Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weird facts about overeating, endorphins, opioids and weight loss

Why do we eat? Because it feel good. Ergo we overeat because it feels really good, right? Ergo obesity is caused by over enjoyment of food, right? Well, yes and no. The TLC show "My 600-lb Life" folks always demonstrate raging food addiction but not to all foods. They overeat too much of certain foods. So clearly, some foods release more feel good hormones that others. Here are some weird facts about food-released endorphins which, if applied correctly, can aid weight loss.

So we know that eating produces endorphins AKA naturally occurring opioids AKA feel good hormones. But some foods produce MORE endorphins (here's the weird part) while also producing LESS enjoyment?! I know, right??

A study in the Journal of Neuroscience gave two groups of test subjects different meals: pizza and nutritional shakes (I know which group I'd rather be in LOL). Anyway, PET scans showed that the ones who got shakes had higher levels of opioids BUT they reported less pleasure than those who had pizza. The conclusion was that feelings of pleasure from food are independent from actual endorphin release. (Ya think??)

I'm no brain surgeon, but I coulda told them that. Pizza tastes better than diet shakes. It may have to do with the addictive properties in cheese and the MSG in sausage and pepperoni. This is probably why pizza is a comfort food. These are common things in junk food and why they cause such cravings. The endorphin rush is bigger but taste is what drives overeating. It's like Charlie the Tuna--Starkist doesn't want tunas with good taste but tunas that taste good!

Okay so now we know why we overeat. Great. But how do we stop it? We don't. I for one, like food and plan to continue eating the food I like. BUT, I can use the knowledge to strategize weight loss. For example, I can make foods I love--like pizza--using weight loss food swaps. Last night, I made a super low calorie pizza with reduced calorie thin crust, lowfat mozzarella and half the sauce and pepperoni.  

I also can avoid or limit super feel good foods that spur cravings. For example, I'm really jonesing for more of that pizza. I'm literally obsessing on it. So until I've lost weight, I may forego pizza. I'll just look for foods that give a similar if not quite so powerful zing. I can also use mind over platter and remember that I'm still getting the head rush whatever I eat. 

It's really important that we start curbing these food addictions because more people are getting fatter, finds the CDC. I always use "My 600-lb Life" because it provides a "laboratory" of dangerous habits that we can all learn from. It's time to get to the root of obesity and food addiction and get serious about weight loss. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Sick of dieting? I was sick from NOT working at weight loss

 Are you trying to lose weight and sick of dieting? I feel ya! Counting calories, portion control, constantly worrying about weight loss gets old. But when I start thinking how tired I am, I remember how sick I was from not dieting. And I realize that boredom is something I can live with. Obesity is something I can't. 

I have always been blessed with good health overall. But then I lost two stillborn babies, started taking the antidepressant Paxil and gained 100 pounds. My health quickly deteriorated. I went from low to high blood pressure, healthy sugar to pre-diabetes and good cholesterol to high LDL and poor HDL. My liver functioning stalled and sleep apnea got worse. My back problems escalated. Menopause was much more difficult. Depression and anxiety were off the charts. 

When I finally got out of denial about my obesity, I was literally falling apart. BUT, good news, just a few months of weight loss and most all of these issues had or were starting to correct themselves. I had only lost about 25 pounds and hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and hepatitis were in reverse. After my 100 pound weight loss, I felt like a new person and 20 years younger! 

Several friends lost their battle with obesity. One was 64 and the other only 50. That's too young to die. So weight loss concerns aren't always fun. I may get sick of living with a diet  but it's so much better than dying from obesity. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

10 hunger satisfying diet food swaps for weight loss

When you're dieting, hunger is the spectre at the feast. Always lurking, the sensation of never feeling full can really derail weight loss. Here are 10 hunger satisfying diet food swaps to keep weight loss on track. 

Protein food swaps are your best friend when dieting. Yes, carbs provide an immediate energy rush. But unless it's resistant starch (from green bananas or whole grains), sugar based carbohydrates only spike blood sugar and burn off quickly. Protein is slow burning fuel that will stick with you. And here's the best of the best. 

