Monthly Archives: August 2012

Skinny rules challenge day 5: eat your fiber!

Day 5 of my skinny rules challenge!

Today’s rule: eat 30-50 grams of fiber a day.


Légumes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought this would be pretty easy if you were following other rules, such as eating whole grains and lots of vegetables.  So, I didn’t really try to hard on this one.  I was like “hey, there’s no way I’m not eating enough fiber with all that whole wheat and barley and stuff!”  I added up my totals on Spark People and saw I was well below my goal!  I realized I had forgotten to include raspberries, lettuce, a persian cucumber and some seaweed salad. I added an apple to see if I ate that what would happen.  That still only brought me to about 28 grams of fiber!  So I ate another handful of raspberries and that rounded me up to an even 30.  Whoa! I guess getting fiber is harder than I thought!

The foods that are high in fiber are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  Some of Bob Harper’s (and my) favorites are:

  • Strawberries (9 grams/1/2 cup!)

    English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko N...

    English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Apples (4 grams/ 1 medium)
  • Squash (4.5 grams/ 1 cup)
  • Spinach (7 grams/ 1 cup)
  • Zucchini (8 grams/ 1 cup)
  • Garbanzo beans (3.5 grams/ 1/4 cup)
  • Whole grain pasta (6 grams/ 2 oz. dry)

Legumes (beans, lentils, etc) also have a crazy amount of fiber!

The problem I think I will have with this is that an upcoming rule (oh no!) is to not eat carbs after lunch 😦 I’m very sad about that rule and I think I am going to struggle with it!  But also,  a lot of foods that are high in fiber are also high in carbs (I think), like fruit, beans, grains etc.  So, I guess you eat those in the morning and the roughage-y vegetables at night?  Sad jojo.

Today I did a really good job following all my rules!  I drank a ton of water, managed to get a glass in before every meal.  I didn’t even put any agave in my coffee and had unsweetened iced tea after work.  I had tons of protein, didn’t eat any refined grains, and worked in all my fiber!  My body is feeling better even though I’m actually sick.

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast, canadian bacon, 1/2 slice cheese, raspberries

Lunch: Whole wheat pita, turkey, home made hummus, lettuce, cucumber

Snack: Kashi whole grain crackers, kale yogurt dip, egg white salad

Dinner: Soup! (I know, it’s hot! but I have a cold)  I made a soup out of leftover chicken and barley, tomatoes, onions, frozen kale, and seaweed salad! SOO good and filling and super low cal.

After dinner: Apple and handful of raspberries.


My night: Soup, homework, water 

Tomorrow: Eat apples and berries every single day!


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Skinny Rules Challenge Day 4: No more white flour!


Wheat (Photo credit: Big Grey Mare ~ Almost, but not quite caught up!)

This is my fourth day of my attempt to incorporate Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules into my daily eating/living habits, one rule at a time.

Todays rule: Slash your intake of refined grains and flours!  This is a toughie for me, the lover of all that is carbs.  Bob Harper goes into a detailed explanation of why you shouldn’t eat refined flours or grains, especially in the amounts that we eat them today.  When they process wheat, they take out all the good parts that have fiber and nutrients and other good stuff.  White breads, pastas and rice are all broken down to the point that they are essentially empty calories.  I’m obviously exhausted right now and too tired to really know what I’m talking about. But you get the point: No more white bread (baguettes!), pastas (ravioli! Lasagna!) or rice (the asian inside me dies a little each day!).

Basically, you should eat whole grains.  If you are nutritionally challenged, like me, you’re like “ok, but what the heck is a whole grain anyways, and isn’t my wheat bread healthy?”  NO.  NO, says Bob Harper!  Most “wheat” breads are made with refined wheat flour! So even though they say they are healthy, they are not!  If you do eat bread, you have to eat bread made with 100% whole wheat flour as the first ingredient.  “wheat flour” is not the same as “100% whole wheat flour”.  Who knew?  Luckily, I found a brand called Alpine Valley that sells 100% whole wheat bread at costco!  With organic everything and no artificial sweeteners, score!  And, it actually tastes way better than the fake “wheat” bread I’ve been eating!  (no I’m not paid for this, I’m just excited to find something healthy and tasty.  It’s the little things in life, folks).

