Survey says! Please…

My husband is taking a marketing class. For part of his group project, they created a quick survey. Please take a moment and give your answers. All answers are confidential. In fact, they don’t even ask your name. Just click the link below.

Alaskan marketing survey


Fitness update 2011 #4; eating clean(er)

Hi all! I’m pretty excited this morning. My weight has been steadily down. I’m now at 165 (again). I’m also pleased to say, that while my weight was up, it still stayed under 168, which was my previous plateau weight. So what changed recently?

First, we (hopefully) quit eating out as much. We’d been eating out nearly every day because of the old excuse of being too busy and away from home. Well, last week, I decided enough of that and started packing our lunches or stopping at the store on the way to the job site. As a result, we only ate out three times and I tried to make healthy choices there.

Tuesday was my son’s 9th birthday and he wanted Taco Bell. I avoided the fried, cheese loaded and greasy beef options and had been burritos. Our twice monthly company meeting was Thursday at Pizza Hut buffet where I had just 2 slices of pizza along with 2 large salads with very little dressing and lots of healthy toppings such as broccoli, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. Yesterday we had court. Afterwards for lunch we went to Subway where I had a 6 inch ham and turkey on honey oat with soup and tea instead of my usual foot long with chips and soda.

Last weekend, I went to the bookstore and bought 3 Eat Clean Diet books by Tosca Reno. I’ve been reading the Eat Clean Diet Recharged one this week. Lots of good, practical  information about how and why eating proper nutrition is essential for weight loss and management. Don’t let the word Diet in the titles fool you. They aren’t traditional crash/fad diet books that you follow for a few days or weeks to meet your short term goals. Instead, diet refers simply to all the foods you eat. It’s a long-term eating program, you can follow it for the rest of your life without any negative side effects.

Calories are not restricted. Instead, focus is on eating a balanced diet of healthy, natural foods instead of processed junk.You eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, moderate amounts of lean protein and healthy, complex carbs like whole grains. While there are healthy, natural  fats like from olive oil, fish, and nuts, there are NO unhealthy fats such as from processed foods. It is low sodium and low sugar. However, she says you can still have occasional cheat days. This helps you keep from feeling deprived. This is exactly like what I’ve been saying for several months now. It’s great to see it in print to help me work out some details.

One thing, while not a new concept, is a new thing for me to follow. This is eating smaller meals more frequently. Studies have shown that it is better to eat 3 medium meals and 2 or 3 healthy small snacks instead of just 3 large meals. Eating smaller more frequent meals keeps your blood sugar more constant. This gives you a steady supply of energy rather than peaks and slumps. It also helps keep you from binging because you aren’t ever super hungry.

I suspect I have an ulcer. Having an empty stomach makes it hurt worse, so eating smaller meals allows me to avoid being overly full or empty. Processed foods with unhealthy sugars, refined carbs, and fats are hard on your system and can worsen the ulcer. Another good reason to eat clean since you avoid processed foods!

The Eat Clean Diet books lay out menus for weeks of meals and snacks to follow or use as example. Very easy. One of the books is a cookbook complete with picture for every dish. While I won’t be following the menus exactly, yesterday we went shopping and bought lots of fresh fruits, salmon, sliced turkey, plain Cheerios for quick healthy breakfast, and some more veggies.

So if you are looking for real solutions to weight loss and tired of fad diets that don’t really work, get The Eat Clean Diet, clean out your kitchen and start eating healthy. No more counting carbs, points, or calories. It’s easy and it works!

Educator book discount

I was at a local chain bookstore yesterday to check out the new Eat Clean Diet book. It’s called The Eat Clean Diet Stripped by Tosca Reno and is designed to help you use proper nutrition, not fad diets, to lose the last 10 pounds.They had 2 other Eat Clean Diet books that I grabbed as well. After skimming them for half an hour in the store, I decided to go ahead and get all 3 plus the bonus edition on abs from Oxygen magazine. Lots of good information on the benefits of healthy eating as well as nutritious, flavorful recipes in them.

The cookbooks were a bit expensive, $20 each. The magazine was about $5. When I got to the counter, the clerk asked if I was a member of the book club. I’m not. I do get an educator discount of 25% on most books. I did not consider these books to qualify. However, she did. I guess they qualify as nutrition education, especially considering the childhood obesity epidemic. I certainly won’t argue. I wound up spending just $50, instead of the $65 I was expecting. Thanks!

So next time you are at a bookstore, try your educator discount. You may be surprised just what will be allowed.

My stomach’s not a wastebasket!

An engine will only run right if given proper fuel. Put something in that it isn’t designed for and it will either run poorly, or not run at all. Our bodies are like that. Everyone knows, you have to eat to live. However, we shouldn’t just eat anything. A wastebasket is where you put junk. This should not be your stomach.

