Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shae (Before and After)

Each Tuesday, one Pray It Off (PIO) group member's weight loss journey is highlighted on the blog. Today we hear from Shae.

"Hi, my name is Shae and I’m joining Ellen’s blog today to talk about my experience at Pray It Off (PIO). After years of putting on weight, a few pounds a year, I decided, for future health as well as aesthetic reasons, it was time to start taking it off. So after seeing the notices for PIO in the church bulletin, every six months, I made the call. I joined PIO on July 7, 2009. This was my first attempt at weight loss and every one told me that the first couple of weeks would be easy and then it would become harder to lose weight - did I hear a challenge? As my husband will attest, telling me I can’t do something is a guarantee I will try.

I lost 11 pounds the first two weeks, after four weeks I was at 21 pounds off and then I hit 30 pounds after 7 weeks. This doesn’t mean it was easy, I put a lot of effort into making good choices and Ben & Jerry, Nestle and Pizza Hut suffered for it. The point is if you are committed to getting something done, and willing to make the necessary sacrifices, you can do it. It may take a long time but it will be time well spent. When you reach your goal, the time it took doesn’t matter.

On January 7, 2010 after six months I hit my goal of losing sixty pounds. Now my circumstances had been ideal, I had gone through the summer first and I play golf three or four times a week, usually walking the course. I had no health issues that would make losing weight difficult. So, I cut back on my calories and kept playing golf and the pounds went away, quickly at first and then more slowly. Along the way my family, friends, and PIO family have been cheering me on and the thought of disappointing them motivated me to forge ahead.

As summer changed to fall and then to winter, golf in Syracuse NY, was no longer an option. It was time to figure out how I was going to get exercise in the winter. I shook out the dust cloth and cleaned off the elliptical in our basement. I started with eight minutes a day and worked my way up to 30 minutes, twice a day, after two months. Do I enjoy spending that much time on the elliptical? I turn the television on and think of the things I can now eat in reasonable portions because of the calories I’m burning. In a few weeks I’ll be back on the golf course and the elliptical will see less of me.

A group called Pray It Off obviously has a religious aspect and you won’t find a more caring and generous group of people. We pray weekly for those in our group and their family members who may be sick or in need as well as the strength to continue on the weight loss path.

One might ask why I'm still going to the meetings? Well, I really like the people and enjoy seeing them every week. My weight is normal for the first time in over twenty years. I don’t trust myself with food. If I am not accountable, I may undo all the good it took me six months to accomplish. In the eleven weeks since I reached my goal I have fluctuated between having lost 60 and 62 pounds. I never want to get to 59, so I still go to the meetings.

With God’s blessing, and Ellen’s help, the normal size me is here to stay."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be Vewy Vewy Quiet, I'm Hunting Wabbits

For a few shows in the early 1940's, Elmer Fudd became "a heavy-set, beer-bellied character. However, audiences did not accept a fat Fudd, so ultimately the slimmer version (which was only fat in the head, literally and figuratively) returned for good."*

Wait a minute. They didn't want a FAT CARTOON CHARACTER??? And we wonder why it's difficult to live life as an obese REAL PERSON!!

I was thinking about Elmer Fudd, this Monday before Easter, as I wanted to talk a little bit about Wabbit Trouble. I can write, on and on, about the true meaning of Easter and you will agree, with every fiber of your being, that it has nothing to do with Peter Cottontail
hopping down his ubiquitous bunny trail. BUT, and it's a BIG BUT, that doesn't always help, when he arrives with his bulging basket.

What will help?

1. Pretend the candy is poison and will kill you. (Ok, we can debate this; long term deadly vs short-term but I agree that it's a bit dramatic, so on to number two.)
2. Tell yourself that the candy was all made in third world countries with no quality control standards. (Still a bit over the top.)
3. Give yourself permission to a have a few pieces; count out the calories and log each jelly bean on your daily food journal.
4. Go ahead and have those malted milk balls (can you really stop at a few?) and then go for a hour long walk or hit the gym.
5. Tell yourself it's once a year and eat with wild abandon (till you feel you might throw up) and then wake up, next Monday, with that cat o' nine tails

in your hands; ready to punish yourself (yet again) over your lack of willpower and self control. (Drama, but real-life drama, none-the-less.)
6. Go back to the real meaning of Easter and go to Easter Services - serve Easter Dinner at a homeless shelter - contemplate the cross - ANTHING but digging into that basket.

Easter candy isn't like some rare orchid, that blooms but once a year. It can be found at any store AT ANY TIME, maybe not in rabbit form but c'mon, is it the shape that matters? Don't fool yourself with that justification or with buying it for the kids, grandchildren, husband etc.

Put on your cap, grab a gun and hunt that wascally wabbit down!

PHOTOS:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wabbit_Twouble3.jpg, http://s2.hubimg.com/u/769061_f520.jpg, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_p2dHWwchk9E/SLbYoLUarNI/AAAAAAAABac/YAfJl-asihM/s400/malted+milk+balls.jpg, http://www.sjleather.com/osCommerce/images/cat9tails_wrap.JPG, http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~aus033/elmer-fudd.jpg

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Archive of Meetings 8

I hand out articles, at my Thursday night PRAY IT OFF MEETINGS, that support my topic for that week. The group members take their packets home and read the complete articles before the next meeting.


Here is today's installment.

Weight Loss can be a Team Effort
Build Your Own Support System
By Mike Kramer, Staff Writerhttp://www.sparkpeople.com

So there I was, cruising along on the exercise bike (as I often am) and thinking (as I often do). I was thinking about the positive, sometimes amazing changes I’ve made in my life thanks to fitness.

I was just about to congratulate myself when I realized I should have been grateful. I should have been thanking the people around me that made this possible: My Team!!

Why would anyone want to lose weight – or pursue any goal – alone? Every dieter should have a Weight Loss Team of people pulling for you, using their strengths to make up for your trouble areas. Think of what people have been able to accomplish when part of a team. Teams wrote the Constitution, built the Empire State Building and landed on the moon – all impossible if attempted alone.

You can build a Weight Loss Team the same way you build a basketball, baseball or soccer team. Essentially, you fill different positions with people that are good at each position. That way, nobody has to do everything. They simply fill a specific role.

My team is a cast of diverse characters and that’s what makes it so fun. When they’re involved, sometimes I forget how hard I’m working. Many of them don’t even know they’re on my team, but they’re valuable just the same
Here are some great Team members to have:
• Motivator – someone good at picking you up when you fall down and re-energizing you
• Positive Thinker – someone good at always looking at the bright side
• Goal Guardian – someone good at keeping you focused on your goal and on track
• Exercise Buddy – someone good at making workout time fun and social
• Listener – someone good at being an outlet when you need to vent or talk about problems
• Informer – someone good at circulating health and fitness info, ideas and opportunities
• The Bizarre One – someone good at finding fun, interesting and crazy ways to stay active
So if you’re struggling, if you’re having trouble staying on target, if you’re feeling frustrated, it might be time to start forming that Weight Loss Team of your own. Get them involved! Uniforms are optional.

Lose Weight for Good - AARP

If you're trying to lose weight, join the crowd. More than half of American adults are overweight; nearly a quarter by more than 30 pounds, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Weight loss is big business in the U.S. We spend over $33 billion a year on products and services associated with wieght loss – from drugs and diet pills to spas, health clubs, and even surgery.
But for many of us losing weight and keeping it off is a lifelong struggle. There's no magic pill. Quick-fix plans, like the ones that promise you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days, rarely work. And many people who do lose weight gain it back.
Different Strokes
If you ask 10 people how to lose weight for good, you'd get 10 different answers. Different things work for different people.
If you count on peer support to meet goals, a program like Weight Watchers might work for you. If you're self-driven, you can design your own plans, based on your needs and choices. If you're tech-savvy, there are web sites you can use to track food intake, calorie needs, and activity levels. You can also find tips and group support through online discussions and chats.
Tips to Lose By
No matter how you choose to lose, include a healthy diet and regular physical activity in your plan. These tips will help ensure that your efforts are safe and successful:
Take inventory. Slow down and look at your lifestyle. What patterns do you notice? Be honest as you ask yourself these questions:
• How and when do I eat? (Late at night? In front of the TV or computer screen?)
• Do I skip meals?
• Am I a junk-food junkie?
• Do I take time to eat regular, balanced meals?
• Do I eat under stress?
• Do I eat for other reasons besides being hungry?
• Do I drink enough water?
Identify your bad eating habits and plan for change. If you visit the vending machine a lot at work, bring healthy snacks from home, like carrot sticks, apple slices, and raisins instead. Keep a water bottle at your desk and be sure you're getting enough to drink (at least eight glasses a day). Switch from whole-milk to skim in your cereal or lattes.
Do your homework. If you don't know what a healthy diet is, find out. Use credible resources like AARP, the American Heart Association, or USDA for printed and online nutrition information.
Watch your portions. Many of us eat too much food. We've gotten used to big portions. Try down-sizing, not super-sizing.
Check your weight. Find out what your healthy weight should be for your height and frame. Determine how many calories you should get each day. Your doctor can help you. You also can find healthy weight charts online.
Take your time. You didn't gain weight overnight. You won't lose it that way, either. Avoid any diet that promises "overnight success." A safe goal is about a pound a week.
Get moving. One of the main reasons Americans are gaining weight is that they're not active enough. About 34 percent of us over age 50 get no physical activity. Physical activity burns calories and can help you keep weight off by building muscle and increasing your metabolism. You can lose weight by dieting alone. But combining regular exercise with a balanced diet is the healthiest, most efficient, and most sensible way to lose weight, and keep it off.
Change your lifestyle. If you go back to old habits after you've reached your weight-loss goal, you'll gain it back. The lifestyle changes that helped you lose weight have to stick like glue. Adopt a healthy diet and regular physical activity plan for life.
Here are some other tips diet experts suggest:
• Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. You'll only feel hungrier, which will make you overeat at the next meal.
• Drink plenty of water. A glass or two before a meal will fill you up so you eat less.
• Eat bulky foods that are filling and low in calories. These include fruits and vegetables, which have lots of fiber and water but not a lot of calories.
• Keep a food journal. Writing down everything you eat and when you eat it will tell you where your calories are coming from and where you need to cut back.
• Don't give up. Sometimes we have to try something many times before we succeed. For many people, this is especially true of losing weight for good. Making major lifestyle changes – quitting cigarettes, having a healthy diet, exercising regularly – takes time and determination. But if you stick with it, you'll achieve your goals. And you'll be glad you did!

