Friday, October 10, 2008

Link roundup

The following items have crossed my path over the last week, and I thought y'all might find them interesting. Have a good weekend!

  1. An article by a food critic who lost 150 pounds. "Loving good food and everything about it is a cherished part of my life, as well as the way I make my living. There is no place in my kitchen or life for mediocre food, whether junk or dietetic. I need the joy factor."
  2. The science behind calories and taste.
  3. Tips for eating at social gatherings.
  4. A list of portion sizes compared to everyday objects.
  5. And finally, since it's the time of year for Oktoberfest, a history of American beer. Beer isn't something that most dieters won't touch, but I'd rather have a good beer than bad bread.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The "E" word

Yup, you knew I'd get to it eventually. But here's the thing: there is nothing I can say on exercise that you haven't heard before. You already know to get 30 minutes of cardio at least three times a week. You already know that sitting in front of the tv or computer for long periods of time isn't good for you. You probably even already know what kinds of exercise your body will and won't put up with.

So why this post? Because I need the reminder.

In late June I took the final, comprehensive exam to finish a masters degree. As you might imagine, about April I started feeling a little anxiety about the upcoming ordeal, which affected my eating habits. In May I started studying in earnest and my exercise habits went right out the window. By mid-July--when I made it through the oral defense of the one question I didn't pass on the written exam--my eating and exercising habits were so thoroughly messed up that I'm only now starting to really get back on track with the food.

Getting back into my exercise routine, however, is proving more difficult. It's not so much a lack of desire as a lack of oomph. I love doing yoga and going for walks, and we've been having perfect weather for the latter. I even know that I'll feel better both mentally and physically if I get back on a routine. Twenty minutes of yoga once a week just doesn't cut it.

So what do you do when you've fallen off the wagon and can't seem to hop back on? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Reason #1 to eat only food that is actually food

A 12-year old McDonalds hamburger that hasn't decomposed. Seriously.

What I ate on Thursday #2

Tech asked about calories, etc., on last week's "What I ate" post, but that's not something I generally pay much attention to. Luckily one of my cookbooks has an index of this sort of information, so thanks to that and packaging labels, here's yesterdays' menu:

Breakfast (the usual)
oatmeal (150 cal; 3 fat; 27 carbs; 5 protein)
raisins (130 cal; 0 fat; 31 carbs; 1 protein)
unsweetened soy milk (40 cal; 2 fat; 2 carbs; 3.5 protein)
pomegranate juice (35 cal; 0 fat; 13 carbs; 0 protein)

Morning snack
plain, non-fat yogurt (110 cal; 0 fat; 18 carbs; 9 protein)
dark chocolate (63 cal; 4 fat; 7 carbs; .5 protein)

Lunch (PB&J)
2 slices bread (90 cal; 1.5 fat; 18 carbs; 6 protein)
peanut butter (210 cal; 16 fat; 6 carbs; 8 protein)
orange marmalade (40 cal; 0 fat; 10 carbs; 0 protein)
apple (81 cal; 1 fat; 21 carbs; 0 protein)

Afternoon snack
cookies (110 cal; 2.5 fat; 20 carbs; 2 protein)

Dinner (stir-fry over rice)
brown rice (150 cal; 1 fat; 32 carbs; 3 protein)
onion (31 cal; 0 fat; 7 carbs; 2 protein)
kale (42 cal; 1 fat; 7 carbs; 2 protein)
tofu (80 cal; 4 fat; 2 carbs; 8 protein)
bean sprouts (15 cal; 0 fat; 0 carbs; 1.5 protein)
sesame oil (130 cal; 14 fat; 0 carbs; 0 protein)
fish sauce (10 cal; 0 fat; 2 carbs; 0 protein)
Sriracha hot sauce (5 cal; 0 fat; 1 carb; 0 protein)
pear (60 cal; 0 fat; 15 carbs; 0 protein)
white wine (170 cal; 0 fat; 8 carbs; 0 protein)

Evening snack
frozen fruit bar (30 cal; 0 fat; 8 carbs; 0 protein)

calories: 1782
fat: 63 grams
carbohydrates: 255 grams
protein: 55.1 grams

whole grains: 2 servings
vegetables: 3 servings
fruit: 3.5 servings

Oh, and I drank four mugs of herbal tea, one mug of green tea, and one glass of water.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gaining new habits--eating slowly

I suspect it started in college, when I'd often eat lunch between classes. Sometimes I'd get rushed, but it was usually doable. But then in my year as a copy editor we all often had to take 30-minute lunches because of deadlines. After that, it was all downhill--fast. I was firmly in the habit of eating quickly.

There are several reasons to eat more slowly. It gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you're full, which in addition to meaning you eat less also helps lessen the chance of an upset tummy. Eating slowly also lets you appreciate and enjoy what you're eating.

But knowing these things did not make my habit of scarfing any easier to break. The five things that helped the most were to:
  1. Share meals with others. Conversation is a great way to slow down speed-eating!
  2. Use chopsticks. Unless you already use chopsticks at most meals, this will slow you down considerably for a while. Especially when you try to use them on tricky things like peas. And steer clear of finger foods in general.
  3. Set the table. Make the meal a little occasion. Use cloth napkins, nice dishes, and real wine glasses. This helps make the meal something worth paying attention to.
  4. Walk away. When you've eaten what's on your plate, set a timer for 20 minutes and go do something else. Water the plants, change the sheets on the bed, clean off the desk. Whatever. Just give your stomach time to register the food you've given it, and your brain a break from thinking about food. If you're still hungry, fine. Have seconds--which I usually limit to half of a serving--and then...
  5. Clean up. Clear the table, package up leftovers and pack your lunch for the next day (always best to do when you're not hungry), and wash the dishes. Wipe down the stove. Sweep the floor. And then, again, walk away.
Also, I want to show you this video of Michael Pollan speaking on his book, In Defense of Food, for those of you who don't have time to read it (or listen, as I've been doing). The talk lasts 37 minutes with the rest being a Q&A session