I HAVE MOVED! My main blog as of Sept of 2010 is TWO YEARS TO HAPPY WEIGHT AFTER. Visit me there. My post links in the updates below will link up to the new blog. THANKS for reading!

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Dragonfire Factoid: Beware Diet Drugs

"(Diet drugs) can be safe in the short run only," said Dr. Stanley Hodges, medical director of hospital internal medicine associates at Indian Path Medical Center. "I prefer them not to be used any longer than an eight-week period of time. Anorexiants (one category of diet drug that diminishes appetite) have a tendency to cause elevation in blood pressure, increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. ... The long-term effects are not good, as far as what it does to your health. When should they be used? They should be used as a last resort."

--Losing Proposition: Weight Loss Drugs Should Be Last Resort

The No-Balance Gnome Strikes:
Time Flies and Weight Loss Stalls When The Mind Gets Into One Track

Wow. Has it really been that long? Two weeks and two days? Wow.

Okay, first, the apology: Sorry. My bad.

Next the realization: I apparently can't concentrate on more than one thing at a time and I don't have the skills (yet) to undertake two or three major things simultaneously.

When I was focusing on losing weight, I started losing weight.

When my focus shifted to the fantasy novel and the current pre-planning for the launching of our speculative fiction online magazine, the diet went out the window. I have actually been scared to step on a scale.

I did get my first shipment of vegetarian fare last week, and I ate about half of it. But then I wasn't planning meals, I was just reading, writing, plotting, graphing, and writing. And I made some time to keep up with my main blog, but then I was back to the main mission.

It's really, really hard to give priority to two things, and three things is exponentially trickier, the Princess Dieter now knows.

So, how do I make time for both?

I'm not sure. Anyone have advice for how to stay on the plan when they have deadlines or intense projects or other upheavalish affairs?

I know that today, I sort of snapped up and though: Holy Cow. I haven't diet blogged. Come to think of it, I haven't even much dieted. (I think being sick since Monday has sort of slowed me down in the creative department, which made it possible for my brain to focus on what had been neglected.) I'm not kidding. I'm still astounded it's been 16 days. It doesn't seem possible. It feels like it's been five or six days.

I'm leaving the scale alone until next Wednesday. I'm feeling booby-sore and face-zitted, which may mean Aunt Flo will soon come by in a few days. (At my age, not sure, though.) Not the time to weigh-in.

On the menu for lunch (from Diet to Go): Black Bean and Feta Cheese wrap. I'll be adding some leftover black bean soup to that for extra fiber. Iced Tea with sweetener. My snack is an apple with some peanut butter. Dinner looks like mushroom ravioli or mac n cheese (haven't decided).

I've gotten some good creative work done (not great, but good), and I realize that as much as I need to get this proposal and novel done, I really need to take a walk and buy some fruits and veggies to supplement the Diet To Go stuff. I've been single-minded, one-track mind Princess, and that means everything else is off-kilter.

Any tips on keeping a balance? I seem to be terrible at balancing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Food Delivery: Going Vegetarian in June

Princess Dieter is not a vegetarian. I enjoy roast or fricaseed turkey, roast chicken, chicken breast in just about any form, beef, and pork. (I can't eat seafood, which I love, but, well, life is full of unfairness, huh?)
But my main loves are cheese, eggs, and beans. As long as I have those three, I actually could go meatless and not suffer unduly.

BUT...here's the reason for the whole "vegetarian for a spell" thing:
I need to focus all my energy for a while on the novel I'm writing. This means, the shopping, chopping, etc, no. I don't wanna waste time on that. So, I signed up for Diet-To-Go, a meal delivery service. Three meals a day, seven days a week, delivered once a week to my door, all frozen and ready to be stored until I reheat and EAT. (They have options without breakfast, or five days a week, etc.)

This is not a long-term solution, and we all know it. This is one of those, "Oh, it measures my calories for me, provides the cooking, and I don't have to think about it" things.

I have actually tried two diet delivery services: Diet-To-Go first back in Jan-Feb, when I made a totally fruitless attempt to diet sans motivation. (I just ate the delivery food PLUS more food. Urp.)

