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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Monday, August 25, 2008

Sparkly Factoid: Adequate Vitamin C Helps Burn Fat

People in a study who had low blood concentrations of vitamin C and walked on a treadmill for an hour burned 25 percent less fat than people with adequate C. But a dose of C brought fat-burning levels back up to par. Why? Seems C is essential for creating carnitine, a substance that turns fat into fuel. Find out how much C you need with this tool.
--from "Slim Down with This Vitamin" at RealAge.Com

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Royal Fatfighting Tools-- #5: Managing Thoughts

As if it weren't hard enough to manage food and manage time and manage movement, one thing that can't be left out of the fatfighting arsenal is...managing thoughts.

I don't know about you--I can only guess!--but I know that I can have a slew of pessimistic, defeatist thoughts.

"I never finish anything, I won't finish this."

"I'm weak."

"This is too much to handle."

"I can't resist pizza!"

"I hate exercising."

"I don't have the energy to do this."

"I want X. I want X. I want X. I gotta have X."

But to win at losing, managing thoughts is the only way to manage actions, because all actions begin with a desire, and all desires find form in some thought, no matter how basic. Even if it's only a mental "yes" to something to which we need to give a mental "no."

Ultimately, we are what we think and think and think again. So, to become who we want to become, managing thoughts is essential, whether it's about one's spiritual path, one's marital unity, one's artistic endeavors, one's politics, one's relationships...or one's weight loss success or failure:

Identify self-sabotaging thoughts. Pay attention to your negative thinking. Are you saying to yourself "This is too difficult," "I'll never be able to lose this much weight," or "I'm too tired." Remember, the goal is to MANAGE these thoughts when they pop up.
--from Life Coach Lorri Molinari

To defeat my fat, I have to defeat my fat thinking.

I'm getting slowly, slowly better at it. I do notice that I talk more positively to myself (a big difference than in times past). And as a result, I feel more positive these days. When I make bad choices, I don't spend the rest of the day in a funk, telling myself off in nasty terms. I forgive myself and say, "I'm not giving up. My next choice will be better."

It's a hard process to change the internal thoughtscape. It's really hard when one is middle-aged and has spent a life with a lot of self-criticism and even self-loathing.

But it's happening. Little by little, I'm thinking differently. I'm befriending my brain and spirit. I'm being kinder to myself, and I'm taking a new perspective as a habit.

It's still not automatic.

I do think I will invest in professional cognitive behavioral therapy. Right now, I'm spending so much on good, organic food and personal exercise training, that there's no moolah for therapy. But it's on my agenda for, I hope, next year. I have to find a good, solid practitioner and have the focus for it, but I do believe it's a necessary next step for my own healing of habits.

I don't want to lose a significant amount of weight only to regain it because I didn't learn the skills necessary for long-term success:

It is widely recognized that the development of behavioral and cognitive skills learned during weight loss is critical to successful maintenance. Indeed, lacking coping and problem-solving skills appear to be important factors in weight regain after a loss.
--from the Weight Watchers article "Mind Skills for Lasting Weight Loss."

One of the thoughts I'm "losing" is the, "Oh, well, I pigged out already today, so might as well have whatever I want. The day is shot."

That's defeatist. That's a bad mental habit.

Another thought I'm working on losing: "I feel low. I feel blue. I need to feel better. Pizza makes me feel better. I deserve a pizza."

That's self-indulgent. That's a bad mental habit.

When I feel blue (as I have had periodic depressions since childhood), I need to replace eating with exercise (which elevates mood) or singing (which gets oxygen in there and can elevate mood) or calling a sister or praying or reading an escapist novel or anything that's not fattening and can help me through the blues.

But the thought must come first: "No, eating will make me feel better for a little while, but going for a walk or doing some Pilates moves will make me feel better all day." or "No, eating will only add to my problems, not solve them. I need to do something creative with my blues. I'm gonna write a poem. I'm gonna write a song. I'm gonna express my feeling with a collage."

It takes time to learn new rituals of thought, healthful ones. It's worth it, no?

Identify your self-sabotaging thoughts and stop them from entering your head. The best way to do this is to stop being overly critical of yourself. When you think you can not do something, you probably will give up before you even try. If you do not think you can do 30 sit-ups, then do 10 and feel good that you did 10. You can probably do one extra sit-up each day until you reach 30. Identifying why something makes you feel bad can help prevent those situations in the future.
--from "7 Methods to Lose Weight by Thinking Yourself Thin"

Pay attention to your thinking today. Have you said unkind things to yourself? Have you been harsh? Have you been self-indulgent? Have you fueled your tempting thoughts? Or have you been positive? Have you used mental strategies to avert overeating today? Have you used mental affirmations to get your body moving? Did you congratulate yourself heartily when you chose well?

How are you managing your thoughts today?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Elephant....er, not yet.

Pilates is moving along. I noticed I can do more legwork on the Reformer, so I'm clearly getting stronger. My trainer mentioned that I brought my legs to up to my chest on my own (no hands assist). I didn't even notice. She did. She said the fact that I did it without thinking is a good sign of increasing abdominal strength.

Good. I'll take it.

I did have a couple of moments when the reflux hit and I was close to puking. Urg.

I still can't do the Elephant right. We tried it for the first time Wednesday. We tried it again today, but I kept getting light-headed and we'd have to quit. It's one of those little mountains I intend to climb. :) I will defeat this beast.

