Monday, February 28, 2011

New Spring Resolution Eve

Welcome to Monday and the eve of your New Spring Resolutions! I trust you spent some time this weekend doing preparations to begin your NSRs tomorrow. Are you excited? Ready to move toward your goals and dreams? Excellent!

The New Spring Resolution plan you created on Friday is your map for the next nine months. Make progress and do at least one thing each and every day toward your goals. Remember, often the smallest thing done consistently is your best bet for sustainable progress.

A few other tips for your success:
  • Put the key dates into your calendar
  • Share your NSRs with your family and friends and ask them to be your cheerleader
  • Revisit your exercises if you need some extra motivation (Plus Ten is a great one).
For added help, I've included answers to some of the questions we've received in hopes that they'll help you, too.

Q: Spring doesn't start until March 20. Why are we starting on March 1?
A: Spring has begun already, no matter what our calendars say. The signs of Spring have already started so we're going to begin, too. Yes, the Spring equinox is on March 20 but the buds are beginning to bud, the sun is brighter and the air is starting to smell like Spring (go ahead... go outside and sniff!).

Q: What if I reach my goals early?
A: Congrats! I like the positive thinking! If you reach your NSR goals early: 1 - Celebrate and 2 - Make new goals.

Q: What if I miss a goal?
A: Keep working at it, even if you miss a deadline. If you feel really discouraged and want to quit, take some time first to reflect and re-assess. It may be helpful to go back to the exercises and evaluate your goals. Make new ones (even if they are small in comparison to your original goal) and keep working at it. If you need some encouragement, go to the Cybercise Facebook page and ask for help (lots of friendly helpful people over there).

Q: Why do we only work on our resolutions until November 30, 2011?
A: We are helping you create a life-long habit of making goals and moving toward them. Part of doing so well includes time to rest and reflect so during December 2011 and January 2012, you'll rest and dream (and enjoy holiday festivities). By giving yourself time to know your authentic self and what is really important to you, you'll be better ready to start creating your 2012 NSRs which we'll do in February 2012.

If you have other questions, you can post comments here, visit our Facebook page or write to us at

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Spring Resolutions: Deadlines

Welcome to Friday! As promised, today we are going to put some deadlines to the five steps you created yesterday. The idea with steps and deadlines is to allow yourself an organized way to get closer to your goals, and give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate small accomplishments on your way to the big goal. Yes, celebrate! We encourage you to think of rewards you will enjoy as you complete each step. Don't forget, wellness includes having fun!

You may find as you attach deadlines to your steps, you have to make some changes. Please don't feel pressured to put too much pressure on yourself. If creating the deadlines makes you also reconsider your goals, feel free to do so. You are creating a plan for you so be sure it will work in your life. And, remember, even the smallest change can make all of the difference. Plus, it is perfectly wonderful if you acheive your New Spring Resolutions before November 30th and want to revisit this exercise and create new ones. Bonus points for those who do... be sure to let me know!

To create your deadlines, you may find it easiest to create another column on the chart like so:

After you have your deadlines established, please enter them into whatever manner of calendar tool you use. If you're using an electronic calendar, it may be helpful to set reminders for yourself far enough in advance so you'll be sure to continue making progress.

This weekend, invest some time in doing some prepartion so you'll be ready to begin on March 1st. Let's say for example, your Eat. goal was to eat at least 10 home-cooked meals each week. This weekend would be a great time to find some new recipes, clear your pantry of the processed, fake-food stuffs you won't need anymore, plan your meals for the upcoming week, make a grocery list and go to the store. With all of that accomplished by Monday you'll be well on your way toward your New Spring Resolution goal!

Monday we're going to have one final piece before you begin your New Spring Resolutions on Tuesday, March 1st. Between now and then, enjoy your weekend, give yourself some time to prepare and be sure you get lots of rest. Spring is springing!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Spring Resolutions: The Steps

Happy Thursday! Here's is where things get fun in the creation of your New Spring Resolutions. If you completed the assignments this week you now have three goals to work on between now and November 30, 2011. Today we're going to create the steps to get to your goals.