Grains, the largest food group in many nutriti...

Grains, the largest food group in many nutrition guides, includes oats, barley and bread. Cookies, however, are categorized as sugars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just found a website going into full detail on what whole grains are and how you can tell what is what.  Apparently, I thought I was being super healthy by eating barley, but since it’s “pearled barley”, it’s not a whole grain? Damn!  Well, it’s still better than white rice and super filling.

I did pretty good with the other rules today, except drinking water before every meal.  I didn’t get a lunch break (surprise), and couldn’t fill up my water bottle all day! Parched! But drank a lot of water when I got home.

Breakfast was a smoothie with greek yogurt, almond milk, berries.  Lunch was chicken breast sandwich (whole wheat bread!) and a cucumber.  Snack was Kashi whole grain crackers with kale/spinach yogurt dip and some bell peppers.  Dinner I had black bean and corn salad  (recipe coming soon I hope) with turkey meatballs as a lettuce wrap.  Then I had 2 dates!  Not too bad!

Tomorrow:  Eat 30-50 grams of fiber a day

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Skinny Rules Challenge Day 3: Eat your Protein!

I am 3 days in to a 20 day challenge to learn to eat healthily by following Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules, 1 day at a time.

Today’s Rule: Eat Protein with every meal.

Well I usually do that, but by eliminating most forms of carbs (processed grains), you end up eating a lot more protein anyways.  I’ve been into high protein diets since high school when my family all went on the Atkins diet.  I lost tons of weight! Then I gained it all back!  However, I did learn that eggs, cheese and meat can be very filling snacks.  I don’t think atkinsers can eat nuts because of the carbs.  Anyways, I also find that if I eat sugary snacks like granola bars, they usually make me hungrier and feel really crappy.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to have diabetes problems later in life because I’m really blood sugar  sensitive.  If I eat fruit or something sugary on an empty stomach, it makes me feel all light headed, tired, and hungrier than before!

Bob Harper says you should eat half as many grams of protein as you weigh.  So, if you weigh 200 lbs you should eat 100 grams of protein a day.  He has no real reason or scientific basis for this and freely admits that.  From personal experience I agree that it’s important to eat tons of protein as much as possible so I don’t get hungry and over eat.  Plus I think it’s harder to over indulge in proteins.  It’s super easy to eat a giant bag of chips/crackers/bread etc.  Rarely am I ever like “oh yeah, gimme some more eggs!”  enough is enough.

I’m pretty happy with my plan to introduce the rules slowly.  As the days go by, the previous rules seem easier and like they are just habits.  I drank a TON of water today, I probably refilled my 20 oz brita bottle 4 times at work (12 hour day).  This is easier because it is SO DAMN HOT!  Also, I put even less agave in my coffee this morning and was happy with the result. I forgot that I like coffee for the taste of coffee, not just the sugar that comes in it!  So, I followed 3 out of 3 rules today! Go me!

Protein crystals

Protein crystals (Photo credit: orinoco14)

Today I ate greek yogurt and berries, and a piece of whole wheat toast with hummus and 1/2 slice cheese for breakfast.  Lunch was a chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bread with avo, tomato and pickles (no cheese or mayo!:)) and a little seaweed salad.  Snack was an apple and a hardboiled egg.  Ate a babybel cheese on the drive home, then had barley, cooked spinach, turkey meatballs and tahini for dinner!  I had the night munchies after, so I ate some cottage cheese with hot sauce. It sounds weird, I know but it’s actually delicious, and high protein!  Last night after I blogged I ate some cheese and crackers so I wanted to stick to the plan today.  I feel successful, and my stomach feels content and not bloated.

I put all my food into SparkPeople calorie calculator, and I ate 98 grams of protein today! Whoa! Way over my goal.  I also stayed around 1300 calories, which is quite impressive for me.

Tomorrow’s Rule: Slashing intake of refined flours/grains.

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Skinny Rules Challenge: Day 2


Starbucks (Photo credit: wZa HK)

I am on day 2 of following Bob Harper’s “Skinny Rules”, one rule at a time.

