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Dressing While Dieting (and other great wardrobe tips)

Figuring out what to wear while you’re working your way to a skinnier you can be tricky.

As you are working your way to your goal weight, there’s not much point in buying many clothes apart from shoes that you need, and underwear. Maybe some accessories as a treat from time to time. 

If you’re losing a lot of weight, you may need to buy “interim clothes” for each season, but you should minimize your spending.

You don’t want to develop attachments to clothing – old or new. And you will want to save your money for later, when you are at your ideal weight.

Once you arrive at your ideal weight, clothes will look amazing on you, and it will be a pleasure to shop and dress yourself.

For many people the change may be uncomfortable or unsettling, as with other types of major life changes. Body image is hard to alter and very difficult to part with, even if that image is unattractive. Be aware of this, and plan to modify your wardrobe carefully along the way.

Try wearing more black or darker clothing, in simple tailored designs. It makes you look thinner and taller. Don’t wear striped, bright or tight clothing, wild designs or patterns, particularly if you are very overweight – they are not doing you any favors!

NEVER save “fat clothes” – clothes you save for when you gain more weight. Get rid of all of them, and plan to shed more of these as you start losing. “Dream clothes” – clothes that are too small for you – keep these in storage as you will fit into them again and can take a call as to whether they are flattering in a later review.

Ladies, box up any maternity clothes and put them in storage if you plan to have another baby. And if they weren’t really flattering the last time you wore them, treat them as other clothes that don’t work anymore. If you are unconcerned with cost, you can certainly get rid of all of them.

Whatever your weight, your wardrobe should always be organized.

You should only have accessible and in your reach, clothes, shoes and accessories that:

– Are appropriate for the season
– Fit you well
– Are relevant to contemporary fashion

This ensures that there is no clutter in your closet, you can see and reach everything easily, and everything actually works as a piece of clothing. Anything else – store it or give it AWAY.

You want your wardrobe to work for you, not for you to work for your wardrobe, constantly shuffling through heaps of irrelevant clothes to find the things you want. Limit your choices to only what is relevant, and you can only look relevant!

If you don’t know what is relevant, it may be worth perusing some good fashion magazines and seeing what is what in your wardrobe. Even if you are planning some major changes, the only thing worse than an unflattering bit of clothing is actually knowing that it’s not flattering, and continuing to wear it. Just say no, and set it aside.

Fashion is mystery to many people, but don’t worry, it will come with a bit of study. But you’ll need to put the effort in – everyone has to. You certainly don’t have to be a slave to fashion, but you don’t want to look outdated or ridiculous.

Plan to do a seasonal (i.e. 4x a year or every 3 months) clear-out and wardrobe review. If you don’t have a lot of room you can store things you are not wearing into empty suitcases. If you travel, what’s in it goes on the bed and back in when you return. Store out of season shoes in the attic or on the highest shelves that are out of the way.

Organizing should not take a long time – maybe longer the first time or if you’ve not done it before. Get each piece of clothing and try it on in front of a full length mirror. Ask a fashionable friend or relative to help you. Even a partner will do. Or even better, a fashionable teenager – they are very likely to tell you the truth!

Make sure you give yourself the time to do it properly and also consider your shoes, jewelry and accessories.

If you have trouble throwing things away or giving to charity, ask your friend, partner or brutal teenager to be ruthless with you. Does it fit well? Is it appropriate for the season? Is it relevant? Be honest with yourself. Create a bag for charity and a bag for the attic. Anything in doubt – just store it away for now. In 3 months you can review it all again.

So, here’s your review step by step:

1. Set aside at least one hour, two hours if you can
2. Ask a fashionable friend, partner, or young adult to help you
3. Find a place to put clothes you are not wearing
4. Have several bags and boxes at hand, some for storage, some for charity
5. Arrange a full-length mirror and comfortable dressing area with good lighting
6. Sort immediately anything out of season, out of fashion, or definitely not your size
7. Go through each remaining piece and be brutally honest with yourself
8. Fold clothes you are not wearing and store away
9. Get any washing, dry-cleaning, or repairs of current clothes done quickly
10. Put your next review in your calendar

Love to you all!
La Libertini

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More Skinny Weight Loss Techniques

Hmm…. If you’re trying to lose weight, read my 10 Skinny Techniques.  And here’s another one. 