For each goal, write down five things you will do between March 1st and November 30th to reach your goal. Your steps should be achievable and yet not so easy you won't have to invest any effort. The reward is often in the doing. This chart may help get you organized:

Tomorrow, we'll put a little meat on these bones with deadlines. Have a terrific evening!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Spring Resolutions: The Plan for Be.

Welcome to Wednesday and the ongoing development of your New Spring Resolutions. Thus far this week we have created a goal for your exercise and food between now and November 30, 2011. If you're only now joining us, you can go here to catch up on the discussion from last week (you will need the exercises from last week to complete today's assignment).  If you created a mind map it will be useful for today's assignment.

Today we are going to create a goal for how you'll Be. between now and November 30, 2011. The Be. portion of our approach to wellness is about happiness, fulfilment, your purpose in life, the difference you want to make, your relationships and the reason you get out of bed in the morning. Having a clear sense of who you'll Be. in this world is a great way to create a life well lived. Come on! Let's create a great life!

Last week you created three lists:
  • Dreams - What are your dreams for your life.
  • Surrender - What you could stop holding onto.
  • Change - What you would change so something in your life is different 10 years from now.
Take a look at your lists. What really jumps out at you? Did you re-kindle a dream (or find a new one)? Did you recognize you might be better off allowing a change you've been guarding against? Perhaps the realization of how quickly time passes with the Plus Ten exercise will redirect some of the things you do today. Pick one thing from your list and create a goal to get there. Of course, some of the things on your list might be multi-year projects (i.e., finish college or get a new job) so choose a goal you can accomplish over the next 9 months that will get you closer (i.e., submit college applications or job training).

I encourage you to spend some time with this particular assignment. The more thoughtful, the more powerful. When you're ready, complete the following statement:
  • Be.: By November 30, 2011, I will (enter your goal)
Tomorrow, we'll start working on your plan. Have a great evening!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Spring Resolutions: The Plan for Eat.

Happy Tuesday and welcome to today's assignment for creating your New Spring Resolutions. Yesterday, you created a goal for your physical activity between now and November 30, 2011. Today, we're going to do the same for your food and nutrition.

The assignment is simple. In your NSR journal complete the following:
  • Eat.: By November 30, 2011, I will (enter your goal).  
Some ideas to help you along...
  • Eat at least 7 servings of vegetables each day
  • Eat processed food less than 3 times per week
  • Make my own lunch at least 4 times per week
  • Eat fast food less no more than once per month
  • Learn to cook one new dish per week
  • Reduce the amount of red meat to 1 or 2 times per week
  • Eat foods with sugar less than 4 times per week
  • Have less than 3 cans of soda
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day
The possibilities are endless! What you may notice is the sample goals above are specific and measurable. You are much more likely to achieve your goals if you make the goal very clear and something you can count. Otherwise, you may be left to "think" you're doing better (which is kinda like cheating). Remember, your goal for today is to create your goal. You can, of course, have more than one goal, just remember you're best served by making small changes you can stick with over time.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Spring Resolutions: The Plan

Happy Monday! Welcome back to the final countdown to creating your New Spring Resolutions (NSRs) for 2011. First, let's go over what is in store for you this week and then we'll get to today's assignment.

This Week
Over the five days of this week we are going to: identify and prioritize your NSRs; create steps to get closer to each resolution; and then, on Friday, you'll create some deadlines for each step. Next weekend, you can devote some time making preparations so you're ready to begin your NSRs on Tuesday, March 1st.

To identify and prioritize your NSRs we're going to follow the framework of Move.Eat.Be.. Using this structure is a terrific way to ensure your goals are balanced and you're progressing in each key area of your life (exercise, nutrition and happiness). I also want you to think about your NSRs as 9-month projects. In other words, what you decide to do you will start on March 1st and finish on November 30th (more about that on Thursday).

Today's Assignment: Move.
Today's assignment is to create a New Spring Resolution for your physical activity (aka Move.). If you don't think you need to add an exercise component to your NSRs, I encourage you to think again. Every one of us has some room for improvement with their physical activity. Ideally, you will exercise each day and, over the course of each week, do some cardio, strength training, flexibility and core work.