Today’s Rule (Rule #2):  Don’t drink your calories!

This rule is pretty self explanatory.  Don’t drink a bunch of sugary drinks, because it adds to your calories and therefore makes you fatter! Nobody ever skipped lunch because they had a frappucino. (Nor should you!)  Bob Harper goes in to how our bodies aren’t built to digest all that refined sugar and it makes sense really. For me, the hardest part of this is MY MORNING COFFEE.  I have been drinking coffee since I was twelve, and worked at a coffee shop from 16-24.  Yeah, I love coffee.  Almost as much as I used to love cigarettes.  I used to drink it with no sugar, just cream.  But the boyfie likes those coffee mate creamers, so I’ve gotten hooked on those too!  Bob Harper says to cut out the milk all together, or use nonfat milk or almond milk if you must.  Sorry Bob, that ain’t happening. (Can you tell I might have a love/hate relationship with him over the next 20 days?)  I subbed the creamer for non-fat 1/2 and 1/2 with a tiny drizzle of Agave.  Yum! I can actually taste the coffee instead of just sugar.  This is going to work out fine. I know the non-fat 1/2 &1/2 has weird chemicals in it that I probably shouldn’t drink, but it has way less sugar and calories than the other stuff.

The only other drink other than water that I sometimes indulge in is diet soda.  These are a no go, which is fine, because they really make me feel weird and then I get addicted to them, quickly!  So, just water and unsweetened iced tea from now on.  BTW, did you know that at Starbucks, even if you get your tea “unsweetened”, it still has sugar?  A venti has like 120 calories!  Annoying.  Stick to hot tea if you are there, or go to coffee bean where they actually  make real iced tea and don’t add sugar.

I was way better with the water with every meal today, too! I drank a ton of water 🙂  I can foresee problems with this when I’m at a school working, because I don’t usually get any breaks except my lunch break.  Better learn to hold it!

My eating was good today too.  Nonfat greek yogurt with berries and whole wheat toast for breakfast, Barley, shredded chicken, seaweed salad with avocado and home made tahini sauce for lunch, apple, cucumbers and hummus and a hardboiled egg for snack.  Dinner was 4 turkey meatballs with a bunch of cauliflower and more tahini sauce.  Ok, when I type it all out like that it looks like a lot.  But I feel good about it! Not all full and gross like usual.  Had a few cravings for crappy food when driving by all the restaurants on the way home, but no biggie.  I got this!

Tomorrow: Eat lots of protein with every meal!

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Skinny Rules Challenge: Day 1, Rule 1

Water Bottle in the Airport

Water Bottle in the Airport (Photo credit: Leo Newball, Jr.)

I am currently starting a 20 day challenge to follow Bob Harper’s “Skinny Rules”, one rule at a time.  Today is the first day, and I’m glad the rule was fairly easy.

Rule #1: Drink a large glass of water before every meal.

Well, I thought it was easy! I was home today and drank a ton of water.  However, when it came to meal time, I would get so excited and just start eating.  Every time, a few bites in, I would say “oh no my rule!” and run to get a huge glass of water.  I ended up drinking the water with my meal, which I think is ok.  The point is to stay hydrated, and fill yourself up before the meal so you don’t overeat.

Also, I went shopping for healthy foods and prepped a ton of healthy proteins!  I crock potted some chicken breasts to chunk and eat this week with veggies, salad, sandwiches etc.  I made a double batch of turkey meatballs to eat for dinner and throughout the week.  I also made my own hummus (amazing!) with only a tiny bit of olive oil so it’s healthier than the store bought kind (and cheaper–the ingredients are literally 1 can of garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil and  a little tahini! probably cost me like 2 bucks :)) I also boiled a batch of eggs for high protein snacks.  Last but not least, I made some barley for the first time.  It’s actually really good!  It’s kind of sweet by itself, but was great with the meatballs and sautéed squash.  Whew!  It actually didn’t take too much work to make all of that, and I won’t have time or energy to cook all week.  So, now I’m set to eat healthy for a while! I think the major challenge will be the weeks after I have school.  (I have school all weekend every other weekend, making the week after really hard because I have no personal time for laundry, cooking, resting, etc).

