Why Diets Fail You

Before we get to the weird sweet potato photo…….

Often one of the hardest parts of writing a post for my blog is nailing a title. The idea for the post can come effortlessly and then the only thing remaining is a clever, witty, thought provoking title to draw in you, my 4.5 readers.

And that I can often spend more time pondering than you know….

Therefore, when I have ideas come to me that present me with the title first, I’m thrilled. I then quickly save it into my working folder as an idea to bounce on.

This is one that’s been patiently waiting in that folder. I figured I’d drag it out, dust it off and do something with it 😜

For the love of diets

If you’ve hung around me for awhile, you know I’m kinda “anti diet”. This is not to be confused with “anti weight loss”.

Why anti diet?

They just don’t work.

Oh now wait. I can hear you ready to tell me about Karen at work and how her keto plan has the weight falling off her.

Or maybe it’s someone else working Paleo or any one of the other current trendy things to follow.

There are lots of “vehicles” to get us started on weight loss. The more troubling issue is, which vehicle can get us to our destination and still be usable for us when weight goals have been attained? Which one can we follow for the rest of our life?

Calorie Deficit

I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row. There is no magical, miracle wonder diet that makes you lose weight. There are lots of programs to help you lose your money but you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to lose weight.

It’s simply science.

Expend more calories than you take in through exercise and what you eat, i.e. create a deficit, and you will lose weight.

You could do it with Oreos and milk but I don’t recommend it.

Sustainability

Diets don’t work long term because the large majority just aren’t sustainable. And by that I mean it’s not a plan you can or will do the rest of your life.

I cannot tell you the times I’ve heard someone reference looking forward to a “cheat day”. This means falling off plan to eat the things they have been withholding from themselves. It’s a grasp to feel “normal” and enjoy things that have been on a forbidden list. If you’re on a plan and you spend to much time looking forward to having restricted foods, you may need to rethink it.

For me, that’s not how I wanna live, and really, most people don’t.

It’s why they toss the towel on a plan that withholds enjoyable things.

Deprivation

When people think of diets, no wonder feelings of deprivation come to mind.

Eating less food, not having favorite foods or treats, not getting to have birthday cake, being hungry, eating boring flavorless foods….the list could go on.

No one, not a single one of us, wants to feel deprived which is another reason diets fail.

Lack of balance

Many popular diets totally cut or eliminate food groups. Where there are some people who need to for food allergies or health reasons, the majority of us don’t need to remove healthy and nutritious foods from our daily diets. However, demonizing food groups has become cool in some circles.

Demonizing food isn’t cool.

We love routine

Maybe you have certain things you like to grab for breakfast or you do your coffee in a special way. You have foods you enjoy. It’s all like….comfy…right? None of us want to give up our familiar routines. Diets really upset that apple cart.

Diets offer a quick fix…sorta

Let’s face it. How many times have you started a structured diet and were already longing to get back to normal life? You bite the bullet thinking you can get 6-8 weeks done. You jump into it, get excited over your big “loss” of water weight the first week and prepare for week 2. You’re all on fire and are excited for the weight you’re going to lose.

And then just like that…you’re done. Maybe a week to 10 days into it, you’ll take your few pounds you lost and call it a day. This wasn’t as fun as you thought it would be.

Sadly you’ll gain that weight back with a few more pounds too.

Now about the weird sweet potato pic…

I had gotten in from a sesh of physical therapy and dove into dinner prep. One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is to cube them, add some onion and a bit of olive oil and roast till they are soft with crispy edges.

Heaven.

Anyway, I had started writing this post earlier in the day and had the ideas bouncing around when once again I was reminded of this simple truth.

Diets will almost always fail.

However if we make our daily nutrition about eating real foods, preferably single ingredients or close to it, we will not only be satisfied but will provide our bodies with optimal nutrition. Eating real food is satisfying. Eating real food allows for special occasions and treats and removes feelings of deprivation.

By the way…. I did write a post called “The Single Ingredient Diet” a few months back be sure to check it out…

When we focus on each day, making healthy food choices, eating in balanced ways and allowing for treats, we don’t need to diet.

