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Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 25, 2013

My Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted catherine-morgan.com)

If you are the kind of person who loves to take the time to cook and try new healthy recipes — that is great (I honestly wish I were like that).  If that is you, then you are super lucky, because there are thousands and thousands of healthy eating cookbooks (and just as many of them are free on Amazon with Kindle Reading App).  But, if you’re like me, and you don’t have the time or the inclination to go out and buy specific foods and ingredients to whip up exciting healthy recipes — then you are in luck.

Here are some of the ways I eat healthy without following recipes.  For me it’s all about having my staple healthy foods always available so I can easily make quick and healthy meals.

My top 12 easy food tips and swaps.

1.  We all know how important eating fish is.  It is a high protein food that is also very low in fat and calories.  My problem was that, whenever I bought costly fresh seafood, it either didn’t seem very fresh or I didn’t eat it quickly enough…so I ended up wasting a lot of money that way.  Then one day, I found out that most (or all) of the so-called “fresh” seafood was merely thawed-out frozen seafood.  I also found out that I could get the exact same fish still frozen, and then I could keep it frozen until the time I wanted to eat it, so I would never waste any of it.  Now what I do is buy individually wrapped frozen fish (I like salmon, tilapia, cod, mahi, and shrimp), I thaw it when I am ready to use it, season it, wrap it in foil, and then cook it in the toaster oven.  It is quick and easy, and it always turns out tasting wonderful.

2.  I also like to buy 97-98% lean ground turkey.  If I have time, I make it into patties and cook them on the grill or frying pan, and then I put some in the freezer and some in the fridge to be heated up whenever I am hungry.  If I don’t have time to cook the ground meat all at once, I separate it into single servings and place into storage bags and freeze.  Then I can quickly make one burger by thawing out an already portioned amount of ground turkey.   Once I have my burger ready, I put it on one of those low calorie roll-thins, and top with spinach, salsa, and avocado.

3.  I try to keep several low calorie frozen dinners on hand for times when I feel I need something fast, but have little time to cook.  Of course, it is much healthier to avoid processed foods, but a low calorie frozen dinner is still better than fast food or other high fat/high calorie foods.  These meals are also great to take to work for lunch when you don’t have time to prepare something. TIP:  Whenever possible, add fresh or frozen vegetables to your frozen meal (this will make it much more filling, as well as add to the nutritional value without adding too many calories).  Keep an eye out for sales on these meals, rather than paying full price.

4.  Chicken breast is another easy and lean meat you can prepare ahead; keep some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator.  You can do so many things with chicken breast: add to salad, heat with vegetables, make a hot or cold sandwich on a low calorie bun, or just keep bite size pieces in the fridge to munch on when you need a healthy snack.  I often get my chicken breast frozen; this way I always have some in the freezer.  Like I said before, one of the best tricks to eating healthy is never running out of healthy food.

5.  Instant oatmeal is a quick and easy meal.  You can eat it alone or with fruit, and it is basically one of the best sources of fiber you can get.  It’s also something you can easily bring with you to work.  TIP:  Eating breakfast is the best way to get your metabolism started in the morning, and studies show that people who eat breakfast lose more weight than their breakfast-skipping counterparts.

6.  Pre-washed lettuce, spinach, and other greens can come in handy if you are too busy to clean and chop it yourself.   And if you are hungry, being able to make something fast can be critical.   You can also buy cleaned and chopped bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and more.  IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SPINACH: Most experts say that if you can’t get organic spinach, then don’t get it at all (chemicals and pesticides make most spinach unhealthier for you than healthy, so the benefits of eating it don’t outweigh the risks). I’ve been buying organic spinach from my grocery store, and it is a bit more costly, but worth it.

7.  I like to buy fresh and frozen vegetables that come in microwavable bags.  This way, they can be quickly added to any meal with very little effort.  You can also get frozen rice that cooks in just a few minutes in the microwave.  TIP:  Keep an eye out for sales; I like to stock up when they are buy one, get one free.

8.  What about bread, pasta, rice?  On many diets, you are encouraged to eat little or none of these foods, but as long as you are keeping track of your calories, these carbs can be eaten in moderation as part of your healthy diet.  However, you NEVER want to eat the “white” version of these foods.  Don’t eat white bread; find a whole wheat bread.  Don’t eat regular pasta; take some time to acquire a taste for whole wheat pasta.  

9.  Mrs. Dash seasonings have many flavors, and they are all salt-free.  Using these specially combined seasonings is the easiest way to add a wonderful flavor to your food.  My favorite is Hot & Spicy (I add it to just about every meat and fish I cook).  And, if you Google “Mrs. Dash.” you will find an unlimited number of recipes.

10.  If you haven’t already, try some of the Laughing Cow spreads.  They are very low in calories and fat, and can really enhance a plain sandwich that you might have previously used mayo or cheese on.  There are at least a half a dozen different flavors to choose from.

11.  We all know that salad dressing can quickly add to your calorie and fat intake.  Always buy light dressings…and if you can, water them down even more.  I try to keep an empty bottle or two, and then make my own dilution depending on the dressing.  You may be surprised at how quickly you begin to enjoy the watered-down versions of your favorite dressings.  TIP:  When you are out at a restaurant, you can discretely dilute your dressing by using lemon wedges.

12.  Avocado is a great way to add healthy fat and omega-3s to your salads and sandwiches.  The problem is that avocados are often expensive, are hard to peel, and go brown quickly. Instead of using avocados, I have been buying fresh guacamole I find in the produce section…the one I buy is 95% avocado.  It’s just another way you can get the benefits of a healthy food without the time-consuming preparation.

