Snooze and lose? Not necessarily.

FED UP. is expanding, and I am proud to publish the first official post from a FED UP. reader – my dad…the one and only Mark “Marquis” Laurrie! I wanted to make this blog a forum for people to share their thoughts, success stories, struggles, and tips, so I asked my dad to write something he felt was important to know about living a healthy life. My dad is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to healthy living. He has always struggled with his weight and has tried, succeeded, and failed at many different approaches to getting fit. That is, until a few years ago when he decided to make a radical and necessary change in his life for good. He lost over 80 pounds, adopted a workout regimen, and has never wavered from his new lifestyle. I couldn’t be more proud of him, and I’m thrilled to share his first FED UP. post with you!


 

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The least known and probably most overlooked pillar of healthy living is actually the simplest to comprehend and one of the most fundamental aspects of life. It is frequently not even connected to physical well-being and sometimes elicits negative connotations.

Sleep and rest, however, are absolutely imperative to healthy living and need to be as planned and scheduled as your daily diet and exercise regimen. How many times have I said, ” I can’t take the day off; I will gain back all 82 pounds!” or, “I slept in and now I see fat rolls developing as I look in this mirror!” I just say, “Go! Go! Go! or its back to 282 gross pounds.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Living a healthy life isn’t solely about constantly being on the go; it’s about learning how to take care of your body – physically and mentally.

When you sleep and rest, there is less time to eat, opportunities for restored mental and physical energy, increased muscle recovery and – most importantly  – an eagerness to a attack your next workout with renewed vigor.  Slowing down mentally and physically in a planned and thoughtful manner by accepting the fact that life has to take its course is actually a learned skill. A day of rest and consistent nights of uninterrupted sleep should never result in a weight gain. That is tough for some of us to grasp, as ridiculous as that was to actually write. Why is it so difficult for so many of us? Probably because we want to be the best at everything we do.

Remember, the journey toward healthy living is preparation for a long and happy life. A day off, quiet time, and rest restores your body and often gives you the mental peace of mind that your body craves just as much as that extra scoop of whey protein or those intervals on the StairMaster. You just need to program your brain and alter your mindset in order to be effective, though.

Good nutrition and a well-planned fitness routine need the support of sleep and rest.  There is nothing wrong with sleep; no, it will not make you fat and it most certainly does not mean that you are lazy. All of the time and energy it takes to prepare meals and work out will be much better spent if you are rested and rejuvenated every morning. So, hit snooze a few times if you need to. Then, wake up and be the best.

-Mark 

Grocery games…1, 2, 3, shop!

Some people like to scour garage sales and antique shops in search of hidden treasures. Others like to click around online to find fast deals on fashion. Me? Well, I like to go to the grocery store and comb the aisles for those guilt-free, multi-purpose foods hiding on the shelves. When I go grocery shopping, it’s a rush of excitement. (Is that pitiful?) I always try to leave the store with a new product that I can incorporate into my daily diet. Since so many awesome FED UP. readers have responded positively to a blog I wrote a few weeks ago on Chobani pumpkin-spiced Greek yogurt, I promise to make promoting some of my favorite products a weekly part of my blog. Here is just a sampling of a few “can’t-live-without-em” food finds:


 Bolthouse Farms dressings

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All of these dressings are divine. Extremely low in fat, Bolthouse Farms dressings are unlike many other salad dressings that make the nutritional intake of salads look more like that of cheeseburgers. The majority of the BF dressings are yogurt-based; some of the olive-oil based dressings (balsamic vinegar is yum) might be low in fat, but their carb count is just a bit higher than normal, so watch for that. Every dressing packs quite a flavor punch, so I imagine they can be used to spice up more than just salad. How about the chunky blue cheese dressing with a 95-5 burger? Or maybe some classic ranch dressing as a dip with your favorite veggie? The possibilities are endless. The variety of flavors (Caesar parmesan is my favorite) Bolthouse offers will help you fulfill any craving.

