Post-Holiday "Live-its"

All right. We have all overindulged in eggnog, stuffing, 15 varieties of cookies and assorted goodies during the holiday season. And...we're feeling guilty... and about 10 pounds heavier. While we were toasting the New Year with bubbly (washing down triple cream brie and sausage balls!), we made the perennial resolution to lose weight, to eat healthy, to finally begin working out.

I say we here because I have the same issues. Holidays are synonymous with too much food, rich food, and too much drink, all of which contribute to the number you see when you look down at the scale on January 2. However, I am one of those people who believes that "die" is a big part of the word "diet". In order to establish a healthy lifestyle we need to have a plan that we can stick with, one that does not make you feel deprived. That is where playing with food comes in. At our house January 2 is the time to take all the baked treats and chocolates to the office to distribute among those who are thin enough not to care (or in my case, droves of physicists who will eat anything!), and begin playing with food by exploring new recipes, looking for ways to save calories and cut "bad carbs", and in the process you make new favorites and find new flavors and combinations that you can then incorporate with your everyday living. Our nation is addicted to fast food and the busy lifestyle of of two career couples makes it hard to get excited about cooking a meal. I give kudos to Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals show for opening the public's eyes to the possibility of creating a meal from scratch in 30 minutes, basically less time than it takes the pizza guy to arrive! For beginning food experimenters, her recipes are a great place to start because they are quick, they don't require complicated techniques, and I have never made a recipe of hers that was not a big hit. I know a lot has been said in the press about the "Martha vs. Rachael" battle, but I think there is room in our hearts for both. Martha Stewart is a refined culinary technician, and I go to her when I want to learn a new technique or to challenge myself. But because Rachael is not a chef, I feel like if she can do it I can do it, and there is something special about making a dish your family loves in only a half hour (especially after a 9-hour work day!)
Food Network is always helpful on fighting the Battle of the Bulge by running programs that focus on healthy eating right at the beginning of the year. Also Epicurious is great for looking up an ingredient and finding a recipe that can be used and their reviews help beginning cooks by letting you know which recipes are worth the trouble, if it tastes as good as it sounds , and substitutions made that may have (or not) worked out. So spend some time this weekend hitting the websites and seeking out recipes you can incorporate into your new healthy "live-it" And remember... playing with food will help keep you from getting bored as you fight to get in shape!
Note: I don't know this guy on the right but I bet he has never been on a diet in his life! I am talking less to the guy with the washboard abs and more to those of you with Michelin abs (6-pack ab wanna-bes)! For those of us who will never be a size 6 again, there is always Stacy and Clinton who can help us dress the body we have!