Update:  If you are a South Beach Diet Fan, you have to check out Kalyn’s Kitchen (she has the best healthy recipes around).

So, there you have it.  I hope you find these tips and swaps helpful.  Do you have any personal food swaps or tips for losing weight?  If so, please share them with us in comments.

**If you like these tips, you will love my new book (coming in November) Love the Diet, Lose the Fat.  For a pre-release offer to get the book for $1, go to the Love the Diet website and sign-up with just your email address.

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Posted in cooking, fitness, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, lose weight, nutrition, weight loss, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top 12 Easy Food Tips & Swaps for Weight Loss

Best Health & Wellness Blogs

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 25, 2013

Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted to BlogHer)

Since I decided to start blogging much more, and one of the things I like best about blogging is featuring links to other bloggers — I am starting a weekly series called Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday.  Hope you will take some time and check out these wonderful blogs.

Here are some blogs I featured  way back in  2009, and they are still going strong…

A Merry Life

Hi! I’m Mary. Welcome to my blog.  I lost 40 pounds, fell in love with being active, and learned how to cook healthy food, all in the pursuit of being healthy and happy.

Cranky Fitness

Cranky Fitness is a health blog, sort of. It was started by Crabby McSlacker in 2007, and has also featured co-bloggers Merry, Gigi and Jo. Regular publishing ended in March of 2010, but the blog has been semi-resurrected!  New posts come out approximately weekly, but there are over 1,000 posts in the archives, so feel free to browse.  There’s a search bar on the right sidebar that may come in handy.

Blog topics at Cranky Fitness include general health, fitness, nutrition, personal development, disease prevention, aging, and whatever else the authors happened to feel like whining about on a given day.

Fit & Inspired Living

After losing all of my blog content from 2011, and a lack luster posting schedule in 2012 (I did manage to post more regularly on my other blog),  I’ve decided that 2013 is going to be a great year for Fit & Inspired Living.  I have already taken a few steps towards that end – updated my blog design, created a content schedule and most importantly, made up my mind to make it happen.

Raise Healthy Eaters

After having my first child in 2006, I found feeding to be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Much of the struggle I felt — and still do sometimes — comes from the modern-day pressure we all face to get our children to eat a certain way.

As a registered dietitian and family nutrition expert, I’ve come to realize this view of “getting-children-to-eat-healthy” not only leads to feeding mistakes, it leaves parents in a constant state of guilt, blaming themselves when their child eats less than perfectly. And worst of all, children eat less well with this kind of approach.

Hungry Hungry Hippie

Hi! I’m Elise. I’m a nurse. An exercise lover.  A whole foods connoisseur.  A health enthusiast.  And I have IBS.  No need to cue the sappy violin music yet…

I’ve found that eating a low FODMAP, mostly plant-based diet has allowed me to continue to live and love life to the fullest.  Although moderation isn’t something I do well, I’m 100% devoted to giving my body pure, wholesome, quality food. Nutritious and delicious, all the time.  Hungry Hungry Hippie is a way for me to share my daily dealings with food, fitness, and everything in between.

Fit Mama Eats

I counsel and teach about 100 people every week, which is rewarding hard work. My greatest hope is to make a difference in people’s lives and motivate them to live strong and be healthy no matter what life’s challenges are. My work isn’t all roses as I often connect with discouraged and very ill people and sometimes there is only so much help one can offer. But if I’ve convinced someone to take one positive step forward that forever changes their path, I’m satisfied.

I don’t live to eat but I cook and eat to live vibrantly. FitMamaEats offers my two cents on Boston-area restaurants, new food products, easy healthful recipes, and general health trends. You may also see product and book reviews related to food and fitness or a write-up about a health-related business that I strongly believe in.

Girl Get Strong

My name is Melanie (aka Crazy Legs) and I have been friends with Sian (GoGo Girl) and Susan (Pink Panther) since our eldest children were all in kindergarten together. I hope I’m not dating myself too much here, but it has been a few years and 11 kids later (between the three of us) since we first met! That kindergarten year was the year we each decided it was time to reclaim a bit of “me” time to shred the weight and get in shape (and perhaps it was also an escape from the craziness of mommy life!).

Broccoli Cupcake

I began blogging in 2009 to share our family’s journey to overcome a host of health issues including anxiety, allergies, eczema and chronic upper respiratory infections. By changing our lifestyle, we’ve improved our health and overall quality of life, but the journey is far from over and we’d love for you to join us.
Since launching Broccoli Cupcake, I’ve worked with leading brands including Seventh Generation, Applegate, Nintendo and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I’m a former healthy living expert for FOX 17 Tennessee Mornings and have been a freelance writer for outlets ranging from Yoga Journal to SavvySource.com.

These are just some of the blogs I featured back in 2009, I have many more that are still going strong, and I will feature more of them in upcoming Fantastic Health & Wellness Blogs Friday.

Now here are a few I just happened to come across this week…

The Happiness Project

In just 21 days, you really can take steps to make your life happier—without spending a lot of time, energy, or money.  I’ve created four premium 21 Day Happiness Projects for you to follow, if you want to tackle one of these common happiness challenges.

Sodium Girl

Faced with kidney failure and a handful of other medical complications, I decided that nothing would stop me from having a full life and a full belly.  I discovered that a well controlled, salt-free, low-sodium diet was key to staying healthy and active. But it took time and years of experimentation to achieve the delicate balance of eating well while maintaining a busy schedule and a budget.  With a few years of salt-free cooking, eating, and living under my belt, I started this blog to give others a jump start in their own journey.

