Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things- Sweet Treats Edition!

Weekly treat=2 scoops of Graeters- YUM!
I cannot count the number of times people have said to me that they would never be able to be successful on a health or weight loss journey because they like chocolate/dessert/etc… too much.   I am here to tell you that I lost over 118 lbs this past year- and I never gave up any of those things!  When I started this journey, I wanted it to be a life change and something that I could sustain for the rest of my life- and in my mind a life without chocolate is not worth living:)   I have always had a sweet tooth and that has not changed- what has changed is that I no longer satisfy those cravings by eating humongous servings of chemical fake treats.   Before I tell you some of my favorite sweet treats, here are the two main rules I use when incorporating “treats” in my daily life: (1) Treats are treats- not a meal and not a source of nutrition- and so except for my weekly Graeters visit I only allot approximately 200 calories a day for a sweet treat/dessert (while I do count fruit in my total daily calorie allowance I do not count fruit as part of my 200 calorie allotment unless I’m using it as dessert)  and (2) Organic real food treats are ok; chemical, high fructose corn syrup foods are poison (I stole this from Jillian Michaels) and poison is not a treat, poison kills you. 

Here are a few of my go-to favorites when I need the sweet tooth satisfied:
  •  Paul Newman’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups: Seriously, these things are amazing.  You get three cups in a pack and I usually get them at Krogers for about $1.10.  After having these, you will never be able to eat a Reese’s cup again without tasting the chemicals.
  • Trader Joe’s Super Dark Chocolate Truffle Bars: I have 4 squares of this almost every day for my nightly dessert.  I have found that it takes me a lot longer to eat dark chocolate than it does milk chocolate,  which means that I am way more satisfied by the time I am done.  When I have milk chocolate, I gulp it down and then immediately want more than the 4 sections I just ate.  Plus, dark chocolate has some great health benefits that milk chocolate does not have.
  • Graeter’s ice cream: I love, love, LOVE ice cream.  In fact, I used to buy half gallons of it and have huge bowls of it every night.  I have found that if I have it in my house, I will eat it and so instead of having that temptation, once a week (usually on the day of my long run) I will go to Graeter’s and have 2 scoops (my favorites are chocolate chip cookie dough and double chocolate chip).  I love going to Graeter’s because they do not have corn syrup in their ice cream and they also use milk from cows that are not treated with bovine growth hormones- and not to mention it is delicious!
  •  Bananas: I love making Lexy’s banana ice cream or slicing a banana and eating it with a tbsp. of almond butter.
  • Organic Greek yogurt: with honey or in a smoothie with berries
  • Fruit: once you start buying organic fruit, you will realize how much of a delicious sweet treat fruit actually is! Right now I am really enjoying the summer fruits- cherries, strawberries, and melon.
  • Frozen Grapes
  •  Almond Butter: sometimes a tbsp. of almond butter is just the trick to get rid of that sugar craving!
  • Sweet Potato Chips with cinnamon: the cinnamon brings out the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and offers a ton of health benefits as well!
  • I totally need this water bottle!
  •  Iced Coffee: Now instead of filling my coffee with fake chemical creamer, I use a splash of vanilla almond milk.  I pour it over ice and it is such a sweet, refreshing treat! Also, I no longer get the calorie laden Frappuccinos or mochas at Starbucks (which used to cost me almost $5.00 and were full of calories)- instead, I just order an iced coffee with organic soy milk which is under $3.00 and does not require any extra sugar or sweeteners!
- What are some of your favorite sweet treats?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Whenever I used to see vegetable stock in a recipe, I just used water, or if I was feeling real fancy I would buy chicken or vegetable stock (at about $3 a box).  I had no idea it was SO EASY to make!  Since farmers markets are in full swing I would bet that you also have some leftover vegetables or ends that you don’t eat.  Turn them into stock and freeze it for later use.  Don't rush out and buy lots of vegetables just to make stock, this is is perfect for whatever you have left. 

