Happy New Year, my friends!!
Like millions of other people, I’m resolving to lose weight and live healthier in this new year. I know…such a predictable resolution! But, I’ve got at least 20 (ok, probably more like 30) pounds of extra weight still hanging around since giving birth to our third little love almost eight months ago. I’ve been making all sorts of excuses (some quite valid and some more of a stretch) for why I haven’t lost the weight yet. I was hoping it would just go away, but it’s become clear to me that it’s time to stop dragging my feet and to get proactive.
When it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, my approach has always been one of balance. Eat mostly nutritious and unprocessed foods, enjoy a few indulgences, balance the indulgences with exercise. It’s an approach which has always worked well for me and makes good sense as a long-term plan. But, at this particular point in time, I feel that I need something with a few more ‘rules’ to get me jump-started on the right path.
So, beginning today, I’ll be following the South Beach diet, slightly modified (as I am still breastfeeding our baby and the first phase of South Beach is a bit too restrictive for a nursing mom). My husband and I have done the South Beach diet in the past and there are many things I like about it. It’s often confused for being a low-carb diet, but that’s a misconception. The South Beach diet is more of a good-carb diet. It’s a diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats, fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grains. It makes me feel good to eat this way. In many ways, it’s the way most of us should be eating anyway.
South Beach is a diet with guidelines, rather than a detailed plan; guidelines that teach you to choose foods which keep you feeling fuller longer and keep your blood sugar levels more stable in order to avoid the inevitable cravings and overeating which result from rapid peaks and plummets in blood sugar levels. Feeling more satisfied naturally makes it easier to eat less and lose the excess weight. (I like that part!)
My main gripe with the South Beach diet is in its suggestion to use artificially sweetened products and other processed food substitutes, particularly during the restrictive first phase of the diet where even fresh fruit is off-limits. I get the point, but personally, I’d rather enjoy real foods more sparingly than start introducing food substitutes like sugar-free jello and artificial ‘buttery spreads’ into my diet. So, I’m going to skip the recommended sugar-free snacks and stick with a smidgen of real butter when I need it.
You may be wondering what my new ‘diet’ means for this blog. Well…nothing, really. My little space here is not about to become a diet blog or a South Beach resource. Quite simply, this will continue to be a place to share my love of cooking delicious food. You can still expect to see all sorts of simple and crave-worthy recipes…just maybe a bit more broiled fish and roasted veggies in between the macaroni and cheese and triple chocolate cake.
Well, it’s really official now…put in writing for accountability’s sake. I’m starting a diet. I will stay focused. I will lose this weight.
But before we embark on our healthier diets, I had to splurge a bit…have something completely indulgent (in addition to diligently finishing off the leftover Christmas cookies). With that, I give you garlicky potatoes au gratin and a cheesy flank steak panini sandwich, loaded with horseradish butter and sweet caramelized red onions on a doughy loaf of French bread. This meal is worth a little extra time on the treadmill!
Garlicky Potatoes Au Gratin
- 3 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 cups half and half
- 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rub 1 tablespoon of butter around the bottom and sides of a medium-sized baking dish. Rub the smashed clove of garlic in the butter. Arrange the potato slices, lying flat, in the baking dish. In a saucepan, heat the half and half, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, until it begins to bubble. Allow it to bubble gently for a minute or so. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. Give the baking dish a little shake and press down gently on the potatoes to ensure the potatoes and sauce of evenly dispersed. Sprinkle the gruyere cheese on top.
Bake for about 55 minutes.
Steak and White Cheddar Panini
- 1 pound flank steak
- Salt and pepper
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 red onion
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
- 1 loaf French bread (batard or baguette)
P.S. Though I’m not quite brave enough to share my starting weight with you, I will gladly keep you updated on the loss! Wish me luck! Anyone else embarking on a New Year’s weight loss plan??
Day: 1 Weight Loss: 0 Motivation: High
Happy New Year, Amy! I am starting South Beach as well and look forward to the recipes you will be sharing!!!
Happy New Year, Deanna!! I’m excited that we can share South Beach ideas with each other!
Dear Amy – I wish you the best in your weight loss and, admittedly, quite thankful when I read about your resolution for the new year. Your blog has really been an inspriration for me and I have enjoyed reading your posts as well as trying out your yummy recipes. We also need to shed a few pounds in our household so I welcome and look forward to seeing what creative ideas you come up with!! Thanks for all you do for your family and happy readers like me! Keep us posted on your success!
Happy New Year! Thanks for your comments. I’m really excited to come up with some great dishes that are full of flavor and a little better for our waistlines too. I’ve already got a few ideas in mind! Good luck with your weight loss!
On a different note, I served the entree illustrated on your blog page – the latkas, lox, and fried egg – for New Years brunch- only added poached pears (I think I got that recipe from you, too!), and champagne! I call ’em Russian benedicts…. my fiance is from Russia and these foods are strongly Russian. We salted our own Salmon, yesterday, the old-fashioned way – so it made it kind of special! Nasdarovia!
That sounds so delicious!!
Good luck on your healthy eating. I’ll try too – I’ve always been an eat what I want then exercise it off person. Not working any more! Guess I better try that eating healthy stuff too!
Thanks, Nancy! Good luck on your healthy eating endeavors too! It stinks when our bodies stop letting us eat whatever we want whenever we want it! But, I’m sure there will still be room some chocolate cake in both of our diets…