Netflix and Chill

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Snowed in on a Saturday night? Me too.

Here are just a few of my favorite health and weight loss  documentaries for you to to cuddle up with tonight.

Youtube 

1. BBC Horizon “The Truth About Exercise” 

I’ve really admired Dr. Michael Mosley ever since I read his book “The Fast Diet.”  This short doc is so different and fascinating. Even if you’re a fitness fanatic, I promise you will learn a thing or two.

Watch it here.

2. BBC Horizon “Eat Fast and Live Longer”

If you know me, you know I fast regularly. Fascinating doc, again featuring Dr. Mosley. It’s not about weight loss as much as it is about the latest cutting edge science in aging.

Watch it here.

3. BBC Horizon “Why are thin people not fat?”

Ok, last one with Dr. Mosley, I swear! This documentary covers an interesting experiment where a diverse group of ‘naturally thin’ people are made to put on weight in order to help use better understand the mechanics behind weight gain. Love it.

Watch it here.

Netflix

1. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 

Follow Australian businessman Joe Cross as he embarks on an extended juice fast while traveling across the USA.

You may or may not agree with his method, but either way you’ll hear from a lot of great doctors (like Dr. Joel Fuhrman), and also from other people who use green juices and smoothies as intro to a more balanced lifestyle .

2. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2

..the sequel. Follow up with Joe Cross as well as some of the people from the first movie, five years later. Learn how to maintain your weight with a plant based diet.

3. Fed Up

This movie is important. It tracks the struggle of obese and overweight children. It’s sad, it’s infuriating, and it might make you change your ways completely about nutrition and food marketing

What are some of your favorites???

Happy Binging 🙂

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Garlic: You’re Doing it Wrong

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“I smell but I’m good for you.” – Garlic

We all know that garlic is good for you. But did you know that if you prepare garlic improperly, you may be destroying many of its health benefits?

Luckily, the fix is easy. And interesting. Because…..science.

Alliin + Allinase —> Allicin.

Fresh garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called allinaseThese two work together to produce a magical ingredient called allicin. If you aren’t a complete toolbag you probably want some  allicin in your life.

Allicin has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. Allicin even has antiprotozoal properties! I hear that vampires fear allicin. In nature, allicin protects the plant from a host of pests.

But Here’s the Problem

Unlike your terrifying stalker, allicin isn’t always  just there.  To produce allicin, you must smash together the two precursor ingredients (alliin and allinase). You can do this by chopping or crushing the garlic. Crushing is better.

From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. It’s physical distress which causes the anti-pest ingredient to kick into gear.

So when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin will form.

Heat Destroys Allinase 

Allinase, the enzyme needed to produce allicin, is destroyed by heat.  So if you crush garlic and throw it immediately into a hot pan or oven, you won’t get allicin.

Before you know it, you will be sad, old, and lonely – simply because you didn’t do garlic the right way. No one will be your friend, and no one will invite you to Mahjong.

The Fix

Raw Garlic
If you eat raw garlic, you’re fine. The mechanical action of your mechanical teeth is enough to crush the garlic. And because you are not exposing the allinase to high heat before the allicin has a chance to form, you are not ruining your whole life by preparing garlic the wrong way.

But if you cook your garlic, Behold!
Simply crush or chop your garlic, then let it sit for ten minutes at room temperature before exposing it to heat.

During this time, the allicin will have time to form. Once the ten minutes are up, you can prepare your garlic however you want without destroying the health benefits. Just don’t complain to me about your bad breath because I will pretend I do not know you.

Enjoy 🙂

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Caribbean Jerk Shrimp and Sweet Potato Avocado Mash

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No offense to Paula Deen or my Russian ancestors, but we do not need to use butter in everything! “What do you mash with your potatoes to make them moist and flavorful?”
::insert heavy Russian accent::

 

Say hello to my little friend, Avocado.