This is a pretty loose recipe since you can just use whatever you have on hand.  I have used whole carrots and whole onions, and I have also used the ends/tips and what I have peeled away.  Both work just fine.  I always cut off the celery leaves, since I’m not going to eat those anyways, and just save them with some other vegetable scraps.  Just make sure to rinse off the dirt first, but this is perfect for the outer layers of onions or whatever you don't eat. 

If I have all day I’ll put it all in my giant crockpot full of water and just let it steep all day.  Or, I have also filled a giant stock pot on my stove and simmered it for 1 hour.  I also use fresh garlic and whatever herbs I have on hand. 

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green onions or a small leek, rinsed and diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt
  • pepper

 You can also use mushrooms, broccoli stems, or whatever odds & ends you have.

After it's done cooking just strain it, throw away all the vegetables (you have all the nutrients and vitamins anyways) and portion into bags or containers. Or better yet, put the leftovers in your compost!  The stock freezes really well and you can measure it into 1 cup size freezer bags so you can pull it out whenever you need it for a recipe.  I have also used it to cook whole grain brown rice, instead of boiling it in water.  It gives it a great flavor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Guest Blog Post: Sarah's take on Diet Drugs

Sarah and Carrie in May
This morning I heard on the news that the FDA has approved a new diet drug, called Qsymia.  Hearing of diet drugs really irks me because those that need to lose weight (and those that don’t) will rush to get their hands on this “miracle” drug.  And I want to scream in protest and here’s why.  But first, a little about me…
I am a 5’8”, marathoner, cyclist, endurance distance inline skater, former military person with a 20.5 BMI.  Why do I say this?  To give you some options of where your life could go.  4 years ago I was 35 pounds heavier…but still a marathoner, cyclist and former military person.  Your initial reaction is correct: HUH?  How could I be an endurance athlete and still be 35 pounds heavier than I am today?  Or even more confusing, how could I run marathons, be IN the military, eat perfectly and gain around a pound a week?  I was as baffled as you.  I did things right.  I ate the correct number of calories (more when I was training, less when I was in an off season).  I ran 5 times a week.  I biked once or twice a week.  I ate healthy things.  I weight lifted.  And yet I was gaining weight.  I considered Alli at the time to help me out, but the side effects of the chemicals seemed worse than gaining the weight.  And I had my head about me – do things the right way and you will succeed.

Over New Years in 2008/2009 I was visiting my friend in Colorado.  Her husband and her were starting the South Beach diet again at the start of the year and one of the diet’s key points is NO carbs for the first two weeks. Having gone to college with her for 3 years, she knew I loved my carbs.  As a dare, she encouraged me to go 2 weeks without carbs.  Since I am a sucker for discipline, I accepted.  And guess what?  I lost 8 lbs the first 2 weeks.  Over the next 4 months I ended up losing 35 pounds.  I dropped almost all carbs (except fruit and rice – before noon) and focused on protein and changing how I worked out.  I lightened my weights and did more reps in the weight room and at home.  I made it a point to run faster, not always longer.  In cycling, I saw hills as a welcomed challenge versus something to be dreaded.  I changed my perception of standards for athletes and my body changed.  If you are one of the lucky people who can eat whatever whenever they want – I’m happy for you!  I really am.  But it didn’t work for me.  My timing of food was all off.  In exercise, my body had fallen into the usual rut and it wasn’t challenged anymore.  With that said, back to my rant about diet pills…

Before anyone starts rambling ignorantly about how this drug is meant for those with a secondary issue to the obesity (high blood pressure and diabetes, at the top), let me first tell you these are SECONDARY ISSUES to the main issue – obesity.  And guess what?  While taking this drug, you are to exercise and eat correctly.  Hmm…similar themes to normal “dieting”.  (BTW – I hate the word “dieting”.  I like the word “diet” as that is what I choose to eat day in and day out.  I have a particular diet that I choose to live with, but I won’t be “dieting”.  That is temporary.)  Also, the drug only claims an additional 5-6% weight loss.  If you need to lose 100 pounds, it is ONLY going to help you lose an additional 5.  Not all that much in the grand scheme.  These chemicals are poisons to the brains of the obese.  They give a false hope for a miracle drug.  Get off the couch and do what your body was meant to do anyway – MOVE.  This drug WILL NOT cure your obesity.  This drug WILL NOT cure your high blood pressure.  This drug WILL NOT cure your diabetes.  But YOU can.

