Spinach Smoothie

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 by kate

OK. It's weigh in day. Hopefully you woke up, went to the bathroom, removed every article of clothing along with watches and wedding bands, and hopped on the scale. Whatever the results are, send them my way. I'll confess I didn't do so well this week. I celebrated last week's weight loss a bit too much. But this morning got me back on track. So join the Weigh In challenge if you haven't already. Weigh yourself, and send the results to WeighIn@captivate.com. Track everything you eat , pick a plan that's right for you and be slimmer by summer.*

The other night I put spinach in my smoothie. No. I was not heavily medicated. I decided to walk on the wild side, throw caution to the wind, and turn the food pyramid on its head! (I don’t get out much.)

I’ve read a lot about putting odd things in your smoothie – avocado, kale, spinach.

So I was tempted.

I thought, “How cool would it be if this spinach smoothie turns out to be delicious! I’d share the recipe with the Weigh In world, we’d all go on spinach smoothie diets, loose fabulous amounts of weight, and never crave another doughnut again!”

And then I tasted the smoothie.**

And … it wasn’t … horrible. But it definitely tasted like I had just put a bunch of spinach in my fruit smoothie. And it didn’t dull my craving for doughnuts at all.

Had I been a little more patient, there probably wouldn’t have been any green gritty bits in there, either.

I haven't completely given up on my plan to trick myself into eating healthy food. But, I think I’ll try something else next time.

In the meantime, here’s my own fruit smoothie recipe (sans spinach).

½ cup mixed frozen berries***
½ cup fat free greek yogurt or plain yogurt****
½ cup Light Silk Vanilla soymilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. agave*****
2 T protein powder

Put everything in a blender and mix. For a special treat, top your smoothie with a dollop of Lite Cool Whip.

Any suggestions for my next smoothie?

*Forget bikini season. That's just not going to happen for me. So short sleeve season here I come!

* *The things I do for you guys.

***I love frozen berries because the fresh stuff spoils before I can eat it all. And I’ve banned bananas from my home, ever since I was invaded by an army of kamikaze fruit flies. Yes. The fruit flies have won.

****I used to get fat free vanilla yogurt, but I didn’t like all the added ingredients. Now I just add vanilla extract to plain yogurt and it tastes the same!

*****If you don’t have agave, throw in some honey instead.

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Put de lime in de coconut ...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 by kate

A Note for all you Weigh In Challengers: Don't forget tomorrow is Weigh In Wednesday. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and email me your progress at WeighIn@captivate.com. If you haven't joined the challenge yet, it's not too late! Weigh yourself, take a "before" picture, get your measurements and send everything to WeighIn@captivate.com. The challenge ends June 21st – the first day of summer – so we've got 7 weeks to go!

Today’s post was written by Nicole Silva, a registered dietitian.

Have you ever heard of coconut water? I'll be honest, I hadn't until recently. Some friends turned me on to it a few weeks ago. Then ... it started to pop up everywhere. So, what is it?

Coconut water, the clear liquid that comes from the coconut, has been popular in Brazil for years. It's a mix between water and a sports drink, and is loaded with electrolytes. It also has 15 times more potassium than a banana – that's a lot. One 11.2 oz box has 60 calories and no fat. Plus, it's really yummy. As a disclaimer – if you plan to replace water with coconut water post workout it isn't really necessary unless you are training for over an hour. But, it you are choosing between coconut water and a sports drink (i.e. Gatorade or Powerade) choose coconut water. Every time.

There are three major brands of coconut water available in the US: ZICO (Coke is a major investor), O.N.E. (Pepsi is the U.S. distributor), and Vita Coco. Each brand has various flavors...some that are better than others. It can be a little pricey – one 12-pack is around $21. Just remember it isn't something that should replace good old water. Just try it. You will definitely enjoy it!


I've lost 100 pounds ...

Friday, March 26, 2010 by kate

I wasn’t always overweight. I was completely within the normal range when I was born. But as I grew up, I also grew out.