Change your space!

Move your furniture around.  And doing a clear-out and clean-up.  Getting in control of your space will give your body and mind the signals it needs to help change other habits. 

Here are 10 steps to clearing the clutter and re-inventing your space:

  1. Give yourself time and space – a whole day or weekend.
  2. Un-plug your television and put on some inspirational music.  Nothing sad!
  3. Go from room to room with a large trash bag or bin and throw away ANYTHING you possibly can.
  4. Start with your living room.  Move the couch, chairs, TV, end tables, coffee tables so that the room is changed.
  5. Ditto the bedroom.
  6. Ditto the kitchen, don’t forget to read this post on good kitchens.  Clear out ALL the junk.
  7. Ditto the bathroom, try making it a sanctuary if you can, and plan to have more hot baths with candles and oils.
  8. Thoroughy clean all rooms as you go along.
  9. Try and bring as much natural light into your space as you can. 
  10. Make a list of things you would like to do with your space, and plan on doing them.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

What My Kid Eats

Each day, when I pick up my son, they give me a little white piece of paper with details on what he ate, how many times they changed his diaper, what he did for play. I always focus on what he ate.

They give him Weetabix and whole grain toast for breakfast. A nice hot lunch of rice, potatoes or noodles with chicken, lamb, Quorn or beef and some vegetables. He is not permitted sugar so he has fruit for dessert, and for his afternoon snack, he gets bread and butter, or crackers and butter.

He can’t have dairy as he is intolerant.  He drinks soy formula and rice milk for now.

When he first went to nursery, they sat me down and went through the menu, I could ask about the way the food was prepared, I could bring in special foods, or delist foods from his menu. I delisted dairy, apart from a small serving of yogurt which he can tolerate. I delisted pork and sugar also as I think they are unnecessary for a small child. Children should not be given sugar – it really is irresponsible.

Anyway, isn’t it wonderful that I can impose my views and thinking on the nursery? (They don’t serve organic foods, but if they had the budget and more families demanded it I’m sure they would.) Being a control freak, I love this!

Now, as he gets older, this will change. I will have to educate him well so that he knows what to eat and why. I can only hope he will comply.

Will I trust his school to impart this knowledge? Uh, no. Should I? Uh, maybe.

You know, good nutrition isn’t rocket science. Its common sense. Yet, many schools continue to undo whatever good they propose to do by educating children, by de-educating them in matters of home, kitchen, nutrition, and gardening. Its like a totally separate process entirely divorced from engendering knowledge and intelligence.

And the whole issue of school lunches and dinners is so politicized. Everyone is hammering on about government regulations and subsidized food, the conversation is endless.

Parents that care, we probably get some cut-through. I for one would not tolerate my kid eating crap, or crap food being readily available for his immature mind to select. Sugary soda, candy bars, pizza, processed food, potato chips, French Fries, low grade burgers – if this was available to my son in a school, I would go beserk.

But some parents don’t care as much. Or at all.

Then there is a large group of people (I am among them) who feel that schools must take the place of parents during the day, and facilitate education and decision-making about food. I agree.

Schools must be responsible and budget for trained staff who can cook and serve wholesome food, and only quality wholesome foods should be purchased and consumed in an educational environment. (Now, if the family wants to send the kid to school with his own pink milk and barbecue flavored potato chips – shame on them. Its wrong, but that’s their bad decision.)

Also, wherever possible schools should add gardening clubs to the curriculum, and add old fashioned home economics, nutrition and cooking classes back into the curriculum also. Food education is as vital as sex education. Or reading or writing for that matter.

Idealistic? Politicized? What isn’t?

To knock down the levels of childhood and adult obesity, and the eye-watering costs that are breaking health systems, this very basic issue of food must be addressed.

Parents who care? Make sure you scrutinize that school menu. Take it to a nutritionist – a team of parents can raise enough cash to take a school menu to a nutritionist for review. Take your findings back to the school. Insist they make changes.