Shrimp: 4 ounce serving gives 16 grams of protein for only 80 calories. Choose raw, peeled and deveined. 
Low sodium turkey breast: Thin sliced 2-ounces servings give 9 grams of protein for 50 calories. 
Chunk light tuna packed in water: 25 grams of protein for 100 calories
Salmon: 24 grams of protein for 90 to 125 ca
Almonds: low protein but the combo of good MUFA fats provides satisfies and gives an energy wallop
Pumpkin seeds: more protein and they really fill you up
Edamame or black bean pasta: 25 grams of protein for 190 calories PLUS it really tames hunger
Dates: weird I know, lots of calories, but tons of energy and satisfaction
Oatmeal: fills you up and sticks with you
Greek yogurt: best dairy food swaps contain Greek yogurt so toss in some berries and you have a stick with you breakfast! 

How to master hunger, cravings, food addiction for weight loss

Constant hunger: the struggle is real if you're trying to lose weight. But I do have a few "bytes" of good news from my 100 pound weight loss. It gets easier. When I was way overweight, my stomach was bigger and it required more food to fill it, or make it feel full, which is the real issue with hunger. When I am overweight, I don't "need" that much food. My stomach just thinks I do because it has expanded to accommodate the extra. 

Hunger is a tricky feeling and can really derail weigh loss if we let it. So are cravings. They are baffling, misleading and false. Listen to the folks with morbid obesity on shows like "My 600-lb Life." They talk about hunger and cravings as if they are crippling and debilitating. They talk as if hunger MUST be satisfied immediately or they will die. Well, that's logical because a food addiction is like any other drug addiction, especially if you're addicted to sugar. You feel like you are in its grip, that food is the master and you are the slave. Hunger pangs can actually hurt! 

But as with other drugs, that control is illusory. And hunger "pain" is doable. Yes Al-Anon says in the first step that we must recognize that we are powerless over people, places and things. But we are not powerless over ourselves. We CAN change. We can make changes that give us power over the things we've been slave to. With a food addiction, we can find ways to fill up that burn weight rather than adding it. We can control how much we eat, and so shrink our stomachs to normal sizes. We can eat to satisfy hunger and feel relatively full, rather overfilling our stomachs. After a while of doing this, the hunger pangs will lessen to a manageable level. 

I lost 100 pounds and I can promise that if you are willing to let yourself feel a little hungry and just eat to live, rather than living to eat, you WILL shed obesity. Weight loss, even huge 100 pound weight loss, is very attainable! God's peace to you all, Love, mar 

Friday, March 26, 2021

KISS weight loss diet plan is how I lost 100 pounds

KISS for weight loss? Sounds GOOD to me!! And while frequent snuggles are essential to emotional health, I'm not talking about the smooching kind of kiss here. Kiss in dieting stands for Keep It Simple Sweetheart. That's how I lost 100 pounds by making my diet plan low maintenance and easy.  

Does that mean you should subscribe to a weight loss meal plan like Nutrisystem? No. True it's simpler but also a LOT more expensive. And reading the nutrition data on many of the meals, I found they were no different calorie wise that regular meals. More on that later. 

You can simplify your diet plan by stocking up on low calorie foods you like and eating the same meals in a weekly routine. Now this doesn't mean eat the same thing every day, unless you are a creature of habit. In which case, rock it! Most people, however, need variety. A weekly diet meal plan gives that. 

Consistency is how I lost 100 pounds. With all the other complications in life, I don't need to be continually counting calories. I don't have time to micromanage to make sure I ate the right amount of nutrients and didn't overdo the fats, salts and sugar. I came up with a weekly menu of low calorie food swaps
that I'll share later. 

If you need to lose weight, you can. I'll be happy to help with advice and tips but you don't need me or anyone else. You CAN do this. Love, mar

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Keto weight loss food swaps to boost protein, slash calories and fat

One challenging task in weight loss is to get enough lowfat, low calorie protein. Eating lean protein is how I lost 100 pounds. TLC's "My 600-lb Life" Dr. Now says it's essential to curbing obesity. Here are keto diet food swaps to boost protein and cut calories and fat. 

