Friday, January 6, 2012

Dan's SMART Weight Loss Plan, A little Fitness Motivation, AND a Fabulous Chicken Recipe

My Fabulous Slow Roasted Chicken Recipe

Before I begin tonight, will you allow me a little boasting?  County Woman magazine awarded me the Grand Prize for my steak recipe.  Check out the March 2012 issue, pages 34-40 for the details!

Dan weighed in this morning.  He has been out of town on business and he is just getting back.  It was more practical for him to start his plan this weekend, although he's already started the exercise routines.  While Dan prefers not to put his actual weight online (I can understand that totally - this isn't "The Biggest Loser"), he did set practical weight loss goals for the first 30 days.

Dan set a realistic goal of losing 10-15 pounds per month. 

By -
  • Exercising at least 3 - 4 days a week
  • Making healthier choices when he eats out (brown rice instead of white rice); no fast food
  • Sticking to the guidelines of balanced cooking that I try to promote in this blog, even when he's on the road
  • Eating much less candy and sugar (and trying to avoid it during the day so he doesn't get blood sugar spikes)
  • Altering his coffee routine; in the morning, at home, he has one cup of coffee and uses sugar.  But if he has an extra cup or two at work, he will opt for decaf and try to eliminate the sugar in favor of a sugar substitute or no sweeter at all.  Caffeine does stimulate the appetite.
I think Dan has definitely laid out SMART goals for his weight loss program.  These are not so extreme that he will fall off the wagon.  He's learning to practice "moderation" with the sugar. Some weight loss programs work, but once you go off of them, you gain all the weight back and more because you never learned to eat healthy.  He's definitely learning more about food choices and healthy eating.  He's not only striving to change his weight, but the way he thinks about food and exercise.

Now... we all love Dan!!!  Let's all cheer Dan on in his quest to become healthier. 

I am very proud of him and so are his family and his friends.  I think it's very brave that he agreed to report progress on the blog.  He might have setbacks, but lets encourage him during those times as well.

Of course, before you start any diet or exercise program, consult with your physician.



Having a blast on a Carnival Cruise,
this is what Dan and I looked like in 2009;
BEFORE  I began a healthy eating
and regular exercise program.



This is me and Dan in Napa in 2011. 
I have been exercising and eating right for 3 years.

News flash:  Slow and steady wins the weight race!
I'm 15 pounds thinner today than I was in this pic!
Just fit back into my old jeans!

A final note on eating healthy and fitness before I get into tonight's recipe:  Social networking is a great thing.  I am not knocking it.  It's helped me to reconnect with family and to meet new friends.   It has helped bloggers like me with little time or money to invest in our blogs to reach people all over the world.  You know how grateful I am for all of the people who frequent this blog and encourage me to keep on with my cookbook. 

Life is about more than "liking" someone's post.  I especially worry about young people today.  When I was a kid, we used to be able to run around and play outside without our parents having to worry about us so much.  Today it's a much more dangerous world.  Young people spend way too much time online.  Online doesn't represent the "real" world.  It's a virtual world.  Yes, it's great for promoting yourself, but it does so in a shallow and less personal way.  People say things - rude things - online that they would likely never say to someone's face.  When we interact online too often and then we a faced with a real life situation, we often don't know what to do or what to say.  This can cause real problems both professionally and in personal relationships.

Not to mention that sitting on your butt all day can really cause you to "pack on the pounds."

Even for middle age and older adults, if you live in New York City and you walk two miles to work and back each day, maybe all you need to stay fit is a little time on the treadmill and lifting as few weights at the gym.  If you're a mom and running around after small children all day, maybe you get more exercise than you want.  For many of us who don't live in a major city or who don't have small children to keep us active, we might spend time in the car driving to work only to sit at a desk job.  Like me, you might work remotely at a computer all day.  Then my side jobs are blogging and screenwriting, so I sit at the computer even more. 

Or maybe you are a road warrior.  I used to be a road warrior.  You don't eat right when you're on the road.  If you work late hours, you end up eating too much fast food or at sports bars, because that's the only thing open at 11pm.   Again, everything in moderation, but if hot wings and burgers are the staple of your diet, you might be gaining a lot of weight. 

Many road warriors don't often exercise as they should.  You might fight for time on the one treadmill at your hotel.  Heck, the extent of my upper body workouts when I was traveling used to be lifting my carry on into the overhead.

Depending on our personal situation, we have to figure out what will work for us.    I can't say it enough; it should be between you and your doctor.

I have lost a lot of weight over the last 18 months - slow and steady.  I still have more to go.  Even since my trip to California in October, I've lost additional weight.  I'm am proud to report that I am back in my old jeans!  ;.)

40 for 4 works for me; that is working out with intense, break-a-sweat, fitness DVD'sMichaels, Gunner Peterson, and Billy Blanks.  I also have routines where I can work out on the ball, with Resistance bands, and with a toning ball.  I mix it up to keep it interesting.  But my favorite is Chalene Johnson and "Turbo Jam!"  Chalene motivated me to get started.  If you like kickboxing and Dance, you'll love her fitness programs.  Chelene' has excellent ab and body sculpting exercises, too.   Check it out.

On a fifth day during the week, I try to do something fun like swimming in the summer or walking, but if  I have heavy cleaning or heavy yard work to do, that can count as the fifth day because I'm moving.  That's really the key.  Get out there. 

Play tennis or golf.   Take your dog for a walk on the community exercise trail. Go for a hike  or a bike ride with some old friends you haven't seen in a while.  Spend some time with people you can actually see and talk to in PERSON.  Get some fresh air in the process.   

If you live in an active adult community or a condo or apartment complex, many have community pools.  In the spring and summer, most communities have aqua jogging or water aerobics classes.  Zumba classes are also a great way to exercise, have fun, and meet people.  I have a friend who is a Zumba instructor and Dan's Aunt swears by it.

Fitness is more than just about how you look or feel on the outside, it's also about a mental state.  When we spend too much time worrying about shallow things like who dropped us a "friend" on Facebook, or who posted the picture of the coolest car, and not enough time interacting in the real world, we lose a lot of ourselves and the joy of life in the process. 

Food for thought...

Now, here's a healthy roast chicken recipe to help Dan with his goals.





Fabulous Slow Roasted Chicken
with Orange Sauce

Roasting a chicken is so economical.  I purchased an almost five pound roaster for 97 cents a pound.  The great thing about roasting a chicken is the leftover.  You can make several meals out of the same chicken.

My slow chicken is so juicy.  It is fall off the bone good!!!

There is no flour in the sauce. 

The roasting process seals in the fresh herb flavors.  It makes the whole house smell incredible.

1 - 5 ounce roasting Chicken
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 Orange
2 Dried Bay Leaves
10 Thyme Sprigs
10 Fresh Sage Leaves
1/4 cup cold Water

For the Sauce:

Pan Chicken Pan Drippings, skimmed of fat
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Cold Water
1/2 Orange, squeezed
Pinch of Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Rub chicken with oil and salt and pepper, including in the cavity.   Insert half of an orange and herbs.

Place on rack in baking dish.  Add water and bake for one hour, covered.

Remove cover.  Baste chicken with juices.

Bake for one hour and 30 minutes.

.Increase heat to 400 degrees. 

Continue to bake chicken for 15 minutes until skin is crispy.

Remove from heat and let rest before slicing.

For the Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan.  Bring to boil and reduce to a medium simmer, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve over chicken. 

Enjoy.  See you soon!


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