Make your kid’s lunch. Tough but do-able. Try it a few times a week. Jamie Oliver has great ideas for kids’ lunch boxes. Although he endorses chocolate snacks and he cooks with a lot of dairy, sugar and white flour which could be avoided.

Ensure the school isn’t selling bad food in vending machines. No child should EVER have easy access to white sugar in any form. Sugar in any form is a poison. Ditto trans or hydrogenated fats.

Restrict your kid’s access to crap foods at home or on the move. Get all the junk out of the house, for everyone’s benefit. Just don’t buy it. If you don’t know what junk food is – print out my shopping list. There are no junk foods or processed foods on that list. Use it as a basis for your weekly shop.

Parents who don’t care? You’re probably not reading my blog, but if you are thinking about caring, or are trying to correct a weight problem in one of your children, please get informed and involved about what your kid is eating – at home and at school. Subscribe to my blog and print out my shopping list.

Everyone should read my post on our food culture, and also what foods should be avoided and why.  These are inspiring no-brainers.

School governors, teachers and administrators? I do hope that the success of a school will one day be measured on the health of its student body – weight and overall fitness. It is your responsibility to budget for the health of your student body. No money? Work to find alternative subsidies and get creative. You’re in the business of educating – make sure you’re doing your job.

Monday – No Potato Day

White potatoes are among the foods that everyone could do with in strict moderation.

Why?

Mostly because they serve to limit the imagination.  Instead of eating more vegetables or experimenting with wild rices and grains, people consume white potatoes.

Baked potatoes, new potatoes, mashed potatoes, crushed potatoes, roasted potatoes, French fries, crisps, chips – every time a white potato is eaten, a chance has been missed to have a much better vegetable or grain, and a chance is missed to inject variety and color also.

This humble potato should be humble – it is a starchy crutch food that in particular when paired with meat or chicken, creates a very heavy meal.

In this day and age there is so much variety and so many other choices, that we have come to rely on potatoes in an unhealthy way – they are a crutch food.  Why not try something different!

If you eat meat, there is nothing more gorgeous in summertime than pairing your meat with a cold salad or watercress with a fantastic mustard vinaigrette.

Free yourself with:
Sweet potatoes (no sugars or syrups added please)
Wild rice
Red Camargue rice
Oat groats
Spelt
Pearl Barley

Kale
Collard Greens
Mustard Greens
Watercress
Bok Choy
Tomato and onion salad
Fennel salad

When you stop eating potatoes, you discover there is so much more out there!  And… curiously you will find that they don’t taste as good as before.

If you can comfortably find potato substitutes, why not extend your ‘no potato day’ to last a whole week long?

Here is a shopping list that includes, amongst other things, a list of great foods you can fill your kitchen with, instead of potatoes.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Food Eater? Read These Very Important Notes on Eating

Do you eat food?  There are some really basic things you need to consider whenever you eat.

Please drink 4-6 oz of quality tap water one half hour before every meal or snack. Any temperature, preferably lukewarm, with our without lemon.   Green or Rooibos (redbush) tea is also nice, whenever you want during the day.

Do not guzzle water while you are eating or to wash your food down.  You can certainly sip a little water while eating, but really try to avoid doing this. Rather, drink before or an hour or so after eating.  Your digestive juices therefore do not get diluted and work better.  If you drink coffee or tea, the same applies as to water. Avoid while eating or lightly sip only.  Ditto wine.

Please try to give yourself time, and also sit while you are eating.  Chew slowly – never swallow whole pieces of un-chewed food!  Digestion begins in the mouth, with saliva and chewing is perhaps the most important part of the process.

Slow down.   Eating quickly doesn’t allow your body to get the signal that it is full. Always stop eating when you feel about 80% full.  There is NEVER any point of eating until you are uncomfortable.

Never have an argument or debate too vigorously while you are eating.  It is better to postpone your meal (or postpone your heated discussion).