Getting Motivated AARP
Change Can Do You Good

Change takes patience and persistence. In fact, researchers have discovered that, like life, change is a process that happens in stages. Experts agree that making major behavior changes, such as quitting smoking or drinking, losing weight, trading the couch for the treadmill, all take time. Knowing and understanding the stages for changing and adopting healthier habits can help you improve your success in reaching your goals and sticking with your positive behaviors.
Using physical activity as an example of changing your behavior from being sedentary to an active, healthier lifestyle, let's walk (no pun intended) through the stages of change that will transform you from couch potato to someone who is healthier, looks good, feels good, and has lots more energy. Once you understand the stages, learn tips for success, and how you can master to make that change, a part of your new, healthier way of life.
Stages of Change
Stage One — Precontemplation: In this stage, physical activity isn't even on your radar screen. Your couch is your favorite place to be. You're not active and you don't think about it.
Stage Two — Contemplation: You start to think being active would be better than staying inert. Perhaps the health club commercial finally struck a chord. You want to feel better, have more energy, and stop gaining weight. You also think that doing something to make that happen – say within the next six months – is within the realm of possibility. Maybe you remember the dance class you took years ago and how good it made you feel.
Stage Three — Preparation: You make plans to get active next month. You move closer to taking action. Maybe you make a list of goals or pencil in time on your calendar for physical activity.
Stage Four — Action: This is where the rubber hits the road. You actually begin to make changes. You bike, jog, walk, swim, or are otherwise physically active, but you have been at it for fewer than six months.
Stage Five — Maintenance: At this stage, you've stayed physically active for at least six months. You're riding high. You've learned to reward yourself for sticking with the program – buying yourself new clothes, treating yourself to a massage. You remind yourself how good you look and feel, and how you want to stay that way.
Tips for Success
It does not matter what stage you are in now, everyone will have moments when they do not want to continue with the program that they started. Just make sure that these little set backs do not totally throw you off course.
Master Maintenance
So, you have started your exercise program. Maybe you have stopped seeing results. Maybe you are starting to lose motivation. Maintaining your healthy behavior for the rest of your life is your goal – and your challenge. It's not always easy.
Here are some ways to keep the change when you're tempted not to:
Cut yourself some slack. The old couch was calling you back and you gave in. But don't give up. Setbacks happen. Falling off track doesn't mean throwing in the towel. Remind yourself that change takes time. Then lace up your sneakers, and get back on track.
Have a plan. Identify your roadblocks and find ways around them. For instance, your fitness routine easily could run off track during the holidays, business travel, and vacations. Look for hotels with a health club, or pack a jump rope in your suitcase. Include a walking or biking tour of scenic or historic places in your vacation plans.
Review your goals. If you start to feel it's just not worth it, think about why you decided to change in the first place. Maybe you wanted to lose weight and being active helped you do it. Perhaps you've lowered your blood pressure or are beginning to control your diabetes. Reminding yourself of the goals you've realized and the ones you're still striving for will help you push ahead.
Mobilize your support system. Call on friends, family members, or coworkers who have been your cheerleaders. They can encourage you to stick with it. Maybe you've formed or joined a support group. Don't hesitate to connect with others who are working on the same change.
Have confidence. Believe in yourself and don't question your ability to change. If you fail once, try again. Try something else. And learn from your mistakes. With patience and determination, you can change your life!!

Go From Cocoon To Butterfly
Diet Wise (Diet Bites)

Do you feel that you are destined to be overweight for life? No way! Imagine yourself 'thin'. You can do it – you can go from cocoon to butterfly.
After all, a butterfly doesn't become a butterfly overnight. It takes time, but is it ever worth the wait! Butterflies are beautiful and fragile. They are unique – just like you!
You say you've tried to lose weight before and it just won't happen? Perhaps you feel that you have so much weight to lose that it would be an impossible task? Maybe you feel that all the 'overweight' genes in your family went to you?
Nonetheless, put all these potentials aside and imagine yourself 'thin' (society's term for normal weight). How do you think you would look if you were thin? Being thin is not an impossibility. If you truly want to lose weight and get fit, you can. Your trim 'you' is inside of you, waiting to come out. Right now, the thin you is locked inside a cocoon. After all, a butterfly doesn't become a butterfly overnight. It takes time, but is it ever worth the wait! Butterflies are beautiful, and fragile, and unique – just like you!
Is it easy? No! Losing weight and maintaining your new, healthier size takes a lot of work. It's a lifelong project and the better you take care of you, the longer you last.
Let's tackle our questions from above one at a time and see what we can come up with to help summon up some motivation for weight loss.
1. You've tried to lose weight before and it just won't happen. If it were possible for you to add up all those 'lost pounds' throughout your years of dieting, you may be shocked at the total number. Most life-long dieters have lost their current weight two times over, or more. The problem seems to lie with maintaining the 'new' weight, then losing more weight until one reaches their final goal weight.
2. You feel that you have so much weight to lose that it would be an impossible task? The longer one waits to begin losing weight, the more precious time they lose. One may spend months, even years, contemplating 'going on a diet'. Bottom line: it's lost time, time they could have utilized to get the weight off and keep it off. (IF NOT NOW, WHEN?)
3. Maybe you feel that all the 'overweight' genes in your family went to you? Research has proven that genes play a powerful role in body weight. If indeed, a person has more than their 'unfair' share of overweight genes, it is more difficult for them to attain normal weight than it is for someone who doesn't have an abundance of overweight genes. Perseverance will conquer and that's much easier said than done. However, it can be done!
Losing weight is an achievable goal, no matter how much weight one needs to lose. We all began as little dots and we grew into the size we are now. It's a bit trickier going backwards rather than forwards. It's reversed metamorphosis – from cocoon to butterfly for us humans.
Go for it and begin today! Get those wings! Make this diet be your last diet!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Palm Sunday

Some days, I awake, or something happens, and I am not Ellen. I am an Ogre. Someone to avoid at all costs. Wallowing in self-pity, crying at every injustice in my life, I spiral into a depression where I feast on feelings of being alone, unloved, unappreciated and betrayed by those who are supposed to love me the most.

In the past, When I felt this way, the Ogre was never satisfied until I moved on to food; where I tried to eat enough to fill-up that knawing hole of need.

I wish I could say that trying to fill myself with Christ has banished the Ogre forever. It hasn't; but it does keep her at bay. Today the Ogre appeared. I was surprised because it's been awhile. She mounted a sneak attack, with fury, but she's gone now, as quickly as she came. These days, when she sprouts her ugly head, I turn to God for help.

Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to a huge cheering crowd. A triumphant entry; a victorious King. But wait a minute; he was riding a donkey. Where was His crown, armor, white horse, beautiful robes; His conquering army? He rode in armed with love and peace and what did the fawning masses do? They crucified Him.

Anything I have lived through, or will ever live through, is nothing compared to the Passion of Christ. He was alone, unloved, unappreciated and betrayed by those who were supposed to love him the most. He, acutely, knows how I feel. Jesus loves me. He always has and He always will, and that is enough to keep an army of Ogre's at bay.

Photos: http://www.iwozhere.com/SRD/images/MM35_PG199.jpg

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pray It Off March 25, 2010 Meeting

Here is the Packet from last night's meeting.

AGENDA Pray it Off March 25, 2010

Total Lbs Off 1st Session-644 2nd Session-571 Combined-1215
3rd Session-235 Combined-1450 4th Session -261 4th Session Combined 1711 5th Session- -220 TOTAL 1931

1. Packets
Log Sheet/Matthew 25
Matthew 24
Weight Loss Tip: First, Make Sure You’re Ready
Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success
Are You Ready To Make A Lifestyle Change?
Lifestyle Change Quiz
In Obesity Epidemic, What is One Cookie?
Motivation and Support – Walking
Roasted Beets and Sautéed Beet Greens
Sweet Cho-tato Salad
Lyrics: His Strength is Perfect by Steven Curtis Chapman
PIO Group Prayer Time
2. Opening Prayer
3. Awards: Praise:
4. Review Bible Verse
5. Review Packet Materials
6. Listen to: His Strength is Perfect
7. St. Pio Intercession
8. PIO Group Prayer Time
9. Dismissal 7:00

Matthew Chapter 24 (Can be found at)

Weight-loss Tip: First, Make Sure You're Ready
Ask yourself these questions to see if you're ready to start a weight-loss program.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Your weight-loss success depends on your readiness to take on the challenge. These questions can help you judge whether now is the best time to start your weight-loss program.
 Are you motivated to make long-term lifestyle changes that require eating healthy foods and exercising more? Be honest. Knowing you need to make changes in your life and feeling up to the challenge are two different things.
 Have you addressed distractions in your life that could affect your commitment to a weight-loss program? If you're dealing with major life events, such as marital problems, job stress, illness or financial worries, consider giving your life a chance to calm down before you start.
 Do you accept that there's no quick fix? Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. You may lose weight quickly initially, but over the long run it's best to lose weight at a moderate but steady pace. You should aim for a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week.
 Have you resolved any eating disorders or other emotional issues that make it difficult for you to achieve a healthy weight? If you have a tendency to binge, purge, starve or overexert when you exercise, or if you're depressed or anxious, you may need professional help.
 Are you ready to change your eating habits? Sounds easy to do in theory, but in practice, it's often difficult. It's hard to cast aside established behaviors and develop new lifestyle habits, but it can be done.
 Are you motivated to get more physically active? Increasing your level of physical activity is essential to losing weight and keeping it off.
 Are you realistic about your weight-loss goal? Remember, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve your health if you're overweight or obese. This means, for example, losing 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kilograms). Ask your doctor how much weight you should aim to lose.
 Do you have family and friends to support your weight-loss efforts? It helps to have someone in your corner. If you don't have someone you can rely on, consider joining a weight-loss support group.
 Do you have time to keep records of your food intake and physical activity? Keeping records increases your chance of success. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how helpful it is to track your progress.
 Are you willing to look at past successes and failures in weight loss and other areas of your life? Learn from the past about what motivates you. Keep working to resolve barriers that might prevent success.
 Do you view a healthy-weight program as a positive experience? Losing weight doesn't have to be a bad experience. Many people find they feel better when they're more active and weigh less.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you're ready to make the lifestyle changes necessary for permanent weight loss.
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you may not be ready. And that's OK. Explore what's holding you back and face those obstacles. In some cases it may be a simple matter of timing. For instance, you may need to resolve other problems in your life. In other cases, you may need to work on related issues — such as your feelings toward weight loss or your willingness to commit to permanent changes.
You may be able to make these changes alone, or you may feel you need help. Educating yourself about the process of successful weight loss and maintenance is a start. For example, learn more about the dietary changes necessary for losing weight. See a dietitian or enroll in a behavioral-based program — a program that can help you change the behaviors that can interfere with weight loss, such as eating when you're stressed or bored.
If you're ready for weight loss but fear you'll become discouraged quickly, think toward the future. As you become more physically active and make dietary changes, you'll feel better and have more energy. And rather than thinking of weight loss as a short-term drudgery, view it as an enjoyable, permanent lifestyle change.

Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success
By Mayo Clinic staff

You probably know that hundreds of different fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. But the foundation of every successful weight-loss program still remains a healthy, low-calorie diet combined with exercise. You must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits to lose significant weight and keep it off.
How do you make those permanent changes? Follow these six strategies.
1. Make a commitment
Permanent weight loss takes time and effort. It requires focus and a lifelong commitment. Make sure that you're ready to make permanent changes and that you do so for the right reasons. No one else can make you lose weight. In fact, external pressure — often from people closest to you — may make matters worse. You must undertake diet and exercise changes to please yourself.
As you're planning new weight-related lifestyle changes, try to resolve any other problems in your life. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to change your habits. So make sure you aren't distracted by other major life issues, such as marital or financial problems. Timing is key to success. Ask yourself if you're ready to take on the challenges of serious weight loss.
2. Get emotional support
To succeed in losing weight, you have to take responsibility for your own behavior. But that doesn't mean that you have to do everything alone. Seek support when needed from your partner, family and friends.
Pick people who you know want the best for you and who will encourage you. Ideally, find people who will listen to your concerns and feelings, spend time exercising with you, and share the priority you've placed on developing a healthier lifestyle.
3. Set a realistic goal
When you're considering what to expect from your new eating and exercise plan, be realistic. Over the long term, it's best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week, although initially you might lose weight more quickly if you make significant changes — just be sure the changes are health supporting. To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a low-calorie diet and regular exercise.
When you're setting goals, think about process and outcome. "Exercise regularly" is an example of a process goal, while "Lose 30 pounds" is an example of an outcome goal. It isn't essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should establish process goals because changing your process — your habits — is the key to weight loss. Make sure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and trackable. An example of a SMART goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and logging your results.
4. Enjoy healthier foods
Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation. One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.
5. Get active, stay active
Dieting alone can help you lose weight. Cutting 500 calories from your daily diet can help you lose about a pound a week: 3,500 calories equals 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) of fat. But add a 45- to 60-minute brisk walk four days a week, and you can double your rate of weight loss.
The goal of exercise for weight loss is to burn more calories, although exercise offers many other benefits as well. How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as walking — for more than 30 minutes most days of the week.
Even though regularly scheduled aerobic exercise is best for losing fat, any extra movement helps burn calories. Lifestyle activities may be easier to fit into your day. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot.
6. Change your lifestyle
It's not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months. You have to make them part of your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes start with taking an honest look at your eating habits and daily routine. After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss, try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes that have sabotaged your past efforts. It's not enough just to recognize your challenges — you have to plan for how you'll deal with them if you're going to succeed in losing weight once and for all.
You likely will have an occasional setback. But instead of giving up entirely, simply start fresh the next day. Remember that you're planning to change your life. It won't happen all at once, but stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.

