Oh, Halloween candy.
The sight of it used to make my heart leap with joy. Now, it fills me with dread.
I've been off refined sugar for so long now that I really don't want or like many treats sweetened with real sugar (trust me, I've taste-tested a few things. they taste weird now!). Still, it's hard to resist aisles and aisles of candy... especially when it seems like EVERYBODY else you know is digging in without a thought in the world. And here I am, being good, constantly shaking my head and saying, "No."
I just saw a blog post on a fitness blog I read, Undressed Skeleton, and she had these tips for eating Halloween candy. I think they sound pretty reasonable, so I thought I'd reblog them here.
See? Pretty reasonable.
If you click on the bolded title of the blog up there, you'll also see a list of popular Halloween candies and their calories. Makes you think!
One question I've been asked many times in the last three months is: "Don't you get tired of salads?"
Well, yeah. If you do something the same way, all the time, yeah, you'll get tired of it.
So, I had to think differently about salads.
First off, I changed my dressings. Typically I'm a thousand island, Italian or balsamic vinagrette kind of girl, but lately I've been trying all kinds that I'd never tried before. I'm really digging raspberry vinagrette these days – who knew? I just make sure to choose light, fat free or sugar free dressings. Alternatively, you can also use some kind of juice, like lemon, to freshen up the taste of your salad.
Secondly, I tried something that I learned from another weight loss blog (and I can't remember the name of it now, unfortunately – if I do I'll post a link).
Basically this person pre-made their salads for the week in one night in a huge plastic tub. That way, they don't have to take the time of making a salad from scratch – chopping the greens and other veggies that go into it – every day for lunch. The salad is premade so they can just grab a serving out of it and go.
I tried this last night, and the picture you see is the salad I made and I'll have it each day for lunch this week (along with some soup). I know I could've made it more colorful, but I went with what I was hungry for. I used a bag of premade salad lettuce and carrots (I'm not supposed to eat many carrots, so I didn't add in extra), and then I added in all kinds of veggie goodies I love, like mushrooms, bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. I really wish I'd put in some tomatoes and maybe celery. I have some grilled chicken that I'm going to add in – later – for protein.
You can add anything to this that you like – onions, strawberries or other fruits, nuts, raisins, etc. Even if you think you won't like something on a salad, give it a try. You never know.
I'm totally OK with the idea of going very easy on the lettuce and going heavy on the goodies, like mushrooms and tomatoes and peppers and such.
Don't add in the dressing until you're ready to eat, otherwise your veggies will be soggy.
The blogger said her huge premade salad kept for five days. I'm only on day one, so we'll see.
What do you do to spice up your salads?
So, I'm just over 25 pounds, counting down ever so slowly to a full 30. I can't wait til I get there, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure I ever thought I'd say the words, "I've lost 30 pounds." Pretty cool.
I thought I'd pass along a tip that has helped me immensely at the gym.
I usually work out at least 15-30 minutes on some kind of machine – usually elliptical and treadmill, maybe a bike – before running/walking on the track or working on the circuit machines.
I am not the biggest fan of treadmills, ellipticals, etc. I'm not really sure why. Some days, my workouts on them seem so easy and energetic, and other days it seems like a fight just to get going. I guess it's that inconsistent feeling that brings me down.
Anyway. I strive for at least 15 minutes, and sometimes those minutes drag by oh-so-slowly. My solution to that slow-moving clock? I cover up the time on the machine, with my iPod, a magazine, something, anything, so I'm not constantly looking at it to see how much longer I have to go.
That way, I'm not torturing myself. I just try to get lost in whatever I'm listening to, like music or a podcast, and just work out.
Do you have any tips for working out on machines like treadmills and ellipticals?
In my weight loss journey, I’ve done a lot of talking with our food editor, Ginna Parsons.
She’s lost plenty of weight and has given me lots of tips.
I thought I’d pass on the three that have really hit home with me.
The First – Freeze your grapes.
I know, this isn’t revolutionary. But I told Ginna, I was eating too many grapes, a fruit that is super high in sugar. I love grapes, but I noticed even more than that, I loved the motion of eating grapes (YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT – it’s like eating chips, where your hand goes from bag to mouth, mouth to bag, over and over. That repetitive motion is addicting!).
Ginna suggested I freeze the grapes, that way they’ll take longer to eat and I won’t eat as many of them at a setting.
This obviously doesn’t work for every food, but think about how you can change up your foods so that they’re more difficult to eat.
For example – I’ve been craving snickerdoodle or molasses cookies (I’ll go into this more in a minute), but I just say to myself, if I’m going to have a cookie I’ll bake my own and make them sugarless. Trust me, I can be lazy when I want to be, and a lot of times knowing I’ll have to go through the trouble of baking sugarless cookies from scratch is enough to stop me from craving them. Ginna also suggested hiding your food, if possible. Wrap it up in several different bags or boxes, hide it on a top shelf or put it in your trunk (if it's the kind of food that can be stored that way) – that way, you won't feel compelled to go through all that trouble of getting it back out to eat it.
The Second – If you want a food you know is bad for you, go have one serving of it at a restaurant.
Don’t take it home with you, where you can go back to it again and again.
She suggested this to me when I told her about a food I’d been craving.
I’ve been refined sugarless for the last two months, but I told Ginna, I’ve been craving the last bit of sweet food that was really delicious: a molasses cookie from The Bakery in Tupelo (I’m sorry if I just made you crave those, but really, they are super-duper yummy). She told me, go ahead, go have one – just don’t take a half dozen home with you (something I would have done if I were not trying to lose weight).
That way, I’m nipping my craving in the bud, and I won’t have a box of cookies at home to tempt me.
I actually haven’t done this yet. It’s weird – I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, and I always thought I “had” to have something sweet at least once a day. Now, after going off of refined sugar, I don’t really crave sweets that often. If I do, I have a piece of fruit or maybe a piece of sugarfree candy.
The third, which is sort of related to the second – You only TRULY enjoy the first three bites of anything you eat. After those first three bites, you’re only eating it because it’s there (mindless eating).
Now, I’ve been bad – I had some fried rice, and I have to say, I TRULY ENJOYED EVERY SINGLE BITE OF THAT. Sorry for the all caps, but seriously, that was some good fried rice. But!! I have had this happen to me, where I think I’m enjoying something, but really I’m not, and I’ll realize it if I stop to think. We do that a lot, you know – eating without really thinking about how good or bad something tastes.
We just eat it because it’s there.
Unless, you know, it’s fried rice, or whatever dish is your kryptonite.