YOU have to make the decision to change.  YOU have to make the decision to be more disciplined in YOUR life for your spouse, children, grandchildren and friends.  You don’t have to start out with a marathon in mind for a goal.  How about walking around the block without getting winded?  How about making a concerted effort to not eat carbs after lunchtime?  How about cutting out all the cups of coffee you drink everyday (limit it to 1 or 2) and drinking water the remainder of the day?  IF you want it, you WILL get it.  You have to figure out how YOUR body works.  This will be done with trial and error.  NO PILL will do the work for you.  YOU have to do the work.  But honestly, it will become a habit and will no longer be work.  I promise.  But it is SOLELY your choice.

Sarah is Oracle EPM consultant as well as Carrie's personal Jillian Michaels. She is a strong, amazing, talented and compassionate person who pushes herself and others to achieve their best potential.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm a pepper, He's a pepper

I had an unfair bias against stuffed peppers and I am happy to report that we are no longer prejudiced to the delicious stuffed pepper.  I’m kinda picky on red sauce and not a big fan of sloppy/messy food, so this is perfect for us.  You can certainly switch out the filling with quinoa, feta cheese, mushrooms or other vegetables.  We have tried it with sausage and chicken, but prefer the grass fed ground beef.  We eat these at least once a week in our house. 

Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Ground Beef, and Parmesan
(Makes 4 large stuffed green peppers)
Dinner is Served!

1 cup dry long-grain brown rice
4 large green bell peppers, cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed.  Look for ones with 4 nubs at the bottom, they are easier to stuff
4 red/orange/yellow or green peppers

2 large onion, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. grass found ground beef
3 cloves of garlic pressed

½ piece of fresh Ginger shredded
1 tbsp. Chili powder
1 tbsp. Paprika
1 tbsp. Cumin
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sirachi chili sauce to taste

Start by cooking one cup of long-grain brown rice.  Brown rice is so much better for you than bleached white rice which removes many of the vitamins, fiber and iron.  Cooking brown rice usually takes close to an hour so I get this going before I cut all the other vegetables.  Just follow the directions on the package for cooking times.

Brown the ground beef and drain off the fat.   

 Cut off the stem and remove the seeds from the green peppers.  Make sure the hole is big enough to stuff.  Stand up the peppers in a baking dish. 

Remove the stems & seeds from the remaining peppers.  You can use any color, I like red, but I usually grab whatever is on sale.  Chop up the peppers & onions. 

We use a wok, but if you don’t have one you can use a big skillet.  Pour in the olive oil cook the onions on medium for about 5 minutes until they start to carmelize.  Add the peppers and all of the seasonings.  Cook for about 15 minutes until the peppers start to soften. 

Once you start using actual ginger, garlic and real Parmesan cheese (not the powdered stuff in the green can!) you won't go back to dried herbs and seasoning again.  I have a mini hand grater that I use to grate the ginger.  Change the amounts of each of the seasonings to suit your palette. 

Remove from heat and add the ground beef & rice.  Mix well.  Stuff in hollowed out green peppers, push the stuffing down with the spoon so the peppers are tightly stuffed.  If you have any stuffing left just bake it in a ramekin and enjoy.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

I grate my ginger with one of these
After 30 minutes top with shredded Parmesan cheese and put back in the oven to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Traveling without Falling Off the Wagon

I’m going to be honest here- now that I have changed my nutrition and exercise habits, going away for a weekend or on a vacation freaks me out a little.  It is not that I do not want to get away (trust me, I LOVE vacations and traveling) but I have gotten into such a dedicated habitual routine that going into a situation where I will not necessarily have 100% control over my food and exercise makes me a little nervous. The good news is that I have learned that it is possible to go on vacation or on a weekend getaway without sacrificing your entire diet and exercise routine!

