Changes for the Better!

Weight Watchers, an already great weight loss program just got way better!  WW which calculates points, instead of calories, introduced an overhaul of its program, yesterday.  The point shift, the first in 13 years, now considers the nutritional value of foods when considering it’s point assignment.  The changes, which have been in development for the past four years, now encourage “members” to get their share of much needed fruits and vegetables.  Both these food groups now carry ZERO points!  This means that while a 100-calorie granola bar and a banana used to have the same point value, they no longer do, making the banana a guilt free choice, a better option and a way to get another serving of a very nutritional food.

While I am personally and professionally really happy with the change, I do sit here wondering if people will get the same benefits thinking they can eat fruits without a limit.  While most veggies have already been zero points, and most veggies are so low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition, I believe fruits, even with all their health benefits, can end up adding lots of calories to a person’s day.  They also might cause some insulin spikes, depending on the types of fruit chosen.  Then again, maybe we really can eat fruits and veggies all day long, and their calorie content wouldn’t matter?!   While I always get my fill of veggies, there are days when a fruit doesn’t pass my lips, at least once the summer fruits are gone.  This is an area I need to work on, as I am sure I am missing out on some of the important nutrients and anti-oxidants contained in them.  In any event, the changes in the Weight Watcher program certainly seem to align with my ideas about encouraging the eating of more plant-based foods.  Two thumbs up, WW!

Also in today’s news is a report about preteen eating disorders.  Apparently they have risen steadily and one statistic states that hospitalizations for eating disorders in children younger than 12 jumped 119% between 1999 and 2006.   OUCH!  Parents would help their children more than they can ever imagine if they started feeding their kids much like Weight Watchers encourages their members.  Letting children eat as much fruits and veggies as they want, instead of high fat, high sugar, VOID of nutrition option, would certainly help reverse these outrageous statistics!  Just as Michelle Obama has made fighting childhood obesity her pet project, so should we all!  Conversely many of these eating disorders are because youths are UNDER weight and fighting anorexia, bulimia and “partial-syndrome.”  Again, roll modeling healthy eating and encouraging making nutritious choices is a start in winning the war against eating disorders.  Those of us in positions of modeling behavior,  (that’s EVERYONE!) need to step up, NOW!  It saddens me that something as simple as photo-shopping print ads leads us all to think people look a whole lot thinner and more beautiful than they really are…I once heard a statistic that said 100% of photos of models, cover girls, magazine covers, etc., are photo-shopped.  Even the most beautiful have their pics tweaked to perfect an eyebrow, or eyelashes, a cheekbone, lips…or just about anything!  Since we can’t stop progress,  we must constantly remember (and remind others) that these photos of perfect abs and breast and waistlines are NOT REAL!

The message we need to spread is that healthy bodies are made from the inside out.  I saw a girl in Publix one day, wearing an awesome Nike t-shirt.  It said something like this:  Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, drink fluids.  On the back was something about girls kicking butt and just doing it.   Though I can’t remember exactly what the verbage was , I loved the shirt because it so simply stated the message I am so passionate about.

As we get down to the wire on Biggest Loser,  3 men and 3 women remain.  With just this week and next, before the live finale,  I can deal with Elizabeth, Brendan and even Patrick or Lisa going home tonight.  Ada, Frado, Mark.  My pick for final 3.  Last season I picked the winner from the first episode, Michael.  This year, my initial pick was Frado, so if I were a gambling girl, I would put my money on him.  But Mark has really, really grown on me.  He would make an excellent Biggest Loser!  Remember that tonight’s episode starts at 9pm instead of 8.   Be back tomorrow to discuss!

Make it a great day and remember to eat your fruits and veggies.

Where are They Now?

I finally sat down and caught up on the Biggest Loser special from Wednesday night.  It was excellent and great to see almost all the season winners have maintained a healthy weight, with the exception of season one winner, Ryan, who was at the Thanksgiving get together with the other 9 season winners, and Jillian.  Other contestants, though they may not have won the grand prize, have won the greatest gift of all, LIFE and in some cases, LOVE.  Sam and Stephanie brought lots of tears to my eyes as he proposed to her back at the ranch.  He is so hot and they make a gorgeous couple, bonded by an experience that only they share.

