Today marks the first completed week of my bike riding. The ride is starting to become a little less of an invasion to my system and I am actually enjoying my early morning cycle. It’s a good time to collect my thoughts and plan my day.
I think it has been established that I am not much of I dieter. I don’t really believe in diets. Yes, I know they DO exist, what I mean is I don’t care for the results they get and the way dieting achieves these goals. If you dramatically decrease your food intake, true you’ll lose weight over time, but I find it leaves me cranky, unhappy and most of all hungry! Also, such a decrease in food intake cannot last forever and I find most people eventually gain the weight back.
What I do instead, is make wiser and healthier choices. These choices usually contain less calories, fat and sugar anyway, so I am avoiding all of the “empty” calories that can pack on the extra pounds. I eat 5-6 times a day (three meals and three snacks) and drink lots (and lots) of water. Without suffering through hunger all throughout my day, I rely on increased activity (in this case, biking) to burn away the excess pounds.
So after my first week into my regime, I am happy to report that I have shed eight pounds. It may not have done much to change my waist size yet, but it has done wonders for my frame of mind, making it easier to stay the course! I must admit, I am already starting to feel better and have more energy too.
Maintaining a healthier “lifestyle” will give us real results and will be a change that we can make and stick with. Another thing I don’t believe in is denying yourself the things that you truly love. So during the weekends, I will treat myself to the special foods that I may be craving but… in moderation.
A slice of cake is a nice reward for eating well all week and will NOT cause you to gain any weight. Remember, in order to GAIN a pound, you would have to consume an additional 3,500 calories above and beyond what you needed to get through the day. That bounces back to that word “moderation” again. Healthier choices, moderation and smaller meals more often, is what works for me.
It turns out there IS a science behind it too. With starvation diets, our bodies go into starvation mode. We are made to do so. Our body will metabolize at a much slower rate to “store” what we did eat. By eating smaller meals more often we “trick” our body into getting used to steadily burning what we are taking in. When you pair that with increased activity (preferably cardio) it will kick up your metabolism causing you to burn more calories. Burning more calories equals losing pounds.
I know that eight pounds in a week is not the “norm” for most people. I have been blessed with a very good metabolism. That said, wouldn’t you be happy steadily losing 3lbs. a week, especially if you do it without ever being hungry?
I don’t know how much this interest you (my readers) but if you would like to know what kinds of foods and snacks I am eating, let me know. I will be happy to share that with you. For now, here is a recipe for my Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup. This soup is always a winner and I have been asked for the recipe by practically everyone who I have ever served it to! Enjoy
Chicken Vegetable Soup with Barley:
More than a soup, it’s almost a stew, this “stewp” is a hearty meal in a bowl! A small side salad and a crusty piece of bread is all that is needed to completely satisfy your family.
1 – whole chicken cut up and skin removed
2 – additional chicken breast (on the bone, skin removed)
1- garlic clove (finely minced)
1 – 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
5 -carrots (cut into thick slices)
4-5 stalks celery (cut diagonally into thick slices)
1- large onion (chopped)
4 – cups chicken stock (I always have homemade stock in my freezer that I literally make for free and will give that tip in a further blog)
6- cups water
2-3 chicken bouillon (I use a liquid brand that comes in individual foil packets or “G Washington” brand seasoning and broth, Golden)
1 1/3 cups of barley
1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)
1- 9 oz. box of frozen cut green beans
½ (9 oz.) box frozen corn kernels
Salt and black pepper
Okay are you ready for this? This recipe couldn’t be any easier. You don’t even have to sauté the veggies or brown the chicken first! Prepare all of the fresh vegetables by cutting or dicing into size and set aside. Pour canned tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart by squishing them through your fingers (I leave them in pretty big pieces, as I enjoy the chunks of tomato in the soup along with the other veggies.
Once all your ingredients are prepped, put everything (EXCEPT THE FROZEN VEGETABLES) into a large stock pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked and barley is tender (about 45-minutes to an hour). After 25 minutes, remove chicken to a platter to cool.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear apart (or shred) into bite size chunks and discard bones. When the soup is cooked, stir in the frozen vegetables and return the shredded chicken into the pot. If needed, heat until the frozen green beans are heated through. Test seasoning and make any adjustments. Remember to remove bay leaf before serving, as it could become a choking hazzard if accidently swallowed.
Serve as is, or with a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Until next time,