Healthy Food For Living

I am a 30 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, beautiful baby daughter, playful dog, and cuddly cat.  I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings.  I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“.  I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Marc and Angel Hack Life  –Practical Tips for Productive Living

Marc and his Angel both share a great passion for inspiring others to live to their fullest potential, and they honestly feel best when they are inspiring others to be their best. They started their blog with the goal of inspiring as many people as possible, and they work passionately every day to fulfill this goal through the thoughts and ideas they share online.

oh she glows – vegan recipe blog

I’m Angela. Welcome to Oh She Glows – an award-winning vegan recipe blog featuring over 400 healthy recipes! For the past 5 years, I’ve shared wholesome, energizing recipes that I eat on a day to day basis as well as oodles of drool-worthy photographs. My goal is to inspire others to embrace more plant-based foods in their diet without feeling deprived. Get ready to glow!

So, there you have it, my first list of Fantastic Health & Wellness blogs.  Come back every Friday to see more health & wellness blogs that I think are pretty fantastic.  

If you have a health & wellness blog that you would like to have featured here — please leave your link in comments, and I will check it out. 

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, family, health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, life, self help, women, women's health, women's issues, writing | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Best Health & Wellness Blogs

Healthy Recipe: Greek Yogurt Parfait (low-fat)

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 2, 2013

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Healthy Recipe: Greek Yogurt Parfait (low-fat) — cross-posted from catherine-morgan.com

Easy to make, low-fat, low-calorie Greek yogurt parfait recipe.  This is a great recipe for losing weight and eating healthy.

Here is some nutritional information for this Greek Yogurt Parfait recipe…

Calories per serving:  215

Fat:  2g

Sugar:  31g

Protein:  13g

Here is what you will need…

1 cup Greek Yogurt

½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

¼ cup sliced bananas

1 teaspoon ground flax-seed

What to do…

Simply layer the yogurt, blueberries and bananas.  Sprinkle ground flax-seed, and enjoy.

Try this with just about any combination of fruit you can come up with.

FYI:  Greek yogurt has about twice the protein as regular yogurt.

Posted in dieting, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, life, nutrition, recipes, self help, weight loss, women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Healthy Recipe: Greek Yogurt Parfait (low-fat)

The Health Benefits of Yoga

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 5, 2009

When you hear the word “yoga” what do you think of? You may think you know all there is to know about yoga, but there is a good chance that you don’t. Let’s take a look at some of what women are blogging on the topic of yoga.

Have you heard of Hot Yoga?

From Fat Fighter TV – Hot Yoga

Benefits of Bikram Yoga are said to include:

  • toning, strengthening, and lengthening your muscles
  • strengthening your spine
  • increasing flexibility
  • improving circulation
  • flushing toxins from your body
  • improving digestion
  • reducing stress
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • helping with weight management

READ FULL POST AT CATHERINE-MORGAN.COM

Posted in body image, Coaching, daily life, health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, life, lose weight, meditation, motivation, Positive Thinking, weight loss, women, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Link Wrap-Up of BlogHer Good Health-A-Thon

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 24, 2009

The BlogHer 2009 Good Health-A-Thon is coming to an end, but your good health choices can still continue. I hope we’ve been able to help you get on the right track to better health in 2009, I would love to hear how you’ve been doing in comments.

I thought I would take this opportunity to do a little wrap-up of our Good Health-A-Thon…

We started off talking about setting goals. Did you set any? Have you stuck to any of them?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, chronic illness, Coaching, daily life, dieting, family, goals, health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, life, lose weight, motivation, nutrition, parenting, self help, weight loss, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Tao of Healthy Living and Weight Loss

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 14, 2009

A few weeks ago I was flipping through the million channels on my TV trying to find just one thing worth watching (which isn’t an easy task).  Luckily I found Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS.

I read my first book by Dr. Wayne Dyer (Real Magic) about twelve years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  So when I watched his seminar on PBS that was based on his latest book, of course I had to run out the next day and buy it.  This one is called Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, and it’s his interpretation of the 81 verses of the Tao.

tao[The Tao Te Ching was written five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, and offers advice and guidance for living a balanced life.]

As I read, I came across aspects of this wisdom that are helpful in my quest for better health and weight loss.  So, even though I’m no philosopher (obviously), I thought I would share some verses that stood out for me.  They offer guidance for healthy living and even weight loss.  Here are three.

[Keep in mind that I am only pulling the parts of these verses that I find most relevant to good health, this is by no means a complete look at any of these verses.]

Verse 9Living HumilityTo keep on filling is not as good as stopping.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in awareness, body image, change, chronic illness, Coaching, daily life, dieting, empowerment, goals, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, inspirational, life, lose weight, meditation, metaphysical, motivation, nutrition, opinion, Peace, Positive Thinking, self help, spirituality, success, thoughts, weight loss, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Goal Setting Success

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 8, 2009

This is the time of year that many of us are setting goals in hopes of achieving success with our New Year Resolutions. And setting realistic goals can be what makes or breaks a good resolution.

Have you set your goals yet?

There are many theories about how to set realistic and achievable goals. But it’s not always as cut and dry as all that.  As with everything in life, something that works for one of us may not work for all of us.

Here are some ideas that may help you find success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in body image, Coaching, dieting, empowerment, goals, Happiness, health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, inspirational, life, lose weight, motivation, opinion, self help, success, weight loss, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Goal Setting Success

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 2, 2008

Are you drinking enough water?   Are you sure about that?  Believe it or not, most people are not drinking enough water.  Do you get headaches, suffer from fatigue, or sometimes feel a little weak or dizzy?  If so, you may just need to start drinking more water.  So, before you reach for the pain medicine for a headache, try drinking a tall glass of water, it may be all you need.