Eat regularly, space your meals 4-5 hours apart, with healthy snacks in between. “Snacks” should be considered “refreshing” in that you should be “refreshing” your body with light, nutritious foods and drinks that bridge between meals and keep you from getting too hungry.

Don’t eat immediately upon getting out of bed, wait until your body is awake, perhaps a half an hour or hour. Don’t skip meals or refreshes, and never ever skip breakfast!

Never eat before going to bed, leave AT LEAST 3 HOURS between your last meal and bedtime.

Try not to let hunger creep up, so that you are ravenous – use your head and plan ahead.

Re-think portion sizes – try eating half of what you intend at first.  Eat slowly and see how you feel.

Any chance you get to eat on your own should be used as a time for reflection and planning.

If you exercise, the optimum time between eating and exercise is approximately 2 hours. Don’t exercise right after eating, you could do some light walking but power walking may induce cramping. Also, please don’t exercise when you are hungry or very tired.

Even if it is 100 degrees outside, avoid eating really cold foods – it shocks the digestive system.  Foods served at room temperature, warm or comfortably hot are always better.  They generally taste better also.  The same for beverages.

If its very cold or very hot outside, your body will be attracted to certain foods – hot cereals, grains, soups, roasted vegetables and stews when its cold, cool salads and fruits when its hot.

PLEASE inject variety into your eating  – maximizing your intake of nutrients, eating high quality ORGANIC vegetables, fruits, seeds, gourds, lentils, whole grains, grain milks, lean meats or offal, fish, and seaweed if you like it.

Don’t get caught “rut eating”.  Eat and cook with imagination.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.

And NEVER eat processed foods, and avoid all the foods on my Worst List. There are much better choices and soooooo many recipes in the world, that there is never a need to eat any of them, really.

Love to you all!
La Libertini


Is Red Meat Good While Dieting?

I have coached loads of people on this.

Red meat is good in very strict moderation when you are trying to lose weight.  It is great if you can skip it for a few weeks at a time.  Chicken, I might add, is also not great when you’re trying to lose weight.  Nor is pork.

If you must eat meat, please, ALWAYS eat organic meat.  If you’re eating less meat, you can afford it. And if you are varying your intake of traditional meats with offal, it becomes even more affordable.

The key with meat is to keep it clean, lean, and ensure you are not eating it at night, or with carbohydrates like potatoes or rice.  The best accompaniment to meat is a green vegetable or salad.

If you’re a meat addict, you’ll need to cut out a lot of other foods to lose weight.  This I do not condone.

You may be able to get away with a high carb, high fiber breakfast, like organic bran cereal or porridge, a small portion of lean grilled meat and a clean and lean vegetable for lunch, and a superfood salad for dinner.

However, I find people have MUCH better results eating fish and removing red meat, poultry and pork from their diet for awhile. Then when they eventually have it again, they actually feel how heavy it is in their bodies, and usually stick to eating it once or twice a month.

Again, if you’re eating meat make sure it clean, lean, and organic. If you can, try offal – liver, hearts, kidneys, etc.  as these are lean, inexpensive and packed with vitamins.

There are some superb cookbooks on offal, that can really have you diversifying your intake of red meats, and doing so healthily. You’ll need to vet your recipes to ensure you’re cooking with other lean ingredients and not carbohydrates or added animal fats.

I recommend Anissa Helou’s The Fifth Quarter, or Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Want to Lose Weight? Here are the 10 Foods You Have to Stop Eating and Why

Here is an extract from my book 54321, that will be useful to you if you are trying to lose weight for the summer. 

Also this text links to my shopping list so you can go and buy the foods that you SHOULD be eating to lose weight and stay healthy.  Even deliver your body from the shackles of a preventable disease like Diabetes II. 

“Many people comment that they cannot survive without these foods, or that there is nothing else to eat.  I can assure you there is plenty more to eat.  Subsisting on any of these foods for a long period of time, particularly in combination with each other, is the 100% likely reason why people find themselves overweight and / or in ill health.

