My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned along the way. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

Archive for the ‘healthy eating’ Category

My visit to the Healthy Family Expo

healthy family expoMy last post was about the Wellness Show, and recently we had another similar show. This was called the Healthy Family Expo because the focus was on – wait for it  – families! It had a wide variety of things of interest to young families, but I will focus on the things I found that relate to weight loss or at least healthy eating and living. I am not exactly an expert of baby clothes or maternity outfits. I will say there was lots of companies with healthy baby foods but I didn’t spend time at those booths.

bobs_and_lolo

The first thing I sought out when I got there were my friends Robyn Hardy and Lorraine Pond aka Bobs and Lolo. Why would I seek out kids performers? Well first of all they are friends of mine. We have performed at some of the same events (don’t forget wearing my other hat I am a family ventriloquist). You may wonder why am I mentioning them here. Well I tell people that you need to find exercise where you can, even if that is dancing with your kids and grandkids. If you want some really fun and upbeat kid’s music that won’t make you want to scream after 5 minutes, let me recommend Bobs and Lolo. Not only is their music lively and upbeat, but it encourages physical activity, friendships, outdoor stuff and much more. Have a peek! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1O_rIzwi-g Put your dancing shoes on and have fun!

products-veggemoSo what did I find for my healthy eating plan. Wow where do I start? I was excited to be granted media priviledges to cover the event and was given a huge swag bag as I was leaving. One product that was in there was something I tried when I was going around. It is a unique milk substitute. It is called Veggemo. It comes in 3 flavours – original, unsweetened and vanilla. What makes it unique is the ingredients. It is made from peas, tapioca and potatoes. Oh and it is delicious. My first thought is that this would be great to use when making a cream soup instead of using cream. It can be used plain as a beverage, in baking, or even in your coffee. Their website is http://www.veggemo.com600x600_VeggieGround

I am not a big fan of veggie burgers as I have had too many that tasted like compressed lawn clippings. I found one at the show that totally changed my mind. It is called Veggie Grounds and is made by a company called Big Mountain Foods. They were serving it on pizza samples and it was really amazing. These products are a good way to get some 600x600_OriginalPattyvegetables in your diet. I know for me it is one thing I always come up short on. I took a
chance and actually bought a package of their veggie burgers to try at home, and again, amazing. They were flavourful. I won’t say they would totally replace my hamburgers, but it’s a good alernative from time to time. They are fully cooked so you really just heat them up. We did ours in a frying pan, but I bet they would be great on a bar bq too.

smokedI also have found I need to add more fish to my diet. I love fish but I often overlook it in my diet or get bored with the same old canned salmon or tuna. I found a company that not only produced a delicious canned salmon and tuna, but is a company that is using a high stand of sustainability in their fishing practices. They are also a BC company which is extra cool for me. The two products I tried were their smoked salmon and smoked tuna. Yes they come in a can and they were to die for. My dad used to smoke salmon and it brought back those memories. Check out http://www.raincoasttrading.com

smart sweetsDo you have a sweet tooth? I have a weakness for gummi bears. I found a company called Smart Sweets that sell gummi bear that are practically sugarless. I say practically because there is only 2 grams of sugar in a bag and includes 24 grams of fibre. According to their promotional material, this is the equivalent as 6 servings of vegetables. They are also GMO and gluten free. Oh and for those with a sour tooth, they make sour gummies too. Find them at http://www.smartsweets.com

bag-raspberry-chia-bars-us

As I mentioned there was an emphasis on healthy families and there was a lot of products for
kids lunches. I found on that was really tasty and it was dairy, peanut, egg, wheat, gluten, tree nut,sesame,shellfish and sulphite free. They are called Freeyumm. They come as little snack bars and cookies that come in a number of flavours. My personal favourite was the raspberry, but there is also Honey Apple, Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Honey Hemp, Blueberry, Giner, and Banana Maple. Forget the kids. These would be great to take to the office to avoid the vending machine temptation. You can find them at http://www.freeyumm.com

Bread-Lent-Grain-USI am a big advocate of multi-grain breads and I found another local company making some delicious whole grain breads. The company is One Degree Organic Foods. They also make some really yummy cereals. What impressed me the most is that there are 6 ingredients in their bread, and one of those is water. I also recognized the other ingredients. My rule for a while has been if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. Not an issue with these breads!