Last night, I rummaged through my old photos to find a “before” picture to show you, but as any pleasantly plump person will tell you, photos are your enemy when you’re horizontally inclined. So it was difficult to find any photo of me before I ended my love affair with lard.

I found something, though. It’s not necessarily me at my heaviest, but it’s pretty darn close. Just like ripping off a band aid, I guess I’m going to have to show you this as quickly as possible and hope it hurts less.

So here goes:

Before – I know it was a bad hair cut. Leave me alone. I thought I was stylin'.

When I was rocking size 24 jeans and shopping at Lane Bryant I remember dreaming about being a size 18. That’s right. I thought everything would be right in the world if I could just shrink down to a slim size 18.

I’ve always wanted to lose weight* – I was a huge fan of Richard Simmons in his shorty shorts and Oprah in her skinny jeans. And I couldn’t tell you exactly when things clicked for me, but I finally started seeing results in college. That’s right. When girls were gaining their Freshman 15s, I was giving mine away. I guess I'm a little backwards that way.

The weight came off slowly … sometimes too slowly. And now, 10 years later, I’m here to report I’ve lost 100 pounds and still haven’t reached my goal weight. I know. I’m slow.


Sure, I’m damn close. But those last 10 or 15 pounds are so much harder to ditch than the first 15 or 20.

So, although I’m not an expert, I’ve been there. I’m still there. And I’ll be there with you. Even if you don’t reach that magic number or fit into those skinny jeans by the first day of summer, if you make a change in your life now, you’ll feel better. You’ll feel so much better. And maybe you'll even get a better hair cut like I did. Who knows.

If you haven’t joined the Weigh In Challenge, it’s not too late. Email me at WeighIn@captivate.com.

And good luck trumping temptation this weekend!

*Things I’ve tried (Thank God I was never tempted to try that Master Cleanse diet! I'm down with the maple syrup, but cayenne pepper and lemon juice?! No thank you!):
Weight Watchers – 3 times
Cabbage Soup diet
South Beach – lost 10 pounds twice … gained 15 back both times
Slim Fast
And various low calorie, low fat, low sodium, high fiber diets

What diets have you tried?

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If you bite it, write it

Thursday, March 25, 2010 by kate

A huge part of losing weight is what you eat. And you’ll never truly realize how much you’re putting in your mouth until you track it. I know I eat better when I’m writing everything down. I may still make some bad choices, but they’re not nearly as bad as when I don’t hold myself accountable. Let me translate this for you working folk. If you know your boss (food journal) is watching you work (eat), you’ll be less likely to surf the web (fridge) and post comments (eat) on Facebook (french fries). See?

So here are a few free sites you can use to track what you’re eating.

Spark People
I have used this site to track my food intake and workouts. It’s a great, easy way to count calories and make sure you’re eating enough protein. Oh, and it’s free!

Whether you want to know the calorie count in cake or cabernet, these sites have massive food data bases, and they’re easy to use:

Calorie Count
The Daily Plate
Peer Trainer
Calorie King

Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers is a great source even if you’re not a member. It’s got recipes, dining out tips, blogs and motivating success stories.

Hungry Girl
Awesome cooking tips to concoct low-calorie cocktails, healthy junk food and tasty guilt-free meals.

If you haven't joined the challenge yet, email me at WeighIn@captivate.com.

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Weigh In Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 by kate

I was terrified that I'd start this challenge ... and gain weight the first week. That's just the kind of sense of humor my body has.

So I was positively giddy when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw I lost 1.5 pounds this week! Starting this weight loss challenge was just the kick in the pants I needed to really hold myself accountable.

How did you do this week? Did you lose weight? Stay the same? ….. Gain?? Email me your results at WeighIn@captivate.com. And if you haven’t joined the Weigh In Challenge, start today. Read my first post, get cracking and start tracking.