WHITE SUGAR – White sugar is one of the worst foods on Earth.  Some say everything in moderation and a little white processed sugar can be OK.  I say it is not OK.  Not only is white sugar empty calories with no nutritive value whatsoever, but quite simply it creates a negative chemical reaction in your body.  Sugar substitutes are just as bad, and also serve to give root to a sweet tooth.  Ban them too.

You can have sweet things in your diet, through fruit and even natural syrups.  Pure cane sugar can make an occasional appearance in a healthy diet, once you are at your goal weight and firmly in control of your dietary habits and eating patterns.  Giving white processed sugar to children is irresponsible.

WHITE FLOUR – Leave white processed flour alone.  Stripped of all its nutritional value, this horrible ingredient usually makes an appearance in and with lots of other bad foods and ingredients.  Cakes, pizza, white bread, pancakes, muffins, croissants, etc.  Bloat, bloat, bloat!

Once you start eating properly, you won’t miss white flour or any of its usual partners in crime – sugar, butter, cheese and hydrogenated fats.  When white flour is omitted from the diet, curiously this is when people start getting real results, whatever diet they are on.  That tells you something.

WHITE POTATOES – jacket, baked, new, roast, potato chips, French fries, crisps, chips – Every time a white potato is eaten, a chance has been missed to have a much better vegetable or grain.  The so-called humble potato has every right to be humble – its not that great.  I believe it is sub-standard because in this day and age, there is so much variety and so many other choices, that we have come to rely on potatoes in an unhealthy way – they are a crutch food that serves to limit our imagination.

Once you incorporate the huge spectrum of rice, grains, pulses, beans and more vegetables in your diet, you will not miss potatoes.  Or their hideously fried step-children.

And, there are few “meat and potato men” who have lean waistlines.  I challenge you to find more than one healthy, slim “meat and potato man”.

DAIRY FAT – butter, cheese, ice cream, any dairy except 0% yogurt or milk – Ew.  Not moo.  EW!  Now while I am not a fan of cow’s milk, I don’t completely discount it in moderation, in its fat-free form, as an excellent source of protein and calcium.  I am surprised, however, at just how much dairy product people think is OK.

This is one food where moderation and vigilance will help you to be slimmer and healthier.  The diary industry will want to pelt me with rocks and garbage, but I say to everyone – why would you want to constantly ingest the mammary secretions of another mammal?  Curdled?  Aged?  Moldy?  It is odd, but decades of browbeating about calcium have many people ingesting far too much of this food.  There are other superb forms of both calcium and protein for you to choose from.

For ages, many Eastern cultures did not consume dairy products at all.  Many people are lactose intolerant but somehow they manage to survive.  If you are still skeptical about releasing yourself from the shackles of dairy fat, bear with me on this point while you are losing all the extra weight that it may well be responsible for.  You won’t miss it – I promise.

TRANS OR HYDROGENATED FAT OR OILS – Andrew Weil was writing about trans-fats in the 80’s.  Now, we are just getting them removed from foods, and many food labels boast their trans-fat free status.  Super.  How many people are now obese due to the over-ingestion of trans-fats and hydrogenated fats used by many food manufacturers, and of course home cooks in the form of ingredients like Crisco?

It is not known how these fats are broken down… but take a global map of cancer indication and obesity, and incidence of dietary trans-fats and you might draw your own conclusions.  I sense that these are dirty fats, in every sense of the word.

** A note on healthy oils:  Good oils and fats, such as olive oil should be used sparsely.  Yes certain fats are good, and yes, you will have these back in your diet, in moderation, soon enough.  All this glugging of the olive oil, adding lots of good oils to the pan before grilling or frying, smothering salads in oil-rich dressings and vinaigrettes, is mostly unnecessary.  Oil is laden with 100 calories per tablespoon, so a little bit of it should go a long way.  Most cooking can be done completely oil free.  You may be surprised at how you will not miss it.

Many good fats and oils can be obtained through food sources, like seeds and fish.

NUTS – Certain people can eat lots of nuts.  People climbing Mount Everest.  Bodybuilders and people who work out 4 hours a day.  People who are starving and need highly concentrated sources of fat and protein.  If you are not one of these people, give them a miss for now.  Seeds, however, are different.