Overall I think I did well today with my rule.  I forgot to drink the water BEFORE my meals, but I think the more I do it the more it will become a habit.  I drank a TON of water today, either way.  I also bought one of those brita water bottles so I can always have filtered water when I’m on the go!

Tomorrow: Rule # 2, Don’t drink your calories!  Yikes, no coffee creamer 😦

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California Caprese

A nice light lunch for two.  You could also serve it as an appetizer or with grilled chicken!  The perfect summer meal, because there is literally NO cooking involved.  The ingredients are the key here, so use fresh, ripe tomatoes and avocado.  Get the fresh mozzarella (the soft one) from the fancy cheese section.  You could also use Burrata for an extra fancy twist!

California Caprese


  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 Hass Avocado
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Slice the tomatoes, cheese and avocado.  Arrange all pretty on a plate, alternating tomato, cheese and avocado.  Sprinkle fresh torn basil leaves on top, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.  Sprinkle with just a little salt and fresh ground pepper and enjoy!

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Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules: Review and Challenge!

I recently bought Bob Harper’s “The Skinny Rules” book.  My eating has gotten kind of out of control, especially after this week long vacation ending in San Francisco!  Honestly, when given the chance I eat fairly healthy.  I definitely need to work on my portion control.  The hardest thing for me is eating out.  Who wants to order the grilled chicken salad every time?

I didn’t want to go on a “diet”, seeing how they never work and I just feel deprived and don’t ever stick to them.  Instead, I want to learn how to eat healthier in an easy, natural way.  Some people can control every little thing they put in their body with an obsessive attention to detail.  I’m more of a “eat when I’m hungry and be damned the consequences” kind of girl.  However, telling myself to “eat more whole grains and vegetables” hasn’t really resulted in a measurable change in the past.

I researched several diet books, but the one that stood out to me was Bob Harper’s “Skinny Rules”.  Not necessarily because he’s famous and on the Biggest Loser (but if he can get them to lose weight, he must be good!), but because it seems easy to understand and use.  It consists of 20 rules to follow to achieve healthier eating habits.  I like it because  these rules are concrete, measurable, and easy for me to understand. It’s pretty much a task analysis to healthy living!  Which is perfect for me, because I can make a checklist and basically take data on whether I’m following the rules.

Some of the rules are super easy and common sense.  The first one is “drink a ton of water, at least one big glass before every meal”.  Some are going to be harder for me to follow, like cutting out refined grains (bread! rice! pasta!) and not eating carbs after lunch.  He goes into detail about why these rules are important for maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar level (important for those who have family history of diabetes).  I like how he explains the rules and uses data to back his claims.  However, he doesn’t go into too much detail with some of the rules and how to follow them exactly.  Like when he says “only eat whole grains”, I am so nutritionally challenged that I would like a list of exactly which grains I can eat, how to cook them, and what a portion size is.

After explaining all 20 rules, he gives tips on how to follow them and 4 weeks worth of recipes and diet plans for men and women.  I don’t know how helpful the menu plan will be for me, as I eat lunch on the go or in my car a lot (don’t worry, I always pack it) and a lot of his lunch recipes involve cooking and prep time I just don’t have.

Overall I think the book is helpful for people like me who want to eat healthy, but need someone to outline how, exactly to go about that.  If you already maintain a healthy diet, I think this book is probably pretty basic for you.  But for me, it’s perfect.  Somewhere to start, some rules to follow.  Something to help me take control of my eating!

Which brings me to my challenge.  I decided that trying to do all 20 rules all at once might be a drastic change that I wouldn’t be able to sustain, and would end up just like any diet.  I am challenging myself to follow 1 rule a day, adding as I go.  (First day, rule 1, second day rule 1 & 2, etc.)  By the end of the 20 days, I should be eating healthier and feeling more in control!  Plus, it will help me feel successful by achieving a new goal each day while maintaining the old ones.  By the end of the 20 days, I will be well on my way to forming a healthy eating habit!  Stay posted to see how it goes.  Honestly, this week is about to get super crazy (12 hour work days plus school just started so lots of homework! and tests! and starting my thesis!), so I might not be able to post every day.  But I will try!  I’ll let you know what I think as I go!

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