Oh these are not gluten free, which is important for some, but still delicious. Find them online at http://www.onedegreeorganics.com

 

I should mention that Whole Foods was a major sponsor of the Expo, and all of these products can be found at your local Whole Foods. You don’t have to buy them online. I am the first to admit that some of Whole Foods products can be more expensive than those in your regular supermarket but as I ask people frequently – what is your health worth.

So there you have it. Just a few of the amazing things I found at the expo. It was an outstanding show, and I could see from the looks on people’s faces (much like I did at the Wellness Show) that people were really learning some new stuff that would improve their lives.

Check your local paper or online and look for these types of fairs or expos in your town. They are well worth attending. You will learn a lot, get to try a lot of new products that you may have only heard about. There are often freebies and special sales. If nothing else, you get the exercise from walking around and carrying all your new healthy purchases!

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

The Vancouver Wellness Show

The Vancouver Wellness Show ( http://www.thewellnessshow.com/ )is an annual event that my wife and I never miss. In fact this year is their 25th anniversary. There is a lot to see, do, sample, taste and learn. There are workshops, lectures, cooking demos, fitness demos and more!

It was this past weekend (March 3,4,and 5) and it was at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

Now granted, and I say this in all fairness, there are some alternative wellness booths that make me shake my head, with people standing on something that looks like a paint mixer, or lying on a table with coloured lights blinking around them.

We even saw one booth that had a tent set up that people sat in with strobe lights flashing. I am not sure what that was supposed to do, but I am surprised no one had seizures from it.

Sadly there are also lots of booths of pills, potions, shakes and other short cuts and you all know how I feel about those.

The good news is that there is tons of other stuff for everyone, even if ,like me, you want to just learn about real healthy food and snacks and living a healthy lifestyle.

vida-plates-packI had read on Facebook of a company called Vidadish                            ( http://vidadish.com/) that makes a portion control system. As my readers know I am big on portion control. I will also say they vida-water-bottlehave not paid me for this. I bought my products but wanted to share what I liked about it.

I bought kind of a starter set. It cost me $30 which was a show
special that included a bonus water bottle. It also has a sample 7 day meal plan inside.vida-plates-open

vida-platesIt comes with the meal plate and the snack plate. They both have nice tight fitting lids so they are good for home, work or
even on the go. If you are familiar with the American “My Plate” system, it is similar but divided a bit differently. It is hard to see in my photos but they are even labeled with a C for complex carbs, P for protein and a small section labeled F for fats.

vida-protein-sectionIn the complex cards section goes your vegetables and grains, in the protein section is obviously for meat or other protein sources. The small section is for healthy fats like a low fat cheese for example. One feature I really like is the protein section is removable so you can heat up your meat. If you took some chicken breast and a salad for example, you could heat up the chicken without having to heat up the salad.vida-snack-plate

As I mentioned, it comes with a snack plate which is in 2 sections for complex carbs and protein. It would be good for apple on one side and peanut butter on the other.

One note – these are hand wash. They are not dish washer safe. They are leak proof, unbreakable and BPA free. Check out their website!

One thing I am always looking for is healthy snacks. I am not a sweets person but more of a savoury person. In other words I prefer chips to chocolate. I found a great snack from Zak Organics (https://www.zakorganics.com/) and they make a yummy nutritious snack called Crunchy Peas. These are roasted chick peas and come in 4 flavours, Sweet Cocoa, Garden Herb, Smokey Bar BQ and Seas Salt and Lime.

zak-organic

zak-organic-labelThey had a special of 4 bags for $20 so we bought one of each. I also bought a few small snack size bags. I have to tell you, they are delicious! They have the crunch and saltiness of chips, but these are chick peas which are high in protein. In fact acording to the label, there is 5 grams of protein per serving (1/3 cup). There is also 140 calories per serving.

I have to admit I had 2 servings at once (2/3 cup) and mixed 2 different flavours. You take your time and eat them one or two at a time and have a long lasting healthy snack. A serving has 120 mg of sodium which is 5% of your RDA so some of you that have to watch your sodium may have to watch your intake. Trust me, they yummy and very addictive!

maple-walnut-copyI am a big peanut butter fan but a lot of friends have been getting me pecan-butter-copyto look at other nut butters. not for any allergenic reasons, but for some healthier options.

