Heart Choices: Losing Weight -->

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Losing Weight

Losing weight seems to be the on the minds...and waistlines of so many people. Even though I am one of those people who has consistently exercised, I still love to cook and eat. And as I get older, it seems to become harder to lose weight.

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)?

Debbie Petras
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  1. Ok so I am eating my yogurt while staring at the yummy cookies, yes you are mean =)

    That recipes looks good I am going to print it out.

    For me BREAD BREAD BREAD is what did it. I have pretty much given up sugar and only eat certain breads. (don't tell anyone but I did not even eat cake for my birthday, just went out to dinner)

    I like what Mike Huckabee says (who has lost a lot of weight) - if it was not a food many years ago, it is not a food now.

    Great post.

  2. Laurel- I'm eating yogurt will reading this too!:)
    And I'm with you, it's the bread and carbs that get me every time.
    I have to avoid ranch dressing altogether or I will find things to dip in it!

    The thing that keeps going through my heart and mind lately is: balance. I can go from one extreme to the other.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Thank you Laurel and Sue for sharing your thoughts and also admitting what your struggles are.

  4. Debbie,

    Those cookies look yummy! I am going through menopause too and some days....I'm right there with you!

    This was a really great post and I enjoyed it immensely. And I love the barefoot contessa...she always makes me smile :)

    Hugs & blessings to you!

  5. One thing that helps me choose better foods is doing maths...lol. If I have to give myself a treat (or I'll just burst), I remember a simple ratio to help me choose better:

    1 gram of sugar = 4 calories
    1 gram of fat = 9 calories

    so... I try to have a candy rather than a donut or I try to have a strawberry sorbet rather than a double chocolate ice cream.

    The other thing I know is that your body likes to eat sugar first but store fat first. Only when the excess sugar is gone does the body start using the storage fat.

    so... when I look at a treat I ask myself 'how long will I have to exercise to work this off?'

    ...works everytime!


    Soup or salad for an entre! I completely forgot how good that is... Growing up mum always made a soup or salad for us as a starter - it made dinner an 'event' rather than just a re-fueling. But best of all it made the family spend more time together at the table chatting about the day. :)

  6. So many ways to loos weight. Traveling...

  7. I have a horrible time with sweets. I love to exercise and belong to a gym and read as I bike and do the elliptical. I am 42 and it is just hard to lose at this age, even though I feel like 30 something. I may visit your site to stay motivated.

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I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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