Challenge #9: Tuesday, February 27 – Monday March 5, 2007

We are into our 9th week! How is everyone doing? This weeks challenges may be a little more challenging for some of you than our other challenges. Some of you may think this is going to be a lot easier. Here we go:

Nutritional Challenge for Tuesday, February 27 – Monday March 5, 2007

*** Week 9: Meats ***
Goal … Eliminate processed meats, smoked or cured meats, high fat cuts of meat, processed foods & preservatives. Eliminate processed foods from the diet. No frozen dinners, deli or luncheon meats (i.e. ham, honey ham, turkey, salami, roast beef, bacon, canadian bacon, hot dogs, etc). Preservatives such as jellies, jams, etc.

Substitute … Fresh varieties of the above, lean cuts of meat, white meat in place of dark meat, fresh tuna, albacore, chicken & turkey.

I know some of you have totally cut out red meat, good for you!!! Just make sure you remember that if you are watching your cholesterol, chicken & some fish have just as much cholesterol as beef, though less fat.

Bonus Challenge:

***Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night***

This one may be hard for a lot of you, especially those of you with kids & maybe even unrealistic for others of you. Sleep is so important though. While you sleep, your body is busy repairing & rejuvenating your body, so take advantage of free healing & get your zzzz’s. If you need even more reasons for getting your beauty rest: Research has proven that 7-8 hours of sleep every single night will help us to lose flab & become more energetic & better able to function throughout the day. This week, please work on getting more sleep. As an added bonus, getting enough sleep cuts our cravings for sugar & carbs! When we are tired, our bodies don’t produce enough seratonin…& carbs help increase seratonin in our bodies, so naturally we crave carbs when we’re sleep deprived. So let’s work on our sleeping this week! It will help in both our diet & exercise routines!

Challenge #8

So, how are you doing so far? Have you noticed a change in your eating habits yet? Are you being more active? I hope so.

For our nutritional challenge this week (February 20 – 26, 2007)

*** Week 8: Sugar ***  Goal … Eliminate refined sugar & Artifical Sweeteners like Equal (NutraSweet) & Splenda from the diet.

Substitute … Stevia or raw sugar or all-natural honey (or agave nectar – similar to honey), natural, unsweetened applesauce, GradeB maple syrup (to be used sparingly), brown rice syrup, no-sugar added spaghetti sauce, no sugar-added peanut butter. (Do I even NEED to say no doughnuts, candy bars, candy, cakes or cookies?)

Applesauce can be used in place of oils in your baked goods. If your recipe calls for ¼ cup oil, use 2 to 3 TBSP of applesauce instead. You save on a lot of calories!!! Here is an article that may help you to cut out that sugar.

Squash Your Sugar Cravings! By Connie Bennett Special for eDiets
Quite often, wannabe Sugar Kickers ask me: “How can I curb my carb cravings to keep myself from tasting & then inevitably gobbling handfuls of cookies or crackers?”

One of the most powerful & potent strategies is so simple that you’ll wonder why you never tried it in the first place. Simply hold off before doing anything — especially something that you’ll later regret. After all, if you mindlessly shove those fast-acting, Much-Like-Sugar Carbs in your mouth, you might later feel wiped out, spaced out, moody & depressed because the numbers on your scale continue to climb.

Think about it: Just about all of us are good at delaying in the first place. You know how you keep putting off cleaning the house, giving your boss that proposal or even throwing out the garbage? More to the point, many of us are pretty darn good at procrastinating, right? I know I am. While I’m certainly not proud of this dubious skill, delaying, I’ve found, is a fun, clever way to give procrastination a positive spin!

I hit upon this incredible strategy back in 1998 when I was told to kick sweets & simple carbs on doctor’s orders. To this day, I’m struck by how easy, effortless & darn effective it is to just delay!

Everyone of any age — unless you’re maybe a tot — can cultivate this tactic. All you have to do is promise yourself to hold off for a brief period of time. Then, you can delay over & over again, even for hours. Just think: The next morning you’ll be relieved & proud of yourself that you didn’t cave into your cravings.