I was thrilled to see Tara emerge the winner (of the females) in the triathlon.  She is one tough cookie!  I especially loved that Holly, from season 4, now works on the BL show.  She looks fantastic!    The entire show was great and what excellent motivation to help stay focused through these eating orgy holidays.

Last night I could take no more leftovers or anything that wasn’t healthy for my body!  I baked a spaghetti squash (cut in half, skin side UP, in a little water, in a baking dish for about 45 minutes) and then, after scooping out the inside, which instantly turns the squash into spaghetti strands with NO effort, I topped it with some marinara sauce and fresh basil.  I also roasted brussel sprouts, lightly tossed in olive oil and a little salt, and grilled some baby potatoes,  and it was a meal…and a filling, low calorie, one at that.  It felt good to overload on the veggies, as it always does on Sunday.  If you have never tried spaghetti squash, I highly recommend you give it a try.  I had been a little intimidated about cutting and cooking it, but it was really simple

If you were with me Saturday morning at the gym, we did some interval training.  Keeping the heart rate at the very low end of the training zone for most of the cardio, but adding short bouts of high intensity every couple of minutes or so, for just about 30 seconds.  It’s a great way to burn calories without keeping the heart rate up high for too long, and as several mentioned, the time went quickly and it was easy for them to endure.  I like to do this while running sometimes, too.  In running we call the bouts of high intensity “farklets.”  They help train you to work harder (or faster) without killing yourself as the “farklets” are followed by what we call “recovery” periods.  You can do this walking, running, biking, swimming, or basically during any form of cardio.  A good formula is 30 seconds of high intensity followed by about a minute (or more if needed) of recovery.

Have a great Monday.   In the midst of this holiday season, try to take the days that are EVENT free and clean up your eating and work on your fitness programs.  This is the hardest time of year to find balance, but with a little pre-planning, you can have and do it all!!

Burgers, Radishes, Football and PEACE!

Well, I still cant report on the veggie burger at Houstons, as the restaurant I thought was Houstons, was actually another of their establishments, that is only open for dinner.  Since we were meeting Kyle and Nicole and they were coming from Jensen Beach, we picked a half way spot and ended up on Clematis Avenue in downtown West Palm Beach.  After looking over some menus, and trying to find something that would be good for all of us, we met at a great place, right on the water, called E.R. Bradley’s Saloon.  What a great find it was, and yes, they had a veggie burger.  Since I am on a quest to eat them everywhere I can, this was perfect.  Oval in shape and served on grainy bread instead of a bun, it was different and yummy.  They put tomato and avocado slices on the sandwich, which is how I eat it one at home.  The fries were good and the bloody Mary was excellent!  The weather was beautiful, the atmosphere was fabulous.  Being with Mitch, Kyle and Nicole was the very best part, though.  The “kids” look happy and healthy.  What more can this mom ask for?

The herbs planted in our garden have gone a very long way.  I had all the appropriate Thanksgiving herbs (think Simon and Garfunkel) and now some of the veggies are flowering and “fruiting.”  We have tomatoes on almost all our plants and we even have some tiny watermelons on the vine!  It’s hard to know what the root veggies are doing down below, but when I saw one of the radishes growing a little too close to the dirt, I had to pull one out and see how they were coming along.   This is what I found.  Mitch and I shared it and it was just one little perfect radish.  Can’t wait to see what else pops up!

As I mentioned in class yesterday, I totally understand why they call stuffing, stuffing!   It stuffs you and then calls you back for more.  Today, it is back to clean, healthy eating for me.  I always play clean up on Sundays, making Monday a much easier day to face.  I see lots of veggies on the grill while the Dolphins, hopefully kick some butt on the field.  Whatever your Sunday holds, I hope it is filled with happiness and peace.

Off and Running

Thanks to my childhood friend, Debbie, for that great piece, Be Thankful, that I posted yesterday.  It came to  me at a very appropriate time in my life and I am sure many people can relate to it’s message.  It does make sense that it is easiest to be grateful when all is going right.  During challenging times, we must dig a little deeper, but practicing gratitude ALWAYS and ALL WAYS brings more into our lives.