We found a company called Better Butters(http://www.better-butters.com)  from Sechelt BC. They had an amazing assortment of nut butters and after samples quite a few, we settled on Maple Walnut and Pecan Butter. I had the Maple Walnut this morning on my toast and it was soooooo tasty.

mwo-classic-mac
mwo-shells-white-cheddar-1We managed to pick up some free boxes of Annie’s Organic Mac and
Cheese (www.annies.com). Annie’s makes a lot of really great organic products. Our granddaughter is a big fan of mac and cheese so we want her to have a healthier brand and she loves it! We like it because Annie’s uses real cheese with no artificial flavours, synthetic colours or preservatives.

snacks_cookies_snickerdoodle_cr___They also make a great product similar to  Teddy Grahams called Annies Snickerdoodle Cinnamon Sugar GLUTEN FREE Bunny Cookies. Warning – these are highly addictive!

The show isn’t just about food though. You get to talk to a lot of people about healthy living and healthy things to add to your life. There are health talks for women, families and general health.

I attended a really interesting lecture by Dr. Jason Marr on the difference between Diet and Nutrition. He is a naturopathic doctor at  Evoke Integrative Medicine in Vancouver. He spoke of the difference between simply the food we put in our mouth (diet) and the effect of that food on the body (nutrition).

I have never really listened to a naturopath before, and found it really interesting. It is an approach to medicine that puts the patient first – treats them as an individual, not just as a patient.

I had hoped to stay long enough to see the Chair Yoga workout, but my wife and I pooped out before that.

We brought our little granny cart with us, and it came home fully loaded with giveaways and products we bought. If you live in the Vancouver area, circle it on the calendar for next year!

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

Celebrating moments along the way

balls-1786430_1280Today I want to talk about celebration moments. Not the ones where we stuff our faces with food. Not the ones where we over indulge in drinking. I am talking about enjoying or celebrating our successes along the way. This is a weight loss journey. You can not just celebrate when you get to your goal. You have to celebrate along the way.

I have said this to you before but the scale is not and can not be the only measurement of success on you weight loss journey. It is just one tool in the toolbox to utilize on the journey.

There are other benchmarks like how do your clothes fit, are your measurements going down, do you have more energy etc. You have to learn to look at the bigger picture.

I just had one of those celebration moments and I wanted to share it with you to show you how you have to celebrate all the successful moments.

I was getting dressed one morning recently, and I pulled a pair of jeans out of my dresser. I had bought these recently as a lot of my pants had been getting too big. Well, I put them on and after I did up the belt, I noticed they were baggy and the top looked like a sack of spuds bunched up.

“Great,” I thought “I must have put on a pair of my old ones.” I checked but no – this was a different pair I bought recently. These were what I called my next step jeans. These would be the next level down. These were size 40. My 42’s were now way too big.

You have to understand that the significance here is that I haven’t worn a size 40 since high school. I realized I have come down from a size 56 waist at my highest to a 40. I was so happy I almost cried, but didn’t want to lose my man card. (Just kidding. There were a few tears shed)horizontal-162952_1280

I am not sharing to brag (ok maybe a little) but it is to let you know it is not all about the  scale. We get too hung up on THAT ONE TOOL like it is the only measure of success.

Besides looking back at changes in how my body looks or what it’s numbers are, I look back at how far I have come in terms of what I can do now that I couldn’t do then. I look at the energy level I have and the excitement I have when I hit a new milestone.

I am also thrilled that so many people I have met online tell me that I encourage them. That’s why I took the Weight Management Specialist course – to be able to help people better.

I try to encourage clients to look at ALL their successes along the way.

What are your benchmarks? How do you gauge for success? When was the last time you gave yourself an attaboy? I am not saying to go around bragging. I am just saying you have to take the time to acknowledge your successes.

I like to walk, but I am not one who can walk on a track. I have to have a destination. When my wife and I go for a walk, we will often go to a local 7-11 about 3 or 4 blocks away.(Don’t judge me) It used to be a struggle to do that and required several rest stops along the way.

Now we enjoy the walk and it is not a problem. That’s a measure of success.

Every once in a rare while we will order pizza. There was a time when I could eat a large pizza by myself. Now I eat 2 or on occasion 3 slices. That’s a measure of success.

You go into a clothing store and the sizes you used to buy are now way too big for you. That’s a measure of success.

Do you bypass the big buffets when you eat out, or order more carefully from the menu? That’s a measure of success.

It is important to have a network of people who support and encourage you but don’t forget to encourage yourself.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.