I hate doing roll backs. But I hate doing roll backs with a side twist even more. The fact that my fat is highly concentrated in my abdomen means that in such a position, it's VERY VERY VERY hard for me to take a breath. Sometimes, air just won't go in. So, I have to focus a lot on keeping my chest wide, open, collarbones apart, shoulders down. Still, it's hard to breathe that way. I'm thinking as my abdominal fat goes bye-bye (slowly, but it will), I'll be able to do that better.

I suspect that the immense weight I carry in my belly is also the impediment (besides the wooziness) to doing the elephant. In that bent over position, with an arched torso, all that belly weight is hanging down, critical gravity issue! That's a lot of weight to try to counteract with an arch and abdominal muscles. Plus I have size D boobies, and they'd be smothering me (literally, my nose was in my cleavage) during this pose. Oxygen was at a premium.

Still, I always look forward to seeing some progress, and when I do, my motivation to continue with Pilates increases.

On the, "I'm learning not to give a shit about other people's perceptions about my girth" front, I got 1/2 hour early to my appt, and there was a barre class going on (yeah, I'm the fat one...as usual), and I went, ah, so what, and just did my workout and to heck how dumb and ungainly I looked. :)

Gee, I'm Extra "Brilliant" This Week!

Now doesn't that sound conceited. But I don't mean it in the way it sounds.

I mean brilliant as in "brillante": A nice little bloggy honor that has come my way via Gym Rat. It's the Brillante Premio, 2008. Thanks, G.R.!

Cool, huh? It's always nice to get props.

I'm not gonna nominate blogs, since I notice the ones (or a lot of the ones) that come to mind already got a nod.

I will say that if you go to my sidebar down to the Diet Blog Royalty set of links, you will find the blogs I read with regularity and find helpful and fun. I hope you visit some (or all) of them.

Sparkly Factoid: Fiber's Great for Your Lungs

Specifically, folks who took in at least 27 grams daily had a larger lung capacity than did those who consumed fewer than 10 grams. Additionally, the group that consumed more fiber were found to be 15 percent less likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The author of the study, Stephanie London, M.D., Ph.D., said, "The fiber found in cereal and produce may reduce tissue inflammation that can damage lungs."
--from "Fiber...For Your Lungs" at That's Fit

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Do You Eat Before Working Out?

I've been experimenting in the last month and a half on what helps me get through an hour-long Pilates workout best.

Heavy meals. No.

Just a piece of fruit. No.

An egg or egg whites. No.

Before I tell you what gets me--a middle-aged fat gal whose been sedentary for years--through a hard set of exercises without totally feeling a sinking fatigue, let me pass on what Duke Diet & Fitness experts suggest:

The best preworkout snack is one that includes carbohydrates, which provide an energy boost, and protein, which sustains the energy boost and helps you feel satisfied longer. Here are some ideas:

* Half a bagel with low-fat cream cheese
* An apple with reduced-fat cheddar cheese
* A banana with peanut butter
* Yogurt with berries
* A few crackers with tuna
* One slice of bread with turkey

The key is to keep your portion small — around 50 to 100 calories. Eat your snack 30 minutes to an hour before you work out, keeping in mind that the body takes a little longer to absorb the energy from foods containing fat.

And before you stock up on energy bars or other products that promise to give you a boost during your workout, take note: While these products can be a convenient option, they can also be high in calories. If you do choose a sports bar, look for small ones that contain 100 calories or less.

Okay, so, with trial and error, I've noticed that what I have approximately 1 hour before a workout DOES make an energy difference (pooping out and working less hard versus feeling more zing and putting in more effort, hence, getting better exercise and results).

This is the combo that works for me:

*Something with caffeine (a shot of espresso, a cup of regular drip coffee, a cup of green tea, or a glass of iced green tea).
*something with about 20 grams of carbs: a nice-sized banana, some fruit juice that isn't overly acidic (orange juice gives me reflux, which is an obstacle in positions where you put pressure on the tummy).
*some protein: to keep it fast, I go for something super-easy, like a protein mix that I can shake up fast in a plastic shaker cup. I've used DESIGNER WHEY, which is low-carb. I've used the Melaleuca brand mix. Now, thanks to Gym Rat's recommendation about the flavor, and my own review of its nutrients, I'm using Syntha-6. I got the strawberry flavor, and it's reminiscent of the strawberry milk of my childhood. It's nice.
*Something with potassium. If I use milk with the protein mix, that covers it. If I have a banana, that covers it. If I don't have time to eat a fruit, I just guzzle down some coconut water. That has carbs and a LOT of potassium (about 600 mg for 11 oz). This has cut down on my propensity to have cramps in certain moves.

The Starbucks Vivanno in chocolate banana flavor works for me, too--it's got the nonfat milk and banana(for the potassium double wham), the protein mix, and I request a shot of espresso for the caffeine.

It's easy to make a smoothie, too, just add the ingredients together at home in a blender: skim milk, some protein mix scoop, a banana or strawberries, and a shot of espresso in there (or a bit of green tea powder mix).

So, there ya go: caffeine, some carbs, some protein, and potassium. I try to keep clear of added fats.

So far, this has been the BEST combo for me.