Learning to create a small calorie deficit in our day will lead to slow and steady weight loss.

Living this lifestyle is not only balanced, sane, and allows you to build your own routine, it is also long term sustainable which will lead you to lifetime success.

Tell me. Have you had success with a particular diet? Or do you find yourself back where you started when you get off it? Have you figured out now how to make it your lifestyle and not diet?

The Cost Of Healthy Eating

Occasionally I can keep things to myself, but not often.

Sometimes I just have a really hard time seeing nonsense and not calling it out… especially when it involves food and nutrition.

This is made harder by the fact there are sheer volumes of nonsense involving food and nutrition in the world today.

It hurts my head.

So in today’s episode of “Are you kidding me” I want to explore this thought about a food post I’ve seen multiple times circulating Facebook. I’ve seen it in other forms, this just happens to be the current edition of it.

Ah yes. The old “they make it so hard to eat healthy because it’s expensive ” line.

Let’s not miss they are comparing a cheap carton of fries available at any fast food place to a prepped carton of fruit in grocery store. ( insert eye roll here)

I’m just gonna cut to the chase on this topic.

What you eat is your responsibility.

Really.

I’m not sure why this is often hard to grasp and far to overlooked. Every single day I’m responsible for what goes into my mouth and the foods I feed my body.

Whether it’s optimally nutritional or not, no one is stuffing food in my face but me.

I call the shots.

Why then is this food post shared around like there are victims who have to eat junk food…or let’s just say…not optimally nutritional food?

You..me…we make a choice to what we choose to eat.

We are individually responsible for our food choices. It can’t be blamed on anyone but us.

So yeah, the first step to being real with this is taking ownership of your eating and the foods you eat as well as what you buy at the store or when you eat out.

With that being said….

Let’s get to the intent of this food post.

That it’s cheaper to eat non- nutritional food over healthy food.

Like anything in this world, there are a variety of price points on lots of things, food iincluded.

I may not often buy meat out of the fancy meat counter, but it doesn’t mean I can’t buy good meat in the other areas of the meat dept. I buy lean meats that are on sale and chicken which is always reasonably priced.

I have a budget to operate in, as do most of us. You can still operate in your budget and make good food choices.

Since they use the idea of fries for 1.00 ( obviously at a fast food restaurant) and the fruit is obviously the prepped and packed kind ( you ALWAYS pay more for that service!) at a grocery store I don’t find that much of a fair comparison.

Here’s what I will compare. Our local Wendys restaurant is a fast food place but they also offer lots of healthy options.

They have value menus with those 1.00 fries for sure, but they also offer 1.00 salads too.

I love their “real” salads on the menu though. They are often a tasty mix of veggies and fruit with nice serving of protein added with grilled chicken. I skip the creamy calorie laden dressings and opt for their light choices. Water is always my standard drink.

I can’t help but note….the salads are similar in price to a burger/fry/soda combo.

So what’s the difference?

The choice I make.

I love fries. They are like…pure deliciousness.

I also understand they aren’t an optimal food choice which is why I limit them to maybe…twice a month as a treat…

I fully understand though if I walk into that fast food business and decide to order a meal with fries then I am doing it because I choose to, not because it’s a good financial move.

We need to stop using that as a reason for poor food choices.

We are individually responsible for how we choose to fed our bodies.

What about the grocery store?

Pretty much a similar strategy applies.

Really, you don’t need cokes, cookies, and cheese puffs filling up your basket.

Is that stuff cheap? Yep.

But so are canned fruits, beans, tomatoes and other veggies. Add to that lowfat yogurts, cottage cheese and lowfat puddings

Eggs are an amazing and versatile food that are economical and can be used so many ways, for meals and snacks.

Buy real cheese in brick form and cut into cubes. Opt for healthier whole grain crackers and breads. Whole grain pastas and noodles are also other healthy low cost meal choices.

I noted the store brand “wheat bread” was 2.00 but for 89 cents more I got a more nutritional bread made with several grains.

