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St. Patrick's Day food challenge and recipe ideas

I'm not going to use the 'middle aged' excuse

Another birthday came and went last week, shoving me officially into the late 40s. But you're only as old as you feel, right? And as long as I have a kid in elementary school, I'm going to keep up the "young" ruse.

What's acting "old" is my metabolism. Back in my 20s I lost 40 pounds and while I can't say it was effortless, it certainly was easier than it is now.

Helenbeforeandafter I watch those wonderful women who are my age or older on The Biggest Loser and think that if they can do it I can, too.

(That's middle-aged mom Helen Phillips, Biggest Loser season 7 winner at right. NBC photo)

Sure, they're sequestered in a weight-loss camp where they do nothing but work out and eat healthfully. But they probably had the same middle-aged metabolism as me -- they (and a fleet of experts) just figured out a successful work-around.

So where's my fleet of experts? There are some great new books that seem to be helping by emphasizing key pieces to the puzzle:

  • Fiber, which is the centerpiece of The F-Factor Diet
  • Antioxidants, which The O2 Diet is based on
  • Balanced, non-bird-food meals, like those of The 400-Calorie Fix and The Flat Belly Diet
  • Goosing your hormones with the right foods to release weight, which is the point of The Perfect 10 Diet

Right now, I'm finally getting back to reading The Instinct Diet (also known as The "I" Diet), which is based on more than 20 years of clinical research done by Tufts University nutrition researcher Susan Roberts. What I like about the book is that it explains why weight loss is so difficult and comes up with different strategies to counteract human nature. It focuses on 5 food instincts:

  • Instinctdiet Hunger
  • Availability
  • Calorie density
  • Familiarity
  • Variety

The foods in the suggested eating plans are all designed to keep you fuller, fight cravings and deprivation. My lunch today, for example, was a big salad that had in it garbanzo beans, turkey and crumbled bacon.

I like the "radical common-sense" approach of the book so far, and I'll let you know how it's working. And I'm not going to let the latest and greatest diet book deter me from getting through this one. That has been a problem -- I start reading one book, then another one shows up at my door and I get all ADD and drop the first one.

I'm going to do the Phase 1 plan up until Friday, when I head over to Fitbloggin' 10. It may be difficult to stick to the plan over the weekend, but I'll be among a whole lot of bloggers with the same healthy mindset so I'm sure we won't be wallowing in doughnuts.