But remember, not all hydration is created equal. For example; one cup of coffee is not equal to one cup of water. That’s because coffee is a diuretic – so are many other beverages, such as tea and soda.

How do you know if you are drinking enough water? And how much water do you need to drink.

Use this Hydration Calculator from About.com to help figure out how much is right for you.

Obviously, staying hydrated is essential to any good exercise program…I found an interesting recipe for making your own sports drinks at WebMD. It’s as easy as mixing one can of frozen concentrated juice with nine cans of water (instead of three).

Click here to read full post on hydration at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in daily life, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, life, nutrition, self help, women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Did You See Mama Mia The Movie? It’s the best ‘feel-good’ movie I have ever seen.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 27, 2008

Can a good movie reduce stress? I’ve always believed that smiling and laughing is healing in some way. And, there is a lot of evidence that supports that theory. I also know that for me, music can deeply affect my mood. Some songs are sad reminders of the past, and others are happy reminders of experiences I never want to forget. Seeing the movie Mamma Mia with my daughter, and listening to all the music, is definitely going to be a lasting and happy memory for me.

This is what happened. My daughter has been wanting to see the movie Journey To The Center Of The Earth in 3-D, and we’ve also both wanted to see Mamma Mia. So, on Thursday, we decided to see Journey To The Center Of The Earth. But, when we got to the theater we found out it was only in 3-D at “selected” theaters, and we weren’t at one of those. Mamma Mia was showing in the same theater about 15 minutes later, so we decided to see that instead.

To tell you the truth, I really didn’t think that either one of the movies was going to have much of an impact on me. I was feeling quite depressed, and was only taking my daughter to the movies because I thought that was what a good mother would do.

So, since I was feeling like a failure as a mother when it came to my son, I thought I shouldn’t let my anxiety affect my daughter. However, I didn’t think anything, much less a movie, would be able to take my mind off of my troubles.

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised.

Posted in empowerment, family, health, inspirational, life, movie, music, self help, thoughts, video, women, women's health, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 7, 2008

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  So, I thought I would start this post with something I wrote about ovarian cancer, over a year ago.  The Sad Reality of Ovarian Cancer.  Why It’s Important To Know The Early Symptoms

One of my saddest cases working as a nurse was on the oncology unit. I had a young woman as my patient (she was in her late twenties, only a few years older than I was at the time), and she had been diagnosed with end stage ovarian cancer. I had been working on the oncology unit for over a year, and many times patients came to my unit in the last few weeks or days of their lives, mostly so they could be given large doses of pain medication to keep them comfortable. Everyone knew these patients were coming in not to be cured, but to die. It was always hard and always sad, but this time the woman dying was so young.

Unlike many of my other patients, I would never get to know this woman. She would only live another few days, and during that time she would be mostly unconscious from all the medications. But even so, I will never forget her. What I remember most was the sadness that surrounded her, her family standing and sitting around the bed, just waiting for her suffering to finally be over. Among all of the darkness and grief, a little girl (maybe two or three years old) was happily playing and skipping in and out of her mother’s room, blissfully unaware. Every time I saw the little girl I thought how painful it must have been for her mother to know she would be dying and leaving her beautiful baby girl. How sad she must have been knowing she would miss all the important moments of her daughter’s life. And how sad it was going to be for that little girl, growing up without her mother, never getting to know her. How could something so unfair be happening to this family? It seemed unfathomable to me, but I was watching it happen with my own eyes, I couldn’t deny it. That was almost twenty years ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I didn’t know it then, but only a few years later I would come eerily close to being in a similar situation as that young woman. And it was the thought of not being there for my children that was the hardest thing to deal with. The thought of not being able to see my babies grow up (my son was 3, my daughter just 4 months), of not being able to be their mother, not being there for their birthdays, their graduations, and their weddings, not being there to protect them from the world…Those were the thoughts that haunted me, even more than any fear I might have had of dying.

I would need to have surgery quickly and have the tumor removed, only then would I find out if the cancer had spread. Even though I was referred to the best oncologist in the area, I knew the outcome wasn’t good if it had spread. I don’t think anyone (unless you have personally been through it) can understand the horror of being put under anesthesia, knowing that when you wake up you might be told you are dying.

The last thing I remember just before I was put under, was my doctor telling me that because I was so young he would try to save my uterus and one ovary. I told him I was blessed to have two beautiful children, and that the only thing that mattered to me was being able to be a mom to my children. I pleaded with him not to take any chances, if there was even a remote chance it had spread, to please take everything and not leave anything behind. At this point, I was crying, and I grabbed the doctor’s arm before he turned away to let the anesthesiologist finish putting me under…and I said; “Promise me, promise me you won’t leave anything behind.” I don’t remember what he said…I just remember waking up in the recovery room. I remember calling out to everyone who walked by, “good or bad, good or bad, good or bad?” I said it over and over, but none of the nurses would tell me anything. Moments later my doctor was again standing over me, and he told me that he was able to get it all, and that I was going to be okay. I asked him if he was sure, and he said he was sure. I would be one of the lucky 19% of patients diagnosed early enough to survive, but even more importantly, I would get to be a mother to my children.

There will be 22,430 new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States this year, and 15,280 women will die. Maybe awareness of these few early warning signs will help raise the percent of women who can be diagnosed early, and be successfully treated.

