Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday April 21, 2012
I once heard that the average woman at age 35 is at least 25 pounds over her ideal weight. I know when I first heard this I was probably almost 200 pounds over MY ideal weight for my height and age. Then I wished I only had to worry about 25 pounds. When you are watching the numbers on the scale climb up you stop caring about the last 25 you need to lose. It’s hard enough to focus on the first 25.
Fast forward to today and this number is now haunting me. From a series of bad choices, a busy schedule, health speed bumps and a slew of excuses, I am now dealing with being 35 and at least 25 pounds overweight. Truth be told, according to my doctor, I am roughly 75 pounds overweight. I am not comparing myself to Twiggy here. Just factoring in my BMI, height and age to get this number.
I worked SO hard to lose over 160 pounds in the last 4 years and have now backslid back into a XXL wearing, muffin top sporting, heavy breathing mess. Yes, I mean this. I wake up before the chickens to work, I go to my real job all day, I come home to be with my family then I work when they are in bed. Somehow along the way I have lost my ‘allotted time’ to exercise. That is my problem. Not my eating per se.
So over spring break I happened to catch the beginning of a Dr. Oz show. I am not the biggest fan of his show, but when I heard him open the episode with a promise to share a hidden secret on how to lose weight I was hooked.
He had a panel of women representing different body types and he gave them a healthy meal plan/vitamin combo that these women would try for one week. It was not earth shattering, the meal plans he shared and honestly, it was very doable. He suggested substituting one meal a day with one of his chosen dishes along with a vitamin supplement that would help with each individual trouble zone. The thought was that you have this meal every day for 5 days, do 30 minutes of exercise and make your other meals count and you will start to see the beginning of progress.
He gave several examples of what to eat if you struggle with a belly bulge, have flabby arms and upper body or if you have a hard time losing weight in your legs and thighs. He suggested that if you tend to hold fat in your rear that you focus on a low-fat, high protein and complex carbohydrate rich diet and drink Red Clover tea. For those with extra upper body weight his recommendation was that you have a dinner salad that has spinach, corn, black beans, avocado, salsa and sour cream. I was surprised that he suggested that a diet rich in dairy would help with the problem of upper body flab but that’s what he said. This combined with 500 milligrams of L-Carnitine a day for 5 days was said to be just what you need to see a difference.
Sometimes just tipping the scales a bit is all you need to get excited. Excitement leads to motivation and motivation leads to moving more and having a healthier lifestyle. I could go on and on about all that I learned in this 1 hour show but I will spare you that. The bottom line is that knowing what you should eat and what you should avoid is not rocket science. Let your gut be your guide. If you feel bad after you eat it, then don’t eat it again. If you feel sluggish and lethargic every afternoon then get up, stretch and move around.
I know as well as anyone, that it is a struggle to combat weight gain, lose those unhealthy pounds and keep them off. Even worse is watching the number go back up and knowing that you are doing it to yourself. I have no food allergies or sensitivities and I will eat almost anything. I know my way around the kitchen and I know what is fuel for my body and what is best left on the grocery store shelf. But not everyone has educated themselves on how to eat. Whether by life’s circumstances or by choice, ultimately we decide what we put in our bodies.
So by the end of this segment of his show he got around to a body type that is best described as ‘heavy all over’, otherwise known as my body type. I listened with rapt attention to what he had to say like I was listening to a Sunday sermon in church. I was hoping for a secret, a path not yet taken. Something that I had never heard of. Knowing I had tried everything and very little , other than plain old hard work, was effective. His nutritionist unveiled a large bottle of a Raspberry Keytone supplement. This is also known as Red Keytone. This product has recently exploded onto the weight -loss market and is touted to help enhance your metabolism and help you shed weight at the same time. I did a bit of research to find out that is has no side effects and 100 milligrams of Raspberry Keytone taken at breakfast time helps your body to break up fats stored in your cells.
This is available online for roughly $12.00 but me, being the impatient person that I am, ran right out and bought it. I also paid 3 times that price. Insert smack to the forehead here.
I am not one that believes in a cure-all pill. I do believe that with a smart, common sense diet, exercise, plenty of water and more sleep I can get my weight back to the healthy number that it needs to be. This is not about vanity, this is about making healthy choices and leading by example. I want my kids to see how hard I am working to make this happen and what I have done to myself. If I have to take a bit of raspberry essence to help that happen then so be it.
I am often asked what I eat when I want to prepare a fast, healthy and budget friendly meal that my kids will still eat. I do not want to make myself a separate meal so I try my best to make something that hits all of my dietary needs. Whole grains, lean mean, low in fats and high in vegetables. The meal that I am sharing today covers all of those bases. I used a selection of our favorite roasted vegetables along with whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente. Toss that with some olive oil, lemon juice, cubed chicken, a bit of feta and some chopped fresh herbs like basil to finish it off and you have a meal your whole family will eat. Best of all they don’t know how good it is for them.
I wish I had a secret to share like good old Dr. Mehmet Oz, but I don’t. My motto is – keep moving forward. In life, in the workplace, in your personal life, every day. Make some mistakes, pick up the pieces and learn from the experience.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Veggies
1 pound of whole wheat penne, cooked al dente
8-10 ounces of a lean cooked meat or fish. I used cubed cooked chicken breast
juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C of olive oil for pasta and another 1/4 to toss with veggies
1 TB of dried oregano
4-6 large basil leaves, torn
a sprinkling of Feta cheese, shaved Parmesan or Manchego
a variety of veggies to roast that are cut into bite sized pieces: I used1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 medium red onion, 1 pound of asparagus, 1 orange pepper, 1 yellow pepper (use what you want here)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl add your veggies, 1/4 C olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Toss to combine. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until desired done-ness. Remove from oven and set aside. In the same large bowl add the cooked pasta, the roasted veggies, the diced lean meat, the torn basil leaves juice of the lemon and the additional olive oil. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with the feta. Serve warm or at room temperature. This makes a great lunch the next day served on a bed of spinach as well.