Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey
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Dr. Sharon's Fruit and Vegetable Week: For Your Health/Wellness (and cuteness)

Once a week or every two weeks I try to do an all fruit/veggie day to just feel better and as a way of keeping on track. It also does help drop the pounds.  Well, on November 15, 2009 I decided that I wanted to try to do a week (Monday- Friday) of all fruits and veggies and shared it on Facebook with my friends, many of whom had joined me on the fruit/veggie days.  In response to many emails and FB friends hopping on board, I wrote the general guidelines and for the sake of convenience am putting them on my website. 

What this is NOT:
  1. A QUICK fix diet or fad. You should be eating, eating, eating and not starving.  We’re just making it healthier and yes—lighter.
  2. A substitution for your physician’s recommendations.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES undertake any new eating plan if you have a chronic condition (diabetes, etc….) without consulting your physician (see my disclaimer on the website).
What this IS:
  1. A healthy kick in the “bootie” to get you or keep you on track.  What’s wrong with eating all fruits and vegetables?  NOTHING and yes if done correctly you will drop some pounds because fruits and veggies are generally lower in calories than other foods.   What’s wrong with bumping up exercise?  NOTHING—you’ll look and feel better.
  2.  A commitment and a test for you in discipline.
  3. YOUR program,  I put out guidelines but YOU make the tweaks and do what you need to in order to reach your goals.
What I Expect:

This is FOR ME…you should write down what you expect this week according to your goals.
  1. I expect more energy and to feel “lighter”.
  2. I expect to crave chocolate and to have to pray my way through it!
  3. I expect to lose about 5-7 pounds.
  4. I expect to be down about ½-1 dress size.
  5. I expect that my exercise boost is going to be fun as I will try at least 2 new exercise classes—or ones that I haven’t tried in a while.
  6. I expect to slip up in at least one area on at least one day, but I accept that I will forgive myself and move on.
  7. I expect to hear success stories from YOU and my FB friends.
  8. I expect that my assistant is going to kill me as she has to find another ½- 1 hour out of my day that she can’t touch because I’m adding more exercise time.
  9. I expect that I’ll be feeling fabulous on Friday evening after I get into bed and await Saturday morning’s weigh in.
What do you expect?  Go for it.  So here are the guidelines—print out and feel free to share:

Step 1:  The Mind and Your Focus
  1. Get your "mind" right and wrapped around the fact that you will feel healthier and "lighter".
  2. It's not about what you can't have versus what you ARE eating/doing to benefit your body.
  3. Be realistic, if you will have a rough week ahead both physically, emotionally, professionally, etc…that is out of the ordinary—you probably should hold off.  But don’t let being busy make you forgive being “unhealthy”.  Be realistic but don’t look for an excuse.
Step 2:  The Fruit/Vegetable Portion

