“Bathing suit season”. Do those words make you cringe? For many, they’re a great motivator to lose weight. Instead of dropping those pounds with the latest fad diet, why not make the lifestyle changes that will help you keep them off permanently? That will free up your time to do other things, like buy a new bathing suit. Start strong by:
Making the Commitment
- Give yourself some quiet time to think about what a realistic weight loss goal is. If you want to lose 50 pounds, figure out how long ago you were at that weight. Are you able to commit the necessary time and energy to get there?
- Write down your goal on an index card. For large goals, it can be more effective to focus on baby steps, like making 10 pound weight loss efforts.
- Be very specific: “I will lose 20 pounds by ___” is better than “I want to lose weight”.
- Take another index card and write down why achieving this goal matters.
Again, be specific. Using the weight loss goal as an example, reasons can include: “I want to fit into smaller clothes”, “I want to be able to walk up and down stairs without getting winded”, “I want to look better in photographs” “I’m worried about my family medical history” and any other reason that’s important to you. Use extra cards if you need to.
- Each day, take a few minutes to read these cards. Stick them on the mirror in your bathroom, do whatever will make them visible. Of course, you’ll already know what’s written on them. It’s the repetition of reading them that will help you be successful.
Next week: Recruiting Your Support Team
Enjoy This Healthy Food
When I think of springtime food, I think of asparagus. The little tips of asparagus popping up in the garden look like spring flowers rising up to bloom, ushering in warmer weather and sunshine.
Asparagus is not only delicious, but nutritious too. Five medium asparagus spears have about 25 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and are a good source of Vitamins A, C and potassium. Try these recipes to add more asparagus to your day.
Simple Roasted Asparagus
Makes 4 servings
1 bunch asparagus, about 1 1/2 pounds
salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Wash & dry asparagus spears. Snap off the woody ends of each spear; they should naturally break where the spear starts to get tender.
Spread the spears out on the cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt & freshly ground pepper.
Roast asparagus until crisply tender; about 6 – 8 minutes for medium-sized spears. You can check by sticking a fork into one spear to see how tender it’s gotten Remove from oven and let sit on the tray for a minute or two; they will continue to cook a little as they sit.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Makes 8 servings
This soup recipe, adapted from James Peterson, is surprisingly devoid of cream. The secret is to create the creamy texture with milk and cooked potato. It’s a good example of any number of vegetable ‘cream’ soups you could make.
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 large Idaho potato (12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
6 cups milk, chicken broth or a combination
2 pounds asparagus, woody ends removed
salt & freshly ground pepper
Heat the butter in a 4-quart non-aluminum pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it turns translucent, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the tips off the asparagus spears and boil for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water and reserve until the end of preparation. Cut the remaining stalks into 1-inch segments and reserve.
Once the onions are translucent, add the potato slices, asparagus stalk segments, milk or broth, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables have completely softened and are easy to crush against the side of the pot with the back of a fork.
Carefully transfer soup mixture to a blender and puree. If you have a food mill, work the puree through that, otherwise use a medium-mesh strainer and the back of a ladle to strain the soup into a clean pot. If desired, thin soup with additional broth or milk.
Season with salt & pepper, add the reserved asparagus tips and warm soup over medium heat.
The Coming Weeks
Your Friend the Food Diary