If you haven’t seen results, reevaluate what you’ve been doing. Have you really been tracking everything that goes in your mouth? Even the stealth doughnut nibbles in the office kitchen?

And if healthy eating means Caesar salads and a bag* of Baked Lays, check out our guest blogger and registered dietitian Nicole Silva’s blog. She’s got great tips on what foods will properly fuel your body.

And stay tuned. Later this week I’ll share with you my horribly embarrassing “before” picture.

*and I’m not talking a single-serving bag, either

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Fat blocker from the sea

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 by kate

It’s a far cry from the cookie diet, but new research shows seaweed reduces fat intake by more than 75%. No wonder you don’t see many pudgy crabs or fat fish.

Scientists at Newcastle University have already begun mixing Alginate -- a natural fiber found in sea kelp – into bread to see if the laboratory tests can be translated into the real world. And when used in a blind taste test, the alginate bread actually favored over plain, white bread.

"Our initial findings are that alginates significantly reduce fat digestion," explains Dr Brownlee.

"This suggests that if we can add the natural fiber to products commonly eaten daily -- such as bread, biscuits and yogurts -- up to three quarters of the fat contained in that meal could simply pass through the body.”

"There are countless claims about miracle cures for weight loss but only a few cases offer any sound scientific evidence to back up these claims," explains Dr Brownlee. "Alginates not only have great potential for weight management -- adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fiber content."

Seaweed isn't foreign to our food chain. And alginates, specifically, are already used in foods as thickeners. So feel free to chow down on some green stuff from the sea!

Don't forget! Tomorrow is Weigh In Wednesday. If you haven’t joined the weight loss challenge, start tomorrow! Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and email me at WeighIn@Captivate.com. The first day of summer is on its way!

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Eat more, lose weight

Monday, March 22, 2010 by kate

Today’s post was written by Nicole Silva, a registered dietitian.

The key to success in achieving and maintaining your healthy weight is simple ... snacking. I know, you never would have guessed that...but it's true. Three meals a day (even three healthy meals a day) are great ... but you will inevitably find yourself hungry a few hours later and heading to the vending machine. I suggest eating every 3-4 hour to keeps your metabolism running and help maintain your blood sugar (preventing the rapid spikes and drops that cause you to feel ravenous). So be prepared, aim for snacks between 150-200 calories and have these treats handy!

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes: 1 oz of fresh mozzarella has just 70 calories. Pair 2 oz with 10 grape tomatoes and you have a filling, 170 calorie snack!

Almonds and Fruit: I'm being a bit vague by saying fruit because there are a myriad of fruit options to pair with your almonds. Half a serving of almonds (approximately 12 almonds) and an apple are one of my favorite snacks and just 160 calories. Insert your favorite fruit and enjoy! Sweet and salty = a perfect combination.

English muffin and Nut Butter: There is nothing better than a snack that feels more like a meal. An English muffin is a great way to enjoy a mini-sandwich. I like Trader Joe's whole-wheat English Muffins, but any whole -wheat version is a great choice. Paired with 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter (unless it's Better'n Peanut Butter then you can have two tablespoons!) and enjoy a delicious 200 calorie treat.

Laughing Cow and Wheat Thins Flatbreads : Laughing Cow cheese is to die for and just 35-50 calories per wedge. Spread a little on some Wheat Thins Flatbreads and you are set to go! Two flatbreads have just 60 calories--so go ahead and have 3 or 4. One wedge of cheese goes a long way--I swear!

Popcorn: Popcorn is one of the best snacks ever—it is high in volume, low in calories and high in fiber--provided you choose the right variety (sorry, movie popcorn is not an option). I love the mini bags by Orville Redenbacher or Jolly Time. Both companies sell 100-calorie bags in two flavors--butter and kettle corn. I'm a sweet and salty kind of gal so I love the kettle corn--but both are delicious.

So get your snack on and keep your focus!


Cutting calories in your coffee

Friday, March 19, 2010 by kate

Ok. So you’ve weighed yourself. Now breathe.

