Total Pageviews

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The 'X' Factor To Weight Loss -- Accountability

'Accountability' is a critical factor and an extremely important tool on your journey to lose unwanted fat weight, keep it off LONG-TERM, and SUSTAIN your hard-worked-for level of fitness.

No matter what plan you have chosen to achieve your goals -- diet, exercise program, preferably a combination of these two factors of energy input/output -- you MUST incorporate some way of ANSWERING TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN JUST YOURSELF.

This aspect of 'accountability' is actually a very big reason why many programs succeed at all -- programs like Weight Watchers and similar weight-loss groups, successive personal trainer sessions, TV weight-loss shows, participation in weight-loss studies -- ANYTHING whereby you find yourself being OBSERVED, WEIGHED, and MEASURED by someone else. Yes, it IS the actual diet and exercise, YOUR DISCIPLINE, and all that YOU ARE DOING getting you the results, BUT it is extremely helpful and important for you to get FEEDBACK and MONITORING and to have a way of KEEPING TRACK of your results -- ACCOUNTABILITY. Moreover, having to 'report' to someone just makes you somehow stick to your plan better.

Just think of how great you feel when you step on the scale and see that lower weight/and/or fat reading or when you have your waist and hips and other measurements taken and they are less than last week's! It's SO motivating to have that 'mentor' person or the practitioner enter this new data onto YOUR record and to hear them praise you or be awed by your results and to just AFFIRM that all that you are doing WORKS!!! It's very helpful to experience this process REGULARLY and to have these regular, timely results charted. Sometimes, it's cool to keep a VISUAL display of your progress, by photos, charts, graphs,journals, etc. It all helps.

It's human nature to want and get feedback!

Whoever it is you are reporting to should be someone you respect and trust -- for their knowledge and expertise, but also because you are convinced they have your best interest at heart and that they want you to succeed. It should not be someone who SHAMES you or BELITTLES you, if you don't come up with desired results, but rather, someone who can help you analyze and determine what's not working for you and how you can 're-work' and re-strategize to get the results you need to achieve your goals.

Accountability is an important part of weight loss success. If you don't have this incorporated into your plan -- whether it is a structured program or just you initiating changes -- GET SOMEONE ON BOARD to be accountable to as you execute your plan.

This will truly make a difference in achieving your goals! COPACETIC! ;)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Nutrish and Delish: Authentic Indian is low-fat, hi-pro, and healthy!

The beauty of making your own Indian food is that it tastes SO much better than take-out AND, you save thousands of kcalories and grams fat -- REALLY! Home-made Indian food is SO much more lighter to the touch with the fats needed to cook it as well as other fattening ingredients like coconut milk or cream. Also, once you set your mind to making and enjoying a dish or two, you have a host of the NECESSARY INGREDIENTS in your kitchen cupboard which makes it handier and easier to cook your home-made Indian delicacies for the next time you fancy it. And, honestly, it REALLY DOES NOT REQUIRE ALOT OF TIME AND COOKING EXPERTISE!. A book I would HIGHLY recommend is:

Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey, Ebury Press, 2010. The following BRILLIANT recipe is from her book on page 191. I recently made it and served it with grilled salmon. We didn't have naan or any other starch with the meal -- only cucumber and coriander salad with plain yogurt. What a quick and easy, yet satisfying scrumptious, filling meal!

Goan-style Dal Curry

This delicious curry can also be made with moong dal (skinned and split mung beans) or mixed half and half with them. Serve with rice and some fish. Serves 4-5.

200 g/7 oz red lentils (skinless masoor dal), washed and drained
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
50 g/1 3/4 oz fresh chopped coriander
1/2-3/4tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
10-15 fresh curry leaves or 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp peeled and very finely chopped grated fresh ginger
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Put the lentils and 700 ml/24 fl oz water in a medium pan. Bring to the boil but do not let boil over. Skim off the froth and add the turmeric. Stir, cover partially, reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, salt, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat.

Pour the oil into a small frying pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the mustard and cumin seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, put in the onion and curry or basil leaves. Stir and fry until the onion starts to brown. Now put in the ginger and garlic. Stir for one minute, then empty the contents of the pan into the lentils. Stir to mix.

Enjoy! ;)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Most Important Determinant To Successful Fitness Goals

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. Ralph Waldo Emerson

It doesn't matter how unfit, out-of-shape, overweight, or obese you are.