What works for you?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Busy Saturday, Sad Sunday, & Generally Scary Weekend

Yesterday, we celebrated my brother's 62nd birthday (this still shocks me, that he's a "senior"). The family roasted a pig (Cuban thing), rice and beans, boiled yuca with mojo sauce, had home-made tamales. My sister made a low-fat chicken pie (in memory of our mother, who used to make it on special occasions). I took two diet desserts--sugar-free and lowfat.I took my own low-cal drinks, and made a Sangria without sugar (used Splenda and diet ginger ale along with fresh citrus fruit and added blueberry and acai juices). Lots of heart-healthy stuff in a good Sangria made "lighter" and "smarter."

Today,Sunday the 17th, is the 10th anniversary of my father's death. He died in my house, here, in the bedroom that became his hospice room. (He and mom had came to live with us after he was released from the hospital.)

So, a happy day. A sad day.

And a scary weekend overall, watching news of Tropical Storm Fay, threatening to come our way. Not just ours, but through two places where I have family--Cuba, Florida. We went to Target last night after the party to get some extra water and batteries (we always have plenty on hand, cause, well, it's summer in a hurricane-prone zone.) I had a tremendous hot flash and a sudden lower back pain (cramps-related, no doubt). I thought I was gonna pass out.

This is my first period in four months, one of the joys of perimenopause: the not-knowing when company is coming down below. I slept SIXTEEN HOURS.

While I feel rested, I also feel "off." I wasn't up to cooking, especially since I have loads of pre-storm chores to do (laundry, cleaning, etc);so hubby got us Thai food (I had brown rice, a small salad with ginger dressing, a side of basil/chili sauce mixed veggies, and satay chicken). I made some fresh lemonade without sugar and had two lovely plums.

I probably should have rescheduled tomorrow's Pilates class--storm might be ugly here, who knows?--but it's on for now. I hope my Aunt Flo goes easy on me Monday. :)


Friday, August 15, 2008

Right Fit? Not So Much.

I ordered a pair of Lane Bryant's new "Right Fit" Jeans, according to which I'm a BLUE 6. I'm big and CURVY!

Well, they fit perfectly in my waist and hips, yes (where they have you measure), but there's an enormous baggy part in the groin/thighs. I look inflated there. If I could have them taken in from my lower hips through my upper thighs--that would be my right fit.

Maybe a future true RIGHT FIT will take into account how much your upper thighs, perhaps even lower hips--not just widest parts--measure. Or they'll tailor it for your multiple measurements.

Clearly, what Lane Bryant offers now is not a Right Fit for this Princess. :(

But it might be for YOU!

Dang. I was hoping to fit right in jeans again. Not yet. Back to my elastic waist ones.

(Though I might see if a tailor can take these in without costing MORE than the jeans did in the first place.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Teasing Your Way to a Tight Tummy

Volleyball Olympian Kerri Walsh has an athlete's abdomen. Here's how she gets it:

In addition to practicing on the volleyball court, three hours a day, Walsh also practices pilates three days a week. She feels that it has given her greater flexibility, strength and stability.

Her favorite pilates move is called The Teaser.

See a demonstration of the advanced Teaser.

I am not fit/advanced enough to do a Teaser in its full form. I have done--with great difficulty!--the beginner version shown in this video's second part.(The one with the bent knees, ball between knees, and using the roll-down/push-through bar.)

Quote taken from a blog entry over at Diets in Review


A New Fruit For You: Quenepas aka Mamoncillos aka Ackee aka Gineps aka Kenep aka Spanish Limes aka Gineppes

I always end up in this sort of conversation come August in Miami at a farmer's market:

Me: "Ooooh, quenepas!" ::::grab a cluster of the small, ovoid, green fruit::::

Someone standing nearby, if Haitian: "Ah, we call those kenep."

Someone else standing by, if from a different part of the Caribbean: "We call it ackee."

Someone not from the Caribbean or Latin America: "What is that?"

Me, "I'm not sure what 'Americans' call it." I go through the names.

"Is it good," the uninitiated asks, looking curiously at the weird little fruit.

"Are you kidding me? I'll eat this whole package in one sitting! Loved these since I was a kid. And I only got good ones in August. Gotta have them now."


Mamoncillos is what my dad called them. I learned to call them quenepas (sometimes seen spelled "kenepas") in the South Bronx, as that's what the Puerto Rican fruit merchants called them. Either way: MmmmMMmmmmm. One of my all-time fave "not seen often" fruits.

Here in Miami, vendors will sell them on street corners in narrow plastic bags. If you're down here, you've probably noticed that every August.

If you've never tried them, here's why they're good for dieters: You can't eat them fast.

To me, they were akin to the experience of eating pomegranates and mangoes as a kid: a special, seasonal, stain-threatening treat.

My Mami would take off my shirt (when I was pre-puberty, natch), sit me on a pile of newspapers, hand me the pomegranate (or bag of quenepas or a mango), and let me suck away and make as much of a mess as my enthrallment with the fruits required.

I never ate the crunchy litle seeds of the pomegranates--still don't. I'd suck each seed individually--one at a time--getting the ruby fruit off the miniscule center hardness.

Same with quenepas. Very little wonderful sweet-tart flesh surrounds the pit, but so worth the effort of sucking it off, sliding the teeth over the goodness, getting as much as you could of the pale-peach pulp.

All three stain pretty badly, especially pomegranates! Quenepas leave a brown stain. Hence the precautions.

Wednesday, I had my quenepas when I got the late munchies. One little green beauty at a time. That amazingly satisfying brittleness that gives at the bite, so you can peel it off and get to work on the pulpy pit. It takes a while to get through a cluster this way. For bingers like me, any very slow-eating food, especially one that is so flavorful and satisfying to the mouth--you really gotta work it with tongue and lips and teeth--is a good thing.

