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Blog your way to health

February 11, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Fitness centers are well aware that after the new year begins, their memberships will explode. But by February, attendance begins to drop off and by summer, it is time to break out the sales campaigns to attract new customers. All those New Year’s resolutions, all good intentions, become increasingly difficult to keep, especially when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight.

The New Year gets us motivated. It is a time to make a fresh start and many people, myself included, need a bit of motivation in order to change our lives for the better. Motivation can come from many different sources. Perhaps your doctor told you if you don’t do something soon, your life could be shortened. Perhaps you have a wedding, an upcoming beach vacation or other event that propels you to stick to a diet, eating program, lifestyle change – whatever you want to call it. But when the wedding or event is over; when the bathing suit is put away for the season and when the doctor’s voice seems so faint and long ago, those old habits creep right back into our lives.

I knew mine wasn’t the only food blog on the Internet, but I was happy to see another this morning that was inspiring. In an article from CNN, a woman was able to lose more than 160 pounds by keeping an Internet food blog. Blog, short for Web log, has long been a way for people to journal about their lives, their travels or their hobbies. But many people, mostly women, have found blogging a way to hold themselves accountable for their food choices. When you are putting photos of everything you eat out there for the world to see, you tend to make better choices. There have been times since I began this blog that I have been offered doughnuts, cakes, cookies and other highly processed treats, but turned them down simply because I didn’t want to have to take a photo of it and post it here.

Nutritionists, doctors and weight control clinics have been telling people to log their meals for a long, long time. Weight Watchers, one of the most successful diet programs, ask their patrons to keep intricate food journals of every morsel that enters their mouths. Go to any bookstore and you will find shelf upon shelf of calorie-fat gram-fiber-carbohydrate counter you can imagine. Last fall I found a book created simply for logging food for 90 days, complete with calorie counter and tips for figuring fat and fiber grams.

But if the thought of all those numbers and calculations have your head spinning, simply stick a pocket camera in your bag and start taking photos of everything you eat. You may be surprised at how much you turn down, simply because you don’t want to bother taking a photo and being held accountable. And don’t be embarrassed if you have to snap that shot in the middle of a crowded restaurant, because no one cares. I do it all the time.

Saturday wasn’t a busy day but there was still a lot to do. I enjoyed a breakfast of whole wheat waffles and an fresh orange. I heated about a quarter cup of maple syrup to dip my waffle into and ended up using only half for both waffles. I probably would have eaten a lot more if I had just poured it over the top. It was all topped off with a mug of hot tea.

For lunch I needed to use up some sliced turkey, so I had a sandwich with the turkey, sliced onion and spinach leaves on a crispy chiabatta roll. I also hit the fruit bowl again and had an apple to go with it.

Dinner was going to be late because my husband had some things he wanted to do first after he got home from work. I held off my appetite with a whole wheat bagel, peanut butter and all-fruit spread. I took a photo, but won’t post it here because I need to show you Sunday as well and there isn’t enough space for every photo. By the time dinner rolled around, my son had stopped over and he and my husband wanted tacos. I made ground beef for them but on my own whole-wheat tortilla, I put a quarter cup of refried beans and vegetables. Because I was so good that day, I allowed myself a small dollop of sour cream on top, about a teaspoon. The whole grains and beans kept me full the rest of the night.

You won’t see the photo of Sunday’s breakfast, once again, due to space constraints, but I can tell you it was my usual cereal with banana, walnuts and fat-free milk. I need to use up the last of the Kashi Heart to Heart quickly because it is starting to get a bit stale. I bought another type of cereal to take its place and I am anxious to try something new.

I was in a cooking mood Sunday, so I made turkey burgers with ground turkey, chopped onion, garlic salt and onion powder for lunch. The package of ground turkey made about five burgers. I ate one and froze the rest. To top off the burger, I had a slice of Farmer cheese and some grilled onions. You can probably tell that I like onions.

Dinner was a little more creative. During a trip to upstate New York last fall, a friend’s husband grilled a wonderful meal that included sweet onions and peppers in a teriyaki marinade served over rice. I was trying to duplicate his recipe, or at least create something that tasted equally as good. My version was equal parts orange juice, olive oil and soy sauce mixed with a few teaspoons of minced garlic and ginger. Besides the onions and peppers, I tossed some mushrooms into the mix and let the flavors mingle in the refrigerator most of the day. I served mine over brown rice.

My anti-vegetable husband had oven baked fries and breaded lean pork chops that were also baked. I gave myself a small serving of a chop, but would have been just as happy without it. The marinade was good, but still not as good as my friend’s. Next time I make this, I’m going to try the outdoor grill instead of the stove-top griddle.


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Saturday breakfast: 2 ounces grains; 1 fruit; 1 milk; 100 discretionary calories (syrup)