There is SO much information, now, and SO much known on how to change from bad habits to good habits, and SO many experts 'out there' to help you, and many many options available to you.

BUT, none of it -- not the MOST successful of programs or approaches or solutions will make it happen FOR you UNLESS you not only WANT IT, but DECIDE TO DO IT!!!!!



The beauty of doing it yourself is that once you MAKE THE DECISION, somehow, everything starts falling into place to MAKE IT HAPPEN:

....the advice of the experts FINALLY makes perfect sense to you.

....somehow you FIND THE TIME to work out, exercise, and prioritize fitness activities into your life. actually LIKE working out and ENJOY the time you spend being physically active also find time to shop, cook, and choose for wholesome, healthy foods and beverages also really and truly ENJOY healthy eating and how it makes you feel AND look

and the list goes on and on.

DECIDE TODAY, RIGHT NOW ----- and seek information, experts,and help.

More importantly, if your DECISION is REAL, the information, experts, and help somehow will FIND YOU!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice Salad -- Nutrish and Delish

For me, nothing says summer like an innovative, fresh, and easy-peasy salad that can be served with grilled fish, chicken, steaks, burgers, and even just by itself with some tuna or salmon or egg mixed in.

Today is a great day to eat 'al fresco' and enjoy the wonderful feel of a late setting sun. You may even be in a spot to catch the sight of that breathtaking summer solstice sunset. Soooo, you absolutely don't want to be just fussing in the kitchen -- especially if you're having guests and you, TOO, want to HANG OUT, relax, enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds and catch up for some pre-dinner drinks and gossip.

This salad is best made ahead of time and just forget about it until serving time. It's terrific. Make it TONIGHT!

Summer Solstice Salad (Fresh Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes)


Large bowl (at least 500 g) Fresh Green Beans -- normal, fine or haricot verts -- whatever you like -- trimmed and tailed

Fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes -- a punnet or about 300-400 g or 4 vines -- I prefer the vine tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or can use 1 Tablespoon frozen chopped garlic

1 medium red or yellow onion or 4 shallots -- peeled and sliced thin

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley

1 tsp fresh thyme

Olive oil -- the best you can afford or find

Red Wine Vinegar, the best you can afford or find

salt and pepper


1 punnet (300 g) fresh white mushrooms -- gently wiped clean and sliced

a handful of black olives


Briefly steam the green beans -- just a few seconds more than blanching. Drain (there should be scant water) or save the bean juice in ice cube trays to freeze and use in stews and sauces. Immediately after draining, rinse the beans briefly in very cold water. Put beans into your serving bowl or the bowl you will make and keep the salad in until time to transfer to a serving bowl.
Rinse and pat dry cherry tomatoes and you can either keep whole or cut in half. I prefer to cut in half to release some flavor in the marinaded mix. Pour into the green bean bowl.
Add garlic, onion, parsley, thyme, and other optional ingredients, if using.

Mix gently. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle about 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. This part of the 'dressing' will be up to you and your tastes.My husband likes about 1/2 cup olive oil to 1/4 cup vinegar, but I find this too heavy handed. I prefer a 'light touch' No matter how much oil and vinegar I use, I ALWAYS whisk my vinegar into my olive oil first and then pour over the salad. This seems to make a better salad!

Serve immediately or chill until needed.

This is SO good with some crusty bread, but I'm watching my carbs right now -- so NONE of that for me :(

ENJOY!! ;)

Need To Shed That Extra Weight?! Make It Simple For Yourself!

I know you desperately want to lose your unwanted extra fat weight. I know you're longing to be fitter, to feel better, to look great, and to show yourself and the world the REAL YOU -- the person, who, on the outside, expresses the person you are, on the inside.

SO many factors come into play as to WHY IT IS SUCH A STRUGGLE to achieve that goal and that reality. In my previous post, I alluded to some of that -- the fact that obesity is a multifactorial event that warrants a multidisciplinary approach. On top of that, there is SO MUCH INFORMATION everywhere you turn about it -- what to do about it, HOW to manage it, what happens if you don't lose your fat, what research is showing about this nutrient and that food or this enzyme and that hormone and how it affects your ability to lose or gain weight, what exercises you need to be doing and for how many minutes of your day, your week, your LIFE!!