I want to add something today, that I didn’t mention when I wrote this original post…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in health, Health & Wellness, healthy living, life, medical, women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Get Motivated To Diet and Exercise With SkinnySongs

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 5, 2008

Get Motivated With SkinnySongs — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

heidi3.jpgMotivation is the number one thing we all need if we are going to be successful at losing weight. But, it’s also the number one thing that tends to slip through our fingers and land us back in the cookie jar. Now, thanks to venture capitalist Heidi Roizen, staying motivated is as easy as popping a disk into our CD player. That’s because, when Heidi couldn’t find music to help her stay excited about dieting and getting back into her skinny jeans, she decided to write her own. She began to write motivational lyrics on losing weight and getting in shape…And that is when the idea for “SkinnySongs” was born.

Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Heidi a couple of questions about SkinnySongs…

1. How did you come up with the idea for SkinnySongs? What was your inspiration?

I got on the scale one morning, after a big night out, and much to my horror I had hit an all time high — at 190 pounds I was 45 pounds more than I was when I got married, and I weighed more than my husband, who is a pretty big guy! I was facing my 50th birthday a few months off, and knew I did not want to enter the ‘back 50’ feeling or looking like that. Unfortunately, I knew I would be facing a challenge ( a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, to be exact) at the first meeting I was going to. I got in my car to head to the meeting, mentally steeling myself for resisting the cookies, and the CD player came on. It was then I thought, that there must be great music to pump you up about taking care of yourself and sticking to a plan, like “I will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor got me through a few breakups, or more recently, “18 Wheeler” by Pink got me through a few tough work situations. So I went looking for it… But I couldn’t find what I wanted. I found weight loss meditation, podcasts, audio books — but what I wanted was fun, upbeat, current music, that sounds just like what I listen to on the radio — but with lyrics that would speak to me and reinforce my goals. I didn’t find it, so got inspired to do it myself!

2. How long did it take you to get from idea to realization?

I thought of the idea in May and we had the CD mastered just two weeks before the end of the year. For the first few months, I was experimenting with writing lyrics (I ended up writing over 40 songs to get to the 10 on the CD) and of course doing the most important thing, pitching the idea to the peole whose involvement was critical — the producers George Daly and David Malloy. I knew that in order for the music to work, it had to be just as good as top quality hits, or people would chose to listen to other things instead. Both George and David are longtime music industry execs, leaders in their fields, with tons of music awards, gold and platinum records, and hits to their names as both producers and songwriters. They were the ones who took my lyrics and worked with me to turn the ideas into reality.

3. Were shirts part of your original plan?

Actually, I had made up the ‘do not feed’ shirt years before this, as well as one that says ‘kick my a**’ (not in the lineup!) that I wear when I work out with a trainer. So the shirts seemed a natural extension once I got going. Just like it surprised me there is no music for this topic, it surprised me that there is so little choice for shirts to wear when exercising that reinforce the message you’re trying to stick with. All the shirts in the SkinnySongs lineup are intended to be fun reminders of what you are doing and why, and in the case of “Do Not Feed”, it usually gets a laugh from your friends, but maybe also, they won’t try to force that second piece of pie in your direction.

4. You created Skinnysongs as a motivator for your weight-loss. Have you met your goals?

It has been a great motivator for me. I have lost over thirty pounds as well as increasing my muscle mass. It took me six months to reach my goal, but I went from a size 14 to a size 8 and am back in my skinny jeans. I really do listen to the music every day, it puts me in a great mood and gives me the positive reinforcement about sticking to the plan and not letting food control my life.

5. What advice do you have for other women who are looking to begin a weight-loss plan?

I wish all you had to do was listen to SkinnySongs and you’d reach your goals, but sadly that isn’t the case! It is, of course, all about diet and exercise. For me, it was also about making a series of small but important, permanent lifestyle changes — I didn’t gain 40+ pounds because I had a bad week, and I wouldn’t have taken it off either (nor kept it off) by just ‘going on a diet.’ I committed to getting control over my emotional eating by following a schedule of eating five small meals a day, three hours apart, and not touching food in between, just because it smelled good or I was having an emotional moment. I incorporated strength training and walking into my DAILY routine, I do at least one of these things every single day. I keep myself motivated through celebrating my successes with a nice clothing item here or there, that I couldn’t have worn a year ago. And I read about other success stories as well as listen to SkinnySongs to keep the motivation up, since this is not something you do and then be done with, rather it is a part of how you live your life going forward from here on. I’m happy to say I turned 50 a few weeks ago and I look better and feel better than I did at my 40th birthday!

Heidi also has a great website for SkinnySongs. Where you can listen to samples of each of the songs, learn about the artists involved in the making of SkinnySongs, and even get some really cool shirts to workout in. There is also a clip of Heidi’s appearance on the Martha Stewart show. It’s a great site, you should really check it out.

Anyway, the music on this CD is great, and just what the motivation doctor ordered. I imagine the only thing missing, would be subliminal messages telling us that cookies taste like cardboard and dieting is fun. But, if you’re not having any fun with your current weight-loss and workout plan, or you just need more motivation to stay on track, then you might want to give SkinnySongs a try…Because, Doesn’t music always make everything a little better?

Also see posts from…

Jacki at That’s Fit

Amy at Diabetes Mine

Heather at The Well Mom

Posted in body image, dieting, health, inspirational, life, lose weight, weight loss, women, women's health | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Eating Healthy in Three Easy Steps

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 25, 2008

Top Three Tips For Eating Healthy — by Catherine Morgan

I am a firm believer that the number one thing any of us can do to promote good health…Is to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. Regardless of your weight (even if you are thin or at an ideal weight), it’s important that we all try to eat healthy. Unfortunately, that is sometimes the hardest thing for many of us to do.

