DAY 8 – What memory warms up your heart?

When
we look back at past events, we seldom remember the gifts (or the food
for that matter…).  Our memories are almost always of things that
connect with our values.  Let me tell you about my most vivid and
warmest memory of Christmas as a young parent. 

This is my best Christmas ever…

 

If
I ask you to reminisce and tell the story of your favorite Christmas,
which one would stand out? Are you a young child? Are your kids young?
Are you on vacation where the snow is just a bad memory? Why is it your
favorite Christmas? Is it the people you surrounded yourself with or the
setting in which it to
ok place? By asking those kinds of questions, we get in touch with our
fundamental values. We realise what is important to ensure our
happiness; which is the ultimate goal: to be happy.

My favorite
Christmas was in 1997. I was a single mother of 4 children and we had
barely enough money to cover the basics. Needless to say, thinking about
Christmas gifts was in itself a luxury. But the funny thing is, I knew
in my heart of hearts that something was going to happen. I just had
that inner hunch whispering to me every day that this Christmas was
going to be pretty special.  

 

It all happened on
the 23rd of December morning. I was making homemade play dough, while
my four children were creating pop-corn garlands for the Christmas tree.
The house was quiet for a change, it felt nice. No one was talking,
crying or wining; we were all too busy being happy in our secure, warm
and cosy environment. I particularly remember the silence because the
knock at the door seemed so loud and sudden that we were all startled.
In a single motion, my children lifted their heads with a thick Egg Nog
mustache above their upper-lip, it was a priceless moment. Rapidly I
cleaned my hands and just like little ducklings, Melina, Natacha, David
and Jonathan jumped off their chairs and lined up behind me…  

 

          Who is at the door mommy?

 

As I opened the
door, the only thing I could see was a huge box wrapped in gold with a
gigantic red silky bow. That first image was followed by a “WOOOOWWW”
that stretched for a good 5 seconds. My kids were hypnotised by the big
golden box with the gigantic red silky bow. We just stood there, our
mouths hanging like coats on a hook. Suddenly but gently, the woman
behind the golden box whished us Merry Christmas and asked me if
”they” could come in. Sure, I said… they? As she walked in, two
other women followed with gifts and food in their arms. We were
speechless. Then, my oldest daughter looked at me, then at the golden
box with the gigantic red silky bow, then at me again but this time,
with twinkles in her eyes. She put her little hands on her hips and said
proudly: «You were right mom! This IS going to be the best Christmas
ever because Christmas came to us! »  

My heart was
agreeing with her as tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. I felt blessed.
I felt my kids had value not only to me but for someone else too. We
meant something; we were valuable to those three women. Oh my God! I
remember so clearly the overwhelming feeling of love and fraternal
kindness; we all did.

 

Let’s say it was
the most humanitarian moment of my life. People, caring for people;
people giving time, gifts and food to people, not to family, not to
friends, not to co-workers but rather, to strangers. To me, that
Christmas is still THE one that stands out the most because fraternal
kindness is one of my fundamental values… what are yours?

 

NOW BACK TO THE PRESENT…

 

In a few weeks, it
will be Christmas again; that means Egg Nog season. Every year I have
to buy tons of that stuff because my kids (now adults) are insatiable
Egg Nog lovers. The Egg Nog we find at the store is not the healthiest
thing to drink that is for sure. That’s why I will make my own this
year. I was so excited when I Found Dr. Dubois’ recipe. That’s when I
decided to share it with you. This recipe gives you three portions of
protein that are unrestricted.

 

Dr. Dubois’ Egg Nog

  

INGREDIENTS

2 ready-made IP vanilla drinks

1 packet of IP plain omelet mix

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Water

 

The order in which you put the ingredients is crucial. Start by
putting in a large shaker (or blender) one ready-made vanilla drink and
then add the omelet mix (only the powder), then the second ready-made
vanilla drink, followed by the spices. Add about ½ cup of water and
shake your Phase 1 Egg Nog drink.