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I promise I will get to the recipe in a second but first lets see the difference between avocado and buttah:
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Ingredients for one serving:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs evoo or coconut oil
  • Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • Lemon juice for the avocado and shrimp
  • 3 oz shrimp (I used Target’s Market Pantry small shrimp): 60 cal/13g protein

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Pierce holes around sweet potato and bake for 45-1 hour or until soft or microwave for approx 10 min turning sides once
  • Soak shrimp in cold water for about 15 min
  • Once shrimp have defrosted place in ziploc bag and mix with jerk seasoning. Cook on pan for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent
  • Chop onion and garlic, saute for approx 3 to 4 minutes until translucent
  • Drizzle half avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Mash baked potato and avocado together and mix in onions and garlic
  • Serve with cooked shrimped and lemon wedge

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Weekend + free time = wanting more food

Ahhh, Friday. Sweet, sweet, Friday. We impatiently wait for the weekend to come and while it’s awesome that we get two days to do whatever, I have a huge problem when it comes to food! Over time, I’ve learned self control (only took about 27 years), but I am human and I still love food and the temptation is always there.

So what do I do to control myself?

In my opinion, the most important thing to do is to keep ROUTINE.  Of course it’s ok to sleep in but I suggest staying as close to your daily routine as possible. The first thing I do when I wake up (besides brushing my teeth) is drink a bottle of water and about an hour later I have breakfast, usually a hard boiled egg with a serving of nuts or a Greek yogurt with a serving of fruit. Both options high in protein and not overly filling or time consuming to make! Let’s get real, time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.

Don’t graze. Grazing is the worst! Visualize this scenario… you are binge watching something awesome on Netflix, like, The Arrow (That Oliver Queen… isn’t he so dreamy?) and you want some popcorn. A cup or two is fine, but once you start, you can’t stop and now you binge watched a whole season of The Arrow and downed an entire bag of popcorn and life is sad because you finished the season and the bag and you feel guilt that you ate a whole bag of popcorn. My solution- keep a weight by you (kettle bell is totes my obsession right now) or a resistance band or even a chair.. wait, even better, you don’t need any equipment, just a wall (hamstring blasters, walk planks, wall squats). Your heart will be racing for more reasons other than Ollie… I mean, Oliver Queen aka The Arrow ::swoon::

I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning after my pre work out of walking my dog, Marty. He’s my best pal. And hey, if you guys don’t have a gym membership or don’t feel like going to the gym, go for a long walk with your four legged friend or take a shelter dog for a walk—adopt don’t shop! They will be happy and you’ve burned calories. That’s a win win in my book.

Anyway, if I work out in the morning, I am less inclined to cheat because that work out is not going to waste. No way, Jose.

Eat before you go out to dinner. “What do you mean eat before going out to eat… that’s what an appetizer is for!” No, no, no. You got it all wrong! Gosh, would you just listen to me! I think we are all visually hungry more so than physically. Those loaded cheese fries look appetizing, don’t they? Not anymore! Just stop, ok! Have a snack before you go out so you are just enough satisfied till the main course. Phew! look, we made it through the appetizer part of the dinner. I always lean toward the meats and substitute fries with veggies or a sweet potato but if you decide to indulge, upon receiving the food, cut your meal into 4 parts and have them doggie bag three out of the four parts. PORTION CONTROL!

I’d say you had a pretty successful weekend if you follow some of the pointers above.

Do you have any additional tips? I am always open to new suggestions.

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Preparing for the Storm: The Fat Girls Fitness Way

 

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Ok – so what if I live like a sad bachelor?

A blizzard is coming! News anchors are telling you to stock up on food and essentials. Inclement weather alert!!! Now is the perfect time to gain five pounds over the weekend and sabotage your weight loss efforts 4 life.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Don’t kid yourself. Winter preparedness does not mean you need Wonder Bread, American Cheese, and Donuts. Nutella is great – but do you really need it to survive the storm?

Maybe. I don’t know. It is really tasty….