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Weight Watchers bread 

I’m afraid of carbohydrates, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. But two pieces of Weight Watchers bread has a measly 16 carbs! I love making a delish turkey sandwich for lunch with a side of pickles and slices of Cabot cheese (more on that in a later post). It’s the lowest-carb bread I have ever found, and it’s absolutely everything good in this world. I never liked eating wheat bread because it was, well, wheat bread. But this bread is light and fluffy and makes you wonder why you would waste carbs eating any other brand. Weight Watchers products are usually pretty macro-friendly, and there are a bunch of other great ones out there – bagels, muffins, etc. – that might be worth a try as well.

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Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Caramel 

Words will never adequately express how much Pure Protein has changed my life. It took me a while to find a product that didn’t taste like chocolate-covered sand or a rock hard mess of disgusting flavors (sorry, Quest bars!), but I finally stumbled up this beacon of protein perfection. I consider myself a Pure Protein connousier, as I’ve tried just about every variety available. Chocolate peanut caramel has to be my favorite, though. Heat it up in the microwave for ten seconds and you’ll have an ooey gooey treat that tastes just like a Snickers candy bar. I find that this product always fulfills my sweet tooth and leaves me satisfied after dinner.


Let me know what you think of these grocery store gems, which, by the way, are available almost everywhere for reasonable prices. I’m always interested to see how people use them, and if there are even healthier alternatives that might be worth a try. Until then, stay healthy, my friends!

Say “cheese,” or just eat it?

“When I look at my old pictures, all I can see is what I used to be but am no longer. I think: What I can see is what I am not.”   -Aleksander Hemon


I usually get excited to see that blaring red pop-up on Facebook indicating a notification – a comment, a like, a tag, a post; endless possibilities. As long as it’s not an invitation from a high school acquaintance begging me for a life in Candy Crush, I’m pretty happy to get some attention. But the day I got the notification for a picture I took at a party with my fabulous friends rocked me to my hearty core. It’s one of the main reasons behind my motivation to make a serious change in my life. If you’ve ever had a mental awakening, you can attest to the fact that there’s always an “aha!” moment. This picture was mine. I mean, it was less “aha” and more “ugh that’s offensive and disgusting,” but you get my point.

It came as a shock, too, because although I always knew I was big, I never really thought I was that big. I would look at people and privately measure my own appearance against theirs – “Oh, I am definitely smaller than them,” or, “Whoa. I never want to get to that level.” What an asshole.

Picture taking had become an art. My inner monologue went something like this: “Don’t forget to tilt your head slightly down and stick out your face as far as you can without reaching #ostrichstatus. Press your tongue to the top of your mouth to stretch out that blubbering double chin! Suck it in! SUCK. IT. IN. Come on, Matthew, do it right…definitely should have worn black. Angle your body so that the light will catch it right. Does this look unnatural? Maybe. It’s better than looking massive, though. Oh shit, I forgot to smile.” It was intense.

If all else failed, I’d just stand awkwardly behind someone to hide my body from the all-to-frank flash of the camera. Taking pictures was a lot of work. It was stressful, it was embarrassing, and I never liked the outcome no matter how hard I tried. At least I could manipulate the camera and the angles/lighting when taking selfies (I can’t believe I just admitted that) or using Snapchat. In social settings, I was at the mercy of the camera.

I never liked to say “cheese!” but I sure did like to eat a lot of it.

How amazing and natural it must feel to pose for a picture, smile, and move on! That was never an option for me. That is, until I saw this picture.

I often look at it and wonder how I even saw out of my eyes. I was so bloated. I remember how gross I felt in the morning when every single piece of clothing I owned felt tight. My pores seemed to ooze grease and my skin was stretching against my weight. What a complete mess. It was not fun to feel like a stranger in my own body. Who was I, and how had I let myself get this bad? I was in total denial.

The worst part about this whole problem was that I actually felt bad for myself. I pitied myself (which resulted in rewarding myself with food). I get so angry thinking about how reluctant I was to make a change even when I had photo evidence of my overwhelming need to do so.

