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Clean Eating January 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — dragonfly180 @ 7:48 am
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Someone asked on my Facebook page Love the Fit Life, “What types of foods should I focus on for losing weight? Is it only about calories?” You *can* eat 1400 calories worth of Milky Way bars and Cheetos each day and possibly lose a lb or two, but your body would be lacking serious nutrients, and your body would most certainly hold onto the trans fat you’re packing in. So yes, the food does matter.

There are umpteen dozen “diets” out there – low carb, the zone, raw food, south beach, paleo, weight watchers, medfast, Sonoma, perricone, 5 factor, atkins, dukan, glycemic index, rice diet, heck there’s even a cookie diet! Those diets may in the short term produce results, but they won’t keep you healthy for the long term. And of course, we know about all the weight loss pills and drinks and what happens when people finally get off them and still don’t know how to eat! What I’ve seen over the past several years that is the ONLY sustainable “diet” (one that is healthy to live with long-term and provides the necessary nutrients to do so!) that consistently produces results is what is called clean eating. Tosca Reno has a few books on the subject, and there is a ton of info out there. Just search clean eating and read some of the info. It basically emphasizes what most of us already know- eat whole, unprocessed foods (whole grains, lean meats, fruits, veggies), 1200-1800 calories per day depending on what your body needs, 4-6 smaller meals, and get regular exercise. The fewer the ingredients on the package, the better! The goal is no more than 3-6 ingredients on the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce what’s in it, you probably don’t need it. Nix the sugar and saturated and trans fats as much as possible. Here is a great resource of different articles about eating clean: Clean Eating 101

While eating clean can be somewhat restrictive (Waaaah, I don‘t wanna do it! No fun!), it’s just sound nutritional advice. I am all about the sugar, but let’s be honest – I KNOW it’s bad for me. Will I never eat it again? Ha! We are all human and want some processed food occasionally. Even Tosca Reno promotes having a “cheat meal” each week, which I would call dessert! :o) Do I need dessert daily? Absolutely not.

Even if you don’t go wholeheartedly into the eat clean lifestyle, your weight loss efforts will definitely benefit from replacing even *some * of the processed foods you eat with clean eating. Just gotta make Hamburger Helper in all its trans fatty goodness for supper? Ok, have a small portion and add bigger portions of carrots and green beans to your plate. No one said eating healthier had to be the “all or nothing” approach, especially if your goals don’t include being a fitness model in the near future.

What’s that? You don’t like your veggies? Stop being a 5 year old, try them out for a while, and I promise that they will begin to taste better once you get away from all the over-processed, chemically treated junk you’ve been eating. Or change nothing and whine at the mirror every time a shelf of fat hangs over your jeans, your upper arms begin to look more like thighs, and your jowls begin to sag. Sit on the couch feeling sluggish and depressed Cry and lament every picture taken of you and posted and tagged on Facebook. Or better yet, just hide from every camera for the next decade until you have finally had enough of “living it up” on McDonald’s and Nabisco until there’s a whole chunk of your life missing from your kids’ photo albums.

Well, I wish you wouldn’t, but what can I do but put the info out there! I know I‘m being kind of abrasive here, but wake up and take control of things, you awesome person, you! Nobody can change you but you alone. Keep the words of the old Nina Simone song in mind, “It’s a new dawn, it’s new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good.”


Healthy Lifestyle July 28, 2009

Filed under: fitness,food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 2:49 pm
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Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity for the third year in a row. Not only that, but two-thirds (that’s nearly 70%!!!) of Mississippians are overweight or obese. Wow! Here’s a link to read more about that.


Want to know if you are obese or overweight? Check out your BMI here:


Considering we are the poorest state, it’s not a surprise that we have the highest rate of obesity. Cheap food is usually not very nutritious. Yet, I think that we can’t blame only that for our obesity problem. A lot of it has to do with ignorance about nutrition and exercise.

You may be asking so what, and the reason that I am blogging about it is because I sincerely care about the health and well-being of others. I think I probably should have been a nutritionist or personal trainer. Not that I’m perfect. I can eat a huge helping of Coldstone Chocolate Devotion or piping hot pizza with the best of them. But I know that I can indulge in moderation and still remain healthy and happy with myself. I spent many years living in ignorance about nutrition and exercise myself. I used to cook with tons of oil, thought meat must come with every meal, and had no issues with eating two plates of food at supper. I thought that the only way to lose weight was to drink coffee all day long and pretty much starve myself until the 5 or 10 lbs came off. I didn’t understand anything about calories or macro nutrients. My exercise on those rare occasions when I felt like I needed to lose weight consisted of walking at the park for 20 minutes or lifting weights for 10 minutes a day, none of which lasted more than a month or so. No wonder I never got the results I wanted!

I think that people who do want to change their lifestyle (and it has to be a lifestyle change, because diets do NOT work for the long-term) go into it with some really strange or confused ideas about nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. So I guess that’s why I’m blogging about it. I know so much more now than I did a few years ago, and my teacher’s instinct has me wanting to educate the world about being healthy, because it’s something that I really care about.

So here is the first installment of healthy info for anyone out there who might be misinformed or just curious:

Most people don’t know that cardio should be done most days a week (meaning about 5 days per week usually with a day or so of rest), ideally for 40-60 minutes per session at a moderate intensity. Beginners should start out at 30 minutes and work their way up to 60 minutes. And the intensity part is really important. If you aren’t getting you heart rate up, you’re wasting your time. So that means that if you’re walking along leisurely with your girlfriend for 20 or 30 minutes each evening while gossiping your head off and never getting your heart rate up beyond what you anger does to it as you hear the latest thing that Ms. Audacity did last week, then you really aren’t getting much benefit. Here is a link to info about heart rate and exercise intensity:


The following link provides some really good info about cardio, a.k.a aerobic exercise.


I like to vary my cardio. There is such a thing as muscle memory, where if you do the same thing over and over, your muscles learn that movement and don’t have to work as hard to do it anymore, therefore burning less calories and getting less benefit. So you incorporate muscle confusion by varying your workouts. For instance, if you’re a runner, you would do different types of runs per week, such as the long slow run, the tempo run, hillwork, and speed sessions. You can also confuse your muscles by crossing training (doing different types of exercises, like biking, swimming, and yoga), and interval training (where you speed up for a certain amount of time and then slow back down and do that over and over – interval training, by the way, really torches the calories!).

I hope that I’ve provided some good, useful info for someone out there who wants to make a change.