What about fresh produce?

As the photo shows in my post, they’ve used a container of prepped fruit. I see this often in the store and it can be handy. However, you do pay for that convenience….quite a bit. Therefore, I really don’t see this as a fair assessment in this food post to eating healthy not being cost effective.

I do buy some prepped items. One of those is broccoli. I buy the huge bag but it’s convenient for me to use in salads, as a snack, or to throw in a pan and roast. I don’t mind paying a bit more for the convenience.

Mostly though I buy fruits and veggies I prep myself. You can buy many of those already prepped but since we are talking about eating healthy and affordable I’ll suggest prepping your own.

And shop seasonal foods! Last year the blackberry crop was amazing and almost every other week the large cartons were like …1.48…

I seriously ate my body weight in them!

Shopping seasonal on fruits and veggies is an economical way to eat healthy.

One thing our store has started doing is bagging produce that needs to move and marking it 50% off.

Let me tell you… I troll that dept heavy now looking for those tags! I’ve also experimented with new foods because they were on sale.

You may check to see if your store offers those mark downs.

Frozen foods

I understand sometimes the fresh stuff can go bad on you. It won’t if you plan meals with it 😉

Anyway, frozen offers healthy foods, and they won’t spoil.

Corn, broccoli, mixed veggies, snap peas, black eyed peas, stir fry mix, edamame and fruits are all good frozen choices. ( I personally do not care for the green beans or cauliflower as I think they are bland and the beans are usually tough) if you can’t get fresh green beans ( the best) canned are a tastier choice.

The bottom line

I buy a variety of foods for my family. Treats are an enjoyable part of life but I also shop to buy nutritionally healthy foods too.

Buying a bag of apples or oranges is usually wthin the price range of a package of Nutter Butter cookies or Oreos.

Do both have an appropriate place? Yes.

Is one more important to a healthy lifestyle than the other? Absolutely.

Can we then suggest eating healthy is more costly than eating food that offers less nutritional benefits?

No. And why?

Because it comes back to what I started with. We are responsible for what we buy and eat. We are responsible for the food choices we make, good or not so good.

There are many, many healthy and affordable food options. We are not victims who have to eat junk food because it’s more “affordable”.

That’s the lie I’m sick of seeing circulated.

Healthy eating is quite affordable, however, you must be willing to eat that way and choose the healthier options that are available.

Tell me, do you think eating healthy is more eexpensive than eating non healthy foods? What are some of your favorite cost effective healthy foods/meals?

Saturday Snippets

Happy Saturday boys and girls!

Today’s post is short and sweet. This past week I hit on two pretty relevant topics that impact a whole lotta people.

Did you get to read them?

The first is called Diet Disasters.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/08/21/diet-disasters/

I touched on just a couple examples of extreme diets that people resort to in an attempt to lose weight.

Most diets attempted are failed with the person eager to get back to their normal way of living. Nothing extreme or depriving ever works long term.

I constantly preach an old school approach, but only because it’s true and works.

Consistency, with small daily, healthy changes lead to a permanent lifestyle change that is long term sustainable!

The other topic I hit was our relationship with food, The Emotional Impact Of Food

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/08/23/the-emotional-impact-of-food/

This generated some interesting dialogue and I appreciate the feedback.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a relationship with food

Good or bad.

I took a hard look at how we can use it to support everything from our hunger to deeper unaddressed emotional needs and other issues. Understanding why we use food to medicate us is the biggest, most important first step to achieving permanent weight loss.

Tell me, are there other topics on food/nutrition/healthy eating/weight loss you’d like to see here?

Spotlight on Tomatoes

Summer is rapidly approaching here in Texas. Last weekend we rocked the ridiculous temps over 100, and closer to 110 with the heat index.

It was so sweltering it almost took your breath away.

With the arrival of summer there are some fruits and veggies that seem to just be a part of the season.

Tomatoes top that list.

Is there anything better than a warm, vine ripened tomato sliced with some salt and pepper? I could eat more than my share 😁

So as a nod to delicious summer food I thought the tomato would be a good one for our food spotlight post.