Everything will be ok.

This doesn’t mean you’ll have to survive on celery and water the rest of your life. In fact, you’re better off just starting slow and tweaking what you already eat.

Today, we’re tackling drinks.

Because I have a problem. With coffee. And I'm sure I'm not the only one around here.

I hate it when stick-thin nutritionists tell you to nix your daily mocha for a cup of green tea. I mean, sure, the green tea is really good for you, but who really wants to drink green tea instead of a mocha? That’s just silly. So here are some ideas of how to cut the fat without cutting the fun.

** You can still have your double-tall-mocha in the morning, just cut the whipped cream. You’ll save 100 calories and 10 grams of fat in just 2 tablespoons! And who has just two tablespoons?! If you get your mocha every weekday, you’ll be saving 2,000 calories and 200 grams of fat in a month – without really doing anything! If you think you’ll miss it, just ask the barista to dollop some extra thick foam on top. You might even discover you prefer the sweet, foamy milk over the melting globs of fatty whipping!

**Instead of a Grande Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks, grab a Chocolate Banana Smoothie and save 110 calories, 10.5 grams of fat and 17 grams of sugar. The smoothie has protein powder and an actual banana in it, so you’ll stay satisfied for longer. And it tastes good, too. If you need the caffeine fix, ask them to put a shot of espresso in it.

**Ask the barista what kind of milk they use in your latte. If it’s 2%, ask for 1% (if you’re not quite ready to take the leap of nonfat faith). Or try soymilk, which has less calories and fat than 2%.

**Ask for half the syrup, or sugar-free syrup.

**Put a package of sugar free hot chocolate in your plain coffee to mix things up.

By tracking what you eat, you’ll be shocked at how many calories you’re wasting on drinks. Track everything, even if you don’t know all the nutrition info. USA Today’s food tracker is a great guide.

If you haven’t joined the challenge yet, send me an email at WeighIn@captivate.com. Include a before picture, your height, weight and body measurements. (Or any combination that you’d prefer.) If you’d rather not send a before picture, still take the picture. It’ll help motivate you.

And come back next week, when I share my very first "before" picture. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Join the Weigh In Challenge!

Thursday, March 18, 2010 by kate

I was going to wait until Monday to share this weight loss challenge with you, but then I thought that’s the trap perpetual dieters fall into. “I’ll start Monday,” is often followed by a weekend of Last Suppers. So, instead of waiting for the first of the month or a Monday, or the morning after a marathon love affair with chocolate, I’m starting this today. On a Thursday. In the middle of March. Exactly 95 days before the first day of summer.

So here’s the deal. I’ve recruited experts to share their wisdom with you here, on Weigh In. I’m also going to share success stories of people who have lost weight so we can pick their brains and find out how they battled brownies and won.

Those who want to participate can write to me at WeighIn@captivate.com. Send me a before picture with your weight and measurements. If you’re not comfortable sharing all this information, you don’t have to. You can just send in a before picture. Every Wednesday will be Weigh In Wednesdays. You’ll weigh yourself and report back to me at WeighIn@captivate.com. (If you don’t want to share your actual weight, you can just tell me how much you’ve lost/gained each week.) It’s important to be held accountable. Sure, you may still eat Oreos the night before weigh in, but you may not eat the whole sleeve. I’ll pop into your head around your fifth or sixth sinful circle of goodness and you'll put. down. the. bag. of. Oreos.

I’ll also share with you my progress – that’s right I’m doing this, too! Feel free to share your struggles and successes in your email and I’ll address them here.

95 days. 13 weeks. If you lose one pound a week, you’ll be 13 pounds lighter by the first day of summer. Why wouldn’t you want to do this?

So what now?

Calculate your BMI.

Take your measurements: (like my artwork?)

Chest: At the largest part of your chest.

Biceps: Halfway between your elbow and the top of your shoulder.

Waist: At the narrowest point, about an inch above your belly button. And don’t suck in your stomach!

