When I was younger I never seemed to be tempted much by sweets. It's not that I didn't like an occasional chocolate but I just wasn't the kid with candy on my mind and in my mouth. I actually loved apples, can you believe it?
However, it seems that after menopause (dare I mention that word?), I've developed a love affair with some sweets. And the biggest culprit for me are the sugar cookies from Barb's Bakery. I don't mean to tempt you... but who can resist cookies that are so cute? They make all kinds of designs for holidays like cookies in the form of flags or Christmas trees or angels. Gosh, I've got to stop obsessing over something I need to stay away from right now. Because my habit lately has been that when I'm stressed... a cookie from Barb's Bakery tastes so good.
As it goes down, I smile...but then I think about how many calories it contains. I know that once in a while is OK but I've taken to freezing them in individual baggies for future eating. And if it's in the house, I will eventually eat it.
This post is supposed to be about losing weight, right? I need to get back on topic.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to discover that... to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you burn each day.
But if you cut back too much on the calories, your metabolism slows down and besides that... you get hungry! So, if you make the choice to exercise each day that helps to increase your metabolism which helps with weight loss.
I want to share a secret with you...spoil your appetite. A Penn State research study found that eating a salad or soup as a first course can actually decrease the calorie intake by 12%. Now remember not to slather your salad with high calorie dressing. But filling up on the more water rich foods will give you a feeling of fullness and you may be less inclined to eat so much food at each meal. Also remember to eat slow. If you eat too fast you don't realize how full you are and then you've already consumed much too much food.
I want to share a recipe for Gazpacho soup. I found the recipe in Ina Garten's cookbook "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook". If you've ever seen Ina on Food Network TV, you know that she isn't known for her low fat healthy recipes. But her recipe for gazpacho is very healthy and low in calories and it's delicious. During the summer, I keep a container of it in the fridge so instead of eating a sweet or other snack, I have a cup of cold gazpacho. Since I live in Phoenix, I tend to eat it year round and besides that a cold soup is very convenient.
Gazpacho (from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
Serves 8-10 (I half this recipe)
2 hothouse cucumbers halved and seeded, but not peeled
3 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
8 plum tomotoes
2 red onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
46 ounces tomato juice (6 cups)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess! (I don't use the food processor but chop it myself)
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
One note of caution: If you have a history of congestive heart failure or have been told to watch your salt intake, tomato juice is fairly high in sodium.
How about you? Do you have any tips that have worked for you? What foods do you struggle with (like my Barb's Bakery cookies)?