The 411

The tomato is from the nightshade family native to South America.

Despite botanically being a fruit, it’s generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Some nutrition facts

The water content of tomatoes is around 95%. The other 5% consists mainly of carbs and fiber.

Here are the nutrients in a small raw tomato:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Carbs comprise 4% of raw tomatoes, which amounts to fewer than 5 grams of carbs for a medium one.

Simple sugars,such as glucose and fructose, make up almost 70% of the carb content.

Other plant compounds

The main plant compounds in tomatoes are:

  • Lycopene. A red pigment and antioxidant, lycopene has been extensively studied for its beneficial health effects.
  • Beta carotene. An antioxidant that often gives foods a yellow or orange hue, beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body.
  • Naringenin. Found in tomato skin, this flavonoid has been shown to to decrease inflammation protect against various diseases in mice.
  • Chlorogenic acid. A powerful antioxidant compound, chlorogenic acid may lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels.

Studies show that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of heart disease and several cancers. This fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns.

So now that we’ve discussed how good they are for you….

How about a few recipes? Tomatoes by themselves are perfect. I also love tossing them in some olive oil and roasting with asparagus.

Cherry tomatoes are also good in my veggie scramble for breakfast.

As mentioned earlier, they also make perfect light dishes when the days get long and warm.

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By the way….I made the rustic Italian cucumber and tomato salad for dinner last night…it is definitely a keeper.

Tell me, do you have any favorite tomato recipes?

Spotlight on Watermelon

We are approaching that time of year here in south Texas.

The time of year where there are longer days, warm evenings and easier dinners.

One of the foods that make frequent appearances at our summer meals is the sweet and flavorful watermelon.

And not just for dinner but it’s also a cool, sweet, refreshing treat on a hot afternoon.

Let’s take a look at how this delicious treat breaks down…

Watermelon consists mostly of water (91%) and carbs (7.5%). It provides almost no protein or fat and is very low in calories.

The nutrients in 2/3 cup of raw watermelon are:

  • Calories: 30
  • Water: 91%
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Carbs: 7.6 grams
  • Sugar: 6.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

You can eat a whole lot of it for minimal calories!

Watermelon contains 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup.

The carbs are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Watermelon also provides a small amount of fiber.

The glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels after meals — of watermelons ranges from 72–80, which is high.

However, each serving of watermelon is relatively low in carbs, so eating it should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels.

Don’t listen to health “experts” who criticize fruits because of sugars in them. These are naturally occurring sugars and not the simple sugars in cokes, candies or other sweet things.

Those…you definitely need to do in moderation.

The benefits of a fruit far outweigh the natural sugars in them that some people try to demonize.

What other good things does watermelon offer?

  • Vitamin C. This antioxidant is essential for skin health and immune function.
  • Potassium. This mineral is important for blood pressure control and heart health.
  • Copper. This mineral is most abundant in plant foods and often lacking in the Western diet.
  • Vitamin B5. Also known as pantothenic acid, this vitamin is found in almost all foods to some extent.
  • Vitamin A. Watermelon contains beta carotene, which your body can turn into Vitamin A.

Watermelon is an exceptionally healthy fruit.

It’s loaded with citrulline and lycopene, two powerful plant compounds linked to lower blood pressure, improved metabolic health, and decreased muscle soreness after exercise.

What’s more, it’s sweet, delicious, and packed with water, making it excellent for maintaining good hydration.

For the vast majority of people, watermelon is a perfect addition to a healthy diet.

Tasty ways to eat it

Really the best way is just a big slice, still in the rind, cold, and juicy running down your hands while you eat it.

Yeah, super messy but it’s also one of those fun easy ways to enjoy it

When I serve it with dinner I do cut it from the rind into neatly sized pieces for more manageable eating 🙂

Check out these ideas for watermelon

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Is watermelon a favorite summer fruit for you? How do you like to eat it?

