2

Chained Up In Chain Restaurants

Ali Post

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Buying grocery foods and cooking at home is hard enough … but when you go out for dinner to your average restaurant? Forget about it. It’s nearly impossible ordering something healthy (unless you order a piece of lettuce). My mom has been struggling with this a lot lately, so I wanted to give some good pointers.

At least with my friends, they always ask: “Where do you want to eat?” And I go, “I don’t care, what do you want to eat?” They repeat, ” I don’t care, what do you want to eat?” This conversation goes on for too long and is completely unnecessary. My fellow followers – no more! From now on, you should suggest healthier restaurants so you don’t go completely off track.

Of course, there will be times when the picking of the restaurant is not your decision. But what you decide to order ALWAYS is. I suggest to my mom before you are there, look up the menu on the restaurant’s website and decide from home. This way, you aren’t tempted when everyone else around you is eating endless wings with endless sauces and bottomless desserts. Here is a helpful list of the healthiest chain restaurants. And at chain restaurants, here are the healthiest meals to order.

Another tip: Some restaurants have the number of calories on their website or actually on the menu. It’s easy to make an educated decision on these numbers.

OF COURSE, it’s okay to eat an unhealthy meal every once in a while. Live a little! I always tell my mom it’s all about moderation. Most of the time, eat healthy. It’s okay if it’s not every meal, every day. Everyone deserves a little Micky D’s once in a while.

What do you do when you go out to eat? If you have any great pointers, please comment so my mom and I can put it into practice!

In Good Health,

Ali

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3

The Devil’s Cookie Jar

Mom Post (2)

He looks so cute. A snowman all jolly and full of goodness. Adorable for the grandkids. What says the holiday season better than decorated Christmas cookies and milk at Nana’s? But he is not sweet. He calls to me at all hours of the day and night…”I’m here! Come taste my hidden treats! How could just one hurt?” He is the devil and I have succumbed. Up until now I have done really well. Losing weight consistently, slowly but surely. Until he came along.

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I thought it would be nice to have Christmas cookies in the house for visitors – would you like a cup of tea and a little something to go with it? I didn’t realize the snowman would have such pull and I have been rationalizing the eating of “just one” for days now, at multiple times during the day. I am tired of beating myself up about this. The solution is clear – I am incapable of having treats in the house and not eating them. So as soon as Christmas is done and family has gone home, he will be emptied into the garbage and the likes of him will not darken my doorway again. I was arrogant to think I could have mouthwatering cookies in the house and not eat any. I am strong in the supermarket – not so much when it’s just me and him alone in the house. But I refuse to feel guilty. Lesson learned. Cutesy snowmen cookie jars are the devil’s own – at least to me.
4

Thankful Indulgences

Ali Post

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I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon and I am STILL full from Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. My mom has been worried about Thanksgiving for a while since most people stuffed their faces (can’t deny I didn’t do this) and their diets go right out the window. This is why I told my mom what she is doing is not a diet, it’s her healthy new lifestyle. With this lifestyle, it’s all about moderation. Meaning, I don’t believe you have to be Ms. Goodie Two-Shoes on Thanksgiving. This is my mom’s favorite holiday and I don’t want her to feel that she didn’t fully enjoy her favorite day of the year. Yes, yes I know – Thanksgiving is about spending time with your family and being thankful for what you have – but I mean come on, it’s also about enjoying your delicious stuffing, mouthwatering potatoes and potentially swallowing a turkey whole.

True, I believe most of the time she should eat healthy. But for one day out of the year, I don’t want her to feel guilty for taking a second serving of cranberry sauce. This is why this week, we decided to not look at the scale. Usually, she weighs in every Monday, but not tomorrow. So for your sake, please don’t be too hard on yourself looking back at the holiday weekend. Everyone is allowed to munch out every once in a while, just not all the time. We will both eat healthy until Christmas time (don’t be temped by all of the holiday treats in your offices!) when we will most likely indulge again.

In Good Health,

Ali

6

Eggplant Bake

Mom Post (2)

Here is one of my favorite dinner recipes. It serves 4. I have no idea what the calorie count is since I don’t really count calories. I have abbreviated a basic quick cook eggplant parmesan recipe that takes very little time and is super easy. I serve it with a salad of Romaine, shredded carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and fat free French dressing. No bread or pasta! I slice the eggplant, but you could cut it up in chunks just as easily.

