How to Eat Healthier – Part One

I’ve gotten on this kick to write about fitness and nutrition again.

There’s no complicated formula. And it’s not as simply as calories consumed versus calories burned off.

The secret to health lies in this one maxim: cut out the sugar, chemicals, and processed food and drink from your diet.

Without exception I can guarantee you that any food product company that makes an emotional claim as to why a boxed or wrapped food is good for you for is LYING.

Special K boasts that their cereal (made with artificial flavors) has 150 Nourishing Calories.

Funny, I didn’t know artificial flavors were nourishing.

Proving the point that 150 calories of junk isn’t worth eating when you can scramble an egg and have it with avocado for breakfast.

Kind Bars boast they have “Ingredients you can see and pronounce.”

Not so fast. Kind Bars are loaded with chemicals listed as “natural flavor.”

You can pronounce the word natural flavor. Yet it’s still a chemical.

The US government doesn’t regulate most chemicals used in food and drink products.

The USDA–whose staff are often food industry company insiders–allows food companies to use chemicals in products without having to list the chemical names.

So chemicals a mile long are listed as “natural flavor.”

Natural flavor is just as artificial as artificial flavor.

Readers, even Nutella isn’t real chocolate.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about the real deal about other food and drink products.

What I’m going to talk about comes from the book How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life.

Remember: any product with a seductive name or slick advertisement claim most likely isn’t as healthful as it appears.

Food companies use oils and chemicals that aren’t good to consume because using these cheap ingredients lowers the cost of the product.

Which might entice you to plunk down money to buy the product because it’s so cheap.

Wait a minute.

There’s a better way to save your wallet and your waistline at the same time.

I’ll talk about this next.

 

 

 

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Top Fitness and Nutrition Books

The following is a list of the top fitness and nutrition books along with cookbooks that I own and refer to in my own life:

Ballerina Body – Misty Copeland

Body for Life for Women – Pamela Peeke M.D., M.P.H., FACP

Foods for Health – Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby Sc.D., M.P.H.

The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide – Jeff Cox

Shape Your Self – Martina Navratilova

Strong is the New Beautiful – Lindsey Vonn

The Top 100 Fitness Foods – Sarah Owen

Transformation – Bill Phillips

What the Fork Are You Eating? Stefanie Sacks M.S., CNS, CDN

Cookbooks:

The Inspired Vegan – Bryant Terry

The Kitchen Shelf – Eve O’ Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds

Vegetables Every Day – Jack Bishop

Verdure: Simple Recipes in the Italian Style – Gioietta Vitale with Robin Vitetta-Miller

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

In only ONE YEAR from the time I was 22 until I turned 23 I gained 20 pounds. In ONE YEAR.

When my mother is with me when I’m giving a talk she turns to the audience members and tells them: “Chris was a former chubby.” Thanks, Mom.

I wouldn’t use the term chubby  or the far worse term fat to describe a person.

The personal trainer at the gym gets it right: you can carry a few extra pounds and be healthier than a person who’s skinny and flabby.

You can be thin and in ill health because all you eat is chips and cookies and junk food. You can be heavier and eat mostly fruits and vegetables.

As I reported in this blog elsewhere maintaining your weight is not as simple as the number of calories you consume every day versus the amount of exercise you do.

Nearly as soon as I gained those 20 pounds I felt poorly. I made an appointment with an actual M.D. who had a private practice focused on nutrition. She wasn’t a dietician or a nutritionist.

Her name is Rama Z. Koslowe and she practices in Staten Island, NY–one of the boroughs of New York City. I’ve recommended her to other people.

How did I lose a total of 15 pounds and keep this weight off for good?

Once a week I replaced unhealthful food with a nutritious alternative: skim milk instead of whole milk. Skinless chicken instead of eating the skin. And so on.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I stepped up my efforts. That’s when I started to lift weights at the gym. Within a year of doing this I dropped one pant and one skirt size.

In my life I find that lifting weights that is doing strength training was the most effective exercise out of any kind I ever did.

Other people swear by spinning classes or Pilates. That’s fine if you find these kinds of workouts help you better. I haven’t tried spinning. I used to do Pilates years ago.

You can view my blog entry on setting up a home gym.

It took me 6 years to lose those stubborn 20 pounds I had gained in one year. As the years rolled by I read every reputable fitness and nutrition book I could check out of the library.

In a coming blog entry I’ll give a list of my Top Fitness and Nutrition Books of All Time.

I’ll end here by saying that the New York Times has indicated that engaging in 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise is perfectly fine.

Inspiration and Perspiration

Thomas Edison is quoted along the lines that achieving a goal is “One percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

The Changeology Step 3 of Perspire lasts at least 30 days. It’s followed by the Persevere and Persist steps which round out and end the 90-day action plan.