Lets the binge urge pass a bit. Or altogether. :)

If you never tried these--no matter what you wanna call th em--be adventurous. If they have a lovely sweetness with the tartness, they're ripe. If they're just tart, they're not ripe: spit it out and search the cluster for a plump, riper one.

Try some this month. Before they're all gone till next year. :(


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pilates and the Princess' Knees
& Prayer for Fellow Bloggers

I mentioned how hard it was to get through ANYTHING Monday--Pilates included. I was just deflated. Energy was on the ground level. No oomph.

Today, with the storms of Mon and Tues having moved on--sunnier, less humidity, no storming--my asthma was better. Breathing better = energy a bit better. I also slept slightly better. Energy that much better.

I was, however, in pain.

Monday, we did some barre work, including plies. Though we were careful to keep my knee from extending past the point of danger (kept it perpendicular, the knee over the big toe-ish), my right knee (the one that NEVER gives me trouble) hurt. We adjusted a bit, and it hurt less, but I didn't say anything and worked through it.

Bad idea.

Yesterday and today, my right (normally nice) knee has had stabbing pains whenever I sit down, get up, or climb stairs. Any weight-bearing bending motions. My left knee (the troublesome one since '89) is making loud clicks.

So, instead of opting out of the workout, I was very careful to describe what I was feeling to Liza, my trainer. She made appropriate adjustments to my posture to keep the knees relaxed. We stayed off the weight bearing stuff. Mostly used the reformer, stretched on the barrel. The only weight-bearing exercise I did was stretching-related. I'm hoping with some careful movement on my part, my knee will ease up and it will be my nice knee once more.

Fingers, not knees, crossed.

On the very positive side: I got a good workout. I couldn't get through things on Monday, so I worked proactively to set myself up for a better workout today. I prayed to get rest. (And did.) I made up a pre-workout snack based on something I read online to aid performance, including carbs, green tea, barley powder, whey protein, and coconut water for potassium. (It did help.) Today, I felt myself working harder, the muscles trembling with effort, but not collaspsing; my mind focused on controlling. Did I have a hard time with some things? Sure. But I didn't feel like a failure--like Monday. I felt good. I didn't feel like crying--the way I did Monday.

So far, my eating has been good, too. Not great. Great would imply much more perfection of choices and constriction of points. But good. Plenty of protein, high fiber (had beans at lunch), got my calcium foods in, and I have a lovely watermelon and half-papaya ready for dessert tonight. I went, stinky and sweaty after Pilates, to get these specifically. I was craving watermelon, and I did't have any at home. Tomorrow I get my organic foods delivery (mostly produce and dairy, plus chicken breasts) which will see me nicely set up for the rest of this week with greens and berries and calcium-rich foods.

I'm holding on tonight. My worst time of day is evenings. Making it through the evening means I make it through the day. :)

Positive thoughts.

And if you can spare a prayer for my creaky/achy knees and my spirit, I happily--and gratefully-- accept. While you're praying, add some intercession for our dear Scale Junkie, Diana, and Lyn of Escape from Obesity and Kate of Fabulous @ 50 . Life is tossing them curves--from the "void" inside, to marital grief, to health issues, to financial woes.

God bless you all, give you peace through trials, bring you through them stronger and better and braver and smarter and with healing and much more joy at the end of it all than you could possibly imagine!



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crazy Weight Loss Methods

Olympic Athletes, like some dieters at large, try crazy, dangerous weight loss schemes, such as those outlined in this article.

These are not new wacko methods, either. I had a boyfriend in high school who was on the wrestling team, and he did the rubber-suit thing and the spitting up and the water pills before weigh-ins. (He was also on the softball team, but didn't do crazy stuff for that, that I can recall.)

Some THE BIGGEST LOSER finalists use nutty methods to get low, low, low for the final weigh-in--including eating lots of asparagus and taking water pills. They can gain as much as 32 pounds in the days after that last weigh-in, because it was water loss, not fat.

It's lucky none of them collapsed from heart failure.

A distressing number of us dieters have at some time come to rely on pills (water or "speed" or laxatives), saran wrap (my boyfriend in high school's sister would sit around all day before a big date wrapped in plastic wrap to fit into her dress better!), eating only X meal bar, drinking only X protein shake, etc.

Anything that is dehydrating is causing you to lose water, not fat. We don't need to lose water, generally. (Some folks have a medical condition that causes excessive fluid retention, and they DO need to lose water.) Even when we eat Chinese or high-sodium, what we need to lose is SODIUM, excess sodium, not water. Water just happens to wash it out, so ironically, we need to drink MORE water to lose excess water weight.

One of the things that causes some of us to overeat is THIRST--ie, not recognizing the mouth-hunger we feel is for water, fluid, not solids, food.

So, getting dehydrated will backfire for dieters. You lose the water, you'll feel thirsty, you end up maybe EATING MORE than you would have, and the water comes back, along with some pounds.

Anything that is very-low-calorie is setting you up for a binge, a fall, a lower metabolism. Anything that is not real food in life-long sustainable meal plans is not gonna cut it except for short term.

And even when something seems safe, cause your doctor gives it to you, is NO GUARANTEE. Remember Fen-Phen? It killed the wife of a former mayor of my city some years ago.