Your NSR for Move. is your goal. Ask yourself, "On November 30, 2011, I'll have succeeded in my Move. NSR if I (fill in the blank)." If you're having some trouble filling in the blank, here are some questions to help:

  • What kind of improvement would you like with your physical being? Weight loss, better muscle tone, more flexibility, improved balance, better sleep... 
  • What type of exercise do you think you need the most? Cardio, strength, flexibility, core.
  • Are there any medical or health conditions you would like to improve? High blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, depression...
When you've given yourself some time to consider, record the following in your NSR journal:
  • Move.: By November 30, 2011, I will (enter your goal).  
Simple! We'll work on how you're going to get to your goal on Thursday and Friday. For now, think about how good you're going to feel when you're there. Have a great evening!  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Resolution Map

As you work on your New Spring Resolutions reflection assignments this weekend, I thought this little trick might help. Create a mind map!

Mind maps are a great way to organize your thoughts and a very powerful tool for your reflection weekend as it puts all of the exercises on one piece of paper. You can copy and paste the map outline below to your computer, print it and start adding bubbles on each arm of the map. Yesterday's blog post includes handy links to each of the exercises if you need a reminder.

Have some fun creating your map and get ready for next week! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reflection Weekend

Nine days ago we suggested you start thinking about New Spring Resolutions to begin on March 1st. In keeping with the cycles of nature, Spring is actually the best time of the year to start new projects and create something new (explanation in previous entries).

Since we began on February 10th, your assignments have been to:

Your New Spring Resolution goal for this weekend is to catch up on any of those five assignments, should you have missed one. And, when they are all complete, look at what you've noted. 

If you're being really honest with yourself, I think you'll find some clues here. Perhaps a long lost goal. You'll know love. You'll appreciate what you've learned from others. You'll recognize change often brings unexpected treasures. And, you'll understand how quickly time passes. 

Next week, we're going to start creating specific goals for specific areas of your life. Next weekend, you'll put together a plan to reach those goals. By March 1st you'll have your New Spring Resolutions and a plan to get them accomplished. Best of all, these resolutions will important, achievable and meaningful. 

Are you excited? Me too! Enjoy your weekend and invest some time in you and your New Spring Resolutions. See you Monday! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Plus Ten

Your New Spring Resolution creation exercise for today is "Plus Ten." Get a piece of paper and follow these steps:
  1. Write your age today
  2. Write down the date 10 years from today
  3. Write your age 10 years from today
  4. Write the ages of the people closest to you in 10 years (spouse, kids, parents, siblings)
Now, let's get creative! In 10 years...
  1. Where will you live?
  2. Who will you be living with?
  3. Will you have a job? If so, where?
  4. Where did you travel in the past10 years?
  5. Did you go to school? If so, what did you learn?
  6. What was the very best experience you've had in the past 10 years?
After you've finished, take a look back at the next 10 years. What would you change now so something else is different in 10 years?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sometimes, we humans spend an awful lot of time, energy and money making sure things don't change. This is true in each of us, this is true for organizations and this is true in politics. Maintaining the status quo consumes, I say, at least 50% of our total contribution to the world.

After awhile, you learn change is inevitable. Life moves, things happen and events turn out very differently than one would have ever imagined. Read the newspaper... there are dozens of instances of this going on right now.

My New Spring Resolution question for you this evening is what status quo are you holding onto right now? Are you investing part of each day working to keep something just as it is now? Do you plot, plan and strategize so your world won't look different in a few weeks, months or years?

Make a note of one thing you're holding onto. Then make a few notes about how your life would be different if the change you're working so hard to prevent actually happened. Note the really bad things and find at least one good thing. This is a great exercise just before bed... could be excellent fodder for your dreams.

Happy pondering and good night!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Five People

On the quest for your New Spring Resolution, today's assignment is a short one.

Make a list of the five people who influenced you the most
Write down the most important thing you learned from them
Enjoy! Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 14, 2011

What do you Love?

In the run up to March 1st and your New Spring Resolutions, today we're going to talk about love. Seems appropriate, it being Valentine's Day. While I'm at it, Happy Valentine's Day!

I trust you had a good weekend of sleep and dreams. Hopefully, you are well rested and remembered, or rekindled, a dream you've had for your life. We're going to get back to you life's dream later this week.  Today, let's be about love.