When people begin to eat healthy, they often make many wrong assumptions. I’m going to explain why a few of them are false or misleading as well as how to correct the problem to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

1. I should eat XXXX calories, and as long as I am at or under that, I will be fine. No. Quantity is important. However, quality is more important. You can eat 1600 calories of junk or 1600 calories of healthy foods. Both are still 1600 calories, but your body will do much better with the healthy foods.

What to do? While you should pay attention to how much you are eating, do not obsess over it.  Make sure you are eating a high quality diet including lots of fresh fruits and veggies, along with moderate amounts of whole grain carbs and lean protein everyday. Avoid processed and fried foods as much as possible. Keep a food journal to help keep track of what and how much you are eating. You may be surprised where calories are sneaking in or how much a small food switch can make in nutrition.

2. All carbs are bad. If I cut them out, I’ll be healthy and slim. No. While white carbs have a lot less nutrition than whole grains, they by themselves are not the problem. The problem is that white carbs (white rice, white flour) have all the calories but no fiber. Fiber fills you up and keep you full longer. Without fiber, you tend to overeat. Plus, the majority of traditional snack foods are carbs. Few people measure how many chips, crackers, pretzels, etc they eat. Often, they are eaten while busy doing other things, so again, you tend to overeat. Carbs can also be comfort foods to many people and lead to emotional eating. Another thing is calorie laden toppings and spreads put on them. Not even whole grains will help much if loaded with toppings such as mayo, cream cheese, or butter.

Your body uses carbs for energy. Without them, you body looks to other less efficient sources like protein. It takes more energy to digest protein and convert it to energy. This is why a low or no carb/high protein diet causes weight loss. However, it is an imbalanced diet that is hard on your body. Plus, like most diets, when you go off the diet, you will gain weight back since you haven’t really changed your eating habits that led to putting on the weight in the first place.

What to do? Switch to whole grain versions of pasta, bread, and rice. Keep in mind that “wheat bread” isn’t necessarily whole grain. This marketing ploy just means it is made from wheat flour. Read labels, be sure it says whole grain. Don’t eat while busy. Control your portion sizes. I know this can be hard sometimes, but if you want to eat less, this is important. Especially don’t much while watching tv, playing on computer, etc. Or if you do, measure your snack and don’t go back for more when that’s gone.

3. If I skip meals, I’ll lose weight faster. No. Skipping meals deprives your body not only of calories, but also nutrition. It can lead to binging and overeating later in the day.

What to do? Rather than cutting meals, cut portion sizes. You may even want to increase the number of times you eat during the day. Studies have shown it is healthier to have 3 smaller meals and 2 healthy small snacks than 3 large meals. Eating more frequently keeps your blood sugar more steady. It also provides are more constant source of energy and nutrition for your body throughout the day. Eating a more nutritious meal, usually will have fewer calories. Again, keeping a food journal, especially at first, can help you keep to your calorie goal without going over or under too much as you get used to eating more frequently. They also give you proof if you diet is as healthy as you think it is.

4. Fat free or sugar free are always better. No. While it is important to reduce fat and sugars in your diet, you should not try to cut it out all together, especially fat. Your body actually needs a certain amount of fat to absorb certain vitamins (fat soluble only can be used in fat). Plus fat adds taste. What many companies do is add chemicals and additives, especially sodium, to make up for the fact that the taste has changed by removing fat or sugar. Sugar free may have added fat. Fat free may have added sugar.

What to do? Try low fat or reduce portion size instead. Save the sugary items for special treats and cheat days. Usually low fat still has enough original flavor that there aren’t extra additives.  Or try healthy substitutions. I make yonaise. It’s half mayo and half plain yogurt. Still tastes creamy, but saves a lot of calories without additives. When making homemade recipes, you can often cut out up to half the sugar without changing the taste or quality.

5. If it’s organic, it’s healthy. No. While organic fresh produce may be healthier since it’s less likely to have pesticides or other chemicals, organic processed foods are still processed foods. They still have additives and lots of sodium.

What to do? Avoid all processed foods. Learn to make homemade. If you have busy week, cook big batches on weekends and freeze them in serving or meal size containers to heat and eat during the week.

6. Eating healthy costs more. Yes. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case.

What to do? However, there are a few things you can do to help lower the bills.

A. Take advantage of sales. You may have to change your menu plans, but that’s better than paying more, especially if it’s just one or two items to switch.

B. Buy produce that’s in season. This can save up to half sometimes, so be flexible.

C. Don’t overbuy fresh produce. Just because you got a good deal, won’t be such a good thing if you don’t eat it all before it goes bad. Only buy what you know you will use.

D. Don’t buy processed foods. They may be (slightly) more handy but they aren’t as healthy and you pay more in the long run compared to homemade.

