Tag Archives: portion control

New Low Calorie Recipes Posted

I got caught up on my backlog of new recipes … finally! They always take longer to type up than I expect but now they’re done and posted in the “Recipes” tab up top.

I know you’re lazy, too, but you actually have to hover over the Recipes tab and then click on the recipes. Sorry for making you work so hard!

But then you’ll see Smoked Salmon Reubens … Cheezy Broccoli Soup … Grandma’s Vinegar Cake  …. and more!

Enjoy!

 

 

10 Ways To Lose 10 Pounds

1.  Get rid of sugar. Yes, you see the granulated and the brown there in your pantry, but now take a  look at the labels on your spaghetti sauce, cereal, and frozen foods. Anything ending in “ose” is probably sugar. There are lots of other words that mean ‘sugar’ — syrup, sweetener, dehydrated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, saccharose, sucrose, xylose, plus all the ones you already know. Scary, huh? Regardless of what it’s called, your body knows it’s sugar.

2. Along those same lines, get rid of all packaged foods. No boxes, cans, bags, or cartons allowed. Nothing with a shelf life longer than the weather forecast.

3. And while you’re at it, get rid of floury foods like breads. Not forever, because we need whole grains, but as a kickstart. White flour foods tend to be sugary as well – think donuts, pastries, bagels. Then when it’s time to add them back in, stick to whole grain breads. “Whole grain” should be the first ingredient. If it’s not, keep looking.

4. Eat half of your normal portion. You’ll probably be happy with less food than you think you need. Plus, you have lunch already made for tomorrow AND you’re saving money!

5. Speaking of saving money, quit buying meat. You don’t have to become a vegetarian (even though they typically have lower body weights than their omnivore pals. Just sayin.). But it would benefit your body and your wallet to drop most of the meat from your diet. If you love a good steak, use the money you save to buy better quality grass-fed beef, or to visit a fantastic restaurant and have someone make one for you.

6. Walk 5 minutes out of every 30. Set your timer. If you can’t get regular workouts in, this is a terrific way to get moving every day. Studies have shown that several short sessions of movement are just as beneficial as one long one. Plus, it’s healthy to have mental breaks throughout the day too.

7. And if you can find a pal to exercise with, you’re more likely to walk or get to the gym.

8. If you’re not ready to cut calories seven days per week, try cutting calories just two days a week and eating normally the rest. Every little bit will help, and I bet you’ll find it’s not so hard to add in a third day, then a fourth. You’ll at least become more conscious of what you’re eating. And that’s half the battle.

9. Brown bag it. If you eat lunch out on a regular basis, bring healthy, fresh food from home every day. Plan it and/or get it ready the night before. To kickstart your weight loss, go one month without eating out at all. Restaurant meals have more calories, and they’re full of fat, sugar and salt.(Which is why they’re so delish!) Take a month away from all that, and you’ll see you don’t want it as much. And again, you’ll save a ton of money!

10. Swear off alcohol. At least until you’ve reached your weight loss goals. Alcohol is strictly empty calories. Replace booze with water, and that weight comes off much faster.

And a bonus … I heard today we should quit calling it ‘exercise’ or ‘working out’ and instead refer to it as ‘movement.’ It’s a psychological shift, thinking of it as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary fix.

(Here are ten more!)

Which is your favorite? Are any of these impossible for you?

The Lazy Way to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

I have finally learned to avoid the stealthy pounds that creep up from Thanksgiving through mid-January and attach to my belly, butt and thighs.

Some of the answers are pretty simple, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the simple actions aren’t always the easy ones.

Probably the most important thing I learned was just not to bake as much as I used to. Like every family, we have many traditions that swirl around the holidays like so much whipped cream on pie, which I got rid of. The whipped cream, not the pie. I mean, c’mon! Basically, I pared down the offerings to just a few can’t-live-withouts that I let everyone vote on. Turns out, nobody really liked the hoopla of baking and frosting 84 gazillion sugar cookies. We mindlessly ate them, though, well into January. So the sugar cookies got the heave-ho. (Bonus — You can imagine how much time that freed up, too, helping lower the ‘scheduling stress’ of it all.) But we kept our Christmas morning coffeecake, because some traditions you just don’t mess with. (We affectionately call it our Heart Attack in a Bundt Pan.)