To help you with your New Spring Resolution, I want you to think about what you love. And, while you're thinking about love it would helpful for you to make a list of what you love. There are a few rules, of course. What you love can be:
  • A person
  • A place in nature
  • An experience (either past, present or re-occuring)
  • A pet
What you love, for the purposes of this exercise, shouldn't be a thing you buy. Sure, you can love your car or love your house, but we're talking about a bigger sense of love today.

Once you have your list of what you love, I want you to describe how you feel when you love it. For example, when I return home from a trip, I'm always greeted by my dog, Loki. He jumps, barks, shakes, wags and is generally very excited. In that moment, I feel grateful to be home and I forget any of the trials and tribulations that often come with travel.

Other ideas? Perhaps one of the things on your list is the beach. Maybe you love the beach because of the sound of the waves and the feel of sand between your toes. Maybe you love each time you wake in the morning to a kiss from your sweetheart. Maybe you love the time you created a piece of art or spoke in front of a crowd about your favorite topic. Maybe you love sitting with your kids after they return from school to share a snack and a story from the day. There is lots to love out there...

The idea to get in tune with how you feel when you sense "love." We all love the feeling of love so it will help each of us to get more love if we know what love feels like for us. Make sense? Excellent! Explore love today, enjoy Valentine's Day and we'll see you here tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring Resolutions!

If you read yesterday, you know we're going to spend the rest of the month helping you define your New Spring Resolutions. How exciting!

In short, we're going to share a few exercises over the next 17 days to help you develop meaningful resolutions which you'll begin on March 1st. Our exercises are designed to help you create resolutions to help you accomplish a goal, get closer to your dream and, most importantly, be resolutions you will actually stick with. A big promise, we realize!

Your assignments for this weekend are very simple: Sleep and dream. The days of winter are the best days for sleep (think about bears hibernating). And, while you're sleep and while you're awake, think about your dream for your one life. What do you want to do? Where do you want to live? How do you want to be?

Just reflect, get in touch with dreams of the past, think of dreams for the future and get lots of rest. We'll be back on Monday with more. Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spring Resolve

Did you make any New Year's Resolutions at the start of 2011? Are you still following them? If not don't feel bad, most other people aren't either. Do a quick poll of the people around you. See?

Why do we do this to ourselves year after year? Peer pressure is my best guess. In truth, starting some new project in the depths of winter is not really a good idea. If you're a student of TCM you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're not familiar, here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote at the end of 2009:
"Let us observe together what happens in the season of winter. It is cold so we want to stay inside. The sun rises late and sets early. It is really dark at night, so our bodies want to sleep more. Many of nature's creatures are now hibernating. If not full-time hibernation, at least their activity is much reduced and they spend more time sleeping and resting. More time being quiet, more time getting ready for the Spring. Nature's animals are not going to leave the warmth of their winter den to go out and start a new exercise program on January 1st. Nature's plants are not going to start to bloom on the first of the year just so they can be in better shape or more beautiful for the summer season. Nature gets it. Nature's animals and plants understand winter is a time for rest, hibernation, reflection, stillness, patience and for simply not yet knowing what the Spring will bring."

So there. Feel better now? Excellent, now let's get to it! Contrary to what the calendar says, Spring is beginning. The groundhog says so and if you're in tune with nature, you've noticed the sunlight looks a bit different, brighter if you will. Now is the time to plan your new projects and your New Spring Resolutions for 2011. Today is February 10 and we have 18 days until the 1st of March.

I will devote the rest of the month's blog posts to helping you plan your New Spring Resolutions. Our goal is to help you create a plan which you will start on March 1, 2011.  Your first assignment is to sleep. For the next four days, I want you to get more sleep. Enjoy the last bits of hibernation, the darkness of the nights and the late sunrises. Go to bed early. Sleep in late. Ideally? Go to sleep with the sunset and get up with the sunrise (and I recognize that is near impossible for the vast majority of us, but you get the idea).