You might think this involves swapping tofu or beans for meat. It doesn't. Neither soy nor beans are great protein sources. Also, many of us can't eat beans because they don't digest well. So I swapped ground chicken and lean pork for beef. Chicken breast is only 90 calories for a 4-oz, 24 gram protein serving. Lean "white meat" pork (like loin with fat trimmed) is super lowfat and low calorie too. 

I buy big packages of chicken breast when it's $1.69/lb, trim and fat, pop it in the food processor and freeze pound bags of ground chicken. This subs in any dish you would use hamburger: tacos, pasta, stews and casseroles. It's my go-to for weigh loss food swaps. 

For taco meat, I season with cumin, celery salt, fresh cilantro, cinnamon, paprika, garlic, onion and chili powder. I just had a taco salad with leaf lettuce, seasoned gd. chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and onions. Super filling and delicious. This is a good anti-obesity recipe because that helps burn fat. 

I buy pork loin when it's cheap and trim the fat. I grind some and cube some. This subs for any ground beef dish. Ground pork and chicken helped me with weight loss because they curb hunger. Being low calorie, I could eat more, too! 

For more on how I lost 100 pounds, stay tuned! Love, mar

Monday, March 22, 2021

Questions, comments, stories or suggestions on weight loss? Share here

So as you know, I share ideas and personal stories about how I lost 100 pounds. But I'm just one person worth of thoughts. You all have a world of knowledge to share and I'm inviting you to do so here. If you have tips, stories, suggestions or questions, feel free to comment or contact me on my email. Just be warned, I'll probably use your comments in blog posts so everyone can benefit. If you don't want me to, just say! Privacy respected! Oh and pictures are most welcome too! Thank you in advance, looking forward to hearing from you and love to you all --mar

(Oh and I'm not trying to be vain sharing photos. It just gets more blog exposure if you do.)

10 inexpensive non-food rewards to celebrate weight loss

Calorie counting and portion control are how I lost 100 pounds. And with that, I lost pre-diabetes, cholesterol and heart problems, menopause woes, depression. I gained confidence, agility, energy and health! So I am ready to party! Before I lost weight, that would have meant wining and dining, which is of course, counter-productive to weight loss. But accomplishments deserve rewards. Here are non-food diet rewards alternatives. Being a tightwad, I've listed inexpensive rewards. 

* Shoes. I'm not a "will work for shoes" gal. But I gotta admit, new footwear has a certain appeal. Check TJ Maxx and Shoe Carnival for great deals--I got two pairs of boots (heeled and flat) for $25!

* Travel. I know, not cheap. And Covid 19 has curtailed some travel. So maybe our Greek vacay waits. But we can still enjoy weekend getaways and day-tripping! Husband and I recommend booking through Priceline to snag best prices and most amenities. 

* New clothes. Along with lost weight, I dropped nine sizes. So I have to reoutfit, right? And how sweet it is to be able to fit cute, hipster styles instead of frumpy fat clothes! Check H&M, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Maurice and Amazon for good deals. 

* Spa accessories. I bought a heated, massaging foot bath for $19 and spa kit for $18 with coupons from Bed, Bath and Beyond. 

* Mani/pedi. You could pay for these services, and you deserve it. But save money and have your significant other to do your nails and toenails--lots of romance for a dollar bottle of nail polish. Or have a girls night out and do nails! 

* Massage.You can have a family member do it, but here's where I'd splurge on a professional masseur/masseuse. Again, you deserve--and probably need--it. 

* Little black (red, gold, ombre, fractal) dress. When I was fat, I avoided slinky dresses like poison ivy. Now I love dressing up. TJMaxx is my go-to source. 

* Tickets to a show. Now to wear said slinky gown out on the town! My husband and I take in opera and Broadway musicals and even "Minions" 4D! Or cheaper yet, outdoor summer concerts. Some of these venues have been on hold during pandemic. So just do a Breakfast at Tiffany's and walk downtown all decked out.  Don't forget your cute new heels. So you're overdressed? Embrace every chance to show off your new self! 

* Used bookstore explore (with spending money). Hunt up your local lending library's used book rack. Or visit Barnes & Noble's clearance and sale aisles. Grab a cup of Joe, a comfy chair and enjoy! 