I’m sure it’s no coincidence, but I also finally figured out portion control. Again, seems simple, right? But if you’re struggling with weight gain, you know how hard it is to eat proper amounts of food. It’s easy to lose perspective about proper portions, with all the supersizing of restaurant meals and ease of buying in bulk. But I’ve trained the voice in my head to swap the theme song to Gilligan’s Island for reminding me to “Eat half as much … you can always have more later if you’re truly hungry.” Of course, I’m, you know, lazy, so if I put away the leftovers first, then I won’t get them out again. And guess what? I never miss having seconds. I’ve realized that’s more of a habit than true hunger.

Everyone is tempted to eat only celery all day before going to a party … skipping breakfast and lunch so you can eat a huge Thanksgiving dinner … eating nothing sweet in October and then tearing into the kids’ trick-or-treat bag like a crazed hyena … saving all your calories for New Years Eve champagne … sticking your head in the spinach dip bread bowl at the Super Bowl party, you know, because it’s spinach and therefore good for you.

Doesn’t work.

Instead, eat a high protein and fiber breakfast and lunch. It doesn’t have to be a big deal … scrambled eggs on whole grain toast, oatmeal with peanut butter, yogurt and berries.

When you’re at the buffet, try this — only put two things on your (small) plate at a time, one healthy and one not so much. The first time through, maybe carrot sticks and decadent dip. Second time, maybe shrimp and meatballs. Indulge a little, but don’t go crazy.

I’ve already posted some tips to remain in control at holiday parties (which I learned the hard way too) so take a look at those.

Whatever you do, DON’T turn down an invitation to a party because you’re scared of wrecking your diet. Life is too short to agonize over your weight. It’s much more important to connect with your friends and family … yes, even if it involves a million calories. Just don’t eat a million calories.

Skip the high-calorie frou-frou coffee drinks and the soda — even diet soda. The fake sugar in diet soda actually makes you crave even more sugar. You’re way better off at a party with a red wine spritzer. At least you’ll get in some resveratrol!

Sometimes I slip and eat more — much more — than I intended. When I finally figured out that I needed to get back on track right then instead of waiting until tomorrow, the weight came off easier too. It’s very tempting to say, “Oops, I screwed up … may as well have another brownie/serving of mashed potatoes/bottle of tequila.”

But don’t. I like the analogy of getting a traffic ticket. If you get stopped for speeding, you don’t say, “Oops, I screwed up … may as well keep speeding. I’ll slow down tomorrow. Or maybe next Monday.” No. You slow down right then.

During the holidays I’d rather enjoy all the parties and festivities, so I’m willing to work out harder and longer for the duration. I know I’ll probably consume more calories than normal from Thanksgiving through New Years, but I’ll also burn more too. Even if you just add ten or fifteen minutes to your workouts during the holidays, you’ll be ahead of the curve, no pun intended.

What about you … do you gain weight over the holidays? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks to avoid holiday weight gain? What will you do differently this year?

Calories as Cash

A friend was whining the other day that calorie counting was too hard. (And, yes, she’ll see that I called her a whiner. But it’s okay. I whine to her that Glee conflicts with The Biggest Loser on TV every week. It’s clear we both have really difficult lives.)

Calorie counting isn’t that hard … especially if you have cookbooks and menu plans lovingly prepared for you. Calorie counting simply means eating the right amount of food to maintain your healthy body weight.

You just need to think about it like money.

If you have $20 to spend on food for the day, would you spend it all at Starbucks on your way to work? Or would you want to save some for lunch, dinner, and a couple of snacks?

Would you budget for occasional delicious treats or spend it only on “diet food” that doesn’t make you happy? Or worse, would you bank most of it and not spend it at all?

It’s the same way we budget to buy clothes. We need everyday undies, but we also save for something fun and indulgent from Victoria’s Secret every once in awhile, right? Jeans mostly and sparkly cocktail dresses sometimes. Sturdy walking shoes mostly and stilettos sometimes. Driving a minivan mostly and a jetski sometimes. Chicken breast mostly and cheeseburgers sometimes. Oatmeal mostly and doughnuts sometimes.

But bacon, booze and chocolate? I can always stretch my budget just a liiiiiiittttle more.

What do you save on now so you can splurge later?

 

 

How To Stop Overeating

We all do it. It’s not a big deal if you only overindulge once in awhile.

I’m reading a book right now that I’m really liking and will report on in the future. In “Younger Next Year,” Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge say, “A normal American in his fifties or sixties has to get his caloric intake down to roughly 1500 calories to lose weight.” The book is geared toward men, but the implication is that women would need fewer than 1500 calories to lose weight.

If you’ve visited LazyLand before, you probably know I’m all about portion control and knowing how many calories you’re eating, so if you’re stuck in a cycle of regularly eating too many calories, here are some easy tips that might flip that switch for you.