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is avoiding temptation. And with a potential blizzard on the way, everyone is trying to sell you something comforting and delicious to increase your dress size. But if you care about your pants, it’s helpful to keep those tempting foods outside of the house and/or apartment altogether.

So the above photo? That’s my actual fridge right now. Of course I’ll make sure I have the essentials: water, toilet paper, basic foods to make sure I won’t die. And I’m not a crazy person, so of course I’ll keep plenty of rum on hand. In fact I’ll probably head out and add some wine to my collection.

But notice what isn’t in my fridge: anything extra (other than alcohol).

I’m not suggesting you deprive yourself. Have fun, have a snow day. Eat some terrible stuff if you are so inclined. But I find one of the most helpful steps to leading a healthy lifestyle is keeping crap out of the house. Sure, I eat crap from time to time. But the fact that crap is not available to me two feet from my living room helps more than you might think.

If I want to make an inadvisable food choice, and I often do – I have to walk two blocks to 7/11. That’s not far, but it’s enough of an impediment that I’ll usually just reach for a fruit instead.

So yes – I’m irresponsible. I haven’t done my “emergency shopping” just yet. But when I do, I’ll stock up on fruits, veggies, and maybe some canned beans. Fine maybe one little Twix bar.  But just one!

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Plateau Busting: The Two Pound Goal Post

I’m slightly worried this post might betray my weirdness, but here is a mental technique I used to help me lose weight once I began to plateau.

Preface: Goals are great. But if you keep making them, and not meeting them – they can be very discouraging. Goals should be achievable, but just barely so.

Step One: Calculate your “Goal Date”

Pick a day 10 days in the future. This is your goal date.
Example: Today is January 22. Therefore, my goal date = February 1.

Step Two: Calculate Your “Goal Weight Range”

Weigh yourself today (in the morning, before you eat or drink!). Subtract two pounds from that weight, but only counting the whole number.
Example: So let’s say today I weigh 165.9, 165.5, or even 165.1 – my Goal Weight Range would be “163 point anything”.

Step Three: Put It on a Calendar

Hold yourself accountable by physically writing or typing your Goal Weight Range on your calendar.
Example: In this case, I would write “163 point anything” on February 1st in my calendar

Step Four: The Mental Work

Every morning while you brush your teeth (assuming you brush your teeth!), take a look in the mirror and remind yourself of your specific goal. Promise yourself that you will make healthy choices, just for today – in order to be one day closer to your Goal Weight Range on your Goal Date.

Realize that you whether you make your goal or not, it’s OK. In any event, you’re going to make good choices today to get there.

Step Five: The Weigh In

Sometimes, you won’t make your weight, and sometimes you will. This is simply what happens when you are close to a healthy weight and losing weight becomes harder.

But here is the key: if you make good choices for a 10 day period, sometimes you will lose one pound in 10 days, and sometimes you might lose three. This is especially true for females. No matter what – you repeat the process on your weigh in day. Always with a two pound weight range as your goal.

Step Six: The Repeat

The key is to do this consistently (and also to be gentle with yourself) until your reach your ultimate goal weight.

What I like about this method is that your goal resets every 10 days. And because we are rounding, sometimes your goal is actually closer to one pound, and sometimes it’s closer to three (depending on your start weight).

Because your goal continues to reset, you can kiss your history goodbye. All that matters is what choices you make today.

Because of monthly hormonal fluctuations (and fluctuations in my eating habits) I personally found that I meet or EXCEED my goals about 3/4 of the time, and usually miss them 1 in 4 times. Over a period of a month – I generally averaged somewhere between 7 and 10 pounds with this method.

If you miss your goal two times in a row, it’s probably a good indication that there are changes you can make to your eating habits if your goal is to continue losing weight.

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Avocado Toast On Fleek

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GET INSIDE ME.

So I tend to get a bit teary-eyed when I talk about avocado toast. And fine, it’s true – I might be a Trader Joe’s fangirl.

But I want you to experience this toast.