* New music. Treat yourself to new tunes or a selection of old favorites. Hit the flea market for a movie shelf upgrade. 

* Sports equipment, game, gym membership. I reward myself with more yoga classes and yard games to play with the family.

Celebrating every achievement was part of how I lost 100 pounds!  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Diet now for weight loss sooner rather than later

Hello darlin followers! Just want to thank you for your loyal readership and positive comments. Today's weight loss topic is "sooner rather than later." What I mean is that if you need to shed pounds, diet now and don't wait for weight loss. Don't put it off. The older you get the harder weight loss gets. The longer you carry those 15 or 65 or 215 extra pounds, the more damage they do. 

And the more those added pounds add up. Obesity is a snowball rolling downhill. It's gets bigger the longer it is ignored. Weight gains gains momentum. Yes, some people experience status quo with their weight, remaining in a constant place. They may carry an extra 15 pounds that never goes up or down. I'm not sure why that is but I think it's because their habits and diet don't vary much. 

But most of us live in flux. Changes affect our health. We may change our habits up or down. We may get lazy (I'm raising my hand here). I put on weight after I lost two babies and started taking the antidepressant Paxil. I also began doing sedentary at-home computer work. My energy level plummeted and my eating habits didn't change to reflect the fewer calories I was burning. The antidepressant made me feel dazed and blah and apathetic. I ignored my growing problem of obesity. 

Above pic is Mar (2011). She waited a long time to lose weight. She finally did lose 100 pounds (see picture below in same shirt), but it was more difficult because she started later rather than sooner. She also has a lot of stretch marks and loose skin because she let obesity take hold. Don't be Mar. Don't put off dieting and exercise. Lose weight now. Love ya'll bunches!! (See Molly Cate, Mama can talk Cajun when she wants to LOL)

Here are a few more for comparison.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Ignoring weight loss advice was how I lost 100 pounds

So the title of this post may be a little exaggerated. But not much. I realized recently that if someone says something that contradicts my opinion or experience, I tend to accept their version and ignore my own. I don't always listen to or trust myself enough and I listen to and trust others too much. This has had a big impact on my emotional and physical health, even including weight loss. Too often, I let what others say rule my actions. Except once and that experience was how I lost 100 pounds. From that, I'm learning to keep advice and opinions in perspective.  

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with obesity. I looked at popular diets and decided to set up my own weight loss plan. I got a lot of advice, mostly unsolicited, some from doctors, about how it probably wouldn't work. When I weighed 199 lbs, a doctor told me I could never lose enough on my own and would need bariatric surgery. Well I could and my diet plan was how lost 100 pounds. 

I didn't follow Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, Keto, DASH or any of the popular diets. I ate carbs, drank wine, and didn't follow the diet every day. I didn't attend Weight Watchers or any other diet club. I didn't subscribe to any diet meal plan. I didn't exercise, go to the gym or use a personal trainer. I didn't have gastric bypass surgery. Each of these things, I was told by someone or many someones, were necessary for weight loss. 

After I lost 100 pounds, a doctor, who was trying to start an obesity medicine program, insisted that I needed her help to lose weight. She had just expressed admiration at how I lost 100 pounds. She had just admitted that my BMI was healthy. But she had an agenda. More on that later. 

So what's the takeaway? Don't jump on someone else's bandwagon if what you're doing works for you. Don't be so quick to believe that what they are pushing is right and you are wrong. Because sometimes, they really are selling something and it's in their vested interest to get you to buy in. 

Definitely research weight loss programs.  My program was a combination of all the diet wisdom I'd read. I took what seemed appropriate and left the rest, like they say in Al-Anon. If someone is selling a product that seems to work, look around to see if you can find a cheaper version. You usually can. More on that later. Listen to advice but don't let it control, shame or guilt you.  

Do you, do it well and move forward! Love Mar

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dealing with shame of weight gain after 100 pound weight loss

 My friends, it's confession time. I posted recently that I had gained back some weight. I said I wasn't going to weigh myself because it's just so darn frustrating. I advised you who are trying to lose weight to avoid constant scale monitoring once you get a baseline. Well, I broke my own rule and weighed myself. And almost cried. I weigh 170 pounds after getting down to 140. I checked my last doctor visit to see what their scale said (being more accurate) and I was 182. And I am royally pissed. 

