Skating Uphill

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

"Sooner or later you are going to eat a baked potato. Learn to live with it!"                                                     -Elizabeth Millen   

As I have traveled this well-worn weight loss trail out of the wilderness of fattitude and into the realm of size 10, I have had companions. Many others have asked for recipes and food tips, which I have been very pleased to pass along. In this issue, I will come full circle on a thought process. In my first article, I shared ways to tell if you were honestly ready to begin a new life style. Now, I feel compelled to share with you some pit falls that you surely will encounter, as the way home looks more dangerous and perilous.

Little Red Riding Hood has nothing on us. Remember she finally made it through the forest to Grandma's house, and we will make it through the maze of contradictory information to the final destination of GOAL!
On the way, beware of a few real time Big Bad Wolf things out there. Want a list? Ok, I thought you would never ask:

1.    Beware of weight loss plans that offer no food.
By that I mean a plan that is all shakes or all bars or all drinks. Plans like this work, but usually only short-term. Many obese people will use this sort of plan as a tool for a jump-start. Others, who are at a plateau, may use one of these types of diets for a short time to see a downward move. These choices are up to you, of course, but do know the pitfalls and understand that this is not a path to that life-long healthy life we are trying to live. Eventually you are going to have to live in the world and eat some real food. There is a tendency to do so on a binge level when you have been deprived.

2. Beware of weight loss plans that are too low in calories.
We all burn a certain number of calories simply by being alive. It is usually over 1,000. In order to lose weight, you must cut your intake by a measured amount. Let us say, for an average person, around 300 calories per day. That means you really should not go below 900 or so calories per day to maintain health and energy. The best way to start this is to measure exactly how many calories you eat in a day for three days, then go from there. Prioritize and keep as much as you can of what you really like, and cut or substitute to make up the rest. Also, to help move the needle, remember the old tricks-walk 30 minutes and drink at least six-to-eight glasses of water a day.

3. Beware of big promises and high cost.

Often they go together. In my opinion, any plan that promises more than the two pounds per week that are considered to be healthy, will not be sustainable on a long-term basis. Remember that your goal is only partly based on actual loss of excess pounds. That is only the beginning. Can you go on and on with expensive shots or pills? Do you want to do that? How much can you pay and for how long? Think about why you started this whole thing, or of equal importance, why you did NOT start. Go back to basics and be honest with yourself. What is it you actually want and why?

4. Finally, Beware of diet plans that are too restrictive or eliminate a particular food group.
When I was in college, it was the old spinach and grapefruit diet. Both spinach and grapefruit are very good for you, but the spinach and grapefruit diet only consisted of those two foods, and you were supposed to lose 20 pounds in 30 days, or something like that. Again, not a sustainable way to nourish your body. We also know that all diets work, and that NO diets work, and that's the truth.

I have criticized diets and food plans a lot just now, but I would like to qualify my comments with a little realism. I once said that I have been on virtually every diet known to woman, and that is true. I have really liked some of them, too. In fact, I have kept several books, and still buy some frozen dinners and shakes. No, this is not true confessions, but simple honesty. I go on phase two of the South Beach Diet for two weeks once in a while and lose between five and six pounds. I get tired of the same food, so I don't stay on it for long. I also buy some Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers frozen dinners occasionally and have them with a salad when I feel like doing something easy. Here is another admission: I buy health food shakes and use them as the base for smoothies. Finally, I eat bars once in a while too. I really like Fiber One bars. All of those things fit my life style and make things easy for me. Think about what makes life easy for you, and you will have a plan that works!  Mmm, now that's really good!

"Uh, What's Up, Doc?"
            -Bugs Bunny

Yes, veggie people it is time for some new and different carrot recipes. Carrots are so yummy and crunchy that Bugs Bunny is seen eating them all of the time, and so should you. Just imagine how fast we could run, and how silky our gray fur would be and how easily we could outsmart Elmer Fudd. Oh, wait a minute.I guess we don't want to do any of those things. So, why should we eat carrots?

Carrots are very high in fiber and contain many trace vitamins and minerals not found in other vegetables. Your mom used to tell you that they were good for your eyesight, and she was right. So, knowing that, be sure to eat your carrots. Tired of plain carrots? Try these two recipes, and I promise your family and your guests will love you for it. Both are tried and true, as they are from an Amish cookbook that has been around for ages. I have changed some ingredients and given them the LITE touch.

Veggie cooking is usually easy and so very healthy. Most veggie recipes are also low in calories and high in plant fiber, so therefore are very filling.

Creamed Carrots

4 cups Carrots, sliced like coins about Ω inch thick
3 Tbsp Margarine
1 Green onion, chopped (white and green parts)
3 Tbsp Whole-wheat flour
1Ω cup Fat-free milk (skim)
1 cup Reduced-fat cheese, grated (don't use low fat cheese less than 2%)

Cook the carrots until just off al dente and place them in a casserole dish, sprayed with Pam Butter Flavor. Melt the margarine in a frying pan and cook onion until tender. Mix the flour and milk together in a jar and shake or stir until it is smooth and the lumps are gone. Stir the flour mixture into pan with butter and onion. Add cheese and stir until just melted. Pour sauce over carrots, and bake at 350∞ for 30 minutes. This makes 8 small servings as a side dish, and you can do the same thing with green beans or broccoli.

Baked Carrots With Apples
This is so easy and delicious!

4 cups Carrots, cooked
3 cups Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/3 cup Honey
2 Tbsp Margarine or butter

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into a casserole dish, sprayed with Pam Butter Flavor. Cover and bake for 60 minutes at 350∞. You may want to stir once during the process. For added flavor, add raisins or Craisens to your liking. This is a great side dish!

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