Off and running (literally) my work day begins very shortly.  After an outdoor (LOVE IT!) session with Jane, I will be heading down to TFC for a post Thanksgiving pre “it’s almost Chanuka,” workout.   I know I have a lot of calories to burn off today!  I ate more stuffing in than anyone should, but today I am right back on track.  Looking forward to finally trying a veggie burger at Houstons, later today.  Can’t wait for the food, the atmosphere and most importantly the company!

Be back tomorrow to let you know how the burger was…and more!  OXOXO

Be Thankful


Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,

if you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,

for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times,

during those times, you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,

because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,

because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes,

they will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary

because it means you have made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are

also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles

and they can become your blessings.

Reasons to Be Thankful…and a Horn of PLENTY!

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving.  I love this holiday, despite the fact that we have to sacrifice a turkey for our feast.  At the Zipp home, today, there will be tons of plant-based foods to go along with traditional dishes.  The turkey will go on the grill, stuffed with herbs and fruits, while 3 tofurkys cook in the oven.  Family members have been asked to make and bring a vegetable dish, preferably, one that EVERYONE can eat.  Everyone has also been instructed to invite ANYONE who doesn’t have a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  This means Derek will bring any number of friends, and we love that.  While we will miss Kyle and Nicole being with us, we are happy that they are celebrating with Nicole’s family and look forward to seeing them over the weekend.

I wish I could comment on the BL special that aired last night, but I honestly slept through most of it and will need to watch it again.  I was happy to see so many previous contestants and winners doing a great job of maintaining their healthy weight.  The love story between Sam and Stephanie, is a beautiful one.  They are a beautiful couple and my guess is that their bond is stronger than most couples.  While Mitch kept reminding me that this love story is part of a TV show, I still believe in my heart that THIS is  real love story.  I did see Tara win the 25,000 at the end and I can’t remember which guy, I think Mark.  Those brothers, Mark and Jay, once huge and uncomfortable to look at, both look ridiculously handsome, lean, fit and happy!  Congratulations to all the Biggest Losers and they truly are the Biggest Winners and no doubt have MUCH to be thankful for today and every day.

It was nice to wake up to a rain storm this morning.  Even in the worst of storms, there is always so much to be thankful for.  I am incredibly thankful to be spending the day with Mitch, preparing for our guests.  I am incredibly thankful to be sharing our home and the holiday with lots of family and friends.  I am incredibly thankful that our 2 children are who they are and where they are, today.  They have always and continue to make us proud in every way.  I am thankful for my furry family members and my friends near and far who are just incredible human beings.  I am thankful to all of you for being a part of peaceandfitness and my life.

Wishing you all a very magical Thanksgiving.  Eat, drink and be merry.  I personally believe a holiday is a perfect day to indulge.   I will be sending my guests home with leftovers and ALL the desserts are definitely going home with people, too.  It will make it much easier to jump back on the healthy eating road, tomorrow morning.  I will also make sure that all the leftover turkey goes home with guests, too.  I firmly believe as long as they have to be sacrificed, the least we can do is make sure they don’t get thrown in the garbage.  That hurts even more.

For now, it’s time to start baking and cooking.  With a little luck and courage, I’ll be jumping in the pool later today.  My body and mind are crying for a good swim, as it’s been over a week since my last one.  I hope that your day is just perfect in every way and that your list of things to be thankful for is never ending.  Wishing you a horn of PLENTY!

Hey, Make me Over.

Just about 10 weeks into the season,  we got to see HUGE changes for our 7 final Biggest Loser contestants during the “makeover week” episode, last night.  Mitch brought home falafel from Falafel Bistro last night and it was a perfect dinner to indulge in while watching one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows.  Mitch has taken the “if you can’t beat her, join her,” approach on this show and graciously watches with me while we eat our late dinner, due to my class schedule, Tuesday nights.  It’s crazy, but this plant-based diet actually seems to allow me to eat something like FRIED chickpeas on pita bread occasionally, even on a week night, and still keep my weight at a very comfortable place.  We also had soup, Mitch the split pea and me the pumpkin, which was like candy to me.  In fact, lately I notice I don’t even crave sweets, anymore.  Weird.  But good weird.