Phase 4 tip…

 

As a full graduate
of this program, you don’t need to worry about the above recipe, you
can indulge in the real Egg Nog but what does it count as? Well let’s
see, what the ingredients are: milk, eggs, cream, sugar and liquor,
usually brandy. So what do these represent? Carbs, protein, fat, more
carbs… and yet more carbs!  

 

Does this sound like a fun day fix? Yep totally! Enjoy!

The
days are simply rushing by.  I hope you had a great weekend.  This
week, there will likely be more luncheons than usual, more challenges,
more people bringing home baked goods into the office.  Your ability to
keep your focus will be tested over and over again.  I have faith in
you!  Keep your eye on your goal and on what really matters! 

 

Have an awesome week!  

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

DAY 7 – Sharing a tradition…

 

Traditions
have a strong hold on us. They are partly cultural, religious and
personal. Traditions are everywhere and in everything we do: the way we
cook, the way we live, the kind of music we love, the activities we
prefer and the way we celebrate Christmas of course. For some of us it
is THE time of the year, for others, it is a day like any other.
 

It twinkled just like a star…

 

Traditions say a
lot about who we are, what we value and what we believe in. My favourite
traditions are those we create with people or groups of people that are
dear to us. In my mind, I have carefully stored certain traditions that
have lasted only a few years, but still managed to touch my heart.
Snowshoeing with my dad is definitely one of those long lost (but not
forgotten) personal tradition.  

 

In winter, our
forest seemed blue; it was like the land of the icy-fairies,
particularly when the sun would shine on the snow and make it sparkle
like a sea of diamond dust.

I was so little and there was so much snow! Snowshoes were
not an option then, we used them daily. It was not uncommon to get out
of the house by the garage door to shovel the snow blocking the front
door. Snow was everywhere; I love that memory because it links itself to
my little snowshoes. It makes me smile and brings me back to the garage
where they were meticulously hung on the wall, right besides my dad’s.
Three winters in a row, my father and I went to the garage after
breakfast with an important plan… that day it was hunting day, it was
treasure quest day, it was victory day! It was the day that we would
come back with that year’s Christmas tree, and I had the honour of
choosing it! WOW!  

 

I recall taking
this task very seriously. I would squint my eyes and scan through the
evergreens to find the one that appeared to sparkle more than all of the
other ones. Sometimes it just felt like it was literally saying: “Hey!
Hello! I’m RIGHT HERE!” Once I had found the glitteriest evergreen of
the forest (that is what I thought anyway), my father and I would ask
the tree if he wanted to come with us. I could not speak their language,
but my dad could and the tree always agreed to come along. As we would
lay it down on the sled, I had mixed feelings, but they would rapidly
dissipate when my young brother and my mother would great us with
screams of joy. They would always agree that it was the prettiest tree
in the world… every year! My adventure would always end with a huge
hot chocolate, it was my prize and I would drink it sloooowly.  

 

Today I still venture in the woods, with snowshoes on my feet, but
I have modified my hot chocolate just a bit. After a nice stroll in the
white covered woods, I prepare a nice fire, and while the logs are
cracking under the heat, I warm-up my hands around a huge mug of
chocolate-mocha coffee. The taste is so creamy, you would never know I
was having a protein meal; coffee mixed with IP’s chocolate drink, and
voilà!

Phase 4 tip…

 

Maintaining your
weight is not about taking pleasures of life away from you; it is about
replacing them with something even better!  

 

The secret is in the recipe: a cup of creativity, half a cup of
curiosity, 2 tablespoons of positive attitude, a pinch of letting go and
a full cup of adaptability. This recipe never fails! If you need to
change the way you used to eat, know what kinds of food you really like
and find or create their healthy double. Once you have mastered that way
of thinking and doing, it’s all up-hill from then on!

On this
beautiful Saturday, maybe you went to get your own Christmas
tree so I wish for you to have found the best one to make this the most
amazing holiday season ever!

 

Have an awesome week end!  

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 6 – Nelson Mandela and our program…

Well here we are, even later than
yesterday, but I couldn’t let the day end without sending you my thoughts
on the recent events involving Nelson Mandela.  I couldn’t pass up the
opportunity to talk about the inspiration that he has brought so many
people in so many parts of the world.  I wondered this morning as I listened
to the news if there was anybody who didn’t know if his existence. 
Some may not know all the details but we still know that he was a great
man…   

The Power of Inspiration!