Check back tomorrow. You'll have a mini-assignment for the weekend as well.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Western Weight on the World

Today's Washington Post included an interactive graphic on the Body Mass Index across the world from 1980 to 2008. The data came from a study of cardiac risk factors and shows the growing prevelance of obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure across much of the world. Go to the article so you can truly understand the impact.

My commentary? We continue to export our Western ways of living (sedentary life consuming fast and processed foods), followed by our Western health issues (obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes) followed by our Western "solutions" (surgeries and pharmaceuticals). The only ones benefiting from the "Western-ways" epidemic are the shareholders of the companies that create the problem and then fix the problem.

Everyone else, and the environment, suffers. My advice can best be summed up with:

Shame on us.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Workplace Wellness

Thank you to Corporate Wellness Magazine for publishing our article, "One Size Wellness" in this month's issue. I encourage you to go to link to read the entirety of our article and the other fabulous articles written by my esteemed peers. This publication has great information and advice on workplace wellness strategies.

The following is an excerpt from our article listing seven steps for finding the best wellness program for your company. Feel free to share with your boss or human resources department.

  1. Do a census. Understand who is in your company. Understand what they spend most of their workday doing (sitting at a computer, driving, physical labor). Understand their general health status, age, preferences and health knowledge.
  2. Take a survey. Ask them what they would like in a wellness program. Ask them about their preferences. Ask them what would work best for them. Ask them their biggest personal wellness challenge or need. If you want help coming up with survey questions, do a Google search, there are plenty of examples on the web.
  3. Create a budget. Wellness programs can range from practically free to hundreds of dollars a month. Sure, a weekly health coach onsite to meet with each person would be great and is generally very expensive. Be realistic about your annual budget and what your company can afford.
  4. Consider a co-pay. People are more likely to follow something they are invested in. Simple fact. Ask your employees to pay a fraction of the wellness program costs and then consider a discount on their insurance premiums for meeting wellness goals.
  5. Ensure accessibility. To be most successful, the wellness program you select should be available 24/7 from everywhere. Sure, office-based workout facilities are great but what does your staff do at night and on the weekends? Wellness should integrate into their lives, not just become another thing “to do.”
  6. Build a community. Look for tools that help your team get, and remain, engaged in the program. Are there social networking features? Inter-company challenges? Ways to measure group success?
  7. Seek Balance. A well-balanced wellness program includes exercise, nutrition and stress-reduction information. With the diversity in your group, each person will need a different aspect from a wellness program. More exercise won’t combat a bad diet of too much processed food. And eating leafy greens won’t much help the person so unhappy and too stressed. Be sure the program you choose has some elements of each key tenet of wellness (exercise, healthy eating and living well).
If you're ready to learn more about how Cybercise delivers workplace wellness solution, we have more information right here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not Medicine as Food

For several years, Dr. James Gordon at the Center for Mind Body Medicine has been training healthcare professionals about food during his Food As Medicine conference. Dr. Gordon is a world-class educator and author and developed this program to help clinicians incorporate food into a healing solution for their patients. The foundation of this program centers on our ability to heal our bodies and keep them healthy with the foods we choose to eat.

Contrast this with an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about Nestle's purchase of a "Medical Food" start-up. The company, CM&D Pharma Ltd., is testing a chewing gum to help kidney-disease sufferers. The WSJ article quoted the Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke who said, "This has huge potential. It is going to be multi-billion." For the record, the FDA considers medical foods different from drugs. Which means the regulatory and administrative burden of bringing these "medicines" to market will be significantly lower. I'm a bit confused how a division called "medical-foods" would not be subjected to the same scrutiny as drugs, but perhaps I'm naive.

Dr. Gordon and his team teach health professionals to use whole, natural foods to help people heal. Dr. Gordon doesn't charge "multi-billions" for his program. I wonder... how much good could we do in this world if we invest in programs like Food As Medicine instead of spending millions to create medicine as food products to then sell for billions to the unsuspecting consumer?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Pressure of Perfection

When we were in school, we would study a subject and then be asked to pass a test. Most of us can remember the unpleasant sensation in our body around having to take an algebra test; few of us, probably, remember the quadratic equation. After you finish school, you realize life isn’t about tests anymore. Life becomes about living and being and going through each day in the pursuit of happiness. We all strive to live by the Golden Rule, “Do to others what you would like to be done to you.” Yet sometimes we forget the golden rule or get caught up in the drama around us.