Spotlight On Asparagus

Asparagus. It’s one of those grown up foods that took me awhile to get into.

When I say a grown up food I mean I literally started eating it like, a year or so back.

I know. Late to the party but better late than never, right?

There are so many amazing, tasty, and healthy veggies in the world I’m not sure how I almost missed out on this one.

Ok, why should you eat it ?

I can imagine some of you curling your lip at the idea of eating this stalk looking tree type veggie.

Hold up…don’t dismiss it just yet

This giant veggie is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables — high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins, B6, and C. A 5-ounce serving provides 60% of the RDA for folic acid and is low in calories. You can enjoy this veggie raw or with minimal preparation.

The name for asparagus — a member of the lily family — comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout.” Now widely cultivated throughout the world, this regal vegetable is believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region, where it was prized for its unique texture and alleged medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities.

Asparagus spears grow from a crown planted in sandy soils and, under ideal conditions, can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period. The most common types are green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier.

It could help with your weightloss goals

Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals. When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits. Overcooking asparagus could cause the vitamins to leech out into the water.

It can help with bloating

It can make your urine smell.

I know. Gross 101. It is.

But why??

According to Smithsonian magazine, asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparagusic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which have a strong, unpleasant scent. They are also volatile, which means that they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. Asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t smell.

What’s weirder than a veggie causing stinky urine is that not everyone can smell it. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is. Most evidence seems to suggest that not everyone can smell the odor, though some scientists think that not everyone produces it.

Ok but that really is the least of your worries. Eating Asparagus and all the health benefits it offers far out weighs the unpleasant effect of stinky urine ( this won’t last long)

Let’s eat

My favorite way to eat it is tossed with some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roasted till tender. I usually throw in garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes too. I add a little fresh parmesan at the end.

It’s amazingly delicious.

You can also grill or steam it. Honestly roasting veggies is my preferred way of eating them. I think it really enhances their flavors.

It’s really, really delicious with bacon wrapped around it ha

Your turn to weigh in. Do you like Asparagus? If so, do you have a preffered way to eat it?

Spotlight on Blueberries

Mid-March is upon us and spring is attempting to “spring” here in south Texas. We never got much of a winter, but I think I’m not alone in saying we’re all ready for some sun and blue sky kinda days and leaving the grey foggy ones behind.

Of course with spring arriving it also heralds “berry” season and I can’t wait. I mean, not that I’ve taken a break from eating them, it just means they are crazy cheap and I can indulge even more freely 🙂

I love all kinds of berries. They make appearances in all my breakfast meals and are a healthy, nutrient laden, low cal snack.

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I wrote some other berry posts, find them here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/13/spotlight-on-strawberries/  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/30/the-super-powers-of-blackberries/

Ok first things first.

I found it amusing getting my healthy facts, that the things that kept coming up first in my searches were for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc like hold on with the recipes Susan, we’ll get there 😉

Like other berries, blueberries pack a powerful nutritional and healthy punch. Blueberries are an Antioxidant Superfood. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are  also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense  berries. A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains :

  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 25% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of various other nutrients

They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.

The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.

One group of flavonoids in particular — anthocyanins — is thought to be responsible for much of these berries’ beneficial health effects.

Blueberries have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels in your body.

Blueberries may also lower blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, help maintain brain function and improve memory.

With the high Vitamin C content in blueberries, they are also considered an anti aging food. Anthocyanin in blueberries is responsible for preventing oxidative DNA damage, while the abundance of vitamin C is a big factor in building collagen.

Wanna stay looking younger? Add plenty of berries into your daily diet.

Other ways to incorporate them into your diet…

of course berries are a stand alone kinda thing and you can eat them “as is” but they also make great additions mixed in with yogurt or oatmeal.  Add them to smoothies or other drinks. I sometimes like them in salads.

But I’d say many people enjoy them wrapped up in tasty baked goods as well. And since life also deserves treats, I’ll leave you with a few tasty recipes for our friend, the blueberry 🙂

 

Your turn. Do you like blueberries? Do you have a favorite way to eat them?