How did this happen?? Sure they weigh with coat, clothing, shoes and purse which is counter-productive and stupid. Which is why I ask them not to tell me. I'm angry too because I think they want to show that patients are obese so they can offer to treat the obesity and profit. When I weighed 199, a doctor recommended bariatric surgery! Now that's overweight for sure, but gastric bypass?? 

I declined the surgery offer and said I would lose weight on my own, which I did. So yes, now I'm obese (BMI wise) again. I have to wonder if BMI is another way to shame patients into some medical weight loss program.  Sure, the devil's advocates will say, it's not the scale that's at fault. Don't blame doctors because your BMI (body mass index) deems you obese. I'm not blaming, just trying to figure it out. And to avoid going down that rabbit hole of shame. 

And here's what's weird. Last time I weighed 182, I looked a lot different. I had a lot of white adipose tissue all over. My face was inflamed. Check out the top photo left from 2013. Now (bottom photo) the only place I can see that I've put on weight is in my belly and maybe upper thighs. My hands are a little swollen but I just had surgery. So it's healthier weight gain this time around?

I do a very physically active job now, where before I was sedentary. I'm not saying I'm super fit or muscular, but mores than before. And muscle weighs more than fat. So, as I posted earlier, I am back on the 1,200 calorie a day diet. I've cut wine, sweets, salty starch snacks and most "white foods" (pasta, bread, rice). I think I've had weight loss from the doctor visit a week and a half ago. 

But I'll be honest, I'm discouraged. Happy cat  has run out of happy. But it's Lent for us Catholics. And this just might be part of my desert experience. I'm going to offer up my meager sufferings for those who are really suffering. 

I've been blogging for eight years now about how I lost 100 pounds. I can reread my own posts and do what I did before and get these pounds off. I can research and continue to learn and add new ideas to my repertoire. It may be more difficult because I'm going to be off work for another month. And at 56, weight loss may be harder. I'm not making excuses, just cutting myself some slack if it's harder this time. And maybe I need to sort out why I'm feeling such shame. 

Thank you so much for letting me vent, my dears. Love you all! Keep the faith! 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Keto diet burns fat and aids weight loss

Originality the ketogenic diet was used only to treat epilepsy. Now, thanks to advocacy from celebrities who've had surprisingly high weight loss with it, the ketogenic or keto diet is in vogue. The  keto diet a high fat, high-protein, low carb diet that burns fat. This puts your body in ketosis which aids weight loss. 

Some experts question whether ketosis is dangerous for the body. But it may actually be healthy. What's ketosis? It just means the body no longer gets many carbs and so doesn't depend on carbohydrates for energy. Needing fuel to burn, the body seeks out deep tissue fat that is buried in cells, around internal organs and in the belly, thighs, buttocks, hips and under the arms. 

With 2/3 of the U.S. overweight and obesity at 35-percent, it's time a lot of us start a weight loss program.  How is weight loss achieved eating a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet? Eating keto  Well, forces the body to seek out stored fat for fuel.. This burns fat stuck in fat-prone places. 

Further, a high-protein diet curbs hunger, fills you up faster and keeps you full longer. Carbohydrates burn off very rapidly and you feel hungry more quickly. When I first began dieting in 2013, feeling constantly hungry was the worst part of diet. Avoiding diets that provide too little nutrients--the fad and crash diets--was part of how I lost 100 pounds.  

Also, and perhaps most important, interesting and ironic part of the keto diet is that good high-fat diets burn fat in the body. Eating good fats--MUFAS
(monounsaturated fatty acids), MCAs (medium chain triglycerides) and essential omega oils, also called CLA, GLA and ALA (conjugated linolenic acids, gamma linolenic acids and alpha linolenic acids)--all aid in breaking down bad fat stored from over consumption of carbohydrates, sugar, saturated fats and transfats. 