Life as Practice
We only get one life to live and this is it. While this may seems a bit sad and depressing, let’s look at it another way. In a lifetime of 75 years you’ll have 2,366,820,000 seconds. During some of those seconds, you’ll remember the Golden Rule. During others, you’ll forget about the Golden Rule completely and purposely choose the opposite. The idea of life as practice is that you have the very next second to do something different. Think different, feel different, speak different, be different.

To really understand life as practice, consider this… You are thirsty so you walk into the kitchen and open the refrigerator. You’re about to grab some cool, fresh water and you spot a can of soda. As your hand is about to pick up the water, you start replaying old stories in your head. “I want a soda. Soda is bad for me. But I’ve been good lately, I deserve a treat. I am too fat. I miss soda. I’ll only have one. I love soda!” Depending on how active your mind is this little dialogue could go on for several moments. What happens next? You take a soda, pop it open and take a big long drink, quickly, so as if to pretend it didn’t happen. After you swallow the soda and begin to walk away, you grumble at yourself. You know water is better. Your body really wanted the water. You feel weak‐willed and upset with yourself. You’re still walking away, the soda still in your hand. Now you have a choice. Take another swig of soda or pour the rest of the can down the drain and go back for water?

Life as practice. You can make a different choice in this moment, too. So what if you chose the soda in the last moment? In this moment, you can choose again. And again, and again, and again. When you make a bad choice, give yourself the space to make a better one the next time. Don’t get caught up in being perfect each moment of each day. You aren’t, you won’t be and trying to pass each and every test without exception is a great way to make yourself unhappy. The idea of practice is that we keep practicing. Over and over; each moment a new moment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Eat. (adapted)

In early January we released our Wellness Wheel and in mid-January, I devoted a few days of the blog to a more in-depth look at our Wellness Wheel to explore each section of the wheel and how it relates to our Move.Eat.Be. program.

On Monday, the USDA announced the newest Dietary Guidelines and I've devoted some time to reading the (ugh) 112-page document. Today, I explored the recommendations about eating more seafood. And, I very much enjoyed the article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal by Bill Tomson and Ilan Brat and the quote included they therein from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association which said, "A recommendation to add fish to your diet doesn't mean you should cut back on leaf beef." It made me snicker. I'm pretty sure if I took the time to dig back in the historical records to find when eating more chicken became all the rage somebody from some beef association likely said something very similar. If they had their way, we'd be eating beef for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Getting to the point... we're editing our Wellness Wheel. I realized two things: One - We had a category for "lean meat" which really was meant to include seafood. Two - I don't want to add to the confusion created by words like lean, light, low-fat, etc. So what was previously named our "lean meat" category will now be called "seafood and meat."

The renaming, of course, raises the question about what kinds of meat, and how much, you should include in your diet. We believe it is best to discover what works best for you by awakening your body and paying attention to how you feel. Some people will feel better eating no seafood or meat. Some people are better off sticking to mostly seafood or chicken. Some people thrive on red meat. And others, still, feel their best with all types of "seafood and meat" in their diet. Taking some time to discover what works best for you is the secret to sustainable, life-long wellness.

Until you discover your own personal approach plan to Eat. seafood and meat, here are some guidelines:

  • Organic, sustainably-raised and natural is always best
  • Consume smaller portions of all seafoods and meats (a serving is about the size of your computer mouse)
  • Choose minimally processed versions (as whole and as close as you can get to nature). Generally speaking, this means:
    • Little to no ground beef, sausages, hot dogs (unless you know and trust the producer)
    • No fish sticks or chicken nuggets (unless you make them yourself from whole fish or chicken)
    • No "meat" in cans or any kind of "pressed-meat patties"
    • No cultured, or in vitro, meat
Why? All too often, we are told to reduce our calorie intake by switching to "lean meat" or "low-fat dairy" and other such terms. This advice is included throughout the USDA's new dietary guidelines. Unfortunately, when a food manufacturer takes a natural fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy or meat and processes it to force it into a product that can be called "lean" or "low" the resulting food-like product  does far more harm to our health. We are much better off eating appropriate portions of the original, non-processed food even if it is the "full fat" version. Hence the new Eat. category of "seafood and meat." Choose well. Eat. (real). 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eat (at home).