For almost three years now, I have been
coaching people through weight loss and I have maintained from the start
that my role is not so much to motivate as it is to INSPIRE.  I use
this analogy with new clients when we first meet to ensure they understand
the difference.  I tell them that motivation is the red hot ember that
they bring to the process and that my job is to add paper, kindling and big
logs and build the biggest fire to see them through… but that without the
ember that they provide, it will all remain just paper, kindling and
wood… there will be no fire. I’m not adverse to adding some oxygen by
breathing on the young fire to help it grow but I don’t provide any
matches,  that has to come from the client.

Nelson Mandela has built among the
biggest fires in places where the embers were very small and sometimes even
faint. His words and actions have produced changes that were above
everyone’s imagination.   Today, I want to share with you some of
the words of wisdom that are part of his collection.  I have selected
these inspirational quotes because they are totally appropriate and in line
with what you are living right now!

“It
always seems impossible until it’s done.”
  How often I am told by clients that they are invited to a
party and there is NO WAY to avoid cheating… Let me tell you the story of
a client of ours who just last week had a family gathering (all the
relatives from her husband’s side) where all the food would be home cooked
traditional Italian food.  All the pressure would come from the sisters-in-law
who watch like hawks to make sure everyone is eating and trying
“their” dish…  she could not see a way out of insulting
her in-laws or messing up her efforts… We talked and worked out a plan;
you always need a plan…  I told her that when it was time to get up
and make a plate from the potluck table, to get in line with everyone and
build a plate.  I said, “only put on the plate the things that
your husband likes and warn him to not overload his own plate.” 
I suggested that she get some vegetables (there is always a vegetable
platter…) and eat her main meal before leaving home.  Throughout the
meal, I suggested that she play with her fork and food, lifting it every so
often to her mouth so that people think she is eating.  I also
suggested that she move food to her husband’s plate as he made room for
it.  In the end, nobody noticed that she didn’t have any of the foods
that would have sabotaged her program.  She had brought a bar for
dessert and while people saw her chewing and saw the food in front of her,
they were not insulted, but rather quite pleased.  I saw her on
Thursday and she said that it totally worked and that in fact, people were
so busy talking that even her husband didn’t notice that she was shifting
food onto his plate!  It really seemed impossible until it was done!

“When
people are determined, they can overcome anything.”
(Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 14, 2006) Determination is that
strong voice that comes out loudly every so often and that everyone
recognizes as being genuine.  Nobody would ever doubt the voice of
determination.  The problem is that everyone has other little voices
that come through a bit like white noise and which reduce the clarity of
the stronger voice of determination.  You know when I said that the
coach’s role is to inspire, it is also to hold a mirror to help the clients
see those things that prevent the loud voice of determination from being
heard.  I have seen determination many times and sadly, I have also
seen people let the white noise of negative self-talk take over the
speakers and prevent determination from being the only resounding
message.  Can you identify the negative self-talk?  Do you have a
strong image of what you want?  Are there things that you are holding
on to that not only have lost their meaning over the years but that are now
sabotaging your efforts towards achieving your new goals?  Are you
ready to revisit all that?  Are you ready to let some of it go? 

 

Phase 4 tip…

“A
good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”

  When you reach those goals, how
easy it is to fall back into old habits.  The head knows what the body
needs but the heart is starting to miss the things and foods that were once
linked to emotions.  Now is not the time to have both entities working
against each other.  Keep them in check and you will keep your
investment of time, money and efforts in the forefront of your mind! …
and you will keep your weight off! 

 

Nelson Mandela is known to people as a
great leader and as a kind man.  What he did is impressive, of that
there is no doubt.  I want you to think however that in every person,
including yourself, there is a stronger person than what is apparent. 
You can be better, you can achieve all that you want.  You can be
anything you want!  Thank you Mr. Mandela for the great lessons you
have passed on.  