 

 

 

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

turkey-trotAs I write this, it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. First let me say I am sorry I have not posted in a while. I have had some health issues and with some other stuff going on, time got away on me, but I am back.

Back to Thanksgiving, I have 2 things I want to talk about today. The first is to ask you a question. What are you thankful for? I have a very long list of things I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for my wife, my kids and their spouses, my grand kids, as well as my friends around the world.fat

I am thankful I found TOPS and the friends I have made through TOPS. I am thankful I am not “that guy” anymore, and I am especially thankful how good I feel now and the progress I have made.

I am thankful that there are folks out there who read this blog (hey – that’s you!) and that I am able to help people on their own weight loss journey.

Wearing my other hat, I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to make people laugh for a living.

Some of you may be uncomfortable with this, but I am thankful for my church, my relationship with Jesus Christ and the freedom I have to worship Him where I want and how I want, because people in many parts of the world don’t have that.

What are you thankful for? It is so easy to find things to find fault with (Sadly I still struggle with that on a daily basis) but not so easy to be thankful. There is an old hymn that says Count Your Blessings. Here is the chorus

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Whatever your thoughts (or lack of) regarding God, just count your blessing and you will see they far outweigh the bad stuff.

If we get into that habit, it becomes easier to see the good things going on in our lives.

stuffedOn to my second topic today. Read the title of this post again.

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Not only is it Thanksgiving here in Canada, but this also signifies the start of stuff your face season.

There is Thanksgiving (here now and November for my American friends), then Halloween and all that candy, then comes Christmas with all it’s goodies, banquets and parties. We finish up the year (and start it) with New Year’s celebration.

It’s the time of year for excess. Does anyone really need a deep fried turkey? For Thanksgiving dinner, do you need mashed potatoes AND yams AND sweet potatoes AND dinner rolls?

Do you need to try every single baked goody that is brought to the party?

Am I saying not to partake? No I am saying use some restraint. Some people at this time of year seem to be trying to set a record of how much they eat, right down to the tablecloth.

At this time of year, I will even go back to my portion plate if I think I am getting off track. The big secret I have learned is to have a little of most things. Prioritize! What goodies do you really like? Which ones are you kind of “meh” about? Have a little of the things you really like, and leave the “meh” items. Allow yourself SMALL indulgences.portion-control-plate

Remember I mentioned the portion plate I mentioned? These are great. They visually reinforce the idea  that your plate should be 50% vegetables, 25% starch like bread OR potatoes, and 25% protein (meat or meat substitutes).

These plates are available online from a number of sources. I use one because it really helps me. If you can do this mentally, keeping the 50/25/25 idea, good on ya (As my Australian friends would say)

Seasonal parties are a minefield of temptation. You go to the office party or a party at a friends house and it is really easy to throw self-control right out the window.

Here’s a tip for you. Look over the whole buffet before you eat ANYTHING. Pick some carefully chosen items. Load up on your veggies. Skip the dip or at least use a minimum of dips.

Don’t hang out near the buffet table. It is too easy to graze standing there, and what animals are knowing for grazing? Here’s a hint…Moooooooo.

food-pusherI have another tips for you. Watch out for the food pushers. You know, the people who say “Oh it’s a holiday. Go ahead. Go ahead. Have some more.” They will try to convince you Aunt Martha will be crushed if you don’t eat her fudge, or that you personally will be responsible for tons of food wastage. And don’t fall for the starving children in “wherever” line. That was my mom’s favourite.

There is a small phrase that could save your waist line and possible your life. That phrase is “No thank you”. You don’t have to make a big deal about it but when the potatoes come around for the third time, or that big plate of Aunt Martha’s fudge, just say No Thank You and pass it along.

I assume you are all grown ups. That means you are no longer obliged to clean your plate, and please don’t pass that obligation down to the children.

Let children take small amounts. They can always go back for more if they are still hungry.

So those are my two topics for today – take the time to learn to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day, and two, you can survive the coming food season.

I want to leave you will a little something to make you smile. Click on this link for a really cute song by a DJ named Bob Rivers and another guy you might recognize. In the meantime, have a healthy and happy holiday season!

 

On the Road Again!

Hello everyone. You will remember (I hope) my last post was the first of a series about getting fit at the gym, on the road and at home. Today we will be talking about keeping fit while on the road.

As a performer, I spend a lot of time on the road. For many performers, this leads to sitting around the hotel watching TV and eating junk food or other not-good-for-you stuff. Whether you are on the road for business or for pleasure, I will try this round to give you some ideas.