I also I tried Diet To Your Door (Bistro M.D. now) , in March. I did not like DTYD/BMD very much, although they had some nice low-cal bagels and tasty muffins and pastries (I wish I had jotted down the brand names, cause I'd buy them!). They also have a decent high-protein hot cocoa. But the meals....eh. I don't want to eat chicken THAT much, and especially pre-cooked chicken, which, sorry, is kinda nasty. I ended up tossing most of what I ordered. Some is still frozen solid in my fridge. Unless you adore chicken you boil up in a bag, I don't recommend DTYD.

With Diet-To-Go, I tried both the vegetarian and the low-carb. The low-carb: Yuck. And not satisfying. The low-fat I didn't bother with: too much chicken and turkey, and I am not paying for a turkey sandwich I can make without fuss at home.

The vegetarian option, though, is rather tasty. I actually enjoyed it, mostly. The ravioli and stuffed shells and mac n cheese satisfy a gal like me who loves her pasta. The breakfasts--skip the bagels, tasteless; the muffins are TOO SMALL, get one from Vitalicious instead. BUT..the omelets are okay and the pancakes are AMAZING. They come in apple or blueberry stuffed, and I just get the whole week substituted with pancakes. SuperYUM.
Other options: The waffles are dry and bland, but if you like waffles, you might enjoy them. The low-fat Stonyfield yogurts are great. (I've been buying only them since I discovered them on DTG, and ditched the other yogurt brands. Unfortunately, with DTG, I sometimes got a frozen up one that had an expired date or soon to expire date. While that just probably means they had it frozen for a while, it's very offputting. I'd recommend Diet To Go try harder to send fresher dated yogurts.)
Some of the breakfasts with baked good (muffins, scones, etc) also come with juice and yogurt. So, that's a nice combo. (The scones are delicious.) Little Ocean Spray juices, btw--apple, orange. Easily portable to work.
I tend to substitute a lot. Since I ate their entire rotation of vegetarian meals, I learned what I liked and what I didn't.

For instance, I really liked the Mirkin burger, but not on their kaiser roll. I put it on Ezekiel bread (whole grain, fiber) and it rocked with the BBQ sauce. I also love the feta cheese and bean wrap. (They really need to start using whole grain products. It's crazy to still be serving white flour in this day and age.) The wrap is lovely. Toasted in an oven (rather than nuked), it's really yummy. I also like the meltovers, but I take the toppings off their bread and put it on a whole wheat pita or other crusty whole grain option. More fiber and tastes better (less soggy, too, when toasted).

The nice thing about Diet-To-Go, too, is that you get a little dessert with some entrees--chocolate mousse, angel food cake (tiny portion), peach crisp (not that crisp, but hey, DESSERT!).
Some entress have mini-sides: One has this red pepper spread that is just amazing with a breadstick or two.

Skip the fettucine in white sauce. Utterly overcooked pasta and tasteless sauce. I mean tasteless. I felt like I'd put unflavored goo in my mouth. The cous cous--not for me. Unappealing texture (I've had cous cous made my a local North African chef, and it's great. This is not THAT.) The spaghetti pie--dIdn't like it. The eggplant parmesan: skip it. (And I"m a huge eggplant freak.) I sub out ALL the stuff with soy for the dinners. I just didn't like those soy thingies. And I like soy--soy milk, tofu--even if I shouldn't eat it due to my hypothyroidism. Endocrine disruptors are not my pal.
Like I said, I substitute a lot. (There is an extra charge for this, but I'd rather have something I'll actually enjoy and pay a bit more.)

So, if you ever get really, really busy and want to try a diet delivery service, and you LIKE vegetarian menus, really like vegetarian, then this is one I'd recommend. Just be ready to dish out anywhere from 400 to 600 bucks a month for one person. (I know, not cheap. This is why it's not a long-term solution. It's a temporary boost or help or timesaver, pretty much.)

If you've had experience with the other diet delivery services (or the ones I mentioned), why not drop a comment with a link to where you discuss it, or just comment away about it.

The Princess is off to work on her story now...

Exercise Excerpt: Slow's Not A Go?