Are You Ready to Make a Lifestyle Change?
By Paige Waehner About.com

When it comes to weight loss, the buzzwords you might be hearing lately are: lifestyle and change...as in, you need to make one to be successful at losing weight. It may seem like losing weight is a simple goal--do some exercise, go on a diet and voila! But, if it were that simple, I'd be out of a job and you'd be too busy working out to read this.
While magazines and infomercials make it seem effortless, losing weight takes hard work and that often means changing different aspects of your life like, how you spend your time, how you schedule your day, and how/what you eat. If the way you live doesn't allow for these changes, how far will you get?
What's Your Lifestyle Like?
The reason lifestyle is so important is because how you live determines your choices and these choices decide how healthy you are and whether you're on the road to weight loss. So what is a healthy lifestyle? The typical components include not smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping the body at a healthy weight. Where do you fall on the healthy lifestyle continuum? First, figure out how much time you spend doing the following:
• Sitting at a desk
• Sitting in a car
• Sitting in front of a TV
• Sitting in front of a computer
• Eating out at restaurants
• Drinking alcohol
• Eating fast food or junk foods
• Staying up late/not getting enough sleep
Now, how much time do you spend:
• Being active in general (taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, gardening, cleaning, etc.)
• Doing cardio exercise
• Strength training for all muscle groups with challenging weights
• Preparing your own meals and snacks and eating fruits, veggies and whole grains
• Reading food labels
• Tracking your calories
• Sleeping
• Dealing with stress in a healthy way
If you spend more time doing the things in the first list than the second, it's time to reevaluate your priorities and decide what you really want for yourself. Living healthy means spending time and energy on your body--moving it around and paying attention to what you put into it. Staying in an unhealthy lifestyle means you can avoid expending energy, time and effort...but at what cost?
Choosing Health
As humans, we like habits and routines...so much that we often keep doing the same things even when we know they aren't good for us. Changing bad habits takes time and effort and, for a healthy lifestyle, you may be changing a variety of things like:
• What time you get up each morning
• What time you go to bed each night
• How you spend your free time
• How you spend your money
• How you shop, how you cook and how often you eat
• How much TV you watch
• What you do with your family and friends
The rewards for making these changes are endless, but it's beginning that's so difficult. What does it take to change your lifestyle and how do you know if you're ready? Start with this quiz, Are You Ready to Make a Lifestyle Change to find out.

Are You Ready to Make a Lifestyle Change?

Take the Quiz Yourself!!


When it comes to weight loss, the buzzwords you might be hearing lately are: lifestyle and change...as in, you need to make one to be successful at losing weight. To permanently lose weight, there are a number of changes you might need to make. Are you ready for that? Take the Lifestyle Quiz and find out.
Question: What do you hope to get out of an exercise program?
To lose weight around my 'trouble zones' such as hips, buns, belly or thighs
To lose weight so I can look better for a wedding/reunion/vacation, etc.
To lose weight and change the shape of my body
To improve my health, quality of life and look better within my body's limits
Question: What is the best way to lose weight?
Go on a diet
Cardio exercise
Cardio and strength training
Cardio, strength training and a healthy, low-calorie diet
Question: According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), how often/how long should you do cardio exercise for weight loss?
1-2 days for 20 or more minutes
2-3 days for 20 or more minutes
3-5 days for 30 minutes
At least 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes
Question: According to ACSM Guidelines, how often should you lift weights?
Whenever I feel like it
Once a week
At least twice a week
Question: How many days a week can you realistically spend on cardio and strength training? Be honest!
Maybe one
One or two days
At least three days
Three or more days a week
Question: How much time can you realistically spend on cardio and strength training? Be honest!
A few minutes
10-20 minutes
20-30 minutes
30 or more minutes
Question: How willing are you to change your schedule (e.g., get up earlier, use your lunch hour) for exercise?
Not very willing
I'm willing to think about it
I'm willing to give it a try
I'm totally willing
Question: How willing are you to invest in a gym membership, home equipment, apparel/shoes or other services or gear you might need to exercise?
Not at all
I'm willing to think about it
I may be willing to spend a little time and money
I'll get whatever I need to make it happen
Question: In order to lose one pound of fat in a week, how many calories would you have to cut from your daily caloric intake?
Question: Do you know how many calories you eat each day?
I have no idea
I have a vague idea
I have a pretty good idea
I keep a food journal and regularly add up my calories
Question: Are you willing to keep a daily food journal and track your calories each day?
I'm willing to think about it
I'll try, but I won't make any promises
Question: How often do you eat out each week?
Most days of the week
4 or more days of the week
2-4 days a week
1-2 days a week
Question: How willing are you to spend more time grocery shopping, reading food labels and preparing meals at home?
Not gonna happen
I'm willing to think about it
I'd like to try, but I won't make any promises
Very willing
Question: How long are you planning to stick with exercise and healthy eating?
Until I can't stand it anymore
I'm not sure
Until I reach my goal(s)
For as long as I'm able to
Question: Say you exercise and eat healthy for a few weeks or months and you are dissatisfied with your physical results. What would you do?
Quit completely
Give up for awhile and start all over again with the same goals and exercise routines
Keep doing the same thing and hope for the best
Figure out if I need to change my goals, change my program, accept my body or talk to an expert for advice

Ellen’s Quiz Results

Wow, you're really committed! Congratulations! It sounds like you have the right attitude for making healthy changes in your life. Having realistic expectations as well as a plan for reaching your goals are essential for making permanent changes in your life.

In Obesity Epidemic, What’s One Cookie?
By TARA PARKER-POPE edited from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com

The basic formula for gaining and losing weight is well known: a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. That simple equation has fueled the widely accepted notion that weight loss does not require daunting lifestyle changes but “small changes that add up,” as the first lady, Michelle Obama, put it last month in announcing a national plan to counter childhood obesity.
In this view, cutting out or burning just 100 extra calories a day — by replacing soda with water, say, or walking to school — can lead to significant weight loss over time: a pound every 35 days, or more than 10 pounds a year.
While it’s certainly a hopeful message, it’s also misleading. Numerous scientific studies show that small caloric changes have almost no long-term effect on weight. When we skip a cookie or exercise a little more, the body’s biological and behavioral adaptations kick in, significantly reducing the caloric benefits of our effort.
But can small changes in diet and exercise at least keep children from gaining weight? While some obesity experts think so, mathematical models suggest otherwise. As a recent commentary in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted, the “small changes” theory fails to take the body’s adaptive mechanisms into account.
The rise in children’s obesity over the past few decades can’t be explained by an extra 100-calorie soda each day, or fewer physical education classes. Skipping a cookie or walking to school would barely make a dent in a calorie imbalance that goes “far beyond the ability of most individuals to address on a personal level,” the authors wrote — on the order of walking 5 to 10 miles a day for 10 years.
This doesn’t mean small improvements are futile — far from it. But people need to take a realistic view of what they can accomplish. “As clinicians, we celebrate small changes because they often lead to big changes,” said Dr. David Ludwig. “An obese adolescent who cuts back TV viewing from six to five hours each day may then go on to decrease viewing much more. However, it would be entirely unrealistic to think that these changes alone would produce substantial weight loss.”
Why wouldn’t they? The answer lies in biology. A person’s weight remains stable as long as the number of calories consumed doesn’t exceed the amount of calories the body spends, both on exercise and to maintain basic body functions. As the balance between calories going in and calories going out changes, we gain or lose weight.
But bodies don’t gain or lose weight indefinitely. Eventually, a cascade of biological changes kicks in to help the body maintain a new weight. As the JAMA article explains, a person who eats an extra cookie a day will gain some weight, but over time, an increasing proportion of the cookie’s calories also goes to taking care of the extra body weight. Eventually, the body adjusts and stops gaining weight, even if the person continues to eat the cookie.
Similar factors come into play when we skip the extra cookie. We may lose a little weight at first, but soon the body adjusts to the new weight and requires fewer calories. Regrettably, however, the body is more resistant to weight loss than weight gain.
Hormones and brain chemicals that regulate your unconscious drive to eat and how your body responds to exercise can make it even more difficult to lose the weight. You may skip the cookie but unknowingly compensate by eating a bagel later on or an extra serving of pasta at dinner.
“There is a much bigger picture than parsing out the cookie a day or the Coke a day,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Friedman, which first identified leptin, a hormonal signal made by the body’s fat cells that regulates food intake and energy expenditure. “If you ask anyone on the street, ‘Why is someone obese?,’ they’ll say, ‘They eat too much.’ ”
“That is undoubtedly true,” he continued, “but the deeper question is why do they eat too much? It’s clear now that there are many important drivers to eat and that it is not purely a conscious or higher cognitive decision.”
This is not to say that the push for small daily changes in eating and exercise is misguided. James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Denver, says that while weight loss requires significant lifestyle changes, taking away extra calories through small steps can help slow and prevent weight gain.
“Once you’re trying for weight loss, you’re out of the small-change realm,” he said. “But the small-steps approach can stop weight gain.”
While small steps are unlikely to solve the nation’s obesity crisis, doctors say losing a little weight, eating more heart-healthy foods and increasing exercise can make a meaningful difference in overall health and risks for heart disease and diabetes.
“I’m not saying throw up your hands and forget about it,” Dr. Friedman said. “Instead of focusing on weight or appearance, focus on people’s health. There are things people can do to improve their health significantly that don’t require normalizing your weight.”
Dr. Ludwig still encourages individuals to make small changes, like watching less television or eating a few extra vegetables, because those shifts can be a prelude to even bigger lifestyle changes that may ultimately lead to weight loss. But he and others say that reversing obesity will require larger shifts — like regulating food advertising to children and eliminating government subsidies that make junk food cheap and profitable.
“We need to know what we’re up against in terms of the basic biological challenges, and then design a campaign that will truly address the problem in its full magnitude.”


Edited from - http://www.thewalkingsite.com/motivation.html
How does a person get and STAY motivated to exercise?

We are all motivated by different things. You have to find out what motivates you. My main motivation ... wanting to stay healthy and fit for my children. Another motivation is that my fitness program keeps me in shape to be able to do things I enjoy.

Think of all the benefits of a fitness program. Choose the things that matter to you and focus on them. Make a list of all the benefits you will personally receive from your program and make a list of the others that will benefit. (Who else will benefit if you become more fit?? Everyone in your life.)