When I am performing out of town, I try to find out as far in advance as I can where I will be staying. This gives me a chance to look up the hotel on line and see what they have in the way of fitness facilities.

Hotel “fitness centres” used to be, for the most part, pretty poor. There would be an old weight bench with a few weights or one beat up universal gym. Hotels are changing that because these days, more people are wanting proper facilities.

CVG-MAR-13_wOne hotel I stay at once a year or so is the Cincinnati Airport Marriott in Hebron Kentucky when I got to the Ventriloquists Convention. They have a very nice set of fitness facilities with a gym and a pool. Check out the pictures. These are actually from the hotel website. It is like a small health club.

It is sad to me to see hotels put in these nice facilities and to see them so under utilized. In the time I stayed there I would often have the gym or pool to myself. This is not always a safe situation especially in a pool but if I waited for Cincinnati-Airport-Marriott-poolsomeone else to be there, I might get to work out or swim at all.

Whether I am at the convention or at another hotel because I am performing in the area, I try to get in an early morning workout. This depends on my performance schedule of course, but I find if I do it at the end of the day, my energy is down. Performing can be draining. I find an early morning workout gives me an energy boost.

Now when you are travelling for pleasure, you are often (though not always) more active. We go to the beach, go for walks, play tennis or golf or other activities. It seems to me that business travelers need to seek out a time to workout and energize.

So what if your hotel doesn’t have a gym or pool? Check out nearby facilities. Check local health clubs for example. Many offer a drop in rate for out of towners. Check recreation centres. Not my favourite places to work out but in a pinch they will do.

Depending on the time of year, check the local outdoor facilities. Do you have time for a round of golf? Is there hiking or swimming nearby? At the very least, you could go for a walk and explore the neighbourhood parks or shopping.

When I work at carnivals and fairs, I try to get out and walk between shows and explore the fair. Just be careful of fair foods. All I can say is thank goodness the fair only comes around once a year.

If the weather is not so great, and the hotel doesn’t offer a gym or pool, what can you do? Workout in your hotel room. I have a few links here to some great workouts you can do in your hotel room.

From the website Nerd Fitness (I love the name) https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/12/20/the-20-minute-hotel-workout/

From Men’s Fitness magazine: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/the-vacation-workout

From Men’s Health is this great video: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/hotel-room-workout

You can find lots more online. Just search “Hotel room workout”.

tubingWhen I do travel, something I always tuck in my bag is exercise tubing. It is a great little piece of equipment you can take anywhere. It takes up hardly any room but allows you to do a good workout with just that piece of equipment.

If you aren’t familiar with exercise tubing, it comes in varying strengths (coded by colour) and can really give you a good workout. It is helpful to beginners but I know serious lifters who always take one when travelling.door anchor

One thing I strongly suggest you buy to go with it is called a door anchor. This allows you to
loop it at the centre of the tubing and it allows you to anchor it at the top, side and/or bottom of the door.

Having that anchor allows me to do more types of exercises like chest presses or overhead tricep presses etc.

There are also fitness bands which are the same idea but are flat bands, again coded for strength by colour. I prefer the tubing but it is all a matter of personal preference.

Another thing that is important when on the road is your food. When I do fairs, they often give me free tickets for food. I may have a burger or something once or twice but if I am there for a few day, I look for other options.

In the rider of my contract for these type of events, I ask if it is possible to get a small fridge for my room. I try to find if there are grocery stores nearby and stock up on healthy options.

When I go to my convention every year, the first thing I do after checking in is find someone to drive me to the nearest grocery store. I buy foods so I can make a lot of my own meals.

portion-control-plateI generally have breakfast in my room while having my morning quiet time and reading my Bible. I then have my workout, and at the lunch break, I make something from my food supply then come down and eat in the lobby to socialize. I also bring my portion plate just to keep an eye on portions. I have found that in the United States, hotel food portions can be crazy big!

I will have dinner in the hotel restaurant so I can again socialize. It is my treat of the day when I have dinner, but making my own breakfast and lunch also saves me a lot of money.

Just remember when you are on the road, don’t just sit around the hotel. Get out, explore, get active and have fun!

Next time we will talk about home workout equipment – the good, the bad and the complete waste of time and money.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.

 

 

 

Snack Attack!

