In connection with the last post on weight loss and nutrition, I will share my no fuss just see what is in the kitchen cupboard and fridge kind of salads. Variety in tastes comes from the different types of veggies and fruits you have in store. What is seen here are the basics in my fridge and cupboards; one staple though is the vinaigrette I use. I am not a big fan of mayonnaise and salad dressings with it as base. I use the standard EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), Chinese black vinegar, herbs and spices to add flavor but not mask the ones in the veggies and fruits. And one rule I follow in weight loss diet is “a little goes a long way”. Put enough dressing to taste but not to smother the whole dish with it.

Mixed Greens Salad with Pan Fried Chicken Breast Fillet

Mixed Greens Salad with Pan Fried Chicken Breast Fillet

• 2 pieces of chicken breast fillet or ½ of a chicken breast; fried in olive oil or grilled; seasoned with salt and pepper*
• 1 ½ cups mixed lettuce; romaine, red iced and green iced lettuce variety
• ¼ cup sliced carrots
• ½ cup tomatoes (with or without seeds)
• ½ cup diced cucumber
• 1 sliced yellow onion
• ½ green apple
Dressing**
• 1-2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (tastes like balsamic)
• 3-5 tablespoons of EVOO
• Herbs, spices, salt and pepper to taste (depends on what you’re in the mood for)
*Chicken breast fillet can be replaced with any white meat, fish, scrambled egg whites, canned tuna; options are endless.
**Mix the dressing first before preparing the fruit and veggies; you can use excess dressing as marinating liquid for meats or your choice of protein before cooking.

Mocked Greek Chopped Bread Salad

Mocked Greek Chopped Bread Salad***

• 1 piece whole grain or wheat bun, toasted and cubed
• 1 cup variety of chopped lettuce (in the picture, romaine and red iced lettuce)
• 2 pieces tomatoes, cubed
• 1 red onion, cubed
Dressing
• 1-2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (tastes like balsamic)
• 3-5 tablespoons of EVOO
• 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
• ¼ teaspoon of dry or fresh oregano
• Salt and pepper to taste
***I first came upon this salad recipe in one of Bobby Flay’s Food Network shows, when I started preparing it on my own, have already forgotten the original recipe with all the trimmings, thus the name Mocked. You can include cheese, grilled meat or nuts, if you prefer.

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

• 1 – 2 cups of your choice of fruits or depending on availability of fruits
Dressing – Lemon/Brown sugar syrup****
• 1 -2 teaspoon of lemon juice or any citrus fruits like lime or kalamansi
• 1-2 teaspoon brown sugar, this depends on how you prefer your syrup; sweet or with a bit of tartness
****The dressing mainly livens up the flavor of each fruit.

Prepare these salads as your main course, side dishes or snacks to go. Options on how you want to enjoy your fruits and vegetables are endless. These are just samples that you can start to include in your weight loss diet plan.

Salad

The Importance of Color in the Diet

Essential part of the strategy to lose weight is a diet plan, and there are a books and programs in the market that proves the great demand on losing excess fat; different kinds of strategies that include rotational caloric intake, cyclical macro-nutrient scheme and restrictions of one or two macro-nutrients. Let’s not forget the so called cleansing diets that require the restriction of major food groups for a period of time, and liquid diets. These may work for a short period of time, losing not just fat but muscle mass, because the body is more sensible in what it really needs and will find ways to get what it is deprived of. On the other end of the sphere are weight loss programs that are proven efficient in losing excess fat as well as in maintaining the ideal muscle mass; and this is where the importance of color moves in.
These weight loss programs aim on balancing the macro-nutrient intake and including the importance of micro-nutrients. Nutrients found in colorful foods such as brown rice, multi-grains, raw vegetables and fruits are packed with the combination of macro and micro nutrients. Our bodies represent a world within that involves more than 1000 biochemical processes to keep it running smoothly and all nutrients play important roles in these functions. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, red beets, tomatoes, strawberries and grapes and other vegetables and fruits provide carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and photochemical that play important roles in these processes.