Sincerely,

Lise Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 5 – ‘Tis the season…


Top of the evening to you!  I’m sorry
if this comes to you a little late tonight, I just came home from being out
at a restaurant gathering with former work colleagues of Peter’s (my
husband). I know this sounds a bit complicated but I know some of my
readers were actually at this gathering, so I thought I would mention it…  A fine bunch of people they are and I get
to visit with them whenever one of these gatherings is organized… I don’t
know why but they have adopted me as one of the group… I am thankful!

The
important thing that I want to share however is what I ate… 

‘Tis the season to be invited out to restaurants…

I
have made it a habit to look through every restaurant menu to find the best
food option.  This is my little thing
and one of the reasons of course is so that I can counsel my clients
better.  But it’s not the only
reason.  Has anybody every said to
you that you couldn’t do something or other?  What was your reaction?  Mine has always been to do everything in
my power to prove them wrong!

When
I was in grade 8, my teacher said I would never be able to write properly
because I didn’t like to read.  She
was right about the reading part (and this is something I learned to
appreciate much later in life) however she was way off on the writing
part.  I like to think that I can put
together a few words to enlighten and inspire people…  My grade 9 teacher said I would never be
a good violin player unless I cut my long nails (painted red if you
please…) well didn’t he have to eat his words when in grade 12 I was
awarded the highest marks in music and was granted the title of Concert
Master… with long nails and all…

So
when it comes to eating out, I look for the “needle in the haystack” option
in every restaurant menu. This, so that I can continue to say that there is
always something you can chose that will keep you compliant on Phase
1. 

The
one thing I want to flag here is chicken. 
Have you ever noticed that restaurant chicken doesn’t quite have the
same texture as the chicken you eat at home?  Ever wonder why?  The reason is that most restaurant
chicken that comes as a boneless chicken breast has been enhanced with what
they call seasonings. These seasonings are in fact a variety of things
starting with MSG and other preservatives and always sugar!

Take
for example the Lilydale  precooked
turkey breast that you can buy in the grocery store.  Amazing looking meat that is precooked,
pre-sliced and ready to eat.  When
you look at the nutritional information it all looks great… zero carbs and
all this protein.  Oh but wait, have
you checked the ingredients list? 
Right there in the middle is the word sugar!  Yep, I’m serious!

So
when you go to a restaurant and experience great tasting, tender to the
max, chicken, don’t even wonder for a second… there are carbs in there and
they come in the form of spices and meat enhancers. 

Well
then, is there a time when you can eat chicken in restaurants?  Yes of course… you can select chicken
when it comes on the bone… simply remove the skin and skip the dipping
sauce.   A great choice however would
be steak or grilled salmon.  It is
pretty hard to process those two and get away with it.

So
tonight, as we gathered at the Cage aux Sports in Gatineau, I was thrilled
to see a number of options that were phase 1 compatible… Double chicken leg
meal, half-chicken meal, steak and salmon. 
All could be ordered with steamed vegetables which included
zucchini, red peppers and broccoli… 
Pretty awesome when you can actually eat ALL of the vegetables! 

So
if you thought that the only thing to have at a sports bar was nachos and
chicken wings, think again!  There
aren’t many restaurants that leave me hungry!

Phase
4 tip…

When
it comes to restaurants, as a phase 4 graduate, you’re probably thinking
that you can have whatever you want. 
Well, that is true in the sense that if it is your fun day, you can
go to town.  However, if you have
three restaurant outings in a row… (I actually have another one tomorrow
night with old colleagues of mine… and we are going to a posh restaurant in
Chelsea) you will need to make choices. 
Remember that a 3oz glass of wine with dinner doesn’t constitute a
big indulgence.  If however you go
for the bread, the potatoes, the wine, the sauce AND the dessert… you will
want to have a recovery day the next day so that none of the excess gets
stored.  In a way, this is the most
thrilling time for you because for once you get to have your fun… and not
worry about the long term effects!  I
can tell you that this is one of the things that most definitely has
changed my life!

At
this time of year, there are so many opportunities to eat out, what with
parties and shopping malls that keep you there longer than anticipated
because of the crowds.  I want you to
think of every instance as an opportunity to learn something, make a choice
that coincides with your decision to have a healthier body…and then, simply
feel proud for having executed your plan flawlessly!

