal. I stick to it without starving myself or feeling deprived. It doesn’t work for everyone — no single diet does. Find the diet you’re most comfortable with, whether it’s Weight Watchers, NutriSystem or Intuitive Eating, and follow it.
  2. Track every bite. As much as I wish it weren’t true, tracking (or food journaling) is a key to weight loss. Sure, it can be a pain to write down everything you eat. But every time I ditch the habit, I have little success losing. Tracking A) helps you get a handle on exactly how much — or how little — you’re actually consuming and B) makes you think twice about what you put into your mouth. (Do you really want to have to note that you just scarfed a package of Twinkies?)
  3. Move more. Yeah, my couch potato self is even less thrilled by this one than No. 2. Unfortunately, exercise is another nonnegotiable part of the weight-loss equation. Calories in > calories out = loss of pounds. That is why I will most likely sign up for Tina’s Best Body Boot Camp on payday. I need motivation to move, beyond the knowledge that exercise leads to weight loss.

That’s all I have: Just three keys to successful weight loss. Like I said, none of them are rocket science. 😉

It’s as simple as finding the diet that works for you, tracking what you eat and working out. Yes, as simple — and as difficult — as that.

Change happens one choice — one step — at a time.

Ways to break out of a food rut

One of my go-to meals: A ham & cheese omelet with zucchini spears and blue cheese dip

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. I eat the same things over and over: Eggs. Steak. Various cheeses. Nuts. Avocados. Jicama sticks. Zucchini. The BLT Cobb salad from Wendy’s.

Part of that’s due to my low-carb diet. A lot of foods are just off-limits.

Wait a minute. That’s not entirely fair to Atkins. There are many, many more foods on the acceptable list than I eat on any given day.

It’s not Atkins, it’s me: Sticking to foods I’m familiar with is easier than looking up the carb count of something new. The familiar also gives me a sense of security. I know I can’t go wrong with chicken, cheese and bacon, a side of veggies and a big glass of H2O.

Problem is, eating the same things day in and day out does get boring. That leaves me with a dilemma: How to break out of the rut while staying true to my diet.

My ideas?

  • Use old standbys in new ways. Instead of curried walnuts, shake things up with spiced pecans or cinnamon candied almonds.
  • Try at least one new recipe a week. Checking out new recipes will help you forge new favorites.
  • Don’t shy away from ingredients you think you dislike. I used to detest cooked spinach, but not anymore. Same with lemon-flavored desserts. Now they’re one of my favorites. I wouldn’t have figured that out without keeping an open mind.
  • Keep an eye out for recipes from unusual sources. I found this idea for an egg baked in an avocado on my newest online obsession, Pinterest. I’ve also combed some of the many low-carb recipe sites.

How about you? What are your suggestions for breaking out of a food rut?