Here are 7 ways delaying can be your remarkable ally to help you pull the plug on your unwanted sugar habit:
1. Delaying (first 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc.) before eating that brownie, cookie or candy bar gives you a golden opportunity to break away from your impulses to eat sweets so that you can easily detach from them.
2. Delaying for 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, etc., allows your cravings to readily subside while you get involved with other things.
3. Delaying lets you take positive, health-promoting action by simple inaction. Yes, doing absolutely nothing can be pivotal when kicking or cutting back on sweets & quickie carbs.
4. Delaying turns procrastinating into an effective art form & proactive gesture.
5. Delaying allows you to zero in on what foods — if any — you’re really craving. Does your body really need cookies, cake, & pretzels? I highly doubt it!! Or would your amazing body rather have water, fresh vegetables & fruits, high-quality protein or healthy fats?
6. Delaying gives you a chance to get in touch with your true feelings. What the heck is really going on that makes these quickie carbs so tantalizing to you?
7. Delaying permits you to take pride in yourself that you put off a short-lived, self-defeating immediate gratification in favor of a long-term positive outcome. (Isn’t it far preferable to lose weight, have more energy & concentrate better than giving in during one moment of weakness & then suffering the consequences?)

In short, simple delaying is truly one of the most effective tools a successful Sugar Kicker can use.

Pro-Active Action To Cut Your Cravings
I encourage you to become a delaying artist now. Of course, as you know, “practice makes perfect.”

Next time you have a hankering for something sweet (that’s processed), begin by delaying. Look at your watch or a clock & now wait for 5 minutes before putting any refined sweets in your mouth—you can easily do that! Now, step outside your obsessive sugary thoughts & wait 10 minutes. It can help if you do something else in the meantime. Then hold off another 20 minutes. Be creative with your delaying time. Some people find doing the dishes or putting clothes away is a way to pull the plug on your food thoughts. Then really challenge yourself! Wait an hour, then 2 hours, or maybe even the whole evening. You can do it! Finally, write about your experience in a journal or notebook. By delaying, you could learn a lot about yourself & the power of a focused mind.

Connie Bennett is a former “sugar addict” & “Sugar Shrew No More!,” who helps folks worldwide stomp out their sugar habit. She is author of “SUGAR SHOCK!”; founder of The 21-Day, Kick-Sugar Countdown Diet; creator of the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog; a holistic health counselor; & a journalist, who’s contributed to The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, TV Guide, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Living Fit, US, InStyle &

A stretch for you

Here is a yoga stretch that is easy to do & works well. 

From Yogalife magazine Spring 2007

Easy Pose (Sukhasana) 

Why do it?  This posture releases muscles in your hips, knees, thighs & back.  You will also straighten your spine & create more space in your abdomen for blood, fluid & oxygen to flood in & nourish your organs.  (This is a good thing). 

How to do it?  Begin sitting tall on your mat (or on the floor) with your legs straight in front of you (staff pose).  Next, fold your legs in crossing your ankles so your legs rest on the opposite foot (start with your right foot underneath).  If your back or shoulders round, sit on a block or folded blanket to keep your hips higher than your knees.  (This allows the spine the freedom to fold forward).  Rest your forarms on your thighs, close your eyes, & take 5 deep breaths here.  (Think cross-legged position, or “indian style”)

   Next, place your fingertips on the floor in front of your shins.  Take a deep inhale, & lengthen your spine from your tailbone through the crown of your head.  Exhale as you walk your hands out in front of you & fold your body forward.  Stat with your fingertips touching the floor.  If you feel limber enough, put your palms, forearms, & then both arms & forehead on the floor.  You’ve reached the edge of your stretch when you can still keep your sit bones pressing into the floor & your spine straight.  Stay here for 1 minute, building up to 5 or more.  Next time you do this pose, cross your left foot underneath. 