This picture saved me. It is the heaviest I have ever been and also the most unhealthy. Pictures really do reveal your true self. If you want to know what you need to work on, take a picture of yourself and work toward correcting it. Although the initial result may shock you, the end result will astound you.

Here’s a my “aha” picture, along with a quick before and after. P.S. I promise I don’t have stock in shirts of this ugly blue color – just unlucky, I guess. What can I say?

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Hungry for change? Me too.

Last night, I watched a fantastic, inspiring documentary on Netflix called Hungry for Change. The doc features experts in the field of weight loss and nutrition and also shares the stories of individuals who have struggled and succeeded living healthier lifestyles. While I’m often skeptical about putting too much stock in one source, especially those that have their own interests to promote, Hungry for Change offered up some interesting nuggets of wisdom and points to chew on. 

The documentary, which lasted about an hour and half, prompted me think about some of the food choices I make in my own life. I often feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available on the topic of healthy living, so this documentary provided me with some pieces of information to follow up on – one of which was the benefits of juicing, and, equally as interesting to me was the positive impact of chia seeds on weight loss. And while experts in the documentary rant on about the harmful nature of diet drinks (bad, bad aspartame!), I’m having a hard time ending my long-term relationship with diet Pepsi. Now our relationship status is more like, “it’s complicated,” but I know I’ll never truly be able to let it go.

The documentary explains and analyzes some of the deceptive strategies companies have developed to ensure consumers keep coming back for more. Hungry for Change spills the beans on some of the worst-kept secrets of the food industry. See what I did there?

The pervasive (and most poignant) theme of the documentary involved redefining how we, as consumers, understand our relationship with food. Instead of adopting the mindset of, “I want that and can’t have it,” we need to view healthy living through the lens of the true paradigm: “I can have it but I don’t want it.” Dieting doesn’t exist, so shifting our thinking is what leads to the success of healthy lifestyles. It’s not about depriving oneself, but rather, about learning how to redefine the way we view eating. After all, food matters. 

Up until a few months ago, I was always so averse to watching anything to do with losing weight (especially since I am so fervently against shows along the lines of “My 600-pound life” – more on that in a later post, though). However, it has now become one of my guilty pleasures and is a great distraction from eating. Click the video I included above to watch a three-minute trailer of Hungry for Change. It’s definitely worth a watch! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

 

Fall flavors, pumpkin goodness

A Chobani-inspired photo shoot was necessary.Yes, a Chobani-inspired photo shoot was necessary.

Like any other common white girl, I am OBSESSED with pumpkin-flavored everything in the fall. But so many fall staples featuring pumpkin are loaded with excess fat, carbs, and sugar that they just don’t seem worth the splurge. Fear not though, my fellow pumpkin fiends – I may have found a delicious solution to this autumnal dilemma. When I went grocery shopping the other night, I nearly had a panic attack while perusing the dairy department. I found a treat that makes candy look irrelevant.

Chobani pumpkin-spiced Greek yogurt is everything you want it to be and more. The prospect of knowing the whole cup is yours devour makes one feel closer to God than ever. While it might not be the healthiest yogurt option available, I’d say it’s the perfect dessert that will definitely fulfill a fall craving a few times a week. It was smooth, creamy, and had the perfect hint of pumpkin-spiced flavors. Scroll down for the full nutritional details on this decedent product. By the way, Chobani also debuted a limited edition apple cinnamon flavor as well. But, for now, I only have pumpkin on my mind.

According to a press release from Chobani, these new flavors will be available in a 5.3-ounce cup and retail for $1.29 from now until the beginning of the new year. Because the pumpkin-spiced and apple cinnamon yogurts are part of a “special batch,” they are only available until January 2015. That should definitely give us plenty of time to whet our appetites and stock up before the season ends.

What are your fall food favorites? Share in the comments below some of the foods you crave during my favorite season, and let me know if you decide to give this new Greek yogurt sensation a try. Leaves are beginning to fall, and hopefully some excess pounds can too!  Also, click the link to take a look at a US News report extolling the benefits of Greek yogurt.

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