Rely on anything other than good food in smaller portions and near-daily to daily exercise (calories in, calories out), and you may be stepping into the long and wide danger zone of side-effects.

I can understand why these athletes and dieters get crazy. Don't we all wish we could find the magic bullet? Sigh.

But I think some things should not be faciliated. In athletics, for instance, weigh-ins should be minutes before an event, to make sure athletes are discouraged from doing these things. Trust me, no athlete is going to be ABLE to compete dehydrated. They'll pass out. They'll learn to calibrate those scales and stay well enough under that even a scale change gets them in their class.

In real life, I think doctors should be discouraged from offering pills until after a patient has had a round with 1. dietitians 2. behavioral therapists 3. a personal trainer or someone who can confirm they are exercising. In other words, I think taking pills should have the same sort of tough accountability as, say, getting bariatric surgery (where you have to have psych assessments, go on a diet first, etc).

Pills shouldn't be easy. Pills like this should NOT be over the counter, either. That's asking for folks to abuse them. Like Sudafed is now (cause of Meth issues), water and other diet pills should have to go through a pharmacist.

Sounds tough, but I'd rather not have dieters (and athletes) ruin their kidneys and hearts for something bound to fail.

No diet pill has been shown to lead to successful long-term weight loss. And many have side effects that mean folks can't stay on them long. You probably know (or have been) someone who tried some and gained back the weight.

Diets fail regularly, too, we know; but at least being on a sound weight-loss plan means you're focusing on good nutrition--veggies, fruits, lean dairy and proteins, clean water--and not just popping some chemical that'll make you buzzed-hyper (cause it's either got enough caffeine for 12 cups of coffee or has ephedra or has some other "speed" drug) or make you poop your pants.

If you wouldn't let your kid take an iffy drug, why would you let yourself take it?

It's hard to learn to do it right, to put up with gradual losses rather than "superfast weight loss", to tolerate 1 to 2 pounds a week (or less), to plateau. But that's how you do it SAFELY.

And as a bonus, that's one way to maybe avoid the maximum amount of sag. If you lose very slowly, you have a better chance to being able to tone up and minimize the hanging skin (though for folks like me, who got to morbid obese status, there's about a ZERO chance of our evading the hanging, loose, wrinkled skin that losing weight leaves behind. One good reason never to get heavy to start. I wish I had known before about that. Honest to God, I didn't until a few years ago. It's horrifying to me! It might have kept me under 200, those pics!)

Getting to 299 was the big awakening I needed to stop the upward creep and start the slow downward trek. (Very slow, as it turns out.) I did not want to see 300 on my home scale. I didn't. (Though I did with clothes on at the doc's office: 303!)

People have died from using diet pills and water pills. People (including athletes) have died from extreme weight loss measures. People even die on the surgical table for legitimate and medically-okayed bariatric surgery (a small %, but it's a risk, always, to go under the knife.)

Let's find a way to do it safely--all of us. Let's think long-term, not "this week!" Let's not die in our quest to be healthy. Let's be sane.

And when you're tempted to speed things up with an iffy method, remember Karen Carpenter, remember Steve Bechler, remember Patricia Mishcon.

Leave extreme dieting to reckless thrill-seekers...and dumb-ass Olympians.


I Wanna Be A Diet Marine!

I totally loved this slogan in a photo posted by that ever-delightful fatfighting warror, Jennette of Half of Me:

In case your monitor doesn't show it clearly, it says:

The few. The proud. The ones who stick to their diets.

Lord, help me be one of the Diet Marines!



*(as my former-Marine pal spells it.)


Royal Fatfighting Tournament Tools: #4 The Pause that Empowers

After several good eating days, I had a setback at dinner Monday. I ate decently at breakfast. I ate well at lunch. I went to town at dinner. It was a slowly progressive binge.

So, I started reading A Cyberguide To Stop Overeating and Recover from Eating Disorders by Joanna Poppink, M.F.C.C.

As we all know by now, the only way to successfully lose weight and maintain the loss is to implement strategies from the start that bring new protections and better habits into our lives. Learning these strategies is easy for some, harder for others, but we all have to learn to eat differently and how to behave when we are tempted to return to old habits of overeating or bad eating.

In my case, even though I know I should at minimum STOP and CONSIDER what I am doing or am about to do, I didn't.

And I should have gotten the warning alarm the moment I woke up:

I slept badly. I felt tired from the moment I got up. So tired, so heavy in my bones, that I almost cancelled my Pilates session. I drooped. I ate and felt no pick-me-up from the coffee. I did breathing exercises. I talked positively to myself in the shower about having energy, being energetic, being UP.

It took all my strength to get through the Pilates session, and I couldn't do one of the exercises I had done in previous sessions (the side bend on the barrel). The oomph was gone by the time we got to it. I felt like crying. I was THIS near tears, because I felt like such a failure.


1. I woke up tired from a bad night's sleep.
2. I felt massively disappointed by my exercise performance (despite my trainer's great reassurances that I did great and worked hard.)
3. I came home feeling even more drained.
4. Because I was tired, I burned hubby's dinner, which I let unduly upset me, and then I had to quickly think of an alternative.

I should have said, "Princess, you are having a bad day. What do you do when you have bad, tired, draining days. You eat. And then you eat some more. Time for a strategy, like a big bowl of a lite soup and extra water. Like a fiber drink to make your tummy feel expanded. Like a nap. Ask hubby for a massage. Something..."