Snack-Attack-Logo-300x2221One of my biggest challenges on the road to weight loss and healthy eating is snacking. I seem to have my healthy meals down OK but snacking, especially in the evening can be a problem, and I am sure I am not alone.

Snacks are OK, but you need healthy snacks, and you need to watch how big your snack is or your snack becomes another meal.  The dictionary defines snack as a small amount of food eaten between meals.

If your snack is a couple of sandwiches and a pile of potato chips, that’s a meal. From a calorie perspective, if it is over 300 or 400 calories, it could be called a small meal.

I chose to call this entry “snack attack” because snacking can easily get out of hand and can attack your success on this journey.

Once I realized that I am a snacker, I had to change what I snack on and when I snack. Let me explain the “what” first.healthy-snacks

I found some great healthy snack ideas on the Canadian Dietitians website. Here are just a few.

  1. Medium piece of fruit like an apple or a banana
  2. 250 ml (1 cup) of frozen or fresh fruit like peaches, blueberries, strawberries etc.
  3. A stalk of celery with low fat cottage cheese (my own preference is with low fat or natural peanut butter)
  4. 2 cups air popped popcorn (watch the butter and salt)
  5. 1 cup cut up veggies like carrots with some hummus.
  6. 1/2 a bagel with some peanut or other nut butter. (I like the Weight Watchers thin bagels)

If you want to read more about snacking ideas, check out http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Healthy-Snacks-for-Adults.aspx

Almost more import than the snack itself is when and even why you are snacking.

Do you snack a lot at night? It’s a habit I have to really work to control. If you graze all night long as you sit watching TV, you can take in an amazing amount of calories. After that you go to bed and those calories just lie there. You haven’t had enough activity to burn them off. Don’t think though, that because you went for a walk with the dog, that it entitles you to another snack. Trust me, you did not burn it off.

Another “when” is to look at what you are doing while you snack. Are you actively doing something else?  For example, I have to force myself not to snack while I am on the computer. If I am working on writing a new show, or researching something or even writing this blog, it can be really easy to focus on the activity and not the food.

tv_nighttime_snackingIf you are focused on something, you may be unaware of how much you are actually eating. Snacking while watching TV can be bad too. If you get really involved in the show, you can be mindlessly shoveling food.

The other thing that is important is to ask yourself WHY you are snacking. For example, are you really hungry or are you bored? Are you snacking out of habit, like making a snack to have while watching TV because that is what you always do?

Habits can become deeply ingrained. I remember when my mom quit smoking. She always said the hardest time was first thing in the morning because she would have that first cigarette and coffee. It was a habit that started her day.

I have been reading some fascinating articles lately on so called healthy snack bars, only to find out that they are almost as full of calories and sugar as a candy bar. If you do have to have a snack that comes in a package, read that label carefully.

Another snacking trend is the 100 calorie packages of cookies and other snacks. First off, none of them are particularly healthy for you but at least the portion control is in check – right? Maybe not.

We were talking about these 100 calorie snacks at a TOPS meeting once and I said I like the 100 calorie chocolate chip cookies because I eat a bag and think “Wow I got to eat a whole bag of cookies!” while one of the other members said “I look at it and think ‘It’s only 100 calories – I can have 3 more!'”

The 100 calorie snack packs can be handy if you need a snack on the go, or at work, but you can save money and have a healthier snack by packing your own.

I love the fact that you can get Ziploc bags in a snack size. They are perfect to put in a few nuts or some trail mix or even some of that air popped popcorn, and they can go in a purse, briefcase, gym bag or even a coat pocket.

Something I do that seems to help cut down the snacking urge is having water or other drink nearby. Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty.

I find a warm beverage (in my case tea) seems to give more of a feeling of satiety (being full). I am not saying drink coffee or tea all day because they are both diuretics, but you might try a nice chicken or vegetable broth.

Be careful with commercially made broths, especially those concentrated cubes as they are often LOADED with salt. Look for natural broths or even better, make you own.

I have a preference for vegetable broth myself with chicken broth being a good second. I find them nice to sip on and they really do keep the hunger at bay.

So to summarize, keep the size of your snack small, keep it healthy, and keep yourself from being too focused on your activities to pay attention to the snacking.

In a work environment, keep healthy snacks nearby so you are not tempted to go to the vending machine or convenience store.

A trip to the dollar store for some small containers for snack on the go is a good idea too.

I hope that helps you to prevent Snacks from Attacking you!