It's great to see so much effort and time, and focus on obesity and the obesity epidemic and ways to resolve it.

BUT, it's very important for YOU to just DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOURSELF.

If what is holding you back from achieving your goal is mainly EMOTIONAL, then seek and get EMOTIONAL or PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING.

If it's lack of knowledge about food and nutrition, then invest in dietetic advice. Your local GP and/or hospital will have a dietitian on staff or access to information on how and where to see a dietitian to help you sort out your nutritional needs. You may even need to go on a drastic Very Low Calorie Diet or Low Calorie Diet before you reach a weight whereby you achieve your 'optimal-lifestyle' diet, thus, you NEED the expertise and monitoring of a qualified, knowledgeable dietitian (preferably a REGISTERED DIETITIAN) or nutritionist.

If it's lack of exercise or physical activity -- enlist the assistance of a personal trainer, join a gym, or just start walking, swimming, cycling, hiking, etc. more. If you feel too unfit or unwell to exercise, then PLEASE, pursue getting a full medical check-up and get your GP on board from the get-go to help you get moving in the right way and with monitoring and support! And if the GP puts you off or patronizes you, INSIST on being taken seriously!!!!

The point is -- MAKE IT SIMPLE for yourself. Reflect and decide what is the MOST LIMITING FACTOR that stops you from GETTING THE BODY YOU WANT and BEING THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE -- the BEST VERSION of yourself! Once you tackle the ONE THING that is YOUR GREATEST OBSTACLE -- the other factors' of the MULTIFACTORIAL enigma of obesity will start to fall into their proper place.

And, if it's not YOU YOURSELF, but a LOVED ONE -- ESPECIALLY if it's your CHILD -- PLEASE, I IMPLORE you -- do whatever you need to do for them to address the ONE THING they need to do to lose their overfat status and get the body they have been blessed with become FIT and HEALTHY -- SOONER rather than later!!!

Start with the ONE issue that needs attention THE MOST!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

'The Obesities'

Early in my studies, as I was starting research for my first Masters thesis, I came across a term 'the obesities' described by the members of the first Fogarty International Task Force on Obesity. The paper I was reading nicely delineated/described how 'obesity' is not really a single, cut and dry, frank presentation, but rather, a general term to get one into the 'ballpark', so to speak, whenever a person who was overweight or obese would present, and that the MULTIFACTORIAL and MULTIDISCIPLINARY nature of obesity -- both in its causes and approaches for best-treatments -- can never be overlooked when evaluating an individual.

NOW, this was in the 70's -- a time when obesity was not yet the full-blown epidemic that it is today. The whole 'foodie' culture with the increase in eating out and convenience foods/microwaving phenomena and internet and the increase in TV watching and channels was kind of in early stages, but, nevertheless, evolving at a rapid pace.

Thus, the folks who were obese, then, were mainly probably those who had strong genetic predispositions and/or those who were already into the overeating/under-exercising/sedentary way for one reason or another. But, the 'obesogenic environment' with its easy-and-everywhere access to active and passive environmental cues to enable SO MANY PEOPLE to be in the 'overeating/under-exercising/sedentary way' was not yet as ubiquitous and sustained as it has been in the last 20-25 years.

But, STILL -- even with FEWER people being obese -- experts KNEW THEN that obesity had to be assessed and approached differently depending on the factors causing it or contributing to it per individual OR, perhaps, targeted groups.

THIS concept of 'the obesities' STILL needs to be considered today -- even MORE so than ever, in my opinion.

Just when we need to be more sensitive to the needs of why and how people become obese in order to really help them effectively lose fat and keep it off -- we seem to be bombarding the public with the SAME messages and making everyone feel they have the SAME REALITY OF OBESITY.

People who have strong genetic predispositions and who may be in situations where they struggle with achieving and sustaining targeted weights and fat levels, super-obese people who are in the morbidly-obese range, and people who are overweight or mildly obese, and even those who have a few pounds to shed ALL SEE AND READ AND HEAR the SAME MESSAGES about how, why, and what-to-do regarding their 'obesity'. They are offered the same set of options for dietary plans and regimes, exercise recommendations and programs, and all the information out there now about stress and the psychological/emotional and psychosocial aspects that they need to be aware of and methods to address those factors/issues, as they strive to succeed in getting fit.