My friend Bill wrote to me a few weeks back and asked how I was doing on my own quest to lose 10 pounds. Back in October, the numbers on the scale had crept up a bit too much and I began writing about my own experience to lose 10 pounds. After a month or so, my 10pound updates were consumed by other blog writing and, quite honestly, I didn't know if anyone was reading or if my observations were actually serving anyone else. I don't blog for me and in the absence of feedback or support to continue telling my story, I stopped. Thank you, Bill, for letting me know you did read and for taking the time to send me a note to check in on my progress!

Since my last update (11/15 at 127 pounds), we've had the holiday season and traveling and 2011 started off with more travel and many more meetings. Last week for example, nearly every meal was at a restaurant for lunch and dinner meetings on top of which I had a nasty cough so didn't do any cardio work for fear I'd cough up a lung. The scale on Sunday morning was 133. I grumbled about the house for a little while. It is so frustrating to make progress and then go in the opposite direction. Grrrrrr.

Since Sunday evening, I've prepared every meal for myself. The scale this morning? 130. I've lost 1 pound a day for three days in a row. I'm eating whatever I want, including having wine with dinner. Granted, when I made my Move.Eat.Be. plan for the week, the foods I chose were healthy. I concocted kale and white bean casseroles in my new little Le Creuset pots (I love them!) with a side salad and bread (yes, I'm eating bread!). Last night was poached salmon with tomato and green onion sauce (cooked in 2 TBS of butter), side salad, a left-over mini casserole and more bread. Tonight is roast chicken with root vegetables. Lunches are leftovers or salad greens with hummus, mushrooms and avocado. Breakfast is (usually always) banana, blueberries (frozen, wild, organic), other fresh fruit as available, topped with ground flaxseed and accompanied by almonds. I had a cookie last night. And, I've done a workout each morning and am following along to most of our 10-to Workday Workout program.

The moral of this story? Eat at home! It is much less expensive. It is much better for you. And, honest, it does not take that much time to cook dinner. Please don't be freaked out by the cooking shows and the celebrity chefs who use 10 pans, 20 bowls and claim you can cook like them in 30 minutes (sure you can, if there is a crew prepping for you and cleaning up after you).

Take the poached salmon. It literally took me 20 minutes from start to table like so:

  1. Turn oven to 350⁰
  2. Put water on to boil
  3. Slice green onions and salmon filet into 1" wide serving pieces (sprinkle with salt and pepper)
  4. Put mini-casseroles in oven to reheat
  5. Make a salad dressing (olive oil, balsamic, dijon mustard, pepper, salt, thyme)
  6. Stage sauce ingredients (grape tomatos, 2 TBS butter, sliced green onions, salt, pepper) near stovetop
  7. Put salmon into boiling water (cooks in 10 minutes for 1" inch think slices)
  8. Slice bread and pour some olive oil into a dish with freshly ground pepper
  9. Put plates on counter. Set the table. Pour wine.
  10. Heat butter in skillet
  11. Poor a wee bit of salad dressing into bag of salad greens. Shake.
  12. Put tomatoes in skillet with butter, cook for 2 minutes, add green onions. Cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  13. Take salmon out of water
  14. Plate (salmon with sauce on top next to salad). Slices of lemon. 
  15. Retrieve casseroles from oven
  16. Carry to table
  17. Sit. Eat. Enjoy.
  18. Cleanup took less than 10 minutes, including hand-washing the cookware.
Going out to eat is one of my very favorite things to do. But, until we can implement The Real Food Label in our restaurants, it is very difficult to understand what is really in the food we eat when we're out. And, I fear the additives and quality of the food when eating out (there are very few organic restaurants) has a negative impact on my ability to avoid weight gain. I'm amazed by how three days of eating at home has made such a big difference. Do yourself, and your scale, a favor.... create a Move.Eat.Be. plan each week and explore the rewards from your own cooking. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Real Food Label: The Movie

We're hoping the fine people at TED2011 in California think this is an idea worth spreading.