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Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr. McDougall Right Foods--Are they Right For Your Diet?

Because I'm restarting my eating plan, I've spent a mini-fortune in food--both at the supermarket and ordering stuff online for the cupboard/pantry. I tend to shop from Amazon and Netrition.

This past week, I've ordered lower sodium Amy's soups, Just Tomatoes brand dried items (cherries, strawberries, mixed veggies, apples) that I add to oatmeal and soups and just snack on, and pecans from amazon.com. From Netrition, I ordered my fave higher fiber/lower carb pasta--DREAMFIELDS linguine, lasagna noodles, penne, and elbow-- as well as lower carb/higher fiber tortillas and pita breads, GG crispbread, and unsweetened Almond Breeze in vanilla and chocolate.

Today, I placed an order with Glaser Organic Farms (a local operation, way south of me in Miami-Dade country). This is organic stuff, lots of raw stuff, too, including raw hummus, their own extra virgin olive oil, peanut and almond butters, lima beans/split peas/lima beans for soups, fresh coconut water, light agave nectar, and spinach-basil pesto.

One of the lines of foods that I try to keep in my "dieter's pantry" is Dr. McDougall's Right Foods. I order them from Amazon.com in bulk. I'm gonna post some about it after seeing this blog entry today over at Slim Shopping. Jennifer got a nice batch of soups from Dr. McD.

Man, wish they'd send me free food. :) Especially the maple oatmeal (which I haven't tried) and some of the other soups.

Anyway....These are vegan foods, mostly soups and cereal items. I've tried the following:

Peach Raspberry Oatmeal with Barley
Instant Apple Cinnamon oatmeal
Spring Onion soup
Miso Ramen soup
Split Pea soup (both the regular and lower sodium)
Tomato Basil with Pasta soup.
Pad Thai Noodle

(I have some Chicken Pilaf in the pantry, but haven't tried that one yet.)

The lowdown: These tend to be nicely conservative in calories and have a healthful array of ingredients. You usually just add water and steep. Convenient, low-cal, healthful. Yep, that's why it's in my pantry for when I'm on plan.

Tastewise: The split pea in a cup is the best instant of this type of soup that I've had. I've ordered the case twice. The Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal is better than the Quaker and McCann's versions of the same flavor. Way, waaaay better. Tastes fresh and apple-y. The Spring Onion soup is quite pleasant, with Thai-rice style noodles that are fun to slurp. The Miso Ramen has a nice miso broth but the noodles suck. I guess ramen does better when it's got fat. I ignore the noddles, use the packet for broth, and add tofu and scallions and mushrooms. (And yes, there are instant miso soups out there, but I have a severe seafood allergy and can't risk the bonito flakes, etc. So this vegan miso is safe for me to consume, even if I ditch the noodles.) The Tomato BAsil with pasta is fine, but it needs a lot of steeping/cooking and maybe additional microwaving. If you follow the instructions, it has a really hard/crunchy texture. Gotta cook it way longer, unlike the other soups.

The one big, huge fail (other than the ramen noodles in the Miso Ramen) was the Pad Thai Noodle soup. Didn't taste one darn thing like Pad Thai (one of my favest of foods). Bland. Lots of rice noodles, though, so for some, it's probably okay.

All in all, I've been pleased with the ones I've tried from Dr. McD. If you want to see more reviews or nutritional info, visit their site or amazon. They make way more products than I've listed/tried.

Breaking Bad Habits: Which Stage of "Behavioral Change" Are You In?

I came across an article just now called "Unhealthy Habits Often Hard to Break," and here's a portion I'd like to quote:

To ensure good health, some experts say, we need to learn the science of behavior change -- that the body part people most need to contend with is not their beer bellies or love handles, but their brains.

Dr. James Prochaska, director of the cancer prevention research center at University of Rhode Island and co-author of the book "Changing for Good," said most behavioral changes, such as losing weight and stopping smoking, involve six stages.

A person who denies or fails to recognize the problem is in a stage he calls pre-contemplation. After that comes contemplation (acknowledging the problem without being ready to change it), preparation (getting ready to change), action (changing behavior) and maintenance (not falling off the wagon). The final stage is termination, meaning the behavior has been tamed and no longer poses a threat.

When people skip straight to action, they are likely to return to their bad habits before long, Prochaska said. Instead, they should think in terms of advancing from one stage to the next.

"Behavior change equals progress, not immediate action," he said.

So, the stages:

1. pre-contemplation (resisting change)
2. contemplation (change is on the horizon)
3. preparation (getting ready)
4. action (time to move)
5. maintenance (staying there)

Well, I've gone through all the first four all and creating this blog was part of it, too. Yes, I was fully in "action," then that pretty much stopped. I ended back in contemplation/preparation toggling. From the little bit of preview I read of Dr. Prochaska's book online, the contemplation includes the emotional arousal (ie, the inertia starts to crack, I guess). The preparation continues the self-evaluation of "contemplation" and then moves to commitment. Yeah, makes sense.

Hence, a few days ago, I switched from contemplation--feeling again the need to change with regard to my dieting/health efforts, probably ignited by the bit of regain during the illness and reading some of the fatfighter blogs again-- to preparation. When I felt better from the flu, I printed a shopping list with healthful stuff for my hubby to buy me, and then I scheduled exercise training for next week. And I began actively blogging again. (I also am in preparation mode for another important thing in my life I want to change, but that is not health-related, so I won't go into it here.)

I have been in a half-hearted action mode for three days now, er, semi-action? By semi-action I mean that I've taken action--am conscious of food choice, am making better choices, am preparing meals instead of gobbling fatty take-out, am ordering diet products online--but it's not at the level that I need to be (action-wise) to see strong progress.