It can be overwhelming for someone with “questionable” eating habits to make the changes necessary for good health. But, it’s also the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness. So, what can we do? Well, I recommend you take it slow, and not put too much pressure on yourself.

Don’t decide today to make radical changes in your eating habits. If you do that you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, let’s look at what I believe are the top three changes you can make that won’t be hard for you to stick to. Once you have conquered these three things, you will become empowered to continue taking a step at a time toward healthier eating habits and a healthier life. So, let’s give it a try.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in cooking, dieting, empowerment, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, life, lose weight, nutrition, thoughts, weight loss, women | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Successful Healthy Living – How I’ve change my life through motivation, dieting, and yoga.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 28, 2008

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Successful Healthy Living – Posted by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

How I’ve change my life through motivation, dieting, and yoga.

Well, not really. It sounds like a good plan though. The truth is…I have no motivation, I haven’t been able to stick to a diet in years, and yoga is just another four letter word to me. When if comes to healthy living…I’m slowly but surely becoming the poster child (middle-aged woman) for unhealthy living.

So, I started this post thinking I might find some motivation to stop eating so much ice-cream and cookies. And then I came across this…

Big Fat DealDiet Motivation!

We all know there are people who bitch at their fat spouses for gaining weight, and gym owners who berate and shame fat people. And don’t forget random people on the street who yell things and throw garbage at the overweight and obese. In case that just isn’t motivating enough for you, we now have the talking “diet tile” that you put on the floor in front of the fridge.

Humiliation every time I take a step toward the refrigerator? Not exactly what I had in mind.

I do like the idea of changing my goal from losing weight, to living healthy to 100.

Diet PulpitChanging My Goal

I am changing my goal officially (see near top of right side bar under photo) from a goal of healthy weight of 140 lbs to a long term goal of Living Healthy to 100 and beyond.

Who wants to join me in setting their goal for a Fabulous, Awesome, Tenacious and Healthy life (a.k.a. F.A.T. Attitude) instead of worrying over numbers on the scale?

It’s an excellent idea. But, who am I kidding? I couldn’t even make it to 30 being healthy, and now (don’t tell anybody) I’m even older than that. I know…It’s hard to believe.

As I continued to surf the BlogHer Health and Wellness blogroll, I came across this post on yoga…

Sister SkinnyWhat’s Up With Yoga?

So, anyone want to convince me yoga is the perfect thing for me right now? Want to tell me why you love it? Or have you (like me) had some not-so-fantastic experiences with the whole thing? I’m curious about the general yoga consensus among our readers…(see 40 comments on yoga)

And then, I remembered reading this interesting post…

Frances Ellen SpeaksHatha Yoga Or A Pedicure?

I got it into my head that I should try yoga. Pretty much, the only things I know about yoga are, it’s a form of relaxation, it helps with flexibility, it’s good for one’s balance and it doesn’t require me to bounce around too much.

I had one problem with the yoga class; it’s held at my local hospital for the 55+ gang on Tuesday evenings and, as it happened, I had an appointment to get a pedicure last Tuesday. Pretty much, what I know about pedicures is it’s a form of relaxation, your feet and legs receive a massage and it, too, requires no bouncing.

Hmm. What to choose, what to choose…

What would you choose? A pedicure is sounding pretty good to me right now. I guess I’m not doing so great in the “motivation” area. And, isn’t that the only way I’ll ever be successful in my quest for health living? I know. I know. Maybe I’ll start being motivated on Monday.

For even more on yoga…

Yoga Chickie

Yoga Gumbo

What I really want to know is…

Can I do yoga while sitting on the couch with my lap-top? It sure would be nice if I could lose weight doing that too.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
CatherineBlogs, The Political Voices of Women, Care2 Election Blog

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, body image, dieting, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, life, motivation, success, thoughts, women | 10 Comments »

$10 Will Help Cambodian Youngster Mon Channy Get An Education and Live a Better Life!

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 25, 2008

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Mon Chany is in the middle

This is a post from Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

The America’s Giving Challenge will be over in another ten days. Thanks to the generosity of everyone here, we are still in the running to win the $50,000K. If we win, we can help many children like Mon Channy have a better life. And all for a donation of $10 and asking your friends to do the same.

Mon Chany’s Story

Frequently, children in very poor families work in order to bolster the family’s income, and this prevents them from attending school. For Mon Channy,10, The Sharing Foundation’s Khmer Literacy School has provided huge opportunity. Mon Channy is the only child of his widowed mom, who supports herself and her child through her work on the TSF farm. Channy, who is very small, probably due to early malnutrition, is proud to be going to school as his mother never did (see photo). He looks forward to advancing to the village school. His teacher, Ying So Ry, says Channy is a very attentive, hard working student, and she sees a bright future for him.


Both Bora and Nhuong, young people from Cambodia, who are donors to Sharing Foundation, know this story all too well:

As Bora says, “I don’t know what I can do as a single Cambodian citizen to help next generation of my country. But I know for sure that all of our contributions will make different. Our $10 donation can help one child to go to school for the whole month. vuthbora.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-year-welcoming-donation…

Nhuong says,”I understand how difficult it is to obtain an education when you have no money and more importantly when food and clothing are scarce. For most children in Cambodia this is a story that is all too common. Most children are illiterate and work on the family farm. As the country industrializes and leaves behind the agrarian lifestyle, these children grow up to be migrant workers with nowhere to go. Unlike those children, I was lucky enough to come to America and receive an education. This is why this cause is important to me. theasianeconomist.com/?p=6


Global Giving is offering additional incentives to heat up the competition – over the next five days, the organizations that get the most donations in a single 24 hour period will receive an additional $250, plus the largest donation will be matched. So, if you haven’t contributed yet, this would be an excellent time to donate $10!