E. When shopping consider an 80/20 principle. 80 percent of the food should have no label like from the produce section or be whole foods like fresh lean meats, eggs, rice, dry beans, and oatmeal. Bagged veggies (frozen or fresh) without sauce count here as well, but not canned The other 20 should be healthy things with labels like whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread; natural cheese; low sodium spaghetti sauces; and dairy. Avoid heavily processed foods. You’ll do most of your shopping from the outer aisles.

F. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Impulse buying can be very expensive. You list can be vague in places like produce to take advantage of what’s on sale, but other things should be specific including quantity.

7. Juice is more healthy than soda. No. Most people know soda, even diet ones, aren’t good for you. They are loaded with chemicals and have no nutritional value at all. However, juice is also not very good for you. Most juice has removed the fiber. Plus, since it takes several pieces of fruit to make a glass of juice, it has a lot more calories. I was surprised to learn that some juices have added sugars. Many juices have the same calorie content as soda.

What to do? If you want fruit, have the fresh fruit instead. All the flavor of juice but with fiber and fewer calories. Water is still the best drink. If you want flavor, add a little fresh juice like a lemon wedge. Or consider herbal tea. Most of them have few if any calories and are made from natural ingredients.

8. I should have a protein bar or shake if working out. No. Unless you are a professional or serious amateur athlete in training, you are probably getting adequate protein already from your diet. Supplementing your protein does not significantly improve performance. Nor does it help weight loss. In fact, many protein supplements have as many or more calories than candy bars! So, by adding protein supplements, you are wiping out all your hard work exercising off the calories. Your body can only process or use a certain amount of protein. Any additional intake is just removed as waste or converted to fat. This is hard on your body in large quantities.

What to do? See a dietician if protein is a serious concern for you. Don’t believe all the marketing hype. Increase your natural protein intake slightly from things like lean meat and nuts.


Yesterday I had  a pretty major disagreement with someone over what I thought was a small thing. Apparently the other person thought it was more of a problem that I did. Anyway, when I left her, she was very angry. We were both upset. Arguing was getting neither of us anywhere, except more angry and stubborn. This is often typical of most arguments.

Well, I was still pretty upset about it today. Not mad anymore, just upset that it happened. We both felt we were right. We both can be pretty stubborn. Again, this is often typical of most arguments. God had a different idea, forgiveness.

My husband said repeatedly that I needed to apologize to her for the disagreement today. I didn’t get a chance since I was running late when I briefly stopped at the office this morning. On the way to our job site, the Christian radio program was about forgiveness. At the job site, my husband asked if I had made up with her. Then on the way home, another radio program about forgiveness. Even the children’s Christian story time on the other Christian station was about forgiveness.

OK, I get the point!

So, I called her when I got home. Apparently she was feeling pretty much the same as I was. We had a nice conversation and settled our problem, both listening to and then forgiving the other. This is where most arguments lack.

We all have disagreements and arguments. That’s only human. Afterall, we have different interests, understanding, and ways of doing things. Still, Romans 12:8 tells us “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Part of that is practicing forgiveness for disagreements large and small.

The word forgive is found 95 times in the Bible. This includes the specific word forgiveness which is found 8 times, all in the New Testament. Jesus came to be the forgiving sacrifice of our sins. That’s a big thing. If God can do that for man, certainly the least we can do is forgive each other.

Training verses exercising

Are you training or just exercising when it comes to weight loss? What’s the difference? Is there a difference?

I’ve found a few useful definitions that apply to this type of training. One is the education, instruction, or discipline of a person that is being trained. Another is the process of bringing a person, etc., to an agreed standard of proficiency, etc., by practice and instruction. Finally, undergoing physical training.

To train you must have a three related things. You must have a goal. You must have a specific plan for obtaining the goal. You must have discipline to stick to the plan.

So, why do you need to train? A lot of people who exercise when loosing weight have a general goal weight, but not much of a specific plan for what exercise and nutrition will best get them there. They just know that exercise will burn calories. Unfortunately, without a specific exercise and nutrition plan, they will not be successful. Just compare the number of people in the gym just after New Year’s to now. A lot of them have already abandoned their plans after just 3 months because they lacked either a goal, specific plan, or dedication.

Training also involves a certain level of dedication and commitment. It’s not just exercising when you have a little spare time or want to work off a big meal. Nor is it simply counting calories. Generally, training involves following a set schedule for meal planning, exercise, and days off. So it takes a little planning, but it’s worth it. Training takes the guess-work out of working out and eating healthy.

This is part of the reason Beach Body programs like P90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire, Slim in 6, and Chalean Extreme have such great success. The same for many of the programs in Oxygen women’s fitness magazine. They include elements of both exercise and healthy nutrition, providing education and a specific plan. They are a length that should make exercise and proper nutrition become a habit as long as you don’t abandon the program. In other words, they don’t just give you exercises or a fad diet, they give you a solid training program.

All that’s missing is you and a little dedication. So are you ready to stop exercising and start training?