Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Breaking Through Mental Barriers

Melissa's Tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family live happier, healthier lives.
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Many of us have lost weight at some point in our lives.

But not quite so many have kept it off.  So today, let's explore one of the reasons you might be on a roller coaster.  Sure, food tastes good, and thankfully, here in America, it's plenty, at least for now.  We are, for the most part, genetically programmed to store fat, so that if there ever is a time when there isn't enough food, we have reserves for survival.  Which means in a time of plenty, we need to actually be careful not to eat too much.

 We're also programmed to prefer sweet foods that provide the sugar our bodies need to make energy.  So those processed high carbohydrate foods like breads, crackers, cookies, chips--they taste particularly good to us.  Notice that 3 of the foods I mentioned could be savory tasting, but to your body, these are easily processed into the glycogen (sugar) needed to make energy with your muscles.

But I digress.  Despite all of that, assuming you have a good food plan, and you have begun exercising, you may still be struggling to take weight off and keep it off.  These are the true culprits and demons that prevent you from reaching your goals.  Some of these are uncomfortable, but we need to delve deeper in order to try to be healthier. 

1. If you have been sexually assaulted, you may have put weight on as a shield--the fat makes you less attractive (you think, deep down, perhaps without realizing it), so you can't take the weight off, because it leaves you vulnerable.  This falls under the category of fear of pain (or possible repeated pain you've already experienced).

2.  People (your friends, your mate) won't like you if you lose weight/they like you now, so it follows that if you change something drastic, they will not like you then.  This falls under the category of fear of change.

3.  You'll never be able to eat the foods you love again, so you just don't even try.  (fear of change, fear of pain)

4.  You've accepted that you're fat, so that will never change, and you're ok with that--except your health is failing, your knees need to be replaced, you have diabetes, you have heart disease, etc.  (fear of change)

So you can see, that most of the thoughts you might encounter fall under a couple of main categories, and they are valid.  People are afraid of change, especially big ones.  But surgery is scary, and diabetes is frightening (I personally know a woman who had lost most of her fingers and toes, plus her eyesight, before she died), and having a heart attack is no great shakes, either.  Your quality of life is you new focus.  You will now look at every meal as an opportunity to make good choices that will nourish your body, and help you live a better quality of life, whether that's better walking, or not needing a surgery, or better mobility.

Fear of pain is another biggie.  Let's face it, very few folks out there are looking to be actively in pain.  I would warrant, though, that surgery is painful, a heart attack is painful, walking with 100 extra pounds is painful.  I know when I weighed almost 300#, it really hurt to start exercising!  I even got a stress fracture in my foot from low impact aerobics, and that really hurt!  So how do we get past it?  If you were abused at any time in your life, get help sorting through this. You can't heal in denial.  If you are afraid of a reccurence of an assault that was random, first understand that it was random.  Then look into boxing, self defense classes, or martial arts, all of which will help you to work on self confidence and inner strength, as well as your overall fitness.  And yes, you can do this at ANY starting weight.

Believe in your heart that you can, and you will achieve your goals.

One step at a time, one day at a time, we keep plugging along...and then, suddenly--you're there!

Focus on making small goals first, like these:

1.  Today, I'll eat one extra vegetable.
2.  Today, I'll walk for 5 minutes.
3.  Today, I'll climb the stairs, one extra time
4.  This week, I'll add one extra class to my regular classes
5.  This week, I'll focus on adding quality food to my diet--fruit and vegetables that I love and are in season
6.  This week, I'll explore the farmer's market for new and exciting healthy items for my menus


  • Preparation
  • poblano chiles 
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears) 
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (if you need fresh, I have a TON in my garden!!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds) 
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup packed)
  1. 1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. 2. Cut the chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place chile halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel chiles. Coarsely chop chiles; place in a bowl. Add corn and onion to pan; broil 10 minutes, stirring twice. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and black pepper.
  3. 3. Cut tops off tomatoes; set aside. Carefully scoop out tomato pulp, leaving shells intact. Drain pulp through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract liquid. Reserve 1 1/4 cups liquid, and discard remaining liquid. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Invert tomatoes on a wire rack; let stand 30 minutes. Dry insides of tomatoes with a paper towel.
  4. 4. Place quinoa in a fine sieve, and place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with water. Using your hands, rub the grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain. Repeat the procedure twice. Drain well. Combine reserved tomato liquid, quinoa, 1/4 cup water, and the remaining salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa mixture to corn mixture; toss well.
  5. 5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. 6. Spoon about 3/4 cup corn mixture into each tomato. Divide cheese evenly among tomatoes. Place tomatoes and tops, if desired, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil the tomatoes 1 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts. Place tomato tops on tomatoes, if desired.

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