Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Key

I wish I could bottle the way I feel and send it out to all of you who are struggling. Of course, I'd have to save up several bottles for myself too, because I sure can get my brain in knots sometimes and eat crap and feel horrible. But I am more convinced than ever that the key to success is in the food. You can lose weight eating junk food or processed meals, but long term, for me, the key is and always has been PRODUCE.

The reason I lost 60+ pounds? Because in August 2007, I started going to the local Farmer's Market and buying vegetables and fruit. I don't mean a few items; I went nuts. I bought some of everything. I'd come home with the entire back of the car PACKED with produce... 15 different kinds. Extreme? Yes. But I'm not made of money, so that meant I had to actually *eat produce* at a very accelerated rate all week in order to avoid it spoiling and going to waste. When you are that focused on eating fruits and veggies, everything else falls into place. I didn't count calories, I didn't exercise. I just swamped myself with produce.

When winter came, I found a favorite grocery store with a nice produce section and started buying from there as if I were at the Farmer's Market. It worked, for awhile. Then I *forgot* and did other things. Now that I am back on track with the produce, everything else is, indeed, falling back into place. This week, the produce in my house has been:

zucchini, yellow summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, romaine, baby spinach, baby carrots, celery, jicama, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, rutabaga, canned pumpkin, green beans, sweet peas, strawberries, blueberries, a pear, watermelon, lemons, bananas, apples, Clementines, fresh pineapples, and red grapefruit.

That's in ONE WEEK. And you'll see that it isn't all sitting in the fridge rotting, either; it's showing up on my menus. I have eaten almost ALL of that produce in one week. What's left will be eaten within 2 more days. Do you think I have time to eat crap when I am busy eating so much produce?? Nope.

I feel so much better and more energetic this way. That, in turn, leads to more exercise. And all of this combines to create weight loss and better health. I've always said, if I had one tip for weight loss to offer, it would be: buy a TON of produce, and then eat it all.

Here's my menus from yesterday and today:


Breakfast: Chai tea with skim milk and agave nectar, fresh blueberries, oatmeal cooked with ground flax, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla, and 1 tsp brown sugar, topped with walnuts and real maple syrup and 2% milk, and a cup of green tea.

Snack: watermelon, blueberries, and Greek yogurt drizzled with honey

Lunch: (we went out to lunch) Grilled wild salmon on a huge bed of Romaine with cherry tomatoes, shredded Parmesan, about 4 croutons. I ordered the Caesar dressing on the side and dipped my fork in it for each bite. I used about 2 T. and drank unsweetened iced tea. Had one dill pickle spear from my kid's plate :)

Snack: tea with milk and agave nectar, and a sugar free jello with whipped cream

Dinner: 4 oz Rotisserie chicken (no skin), crispy fresh kale chips, and a huge helping of Cauliflower Gratin (yummy).

Total calories: 1541. I biked 30 minutes, strength trained 20 minutes, and walked outside for 10 minutes. Drank 9 glasses of water.


Breakfast: Chai tea with milk and agave, mini bagel with turkey and 1 oz light cream cheese, 2 strawberries, and fresh watermelon, with a cup of green tea.

Lunch: 4 oz Rotisserie chicken and a huge serving of leftover Cauliflower Gratin, and an Enviga green tea soda (sugar free).

Snack: watermelon, and half of a homemade Cheerio bar.

Dinner: one waffle made from reduced fat Bisquick, topped with thick, creamy whole milk Greek Yogurt and about 1 1/4 cups of fresh blueberries + strawberries, topped with whipped cream and 1 T lite maple syrup (this was so fantastic and gorgeous it makes me wonder why I EVER ate junk). Also had one slice of crisp bacon and a Clementine.

Snack for later: kale chips.

Total calories today: 1288. I may have tea with a splash of milk and agave later as well. I drank 9 glasses of water, biked 30 minutes, walked about 30 minutes, and raked leaves for 10 minutes.

Feeling great. Thanks to the produce! Oh, and as promised, here's the roasted rutabaga recipe.

Tomorrow is my day off from biking and lifting. I succeeded in biking 6 days this week and strength training 3 days. I am thrilled. I'll still take a walk tomorrow if I can. Be well!


Lindsay said...

Way to go Lyn!

MackAttack said...

What a great accomplishment! We just found an amazing store with the cheapest produce. Today we got 8 grapefruit for $1. It's totally possible to eat well for cheap! I'm excited for my grapefruit breakfasts all week!

It's so inspiring to hear your positive feelings about your journey. It helps me on mine! Thanks!

Sarah said...

Lyn!!! We all have ups and downs.. it's what we do in those down moments that are key. You struggled through and came out the other side (again). I'm wishing you a week filled with yummy vegetables and a loss!

moonduster said...

Way to go! WQe are out of produce right now with no money to shop until tomorrow. I've missed eating veggies.

Jim Purdy said...

You said: "This week, the produce in my house has been: zucchini, yellow summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, romaine, baby spinach, baby carrots, celery, jicama, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, rutabaga, canned pumpkin, green beans, sweet peas, strawberries, blueberries, a pear, watermelon, lemons, bananas, apples, Clementines, fresh pineapples, and red grapefruit."