Carrie's top ten tips for how to enjoy your vacation without completely falling off the wagon:

1. Plan ahead: Even though I sometimes drive my family crazy with this, I have found that if I plan ahead of time, I am able to have a much more enjoyable and relaxing vacation. I try to have a basic game plan of an itinerary that way I have an idea of which meals I will need to pack or what days I might have more time to squeeze in a quick run. Also, it allows me to look up healthy, local or organic restaurants I may want to try and have that information on hand so I do not have to waste precious beach time trying to find a place to eat!

2. Be flexible and adapt to the circumstances: No matter how much planning you have done ahead of time, you cannot control or plan for every situation. As an example, in February I was a chaperone at a youth retreat- since I would be missing running group, I brought my shoes and running clothes and planned to run the scheduled 5 mile run on the hotel treadmill.  When I arrived at the hotel, there was a big sign stating that the fitness center was under construction. Instead of letting this roadblock sabotage my run, I decided to run laps outside of the hotel.  Now was this the most fun run that I have ever had? Not by any means!  But I still did it and now every time my youth group goes on another trip, my youth girls always laughingly ask me whether I’m going to run laps around the hotel again- to which I respond, “yes, if that is my only option, that is what I will do!”

3. Make educated choices: If you are going on a business trip or vacation where you are unable to select the restaurant (or if you are at a convention where the food is served to you) do not worry, you do not need to starve yourself or only drink water. Most restaurants have their nutrition information online- so grab your smart phone and quickly look up some healthy options (fyi this might surprise you- I have found that a lot of the entrees I actually wanted were a lot healthier than the salads I almost ordered because I thought they were “healthy”). Simple choices such as only eating the chicken breast and vegetables and skipping the white bread dinner roll/margarine can make a big difference.

My pre-packaged and labelled snacks prepared for youth group convention
4. Pack snacks: This has been a huge life saver for me! Before I go on a trip, I make sure to stock up on some tasty snacks that do not require refrigeration.  That way, if I am faced with an unhealthy meal that I do not want or get hungry during the middle of the afternoon, I do not have to resort to the vending machine.  I try to find snacks that offer protein (for energy) and other nutrients that my body may not be getting while I am away.  Some of my favorite traveling snacks are pistachios, single serving packs of Justin’s almond butter, Suzie’s Spelt Puffed Cakes (like rice cakes, but packed with more nutrients- on a recent trip I would use these and the almond butter packets to make an almond butter sandwich as a meal replacement), granola, pita chips, sweet potato chips, Clif Mojo bars, and Lara bars.  Also, if you get the individual serving size packs of organic milk, they do not need to be refrigerated until you open them- so you can buy a couple of those and bring with you for cereal.

5. Pre-package/label snacks: Even when you bring healthy snacks, you have to be mindful of how much you are eating- but while I am on vacation I certainly don’t want to be measuring out my food or trying to figure out how many calories are in something.  So before I go, I divide and package all of my snacks into individual portion sizes and label it with the number of calories it contains.  Trust me the 30 minutes it takes to do this ahead of time will be well worth it!
Elizabeth and I- yes we did get up super early and run the next day!

6. Make time for exercise: Even if it means exercising at odd hours, do not sacrifice your exercise routine. If you can, connect with someone else who wants to get their exercise in- recently while chaperoning a youth convention, my friend Elizabeth and I got up 45 minutes early and went running together. Not only did we get our calorie burn in, we also got some extra time to talk and catch up! If you are not a runner, check out the fitness center at the hotel, bring a work out dvd to play in  your laptop, or if you are desperate walk up and down flights of stairs. As they say on Project Runway, “make it work!”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My taste buds have changed

I seriously doubted that I would ever stop craving cupcakes, Cheetos and sweet tea.  But I promise you I have.  I didn’t know I liked the following tasty items until I started trying them.  I am a crunchy type of girl, so most of the preparations I am drawn to are baked and crispy.  Carrie is working on her own list of healthy sweets, so be sure to come back and read that. 

I am embarrassed to say I had plenty of artificial peach flavored things like snow cones and candy, but never actually bit into a juicy fresh peach.  Wow, completely different taste and experience! 