Now make a list of all the excuses you have for not "doing it". Slowly find ways to remove each of these from your list.

You have to make YOU and your fitness a priority.
Benefits of a fitness walking program, aka motivation


1. Burns calories
2. Strengthens back muscles
3. Slims your waist
4. Easy on your joints
5. Strengthens your bones
6. Lowers blood pressure
7. Allows time with family and friends
8. Shapes and tones your legs and butt
9. Cuts cholesterol
10. Reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, & more
11. Reduces stress
12. Sleep better
13. Improves mood and outlook on life
14. Can be done almost anywhere
15. Requires no equipment
16. AND it's Free

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour Ready In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: 4

"This is a great way to use every part of the fresh beets you buy. You can get two delicious side dishes out of this one vegetable."

1 bunch beets greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced with
2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
2. Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
3. When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Calories: 204 Amount Per Serving
• Total Fat: 13.9g
• Cholesterol: 0mg
• Sodium: 442mg Amount Per Serving
• Total Carbs: 18g
• Dietary Fiber: 8.9g
• Protein: 5.3g

Sweet Cho-tato Salad www.chobani.com

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Calories per serving: 120

• 2 large sweet potatoes
• 6 oz Chobani® Plain 0% Greek Yogurt
• 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
• ¼ cup basil, chopped
• 1 medium red apple, chopped into 1-inch cubes
• 2 sprigs green onion, diced
• ½ cup sweet onion, diced
• Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and chop potatoes into 1-inch pieces, leaving skin on. Add potatoes to large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes into colander.
Meanwhile, combine Chobani®, mustard, vinegar, sugar, nutmeg, and basil in a large bowl. Add potatoes to Chobani® mixture. Add apple and onions to bowl, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Serve cold.
Nutrition Information:
Calories: 120; Fat: 0.2g; Sat Fat: 0g; Protein:5 g; Carbohydrate: 26g; Fiber: 2.5g; Sodium: 130mg

His Strength is Perfect – Steven Curtis Chapman

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength,
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
No great success to show, No glory on my own,
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes.
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .


March 25, 2010
• .Describe your current lifestyle – work, fun? How much time a week do you spend planning a menu? Exercising?
• Are you ready to make long-term lifestyle changes? What distractions are in your life? How can you deal positively with them?
• Do you view a healthy wealth loss program as a positive experience? Discuss
• Have you made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle change? If not, why? If not, can you?
• What “small change” can you make this coming up week?
• Can you make a commitment to walk at least 2 miles per day, at one time, three times this next week?
• Do you turn to God daily to give you strength for your healthy lifestyle choices? Can you?
• Say the Hail Mary to Close the Group

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy 55 3/4 Birthday To Me

At 6:00 a.m. this morning I glanced at the calendar and said, "Hey, in three months (June 25th) I'll be 56 years old!"

Believe me, I'm not one of those types who considers their Birthday a National Holiday; wait a minute, I kinda am. But seriously, as I grow older, and others who I love so much have died, it makes me appreciate each passing year more.

These days, I tend to refer to myself as the "old" Ellen and the "new" Ellen or a Pre-Pray it Off versus Current-Pray It Off (PIO) version of Ellen. Notice I didn't say "Post PIO" because I will be a PIO person, and attend weekly meetings, the REST OF MY LIFE. Daunting, your initial reaction might be; but you know it's actually rather exciting!

God willing, the time is going to go by regardless of what we do with it. We can check the mirror daily, bemoaning each line and wrinkle or we can give our reflection a big, toothy grin and yell back, "I see you're still kickin' WOO HOO!!!"

We can cry in our pillows over; lost opportunities, mistakes, sins, people who've wronged us etc. etc. etc. OR we can redefine ourselves, CHANGE, embrace that healthy lifestyle, let the past go. LET IT GO. Forgive ourselves. LIVE.

If you don't know how to do this, pray about it. If you don't know what to say, just say this, "God, I love you. Please help me." Keep reading my blog, I promise I'll try to help.

I remember listening, over and over, to Roy Clark singing "Yesterday When I Was Young" and crying my heart out. It was 1968, I was 14 years old.

"Yesterday, when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet, as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life, as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned,
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand,
I lived by night, and shunned the naked light of day,
And only now, I see, how the years ran away

Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wild pleasures lay in store for me,
And so much pain, my dazzled eyes refused to see

I ran so fast that time, and youth at last ran out,
I never stopped to think, what life, was all about,
And every conversation, I can now recall,
Concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all

Yesterday, the moon was blue,
And every crazy day, brought something new to do,
I used my magic age, as if it were a wand,
And never saw the worst, and the emptiness beyond

The game of love I played, with arrogance and pride,
And every flame I lit, too quickly, quickly died,
The friends I made, all seemed somehow to drift away,
And only I am left, on stage to end the play

There are so many songs in me, that won't be sung,
I feel the bitter taste, of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay,
For yesterday, when I was young."

I reflect on these lyrics, at 55 3/4 years old, and I see something different. Yes, they are still sad. Yes, they can still make me cry BUT you know what, they don't represent a fait accomplit. Time doesn't run out until God opens His arms to take us home.

There are still many songs in me, and in EACH OF US, and they can be; WILL be sung.

I've paid enough for yesterday when I was young (Hey, it was the 70's!). I can stop beating myself up. God loves me, I love myself. I love you.

It ain't over!!! Not even when the once morbidly obese, fat lady (who now eats less, moves more and prays) sings and she's singing now... Happy 55 3/4 Birthday to Me, Happy 55 3/4 Birthday to Me.........

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Please Don't Call Me a Pharisee

I want to talk, a little bit, about fasting but I am keeping Matthew 6:16-18 in mind when I do. "And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites (Pharisees), sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee."

I know it's supposed to be secret, but I have a point I want to make, so I will share with you that I am fasting, each Wednesday, during Lent. There are many different forms of fasting and I am not judging any one of them. What I decided to do, for my fast, was to not eat or drink anything; I just have a little water throughout the day.

I've recently had a full medical check-up and I am thankful to report that there isn't a thing wrong with me! I was deemed healthy enough to fast. I suggest that everyone sees their doctor first.

Before Lent, I decided to look up the Catholic Catechism on fasting. "1430 - Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance."

I had an epiphany. That's what I had been yearning for, this interior conversion, regarding my relationship with food. I believe that so many of us, who are overweight, have tried to fill the emptiness, that dwelt within us, with chips or ice cream (etc.). Since Pray It Off, I've realized that the void was my yearning for God. His grace is sufficient and more filling than fettucine alfredo!

Even though I run a weight loss group fasting, to me, is not about losing weight. It's about telling food that I see it as a means to live, not a reason to live.

And as I lose my preoccupation with eating, I've replaced it with a focus on God and His will for my life.

With that said, I'm off to anoint my head and wash my face!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bob (Before and After)

Each Tuesday I will highlight one Pray It Off (PIO) group member's weight loss journey. The first "volunteer" is my beloved husband Bob.

If you follow this blog, or belong to the Pray It Off group, you know how it came to pass that Bob joined. (I excitedly told him that our parish, Holy Family, approved the concept and that I already had my first member. When he (also excitedly) asked, "Who," I replied, "YOU!")

Have you ever noticed that so many see weight issues as a woman's thing? Over the five years I attended weekly Weight Watchers meetings (not to mention the myriad of other times I was in a WW group) there was always one or maybe two men who came. When I started Pray It Off, I truly wanted to make its tenets "sex proof". Eat less, move more and pray are not activities that are limited to women.

My husband Bob works in the construction industry. He has always, physically, worked hard each day and walked maybe 5-6 miles at the job sites he's been on BUT when he quit smoking and started to get older, the pounds came; not all over his body but mainly to his midsection. This type of weight gain, which many men suffer from, is dangerous. In his late 40's he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He was one step away from the nightly oxygen tank when he joined PIO.

Now Bob has lost almost 60 pounds. His blood pressure is normal. His cholesterol perfect. He no longer has sleep apnea.

After my presentation each week, there are small group discussions on the topic I reviewed. Initially Bob was not a fan of the idea. He told me he would just sit there. He said there was no way he was going to discuss his "problems" with a group of strangers.

After, a few weeks, I noticed Bob looking forward to the Thursday night meetings. He told me he loved his small group. Now he is even one of the table leaders. He considers his PIO mates his friends; he trusts and appreciates them.

Bob will tell, anyone who will listen, that PIO has helped him physically but, more importantly, spiritually as well.

As the group facilitator, I say, "Amen to that."

As his wife I say, "AMEN, Hallelujah and Thank You, Jesus!!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

I LOVE Monday's

When I, red pen in hand, review the Pray It Off Group’s Weekly Food Logs, I quite often rephrase the 1980's Loverboy song. Instead of, “Everybody's working for the weekend”, I sing "Everybody's eating the whole weekend." But the rest of the lyrics don't really need any changes, “Everybody's goin' off the deep end. Everybody needs a second chance, oh."

How many of us eat (and drink) on the weekends as if someone told us an asteroid was hitting the earth on Monday? We justify our consumption with our own personal litanies, “I work so hard. I try so hard. I deserve to relax. I deserve to treat myself. I am under so much pressure...... “

Why do we, weekend after weekend, believe that overeating will make everything better? Has it ever? We embrace the food on Friday night like a lover. Then for two days it's so attentive, so available... but come Monday, we awake with a food hangover to face yet another week.

If your first thought on Monday is, "Only four more days till the weekend," therein may lie the problem. I stopped, my weekend gorging, and fell in love with Monday’s, right after my best and true (B&T) high school pal, Karen Burnham Aldrich, died in December of 2007. She’d give anything to be in our shoes; to have the privilege of waking up on a Monday morning to face another week; to be able to hop out of bed, roll her sleeves up and tackle, with faith, whatever came her way.

The photo shows me (at 340 pounds) dancing with Karen (after fighting breast cancer for years) at our 35th high school reunion in October of 2007.

Two months later she’d be gone.

Two months later she would whisper in God’s ear, “Help my B&T friend Ellen; would you Dear Lord?"

Two months later Pray it Off was born.

Karen, "I love you so much and think of you always; especially on Mondays!"

PHOTOS: http://www.voidspace.org.uk/gallery/silly/garfield_monday.jpg

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Archive of Meetings 7

I hand out articles, at my Thursday night PRAY IT OFF MEETINGS, that support my topic for that week. The group members, then take their packets home, and read the complete articles before the next meeting.


Here is today's installment.