"Although moderate-intensity physical activity does provide numerous health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and risks for systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes, you better increase the intensity of your activity to lose weight unless you exercise more than an hour almost every day," said Dong-Chul Seo, lead author of the article and an assistant professor in Indiana University
Bloomington's Department of Applied Health Science.


Seo cautioned that making an active lifestyle a habit, regardless of the intensity of the exercise, is more important than exercising vigorously. "Many obese or older adults would benefit more through moderate-intensity physical activity. Research indicates that obese or elderly people tend to adhere more to moderate activity than to vigorous activity."
--from "Slow Walking Not Helpful In Losing Weight"

Bottom line: Any consistent exercise program does you good, in all sorts of ways, but if your focus is exercise for weight loss, you gotta ramp it up and do it longer. Moreweat and more time. (Ugh.)

Wednesday Weigh-In: At Last, A Loss

I've had a very busy few days. My weekend plans got messed with, and I ended up working like mad on a fictional work-in-progress, bumping into things as I walked around the house focused on twists and all the plot holes that need plugging.

I finally plopped into bed at 4:30 pm yesterday, after those days of never going to bed or getting up at consistent times. I crashed.

I woke up at 1:30 am today, and almost forgot to weigh-in. (The scale is in the bedroom, and hubby had just come to bed. I was reluctant to turn on the light and wake him. But, hey, I did. I put a pillow over his eyes.

On the scale:

Today's Weight: 282.5

Last Week's Weight: 284.5

That's two pounds bye-bye. I guess I might have had a half a pound more gone if Monday hadn't been an anniversary celebration, complete with baby back ribs and and cheesecake and a bunch of fatty sides and appetitzers.

I'm still happy.


I'd like to thank y'all for your comments. It's funny how encouraging posts from people you've never met face to face can be. :)


Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Biggest Losers...and Regainers?

The statistics on weight loss are not heartening. Most who lose--yes, the vast majority--regain lost pounds, and even add some. Oh-oh, I feel dragonfire on my neck!

No, no, let's hurry into the castle and drop the portcullis.

Oooh, better.

There was some comment chatter not too long ago on some FatFighter Blogs about how watching the rebroadcasts of old THE BIGGEST LOSER shows had a beneficial (ie. motivating) effect.

And I agreed. Watching those folks just change and change, lose and lose, and struggle, well, it was like a coach saying, "Get off your couch and move and then plan a healthy meal."

It can also be discouraging, if you don't have a personal trainer there with you for hours a day, and you're not living in an environment structured to focus solely, consistently, obessively on diet and exercise. In other worlds, a world created for weight loss (which is what THE BIGGEST LOSER ranch is).

Anyway, I had mixed reactions--sad, cheered, discouraged, encouraged--while reading an issue of TIME magazine recently that had various diet/appetite/obesity related articles. One included an update on some of THE BIGGEST LOSER contestants, including Ryan Benson, the guy who had such a drastic change in weight, so drastic that he won the first season's big prize of 250 thousand smackeroos. (I remember him, because he started out as a real unlikable dude I wanted kicked off the show, then morphed into a more softie, weepy dude I was able to cheer for, though I wanted Doc or Kelly to win, honestly.)

Bad News Brute Alert:
Ryan has regained all but thirty of his lost pounds.

Let me break that down:

Original Weight: 330
Winning Weight: 208
Current Weight: 300

He's managed to keep 30 off (which is better for his health than NONE), and just goes to show that even with total pro assistance, it's not easy maintaining. Here's hoping Ryan can get the numbers down again. Hey, his winnings can help hire a trainer and get some good diet food delivery if necessary. Good luck to you, RB.

The TIME article goes on to mention some disturbing behind-the-scenes activity:

The Biggest Loser achieves rapid transformations—contestants often drop more than 9 kg in a week—through calorie restriction, endless exercise and no small amount of dehydration that occurs behind the scenes. Ryan Benson, 38, an actor who works for a DVD distributor in Los Angeles, lost 55 kg to win the first season in January 2005 but says he regained 14.5 kg within five days simply by drinking water. Matt Hoover, 31, a motivational speaker based in Seattle, had a 7-kg rebound within a day of winning Season 2. Last season's runner-up, Kai Hibbard, 28, an aerobics instructor in Alaska who says she spent the night before her final weigh-in hopping in and out of a sauna for six hours, consumed only sugar-free Jell-O for several days and wolfed down asparagus, which is a natural diuretic.