But ya know, it is something, and I shouldn't denigrate it. Bad habit that, too. Affirmation, throw me an affirmation! :)

But I am in action. Yes, that's good. Action includes "environmental control", and just buying good food and preparing sane meals (or even planning to buy sane meals, as opposed to crazy-ass meals) is part of that control. Throwing out junk food is environmental control. Setting up a journaling time, bringing out the scale, all that is environmental control. So, yeah, here I am. Action stage.

I've never been in a "goal achieved" maintenance. Ever. I've been in maintenance of sorts to keep 25+ pounds off. That hasn't been as easy as one would think, and maybe part of me has always been in a sort of maintenance (ie, maintaining this 272-276 weight range and not the 296-300 weight range).

Man, must be nice to be at goal and on "automatic" to keep it off. But that's nowhere near where I'm at.

Anyway, I know myself at this point. For me, falling back into contemplation is really, really easy. It's the "mojo gone" stage for me. It's the, "I really am behaving badly, and I need to do something", but I don't do anything stage.

How do I stay in "action" mode and move into "better action" in order to make the future I envision happen, one day, one day far ahead, way ahead, the place where I'm into "maintenance"?

Geez. Wish I knew.

I'm just glad to be past the threshold and into "action" for now. I've been contemplative way too long.

So, which stage are you in? Is it where you need to be now? Are you stuck or toggling?

I do wish to give a shout out to some bloggers whose persistence in weight loss/fitness gain/blogging have helped me move from contemplation to preparation to action this time around:

Katschi of *Fitcetera*, a gorgeous blond who's lost 70 lbs so far and posts pics of her meals (which I just love seeing, weirdo that I may be).

Lyn of Escape from Obesity who is so insightful of her own weaknesses and strengths and refuses to give up, no matter the blips or regain. Her persistence and unflinching introspection about the roots of her overeating/bingeing have, I suspect, helped many of us look deeper at our own internal landscape. Her courage and honesty are beautiful.

Heather at Setting Her Free, who is maintaining and I do not doubt will always maintain due to her gumption and focus. She lets me see that the struggle goes on, but it can be done. Plus her beautiful, smiling face just makes ya feel good. :)

Thanks, ladies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finally easing out of the nasty flu, and beginning to get mojo back...sorta

I've been sick for 3 weeks and one day. This swine flu is fiendish. But I can sleep nearly normally now and the lung goop and coughing is minimal. My energy level is pretty low--I had trouble reading the paper earlier in the week, cause keeping my arms up was exhausting. Amazing, huh?

Anyway, I may be able to return to my Pilates next Wednesday (have an appt). I've gone without for three weeks, and I can fear reverting to mush. :P I had missed some appts in Sept due to asthma. So, this season has been rough on me, my respiratory system, and my exercise regimen.

Eating a lot of restaurant takeaway crap for almost 3 weeks means I gained weight (yeah, others lose when they're sick, I gain. Comfort food a la Princess is really fatty.) I got up to 276.8 (maybe higher, but that was when I remembered to weigh in). Today I was at 273.6. So, a few days of eating fruits and veggies and lean protein again helped oodles.

I have been in the low seventies for ages, so I feel stuck. But with a glimmer of returning mojo, I hope to make progress.

To that end, I revamped my Diet Blog Royalty list. Blogs that were moribund or just no longer inspirational got removed. New blogs--quite a few--have been added. Scroll down on the left sidebar and see what's new.

I hope y'all do not get this flu. Sucks hard. Granted, I have chronic conditions (respiratory and immune) that means I am at higher risk and recover more slowly, but still, I had the luxury of being prepared (my doc made sure I had my Rx's just in case), a hubby who took days off during the worst of it to make sure I didn't asphyxiate on my own lung goo, and who made sure I had plenty of food and juice and water, and who regularly swapped out my puke/spit bags. I could wholly concentrate on recovering and didn't have to freak too much about several sleepless days in a row cause I simply would not stop coughing/spitting up/struggling to breathe. So, I thank God for provisions, a great hubby with a flexible schedule in these rough times, and for being past the worst.

Be well and lose weight and get fit. I want that for me and for all of you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Music to Move Your Body To: Kaskade - Step One Two (Official Music Video)

I've been felled by the swine flu. I'm on my 12th day of feeling like poopoo-caca, complete with a tsunami of phegm, a torrent of snot, a cacophony of face-purpling coughing, moments of chills, spasms of headaches, and long sleepless stretches. I assume I'll gain some, rather than lose, as I've been guzzling juice and soups like there's no reckoning. And pudding. And tiramisu and mashed potatoes, which seem to be comfort foods this time around.

Since I haven't been able to do Pilates for two weeks, and after 1 week of just sitting on my butt (sleeping sitting up, too), my legs started to swell from lack of proper circulation. So, I put on Kaskade, get in the shower to get some steam in my lungs, and just move a bit (bend over, twist around, dance as best as I can around coughing/spitting fits).The shower is a good place if you have to constantly spit up while dancing. :) And if I get dizzy, I can lean on the tiled walls.

This is all the exercise I can manage right now, and it's mostly just to keep blood flowing and not pooling in my lower extremities.

But if you like to dance for your workout, I highly recommend Strobelite Seduction by Kaskade. Fabulous chill dance/electronica, with some lovely female voices (like Haley Gibby who sings on my faves, such as Step One Two , the above video). The whole record has great "move to it" tunes that aren't so loud or jarring as to make you run for Vivaldi. :)

Hope you all avoid this bug. It's AWFUL.