Love Your Body, Love Yourself:
12 ways to improve your body image and self-esteem
by Cheryl Rainfield

Most of us, especially girls and women, are assaulted with negative messages about our bodies on a regular basis by magazines and newspapers, advertisements, "well meaning" family members, peers, and even friends. We're shown computer-manipulated images of the "perfect" body—a body that is not natural for the vast majority of us, and can only be obtained through self-abuse and starvation.
Survivors of child abuse or trauma have an added layer of negative messages through the very act of abuse. In trying to survive the abuse, many survivors disconnect from their bodies. Many women also this—to a lesser extent—in reaction to the negative messages we receive about our bodies. It becomes almost second nature to criticize our bodies, separating ourselves from our bodies, and seeing ourselves as objects or parts of a whole. Criticizing our bodies can lead us to hate ourselves and abuse our bodies.
Women come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and this diversity is just not reflected in the media. It's hard to feel good about ourselves when we don't see ourselves reflected back. How we feel about our bodies affects how we feel about ourselves. So it's important that we embrace our bodies, and find ways to love our bodies—and ourselves.
Finding ways to love our bodies can be hard. Many women feel overwhelmed by trying to change how they feel about their bodies, or don't know where to start. Below are a few suggestions about things you can do to reclaim your body. Some suggestions will feel easier for you, and will work better for you than others. That's okay; you don't have to do everything here. Find the suggestions that work for you, and leave the rest.
1. Try not to weigh yourself, or try not to weigh yourself often, as this can increase critical thinking about your body, and add to body discomfort. Instead, focus on how you want to feel in your body—strong, mobile, energized, etc. What you weigh has nothing to do with what kind of person you are, or whether your body deserves your love and compassion.
2. Try becoming more present in your body, more inside your own skin. Take a deep breath and feel your feet on the floor, your bum on the chair, the way your ribcage moves as you breathe. Really notice how you feel. Try to eat mindfully—notice the food in your mouth, the flavour and texture, how it feels when it goes down your throat and into your stomach.
You may want to take a meditation or tai chi class, or try exercising or stretching, and noticing how you feel in your body. Being connected to your body can help diminish the distance that allows you to criticize your body, or see it as other.
3. Surround yourself with positive images of women that reflect the different sizes and shapes women are. It's important to have images that reflect the reality of women's different sizes and shapes, and that shows the beauty of those different sizes and shapes. To change the way you see your body, it's important to see different images of women's bodies, not the unrealistic images that the media presents us with.
4. As well, try to limit the number of negative messages you receive about your body. This means keeping away from many fashion and "women's" magazines, and advertisements. (There are some great magazines out there, for both girls and women, that promote positive self-image and healing messages. Try one of them!) Try reading magazines and book that make you feel good about who you are, instead of magazines that try to diminish you or make you panic so you run out and buy a product. You may also want to tape TV shows and fast forward the ads, or turn off the sound and not watch while they are playing. And if there are people who repeatedly give you negative messages, try talking to them about this, or finding ways to ignore them or to counteract their messages inside your head.
5. Find and wear clothes that compliment the body size and shape you have, not the body size or shape that you want. Wearing clothes that fit your body type, that you are comfortable in, and that make you look good, can help you feel good.
External beauty is not about body size. Any body size can look beautiful, and many women that society would label "beautiful" have major issues and hang ups about their bodies. External beauty is more about how we carry ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves. And true beauty, the beauty that matters the most, is the beauty of our souls.
6. Participate in activities that you enjoy—dancing, walking, yoga, making pottery, flying a kite, cooking. Feel the joy in your body when you do something that feels good. Try to include something that keeps your body active and that you enjoy, at least once a week. Exercise can help your body and emotions feel better.
7. Remember a moment when you were a child, when you felt good about your body, or a part of your body, no matter how small that moment was. Really remember how good you felt. Try to recapture that feeling in things you do now. Did you love how your body felt, so free and alive, as you ran across a field? Run to the bus stop, feel the wind against your face, really be in the moment. Or go running in a park on the weekend or at lunch. Did you love the feeling of snuggling under a warm blanket on a cold night, or sipping a cold drink on a hot one? Make time for that, and try to be present in your body, enjoying the sensation.
8. Make sure you get safe touch that feels good. Hold hands with a child, a friend, your lover. Ask for a hug or give one. Ask your lover to stroke your hair or gently touch your face. Lean against your friend. Safe touch is a way to nurture your body and your emotions—and it can help you feel good about yourself and your body. There have been lots of studies that show we need positive physical touch; it's part of staying healthy.
9. Treat your body gently, the way you would treat someone you love. The way we treat ourselves can impact how we feel. Let yourself have those extra few minutes in bed in the morning, or linger over a cup of tea. Have a hot relaxing bath or shower, spend calm moments in nature, get a massage, use essential oils or natural creams that make you feel good. Really pamper yourself, and notice how you feel in your body as you do so.
10. Pay attention to an area of your body that you like, and focus on that for as long as you can. This can be something as small as your nose, or as large as your whole body. Look at that part of your body, touch that area of your body gently, and let yourself see its beauty. Think of that area of your body often, with pride or good feeling, and gradually try to increase the amount of your body that you like.
11. Make a list of all the ways your body has helped you, and thank your body. This can be something like being grateful for the way your body's kept you healthy, the way your body runs when you ask it to, the way your body's given you pleasure, or how your body helped you survive your childhood. Try to thank your body in a heartfelt way, and really notice and appreciate it.
12. Listen to what you're saying to your body through your thoughts, and give yourself some compassion. Try really listening to yourself for a whole day, or for time that you're in the company of others. You'll probably find you criticize and put down your body a lot more than you thought you do. If you catch yourself being negative, criticizing your body, putting your body down, take note of that, and then try to give yourself compassionate, loving messages about your body. If you have trouble doing this, try to imagine a friend with you, looking at you with love in her or his eyes. What would she or he say about your body?
As often as possible, try to give yourself deliberate positive messages about your body—messages that counteract the negative ones you give yourself or are given, and messages that celebrate your body. Even if you don't believe them at first, keep saying them. Repeated often enough, they will eventually sink in. Affirmations are a good way to give yourself those positive messages.
13. Listen to what you're saying to your body through your actions, and give yourself compassion. For instance, do you treat your body roughly (bumping into things often, drying your body roughly after a shower); ignore your body (not going to the bathroom when you have to, not get yourself something to drink when you're thirsty)? Try to listen to your body, and what it needs. Notice the ways you aren't being gentle with your body. Then try to imagine your body as the child you once were, or a child you love. Would you treat a child that way? You don't deserve to be treated that way, either.
Remember that people love you for who you are and how you act, not for what your body looks like. True friendship and love come from how we are with others, what we share with them about ourselves, and the way we are inside—not how we look. You deserve to love your body, and to feel good about your body—and yourself.

Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Realistic weight loss ambitions can help you stay on track—and reach your diet goals.
By Kathleen Doheny

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Turns out, it's not the occasional piece of Death by Chocolate Cake that does in our weight loss efforts. It's the universal wish to lose a lot of weight ASAP and the expectation that we can simply diet it away easily.
Weight control experts call it the false-hope syndrome -- when dieters have unrealistic expectations about exactly how long it will take to shed excess pounds.
Unfortunately, research shows that unrealistic expectations boost the risk of dropping out of a weight loss program. And though at least one study has found that dieters may temporarily eat less if their expectations are too high, that undereating may be replaced by overeating at the very next temptation.
Overall, experts concur, unrealistic weight loss objectives are not productive, and can trigger failure. The best way to go: smaller, realistic goals, says Janet Polivy, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada.
The question is: How do you set realistic weight loss goals?
5 Ways to Set Sensible Weight Loss Goals
When WebMD asked the experts for their tips on setting realistic weight loss goals, their recommendations came down to a few simple strategies. But before you put these to use, remember to talk your weight loss plans over with your doctor.
• Resolve to lose slowly
"Medically, most clinicians would say goals of losing five to 10 percent [of your start weight] are achievable," says Jennifer A. Linde, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
So if you weigh 200 pounds, a reachable target would be to lose 10 to 20 pounds.
• Do the math.
"A realistic goal is losing 1 to 2 pounds a week to stay healthy," says Linde.
That means being realistic about your time frame. If you need to lose 25 pounds, figure you are embarking on at least a three-month program. Fifty pounds? Assume a time frame of at least six months. Aim to burn 500 to 1000 calories a day either by eating less, exercising more, or both.
• Set short term goals.
Reach for minimilestones. Instead of focusing on just losing 25 pounds, go for -- and celebrate -- that first 5-pound loss.
• Track your progress.
Record your successes in a way that works for you. Take advantage of online programs, use a notebook, or keep a journal. Whatever keeps you on track.
• Think about long-term goals.
"It's OK to think big, Linde says, "but it may mean starting small and working towards a big goal."
So if your long-term goal is losing 50 pounds in a year, for example, maybe your short-term goal is getting through the day without eating too much.
There's an old saying: Lose it slowly, keep it off. This adage makes sense for at least one reason: Losing weight slowly means you've had time to adopt new behaviors, like eating less and exercising more.
And when you focus on the process of changing your habits --- not just on losing weight -- those new and healthier habits will be a big boost in helping you attain your weight loss goals.

Dieting versus Non-dieting
From Balanced Weight Management
Grim (harmful) Approach Gentle (nurturing) Approach

Grim Motivation:
Believing that being thin is good, being overweight is bad.
Thinking you must weigh XXX pounds.
Hating your body--always at war with yourself.
Thinking your life will be better when you just lost weight
Losing pounds is the focus

Gentle Motivation:
Seeking to improve health, energy, fitness, and well-being.
Appreciating body differences of all people, including you
Respecting your body and honoring yourself with your daily choices.
Accepting yourself for the wonderful person you already are, right now.

Cultivating more nurturing and healthful inner attitudes and behaviors is the focus. This happens from an understanding of how lifestyle, familial, genetic, and cultural factors influence your daily patterns.

Grim Attitude:
Seeking a quick fix (impatient)
Planning to change behaviors only temporarily.
Being rigid and perfectionist--all or nothing--abusive towards ourselves and authoritarian.
Not wanting to spend the time to explore the "root causes" that have led to your present lifestyle imbalance.

Gentle Attitude:
Progressing one step at a time (patient) while having FUN!
Developing new respectful lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.
Remaining flexible and open to new ideas as you celebrate the joy of learning.
Be gentle with ourselves as we practice kind-discipline. We see our unborn wholeness and trust for it to emerge.

We set the intention to free our hearts and minds from suffering and desire to cultivate choices that bring lasting well-being to us.

Grim Behavior:
Relying on "experts" and exterior guidelines.
Attempting deprivation and restriction.
Judging food, eating, and exercise behavior as good or bad.
Allowing a program to control what you eat, how much, and when.
Needing to force yourself to exercise and being very obsessive.

Gentle Behavior:
Trusting yourself to find what works as you tune within your own self, for your own answers.
Being moderate and positive.
Doing what you want--with personal responsibility for your choices. Learning where your choices lead you.
Eating what you want--with awareness and pleasure.
Learning to move your body in ways that bring you pleasure.

You may lose weight, but will usually gain it back--plus more.
Setbacks will cause guilt, self-blame, and self- hatred.
Reinforces binge eating and a preoccupation with food.
Lowers your metabolism
You'll feel like a failure when weight is regained.
You'll become even more discouraged that you'll ever find a solution that is safe and effective.
Reinforces an unhealthy relationship with foods and yourself.
Diets don't work for long and they are harmful to us! Results:
Your small steps will lead to successfully becoming more fit, healthy, and frisky from within.
Setbacks (which are normal and a part of the process of learning any new skill) will encourage forgiveness and increased self understanding and self-mastery.
You'll feel more in charge, as you become more skilled.
You'll learn more about yourself than you might have ever thought possible and make changes that you really want to make.

"Change your thoughts and you change your world. " Norman Vincent Peale

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No More Fugue States

One of the things that got me into real weight trouble was what I refer to as "The Fugue State."

According to Psych Central, "Dissociative Fugue is one or more episodes of amnesia in which one has the inability to recall some, or all, of one's past." What a fitting way to describe me with a bag of chips! I used to grab the sour cream and onion flavored, 11 ounce bag, and take it upstairs with me, to have a "few" while I laid on my queen size bed to watch my evening TV shows.