RED MEAT – Red meat is a food that should only EVER be eaten in its highest quality form – organic, lean and clean, and also not every day.  I love a little red meat and the proteins in it are excellent, but to lose weight you will need to really limit or avoid consuming it.  You must be at a certain stage and meet certain criteria for you to resume eating red meat, and you’ll be eating it in its lean, organic form only.

You know, the negative statistics that surround the over-consumption of beef by humans are very daunting.  The food that is grown globally to sustain herd animals, and the methane that these animals produce… all these frightening statistics point to the fact that we should be looking to radically cut down the amount of meat that we ingest.  Not only for our own health, but for the health and sustainability of the planet and growing spaces for plants.

Later, I will discuss several sources of high value protein, including lamb, game meats, and offal, that are leaner, often less expensive, and packed with nutrients.  You may find that these will feature on your diet once you are at goal weight and maintaining.  So don’t worry, you’ll be eating red meats again.

POULTRY – Poultry is high in saturated fat.  Again, you must be near to your goal weight to resume eating poultry, and I must stress that you will be eating it in its lean, organic form ONLY.

If you do not understand why you should eat only organic meats and chicken, I encourage you to do research online about this topic.  I can assure you, you will only ever eat organic, ever again. 

PORK – As above.  You can plan to cut pork out of your diet entirely, forever, if you choose.  I am just not that keen on pork, and convinced that people could go without this type of meat altogether.  And unless your pork is 100% organic, why bother at all?

“Bacon?  I can’t live without bacon on the weekend!”  Yes you can, and you will.  There’s nothing of real value in bacon.  “My Iberico Chorizo – its made using pigs who have roamed wild and eaten nothing but grain!  The fat is good for you!”  No its not.  It may not kill you today, but eating animal fats on a consistent basis add nothing to your overall health profile.

Additionally, the statistics around the over-ingestion of pork and pork products are as daunting as those associated to red meat.  The waste slurry from pigs is also highly toxic, so again, another double negative against this animal as a source of regular protein.

ALCOHOL – Alcohol is calories, empty calories – a low value carbohydrate as is white sugar or white flour.  But many people allegedly cannot live without alcohol.  They say, “I have to have my drink(s) in the evening, what will I do?”  If you cannot part with your booze for at least a month, you may need to examine your dependence on alcohol.  However, it is possible to drink VERY moderately while dieting.  You will just need to sacrifice something else in your day in order to be successful in meeting your goals.

If you find that you want to drink the same amount, or that you CAN actually drink the same amount while dieting, you should approach your doctor about your drinking problem.

CHOCOLATE – The latest I’ve been hearing is that dark chocolate is good for you.  It has “healing properties.”  Don’t believe it – you’ll have eaten a half a bar of 70% Green and Blacks and felt good about it.  It is full of white sugar and saturated fats, and it is very addictive.

On my list of one of the worst foods, is the children’s chocolate breakfast cereal, with the “hard rocks of chocolate” on the inside and the “soft chewy chocolate” on the outside.  This turns the lovely full-fat diary cow’s milk that it floats in, a nice shade of brown.  When your kid is constipated and hitting highs and lows all day, think about what you fed him or her for breakfast.  Was it some lovely delectable choco-pop cereal like this, or perhaps something similar?  Be ashamed.  You should be.

If you heard that women in some faraway “third world” place were feeding their children mountains of sugar, chemicals and fat for breakfast, you would shudder and say what a shame it is.  Fact is… that might be you.

So you might be thinking – what CAN I eat?  The answer is – a lot more than you think.

If you are eating a lot of these foods, when you stop eating them, and start eating the alternatives, you will wonder just how you ever ate them in the first place.

Fresh fruits, whole grains, fresh vegetables, squashes and gourds, legumes, beautiful fish and lean proteins – these are the no-brainers that we all know are good for us.

But its how they are combined, at what part of the day they are eaten, and in what proportions that makes 54321 not only work to lose excess weight, but to change your eating habits forever.”

If you would like some sample meal plans, contact me directly at patricia.l.libertini@gmail.com, or comment below:

La Libertini