Natural Balance with Dianne
You may have noticed a change in the advertisements in your Sunday paper recently. Instead of trying to sell you toys, holiday lights and chocolates, retailers are promoting exercise equipment, weight loss supplements and diet programs. Yes, it’s January, and the focus for this month is resolutions, self-improvements and weight loss, at least according to the retailers. They do make a good point. What better time to make a life change than the start of a new year?
Notice I said ‘life change’ instead of ‘diet’? That’s because if you want to lose weight for good, you have to make permanent changes in your life. Never one to want to conform too much (or maybe it was procrastination), I think it was February of last year that I decided to try make a change in my life to feel and look healthier.
I’ve suffered with digestive issues for most of my life. I discovered I had fructose malabsorption (which involves a wheat intolerance) a few years ago. I made the appropriate changes in my diet, but had started to revert back to my old ways of eating. As a result, I was not feeling my best. While not obese, I was overweight and just not myself.
I finally decided to give up wheat again. I had done it before, but started eating it again when I discovered it wasn’t giving me tummy troubles. I didn’t realize the other effects it had on me, like lack of energy and bloating. So I gave it up again and was surprised when I lost five pounds in one week. It was mostly water weight I lost, but it was still the impetus that let me believe I could actually lose weight.
I’ve lost weight before in my life. When I was in high school I lost 50 pounds. I was an unhappy teenager who turned to food for comfort. I was tired of being overweight and gleaned weight-loss tips from my mom’s women’s magazines. I kept track of my calories in a notebook, watched my fat intake and exercised. The weight came off.
This time around I did things just a bit differently. I gleaned information from natural foods magazines and books, such as “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis and “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. For some balance I read “Eating Free: The Carb-Friendly Way to Lose Inches” by Manuel Villacorta. I turned to an online calorie-tracking site, watched my carbohydrate intake and yes, exercised. I also focused on eating natural, whole foods. I learned a lot in the process and I’m happy to share with you my 4 best tips for weight loss and being the healthiest you can be.
- Weight Loss is More about Diet than Fitness. This was hard for me to accept. Many experts out there advise that 70% (or more) of weight loss is attributed to diet and only 30% (or less) to exercise. So while I had a great exercise routine down, I wasn’t making a dent in my weight loss because I was still eating too much. Which brings me to my next tip.
- Track What You Eat. I had no idea how many calories I was eating! I found a great site online to help me track my calories. There are many out there. I used MyFitnessPal, but you could choose any one of them. Usually there is a huge database of food. You tell the site what you ate and it tracks the calories for you. I was so surprised at how fast those calories added up.
- Reduce Sugar Intake. This is a biggie. It is my non-expert, but informed opinion that sugar consumption (in the form of soda) is one of the leading causes of obesity today. Sugar provides no nutrition, but so many calories. Eliminating one soda a day will cut back about 150 calories. That’s a big chunk of the 500 calories per day the Mayo Clinic recommends for one pound of weight loss per week!
- Eat Whole, Unprocessed, Natural Foods. This starts at your local Coborn’s store. Stick to the outer sections of the store: Produce, Meat, Dairy and Natural Foods. These sections have the most unprocessed foods. Shop Produce for fruits, vegetables and nuts; Meat for lean meat, chicken and fish; Dairy for low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt; Natural Foods for quinoa, bulk oats, and nut butters. Buy food with as little ingredients as possible and cook for yourself. If you don’t know how to cook, then learn. It’s not that hard and the benefits are numerous. Many resources are available online and through community education. You can do it!
I know everyone loves “before and after” photos so here are mine. The “before” photo was taken in June 2011 at a weight of 152 pounds (with my husband, who doesn’t have to worry about his weight). The “after” was taken in November 2012 at a weight of 127 pounds.
Here are a couple of recipes to try for dinner. The ingredients can be found in the outer sections of the store, naturally!
1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, Minced (optional)
1 T. Fresh Parsley (or 1 tsp. dried), chopped
1 tsp. Dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 lb. Salmon Fillets
1. In a glass measuring cup, measure out the olive oil. Add the lemon juice, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
2. Rinse and pat dry the salmon fillets. Place salmon in a large resealable plastic bag and pour in olive oil mixture. Shake lightly to evenly distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 375° F. Place fillets on a large piece of aluminum foil. Fold foil to enclose salmon and seal. Place foil packet in a large baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
Parmesan Spinach Quinoa
1 Cup Quinoa
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 T. Olive Oil
½ Cup Pine Nuts
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach, chopped
1 T. Lemon Juice
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- In a large saucepan, bring water, salt and quinoa to boil. Reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes, set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stir in the pine nuts and cook until lightly toasted (2 min). Stir in the garlic, cook until the garlic softens (2 min). Stir in the quinoa and spinach; cook and stir until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and all but a pinch of the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.