Sincerely,

Lise
Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 4 – The Power of Laughter!

For most of us, Christmas
Holidays mean Christmas music, Christmas lights and Christmas spirit, which
definitely include smiley faces and tons of laughter

We’ve often heard
that laughter is the best remedy for the soul. Its “magical” power   alleviates depression, sadness and can
dissipate the feeling of isolation. It is mightier than anger and can soften
the stiffest person at your Christmas party. This human phenomenon is an
incredible muscle relaxant, an immune system enhancer and the most reliable
means to turn a mishap into a humoristic event. Once laughter has taken control
over you, there is nowhere to hide; you and everybody around you will be under
its spell until the last man (or woman or child) can’t laugh anymore.

Do you remember one
of those moments when you just couldn’t stop laughing? I sure can. One of the
most precious memories I have from my childhood was shared with my brother
Maxime. We used to play “Chin Faces” all the time. The amounts of hours we
spend laughing at the other one’s chin are countless. It was so simple, yet so amusing
and addictive. We would play until our laughter became screams and our faces
were covered with happy tears.

Nothing in this world
can replace the magic of laughter. No wonder we like Santa. Who wouldn’t like a
happy go lucky generous grandpa? And if Santa is not your “cup of tea”, there
is always an uncle or an aunt that will change the mood of the party at their
first ridiculously funny laughing trip.

So
when you find yourself standing in front of the bountiful feast, be it at a
party or on the Christmas day itself, instead of feeling deprived, frustrated
of secluded, see the humour in it, make fun of your situation, crack a joke,  grab a piece of veggie and laugh hysterically.
MOUHAHAHA!  You’ll see it works way
better than the “poor me”, “pitty party” option.

PHASE 4 TIPS…

Temptations are not reserved to Phase 1 as you
know. They were there before you came to Food-Wise and will still be there
after your weight loss is attained and maintained. The good news is that
temptations don’t have to control you. You don’t even have to control
yourself… Have I lost you for a minute there?

Instead of fighting
it or controlling it, laugh at it. By laughing at your past triggers and
tempting foods, you take away their strength and their hold over you. If you
ever saw Monster INC (the movie), you know what I mean. How can a scary hairy
monster stay scary if he makes his victims laugh, pretty hard wouldn’t you say?
So think about it; laughter (as well as smiling) is not only an awesome
feeling; it is also an incredible tool when you are faced with something
difficult, whatever it is.

On that note, laugh
until your jaw hurts and then, laugh some more! Laughter is one of those rare
things that you can’t over indulge in… and it has NO calories!  I wish
you a month filled with laughter!

Jiji 

Day 3 – Kitchen Tools – The pasta maker & Zucchini Pasta with meatballs!

My mother always said that we should strive to learn something new every
day.  Well I
’m happy to report
that my day is done!  Today I didn’t
learn about Zucchini noodles, no no, I’ve known about those for a long
time.  I didn’t learn about the
kitchen gadget to make mountains of these zucchini noodles easily and
efficiently, I’ve known about that for many months.  I did however learn what these zucchini
noodles are called in the everyday world… they are called ZOODLES!  And that’s what we’re going to talk about
today!

The
Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Last
year around this time, I told you about my favourite kitchen tool, the
mandolin (I had not yet discovered the spiral vegetable slicer).  If you have been watching Chef Verati’s
videos on the IP TV coaching, you have no doubt noticed that he likes his mandolin
almost as much as I love mine!  If
you’re a bit in the dark about what a mandolin is (aside from the musical
instrument), take a moment to view it here. 
However, that is not what I want to share with you today.   Although there is much that you can do
with a mandolin (and I couldn’t live without mine), there is a new “tool”
in town and it is the spiral vegetable slicer. 

I
guess the main difference between the two is that with the mandolin, you
are limited by the length of the vegetable. 
If you use the julienne blade, you will make zucchini noodles (or
zoodles) but they will only be the length of the zucchini itself.  If however, you use the spiral vegetable
slicer, you will make strands of zoodles that really imitate real
spaghetti… really long spaghetti!

