Thursday, January 24, 2013

Making the Cut

After four pregnancies over the past eight years, none of my clothes were fitting and I was hardly recognizing myself in the mirror. Something had to be done. I decided to cut out sugar and processed foods and opted for fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, nuts, and yogurt. Over the past 6 months, I have lost 54 pounds simply by adopting a clean eating plan. Many people have asked me for tips on what to eat to lose weight, so here are my top five tips to losing weight the healthy way.

#1: Eating fat does not make you fat. Sugar and processed foods do that. When your blood sugar is high, your body has to produce insulin (the fat-storing hormone) to combat it. Processed foods also tax your liver, making it unable to concentrate on eliminating fat like it is supposed to do. Fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and fish are good for you and necessary for healthy heart and brain function.

#2: It seems kind of elementary, but when you are hungry, EAT! Listen to your body. Feeling hungry is your body's way of giving you cues that it's time to eat. Just make sure to keep healthy snacks around so that you are not tempted to eat junk food. Conversely, when you are not hungry, DON'T EAT! Don't snack just because you're watching TV or bored.

#3: Read ingredient labels! Choose foods that have one ingredient like meat, veggies, fruit, cheese, nuts, yogurt. Stay away from added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, table salt, vegetable oils, refined or enriched flour, and especially ingredients that you don't even recognize. If you can't pronounce it, you should not be eating it.

#4: Stay around the perimeter of the grocery store. Most of what I buy at the grocery store is in the produce, meat, and dairy sections, making the occasional turn down the aisle for olive oil, applesauce, peanut butter, popcorn, sea salt, or almonds. Other than that, I stick to the perimeter! Think of the aisles as traps filled with processed foods.

#5: Don't get overwhelmed! Make one change at a time if that's all you can stomach. As long as you are gradually making changes toward clean eating, that's still a step in the right direction. Start by switching from table salt to sea salt. The next week, try cutting out sweets. After that, nix the sodas and opt for water. You don't have to throw away all the food in your pantry and fridge. Just eat what you have and then don't buy it again if it doesn't make the cut.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let Me Be Frank

We welcomed a new family member into our home over the holidays. Allow me to introduce you to our new guinea pig, Frank Fifield. Since Chad has a Chocolate Lab named Summer, we decided to give Sarah Beth a pet of her very own. We allowed her to name him and keep him in her room. One of our favorite things we've done has been to put Frank in the bathtub and watch him swim. No really, guinea pigs are excellent swimmers. I had no idea until we googled it, but it's true! I also had no idea just how much they eat and poop. But frankly, if you are stuck in a cage all day, I guess there's not a whole heck of a lot else to do. Still, I find myself somewhat inspired by my newfound furry friend. This guy eats veggies like it's nobody's business! I'm talking lettuce, carrots, celery, bell peppers, you name it! I wish I had the discipline to eat like that. Frank is my new nutrition guru. He makes it look so easy.