I would mindlessly reach my hand into the bag, until I was snapped out of my self-imposed fugue, by my hand coming out of the bag.....empty. At that moment I was always surprised, "How did that happen?" It was like that 1970's Alka Seltzer commercial, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

It is the same with any trigger food; cookies, cashews (for me AKA crack), movie popcorn - whatever you eat mindlessly, and "wake-up" when it's gone.

How do you end this behavior? Here's a few ideas.

1. Go cold turkey from your trigger foods (TF's).

2. Plan dates with your TF's i.e. I will have cashews on Christmas Eve. I will have beer on Memorial Day. I will eat two servings of chips on my Birthday......

3. Count out one serving and put it in a bowl and seal the package back up. (This doesn't work for most of us food addicts as we can always GO BACK and get more. It's like picking at a donut until it is gone or asking your husband to hide the cashews (Mine ALWAYS told me where they were - after minimal begging.)

4. Find new snacks that aren't triggers. I have no problem counting out one serving of pretzels. (Have you ever noticed that people never say that carrots or apples are their trigger foods?)

5. Switch to low-fat, unsalted, fat free etc. versions of your TF's. It does work. I was addicted to Hellman's Mayonaise and then switched to Hellman's Dijonnaise (after two years I am now addicted to the 5 calorie Dijonnaise.)

7. Read the label for the whole bag of, whatever, BEFORE you are going to have a "few". There are 11 servings in a 11 oz bag of Sour Cream and Onion Chips. 160 calories a serving. The WHOLE BAG is 1760 calories with 110 grams of fat and 2,310 mg of Sodium. I can't believe I ate the whole thing!!


Photos: http://weblogs.wpix.com/news/local/morningnews/blogs/images/lays0313.jpg

Friday, March 19, 2010

Building The Buffer

I weigh in around 80 people every week and that includes my husband and myself. I have a little "moment" whenever anyone goes into a new "decade", when I stop and make them say, LOUDLY, that they will never be in the previous decade again. For example, someone is at 181 , weighs in and is at 179. They say, "I will NEVER be the 80's again. It is important to stop and recognize the achievement and imprint it in your psyche.

The same holds true at the 100 pound intervals. I have seen a few people in our group, including me, go from the 300's into the 200's. We said, "I will never be in the 300's again!"

More of the group have gone from the 200's into the 100's. They each said, "I will never be in the 200's again." It's not faulty math when I state that it is more than one pound betwen 300 and 299 and 200 and 199. It is one small pound on the scale but it's a giant leap for that psyche I was talking about earlier.

In 1982 I went to The Diet Center for a while and then on Nutrisystems and got to 176 pounds. I lasted at that weight for around five minutes. I never learned WHY I over ate. I never learned WHAT the proper foods were to eat, or HOW I had to exercise to maintain my weight loss. So, now I weigh 203 and I am lower than I have been in 28 years!! I can see 199 on the horizon. NO longer is it a dim and flickering light at the end of the tunnel.

What is important is that even if it takes awhile for me to get to 199, I have built a HUGE BUFFER between me and weighing 300 again; a 97 pound buffer to be exact. I can have a bad day, a bad few days, a bad week, even a bad month and I would be hard pressed to gain 97 pounds.

What I have learned is that the key is to NIP THE "BAD" TIMES IN THE BUD before you chip too much away from that buffer. Give yourself a five pound leeway, so if you want to weigh 170, try to stay between 165 and 170 etc.

The BIG problems occur when we never get back on track and the days, weeks, or one month become MONTHS and soon our buffer is gone for good. Give yourself that bad day, or even a week, if you must, but STOP and get yourself back on track ASAP. Build a buffer and stay below it and tell yourself you'll never go back into the ....300's or the 200's or the whatever's again BUT this time MEAN IT .

Photo http://pleaseenjoy.com/admin/uploadedpics/02.scale.jpg

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pray It Off March 17, 2010 Meeting

We had our weekly PIO Meeting, last night on a Wednesday, due to a church scheduling conflict on our regular Thursday night. I hate to skip a meeting as the accountability is critical.

I have been told that the materials, from the hand-out packet, appear long and boring when viewed in the blog. I agree. The information is a "back-up" to my live presentation which I try to make upbeat, inspiring and fun. Members, I welcome your comments and please join the Blog as a Follower.

I urge you to read the materials, each week, as vital information is passed along. I also STRONGLY suggest that EVERYONE sees their Doctor for a complete check-up, including blood work, yearly. I was found to need Vitamin D and that has helped me finally break my weight loss plateau.

AGENDA Pray it Off March 17, 2010

Total Lbs Off 1st Session-644 2nd Session-571 Combined-1215
3rd Session-235 Combined-1450 4th Session -261 4th Session Combined 1711 5th Session- -219

Log Sheet/Matthew 24
Matthew 23
A New Understanding of Vitamin D
7 Fish Oil Benefits
6 Ways To Control Your Cravings
4 Steps for Making Healthy Sandwiches
Spring Clean Your Exercise Routine
Cabbage Soup
Lyrics: Nearer My God To Thee Sung by The Irish Tenors
PIO Group Prayer Time
2. Opening Prayer
3. Awards
4. Review Bible Verse
5. Review Packet Materials
6. Listen to: Nearer My God To Thee
7. St. Pio Intercession
8. PIO Group Prayer Time
9. Dismissal 7:00

Matthew Chapter 23

1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. 3 Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
4 They tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. 5 All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
6 They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, 7
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.' 8 As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. 10 Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be your servant.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. 14
15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.
16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
17 Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?
18 And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
19 You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; 21 one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it;
22 one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it. 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! 25
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth.
28 Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
30 and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.'
31 Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; 32 now fill up what your ancestors measured out!
33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?
34 Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
36 Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! 38 Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. 39 I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

A new understanding of vitamin D
by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

This information promises to revolutionize the way medicine looks at, and uses, vitamin D. New perspectives include awareness that:
Variables influencing vitamin D requirements
o Sunlight exposure
o Skin pigmentation
o Baseline vitamin D level
o Intestinal absorption rates
o Type of vitamin D supplement (D3 is 3 times more potent than D2)
o Age (with increased age, there is a reduced photoconversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D)
o Genetic variation in vitamin D receptor activity
• We evolved outdoors, exposed to abundant sunlight, with attendant “high” vitamin D blood levels. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans evolved in open sunlight, producing high levels of vitamin D on a regular basis. For example, scientists calculate that human societies that spend most of their lives outdoors at lower latitudes have naturally high vitamin D blood levels, at, or above, the high end of “normal” for the current, standard laboratory range. These levels are maintained without any toxic effects; in fact, considerable data suggest health-promoting effects of these naturally occurring high vitamin D levels.
• The optimal, health-promoting level of vitamin D is much higher than expected. For nearly 100 years it was thought that all humans needed was the tiny amount of vitamin D required to prevent rickets. Now science clearly documents that we need much higher levels of vitamin D for the prevention of a wide range of degenerative diseases. Today the “optimum” blood level of vitamin D is held to be that at the high end of the normal range, with current research suggesting an ideal level of 50–70 ng/mL vitamin D as measured by the 25(OH)D test.
In regard to bone health, the current thinking holds the minimum appropriate level of vitamin D to be that level which favorably normalizes parathyroid hormone (a hormone which you want to be in the low normal range to prevent osteoporosis). Research suggests the blood level of vitamin D needed for this is 40 ng/mL or greater. Interestingly, the two well-accepted studies showing osteoporosis fracture prevention with vitamin D and calcium supplementation reported that the mean vitamin D concentration of subjects after supplementation exceeded 40 ng/mL, measured as 25(OH)D.
The Better Bones Perspective on Vitamin D Supplementation
o Ask your doctor to test your blood 25(OH)D level at base line and then after at least four weeks of supplement use, adjust dose accordingly, and retest as necessary.
o Do not use D supplements without your doctor’s instructions if you have kidney problems, kidney stones, high blood calcium (hypercalcemia), hyperparathyroidism or the diseases of sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, non-hodgkins lymphoma, oatcell carcinoma or leukemia which can make you hypersensitive to vitamin D.
o Supplement with vitamin D3; do not use supplements composed of vitamin D2.
• Humans use and need much more vitamin D than ever imagined. Whether our vitamin D comes from sunlight, food, or supplements, researchers find we use and need substantially more vitamin D than previously thought. Dr. Robert Heaney of Creighton University and colleagues have documented that we use between 3,000 and 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Depending on many factors, including one’s sunlight exposure, skin pigmentation, weight, age, and existing vitamin D body stores, maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D can require anywhere from a few hundred to 4,000 or more International Units (IUs) of vitamin D daily. The need for supplemental vitamin D can vary a great deal from individual to individual and blood testing for vitamin D level is the best way to insure appropriate dosing.
• Our government’s recommendations for oral vitamin D intake are too low. The renowned osteoporosis researcher, Dr. Robert Heaney, was a member of the 1997-2002 US Food and Nutrition Board, which set the official vitamin D intake guidelines. Dr. Heaney now reports, however, that his new research suggests these government recommendations were far too low. In fact, Dr. Heaney now calculates that our typical diet combined with the current recommended supplemental D intake (which is only 200 IU, raising to 400 IU at age 51 and 600 IU for 71 years and older) would only provide for 15% of an ideal vitamin D blood level. Dr. Heaney himself now classifies the US Food and Nutrition Board recommendations as “falling into a curious zone between irrelevant and inadequate.” For individuals with extensive sunlight exposure, the governmental intake recommendations add little to their daily vitamin D production, and for those without ultraviolet exposure the recommended levels are insufficient to ensure desired 25(OH)D blood levels.
• The best way to determine vitamin D need and adequacy and to assure the safety of higher dose supplement use is to measure the blood level of the vitamin D metabolite known as 25(OH)D vitamin D. The only real way to know if you are receiving an adequate and/or safe dose of vitamin D is through a blood test for 25(OH)D. Be sure your physician tests for the more stable form of vitamin D known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D). The 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D active form of vitamin D should not be used to test for a vitamin D adequacy. Follow-up vitamin D tests done 2 months after the start of supplementation, or after changing your dose, will help ensure that you are not getting too high or too low a dose of vitamin D. Experts also recommend initially testing your vitamin D level twice a year, at the end of summer and mid-winter. This way your health care guide can help you establish a year round vitamin D supplementation program.
• Vitamin D is much safer than previously thought. Being fat soluble, vitamin D can accumulate in the tissues and become toxic. Documented toxicity, however, is rare and often involves either individuals with specific vitamin D hypersensitivity or accidental misuse of the substance. As vitamin D authority, Dr. Reinhold Veith, reports, vitamin D toxicity is always accompanied by serum 25(OH)D levels greater than 88 ng/mL.3 In clinical practice we see that the need for supplemental vitamin D varies from person to person. While vitamin D researchers suggest that most people would obtain an adequate level with 2,000 IU vitamin D per day, some need more, and a few others might need less (see www.grassrootshealth.org). Everyone’s biochemistry is different, so it is wise to have your vitamin D levels tested.
• While most of our vitamin D comes from ultraviolet solar radiation, in northern latitudes the winter sunlight is so indirect that the body cannot produce vitamin D from sunlight. In latitudes 40 degrees or more either way from the equator (a northern parallel around Philadelphia or Lisbon), the slant of the sun is such that during winter months we produce very little, if any, vitamin D, even with sunlight exposure. In the winter, those in northern climates depend on vitamin D stores accumulated in the summer and on supplemental vitamin D. If such stores are inadequate because of lack of exposure, northern residents will be deficient — and many are.
• Vitamin D deficiency and inadequacy are more common than expected worldwide. By current standards, it is estimated that at least one billion people worldwide have inadequate vitamin D levels. Even using the traditional standards for vitamin D adequacy, nearly half of US African-American women ages 15 to 49 were recently found to be vitamin D deficient. Further, 30% of African-American women who were given more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D from supplements were still found to have low vitamin D levels. In another study, 34% of Canadians surveyed had inadequate vitamin D levels. In a Boston study of elderly people who took vitamin D supplements or drank 2–3 glasses of vitamin D-fortified milk, 80% were overtly or borderline vitamin D-deficient at the end of winter. (For other interesting statistics on vitamin D deficiency worldwide, see my article, “Vitamin D: Its benefits are more than ever imagined.”)
• Vitamin D is more than just a bone nutrient. Receptors for vitamin D have been found all over the body, from bone and brain to thymus and uterus. While there is still much to learn, strong evidence suggests that vitamin D is also important as an immune enhancement, anti-cancer, cardio protective, and joint protective agent, as well as being a potent antioxidant. For further information on the protective roles of vitamin D, see the vitamin D section in our 20 key nutrients for bone health article, and the regularly updated vitamin D websites listed at the end of this article.
• Types of vitamin D supplements. There are two common forms of vitamin D supplements. One, known as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), is a natural form of the vitamin. D3 is most commonly derived from sheep’s wool lanolin and can also be produced from fish oil. The second common form of vitamin D is known as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). D2 is a synthetic form of the vitamin. Recent research suggests it is only half as potent as natural vitamin D3. For this reason D3, cholecalciferol, is the preferred supplement form.
Stay tuned for the “third wave” of vitamin D awareness (2009 and beyond)
The “first wave” of vitamin D awareness gifted humans with a cure for rickets, a major devastating bone disease. The recent “second wave” of awareness has shown vitamin D to be universally important to many body systems and more powerful than we ever expected. The “third wave” of vitamin D awareness we are now entering in early 2009 is generated by a multitude of new scientific studies linking adequate levels of vitamin D to disease resistance and showing that low levels are related to increased disease incidence and mortality. In regards to bone health, my review of the literature suggests that osteoporotic fractures can be reduced by 50 to 60% with the attainment of therapeutic vitamin D levels.

