Monday, October 20, 2008

Habit-A-Week Challenge, Week 3: Eat A Veggie

Last week was a good week for me. By focusing on drinking my water and moving more, I gave myself just enough momentum in the right direction to start making weight loss progress again. A nice side effect of those habits, for me, is better eating. I didn't eat junk and I started feeling better. And better about myself. Successful. And when I started feeling successful, I started succeeding. How about you?

In the last 7 days I have lost 5 pounds. That tells me I am doing something right!

It's not too late to join the Habit-A-Week Challenge. You can start anytime (or RE-start, if you've faltered) and the habits are just as effective. You don't have to do them in any certain order. JUST DO SOMETHING. Now. Don't wait, because tomorrow never comes. You can sit there on the sofa eating cookies and chips for the next decade waiting for the right day or the right time or the right feeling to hit you to start. Or you can change your life now.

The healthy habit this week is: eat a veggie. Notice, I didn't say veggieS, because you have to start where you are. I remember a time in my life not so long ago, when I would literally go for WEEKS and the only vegetable that got near my lips would be the shredded lettuce on a Big Mac and the fries alongside it. Oh and the ketchup. That's a veggie, right? Anyway, I KNOW that there are some people who haven't had a real vegetable in days/weeks/months, maybe out of habit or maybe because they think they "hate vegetables." Hey, I used to think I hated vegetables too. As recent as last month I was scowling and pouting at the vegetables and letting them rot in my fridge. But in reality, when I get off the junk, I really love veggies! You can learn to love them too. At least some of them.

So actually this week your challenge is to increase your veggie intake. (If you already eat a ton of veggies, read on! There is still a challenge for you!) If you currently eat no vegetables, your goal might be to eat one vegetable serving at lunch and one at dinner. That's a good start! That would be a success. If you already do that, try adding one at breakfast. My breakfast this morning was an Egg Beater omelet filled with onions, mushrooms, a bit of bacon, and 3 CUPS of baby spinach (it wilts down to nothing when it cooks). I also LOVE to eat eggs and summer squash. I scramble them with either thinly sliced yellow (crookneck) squash, or grated zucchini. Add a bit of salt and pepper and YUM. Excellent veggie breakfast! Or you can do tomatoes or salsa in your omelet or with your eggs. If you already eat a veggie with every meal, you can add more! Here is a Servings Calculator that gives you an idea of how many vegetables you should eat in a day, based on age, sex and activity level and giving a caloric guide as well. For me, it says I need 2.5 cups of veggies per day. However it also has a link to show you "what counts as a cup" because a cup of lettuce and a cup of cooked peas are not created equal. Browse the site for recipes and ideas if you like. The Food Pyramid and many dietitians recommend a minimum of 5 servings a day of vegetables, so I make that my goal. It's easier than you think, since a half cup of some veggies is one serving.

If you think you hate vegetables, try some new things or new ways of cooking them. Maybe you only like raw veggies like salads, red pepper strips, baby carrots, raw broccoli. That's perfectly fine. If you hate those, try cooked vegetables, If you've only ever had canned vegetables, no wonder you hate them. Fresh is a whole new taste! Hit your local farmer's market or produce stand and get some acorn squash, leeks, or bok choy. Look online for recipes that sound good to you. Keep trying until you find things you enjoy! There is nothing wrong with having some low fat cheese sauce on your broccoli if that makes it enjoyable to you. Or have peanut butter on your celery for a snack. In the springtime I always keep fresh steamed asparagus spears in the fridge for a nice cold snack (with salt!) Or try making some kale chips. Yummy stuff. Soups are another great way to get in those veggies. If you like chili or spaghetti, it's easy to fit veggies in by adding peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, even spinach to the sauce (which is tomato based... another healthy veggie!). You can puree the veggies into the sauce if you want to. I also love greens cooked with a bit of ham and onions. Great stuff! There are so many vegetables out there to try, and so many ways to cook them. Everyone can find something they enjoy.