But
how does the taste compare you ask? 
Incredibly well!  The first
time I made zoodles, it was a true inspiration.  You know, we’ve all been there…
standing in front of the fridge looking at leftovers and thinking that none
of them are really exciting on their own.  But all of a sudden, the light goes off
(and I’m not talking about the light in the fridge here…) and you think,
hey wait a minute, if I take this, that, and the other thing, I could make
something that looks, tastes and feels a lot like… in my case it was
leftover Chinese food!  I remember
taking the zucchini and cutting the strands, sautéing them in the pan,
adding mushrooms, a bit of thinly sliced celery and leftover chicken with a
bit of soya sauce!  Voilà, This was
the best leftover makeover I had ever had!

Then,
someone told me about this little “wonder” spiral vegetable slicer and I
thought, wow, this can really trick the brain into thinking that this is
real pasta.  Because let’s face it,
bean sprouts is a close replica but not that close!  So if you’re looking for a neat new
kitchen “toy” to put on your wish list, this could be just the thing!  Oh and as a side note, this thing can do
a lot more than simply slice zucchini noodles.   Any vegetable you can think of making
into strands or ribbon, this little wonder can handle the job!

 

Zucchini
Pasta with meatballs

 Ingredients:

   Zucchini (cut into
long strands)

   Meatballs (seasoned
the way you like them and cooked in a pan)

   Spaghetti sauce
(made from the Quick spaghetti sauce, see recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Cook
    zoodles in the microwave for about 2 minutes (don’t overcook) and
    remove any excess
    water.
  2. Top
    with 8 oz of meatballs
  3. Add
    some spaghetti sauce (remember that tomatoes are a restricted
    vegetable and should be counted as such)

All-Purpose Quick Spaghetti Sauce

(from the Lighthearted Cookbook p. 188, 1987 Edition)

This recipe is slightly modified to accommodate certain
restrictions in Phases 1-2-3.

2
Leeks chopped

1
Large clove of garlic, minced

1
can of tomato paste (156 ml)

1
can of tomatoes (796 ml)

1
tsp dried oregano

1
tsp dried basil

½
tsp dried thyme

¼
tsp of freshly ground pepper

In
a large heavy pot, with a little Pam to avoid sticking, brown the leek, add
garlic and cook until softened. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes breaking up
with back of spoon (or get the ones already crushed or cubed), oregano,
basil, thyme and pepper.

Bring
to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Thin with water if
desired. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary. Makes 4 servings, and
counts as ½ a vegetable portion and 1 of your restricted vegetables for the
week.

 

 

Phase
4 tip…

During
all of the other phases, pasta is often one of the top 3 foods that people
miss the most.  The issue with pasta
is that satisfaction comes from the volume that we consume.  Honestly, on its own, it has very little
taste so the sauce then plays a big role and it ends up being a question of
quantity.  This is the reason why
when we get to maintenance, we need to stay vigilant.  One portion of pasta is about ½ cup
cooked… it hardly seems worth the effort. 
Now on the other hand, you can have a cup or so of spaghetti squash
and that will make for a nice portion. 
There is also nothing wrong with sticking with “zoodles” and having
a nice piece of whole wheat bread as the evening carb… why not!

 

Finally,
I did some spot checking for places to get a spiral vegetable slicer. I imagine
they are available at places like Stokes, Think Kitchen and Bed, Bath and
Beyond but I must admit that I have increasingly become your typical online
shopper (it keeps me away from crowds and bad weather driving). So in that
spirit, I did find the perfect one on
 Amazon.ca.  

One last thought… Do you remember the 70’s… This is when the whole fad
of eating pasta started.  It was
scientifically proven that eating a good plate of pasta the night before a
hockey game was a great idea because it gave you pure energy to perform
well during the game… so as it turns out, an entire generation of people
started eating big plates of pasta the night before SITTING DOWN IN FRONT
OF THE TUBE TO WATCH said hockey game! 
Sound familiar?
 

Sincerely,

Lise
Hamilton-Carriere
Food-Wise Weight Loss