1. Get rid of all the crap food taunting you from your pantry or refrigerator. Throw it out and don’t buy it ever again.

2. But — and I know this seems contradictory — if you’re REALLY craving something, go ahead and give in to it. Because it’s not kept in your house anymore, you have to think long and hard about actually going to buy it. Is it really worth the trip? If it is, that’s fine. But get a single serving of chips rather than the industrial sized bag. Fries off the children’s menu rather than SuperSizing. One perfect brownie at the bakery rather than whipping up a whole pan. (Shameless plug for my Just Desserts Cookbook here … I have some fab low-calorie brownie recipes, if you can resist eating the entire pan.)

3. And then get back on track. One fabulous brownie is not cause for starving yourself or skipping meals as ‘punishment.’ Plan your next week’s healthy meals and make a grocery list full of delicious and nutritious foods.

4. Eat more fruits and veggies. These will fill you up without the corresponding spike in calories. And, oh yeah, they’re good for you!

5. Drink lots of water. I can’t be bothered with counting ounces or even the number of glasses I drink. Your goal is for your pee to be colorless. Every day.

6. Then go get some vigorous exercise. Doesn’t matter what, just go get active. You’ll burn off some calories and you’ll be less interested in mindless snacking.

None of that is too difficult, is it? If you stay on track most of the time, then those little, ahem, dietary transgressions won’t derail you on your journey to good health.

What do you do if you’re tempted to overeat or if you realize too late you just consumed enough food for a family of five?

Why I Love Blogging

I received this email (from a complete stranger, I must point out) and wanted to brag, er, share. As a writer, it’s always gratifying to hear from happy readers. I still remember the boy who read my historical novel An UnCivil War – The Boys Who Were Left Behind and told me, “I never liked to read until I read your book.”

You never forget those surprise sparkles tossed like so much fairy dust in your direction.

But this one is even sweeter because not only is it complimentary of my writing in general (and I’m needy that way), but she tells me I’ve actually helped her and her hubbie figure out how to lose weight.

You know, that’s such an awesome coincidence because it’s exactly what I’m trying to do!

So, Holly, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how the Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle is working for you. You weren’t required to mention it, but you did and you’ll probably never realize how much I appreciate it. You’ve also given me a new mission — tracking down some Bundaberg Gingerbeer. It sounds delightfully Harry Potterish.

 

Becky you are an inspiration. Even to us here in Australia.

I had never had a problem with my weight when I was younger and thought myself very fortunate and took it for granted, however over the past ten years between the ages of 35 & 45 (this year) it had suddenly snuck up on me without me really knowing. I found your website the first week of December 2010 and so far I have lost 4kg [Becky’s note: almost 9 lbs!] on your Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle in approximately 9 weeks and my husband has lost 3.5kg.

It only took a small amount of modification on our part – we were actually eating healthy – just too much of a good thing. I found portion size is one of the keys and the difference has been amazing. Yes, we still have our seafood which we love and drink our wine – now in moderation. We also swapped over to low alcohol volume wines.  Instead of buying the standard 13-17% alcohol volume bottles of wine available here in Australia, we now look for 10% or less alcohol volume wines. And limit ourselves to only drinking on weekends. So much better for our weight, liver, head and general health all round.

We are now very conscious of reading labels and the Energy Cal/Kilojoules in a product. For example: Instead of buying Bundaberg Gingerbeer I now buy Diet Bundaberg Gingerbeer. The difference in calories is amazing. Some labels I read nearly floored me as they have a full days calories in one serving.  The same goes for many other products. It’s all about awareness. Thank you for helping me to become more “aware” of what my family and I are consuming.

I also think your tip on 1200 calories on a “non-exercise days” and 1600 calories on “exercise days” is great.

I love your Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle website and I also joined your Facebook page too.

Another 4-6kg and I will have the biggest grin from ear to ear.

I think the word diet is a dirty word (lol). If anyone asks us if we are on a diet because we say no to something high in calories, I tell them no, it’s a “lifestyle” change and a fantastic one!

Here’s to the Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle and here’s to you too Becky. I’ll drink to that! (lol!)

I suppose all I really want to say is “Thanks Becky!”

Kindest regards

Holly

How ’bout you … have you ever been the victim of some drive-by kindness? Made happy by the compliment of a complete stranger? A friend of mine used to pay the highway toll for two or three people behind her, back in the days when you had to stop at the toll booth. Have you ever done anything like that?