TV shows, social networking messages, internet adverts, gyms, commercial weight loss and diet centers, programs, and products, and even medical practices are all just seeing a person as 'obese' and then offer up THE solution(s) to make them NOT OBESE.

It's like the world has gone into panic mode in order to try to wipe out this epidemic at the expense of actually taking the time, genuine expertise, and discernment in truly arriving at the differentiated diagnosis of an individual's 'obesity' and proffering a plan that really meets their needs and appropriate goals.

Of course, there are targeted options for the classification of morbidly obese people -- bariatric surgery or procedures in all their variants, like gastric bypass, banding, stapling and/or fasting regimes,drugs, and other radical measures, BUT, what IS genuinely happening today is that many of the people who are mildly or moderately obese are ALSO able to get these procedures and operations. If one has the money or insurance coverage, it's become a personal choice to opt for procedures that should really just be targeted to the resistant few.

Likewise, people who are morbidly or moderately obese, but with genetic factors making diet and exercise interventions less effective than they should be or afflicting these folks with very high relapse/recidivism rates are being viewed EXACTLY the same as people who are just overweight and need to change their eating habits a bit and/or increase their physical activity to get back to the optimal weight they may have had a few years earlier.

People who are 300+ lbs are hearing the SAME messages about what to do to get 'fit' as people who are, perhaps, 25 lbs over their ideal body weight. Even the whole definition and image of 'fitness' is bombarded to the GENERAL PUBLIC as being the ULTIMATE for EVERYONE regardless of their baseline or starting point or where they REALLY need to get to in order to improve their HEALTH, but also THEIR LOOKS and IMAGE.

It is doing the general obese/overweight public a vast disservice by not making them aware that each individual case is different and that there are subtle, often blatant differences in how one needs to proceed in order to achieve an optimal and lasting body weight and body fat percentage and overall level of fitness and well-being relative to that person's needs and goals.

Certainly, there are principles, guidelines, and treatments that are common to all obese and overweight people. BUT, it is very important for those working with obese people and for obese people themselves to recognize their own OBESE HISTORY and REALITY and embark on a treatment plan that BEST WORKS for their individual needs and goals! Certain GROUPS may have similar needs and goals, thus,making GROUP TREATMENT entirely possible, but only if the OBESE HISTORY and REALITY of the WHOLE GROUP is similar.

'The Obesities' is very real and this concept must be respected as we strive to decrease the obesity epidemic.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Nutrish and Delish!! Fresh Strawberry Bread-- One For You and One For Me

Summer is nigh!

This is the time of year when strawberries are abundant, juicy, and extra tasty. However, if you find yourself with leftover strawberries or if you are hankering for a delicious summery tea-bread -- the following recipe is fantastic!

I like it because it uses polyunsaturated, healthier oil instead of butter and it yields TWO loaves, so you get twice the reward for your preparation and baking work -- one to eat today and the other to freeze (it freezes VERY well) or share with a neighbor or friend. This recipe is based on the recipe I found in, although I have doubled the amount of strawberries that they list as I wanted to add much more of the anti-oxidant goodness of strawberries to the bread and get the most nutrients for my kcalories when I indulge. I also have made it using 1 cup of wholemeal flour in place of 1 cup white all-purpose flour and it comes out still very good and moist and light.

For those of you who follow an EXCHANGE LIST type of meal plan, I calculated that you would need to count a slice of a loaf (1/12 of a loaf or about a 1 1/2 inch slice) as 1 bread + 2 fruits. Thus a piece of this bread IS pretty potent, but it's meant to be one of your occasional 'treats' in life. Why not?! Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Bread

Original Recipe Yield 2 - 9 x 5 inch loaves


3 cups fresh strawberries
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (may substitute 1 cup wholemeal flour for 1 cup white, if desired)
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). LIGHTLY butter and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.
Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl: mix well. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in pecans. Divide batter into pans.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out, and cool completely.

Servings Per Recipe: 24 or 2 loaves serving 12 slices per loaf.

Nutritional Information:
Strawberry Bread

Amount Per Serving/Slice

Calories: 242

Total Fat: 12.5g
Cholesterol: 35mg
Sodium: 161mg
Total Carbs: 35.4g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
Protein: 2.8g