Hips: At the largest part of your bum.

Thigh: At the largest part of your leg.

Read this.

And come back here tomorrow.

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Corned beef and beer -- Not exactly diet food

Monday, March 15, 2010 by kate

Corned beef, cabbage and green beer. How did those leprechauns stay so trim?

If you’re Irish, or inclined to celebrate the shamrock this week, here are some tips to survive the holiday without reenacting the Potato Famine.

Corned beef and cabbage is NOT part of the cabbage soup diet. But who says corned beef has to be made out of beef? Check out this recipe for Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Here’s a recipe for Vegan Irish Soda Bread.

And you know what else is green? Veggies.

Celebrate the shamrock with some green tea instead of green beer.
And if you have to pick up a pint, Guinness is fat free and only has 196 calories in a pint. The lightest light beer I could find is Budweiser Select 55 with only 55 calories. But that’s not accounting for taste.

So how do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Any tips on staying slim while having a celebratory sip or two?

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Alcohol May Curb Weight Gain

Thursday, March 11, 2010 by kate

I love it when my vices magically turn into virtues. Peanut butter? That’s a ‘good’ fat. Chocolate? Load up on those antioxidants. Coffee? It’s the new superfood. Chips? Ok. Maybe some things are just bad for you.

But a new study just might be my new favorite. It says women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol don't gain as much weight in midlife as those who abstain.
I’m sure they’re probably not talking about mudslides and margaritas (both of which have about 500 calories a serving … and who has just one serving??).

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston examined data from 19,220 women and found women who drank 15 to 30 grams a day -- the equivalent of a drink or two -- were 30% less likely to be overweight or obese at the end of the study than those who didn’t drink. And the most effective beverage for curbing weight gain was red wine – my favorite!

But don’t let this information go to your head – researchers warn against turning to an alcohol diet. Though I do think it would pair well with that cookie diet everyone talks about.

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I run with Gaga

Monday, March 8, 2010 by kate

Lady Gaga is my ra ra-ah-ah-ahning buddy.
Jealous? Yea, she’s great. She’s doesn’t look all that athletic, but she’s chatty and upbeat and challenges me to keep up the pace. And she’s usually always reliable. Well, except for last Sunday.

At mile 8 of the 13.1-mile race I was running, Lady Gaga finked out on me. She just went silent. I begged, I pleaded, I fiddled with my Shuffle, all to no avail. And I was forced to run the rest of the race alone. I don’t know about you, but running without music is really, really painful for me. It makes me focus on every ache and pain, and the miles just seem to crawl by. So, I’m blaming Gaga for my slow finish last week. Totally justified, I'd say.

But now that Lady's back, I'm afraid she and I will get sick of each other, spending all our time together. So I'm looking for suggestions. Who do you take on your runs? What music motivates you to work out a little harder?

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Why I run.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 by kate

I run for ice cream, sweet potato fries and chocolate. Basically. Some people run to be healthy and fit. Others run for the Zen-like solitude it allows them. I suppose those are all good reasons, but the real reason I run is for this:

Yes, it was February. Yeap. My teeth were chattering. No. That didn't stop me.

Last weekend I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon. I finished – not exactly with a great time, but I finished.

Sweat in Style: Make sure to color-coordinate your headband with your outfit and your beet-red face.

This is the third year I ran this race and every year I celebrate with a Steve & Sue’s Flurry – the highlight of my weekend. Then I top that off with beer and sweet potato fries at the British Beer Company. I believe these are scientifically proven to be the best post-race foods to eat. They say you should be eating foods high in carbohydrates to refuel the body. Beer has carbs, right?

What’s your favorite post-race indulgence?

Now onto recovery. I ran the half marathon on Sunday, so I’ve been trying to take it easy for the past few days. Experts say you should take a day off for every mile you raced. So, if you run a half marathon you should take two weeks to return to your normal training schedule. That seems like an aweful long time.

How long does it take you to get back to normal after a big race?

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