Shaking It Up

I’m working diligently on my new cookbook and have realized lately my jeans are a tad tight. Think there’s a correlation?

Sometimes when I’m creating a recipe I can’t always determine the calorie count right away. Sometimes it’s because I’m in a hurry and I haven’t calculated the calories for a particular ingredient. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the serving size. But mostly it’s because here at Casa Lazy we don’t throw away food. Ever. So even if I’ve accidentally created a high-calorie recipe, we eat it. And if there are 12 servings, we eat ‘em all. Not in one sitting, mind you, but probably not in 12, either.

When I’m in ‘cookbook mode’ I’m creating at least one new recipe every day, often two, and occasionally three.

All this to say, I haven’t been following my own advice about portion control very well lately.

Add to that my, um, lackadaisical attitude toward exercise the last couple of weeks and you understand the too-snug jeans.

I’ve become more conscious of the food thing, but the exercise has begun to bore me. And if I’m bored mentally, you know my body is bored too.

So I’m shaking it up and doing something different and — so far — more interesting.

I read a lot — a LOT — of healthy living magazines and save lots — LOTS — of articles about particular exercise routines. They get ‘filed’ in a pile near my treadmill and weight machine. Do I ever look at them? Why, no … no, I don’t. So I’ve started to go through them (in front of the TV, of course), listing the ones I a) understand how to do; b) have the equipment for; and c) promise me smokin’ hot results.

I have a master list for arms/shoulders, legs, abs/core, and back exercises and I’ve simply listed each under the proper heading. Every other day when I go downstairs to strength train, I choose 2 or 3 from each category and do 3 sets of each, making note of how heavy my weights were, how many reps I did and any other pertinent info. I’ve vowed not to do the same exercise within the same week and I won’t pair the same ones together again for a while. I also try to increase my weights or my reps every time.

So far, so good. It’s given me a renewed interest in working out. I love the variety as well as tracking my results to see that I’m doing more each day. Plus, I refuse to buy new jeans. I’m just that lazy.

Four Bites

There’s a theory in the weight loss world that says four bites of whatever you’re craving will satisfy you.

I don’t know if that’s true because when I want something — a doughnut, a slice of pizza, a cheeseburger, an adorable pair of sandals — my mind is consumed with want. I put the ire in desire. The raving in craving. The EEEEEEE in need.

So I try my darndest never to get to that gloomy, useless place. I don’t deny myself much of anything. (You should see how many cute sandals I own!) I eat right most of the time so I can eat what I want at parties or restaurants. But sometimes I go overboard without even realizing it. You’re having a good time with friends and — BAM — didn’t the waitress bring us a huge piece of cheesecake a minute ago? Can’t find it anywhere. Hmmm.

I’m working on my new cookbook and have created an absolutely scrumptious recipe for Lemon Bars. But mine are Lemon Bites. I remember when I created my Cheesecake Brownies I heard lots of concern they’d be teensy, only fit for Barbie and Ken. But they’re a perfectly acceptable size. (The brownies, not Barbie and Ken.)

The Lemon Bites, on the other hand, are small, but they are full of real butter and sugar. (I know! In a low calorie cookbook!)

After I recovered from the sweet ambrosia of tasting, I remembered two things. One, the worried whining about portion size. And two, the Four Bites Theory.

So I tested it. Each of these Lemon Bites (54 calories) is two bites. (Unless you’re a teenage boy capable of hoovering up the entire pan without breaking stride.)

Part of the Four Bite Theory is that you eat mindfully. Slowly. Savor all the tastes. Pause between each bite. Sip water to make each bite taste like the first. Anticipate the next bite. Enjoy every second of the experience.

Guess what? It worked. This test, however, was fairly easy. Four bites of pizza or four bites of a cheeseburger probably won’t do it for me psychologically. I have trouble throwing out food, and that’s what would happen. I can hear Grandma scolding already.

To appease Grandma, I’ve started making more Barbie food … sliders instead of full-sized burgers … cutting a slice of pizza in half … using my mini-muffin pan for sweet treats … individual meatloaf portions. The theory becomes less tortuous.

I’m just glad beer doesn’t come in bites.

Have you ever tried the Four Bite Theory? Did it work for you? Are you more conscious of your portion sizes? Will you buy my new cookbook to get the nectar of the gods that is a Lemon Bite?

Just Say No To Holiday Weight Gain

Last year was the first year I didn’t succumb to the stealthy five or so pounds that creep up from Thanksgiving through mid-January and attach to my belly, butt and thighs.