Okay, I understand. Big money is at stake. They're taking crazy measures to win.

I remember a high school boyfriend who used to take water pills and used to spit--actually spit and spit and spit into a cup--as well as make himself sweat (wrapping himself in plastic wrap and exercising in the sun), in order to make weight for the wrestling team competitions. I knew that had to be unhealthy. (It certainly was creepy.) It was all about DEHYDRATION for weight loss, for a weigh-in, which is not about losing fat or gaining health, that's for sure.

There's some good news in the article and some difficult but sobering news.

The good news: One of my fave contestants, the pretty dark-haired Kelly Minner, has not only kept her finale fat loss, she's lost even more and is down to 140 lbs. Go, Kelly!

But she does it in part by heeding the sobering part, she exercises up to four hours a day for six days a week.

No, that's not a typo. And here's some factoid on that, emphasis mine. And know what, let's make it a SPARKLY FACTOID, because at least it offers some hope (though, hey, I'm not feeling all that cheered or sparklesome):

The U.S. National Weight Control Registry, which tracks the habits of some 5,000 successful maintainers, cites a study showing only a fifth of dieters with a history of obesity sustain a loss of 10% of their body weight for a year or more. "The best predictor of the ones who are not going to regain are the ones who are doing the most physical activity," says Dr. Holly Wyatt, an obesity expert at the University of Colorado. She says most registrants exercise, on average, at least an hour a day.

To read all of the weight/fitness related articles in that TIME issue, go to "The Way We Eat--The Science of Appetite" and More Stories.

~ ~ ~

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wednesday Weigh-In: The Same After Some Dereliction of Royal Diet Duty-- plus Vitalicious Muffins ...MmMmmMmmmm

Today's scale number: 284.5

The good news: I didn't gain.

The not-that-great news: I didn't lose.

Well, I've been absent for a spell. I have been busy, so my posting has been limited to my main (writing and life) blog. I've had dental woes (finally being solved), and leaky roof woes (not solved yet), and hot weather blues, and hurricane anxiety syndrome (H.A.S.), which is what comes of getting whacked around like a puny bug two years running (2004, 2005), hence the still-damaged building leak thing.

Plus, after being AWOL for 4 months, my period decided to show up. This explains some of the ghastly bloating last week that utterly kept me off the scale.

But, the raging cravings have passed, and I managed to survive the chocolate frenzy with Vitalicious deep chocolate, high-fiber muffins and the occasional Dove dark chocolate individual-sized bites, and not just stick my face straight into a vat of chocolate batter.

This, I take to be good.

I should have known my old and lately unreliable Aunt Menses was coming to visit cause I had the chin zits and the alternating sweet and salt cravings. I so rarely eat potato chips, that when I reached over to eat my hubby's bag o' chips, I should have seen a flashing red light and heard a booming voice hollering, "Warning! Hormonal fluctuations to port, Captatin! Take evasive action." Or to portly, as it may be.

I didn't evade. I ate the darn chips. More to bloat over.

But, I did exercise some care, went to bed a bit hungry a couple of days in the last two weeks, so I didn't regain. And, I'll content myself with that. Maintaining some loss is always better than regaining any loss.

So, how are you, gents and ladies, doing this week. I feel re-energized for the fight after a very unmotivated and cravy couple of weeks. I plan to post daily--for my own good, and certainly, hey, if it helps anyone else, HURRAH!

I hope you did much better than I. And if you slipped, too, ah, forgive yourself. Move on. Always move on in hope.

Anyone else dig those chocolate Vitalicious muffins? (I tried the low-carb ones a couple years ago and thought they were DREADFUL! Never ordered again until last month, when I thought, well, Hungry Girl loves em, and maybe the regular ones are okay. They're very okay. The deep chocolate ones rock for choco-cake cravings. One point for the tops. Twice that for the muffins. That's a WW bargain because the fiber makes it pretty filling! With milk, one top make a great mini-meal (especially if the sweet tooth is gnawing at you.)

Stay away from the low-carb ones, though. Ew.

Here' hoping next week sees a 2-3 lb decrease.