This is basically a total vegetarian eating plan.
What does that mean???? From the American Heart Association’s website: Some people follow a "vegetarian" diet, but there's no single vegetarian eating pattern. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or lacto-ovovegetarian) diet also includes eggs. Semi-vegetarians don't eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs.
Eat as many and much of fresh fruits as you wish.
  1. Fruits: Apples, grapes, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and the list goes on. Have them with you as frequent snacks, make fresh berry mix (my favorite) and what about a nice green salad as a meal. You can have all the fruit that you like BUT this does not mean that you can have "Apple pie"---or chocolate covered strawberries.
          - Avoid canned fruits in syrup; the goal is for fresh fruits.  Fruit cups in water are ok.
          - Avoid fruits dripping in syrups, sugars, etc…  Candied apples do not count and are a no!
  2. Vegetables: Eat as many & much of fresh vegetables as you want. Lightly steamed if necessary but AVOID the bacon grease, heavy butter, sauces, etc…. Use “I can’t believe it’s not butter” (light), sprays or Olive oil, etc… NO hollandaise sauces or pouring “junk” over fresh vegetables and don’t fall for the salad dressing “soup” (i.e. a little salad with tons of high fat dressing poured over—let the salad breathe and not drown—SAVE THE SALAD!).   Fresh mixed greens, carrots, broccoli & a host of great fiber veggies are a go alone or in a hearty salad. The dressings should be vinaigrette or the "sprays" are great & add no (to very little) calories. You can put beans on the salad to add protein and I LUV to put apples, nuts and fruit on salads.
  3. Beverages:  WATER, WATER, WATER throughout the day and as the main choice for hydration.  NO carbonated beverages—even diet beverages; NONE.  I have a rule about drinking my calories; I don’t drink calories….but that’s just my rule and suggest that if you need to drop some pounds to follow it.  If you want to add in limited fruit or vegetable juices, that’s up to you.  This would be if you are really only going for cleansing but either way; why not agree to avoid drinking more than 200 calories a day? Green Tea (increases metabolism and is antioxidant) is my staple drink with Splenda.  I am committing to increasing my water this week.
  4. Other: This is YOUR plan and you should customize it so you don’t feel like you’re sucking on lemons.  I will have at least 1-2 days wherein I will allow some low fat cheese in on this plan.  Beans are a great source of protein and you may also want to allow 1-2 protein shakes during the week. 
Step 3: The Fitness/Exercise Portion
  1. Exercise is a MUST: I’ll say it again-- Exercise is a MUST for at LEAST 3 of the 5 days through Friday. It is preferred that you exercise EVERY day.  If you're already exercising bump it up by 20-60 minutes. I am committing to 2.25-2.5 hours daily with at least one day of 3 hours, however realize that 2 hours not unusual for me—do what YOU do. If you don't exercise take it slow—don’t hurt yourself.  If you KNOW that you can only walk for 10 minutes then start there; walk in place; do squats during commercials, do something--dancing, walking, and cleaning (vigorously) all count!  It is a process—check out my old pictures in the photo gallery and on the site—it is a PROCESS; originally I could only walk for about 15 minutes. (New pics are coming)
  2. Make sure that you're eating enough to fuel workouts. Don’t starve yourself and don’t think that by working out for 45 minutes that you can eat the refrigerator.
  3. Try something new: Walking outside if the weather permits, yoga, elliptical machines, spin class, Pole dancing, dancing in your living room, etc…. whatever is going to be fun and work for you. Remember that you need strength as well as cardio.  LISTEN to your body and your doctor’s advice.  If you are a couch potato—don’t try to run a marathon this week!
Final Thoughts:
  1. We all want to feel and let’s tell the truth LOOK better.  It is a process; this is not a diet but think of it as a “booster” shot to get/keep us on the right track or even started.
  2. If you desire to lose weight then I suggest that you do weigh yourself at the start and pick out a pair of pants or dress, shirt that is a little snug and use that as a barometer and motivation.  But do not use a picture of your “husband/man” or “wife/girlfriend” or the person that you are fatally attracted to (i.e. Denzel) as the motivation.  This is about YOU! This is about YOU!  And your health/wellness as well as “cuteness” which comes in all shapes and sizes.
  3. If you don’t want to lose weight but want to be healthier, make sure that you’re really piling on the calories to maintain your weight.
  4. Take time every day to do some meditation, deep breathing, prayer and searching into the inner you.  This is a kick start but every day I have to exam my “relationship” with food and fitness.  I don’t care what anyone says; you have to be a little fanatical to fight all of the wars that rage against our health.  YOU are the most important person to you and make time for YOU.
  5. Exercise is an important aspect—I say it all over the country.  “If you don’t have time to exercise, then you don’t have time to eat!”  This means, don’t lie to yourself if you can shovel food in, you can run, walk, jog, dance or whatever it off.
  6. Sleep and rest are important!
  7. Expect that you’re not perfect….and it’s okay to slip up but jump back into it.
  8. Don’t forget to take daily multivitamin and other supplements as directed by your doctor.  I will try to take a multivitamin, calcium supplement, baby aspirin, omega 3 and complex B as part of my continued regimen.
Let’s see how this goes—my Facebook friends….let’s keep each other motivated!

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglass

Dr. Sharon’s Adaptation of Douglass’s quote for this week:  “Lord, help me in my struggle to not have Godiva chocolate during this Fruit/Veggie week.  Help me to just say no to the cheeses that I love.  Help me to progress to better health and to that cute Escada dress that’s hanging in my closet.  Help me progress to the no “jiggle” zone.  A Luta Continua—my struggle continues.”