So back to BL.  First, and foremost, what did they do to Frado??  Why did they HAVE to take his facial hair away?  It was neat and clean and in my opinion, he looked much more handsome with it.   Though he has clearly lost a lot of weight, I was NOT happy with his makeover.  There wasn’t much you could do with Brendan.  Patrick looked good and I think Mark looked great.  When he put on a suit, he looked excellent!  Lisa is a beautiful woman.  She was just as facially beautiful week one as last night.  Ada and Elizabeth both looked really pretty but someone tell me what exactly that was that Elizabeth was wearing with the netting coming out of the back?  Maybe I am not up on style, but I don’t know what that was?  So all and all, I liked the hair and make-up, but the clothing?  Each season, same story. As for the weight losses, the numbers are getting way up there and it’s just amazing that anyone can transform themselves to such a great degree in well less than 3 months.  Amazing.

The challenge was a good one.  It’s nice to see they are actually doing physical challenges the past couple of weeks.  It was a beautiful gesture and so very generous of Brendan and Ada to allow Patrick to “win,” and get the new car.  As for Elizabeth NOT finishing the challenge, I don’t get it.  The show is over and in 3 weeks and the scale will prove someone to be the new Biggest Loser.  The contestants that have made it this far, should technically all be pretty fit and tough.  Elizabeth is neither.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire her for still being there, it just seems odd.  I do not want to see her in the final 3.

But alas the weigh-in, never easy, especially make-over week.  Mark is kicking butt, down another 10 pounds and in the 200s!!  Way to go, and yes, I would like to see him in the final 3.   Patrick also lost 10 pounds and also in the 200s.  Brendan lost 7 pounds and can be a contender for BL, and is part of the alliance, but as for me, he can go home.  Elizabeth and Ada each lost 5 pounds, a good number for a female at this point of the season.  We know how I feel about Elizabeth but Ada–I would like to see her in the final 3.  Frado lost only 4 pounds, but his weight is getting down there already – and Lisa lost NO pounds.  Zero.  Zip.  Why do I feel like despite what she says, I believe she wanted to go home and falling below the line with Frado, she did go home.  89 pounds less, she looks amazing and is getting her personal trainer’s certification.  Can’t wait to see her at the finale.  Guess my pick for final 3 would be Mark, Ada and Frado or Patrick.

Tonight is the special BL “Where are they Now?”  I am going to start getting ready for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner and do everything I can before 9pm when that airs.  Can’t wait to see some of our old “friends,” and how they look today.

So if you saw last night’s episode, let us know what YOU thought.

Course Correction and Amazing Results

So tonight is the Biggest Loser episode that I look forward to all season…makeover night!!!  If you have been watching all along, you will no doubt also love seeing the change from week one, till tonight, after the remaining 7 get their entire beings, made over.  If you have never watched this show before and want some inspiration to lose weight or just take charge of re-inventing yourself, tune it on NBC, 8pm eastern time and enjoy the transformations.  Remember, this is only about 10 weeks into the season–amazing results!  For those of you that think it can never be you, you don’t need to go on the show or have Bob and Jillian train you…you just need to get on AND stay on the journey.

I just ate a relatively easy and yummy, low calorie, plant-based lunch.  I took half of a bag of Gardein Beefless Tips and sauteed them in a drop of olive oil…after they browned all the way around, I left them a couple of minutes extra–this is because they don’t always get warm all the way through.  I put them on a La Tortilla Factory wrap and viola, lunch was made.  With less than 250 calories, about 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and too much sodium, it’s not perfect, but it is delicious and has ZERO grams of cholesterol…of course!  Can’t find cholesterol in products that don’t come from animals.  My hats off to Chef Tal Ronnen who introduced the world to Gardein products.  You can find these and other frozen Gardein products in your grocer’s freezer section.

For more about Chef Ronnen, lowering cholesterol through a plant-based diet, and Biggest Loser tips, check out this article that Carol sent to me yesterday.  Thanks, Carol.  I enjoyed and am glad to be able to share it.  Great job with your own dietary changes and results!!! You go girl.  As for the article below, I bet the people at Big Pharma wont like to read about his cholesterol change!!!  What we eat has SO much impact on our health, it is going to get harder and harder to blame things on bad genes!

Can’t wait to hear all about Mitch’s golf outing.  It’s a glorious weather day in South Florida, and I am happy that he is doing something he has wanted to do for a long time.