  • Donate $10 or more to the Sharing Foundation through Global Giving Fundraiser set up by Blogger Michele Martin of the Bamboo project!
  • If we are four of the top causes to get the most unique donors, we’ll win $50,000 for the Sharing Foundation as part of America’s Giving Challenge. With $10 you can help improve the lives of over 1,500 children in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Posted in awareness, blogging, change, Charity, children, life, thoughts, women, world | 4 Comments »

Four Health Tips To A Longer Life

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 10, 2008

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Four Tips To A Long Life — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I was surfing the health and wellness news trying to decide what to post on tonight, and I came across this Reuters article… Four Health Changes Can Prolong Life 14 Years. Who wouldn’t want to prolong their life by 14 years?

So, would you make a “resolution” to make four lifestyle changes, if it would increase your life by 14 years? Better than a New Years Resolution, this would be a “Life Resolution”.

What are the four changes to a longer life?

1) Stop Smoking

2) Eat Five Servings of Fruits and Vegetables a Day

3) Exercise

4) Limit Alcohol Consumption

The lifestyle change with the biggest benefit was giving up smoking, which led to an 80 percent improvement in health, the study found. This was followed by eating fruits and vegetables. Moderate drinking and keeping active brought the same benefits…

Well, that seems pretty simple. While we’re on the subject, why not surf around for some other ways to live longer?

Reducing Stress is a good place to start…

There are few things that cause you more stress and worry than your weight. If you gained a few pounds over the holidays, don’t panic…..yet. According to an article (reprinted below) about a study published last November, people who are a little overweight actually live longer.

Could you live longer if you walked faster? Apparently so…

New research following 500 older people for nearly a decade found quicker walkers were less likely to die. Nine years after initial gait speed was measured, 77 percent of slow walkers had died, compared to only 50 percent of medium speed and 27 percent of fast walkers.

Here are Ten Tips For Aging Consciously and Successfully

As our population ages, our society is finally recognizing that old age is a gift. Despite some of the negative images in the media, it really is possible to embrace our elderhood as a creative and spiritual journey.

People who have aged successfully share common characteristics.

There is no question that most of our lifestyle choices are what will determine whether we age in good physical and mental health or fall prey to sickness and disability. Although it may be a cliché, moderation is the key in everything. By practicing moderation and following these ten tips, you too can be a “long-liver” and, more importantly, enjoy your elder hood in the process.

See the Ten Tips For Aging Consciously and Successfully

If those ten tips weren’t good enough for you, here are ten more — 10 Tips on How to Live Longer and Happier

Well, there you have it.

No excuses for not living longer now.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at CatherineBlogs.com and The Political Voices of Women

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, body image, change, dieting, empowerment, family, food, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, inspirational, life, nutrition, self help, women | 7 Comments »

Care2 Launches An Election Blog – Bush Vetoes SCHIP Again

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 13, 2007

 

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Hi everyone. I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I am helping to launch a new blog by Care2. It’s called the Care2 Election Blog, and I will be the primary blogger. I hope you’ll stop by and check it out. THIS IS A LINK TO MY FIRST POST. Todays post is on…Another veto by Bush for SCHIP.

I’ll be here at the Care2 Election Blog each day with posts on the latest election news, political commentary and, of course, will address campaign issues that are especially important to the Care2 community, with an emphasis on non-profits. Since this is Care2’s first blog, I hope to get as much feedback from the members of the community as possible…and I look forward to hearing all of your comments and suggestions (so please…don’t be shy). — read my full first post here

If you are not already familiar with Care2, you should go over and check them out. It’s a site that makes it easy to take action on issues that are important to you.

Posted in blogging, children, daily life, elections, family, health, life, news, opinion, parenting, thoughts, women | 6 Comments »

Body Image, Dieting, and Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 12, 2007

Body Image, Dieting, and Your New Year’s Resolution — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

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For many of us, in the next few weeks we will be thinking about one thing, and one thing only. Dieting. The holiday parties will be over, and it will be time to make that inevitable New Year’s Resolution, many of us will resolve to lose weight.

But why? Why will we be so consumed with dieting and losing weight?

Don’t get me wrong, some of us really do need to lose some weight (me included). And we read study after study showing the health risks associated with being overweight. But, let’s get “real” here for a minute…When we say “diet”, we usually mean that we want to get back into our “skinny jeans”. We don’t like how we look, or we think others are judging us for how we look. Yes, we have a poor body image.

Is there not a woman among us who has not struggled with this issue at some point or another? It seems that loving, much less even liking our bodies raises issues. We postpone that love by saying, “I’ll love my body when…” When I lose ten pounds, when I get the face-lift, when I start working out, when the kids are older. But someday never comes, and many of us live in perpetual disregard of our earthly body temples. — read full post

We think that if we can just get down to [enter magic number here] then we will be happy. And the “happy” part is a vicious circle. When we feel we look bad, it makes us sad (even depressed)…Then we run right on over to our “feel good” foods (usually also the fattening foods)…And the cycle continues.