The ketogenic high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet reduces lipogenesis (manufacture of fat) and increases lipolysis (fat burning). It also increases gluconeogenesis (manufacture of blood sugar which has a thermic aka burning effect on proteins). The ketogenic diet isn't just a fad celebrity diet.  It's actually one of the most researched meals plans for safe and rapid weight loss. 

Eating keto aids in prevention and treatment of MS, seizures, Alzheimer's,cardiovascular disease and even some types of cancers. Doctors recommend that because the ketogenic diet is so specific, it achieves best weight loss under medical supervision. That may be even more true for obese, severely obese and morbidly obese patients. It's a whole new way of eating, that's for sure. Some ketogenic high-protein, high-fat, low-carb foods are: fish, nuts, Greek yogurt, avocados, coconut oil, almonds, nuts, seeds, flax seed, chia seeds and zucchini. High-fat, fiber-rich foods, like nuts and seeds, also help flush fat.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Diet isn't easy, but weight loss is simple

Riddle me this: what is both difficult and simple? Weight loss. Dieting, calorie cutting, food swaps, portion control, mindful eating are not easy. They take work, discipline and sacrifice. But despite the challenges, weight loss is simple, a simple formula, that is. 

And that's the good news, or part of the good news about losing weight. It's not rocket science, just simple biology. Eat less, lose weight. It's almost guaranteed. Even if you have other mitigating health conditions, weight loss is possible, with a few simple changes in diet. If fact, it's almost impossible to avoid losing weight. 

I'm not saying that you won't have times where you burn fat less efficiently. Hormonal cycles, sleep problems, illness, lifestyle change can impact weight loss. If you've been in a regimented diet, you will plateau occasionally. But it's still simple to keep going by just mixing it up a little (more on that later). 

Stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds. (left picture is 2011 and right is this 2021). And if you're working to lose weight, good for you!! I'm so proud of you for taking that difficult step! May you find success. Love, Mar <3

Diet 24/7/365 for weight loss every day

A lot of people have kindly asked how I lost 100 lbs. I wish I could say that it was easy. But from the title of this post, you can probably guess that it's not. To shed obesity or even just 30 lbs, requires constant vigilance, all day, every day. 

I know, boo! That kinda sucks: every holiday, birthday, special occasion, every meal, to have to constantly think about calorie cutting. And, yes, I've also said that it's okay, maybe even essential, to take some breaks. But if I don't monitor my eating on a regular basis, I'll slip back into old pre weight loss habits of overeating. 

I don't really even overeat that much. I've just gotten lax about the chips and sweets. But even that has caused problems. I've steadily gained weight over the last year. Not that much. So I'm back to calorie counting. I did it before and I can do it again. And some really good news? It's easier the second time around (pause for cheering!) 
Maybe you have found other paths to weight loss. As long as the methods you use are safe and healthy, rock on! Eating mindfully, with portion control and calorie counting, is how I lost 100 lbs. That's me way overweight in the bottom picture and let me tell you I feel soooo much better now! 

Love, mar <3

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Diet Food Swaps I Stopped Eating After Weight Loss and Healthy Tasty Food Swaps

I've been blogging for seven years about how I lost 100 lbs. (Left photo is 2014 and right is 2011). Now that I'm recovering from shoulder surgery, I find I've put some weight back on. So I'm back on my weight loss regimen I created to lose weight in 2014. Some of the diet food swaps were easy to make. I've incorporated them into my regular eating. weight. Others I won't touch ever again! Here's my list of hard-to-swallow (pun intended) diet foods. I've included less low-calorie, more palatable diet food swaps for a maintenance diet. Actually, second time around, I'm just using the maintenance diet food swaps. 

Diet salad dressing: Yuck and double yuck. I know, salad digest better with some healthy fats. And I like salad dressing. But most commercial reduced-fat dressings taste like a salty pipe wrench. I make my own with acai vinegar, ginger, lime juice, a little blue agave syrup and Bragg's Liquid Amino. 

Tofu and soy milk: I stopped eating these because the soy made menopause more difficult. Now I use avocado and high protein flax milk. 