I didn't stop and assess my feelings about my day. I just went with every impulse except one initial thought--I shot down the persistent urge to order a pizza. But after that, I went with the impulses, which were to lay on the couch between trips to the kitchen, where I had 2 huge bowls of arugula with tomato and Annie's Goddess dressing, a cup and a half of split pea soup, three ounces of asian pork tenderloin with a cup of fruity rice, a half cup of granola with non-fat milk, a single-serve organic cherry turnover-pie with coffee, and just barely manage to fight off a baked potato chips craving. That was the second time I fought off any eating cue.

Now, a year ago plus, I would have ordered that large pizza and garlic rolls and a Caesar salad, maybe some wings or fried zucchini. The very fact that I mostly had healthful stuff on hand is a testament to better food shopping choices. (That cherry pie, organic and single-serve--was in the freezer since February! I went and dug way in the back to find it.)

But it was still bad day, a setback, because I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW that I need to use the strategies, use the tools, and it starts with: SELAH. Pause and consider. Be aware. Self-examine. So I can choose better.

Had I taken 10 to 15 minutes to think and self-talk, I could have stopped after the first bowl of salad, the small piece of roasted pork tenderloin, and the fruited rice, and had a good night. It was the chain reaction, the thoughtless one that got me.

Hence, the tool of the pause for awareness. The tool of the awareness for a better selection of course(s) of action.

The Cyberguide I linked to above has exercises for overeaters (look at the links on that page and scroll to "Exercises to Avoid Overeating" in 10 parts).

I may have to create a chart for my fridge door. I had intended to print out a STOP AND THINK poster for it, and this is something for me to do TOMORROW!

I'm gonna have bad days--little sleep, low energy, depressive episodes. I need to get the tools ingrained to handle them.

Have you used the pause/self-examination to stop binges? Are they habits yet?

I'm working on it.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

One LESS Reason to Buy Organic

The claims that organically grown produce is higher in nutrients has taken a hit by a study that is nicely exlained and then summarized over at Keith Connects the Dots:

The crops were grown on the same or similar soil on adjacent fields at the same time and so experienced the same weather conditions. All were harvested and treated at the same time. In the case of the organically grown vegetables, all were grown on established organic soil.

After harvest, results showed that there were no differences in the levels of major and trace contents in the fruit and vegetables grown using the three different methods.

Produce from the organically and conventionally grown crops were then fed to animals over a two year period and intake and excretion of various minerals and trace elements were measured. Once again, the results showed there was no difference in retention of the elements regardless of how the crops were grown.

Dr B├╝gel says: ‘No systematic differences between cultivation systems representing organic and conventional production methods were found across the five crops so the study does not support the belief that organically grown foodstuffs generally contain more major and trace elements than conventionally grown foodstuffs.’

Dr Alan Baylis, honorary secretary of SCI’s Bioresources Group, adds: ‘Modern crop protection chemicals to control weeds, pests and diseases are extensively tested and stringently regulated, and once in the soil, mineral nutrients from natural or artificial fertilisers are chemically identical. Organic crops are often lower yielding and eating them is a lifestyle choice for those who can afford it.’

With food prices on the up-and-up-and-up, I've made a budgetary decision to buy organic what I eat with skin on, and buy conventional what has a rind/peel that I remove (oranges, bananas, onions, pineapples, etc), but I continue to buy eat-with-the-skin and dairy products and meat organic, cause I'm concerned with pesticides in the former and hormones/antibiotics in the latter.

Organic is pricey, and a budget is not infinitely stretchable cause, well, I ain't Oprah or Bill Gates.


Queenly Quote: How To Fail

People don’t succeed because the give up what they want the most for what they want right now.

hat tip to Roni's Weigh

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wanna Volunteer for a "Virtual" Obesity Study?

The Texas Obesity Research center at the University of Houston is launching an international effort to find 500 participants for a study promoting healthy dietary habits and physical activity that will be conducted entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. For more information, participants can instant message Sirina Felisimo or Samu Sirnah in Second Life or call the center at (713) 743-9310.
"Fat people get online chance to lose weight"

Sparkly Factoid: #1 Fruity Antioxidant Powerhouse

Acai Berries:
The berries are so nutritious, writes John La Puma, MD, author of ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, that they may help lower bad cholesterol, inhibit inflammation, and fight off arthritis. They may even have cancer-fighting powers. In a lab study, acai berry extract killed between 45 and 86 percent of a sample of human leukemia

The antioxidant quotient is reason enough to eat this fruit, but acai berries are also chock-full of B vitamins, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and sulfur.
--from "The Highest Anti-Oxidant Fruit Ever" at Real Age

Queenly Quote: Toughest Is Eventually Easiest

"In this age, which believes that there is a shortcut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest."
--Henry Miller

Friday, August 8, 2008

BANSHEE WAILS: Kellogg's Cereals is TICKING OFF The Princess!!!

I was browsing the offerings on a grocery promotion at amazon.com, since I was ready to stock up on cereal. I want to add a bit more fiber to my breakfast/snacks.

So, they offer things like the sugary cereals kids love (and plenty of adults)--Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, Apple Jacks, etc--which I skipped and went to one of my faves: Cheerios. Three grams of fiber for 120 calories and while sugar is in the ingredients, it's not in the top three--

Ingredients: Whole grain oat, modified corn starch, corn starch, sugar, salt, trisodium phosphate, calcium carbonate, monoglycerides, tocopherols, wheat starch, annatto, vitamins & minerals: niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), folate, iron.

