Sunday, January 14, 2007
a few of my favorite things
I liked reading Anne's post about things she uses, finds helpful, or just generally likes. I thought I'd add my own recommendations to the list, focusing on a few little things that are adding some enjoyment to my weight-loss efforts.
Green Tea: Lost in all the uproar about new (ridiculously expensive) diet drinks claiming "negative calorie" effects because of green tea extract in the products is the fact that any benefits from the $1.99 per bottle soft drinks are from a substance that is cheap and easily available already in supermarkets. The real stuff also has the benefit of being calming, because unlike a soft drink that you can down in a couple of gulps, a cup of tea requires sitting with it for a while and sipping. A cup of tea is nice in the evening when you feel like you want something but you're not really hungry, and if it helps you burn a few extra calories, that's a nice bonus. I also keep a box in my desk at work and have a cup or two during the day.
Coffee Enhancers: Some studies have shown that cinnamon is helpful for treating insulin resistance in people with Type 2 diabetes, and since insulin resistance is often a factor in weight gain, I figure that including a little cinnamon in my own diet can't hurt, especially since I love it. I usually put a dash of it in my coffee, along with Silk soymilk creamer, which has the same richness of half and half in my coffee but has only 15 calories for a tablespoon. I try to buy Fair Trade Certified coffee. I know some people think it's too expensive, but I figure I'm still saving by making coffee at home instead of paying $3 per cup for Starbucks (and I don't think any of their coffees are Fair Trade).
Coconut Body Butter: I love this delicious lotion from The Body Shop. The coconut scent reminds me of the Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil that my mom would slather on for days at the pool. This time of year, I need any reminder of summer I can get, and it's nice to go around smelling wonderful all day. It is really good for itchy dry winter skin too.
I also like the shower cream and scrub with the same scent.
Kitchen Helpers: Healthy cooking is a lot easier with a few little tools like a MicroPlane grater for adding just a little Romano cheese to my pasta or an oil spritzer for greasing a pan without a lot of calories. I got a lot of these ideas from Kathleen Daelemans's cookbooks and website, along with great recipes and other tips.
Popcorn: I started the popcorn habit early on in my weight-loss efforts, when the nutritionist I visited suggested that since I liked volume snacks, I should try substituting lowfat microwave popcorn for my usual nighttime snacks. Knowing that I could have a big bowl of popcorn usually made it easier to pass up other snacks. I have switched from the microwave kind to popping my own corn in my air popper, which I spritz with oil and sprinkle with either fine popcorn salt or Kernel Seasons White Cheddar, which is becoming my drug of choice.
As I hinted in a recent post, I've had a bit of a rough time with the food this week, especially in the last couple of days. The thing for me to remember, and maybe for others too, is that a bad week when I'm watching it is better than a good week when I am not. Most weight-loss experts agree that keeping a food diary helps people make better choices, and I have found that to be true for me. On the days that I don't at least write down what I ate, I get an "anything-goes" mentality and then conveniently forget later how much I really ate. I don't think that keeping track of things in my head works in the same way. It's just too easy to lose track or underestimate things. There is something about the act of writing things down that forces me to be more conscious. In fact, the days this week when I have had the most trouble have also been the days where I waited until the end of the day (or the next day) to actually write down my food.
When I "started over" with the new Weight Watchers materials, I started seriously journaling again with the new three-month journal, really being honest about what I ate. I immediately started having good losses. Last week and this, I fell off my journaling a bit and I have been a lot less successful. So my number-one priority for next week is to journal, journal, journal.
I'll let you know how the weigh-in goes tomorrow. I am not expecting much, but of course I'm hoping that I get lucky and lose more than I deserve. In the meantime, please feel free to share your own favorite finds for weight loss. I could always use a good tip!
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07