I want the same thing to happen this year — and each subsequent year — so I figured out what I did right. And what I quit doing wrong!

Probably the most important thing was that I just didn’t bake as much as I usually do. Like every family, we have many traditions that swirl around the holidays like so much whipped cream on pie, which I got rid of. The whipped cream, not the pie. I mean, c’mon! Basically, I pared down the offerings to just a few can’t-live-withouts that I let everyone vote on. Turns out, nobody really liked the hoopla of baking and frosting 84 gazillion sugar cookies. We mindlessly ate them, though, well into January. So the sugar cookies got the heave-ho. (Bonus — You can imagine how much time that freed up, too, helping lower the ‘scheduling stress’ of it all.) But we kept our Christmas morning coffeecake, because some traditions you just don’t mess with. (We affectionately call it our Heart Attack in a Bundt Pan.)

I’m sure it’s no coincidence, but last year I finally figured out portion control. It seems like a simple thing, right? But if you’re struggling with weight gain, you know how hard it is to eat proper amounts of food. It’s easy to lose perspective about proper portions, with all the supersizing of restaurant meals and ease of buying in bulk. But I made the voice in my head quit singing the theme to Gilligan’s Island all day and instead tell me to “Eat half as much … you can always have more later if you’re truly hungry.” Of course, I’m, you know, lazy, so if I put away the leftovers first, then I won’t get them out again. And guess what? I never miss having seconds. I’ve realized that’s more of a habit than true hunger.

Everyone is tempted to only eat celery all day before going to a party … skipping breakfast and lunch so you can eat a huge Thanksgiving dinner … eating nothing sweet in October and then tearing into the kids’ trick-or-treat bag like a crazed hyena.

Doesn’t work.

I’ve already posted some tips to remain in control at holiday parties (which I learned the hard way too) so take a look at those.

Whatever you do, DON’T turn down an invitation to a party because you’re scared of wrecking your diet. Life is too short to agonize over your weight. It’s much more important to connect with your friends and family … yes, even if it involves a million calories. Just don’t eat a million calories.

Sometimes I’d slip and eat more — much more — than I intended. When I finally figured out that I needed to get back on track right then instead of waiting until tomorrow, the weight came off easier too. It’s very tempting to say, “Oops, I screwed up … may as well have another brownie/eggnog/serving of mashed potatoes/bottle of tequila.”

But don’t. I like the analogy of getting a traffic ticket. If you get stopped for speeding, you don’t say, “Oops, I screwed up … may as well keep speeding. I’ll slow down tomorrow.” No. You learn your lesson and slow down right then, becoming more conscious of your actions.

During the holidays, especially, I’d rather enjoy all the parties and festivities, so I’m willing to exercise harder and longer for the duration. I know I’ll probably consume more calories than normal from November through January, but I’ll also burn more too.

So, fingers crossed that I really have figured it out because that means I can continue to pass along the tricks and tips that work for me!

What about you … do you gain weight over the holidays? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks to avoid holiday weight gain?

Dr Oz’s Weight Loss Rules

I’ll say it again. I love Dr. Oz.

I stumbled on this article about his 5 Rules For Weight Loss. If you’ve spent any time in LazyLand, you’ll see they are very similar to mine. Of course, I’ve never put mine quite so succinctly or all in the same place. Hmm.

For the first four, he and I are tighter than spandex on Queen Latifah ….

  1. don’t drink soda
  2. don’t eat 3 hours before bed
  3. exercise every day … he says 10 minutes, I know you can do more
  4. portion control ROCKS

But we part ways on #5 — weigh yourself every day. He’s basically saying to hold yourself accountable and he does advocate the use of a food journal just like I do (he’s so smart!), but I think it’s a waste of energy to step on the scale every day. We all know it fluctuates from hour to hour, and day to day. I think if you care what that number says, stepping on the scale once a week is plenty.

If you buy into rules #1-4, then #5 will take care of itself.

Dr Oz — and I — know that losing large amounts of weight is overwhelming. But he’s a doctor and he also knows that losing just ten pounds can make you significantly healthier. So he’s created the Just 10 Challenge. He’s offering free ‘Just 10′ bracelets to remind you of your fitness and health goals. Click over there and get one for yourself.

But if you, like me, are simply too lazy, just use a rubberband. If you’re feeling artistic, you could even write YOUR goal on it. I think mine will probably be “find the Sharpie so I can write something on this rubberband.”

But that’s probably just me.

What would you write on your bracelet? Which of Dr Oz’s rules are hard for you? Which are easy? How often do you step on the scale?