We often see the substitution of simple carbohydrates to complex through fruits and vegetables in weight loss programs like Mediterranean, Sonoma and Glycemic Impact Diets, to name a few. The reason behind this is simple, slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream because it takes a while to digest through the fibers and get to the sugar in the fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Another reason to include color in your weight loss diet plan is the antioxidant benefits of these foods. Antioxidants are natural chemical compounds that react in the oxidation processes in the body like in burning fats, oxidation releases free radicals like LDL (lipoprotein) that carries cholesterol into the bloodstream. Antioxidants deactivate these free radicals that cause heart disease and other disorders.

Instead of following any nutrient restricting weight loss program, start small, include color into your diet, and turn away from the white stuff. Benefits of these foods go far beyond staving off the sugar craving.

When we look at fitness magazines, their cover says it all; a fine looking man or woman, fit and not an ounce of unwanted body fat. Then of course you will read the captions of the content like how to lose weight in a week, workouts to enhance the shoulders, buttocks or abs or getting results in as little as 10 days. It does capture the attention of the reader but ever wondered what it does to the psyche? There is nothing wrong with getting motivated with the images of actors, models and fitness experts, but reality is most of these people have trained for months, years or even a lifetime commitment to fitness; and they had the help of trainers, nutritionists and personal chefs to meet their goals. And if you don’t reach the same or almost exact image, you may lose your motivation and your weight loss and fitness goals are flushed down the drain. To help you stay motivated and focused on your weight loss and fitness goals, here is a reality check list on having a role model or inspiration.

  • Choose a role model with a body close to your own shape and structure. If you are lanky or slight in built as a teen or adult; choose someone who’s been there and done that, a good example is Vince Belmonte; plus size women such as Emme and Queen Latifa.
  • “Human satisfaction has no end.” In weight loss and fitness, a body part that does not meet your satisfaction can make or break your plans and objectives, after all there is no such thing as spot reduction except if you go under a surgical knife. But as I have personally observed, working out does help is enhancing body parts I wanted to develop but it takes a year or so. Be a saint, it takes patience, persistence and consistency to get to where you want to be.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match workouts. Most personal trainers of actors and models encourage mixing and matching different types of workouts to enhance the overall weight loss and fitness of their clients, workouts like yoga, circuit, martial arts and interval trainings.
  • Don’t forget your work in the kitchen, as Tom V. said, “80% of the work is done in the kitchen and 20% in the gym.” You may not follow the strict regimen your chosen inspiration follows but there are ways to go around that hurdle, make portion control and number of meals your friends.
  • Like and love yourself from within and the rest will follow. It’s saying, “Hey I like who I am and if they can do that, so can I…in baby steps.”

Weight loss and fitness goals are hard to reach but reachable. Get motivated by your favorite body image model and still be secure of your self-image.

Apart from research and comments on other fitness articles, this blog is a personal passage towards my own fitness and weight loss goals. Right now, I am at 40’s doorstep, decrease in muscle mass and fat metabolic rate and other health/weight loss issues will soon emerge, to top that of, I am at my heaviest yet – 61 kilograms. My metabolic rate is sluggish and may be due to my experience with weight loss supplements. I read Leigh Peele’s new contest about setting and trying to reach personal fitness goals in a span of a month. I am too late to enter the contest but have set it as an example for my own weight loss goals. Now to most these are so simple and almost redundant but for me, they are baby steps.
Just like any other person, I am obsessed with numbers; I can only find satisfaction and motivation through quantifying everything in numbers. And when I get disappointed with results via numbers; I stop or lose interest all together. So I am diverting from this obsession, weight loss and body fat percentage wise; instead, focusing on the basics, which are discipline, persistence and be consistent. These three characteristics are my goals for one month. Equating these into actions:

  • Exercising in a regular basis with Yoga, interval and strength training. Keeping a diary for my exercise routines and eating habits. And be honest, meaning all kinds of food I eat whether junk or healthy; missed exercise routines.
  • Drinking at least two liters of water each day.
  • Sleeping at least 6 to 8 hours.
  • Using the intermittent fasting method for cleansing and further boost my metabolic rate.

These may sound silly but are important, in establishing changes in how I want to reach my goals which are weight loss and keeping it off as much as possible, by removing the pressure of quantifying my efforts through the scale and other means of measuring body fat loss.