This is from Karly…

I started First Ourselvesafter awakening from years of depression, body bashing, and Mommy martrydom. I saw how my quest for the perfect body, my inability to care for myself, and my self-abuse (I was an expert at beating myself up) kept me stuck: it kept me from being the wife, mother, friend—woman—I wanted to be. I couldn’t share my light, or my gifts with others—I was snuffing them out. Learning to deeply and completely love and accept myself has allowed me to share my light, and speak to my truest passions. My ambition is to help other women do the same.

We know all about how our body images are being manipulated by the media, we know we have unrealistic ideas of what beautiful is…But, we will also still jump down the rabbit hole on January 2nd.

Now, this post isn’t going to try to convince you not to do that. Because in all honesty, I’m jumping right down that dieting rabbit hole with you. I’m just going to ask you to consider a few things first.

So what would it look like to be beautiful today? That’s a hard question for most girls and women. The quick response would usually entail taller, thinner, blonder, straighter teeth, wider eyes, smaller nose, or a myriad of other physical features.

What if you looked in a mirror and saw the words “this is what beautiful looks like” right above your reflection? — read full post here

This is from Big Fat Deal

Big Fat Deal was born: a blog to help navigate those murky waters of body image, size, healthiness, hottyness, and Star Jones. In the comments here, we try to define who we are: a body positivity blog that is inclusive to people losing weight and people happy to be whatever weight they happen to be.

With her two collaborators, anne and Weetabix, mo pie tries to keep tabs on issues of weight in the media, pop culture, and society. Big Fat Deal is, first and foremost, a community. The thoughtful people who read, comment, and send in tips keep this site going. Here’s a place for you to introduce yourself, if you’d care to. And here is our Flickr photo group–you’re beautiful, you know. Please add your picture. We hope you like it here, you gorgeous thing, you.

More from Karly at First Ourselves

What is body ease? Body ease is being comfortable with your body; being comfortable with your body as it ages or changes. Body ease is being relaxed about your body or your “imperfections.” It’s letting go of your nitpicking, the ways you fuss or pick at your body to be “better.” Body ease is being comfortable with other women’s bodies; letting other women be beautiful, too. Body ease is separating your self-worth from your appearance, so that when you have a pimple, a cold sore, an extra 20 pounds, a double chin, or wrinkles, that you can accept them, even if you don’t like them. Body ease is caring for, feeding, and exercising your body without neuroticism. Body ease is treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and levity.

So, what’s wrong with treating ourselves with kindness? Absolutely NOTHING, and there is no reason why you can’t make this part of your New Year’s Resolution.

Can you be at ease with your body, and still resolve to lose weight? Sure you can. Just make a resolution to replace some of the junk you’ve been eating with healthy foods, make a resolution to put yourself on the path to healthy living. After-all, healthy living is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

How many times has “losing weight” been you New Year’s Resolution? What will be your New Year’s Resolution this year? How’s you body image these days? Do you want to lose weight to look better, or feel healthier?
A few other links…

As We Are

Healthier Outcomes

What NOT To Do When You Want To Lose Weight

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, body image, daily life, dieting, health, Health & Wellness, healthy foods, healthy living, inspirational, life, nutrition, self help, thoughts, weight loss, women | 5 Comments »

BlogHers Act on Maternal Health

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 15, 2007

BlogHers Act

The new BlogHers Act site is LIVE. Check out this post by Lisa Stone explaining the goals of this new site.

The site before you is the result of terrific work by a great team. Maria Niles, Denise Tanton and Web Producer Julie Douglas led a significant production, design, and project management effort, working with the insight, connections, passion and original concept of Contributing Editors Emily McKhann and Cooper Munroe of The Motherhood, whose blogging on this essential topic we can now enjoy in its new home. Thank you, wonder women. — read full post

This years commitment is to Maternal Health…

Are you aware that maternity is a leading killer of women worldwide?

It’s true. Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world a woman loses her life because of issues related to pregnancy or giving birth. In 2007-2008, BlogHers Act is committed to saving some of these lives by harnessing the power of women online and our blogs to address maternal health, the global health issue recommended by this community.

This is a very important issue, and a great way for women to help other women. I hope you’ll get involved. Just go to the New BlogHers Act Site, and see what you can do to help.

Posted in BlogHer, family, health, life, medical, parenting, women, world | Comments Off on BlogHers Act on Maternal Health

One Lap Top For Every Child: See how you can give one and get one.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 3, 2007

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See how you can help to give every child a laptop…

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time in North America. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home. If you’re interested in Give 1 Get 1, we’ll be happy to send you a reminder email. Just sign up in the box to the left and you’ll receive your reminder prior to the November 12 launch date.

Posted in blogging, Charity, children, daily life, faith, family, gratitude, life, parenting, women, world | 8 Comments »

This Holiday Season…Give The Gift of Green

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 30, 2007

This is a post from Izzy Mom about giving reusable shopping bags as gifts…I think that sounds like a great idea. And if you are going to do it on a large scale (and buy more than 100), you can even have them personalized just like the supermarkets do (for as little as $0.99 each).

You know the holidays are coming up, right? And you KNOW what that means, right? Yep, shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. And lots of bags. Paper and plastic.

The paper bags from everyone in America buying groceries for Thanksgiving alone will probably set us back a few frillion trees and a lot of oxygen, ya know?

And then Christmas and Hannukah…more bags. Especially plastic ones from malls, department stores etc.

So I have this idea!

I’m suggesting that instead of, or perhaps in addition to a regular gift, that you give the gift of re-usable bags to your friends, family, kids’ teachers, the mailman, the lawn guy — anyone! Everyone!

READ FULL POST

Posted in daily life, family, food, inspirational, life, shopping, thoughts, women | 4 Comments »

 
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