Here’s some staples that are on my list now that I never would have dreamed of:

·         Avocado-I'm not sure what my aversion to this was, but I now I love them!
·         Green grapes-They are even sweeter than red or purple grapes, and I love to freeze them and just pop them in the summertime instead of a popsicle 

·         Artichokes-and I’m not talking about spinach dip from Applebee’s!  Normally I eat them chopped up in a salad or on spaghetti squash. 

·         Blueberries-I always found them to be sour, but our local farmer's market sell organic blueberries and they are like candy!

·         Dates-a main ingredient in larabars, which I get by the caseful!

·        Peaches-Oklahoma has an abundance of sweet Southern peaches

·         Butternut Squash-I cut them up like french fries and bake them.  Much healthier for you than white potatoes.

·         Kale-I like to bake this into chip form.

·         Hominy-so good in white chicken chili

·        Squash-I always pictured a mushy ratatouille, but guess what you can slice & bake these up like chips too! 

·         Brussel Sprouts-I liked them shaved on the mandolin in a salad, or I use this recipe and bake like chips  I just use sea salt, and don't bother with the lemon pepper seasoning. 

Oxo Mandoline
If you like crunchy things I would suggest getting a mandoline.  I have this hand held one that was less than $20 and it works great.  It's sharp, so use the blade protector, I have plenty of cuts on my fingers to prove it!  Not only is it a lot easier to slice up something, but you also get even slices, so the cooking time doesn't fluctuate. 

What are some new foods you have found since you started eating healthy? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dealing with Negative Nellies, Jealous Janes and Ignorant Idas

June 2012-  my "extra skin" in a size 6 dress
Have you ever wondered why one negative or insensitive comment can create so much havoc on your weight loss or health journey?

Recently, I came face to face with this exact situation. Two weeks ago, I hit a major milestone- I weighed in at 149.4, which put me in the normal BMI range for my height! Finally I was in the home stretch where all I had to do was keep going until my body plateaued and then I would officially be in maintenance mode. I was feeling great about my body- after all, for the first time ever I was wearing size 6’s!  I headed off to an annual state convention, excited to show off the results of my hard work and perseverance to friends and acquaintances who had not seen me since the very beginning of my weight loss journey.  While most people were extremely complimentary, I was caught totally off guard when an individual grabbed the loose skin of my upper arm and stated “that is going to take a long time to firm up, isn’t it?”  

While I wish that I could say I responded with something clever or confident, the truth is that I was speechless and am not sure that I even uttered a response.  Even though I eventually dismissed the comment and even laughed about it with friends, the truth is that the comment was extremely hurtful and all of the sudden every time I looked in the mirror I was now fixated on my upper arms and the lack of tone in them, rather than focusing on the ways in which my body looked strong and healthy.   (Just as a side note- once you get really big, even when you lose a bunch of weight, the extra skin does not miraculously disappear- however the way I look at it is that extra skin hanging off a size 6 body is WAY better than my old size 24 self).

So true! Dedication is not obsession!
One of the hardest parts of my weight loss journey has been dealing with the reactions (or lack thereof) of other people and learning to not make decisions for my life based on these reactions. Losing weight results in physical changes that are more evident to the naked eye than other life changes, which seems to invite the comments or critiques of friends, co-workers, family members and other acquaintances. Many times these comments were supportive and encouraging, but there were also times during my journey when the words of people in my life actually had the potential to sabotage all of the changes I was making. What I have found is that sometimes the most damaging comments are not necessarily as blatant as the scenario I described above; for me, the hardest part was sticking to the eating and exercise plan that I had determined was right for me, in the face of other people making comments such as “organic is overrated” or “exercising 5 days a week is excessive” or “one extra cupcake won’t hurt you.”  I am sure that some of those  comments were made with good intentions, but other times I truly believe those comments were meant, either consciously or subconsciously, to attack the progress that I had made.