7 Fish Oil Benefits Proven by Research
By Michael Byrd ( http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Byrd)

Research studies show fish oil benefits are down right amazing. And knowing this is the second most important thing you can do for your health. (We'll get to #1 in importance soon.)
Studies are published almost daily as the scientific community discovers more and more of the many extraordinary omega 3 fish oil benefits.
If you haven't already been swept up in the net yet, here are 7 proven omega 3 benefits you should know about.
1. Less Pain and Inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, have a very positive effect on your inflammatory response. Through several mechanisms, they regulate your body's inflammation cycle, which prevents and relieves painful conditions like arthritis, prostatitis, cystitis and anything else ending in "itis."
2. Cardiovascular Health. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been proven to work wonders for your heart and the miles and miles of arteries and veins that make up your cardiovascular system. They help to lower cholesterol, tryglicerides, LDLs and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol. This adds years to your life expectancy.
3. Protection from Stroke and Heart Attack. When plaque builds up on arterial walls and then breaks loose, it causes what's known as a thrombosis, which is a fancy way of saying clot. If a clot gets stuck in the brain, it causes a stroke and when it plugs an artery, it causes a heart attack. Research shows omega 3 fatty acids break up clots before they can cause any damage.
4. Better Brain Function and Higher Intelligence. Pregnant and nursing mothers can have a great impact on the intelligence and happiness of their babies by supplementing with fish oil. For adults, omega 3 improves memory, recall, reasoning and focus. You'll swear you're getting younger and smarter.
5. Less Depression and Psychosis. Making you smarter is not all omega 3 does for your brain. Psychiatry department researchers at the University of Sheffield, along with many other research studies, found that omega 3 fish oil supplements "alleviate" the symptoms of depression, bipolar and psychosis (Journal of Affective Disorder Vol. 48(2-3);149-55).
6. Lower Incidence of Childhood Disorders. Just to show how fish oil fatty acids leave nobody out, studies show that children (and adults) with ADD and ADHD experience a greatly improved quality of life. And those with dyslexia, dyspraxia and compulsive disorders have gotten a new lease on life thanks to omega 3 oils.
7. Reduction of Breast, Colon and Prostate Cancer. And finally, omega 3 fish oil has been shown to help prevent three of the most common forms of cancer - breast, colon and prostate. Science tells us that omega 3s accomplish this in three ways. They stop the alteration from a normal healthy cell to a cancerous mass, inhibiting unwanted cellular growth and causing apoptosis, or cellular death, of cancer cells.
So you can see why knowing these benefits is the second most important thing you can do for your health. Can you guess what number one is?
That's right! Now it's time to put your knowledge to work. Eat more cold water oily fish and start taking good quality pure omega 3 fish oil supplements regularly.
Michael has nearly 20 years experience and education in nutrition and physical therapy. His pursuit of wellness has led him to understand the extraordinary healing power of natural whole foods and the many fish oil health benefits.

6 Ways to Control Your Cravings
by Jessica Girdwain (Family Circle March 10 2010)

There's temptation everywhere -- a coworker brings doughnuts to the morning meeting, your kids order a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese for dinner, even the barista at Starbucks suggests you have a blueberry scone with your latte. How can you resist?
We won't lie -- it's tough. When women encounter crave-worthy foods like chocolate and potato chips, our brains have an intense "I gotta have it" response, even when we're not hungry. Unhealthy treats, primarily those containing sugar, fat, and salt, cause our bodies to release dopamine. This lights up the reward center in our brains, stimulating our appetite and making us want more of them, says David Kessler, MD, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and author of The End of Overeating (Rodale). Since virtually all of us have been exposed to these foods all our lives, we crave them often.
But it's not impossible to say no. Employing a few simple strategies can help you overcome those sweet and salty yearnings. "By maintaining a healthy diet and practicing smart responses when faced with temptation, cravings can almost disappear within two weeks," says Susan Roberts, PhD, professor of nutrition at the USDA Nutrition Center at Tufts University, in Boston, and author of The "I" Diet (Workman Publishing Company). All you have to do is learn how to handle these six common diet downfalls.

You're feeling down -- and want a snack to perk you up.
Fight back: Stop and identify your emotions. Are you stressed? Did a fight with your husband put you on edge? Acknowledging your feelings can help you pinpoint the "why" behind a craving -- and address the real issue head on instead of running to the fridge.
Why it works: A study from the University of Kentucky found that people who were the most in touch with their feelings were more likely to pick healthier options when ordering from a restaurant menu -- regardless of how much they knew about nutrition.
"Being in tune with your mood lets you determine a more effective way to cope, so you don't end up reaching for that snack," says Dr. Kessler.
Bonus tip: Keep a food diary and make notes about your state of mind in the margins. This simple trick allows you to track your psychological connections to overeating. You can then brainstorm other ways to handle potential triggers.

There's a two-for-one sale on your favorite ice cream.
Fight back: Rather than stocking up, buy a smaller amount of your not-so-favorite flavor to keep in the fridge for guests and kids (a pint is cheaper than a quart anyway). The key is keeping around a tiny portion that doesn't entice you as much.
Why it works: "Think of this as a vaccine against cravings -- exposure to a small amount will help you overcome the big problem," says Ayelet Fishbach, PhD, professor of behavioral science and marketing at University of Chicago.
Fishbach's research has found that making a temptation available renders it, well, less tempting. Over time, you'll build self-control and have a decreased desire for the food. And if you do end up giving in, you can't go totally overboard.
Bonus tip: Stash the pint in the back of the freezer, so you won't see the mint chip whenever you reach for frozen veggies.

The party buffet is calling your name.
Fight back: Distract yourself. Talk to a guest or help the host. Turning your attention to another activity will keep you from fixating on the food.
Why it works: Cravings live in your short-term memory, which holds only a limited number of things at once. A diversion helps by crowding out the temptation, and your brain is forced to refocus.
In a study from Flinders University in Australia, weight-watchers who were asked to imagine highly desired food and then were immediately exposed to something else (in this case, a flickering computer screen) reported a 30 percent reduction in cravings.
Bonus tip: Eat a healthy snack like an apple before you go to the party. "Distraction works only if you're not feeling unsatisfied," says Roberts. "When you're hungry, cravings are harder to control."

Your drive home takes you past your favorite fast-food joint.
Fight back: Take an alternative route to your house, even if it's a little bit longer. This strategy works when you're walking too. In fact, Dr. Kessler uses it himself -- he loves the fried dumplings at the Asian take-out place in the San Francisco Airport, so he takes a different path through the terminal to keep them out of sight and prevent himself from indulging.
Why it works: If you stop for a bacon cheeseburger, cookies-and-cream milkshake, glazed chocolate doughnut, or any other fix often enough, it becomes what Kessler calls a habit-driven behavior. This means that just seeing the golden arches or driving onto the road that goes there will trigger the desire to eat the food again. Simply stay away and you're less likely to be drawn in.
Bonus tip: When it's not possible to go any other way, decide ahead of time on a couple of healthier items you will order if you end up stopping. At least you won't get caught making an impulse choice.

Movie popcorn -- it smells too good to resist.
Fight back: Mentally prepare. Before buying your ticket, acknowledge the urge by saying to yourself: "I will probably want to buy a huge tub of buttery popcorn, but I will go straight to my seat instead."
Why it works: Just the act of realizing that you crave something makes it easier to control, says Evan Forman, PhD, associate professor in the department of psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. It may sound simple, but being armed with this same type of self-awareness helped participants in a recent study resist bags of Hershey's Kisses. People who were instructed to "accept the craving" had fewer and less-intense thoughts about the chocolate than those who were told to suppress their desires. "The more you try not to think about something, the more you obsess over it," Forman says.
Bonus tip: If you love munching on something during a flick, it's hard to go cold turkey. So go for a low-cal option like sharing a box of Junior Mints with a friend. You'll save up to 1,000 calories and still get the satisfaction of snacking.

You're out with friends and they order unhealthy foods.
Fight back: Don't let their bad habits sway you -- stick to your original healthy order, but choose a small splurge like sharing an appetizer of loaded potato skins, enjoying a glass of white wine, or having just a few bites of your friend's piece of cheesecake.
Why it works: Being more mindful of what you choose to indulge in will help you avoid overeating throughout the meal -- a trap we frequently fall into, particularly when dining with female friends. According to a recent study from McMaster University in Canada, the more women who attend a meal, the more high-calorie foods they eat (for example, a woman dining in a group of four consumes nearly 800 calories, almost 200 more than if eating with just one friend).
Bonus tip: Invite a bunch of your friends over to a weekend lunch at your place and have everyone bring a healthy dish to share, like baked salmon or whole wheat pasta. It's much easier to control calories this way -- just make sure your guests take home the leftovers.

4 Steps for Making Healthy Sandwiches
Originally published in the April 1, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.

Whether you're brown-bagging it or stopping by the deli, choose a lunch -- without fattening condiments or extras -- that will keep you full until dinner. Aim for a sandwich that is around 400 to 500 calories, fiber-rich and loaded with veggies, says registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward. She shows you how in four simple steps.

Good 'Wich: Go for whole wheat bread or mix things up with a whole-grain wrap or pita. Choose a variety that is high in fiber -- at least 2 grams per slice -- which will help you stay satisfied longer.
Wicked 'Wich: Avoid highly refined carbs like white bread, rolls, and croissants since fiber is removed during the milling process. Also beware of wheat breads disguised as whole grain -- check the label carefully to make sure you're getting the real thing.
Quick Tip: The first ingredient on the bread label must say either whole grain or whole wheat.