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Ingredients:

1 small eggplant cut into (8) ½” slices (no need to peel)

Pam Olive Oil Spray

Oregano

Dried basil

Whole wheat bread crumbs

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

½ cup onion, chopped

2 cups low-cal tomato sauce

1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup fat free parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with Pam.
  3. Place eggplant slices on sheet and spray them lightly with the Pam. Sprinkle with the basil, oregano and breadcrumbs – again, lightly.Eggplant.jpg
  4. Put the cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. While the eggplant is baking, spray a large frying pan with the Pam and then sauté the mushrooms and onions until soft.Stove.jpg
  6. Lower oven temp to 400. Pour a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of a medium baking pan.
  7. Place 4 slices of baked eggplant in the baking pan, dump half the sautéed mushrooms and onions over the slices.
  8. Pour half the remaining sauce over the vegetables, then add half the mozzarella.
  9. Place the last 4 slices of eggplant on top of the layers and repeat with the mushrooms and onions, sauce, remaining mozzarella and all the parmesan.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes and then let it sit for 5minutes before serving with a large salad.

Enjoy!

12

1/3 of the Way and Way Better

Mom Post (2)

Yes! 50 lbs.! So many positive changes have happened and I am only 1/3 of the way to my goal. My back never hurts any more. I still get up 2 – 3 times a night, but I’m sleeping deeper. I get up from a sitting position easier, walk up a flight of stairs without being breathless, look forward to walking…and my clothes! I had put away clothes that didn’t fit any more, took them out recently and found some of them were too big! What a wonderful discovery!

Do you want to know my secret? I DON’T HAVE ANY!!! Ali encouraged me to exercise, showed me the foods I should avoid, encouraged me to eat healthier and that’s it. No miracle pills, no fad diets, no expensive machinery. Living better! Every pound I lose is the encouragement I need to keep at it. And the comments, of course…have you lost weight? You look good – what’s different? Do you think I would shove potato chips and cupcakes into my mouth after hearing that???

The first day was the hardest day. The first week was the hardest week. After the first month it became second nature. I keep reminding myself (and so does Ali!) – This is not a diet. This is not a means to an end. This is the rest of my life. Which is no big sacrifice because I FEEL REALLY GOOD! I still have 100 lbs. to go. I’m not ready to buy a whole new wardrobe. My little black dress is still waiting patiently in the back of my closet. I know the next 50 pounds won’t come off as quickly as the first 50 did. What difference does it make? We have made major changes in my life and it is all good.

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Would you like to know what I do? I will tell you, but remember – this is my plan. It works for me. It is healthy for me. I have no idea what is right for you. But I’m all for sharing.

First, here are the rules (please keep in mind I have to lose 150 lbs. This is the big leagues. I have to mean business):
• Exercise (walk) every day, unless I am sick. Rain and snow are no deterrent unless there is ice on the ground. I walk 20 minutes on work days and 30 minutes on the weekends. I often walk a lot more on weekends, depending on the weather and my mood and other obligations. If the weather is lousy or it’s dark out when I can finally fit it in, I walk in place indoors with Leslie Sansone on a DVD. But I prefer walking outside.
• I don’t eat out much, but when I do I order a salad with protein, like chicken or shrimp on top, a little vinegar for dressing. No bread. No soup. Eating out to me is like walking through a minefield – I want to know exactly where I’m going.
• I eat very little prepared, packaged food. I don’t add salt or sugar to anything. I gave up coffee. Actually, the only beverage I ever have is water, with the occasional exception to a small can of V8. It was hard giving up my glass of morning orange juice. Ali explained it was high in sugar and real fruit was so much better for me.There will be time for wine when I am 150 lbs. lighter and a whole lot healthier
• Breakfast is a grain, calcium and fruit
• Lunch is a sandwich (easy to pack for work)
• Dinner is a protein and lots of veggies and or a salad. I don’t have carbs at dinner
• Mid-morning at work I have 3 prunes and 5 almonds
• Mid-afternoon I might have the can of V8, but honestly, I rarely do any more. I’m just not hungry then.
• Nothing after dinner.
• I try to drink 64 oz. of water a day. I don’t always manage it.

Does this sound Spartan? It would have to me, too, before I started. Now it is normal and tasty and filling. I have gotten past the cravings. High fat, high sugar foods are now repugnant to me. They were poison to my well-being and I am so glad to be past them. Is this what it is like to finally be free of the clutches of alcohol or drugs?