I am definitely not a psychologist, but here are some of my observations of how other people react to someone successfully losing weight:
  •  Negative Nellie: Let’s face it, life is not a Hallmark movie, and there are just some people who are mean-spirited and who for some reason get a kick out of making nasty or negative comments. No matter what you do, Negative Nellie will never be happy and her goal in life is to try to bring you down with her. Even if she won the lottery she would still complain about paying the taxes on it!
  • Jealous Jane: I honestly believe so many hurtful comments are made by people who are secretly envious of someone else’s success at something that they have been unable to accomplish.  Instead of seeing another person's success as inspiring or motivational, Jealous Jane sees it as a reflection of a personal failure.  Thus, instead of asking for help or advice, it is often much easier for Jealous Jane to make a disparaging comment instead.
  • Ignorant Ida: Ida does not intend to be harmful, however she offers tips and advice that are not based on research or knowledge, but rather on what she has heard or the latest fad.  Ignorant Ida is the kind of gal who will tell you that you can eat anything you want and lose 20 lbs in 2 days as long as you sprinkle special powder on your food.  Ignorant Ida is only dangerous if you take what she says at face value instead of questioning her source of information.
When one of these pesky ladies appears in my life, I try to remember the following things:
  •  I am definitely not an expert and by no means perfect and so I need to be receptive to new ideas/suggestions without immediately shooting them down
  •  Hurt people hurt people and often the negative comments are less about me and more about something the person is internally struggling with
  • Our relationship/identity is often based in comparison with other people (right, wrong or indifferent) and when one person in the relationship changes this dynamic it can be really disconcerting for the person who has not changed
  • There have been times in my life where I have spoken without thinking and I need to not automatically assume the person is trying to be hurtful
  • I have done my research and chosen the path that is right for me and just because someone has a different approach it does not mean that my approach is wrong 
  • It is important to not base self-worth on others opinions’- either positive or negative- because the opinions of others can be extremely fickle
So what is the take away here?   I do not have a perfect answer to this question because this is something that I am still working on. However, I think it is important that no matter what the situation, it should be handled with grace, empathy (if possible;), and a balance of humility/confidence.  Except for Negative Nellie- I think you should just kick her to the curb!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Healthy Kettle Korn

I'm a snacker and I needed something to replace cheetos, baked lays or even pretzels.  I have fallen in love with my airpopper.  I got mine on amazon for less than $20 and it's well worth it (it's the yellow one on the bottom).  Every kernel is popped so there is less waste and you can control what you put on it and make it as healthy or decadent as you want. 

Microwave popcorn scares me, literally. Not only is it ridiculously overpriced, but what is that metallic thing in the bag?  There are over 40 different chemicals in a bag of microwave popcorn, including one called perfluorinated carboxylic acid.  Seriously?  What is that?  It's $2-$3 for a box with 3 bags, or with 1 pound of kernels I can make over 50 cups of popcorn!  That's enough for a few months and it only cost $1 a pound.  You can't get more frugal than that!

I love the baby white kernels, but I haven't been able to find them in Oklahoma.  We have our friends and family ship us 5 pound bags at a time from Ohio.  We have also tried the red, and blue kernels (they pop white) and the standard yellow kernels that you see everywhere.  The baby whites are easier to digest and have less annoying hulls that get stuck in your teeth.

Kettle Korn Recipe
1 scoop of popcorn kernels (use the inverted scoop in the lid of the machine)
1 1/2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
equal amount of salt & natural sweetener to taste (we use truvia)

Shake vigorously and enjoy! If you have any left, which we never do, you can put it in a ziploc bag for later. It's the perfect amount of sweet and salty, and no high fructose corn syrup in sight!

One of my favorite new finds is Organic Coconut Oil.  We use it in place for butter or oil for everything.  It does have a light coconut flavor, so if you hate coconut this may not be for you.  It's not overwhelming or sweet, but you can taste coconut, which makes it delicious in my mind!  We use it every morning in the pan when we cook our eggs.     You need to store it on the counter, it turns solid in the fridge and you can't scoop it or use it.  I'll be working on a full post on coconut oil and it's many uses, but go out now and try some!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review of The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper

Carrie and I are both fans of the Biggest Loser and Bob and Jillian's straightforward approaches to health and weight.  We have both been so engrossed with trying to learn more about being and staying healthy we have been reading anything we can get our hands on.  It was refreshing to find this easy read that gets right down to business. 