Until next time have a healthy and happy day!

 

 

 

 

News Year’s Resolution or New Year’s PLAN?

new years I have never liked the term New Year’s Resolution because to me it was always too vague and seemed doomed to failure even as they were being written.

Why do I think they are doomed to failure? It is simply because we make the resolutions like we make goals – too general and therefor too hard to measure our success, which often leads us to give them up.

I prefer to use the term New Year’s Plans. What’s the difference? The difference is specificity. A resolution is I want to lose weight. A plan is I will track my food and exercise and plan to lose 20 pounds by June.

It’s been said many times that goals should be SMART ; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. This is what makes the difference between a resolution and a plan.

I’d like to give you a few tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions into concrete New Year’s Plans.

  1. Once you have made specific plans, don’t keep it a secret. Tell everyone. Tell your friends and family, and (if you dare) put it out on social media.It is not that you want to nag you or keep track of you, it is is simply that you are hoping for their encouragement.
  2. Get Your Friends and Family Involved. Similar to tip one but more than just telling them your plans; recruit their help. If you are planning on going to the gym more, encourage one of them to go with you. If you plan to eat healthier, maybe take a cooking class with someone or share healthy recipes with them.
  3. Write everything down, and use other media like photos. Write down the plans, but also your progress (with photos if appropriate), how you are feeling, and even your challenges. I suck at writing things down (as you can tell from my sporadic postings) but one of my plans is to not only track my food but also my exercise by keeping a food/exercise journal. When it comes to food, we have a say in TOPS “If you bite it, write it.”
  4. Actually make a plan. Planning ahead will help you stay on track. Again, going to my plan of continued healthy eating and exercise, I have planned out a schedule of gym attendance. I have booked appointments with myself as it were. Days I am to be at the gym. Even planning what types of exercise to do on what days. I also want to try planning out my meals and especially my snacks (a weak area I must confess)
  5. Don’t quit. Did you know that generally speaking, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. The main reason people don’t achieve them is they simply give up. People moan “It’s too hard” or “I didn’t know it would be this hard”. Did you know the number one resolution people make is to get more exercise or lose weight. Did you also know that most people quit going to the gym within 6 weeks? Change is always hard. As my kids are fond of saying Suck it up, Princess.
  6. Keep the list short. Don’t make it too hard on yourself. As I said, change is hard so maybe just make one change at a time.
  7. Don’t think in absolutes. If you say “I am never having chocolate again” for example, you are setting yourself up for failure. I can almost guarantee you will have a piece of chocolate, and when you do you will go to the “I blew it” mindset. The rest of your plans will soon go by the wayside because you will think you can’t do this.
  8. Take advantage of mobile technology. There are tons of apps out there that can remind you to do the things on your plan. Set appointments on your calendar for the gym, check out places like the App Store for reminder apps. There is one called Healthy Habits. It is free but limited to tracking 3 habits (like drinking more water etc) but you can upgrade to track more.
  9. Find substitute activities. Do you watch too much TV and your plan is to watch less? Then plan a different activity. Maybe plan to read more this year. Find books you really want to read or re-read an old favourite.
  10. Lastly, reward yourself (no food rewards) for “good behaviour”. When you reach a certain milestone or goal, take yourself to a movie, buy a book or DVD, or some other reward that makes you happy.

In keeping with my own advice, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Plans.

  1. Go to the gym 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday ideally)
  2. Journal my workouts in a workout diary
  3. Journal my food in a food diary
  4. Lose another 20 pounds by my trip in July
  5. Take my certification course as a Weight Loss Specialist

That’s it. Short and sweet. Now, it doesn’t mean I can’t revise this list or add other things but this is a start.

When I get to July, and hopefully have achieved my 20 pound loss, I can plan my final loss to goal. I still have 35 pounds to my goal, and I want to be there by the end of 2016. By breaking it into chunks, it will be easier and less discouraging. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.start something

I know not all of you are on a weight loss journey, and you have to make your New Year’s Plans your own. Maybe it is learn a new language, or take a night school class, or even change jobs or careers.

Your list and your plans are yours. Don’t think you have to do all the usual things everyone else does.

Don’t think of it as resolutions. Think of it as an action plan.

I have something for you to add to your list. Please share this blog with others. Blogs live and die by their followers and I have a loyal group of followers but a very small group.

I think I have a lot to offer and a lot of people would enjoy it and benefit.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy New Year!