Those of you that pay attention, may notice that my blogging is being done later in the day.  In re-evaluating my time, too much other stuff was getting neglected during my early morning blogging time.  Course correction.  It’s always possible with ALL things.  There are a million great reasons we all get ourselves into places we don’t want to be, but there are no excuses.  Whatever it is you are ready to change, GET ON IT!

You Can Have Your BREAD, and Eat it, Too!

Well, my recent experiences remind me I don’t always make the right choices, so today I defer to Dr. Oz and the people at Real for some great advice on reducing belly fat…something MANY (especially those of us in our middle years) are aiming to do.  When choosing grains, opt for the WHOLE ones.  They are not only heart-healthy and disease-defying, but in recent studies of close to 3,ooo men and women, there was a strong correlation between belly fat and grain choice.  Those that opted for whole grains as opposed to refined grains, not only had less belly fat, but also smaller waists.  Researchers think that 3 servings of whole grain a day is a good goal.  Steel cut oats are a great source of whole grain.  When looking for bread find a loaf that is high in fiber, which aids in keeping your appetite at bay.  Whole grains also contain a lot of magnesium which is good for keeping insulin steady as opposed to spiking and falling.  It is very important to understand that whole grains have these fat-curbing effects only when combined with a low intake of refined grains.  This means you cant eat oats for breakfast and white bread at lunch—you have to think whole grain at every meal. I buy a whole grain, fresh baked bread at Publix which has no animal products.  Last night it accompanied a salad and grilled veggies–with some homemade flavored olive oil, it was a perfect dinner, filled with lots of grains and fiber and great company.

In my effort to restore balance to my day to day life, I will be probably leave blogging till a time of the day that it can be my priority.  Though I love arising and getting in touch with all of you, it sometimes takes away from time I could be spending with those closest to me, up close and personal.  But I’ll be checking in at some point of the day and continuing our journey together towards better peaceandfitness.

Get yourself some WHOLE grains and maybe that belly fat will start to disappear.  CARBS are NOT THE ENEMY!!!  Just make sure the carbs you consume are going to help your health and your weight.  Get rid of the crap that is void of nutrition, void of fiber, void of most EVERYTHING and start consuming the ones that will help you towards your goals.  As an FYI, most breads you buy off the shelf can’t hold a torch to a fresh, baked, whole grain loaf.  Consider this when you do your next grocery shop.  In my opinion, there aren’t many foods that come close to how satisfying a good piece of freshly baked grainy bread is!  You can have your bread, and eat it, too!

No Place Like Home

I finally got to watch Biggest Loser last night.  Finally, a decent physical challenge.  Balancing on one foot.  We should ALL be practicing that.  Balance work is great for our core, our small ligaments and tendons in the balancing foot, our nervous system and our minds.  Balance takes discipline.  A calming of the mind and body.  I liked the challenge and was surprised to see Mark, still a rather large man, come out the winner, with a one-pound advantage.

What an amazing turn around has occurred with Ada.  Never-mind her body, but her attitude.  This was the same girl that just a few weeks ago was NOT satisfied with a 15 pound weight loss for the week.  Either Jillian and Bob have really done some work on her head, or getting in shape really is that magic bullet of change.  She is a very strong contender for final 3,  maybe even the newest Biggest Loser.  I still love Frado and you gotta give Elizabeth credit for doing so well as clearly she is the underdog.  With only 7 contestants left, it’s going to be hard to say good-bye to anyone now.  Jessica looked beautiful, though down 82 pounds with a goal of another 40, she still looked very bottom heavy to me.  Those 40 pounds will make a big difference!

Next week is makeover week.  Lisa is just gorgeous and I hope they don’t do anything silly to her, like make her a blonde.  She is just beautiful and I can’t imagine how gorgeous she will be at the finale.  I bet Ada will shine at the makeover.  She deserves to be pampered as obviously she never has been.  Frado is handsome no matter what they do or don’t do to him.  Patrick will get cleaned up, I am sure.  I am thinking no one gets eliminated next week.  Not sure.  Then we have the BL special the next night.

Locals, don’t forget today is the Parkland Farmer’s Market.  Get there early as it gets very crowded!!!  It opens at 9 and ends at 1.

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, it’s time to start working on those gratitude lists.  Even going through a very uncertain time, I have so much to be grateful for.  Sitting in my home this morning, I know there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME because home is where the heart is.  I bet those BL contestants will all be awfully happy to return to theirs!