Take deep breaths & either spend the time praising God & thanking Him for the joys in your life, or just focus on your breathing.  Don’t let your mind wander, try to release the tension & stress of the day by enjoying this stretch.  When praying, keep it light!  Let me know if you have any questions, I wish I could show you pictures.  Debyi

New Challenge! Week 7

Here is our Nutritional Challenge for Tuesday, February 13 – Monday, February 19, 2007:

*** Week 7: Clean Up Fruits & Veggies ***
Goal … Eliminate canned fruits in syrup, canned veggies, fruit preserves, & jams/jellies with sugar.

Substitute … fruits canned in their own juices, fresh fruits & veggies, low-sugar preservatives* *(NOTE: preservatives will be eliminated from the diet as the rotation progresses)
– Fruits high in vitamin A: apricots, nectarines
– Fruits high in vitamin C: grapefruit, guava, honeydew, kiwi, orange, & strawberries
– Fruits high in vitamins A & C: cantaloupe, mango, papaya, & tangerines
– Vegetables high in vitamin A :carrots, spinach
– Vegetables high in vitamin C: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green pepper, snow peas
– Vegetables high in vitamins A & C: asparagus, broccoli, greens (collard, mustard), red pepper, tomatoes, vegetable juice (no added salt, low-sodium).
Include at least one fruit & vegetable high in vitamin A & vitamin C in at least one of your fruit & vegetable servings for the day.

So you eat at Subway?

For all of you who love Subways Tuna Salad (sorry KS!):

Tuna salad is usually EXTREMELY high in fat and calories. That’s due to the oily condiments it’s mixed with. At Subway, the 6″ Classic Tuna sub packs in a whopping 530 calories and 31g of fat (7 of them saturated!)! That’s WAY more than either the 6″ Steak & Cheese sub (400 cal., 12g fat) or the very low-calorie 6″ Roast Beef sub (290 cal., 5g fat). The bad news is that tuna, which has always been considered a “diet” food, can contain shockingly high amounts of fat & calories once mixed with mayo. Tip: To avoid tuna salad with mystery ingredients, prepare it at home, where you can carefully monitor what’s in it. 

Challenge #6

Are you ready for a new week? How did everyone do on fiber last week? I went through a lot of Fiber One cereal, fruits and vegetables. Yummy! This week, let’s keep our fiber going good & really start to look at the sugars that we are eating. Artifical sweeteners really aren’t as great as they say they are. I use to use Splenda, but as soon as I found out that it is cholorinated, I stopped! There are enough bad things out there without having to worry about my sugar containing bleach! Watch out for high fructose corn syrup as well.

*** Week 6: Added Sugars ***
Goal … Eliminate sweetened fruit juices, caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, Diet Coke, etc), & carbonated beverages from the diet.
Substitute … Water with or without a squeeze of orange, lemon or lime, juices made from freshly-squeezed fruit, fruit canned in it’s own juices, or fresh fruit (preferred).

Things you probably don’t want to know!

Calorie Alert!

Chili’s has added full nutritional info to their web site (for everything, not just their Guiltless Grill items).  And PF Chang’s has added nutritionals to their site as well.  I really like this trend, even though it’s scary to see how many calories and fat grams restaurant chain food contains, at least you know what you’re getting into.  The big unknown in the world of restaurant dining is, of course, The Cheesecake Factory (who keeps their nutritional info under tighter security than our country’s nuclear launch codes).  Let’s change that.  If we all send emails to the Cheesecake folks demanding that they make their info public, maybe they will.

Here are some scary fast food nutritional facts:

Burger King’s Triple Whopper w/ Cheese – This is one MONSTER of a burger.  The size of a small to medium sized pet, this mess of a meatfest is way too big unless you plan on sharing it with a group.  How bad is this burger blunder?  Try 1,230 calories and 82g of fat bad.  82 grams of fat?!?  Are they KIDDING?  Unfortunately not.  HG Tip: When it comes to fast food burgers, it’s all about portion control. Feel the need to bite one?  Go ahead and do it.  Just make it a regular hamburger or cheeseburger.  And be sure to ask for no mayo!  A burger like this (McDonald’s cheeseburger, for example) has around 310 calories and 12g fat.  Or, better yet, if you live near an In-N-Out Burger, opt for a single, protein style, with ketchup and mustard instead of their special “sauce”– it’ll only set you back 160 calories.

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