If you already get 5+ servings of veggies every day, you can work the challenge by trying NEW vegetables this week. Hit the produce section or farmer's market and buy something you have never tried before. If you haven't had roasted Delicata squash you are missing out! (Recipe coming this week). And I never tried a leek until last year. Now they are a favorite! Just this weekend I bought some baby leeks and sauteed them in a spritz of olive oil and a half teaspoon of butter with asparagus (recipe here from last year) and it was oh-so-buttery, creamy good! Get out there and try a roasted fingerling red garnet yam or a daikon radish or some beet greens. You might really like it!

You don't have to be perfect to be a success. If all you do this week is go from eating NO veggies to eating ONE per day, you have done something good for yourself. It is worth it, and over time, it gets easier and yes you CAN lose the weight. Just don't give up!

17 comments:

Vickie said...

Roni on learning to like Veggies: "I feel like as you get older, you start to realize that you make decisions, on what you put in your body because they are good for you, not necessarily because you like them. And then what you discover is that you do kind of like them."

Roni quote is actually from an video blog entry here (copy and paste):
http://ronisweigh.com/2008/09/ask-roni-_v09s3-freshman-15-hate-vegetables-exercise-weight-gain-and-weekly-points.html

Vickie said...

And your posting immediately made me think of my all time favorite quote:
Briefly stated, the three laws are: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a net force. Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Laws of motion by Sir Issac Newton)

Lynne said...

LOVE Veggies - though I need to be better at prep - especially now that winter is here. I think I throw out more than I eat some weeks:(

Psyched about your weight loss! THIS IS GOOD NEWS! You must be feeling great!! Keep it up, and send some of those "losing vibes" my way!

Twix said...

Love veggies!! And I really enjoy this Habit Monday! I look forward to it! :D

~Crystal said...

5 lbs....congrats!!!!

Fab Kate said...

You know it's funny... I just went out this weekend and picked up some lovely summer squash. My freezer is filled with veggies right now... which makes me very happy when I get ready to make my meals :)

Pubsgal said...

Oh, I do love veggies. Well, except lima beans, but they're starchy ones, so no big loss.

I like chopping a bunch of veggies and simmering them in a soup. I also like making a big dinner salad with lots of veggies and chopped leftover grilled meat and a little cheese. Try adding chopped leeks to a mushroom and beef broth. If you enjoy sweet potatos or yams at Thanksgiving, buy fresh ones and bake them like a baked potato, then mash them up with a little butter and pumpkin pie seasoning.

People who don't like veggies might try looking up links online for how to sneak vegetables into kids' diets. Tips usually involve adding veggies to spaghetti sauce, as a puree if you really want to hide them well, or pureeing and putting them into baked goods.

(P.S. 5 down? Way to go, Lyn!!!)

Token Fat Girl said...

This is a really great idea and your advice is really great :)
I really love vegetables, but probably in ways that make them less healthful

new*me said...

I am already eating quite a few so I will challenge myself to try some new ones and try to incorporate them into more meals that I normally wouldn't.

5 lbs in a week.........AWESOME!

MizFit said...

I sucketh on the veggie eating...I do it but, except for broccoli, ALL because of the roni reason.

so YES I need this challengeprodding.

Lauren said...

so, right now I'm on a budget and when I get paid on Saturday I'll try and stock up on some veggies at the market. This week my veggie intake is going to be broccoli today, and mashed sweet potato and squash for the rest of the week.

Heather said...

congrats on your loss! SO happy for you. great advice about the veggies. I used to eat NONE. then I started eating about 3-4 a day and feel so great.

Ceres said...

THanks for the new challenge! I did pretty well last week, drank lots of water and did cardio 4 times! I'm still finding it a challenge to get my daily water, but I'm trying :-)

Vicki said...

I loooove veggies. I need to go to the veggie stand and get me some more.

Heather T said...

I have started eating more veggies as snacks. I get everything ready the night before for my work days. I make a salad with some veggies added in, then usually have baby carrots & green bell pepper slices with homemade light ranch for snacks throughout the day. This will be good as I am gonna 'spice' it up a bit and try some new & different things.

spunkysuzi said...

Great loss this week, congrats!!
I actually love veggies but i'll see if i can add some where i usually don't :)

Tyhada said...

Ready to start Week 3's challenge! I enjoy participating.