Diet sweeteners, syrup and jelly: I nixed Splenda for its metallic flavor and because Dr. Oz says fake sugar ramps blood sugar just like real sugar. For sweetener, I eat 70% cacao dark chocolate, low sugar raspberry jam, blue agave syrup or pure maple syrup in small amounts. honey. Spices like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander and cloves give food the impression of sweetness without the calories. Same with fruit. 

Weight loss protein powder and diet protein bars: I've tried every brand, every flavor and they all taste like wallpaper paste flavored with fruit lip gloss. For smoothies, I use flax milk with banana or berries for sweetener. I make my own diet protein bars with dates, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and natural peanut butter. 

So these are some of the not-so-great diet foods. But the happy news is that there are tons of great tasting diet food swaps and I'll be sharing lots more as I go! 

Diet Food Swaps I Still Eat After 100 lb Weight Loss

Eight years ago I began working a weight loss program that I created myself. I used ideas from many diets but configured them to fit my own needs. About halfway through, I wrote a post about Diet Food Swaps I'll Keep Eating After I Lose Weight. Here's an update on how I lost 100 lbs and which food swaps I still eat to maintain weight loss. 

* Tons of vegetables, all kinds. I try to eat half my food intake as produce, 

* Low calorie bread: I learned three things about bread that shocked me when I first began dieting. First, regular bread has 2-3 times as many calories as diet bread. Second, light bread, with 35-40 calories per slice, doesn't taste any different and it's just as filling. My preference is multi-grain or whole wheat. Third, less is more. Low calorie bread costs about a dollar more and isn't on sale as often. So I buy Aldi brand or several loaves of Aunt Millie's on sale and freeze them.

* Skim or 1% milk. I have also used high protein flax milk but it is very expensive. Plus, Dr. Oz recommends dairy at breakfast for weight loss. Now I'm accustomed to it, I prefer skim milk over 2-percent.

* Spray butter and olive oil butter with no transfat or hydrogenated fat. These varieties fewer calories than regular. I look for varieties higher in MUFAs (mono-unsaturated fatty acids and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids because these burn or dissolve saturated fat. 

* Homemade dressings and mayonnaise. When I first wrote about diet food swaps, I suggested light mayo. I do still use it but far less than I used to. I've created some mayo substitute recipes that are healthier and contain good MUFAs and PUFAs. 

* Plain Greek yogurt. I swap full fat Greek yogurt for sour cream and cheese. Yogurt is super healthy, with antioxidants, probiotics and acidophilous. It's my dairy of choice. Commercial yogurts are often high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fat and artificial colors. I originally used fat-free yogurt but now I use whole milk yogurt and eat a little less. I make fruit smoothies with frozen berries ($1 a bag at Dollar Tree), Emergen'C and spinach or spirulina. 

* Broth-based, reduced-sodium soup. I've always watered down canned soup to cut salt. The DASH diet advocates reducing sodium for weight loss. I'll be sharing recipes for low calorie healthy cream soups later. 

* Lowfat cheese: I eat low moisture mozzarella cheese and cut 65 percent of the calories. I can't taste the difference.

* Turkey, ham and chicken lunch meat. These cold cuts have half the calories as other lunch meats. Turkey hot dogs have 70 calories compared to 100-150 in regular franks. Chicken sausage links have 110 calories compared to 200-250 in regular brats.

* Boneless skinless chicken breast, canned tuna and frozen salmon. These meats have 22-26 grams of protein per serving for a mere 100 to 125 calories. 

These diet food swaps helped me lose 100 lbs and keep it off. I cut about 800 calories a day and sacrificed nothing in taste. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Mind over Platter: How I lost 100 lbs, curb hunger with mental appetite suppressants

I put on a lot of weight after a series of difficult life events and have since lost 100 pounds. I slimmed down from size 18/20 to 3/4. You're probably not surprised to read that hardest part was constantly feeling hungry. Here are weight loss tips to curb hunger and "psych" yourself up to feel satisfied. I call these mental appetite suppressants my "mind over platter" regimen. 

1) Get used to feeling a little hungry all the time. There's no magic bean that to completely curb hunger. Caffeine products like green tea can be appetite suppressants but they can also make you hungrier. I would avoid chemical appetite suppressants (drugs) like Covid. The good news is that feeling a little hungry can actually help with weight loss. 

