January Rules

The holidays were really fun- going from one party to another, learning how to make cookies from scratch, participating in cookie swaps, decadent dinners, brunches, and exciting Club Dine In! events. My favorite was Irvin’s dessert party. Irvin, a passionate baker and blogger, throws an annual grandiose dessert party. He bakes all of his desserts from scratch and asks his guests to bring only their sweet tooth. Irvin had 21 desserts, all displayed beautifully with name cards. I tried to take only bite-sized servings of the desserts I really wanted to try, but I decided that everything was sooo worth it. My favorites were the Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting and  Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Marshmallow Sour Cream Topping.

I baked cookies from scratch! Pistachio+Muscovado Sugar+Egg Whites+Meyer Lemon

I don’t feel that guilty about my indulgent ways in December and have set goals to get back on track to healthy eating and living. Instead of making large, undefined resolutions such as “losing weight” I’ve decided to go to the gym at least four times a week, limit desserts to once a week, and appreciate food more. I’ve also decided to clean up my act a bit more by participating in January Rules. Remember, the October: Unprocessed challenge? Andrew Wilder at Eating Rules has come up with another challenge: January Rules. This challenge is much more lax and asks you to follow only three rules. I already follow these rules normally, especially #2, but I need to more vigilant.

  1. When you eat grains, eat only 100% whole grains.
  2. Don’t eat high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Don’t eat hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or anything that’s been deep-fried.

Also, once a week, go ahead and “cheat.” Eat anything you want. I encourage all of you to kickstart 2011 with joining me on January Rules. Follow the hastag #januaryrules on Twitter for inspiration, motivation, and ideas.  Follow me on twitter for more frequent ideas on how to satisfy your sweet tooth, make unprocessed choices, and pretty pictures of food and other musings.


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A New Way To New Year’s Resolution

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Every year, we make a few resolutions and many of those are repeat resolutions (the same ones we make every year in hopes of a different result). The most common resolution, which I am certainly guilty of making, is losing weight. Loosing weight is a great goal to have but the term is very broad and doesn’t leave you with any direction on how to lose weight. Actually, when I used to say “I need to lose weight” or “My goal is to shed some pounds” I would feel overwhelmed and depressed. It seemed like a big goal, with 12 months to achieve it. So there was the “I just can’t go on another diet” feeling and the “I will start tomorrow” sentiment. By mid-March only a guilty, hopeless, self-deprecating feeling would be left. The problem starts at the goal setting itself. We do not outline how we will make the goal achievable nor do we set the intermediary goals that will make the big goal possible.  Instead of  just saying, “I will lose weight” or “I will eat healthier”, make resolutions that will help you achieve these big goals. Think about the steps you will need to take to achieve weight loss, eating healthier, or making a million dollars, and then set those steps as goals. Once, you can achieve the smaller goals, the big goals will fall into place. For weight loss, diet and fitness are both important. Increased cardiovascular activities and strength training will help you burn fat and put on muscle needed to continuously burn fat. Though, eating unprocessed, whole foods will keep you satiated, energized, and improve your workout. Eating fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lentils, legumes, and even clean animal protein in moderation will help you lose weight. Though, in turn, you will need to reduce the amount of junk food you eat. The foods you eat determine how much harder you have to workout. For instance, if the majority of your caloric intake is from junk food, processed meats, and refined sugars and flours, you will have to work out much harder to burn calories and lose weight.

When it comes to health, I am only making three resolutions  this year. In the past, I’ve always almost failed at “eating better” and “losing weight” until I changed my goals. My new New Year’s Resolutions are:

1. To lose weight. To go to the gym 4 times a week for cardio and strength training. If I cannot make it to the gym, I will go for a 20 minute jog outside or run up and down our apartment building’s stairs. Big goal results: stronger body, more energy, glowing skin, and weight loss.

2. To eat better. To limit my intake of desserts and food with added sugars to once a week. Big goal results: more energy, weight loss, and improved mood.

3. To eat better. To eat slowly and mindfully. I don’t have to eat everything put in front of me and should recognize when I am truly hungry. Also, even if I am starving, I will slow down and try to enjoy each bite, instead of gobbling it all up at once. Big goal results: positive relationship with food and weight loss.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Any tips or ideas?

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded people and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.