Good 'Wich: Choose 3-ounce servings of a low-calorie and low-fat protein like turkey (2 slices), tuna (1/2 can), chicken, or salmon. For a vegetarian option, try a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich with 4 tablespoons of hummus.
Wicked 'Wich: Bologna, liverwurst, and pastrami are typically higher in calories, fat, and saturated fat. Just one slice of bologna can have up to 90 calories (about three times more than turkey) and 3 grams of saturated fat.
Quick Tip: One serving of chicken (3 ounces) is about the same size as a deck of cards.

Good 'Wich: The more, the better. Veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cucumbers, and spinach are good sources of fiber and water, which quench hunger.
Wicked 'Wich: There's no such thing as a "bad" fruit or veggie, but watch out for pitfalls. Go easy on avocados, which contain healthy fats yet are high in calories. Stick with a few thin slices or a tablespoon of guacamole. Rinse and drain canned veggies like mushrooms or olives to get rid of excess oil.
Quick Tip: 1/2 cup sliced apples or pears adds crunch and flavor for fewer than 50 calories.

Good 'Wich: Perk up your sandwich with a spread that has 50 calories or fewer, such as honey or Dijon mustard or low-fat mayo.
Wicked 'Wich: Cheese is the biggest diet danger -- one slice of the full-fat kind contains more than 100 calories and about 10 grams of fat. Cheese lovers should opt for an ounce or less of a variety marked 50% or 75% reduced fat. Even a small portion of grated cheddar, goat cheese, provolone, or Muenster adds a lot of flavor.
Quick Tip: Whip up your own condiment -- blend Dijon mustard with apricot jam.

6 Healthy Sandwiches
Originally published on FamilyCircle.com, February 2010.

Roast Beef Sub
6-inch whole-grain sub with 2 slices lean roast beef, 2 tablespoons mustard, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onions.

Turkey and Granny Smith Apple Sandwich
3 ounces sliced deli turkey with 1/2 of a thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, 1/2 cup salad greens, and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard on 2 slices of low-calorie bread.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato, and 1 teaspoon low-fat mayo on a roll.

Greek Pita
6-inch pita filled with 1/4 cup hummus, 1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce, 1/3 chopped cucumber, 1 small chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt, and 1 teaspoon McCormick Greek seasoning.

Tuna Sandwich
3 ounces canned light tuna packed in water, 2 tablespoons light mayo, and 1 teaspoon pickle relish on 2 slices of reduced-calorie bread with lettuce and tomato.

Grilled Chicken Burger
3 ounces grilled chicken strips with 1 large romaine lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, 1 teaspoon light mayo, on a whole wheat hamburger bun.


The health benefits of the cabbage are now well known and still, this vegetable does not seem to be present in our diet. Studies suggest that it should be brought to our table 2 to 3 times a week. If you are reluctant to eat some because of the flatulences it produces, you will see that they are some tips to help overcome this trouble.
Health benefits In the middle ages this vegetable was called "the drug of the poor". There is few vegetables that have more healing properties than cabbage. Unfortunately, nowadays, people prefer to rely on drugs rather than healing food. I do not say that you should not use medication but just that for some cases cabbage could be a great help but we do not even consider it. If you are interested, many books have been written about it and its medicinal uses.
The most interesting property of this vegetable is its power to reduce the risk of developing a colon cancer. Studies have shown that population who eat large amounts of cabbage have low rate of colon cancer. This is due to its high content in fibers and chemicals. Fibers help our intestines to stay healthy by increasing our transit movements. Cabbage also contains chemicals that inhibit tumor growth and protect cells against free radicals.
Some of its chemicals are believed to speed up the body's metabolism of estrogen and therefore reduce the incidence of breast, uterus and ovaries cancer. Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor). These anti-oxidants are helpful to fight free radicals that are circulating in our body and increase our process of aging.
The high amount of beta-carotene may cut the risk of cataracts.
Raw, the cabbage is a good source of folic acid which lowers the risk of having babies with Spina bifida. Juiced cabbage promotes healing of some ulcers. Cabbage also reduces risk of heart disease and stroke, alleviate rheumatisms and skin problems.
On top of all these properties, this vegetable is low in calories. Caution:
Cabbage reduces absorption of iodine. If you do eat more than 2 to 3 times a week this vegetable, be sure you do not suffer from thyroid disorders and ensure your intake of iodine.
How to eat it? First of all, how to avoid the flatulence?
It is really easy and adds a nice flavor to your dish too. Just add a few seeds of caraway/cumin or fennel (or both) before cooking. The cabbage will be more digest and you will not have the unpleasant odor in your kitchen for days.
There are many ways to prepare a cabbage. Raw, shredded in small pieces, you can add it to any of your salad. It can be a salad by itself with a few pieces of apple, raisins, cheese... When shredded you might want to fry it alone or with a cereal.
Cabbage is wonderful for winter's recipes such as "pot-au-feu", soups or even stuffed. It can be boiled, steamed... There is not limit to creativity. Cabbage can also be eaten as sauerkraut. This recipe comes from Germany. It consists of soaking it in salt brine and then let it ferment. Sauerkraut provides microorganisms that are good for our intestinal flora but is also rich in sodium. To lower the sodium content rinse it before cooking it.
Avoid cutting the cabbage in advance otherwise you would lose its vitamins, especially vitamin C. The leaves in the inside are usually well tight and clean. You do not have to wash them. Just remove the exterior leaves that might be spoiled and rinse the whole cabbage under running water. You can then prepare it.
The simplest way to cut it is with a large and sharpen knife to cut it in half and then in quarters. You might want to remove its core from each quarter since this part is usually hard. Depending on what you want to do with it, you can slice it in small pieces, leave it in quarters or cut it again in half.
Do not cook cabbage in an aluminum pot which causes a chemical reaction that discolor the vegetable and alter its flavor. Peak season Cabbage is available all year round but its peak season is the fall.
Storage Cabbage is one of the vegetable that keeps well. Placed in the refrigerator or in a cold place, a whole cabbage can be store for at least two weeks. If the cabbage has already been cut, the rest cannot be stored more than two or three days. Nutritional values
Nutrients Units Cabbage - raw Cabbage - cooked
Water g 92.15 93.60
Energy kcal 25 22
Protein g 1.44 1.02
Total lipid (fat) g 0.27 0.43
Carbohydrate g 5.43 4.46
Fiber, total dietary g 2.3 2.3
Calcium mg 31 46
Iron mg 0.17 0.84
Magnesium mg 8 24
Phosphorus mg 15 59
Potassium mg 97 292
Sodium mg 8 26
Zinc mg 0.09 0.38
Copper mg 0.012 0.043
Manganese mg 0.117 0.218
Selenium mcg 0.6 1.9
Vitamin C mg 20.1 74.6
B-1 (thiamin) mg 0.057 0.055
B-2 (riboflavin) mg 0.055 0.113
B-3 (niacin) mg 0.282 0.574
B-5 (pantothenic acid) mg 0.139 0.508
B-6 (pyridoxine) mg 0.113 0.143
Folate mcg 20 50
B-12 mcg 0 0
Vitamin A I.U 132 1318
Vitamin A mcg RE 13 139
Vitamin E mcg ATE 0.105 1.69
Fatty acids, saturated g 0.053 0.054
Fatty acids, monounsaturated g 0.030 0.024
Fatty acids, polyunsaturated g 0.196 0.167
Linoleic acid (18:2) g 0.085 0.038
Alpha-linolenic acid (18:3) g 0.110 0.129
Cholesterol mg 0 0
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 13 (November 1999)

Spring-Clean Your Exercise Routine

You spruce up your house when the seasons change, so why not do the same with your workout? From gear to attitude, here’s what to toss—and the best way to to replace it.
Ditch: Old walking or running shoes
Instead: Invest in a new pair of kicks, because worn-out soles are a quick path to injury. Write the purchase date on the tongue or side of your shoes and let your weekly mileage be your guide. If you walk or run 10 miles per week, replace your shoes every 12 months; 15 miles, every 8 months; 20 miles, every 6 months; 30 miles, every 4 months.

Ditch: Your freebie pedometer
Instead: Spend $20 to $25 for a better-quality one. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine tested nearly 1,000 low-end pedometers and found almost three-quarters of them were inaccurate—with most of them overestimating step counts.

Ditch: Lightweight dumbbells
Instead: Use heavier weights that challenge you, says Tim Davis, director of personal training at Peak Performance in New York. Your body has an amazing ability to adapt quickly, so if you don’t regularly increase the weight you’re lifting, you’ll eventually plateau. Lift as much as you can, as long as it isn’t painful and you feel in control throughout the move.

Ditch: Sipping only when thirsty
Instead: Drink 4 to 6 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Sweating away even a tiny portion of your body weight can doom your workout by making your heart beat faster and causing you to feel weak and tired.

Ditch: The idea that more is better
Instead: Focus on the quality, not length, of your workout, Davis says. Instead of walking or biking at one speed for an hour, halve your workout (and burn the same amount of calories) by doing sprint intervals—30 seconds to 2 minutes at a very fast pace, followed by 2 minutes at normal pace.

Ditch: That old cotton T-shirt
Instead: Go high-tech and invest in workout clothing made from wicking fabrics. Why? Synthetics do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler while you exercise (but you knew that already).

Zero Point Weight Watchers


3 cups Soup, Beef Broth
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic in Water
1 tablespoons Tomatoes Paste
2 cups Cabbage, Cooked
1/2 cups Yellow Onion
1/2 cups 1/2 cup chopped carrots - Boiled
1/2 cups Green Beans Raw
1/2 cups Zucchini Raw
1/2 servings Basil, Dried
1/2 teaspoons Oregano, Ground

Use nonfat beef broth. Spray pot with non stick cooking spray and saute onions, carrots, and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add broth, tomato paste, cabbage, green beans, basil and oregano.
Simmer 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender then add the zucchini and simmer another 5-10 minute.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe Serves 6 people
Amount per Serving
Calories 21 Calories from Fat

% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.1g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.01g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 33mg 1%
Potassium 178mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1.5g 6%
Sugars 2.3g
Protein 1.0g 2%
Vitamin A 34%
Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%
Vitamin E 0%
Vitamin K 0%
Thiamin (B1) 0%
Riboflavin (B2) 0.21
Niacin (B3) 1.19
Vitamin B6 4%
Folic Acid (Folate) 0%
Vitamin B12 0%
Phosphorus 0.5
Magnesium 0%
Panthothenic Acid 0%
Zinc 0%
Manganese 0.47
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 4.3% Carbs 95.2%
Protein 19.0%

Nearer, My God, to Thee
Sung by the Irish Tenors
Lyrics: Sarah F. Adams, 1805-1848
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
yet in my dreams I'd be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

March 17, 2010

• Have you ever had your vitamin D level checked? Do you take vitamins/fish oil/other supplements? Discuss?
• Do you want a snack when you are feeling down? What else can you do to feel better?
• Describe your last sandwich in detail? Describe your next healthy sandwich in detail.
• Discuss healthy cabbage eating for this next week. Can you make the soup?
• How old are your sneakers? Do you use a pedometer DAILY? Discuss the benefits of using a pedometer.
• Say the Hail Mary to Close the Group.
Irish Blessing – “Christ be with me, be after me, be before me, and be at my right and left hand. May everything I do be for Christ.”