It's certainly not for low-carbers, but it's one of those "from my youth" treats. Only as an adult, I sprinkle Splenda on top, or fruit, or both, and NOT tons of sugar.

I shopping carted that and went on to look for something to add more wheat bran. I looked at All Bran Buds after seeing it on another fatfighting blog as a nice additive for Cheerios, and then Raisin Bran, which I used to eat a lot of as a twenty-something.

When I looked at the nutritional info, I, the Princess, wailed along with the ticked off Blue Banshee of Health-Seeking Blogdom:

All Bran Buds, Ingredients:
Wheat Bran, SUGAR, Psyllium Seed Husk, Oat Fiber, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, Salt, Baking Soda, Caramel Color, Sodium Ascorbate And Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Niacinamide, Reduced Iron, Zinc Oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6) Riboflavin (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, BHT (preservative), Annatto Color.

Raisin Bran, Ingredients:
Whole Wheat, Raisins, Wheat Bran, SUGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, salt, malt flavoring,
Vitamins and Minerals: niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride(VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (Vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Palmitate, folic acid, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

You know, with all the info on how very bad high fructose corn syrup is for us, especially those of us with belly fat/Metabolic Syndrome/diabetes/insulin resitance, there's no damn reason to use it. Dr. Mehmet Oz lists it as one of the top five foods to AVOID for better health.

Why can't they sweeten with Splenda and offer sugar-free options and call it their dieter's version? Why not use honey, even. Why something as denounced and derided as HFCS?

And how can they add sugar as the SECOND ingredient in a grown-up cereal. (All Bran). And with HFCS as the fifth ingredient, adding both may mean that some form of SUGAR is really the FIRST, the most prominent, ingredient in the mix. Are you peeved yet with me?

And the Raisin Bran (also aimed at adults, one would assume), has the double whammy of sugar AND HFCS in the fourth and fifth slots--and that means that "sugar" in some form is probably a main ingredient (maybe 2nd, rather than bran.)

I better stop before my ears emit steam.

With my ginormous appetite, I don't need HFCS to increase my appetite!

And, to be honest, I'd rather add the sweetness level I want with my own choice of sweetener (Splenda, Stevia, Honey, Sugar, etc).

How hard would it be for them to just make adult versions, REAL adult versions, of these popular cereals--you know, just make them with wholesome ingredients and vitamins and minerals and let us figure out how to sweeten (or not) to taste? We're not idiots.

Besides, what household do you know without some form of food sweetness enhancer. (In mine, I have various honeys, Splenda in assorted forms, sugar (for hubby's lemonade, which I cut with Splenda), Equal (from an old batch), Sweet-n-Low (from an old box), confectioner's and brown sugar (for when hubby bakes ginger cookies.)) Except for someone who is a real no-sweet eater, we all have something to sweeten tea or coffee or lemonade or cereal or hot cocoa or whatever.

So, why can't they give us a choice?

(I hear they're making sugar-reduced kid's cereals. I think they need to re-evaluate their adult offerings.)

Bottom line: Adding HFCS makes what would be healthy into, frankly, JUNK FOOD! Diet-hazard food. Heart-hurting food.

Adding both sugar and HFCS is, well, cheapskate food production--and with cereal prices per box what they currently are for a tiny amount of cereal, they can afford to use better ingredients or leave out bad ones. These recipes are not healthful, no matter how many vitamins and minerals and dropped into the mix.


Okay, so I'll compromise for now and get the Cheerios with the lower sugar and without the HCFS, and I'll just not eat it every day. But I'm boycotting all HCFS-containing Kellogg's, General Mills, etc cereals.

Badly done, you corporations. Badly done.

(I'm channeling Jeremy Northam as the hunky Mr. Knightley, did you notice? Austen rules!)

So, have you read your nutritional labels lately? Are you getting label-shock yet?



Dragonfire Factoid: Being Fat = Dying Younger

Look around you at the bodies of the extremely old - when was the last time you recall seeing an obese centenarian? Excess fat held over the years is a killer, and the oldest people are very rarely overweight.
--from The Methuselah Foundation's "There Are Old People and Fat People, But Few Old Fat People"


Royal Fatfighting Tournament Tools: #3 Water, Water Everywhere...So let's DRINK IT!

Confession: I suck about water intake.

I have always sucked about water intake.

I am not a natural water imbiber.

I have to plan for it. I have to force myself. I have to think about it. I have to account for it.

Maybe one day I'll be a natural water-girl, craving the crystalline stuff.


So, does anyone not believe water helps?

Well, notice this: All those skinny models and actresses tend to get photographed a lot carrying around the liquid sustenance. Every diet plan I've seen says, "drink lots of water." One I saw a couple years ago (a faddish one) says just drinking a lot of water alone will normalize your weight.

I'm gonna admit that on days I drink a lot of water before meals (3 and more glasses), I do get more of a sense of fullness early on in the meal. The problem is I'm NOT consistent. Unless it's to consistently forget to drink water.

So, strategy time: How can we get more water in, besides adding a water harness to every item of clothing we own?

I bought these recently to help in my watery quest:

I use this Netrition shaker bottle for workout class, and I got it for free when I placed a largish order last year:

These things help. Interestingly, the pitcher helps more than the water bottles. I keep it on the counter, taking up very valuable, in-short-supply counter space in my teeny-tiny kitchen. But seeing it there when I prep foods reminds me to drink several glasses while I chop veggies or pound chicken or wash fruit. And if I haven't refilled it at least once a day, it's a warning that I'm slacking.

