You stopped growing up (height), now stop growing out (weight)

I use to be able to eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce.” I’ve heard this phrase a million times from clients frustrated with what they consider age-related weight gain.

It’s maddening to go from a slender teen with a lightening-speed metabolism to a pudgy adult, while maintaining the same diet and lifestyle.

Why does this happen?

Part of it is metabolism, which correlates with muscle mass. (Read about that here.) The other part is that you need to relearn how to eat.

Allow me to explain.

When we originally learn to eat, as children, we are growing up.. as in height, and we need more calories to utilize as building materials. Imagine building a skyscraper (or, if you’re short like me, a ranch-style house). You need materials galore to keep stacking story upon story; however, once the structure is there, you don’t need anymore beams, and you can only fit so much furniture.

Your body is the same as a building. Once the initial structure is complete, you don’t need to keep supplying the same amount of materials, or, in the case of your body, calories.

Once you’re done growing up, the same amount of calories will only serve to grow you out. Make sense?

Most of us stop getting taller around the end of puberty. I haven’t grown an inch since I was 12 (cue tiny violin).

What should you cut out of your diet? Clutter. Just as you don’t want to junk up a nice home, you also don’t want to junk up your body. You’re a grown up now, and you should select a few really nice pieces, foregoing the stuff that just takes up space.

Refine your diet, sticking to whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheeses, etc.. Get rid of empty calories that only take up space on your plate. If you need more guidance, seek out a nutritionist to get you on the right track.

Expand your nutritional knowledge, and you’ll stop expanding your waistline.

5 Meals to get you back into your pre-holiday jeans

Over the past week, we’ve spent a lot of time cooking, and even more time eating.

What’s more?  It’s only the beginning of our holiday season eating extravaganza that ends with New Year’s resolutions meant to undo the damage.

That rattling in your closet is all of your buttons shaking in fear of what you intend to consume over the next month. 

I’m not going to ask you not to eat at parties or enjoy the many holiday treats that will surely show up at your home or office this season. Instead, I’m going to suggest some meal options for the days in-between the butter, cream cheese, sugar, mayonnaise, icing, eggnog-laden gatherings.

Below are five meals you can feel good about. Not only are these dinner ideas healthy and tasty, they are also easy. You’ve already slaved over a turkey. Now you’re off the hook for the rest of the year.

After the holidays, I will absolutely help you get back in shape even if you break every rule in my book; but, success will come sooner and easier if we can temper the damage on the front-end.

What’s for dinner?

1) Meatloaf (using oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs) with cauliflower mash instead of taters

For the meatloaf, use 1 lb of lean ground meat, 2/3 cup of oatmeal, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, 1 drained can of diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp of worcestershire and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Mix and bake at 350 for 40 mins, top with Heinz 57 and bake for an additional 10 mins.

For the cauliflower mash, steam or boil fresh or frozen cauliflower until tender, then process with your favorite mashed potato ingredients.

2) Lentil sauce over quinoa

Cook 1/2 lb of sausage or ground meat in a pot with 1 tsp of olive oil. Once the meat cooks, add 1 can of lentil soup and 1 can of Rotel. Heat through so some of the liquid evaporates, and serve over quinoa.

3) Taco salad

Cook ground meat with 1 tsp each of the following: chili powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic salt, cumin and red pepper. Add 1/2 cup of diced onion and cook until translucent. Serve over torn up lettuce and top with grated cheddar, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, a dollop of plain yogurt (greek is best because the flavor mimics sour cream) and a sprinkle of crushed tortilla chips.

4) Steak and salad with blue cheese dressing

Marinate steak in 2 Tbsp worcestershire, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp of orange or apple juice and 2 tsp pepper for at least 30 mins. Grill to desired doneness, and serve with romaine, diced red onion and a dressing made of the following: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of yogurt, 2 tsp chopped onion, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, splash of red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp of blue cheese – process till smooth and salt & pepper to taste.

5) Roasted chicken and veggies

Heat oven to 400F. Mix juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp freshly chopped herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary or sage will work) and 1 tsp minced garlic. Baste chicken breasts, and use the rest to toss with vegetables of choice (broccoli, carrots, onion, fennel, sweet potato chunks, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.). Bake chicken and vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until done.