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LMQC blogger, Alan Sivell, admits to using a bit of “self-hypnosis” as he trained himself to choose broccoli over unhealthy stuff … but says being fit is worth it.

By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger Alan Sivell

Despite what my wife does, I don’t eat broccoli for breakfast. But it has become important to my diet, along with other healthy stuff.

What can I say? I’m a convert!

Here’s a daily rundown:

Getting the day off to a good start with a smart breakfast

Breakfast is easy, and the same every day. I slap some peanut butter on two 100-calorie breakfast rounds and eat them very slowly.

I make them the night before and use real peanut butter, the kind with no sugar or additives.

I also make my lunch the night before, after dinner. Why?

Because snacking has always been a problem for me, especially when I am even a little hungry. Making the next day’s breakfast and lunch when my stomach is satisfied is smart … and lower cal!

A D-I-Y lunch is a good diea

Taking lunch to work prevents me from spontaneously overeating (there are always snacks at work) and provides an instant alibi when coworkers want to go out for Mexican food (with endless chips) or a fast food “Thick” burger.

Try it. Pretty soon they stop asking you.

Lunch is often 2 hardboiled eggs, a couple of cheese sticks and 4 or 5 pretzel rods. It’s a combo that provides a bunch of different foods and textures and fumbling. I have to look at them and not mindlessly read my FB page. Well, not as much.

Some days, I’ll mix some nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews and raisins) and munch them with a bottle of water followed by a cup of coffee for dessert. (You do have to pay attention to portion size: the nuts are good for you but can pack on calories if you’re not paying attention.)

You caught that? A cup of coffee for desert?

Trust me: if you are dialing back your food obsessions, even a cup of coffee is a treat. It’s not just something to wash down your Snickers bar or the second handful of M&Ms.

Dinner might be complicated, but it’s not impossible

Dinner in our family is complicated: My daughter is a vegan, my wife is a vegetarian who will eat salmon and my son is a meat-and-potatotarian. Me? I’m an omnivore.

I’ve managed to navigate all our dietary requirements by just sautéing a skillet full of vegatables and cooking some meat and potatoes. Everybody is happy just about 5-6 nights a week, a pretty good batting average.

The skillet of veggies features broccoli, what I call our new white meat.

I sauté it almost every night in olive oil along with garlic, onions, cauliflower, green peppers, tomatoes and any other vegetable I find in the fridge. I sprinkle on some basil and oregano.

Scoop the veggies over a baked potato, brown rice or quinoa, and grate some very sharp cheddar on top of it and you don’t really need anything else.

I serve myself a moderate portion of mostly vegetables and a little bit of meat and the starch of the night. And I don’t go back for seconds.

Dessert is either some frozen grapes (it’s like having grape ice cream!) or a fruit smoothie, made earlier in the day. (Of course.)

Changing your lifestyle begins with changing your mind

I will admit, a good part of changing your lifestyle is changing your mindset. And that does take a bit of self-hypnosis … and time. I sort of eased into it.

But I love being fit. And I’ve found that it’s not that hard.

If I just plan and make meals ahead of time and don’t wing it as I do with the rest of my life, I can be in control of my food desires, rather than the other way around.

Alan Sivell

Alan Sivell

St. Ambrose Professor, Pizza-lover, Bulge Battler

Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life.