Two prior goals I’ve already achieved using the Changeology method.

One was to wear makeup every day to my job. The other was to wear jeans to my job only 2 days a week. In fact I rarely wear jeans at all to my job anymore. And I do apply makeup in the morning before I go there.

Controlling the environment as regards these two goals was simple:

Placing my makeup in a cosmetics case and keeping the case on the bathroom sink ledge for easy and quick access.

Storing the jeans in an out-of-the way rack. Placing the pants front-and-center hanging in my everyday closet.

While I buckle down in the Perspire step I’m going to write in here about other fitness and nutrition topics.

I want to write about these things to give readers hope.

There’s a lot of confusing, conflicting, and downright contentious information about health that is passed off as the only right approach to living your life.

Remember: my claim to fame is that I wrote a book titled Left of the Dial. I see things differently and think differently from most people.

What I know to be true is that a dose of common sense is required when tackling problems that seem insurmountable.

Isn’t a 90-day action plan a short time frame in which to accomplish a goal that has the potential to become permanent for the rest of your life?

In a coming blog entry I’m going to focus on how I lost 20 pounds as a young woman and kept most of that weight off.

In fact I weigh the same at 53 as I did at 40. This indicates I know something about which I speak.

You could get toned lifting all the dozens of diet books that are published each year.

My goal is this: to empower readers not only to dare to dream but to actually do what you dream of.

More on how I lost weight and kept it off in the coming blog entries.

Changeology: Step Three: Perspire

In the third Changeology step of Perspire you start to act on your goal or resolution.

Here you use techniques: rewarding, countering, controlling the environment, and helping relationships.

My goal was to go to the gym 2x per week and eat salads 3x per week at my job. This week I was only at my job two days and I did have salads for lunch on those days.

Last week I trained at the gym twice. This week I’m going to the gym 2x as well.

Along the way you’re supposed to reward yourself for achieving your sub-goals leading to the destination goal.

Countering is engaging in the health opposite of the prior behavior. Controlling the environment is the way to reduce the temptation to revert back to your old habit(s).

Helping relationships are the bonds you have with your change support team members while working on the 90-day action plan and beyond the 90 days.

Controlling the environment in terms of bringing food to my job is as simply as placing the insulated tote bag where I can see it in the morning. For quick access to it to store the items in and then dash out the door.

A member of my change team is a personal trainer.

From reading this you can see how the 5 steps of the Changeology action plan play out in detail.

I have a friend whose goal is “to be healthier.” That raised a red flag with me.

Your goal has to be S.M.A.R.T. How exactly are you going to execute your plan if you only have a vague notion of what you want to do that isn’t supported by specific measurable achievable relevant and time-sensitive sub-goals?

Trust me when I tell readers that the Changeology 5-step action plan has a greater probability of working than simply wanting “to lose weight” or “to be healthier.”

I’ve already achieved 2 other goals using this method. And I haven’t reverted back to the old behavior since achieving these goals.

You can do it. I cheer you on in any goal or resolution you have in the New Year.

Changeology: Step Two: Prep

In Step Two: Prep you write down your S.M.A.R.T. goal that is Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time-Specific.

Using my resolution as an example:

Specific:

To gain back the energy to cook my own dinners 4 times per week. To continue to exercise at the gym through the spring.

Measurable:

Lift weights 2 times per week. Pound the treadmill once per week.

Buy food online. Bring food in Rachel Ray insulated tote to make lunch at my job. Have salads 3 times per week for lunch. Eat only organic chicken. Bring fruit and yogurt to job to have as a snack.

Attainable:  This is realistic as I’m not seeking to lose 50 pounds in one month or do some other extreme thing.

Relevant: The goal is one I set. It wasn’t a resolution that another person imposed on me or wanted me to achieve.

Time-Specific: The Changeology method has a 90-day time frame for completion.

The other prime objective in Step Two: Prep is to ask people to be members of your change support team.

This week I’m going to enlist a fitness professional.

Coming up next week I’ll report on Step Three: Perspire.

 

 

New Year’s Resolution

My goal is imperative and I’ll tell you why:

My father at the end of his life had stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

Though I don’t know that this type of cancer is can be inherited I’m not taking my chances..

It might not seem fair that hard work is required to succeed at a goal.

It takes mental work; physical work; emotional work; and spiritual work to get what you want in life.

My goal is to gain energy and achieve peak fitness.

The sub-goal is to have salads 3x per week for lunch.

To do this I will order food online and bring it to my job in the Rachel Ray insulated tote.

I’ve long advanced in this blog that eating healthful food can improve a person’s mood.

Two other goals I’ve achieved so far have contributed to having an elevated feeling.

They have been acted on using the Changeology book plan.

In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about Step Two: Prep