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Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

50 Easy Ways To Lose Weight

I recently came across a Readers Digest article on 50 Easy Ways To Lose Weight. (Actually, they gave us almost sixty.) Some are a little out there, some a little mundane, but a few were really interesting. Here are some of my favorites.

4. Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week. Write down every single morsel that enters your lips — even water. (Ed- I actually plan on doing this soon.)

12. Downsize your dinner plates. Studies find that the less food put in front of you, the less food you’ll eat.

17. Eat one less cookie a day.

22. Pare your portions. Whether you eat at home or in a restaurant, immediately remove one-third of the food on your plate. (Ed- This is to counter-act the trend towards larger servings. For fast food, step down a size.)

26. Eat only when you hear your stomach growling.

35. Wash something thoroughly once a week — a 150-pound person who dons rubber gloves and exerts some elbow grease will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning, says Blake.

52. Serve individual courses rather than piling everything on one plate. Make the first two courses soup or vegetables (such as a green salad). By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full.

What other easy ways do you have to help lose the weight?

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Well, today marks my first day freed from my secular lent obligation to not eat fried food. (Technically, yesterday was, according to my official sources.) I feel good. Surprisingly, I’m not rushing out to buy a big plate of French fries.

My mom used to tell me that it takes three weeks to get into a new habit. I’ve been telling myself not to even consider fried food for about six and a half weeks, so I suppose the habit is pretty well established now. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that my list of food options has been reordered. Places I had never tried are now up near the top of my list.

Do I miss fried food? Yes, but not as much as I expected to. The first week or two was really hard. I wanted a nice plate of fries so badly, especially if someone else had them. However, after a certain point of ignoring a craving, it goes away. Or perhaps I was just learning to meet the craving in other ways (mashed potatoes, etc.). Either way, I’m not counting down the minutes till I can munch on fries again, but rather am wondering how much I want to go back to eating fried food.

I think I will, but more responsibly. Fried food, and fast food especially, wont be a go-to option. I want to limit my fry eating to places with really good fries, because eating nutritionally deficient fast food fries seems like a waste. As for other fried food, it will become reincorporated, but cautiously. I’ve felt a little better without it.

That said, I will be happy to leave behind the constant worry that I would eat something wrong. It makes me really appreciate the devotion of people who adhere to food regulations for religious or personal reasons. I can’t maintain that level of worry over food for very long.

With that project behind me, it’s time to start my next one. I’ve briefly mentioned the idea before, but here’s the plan:

From March 24th to May 8th (40 days by the Catholic method of counting, which does not count Sabbaths), I will abstain from lying and gossiping.

It sounds daunting. Luckily, I have some friends joining me. My parents and roommate, for sure. Possibly some others. If you’d like to join as well, I encourage it! It wont be easy, and probably we will all slip up some times. Come tell us about it! And I’ll do the same. Those are learning experiences.

I’m officially on the clock as Mr. Honesty. So far, a few hours in, I have to say… it doesn’t feel all that different. I expect that will change though.

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Secular Lent

It’s come as a surprise to my friends, who know that I am not a practicing anything, to hear that this year I planned on participating in Lent. It’s not so much that I feel any religious obligation to, but that I believe in the value of abstaining from time to time.

Last fall, I had to abandon technology for a week for my aesthetics class. You can read about that experience here and here. Initially, I expected it to just be a hassle. It turned out to be an enlightening experience. (Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten a lot of the lessons I learned. But more on that another time)

I suppose that’s why I am attracted to traditional fasting/abstinence periods (which are almost always religious). Most aspects of our life are so persistent that we stop noticing their presence: the computer, the TV, even basic human activities like eating. These become such a normal part of life that we never think about how we interact with them and, more importantly, if we could interact with them in a more meaningful and productive way.

This is not a good way to make yourself happy.

So this year, I’m participating in Lent. For anyone who doesn’t know, Lent is a period of forty days in the Christian calendar that ends on Easter during which there are special services, people make an extra effort to be pious, and traditionally everyone abstains from one of their vices (although I was recently informed that has not been considered mandatory for over forty years). Not actually being Christian, I almost missed Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent (oops). I feel a bit like I aught to go to at least the Easter services which mark the end of Lent, even though my participation isn’t religious, but we’ll see. I’m focusing on the (now non-required) abstaining from a vice.

I hope that by participating I’ll be able to learn something about what it takes to make me happy. During my techno-fast for class, I found that I was actually happier without a lot of the technology in my everyday life. I’m not suggesting that you need to participate in religious rites to get this sort of insight – abstaining from anything for any period of time you want can be educational. However, if a framework like a religious service works for you, go for it. It doesn’t have to be from your faith, or even a faith you’re especially familiar with. The important thing is to take stock of the way you live by going without.

Which leaves the question, what am I going without?

Fried food.

Which is a little cliché, I suppose, and may sound like more of a diet then a religious practice. However, I know that it’s bad for me and yet I take part in it all the time. I’ve tried to stop before, and managed to cut back, but I still eat more then I should. So now, I will eat none at all.

Am I learning anything? You bet. For example, we fry a lot of our food. My eating options on campus have been dropping like flies. Fast food was out, of course, but I realized that Chinese (often being deep- or wok-fried) is out, as is a lot of traditional, pan-fried American cooking. However, I’m trying a lot of places I wouldn’t have otherwise. Many of those sell sandwiches, which also means I am getting more grains in addition to overall better food. Also, it’s giving me the opportunity to think about what I eat a lot more. Everyone knows fried food is bad for you, but what about it makes it bad? And does that mean only deep fried food is bad, or is the pan friend (or wok fried) food bad too? Or is it greasy food that’s bad (making some fried things okay, but not other foods like delivery pizza)?

I don’t have many answers to these questions yet, but I am pretty sure I will emerge from the other side of these forty days with a better diet and more self awareness about what I eat. Will I be better for it? I think I already am.

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Today is the second of a four part series intended to get things rolling here. Enjoy!

It’s hard to be happy when your sick. Even if you aren’t sick, being out of shape, overweight, malnourished, tired, etc. doesn’t tend to encourage happiness.

So we have a good idea of what we don’t want, which is good. However, people aren’t much more certain about what they do want. How fit? Strength or endurance? How much exercise is good, and how much is an inconvenience? What diet will work? What does it mean for a diet to work? These are all extremely complicated questions, and most have no set answer. They’re personal decisions, so I’ll just give you ideas.

Try them if they sound good. You might like them, you might not. I’ll probably be doing the same.

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