2) Think of hunger as an ally instead of enemy. Hunger is an alarm clock. Learn to decipher what it's signally. Are you working too hard and in need of a break? Perhaps some fresh air would take your mind off food, so go for a walk. Maybe you really do need to eat. Starving yourself doesn't make you lose weight. Food deprivation can actually make you gain weight because you "cheat on yourself" to compensate for feeling deprived. Maybe you're just thirsty (the body confuses hunger and thirst). You could also be lonely and "hungry" for companionship, love, human interaction or a hug.

3) Weight loss happens when you learn to be satisfied with less. The best appetite suppressants are new eating habits that put food in its proper place. Practice portion control--eat 3-4 ounce servings of meat, not 10-12. Fill at least half your plate with fruit and vegetables. Swap nuts and seeds for meat. Talk yourself out of eating junk, rather than convincing yourself you deserve it. Junk food is no treat if it makes you fat, sick and tired. Eat mindfully--don't eat till you are full, just satisfied. Weight loss happens when you stop eating when you are still a little hungry. Plus you'll feel fuller if you let your food settle.

4) Curb hunger by appreciating what you have. Maybe this sounds schmaltzy, but when you feel hungry, consider the many children who know real starvation. Keep their photos on the fridge and offer up your hunger as prayers (duas, kaddish, puja, incantation, good karma) for these children. Send money you saved eating less, to missions. During Lent, I'm trying to practice an attitude of gratitude for every mouthful, instead of mindlessly stuffing my face with food she don't need and feeling sorry for myself when I can't have more.

5) Understand why you eat. Many folks eat when they are sad, depressed, tired or lonely. And those comfort foods (which are really just junk food) lead to obesity

and make people more depressed. When you feel hungry, pause and ask yourself if you're really tired, bored, lonely, angry or sad. Are you filling your stomach and ignoring other gaps? Could you be satisfied with less food and "fill up on" other things, like quality time with family?

6) Distract yourself  from focusing on food. Curb hunger with active activity (not passive: no texting, video games or watching TV). You get hungrier staring at a screen and it's easier to mindlessly eat. Get outside, Garden. Volunteer, Walk the dog, kids and husband. Do housework. Make crafts with the children. Go out with friends for coffee. Romp with the kids in a pile of leaves. Take a nap or start a project. Run a tub of hot water and read. These are awesomely therapeutic appetite suppressants!

Are you seeing the mind over platter pattern here? Weight loss is 48 percent eating different, 50 percent thinking different and two percent hardcore chutzpah! It's not as simple as finding foods to fill you up. You have to change how you think about yourself, what you eat, how you eat and what role food fills in your life. And if obesity is a problem, don't despair. It's harder to curb hunger when your stomach is bigger and needs more to fill. As it shrinks, so will that ravenous appetite. Weight loss won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Mind over platter works if you work it--that's a guarantee! 

Best wishes with weight loss! 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Weight loss fail? Avoid diet discouragement by staying off the scale

Are you struggling with weight loss? Perhaps you were on the wagon but fell off. Or maybe you're having trouble just getting on the wagon? I've been where you are my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I can't even find that darn wagon! Regardless, I did manage to lose weight, in 2014. And now in 2021, I'm dieting again because after shoulder surgery, I'm putting on some weight. 

Here's how I lost 100 lbs and how I'm going to get the regained 20 lbs back off...by doing everything I can to avoid diet derailment. For me, that means staying positive as much as possible. Not constant Rosy Sunshine, mind. In my last post I ranted about how frustrating it is to gain weight after big weight loss. 

But I do need to remain upbeat or I'll get depressed and quit trying. One way I do that is by ignoring the scale. Checking constantly to see if I've made progress, only to find it hasn't moved, is just plain frustrating. When I go to the doctor I ask them not to announce what I weigh. I only weigh myself every month or so. And I don't set goals. This way, if I've shed 2-3 pounds,  I'm pleasantly surprised. More is a bonus. I just keep working my program and doing my best. And I celebrate successes and don't even use the word failure. More on that later. 

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