I am not a machine. When Thanksgiving comes I will eat my world-famous stuffing and mashed potatoes and pumpkin bread. But you know what? I will probably feel sick afterwards. Just a little reminder from my body saying, let’s get back on track! So this would be a typical day for me:
– Tai Chi at 6:30 am, then
– Breakfast of 1 cup plain Cheerios, ¾ cup fat free milk, 1 cup sliced strawberries on top
– Around 10 am 3 prunes, 5 natural almonds
– 12 pm lunch of 2 slices 40 calorie whole wheat bread (nothing on it), with 2 slices of turkey, sliced tomato and Romaine lettuce. Also ½ cup sliced fruit or an apple.
– Walk for 20 minutes
– Snack mid-afternoon of a V8 (maybe)
– Dinner at 6 pm of ½ chicken breast cooked in Pam olive oil spray and lots of roasted or sautéed veggies, like peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes dumped on top and a salad with fat free dressing. No bread, pasta, rice, etc.
– Do arm exercises after dinner for about 10 minutes.

I change up what I eat all the time. Breakfast could be ½ cup fat free Ricotta cheese on 2 slices of whole wheat toast with sliced bananas on top. Maybe a good salad for lunch with a sliced hard- boiled egg (no bread) and then brown rice with dinner. Instead of chicken for dinner I may have salmon, but 2 – 3 dinners a week I eat vegetarian. I don’t eat beef, pork or lamb; just chicken or fish…a personal preference. I take vitamin D, B12 and a multi vitamin every day, with my doctor’s approval.

I will post some great recipes soon. Most of them are changed to my own tastes, habits and time constraints. Maybe they will help inspire you. Living well is a privilege and a pleasure; something to work hard at and be proud of achieving. I am on the road. I hope I see you there.

8

The Big 5-0

Ali Post

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS.

The EXCITEMENT I have flowing through my veins is overwhelming.

I am VERY proud to announce…

With hard work, dedication, and pure will power…

That my loving, beautiful, mother…

LOST FIFTY POUNDS THIS MONDAY!

Wow. What a huge accomplishment thus far. She looks incredible… she finally went through old boxes of clothes in the attic to find her clothing in smaller sizes… BUT ONLY TO FIND THAT SHE NO LONGER FITS IN THEM! WHAT! THEY ARE TOO BAGGY! I hate how I moved to New York City to miss the excitement on her face, but I have been imagining it a lot lately.

I have a strong belief that helping others truly makes yourself happy and the world a better place. The happiness I feel for my mother is overwhelming. It’s a beautiful feeling, and I hope all of you out there can experience the same thing. It doesn’t have to be helping someone lose weight, but helping someone with something without a benefit for yourself. Even if you don’t like the last part, don’t worry, because the happiness you feel when helping out another is the biggest benefit you could ever receive.

That’s all for now. I’ll end with a very happy selfie so you can get a glimpse of how proud I am of my mom.

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In Good Health,

Ali

2

Woohoo!

Ali Post

Well, I’m WAY overdue for a post. Life got in the way. Such a typical excuse – but it’s true. I’ve made some pretty big changes in my life. First, I just got back from a two week yoga vacation in the Bahamas. What a WONDERFUL experience it was. I recommend it for anyone who deals with a lot of stress or just wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. I wanted to learn how to relax and deepen my yoga/meditation practice – I got that and so much more. The life lessons I learned, the beautiful people I was with – it was honestly a vacation that changed me. If you are interested (you don’t have to be a yogi master – trust me I’m a beginner … and it’s affordable) check out the link here.

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After that adventure, I decided to move to NYC. I wanted to experience the Big Apple once in my life, and what time is better than the present? I believe my mom doesn’t need me there every waking moment to instruct her how to exercise and eat anymore. She understands the basics of losing weight the healthy way – eating healthy, portion-controlled meals and exercising everyday. Speaking of exercising, like my mom stated in her last post, we completed her first 5K race together the other weekend. I was going to surprise her with friends and family cheering her on at the finish line, but she distinctly told me not to do that (she knows me so well). Here’s a picture of us taking a selfie before the beginning of the race:

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We decided to set this 5K goal a few months back so she has something to work towards. For weeks and weeks she’s been walking further and further until she hit the 3 mile mark. I was worried she wasn’t going to complete the 5K without stopping and ruin her spirits, but she completed the race with flying colors. We were even having a casual conversation the entire time – no huffing and puffing! No words can express how proud I was of her.

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I am excited to start thinking about her next exercise goal to work towards. For all you readers out there, setting smaller goals is a great way to jump start your new healthy lifestyle. Training up to the event might be hard, but take it from my mom – when you accomplish this goal, you and your loved ones will be so proud and excited for big changes in your life! To help you start thinking of realistic fitness goals, check out this helpful website here.

In Good Health,

Ali