Wow! That should really "produce" some good results! Best wishes.

Super Squared said...

Wow, I have to say, I found your blog yesterday and I'm definitely coming back for inspiration and great recipes! I've been struggling to get back on track, but seeing the pictures you have posted and reading your posts have definitely inspired me.

As for the whole produce thing... I noticed this myself the other day. I made lunch and had several small piles of things I love; sliced tomatoes, a few green olives, some baby carrots, etc along with my low fat chicken sandwich and it was so much more satisfying than a handful of baked chips or something. Definitely a strategy I'm going to employ more often.

spunkysuzi said...

Yes i do agree that the best way to increase your healthy eating is to increase your produce eating!! I have definitely upped my veggies and i'm going to the try that cauliflower gratin this week :) I'm always on the look out for different ways to prepare veggies!

Me, Only Better said...

You rock! I am so glad to see you back on track and feeling so good!

Foodie McBody said...

omg I just shrieked reading your post because I LOVE that Kalyn's cauliflower gratin, and I JUST discovered Kale Chips (I bought them at Whole Foods) - SO SO delicious. I agree about the produce. Last night I roasted about 10 lbs of vegetables for a potluck dinner and they disappeared in a flash.

TinaMiller said...

I couldnt agree with you more, since I have started on this journey myself, I have never eaten so much produce! Thanks for sharing and continued success!

HopeFool said...

Good to hear you are SO ON TRACK!

Ria said...

Great post - this line made me laugh out loud, and it is so true . . . "Do you think I have time to eat crap when I am busy eating so much produce?? Nope."

I love Kalyn's Kitchen also, but I haven't tried her cauliflower gratin . . . it's on my list now!

VeeGettingHealthy said...

That's why I love gardening... if I want zucchini for a snack, I go pick one. If I want a handful of string beans, go out and pick them. Fresh and odd heirloom tomatoes constantly. Our watermelons last Summer were amazing. Our favorite is the multi-colored carrots!

Just can't afford to get the produce right now - it's not local which I don't trust. Vee at

debby said...

I completely agree with you, Lyn. I did the same thing with produce when I first started four years ago, and really, I have never been without a lot of produce ever since. I might sometimes eat a little more fruit than 'recommended,' but I figure its so much better than what I used to fill up on (candy and cookies.)

Anyways, thanks for the reminder. I am going to have a vegetarian dinner tonight because of your post!

Sherre said...

Thanks for this tip. Unfortunately, I'm just not that crazy about produce (never have been). But I have gotten hooked on your brussel sprout recipe of a few weeks ago and I'm definitely going to try this rutabaga recipe (if I can find some in the grocery store since I don't know what I'm looking for). I know it all will benefit my efforts!

May said...

Dang girl!

Lyn said...


I gotta tell ya, I was never a fan of produce either. I probably ate about 3 vegetables in ten years. I have always preferred carbs and sugary stuff, breads, that kind of thing. But it's funny how you develop a taste for produce if you keep eating it. Like the Brussels sprouts... you can roast green beans too and they are amazing (this coming from someone who always hated green beans!) Just add them in whenever you can :)

bbubblyb said...

Every time you write about veggies I want to run out and buy some and cook it lol. But the reality for me never seems to work that way because then I never seem to get the stuff cooked, no one else wants to eat it (sometimes including me) and it ends up going bad. Now when it comes to fruit I can go to town but veggies just don't seem to do it for me. Wish I liked them better. I need to work on it. Thanks for making veggies seems so sexy lol.

Twix said...

I'm a check out watcher. I admit. I watch what folks are buying. I'm always amazed at how much processed foods some people actually do buy. I watch what foods they have chosen and I watch what they look like. It is interesting some of the things you discover. And I also watch the check out persons reaction to checking out stuff. Tell me do you ever get the reaction of shock when you go through with that much produce? I do and I find it amusing! :D Good for you riding the bike 6 days in a row! SUPER HIGH FIVE!!!!!

antgirl said...

The produce department and farmers markets are my friends. :)

I eat at least 3 different fruits and 4 different veggies a day. It's colorful and tasty.

Glad you've got it on this week.

Hanlie said...

Oh I'm a believer all right! I aim to make fruit and veggies about 75% or more of my daily calorie intake (not that I'm counting calories, but I eat a lot of produce!)

Great post!

Karen in Tennessee said...

I think you are absolutely on to something. Not only are you filling your stomach with produce but you are nourishing your body with all kinds of vitamins. I believe that one reason I overeat so much when I am binging on junk food is because although I am getting tons of calories, I am getting ZERO nutrition so my body is still screaming "FEED ME!!!!" As always, Lyn, your ability to get to the bottom of things is astounding!!!! Thanks for sharing your insights!!!

Anonymous said...

This is what I do as well. Fortunately it's just me, and I have to fit everything in the panniers of my bicycle. But that's two huge bags of produce, plus a backpack. By the time I eat all this produce, there's not much room for cheese and bread, etc.