I swear to you I am not sponsored by Trader Joe’s (if only!). But Trader Joe’s 100% Rye Bread, in particular, is my favorite for this recipe. If you have access to it, you should definitely use it for this recipe.

This toast is so simple and SO good. It’s perfect if you’re cooking for yourself or for two people.  Like many of my other recipes, you can make it all in one pan.

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Don’t stare directly into the pit.

You’ll need:
1. small amount of onion
2. one or two eggs
3. 1/2 avocado
4. one slice Rye (Preferably Trader Joe’s 100% Rye)
5. Optional but recommended: Tomato and/or Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Do whatever you do to make your pan not stick. I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Cooking Spray
  2. Cut up onions, throw them on one corner of the pan. You’ll want to do these first, because they’ll take the longest.
  3. Once the onions have been cooking for a bit, begin toasting the Rye on another portion of the pan. At some point you should flip the Rye.
  4. Crack an egg somewhere on an unused portion of the pan. I cook it sunny side up or scramble it, but wtvr works.
  5. Dump everything from pan onto a plate. Spread avocado on toast, add onions and egg on top.  Nom nom
  6. Optional: cut up the tomatoes and cook them lightly in the span. Add them to your toast. SO good!
  7. Double Optional: Drizzle a little olive oil on the whole concoction. MMMmmmMMMMmm.
  8. Mandatory: ENJOY!!!

Let us know how you modify this recipe to fit your own tastes 🙂

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Keys to Weight Loss Freedom: Expect Failure

In business, the mantra is that successful people not only expect failure, but embrace it.

In weight loss though, we expect perfection. If we “mess up” we often find ourselves at the wrong end of a downwards spiral. We compound our small missteps until they become disasters. And while we know it doesn’t have to be that way, we feel helpless to stop it.

I have lost 60 pounds over the past two years. But there were ups and downs. There were breaks. And many times I failed.  In fact, many weeks I continue to fail.

And I am happy about that.

Sometimes…

Sometimes I go an entire month without losing a single pound. And sometimes I gain three pounds. I NEVER feel bad about it, and I never lose sight of my progress.

Because even if I gain 5 pounds, 10 pounds, or 15 pounds – I’m still in such a better place than I was 60 pounds ago.

Sometimes I get my period, and other times I want to drink half my weight in rum and eat a donut. Sometimes ice cream happens, often pizza happens, and I can assure you that when froyo happens, I don’t go light on toppings.

Because here is the important part. I expect failures. I embrace failures. There is no way that I could expect anything else. Because horrible food is delicious, and it makes me happy. So there is no way I’ll have a perfect month or year. But I do have perfect days, and wonderful weeks.

A Promise to Myself

From the very first day that I embarked on this journey I promised myself that I would never ever experience guilt over food again. That’s because I know that weight loss is affected not only by our habits, but also by our psychological health.

Small failures are not a big deal. In fact, they are are a good thing. Sometimes your body just wants calories. And sometimes eating is fun.

Small failures include the dollar slice I drunkenly enjoyed with friends on a great evening. The birthday party where I indulged, and the vacation where I had the best time.

When I look back on them, they weren’t failures. They were indulgences, and I enjoyed them – just as I enjoy eating (mostly) healthy on a daily basis.

My failures are integral to my success. Because in the scheme of things, my failures were never failures at all. They were natural parts of the process.

No More Cheat Days

I don’t believe in cheat days. To each his own, I say, but they don’t strike me as part of a healthy mentality.

You are never cheating. You are making choices. Sometimes you’ll make good choices, and sometimes you’ll make worse choices. Make sure your choices are overwhelmingly good, and you will look great in no time. Just don’t punish yourself for the ‘bad’ choices.

When you lose weight the fact of the matter is this. Your body is starving. It doesn’t matter if you do it slowly or quickly, or if you take all the right vitamins and minerals. Your body wants things, and thats ok – let it have things, or don’t. But if you gain a pound, it’s not a failure. It’s a blip.

And remember that sometimes – just OK is good enough.

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If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
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