The book was about 250 pages, the first 100 pages were devoted to the 20 skinny rules, 50 pages for menus, and 100 pages for recipes.  I tagged at least 30 of the recipes, but I haven’t tried any of them yet, so look for those in a future post.  The “Rules” are easy common sense mantras.  I choose a few that really spoke to me and highlighted them below. 
The other day I was at an event and the only option was pizza.  I didn’t plan properly with a larabar in my purse and ended up eating 2 slices of pizza.  It wasn't filling at all, I was hungry an hour later.  For all the calories (and lack of vitamins and nutrients), I was floored that I was still hungry.  Bob address this very fact in to the introduction when he says “No wonder people get fat, it’s cheap and easy to get high calorie food.  If you want your body to be right sized, you have to stop ordering supersized."
He dispels the myth that all you have to do is exercise and the weight will come off.  Yes, exercise is great and has many benefits, but if you think your 4 mile walk every morning is helping you, just be aware that the small bag of French fries you eat at lunch has more calories than you burned during your 4 miles.  He is adament with the idea, if you want to lose weight and STAY that way, you have to change your life.  It’s even more damaging to your body to change your eating patterns, drop weight, and then go back to what you were doing.  You will put on the weight you lost, plus more, not to mention slow down your metabolism even more!

Rule 1-Drink a large glass of water before every meal-no excuses!  If you missed my post on the benefits of drinking water, check it out here  Water keeps your organs healthy, moves food through your body and makes you feel full. 
Rule 2-Don’t drink your calories.  We have covered the soda is satan topic on an earlier post  Here Bob talks about sports drinks.  Just because it’s marketed with a sports & fitness themed commericial does not make it a healthy option.  Unless you are training for a marathon you don’t need those extra calories and sugars.  Water will replenish your system more effectively. 
Rule 3-Eat protein at every meal-or stay hungry and grouchy
Rule 4-Slash your intake of refined flours and grains
Rule 5-Eat 30 to 50 grams of fiber a day
Rule 6-Eat apples and berries every single day.  Every. Single. Day!
Rule 7-No carbs after lunch
Rule 8-Learn to read food labels so you know what you are eating.  Great tips on evaluating the serving size, number of serving, calories, protein, sugar, sodium, fat, trans fat, carbs, fiber, net carbs, the ingredient list, chemical and the percent of daily value section of each label.  I don’t know what polysorbate 60, autolyzed yeast and caseinate look like and I certainly don’t want them in my body.    
Rule 9-Stop guessing about portion size and get it right-for good
Rule 10-No more added sweeteners, including artificial ones
Rule 11-Get rid of those white potatoes
Rule 12-Make one day a week meatless
Rule 13-Get rid of fast foods and fried foods.  If you haven’t bought into the dangers of fried foods, know that it also accelerates wrinkling of the skin, sleep apena, chronic diarrhea, smelly skin, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes and a host of other medical issues.  There is NO way you can eat highly processed or fried foods and be healthy. 
Rule 14-Eat a real breakfast.  You will FAIL at weight loss and weight control if you don’t eat a balanced breakfast every morning.  He then covers the details on some breakfast favorites like oatmeal, eggs and greek yogurt.  Brian and I have been eating 2 organic eggs every morning for over a year now.  There is enough protein to sustain us until lunch, and I really look forward to them when I wake up.  I guess it helps that Brian is the chef in the kitchen, but it really only takes about 3 minutes longer that preparing a bowl of cereal. 
Rule 15-Make your own food and eat at least 10 meals a week at home
Rule 16-Banish high salt foods
Rule 17-Eat your vegetables-just do it!
Rule 18-Go to bed hungry.  When you go to sleep without sluggish carbs in your bloodstream, you will burn fat like crazy.  And you will get better quality sleep, which will lead to muscle repair and increased energy the next day. 
Rule 19-Sleep right
Rule 20-Plan one splurge meal a week.  One meal, not a whole day of meals!  And don’t blow it on a fast food place that isn’t serving real food anyways.  Make it count, eat real food.  Make a recipe that uses more decadent ingredients than you would normally use.