So, really, having purified water on hand is cheaper than bottled water, more eco-friendly than bottled water, and I can fill my own bottles with it!

I'm still far from perfect, but instilling new habits takes time.

Besides, I like salt. I'm bad, I know, but I do. Love salty foods, especially salty eggs and salty potatoes an salty tomatoes. (I don't use salt on most veggies, though, but meats need it, and soups!) A saltaholic like me needs to keep hydrated and eat potassium-rich foods to balance the sodium. Lots of fruit and water (especially coconut water, you know) keep the bloat down or wash it away (if you're lucky).

Warning: There is such a thing as Water Intoxication. It can be deadly. Don't drink TOO much water, ever. No one needs massive amounts. If you're tempted to drink GALLONS a day: Research it and be smart. Ask a professional for guidelines. Life is about balance, and too much water is definitely not balance.

So, barring abuse, this third tool for the Royal Fatfighting Tournament is indispensable, and it's one you already have on hand! Straight from the tap, filtered, or, if you must, bottled spring or chichi European brands. Just drink it. Take advantage of the no-calorie, essential aid to your weight loss effort.

I intend to.

Glug, Glug!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fast Food Whoopsie!

Went to a dieting blog and this ad image was on the sidebar:

I like the "don't leave off the XL pepperoni." I mean, there's just not enough sodium or saturated fat without that pepperoni!!!

As a pizza-fiend, a woman for whom pizza is a trigger-a-binge food, this is the last thing I need to see on a diet blog. Oh, lawdy!!!!

Ah, well.

One's gotta sigh and laugh, yes? And also avoid the urge to make a pizza delivery call (not to Domino's, but my fave lil mom-n-pop pizza place that is cheaper than and way better than Domino's.)

Oh, wait. Hope THIS blog doesn't trigger your urge to splurge. :(


Answering a "Fruits and Veggies" Question for "Fluffy Donna"

Donna of Lose the Fluff asked for advice on including more produce in her diet. (She admits to being one of those 3 to five servings eaters).

Note: Any advice given here is from MY experience and reading on the subject. If you have medical conditions, you may have to modify your diet in very precise ways. This is just me passing on info I've picked up or experienced, not me being your dietitian. Blogs are blogs, not medical or scientific journals. :)

Let's start with some stats from Medical News Today:

The CDC report found that in 2005:

33 per cent of adult Americans ate fruit two or more times a day, with:
- men eating more fruit than women,
- seniors eating more fruit than 35 to 44 year olds,
- Hispanics eating more fruit than other racial/ethnic groups,
- non-Hispanic whites eating the least,
- college graduates eating more fruit than those with lower education levels,
- people earning more than 50,000 US dollars a year eating more fruit than those earning less, and
- people neither obese nor overweight (Body Mass Index, BMI, under 25) eating the most and obese people (BMI over 30) eating the least amount of fruit.

27 per cent of adult Americans ate vegetables three or more times a day, with:
- men eating fewer vegetables than women,
- seniors eating more vegetables than 18 to 24 year olds,
- whites eating more vegetables than other racial/ethnic groups,
- Hispanics eating the least,
- college graduates eating more vegetables than those with lower education levels,
- people earning more than 50,000 US dollars a year eating more vegetables than those earning less, and
- people neither obese nor overweight (BMI under 25) eating the most and overweight people (BMI 25 to 30) eating the least amount of vegetables.

Those are pathetic. Only about 1/3 of Americans eat fruit 2 to 3 times a day, and just over 1/4th of Americans eat veggies 3 or more times a day.

Most Americans aren't getting the recommended minimum of FIVE a day.

More importantly for fatfighters, look at the stats for the fat folks: they eat the least in fruits and veggies. Confirms the adage that you don't get fat on fruits and veggies. Quite the opposite.

There are a multitude of health-promoting benefits in produce (especially minimally processed to raw ones). The enzymes. The vitamins. The minerals. The phytonutrients.

I remember years ago someone I know saying they hated veggies and would just pop a vitamin to cover their bases. I said, "Science isn't all-knowing. They'll find more things in fruits and veggies than we realize we need for good health."

That was in the 80's. Nutritional science HAS found more micronutrients and compounds in produce that are highly beneficial to human health, and you've probably read articles about such things. You hear about resveratrol, anthocyanins, lycopene, etc.

Imagine what's in that produce that they have not isolated yet? A supplement is not a bad thing. It does help cover bases; but good food in a variety of groups and colors is vital.

And for dieters, fruits and veggies are BULK: they fill you up. They're necessary, unless you can stand having tiny amounts at meals.

I know I need to get my intake up, cause that's the only way I can feel FULL and lose weight. Otherwise, I feel deprived and hungry.

Ever seen those articles that show how differently, say, 400 calories looks if it's cheese cubes versus apples? Or chocolate donuts versus garden salads?

You get more bang for the calories.

And fruits can substitute for a sweet craving quite well on many occasions (though, granted, not all). A baked apple is better for you, or a homemade sugar-free apple compote over half a cup of organic frozen yogust, than apple pie with a fatty crust with tons of butter. A frozen banana dipped in a bit of chocolate syrup is better than a banana cream pie.

The more you stay close to a fruit or vegetable's natural form, usually the more you chew, and the more filling it is, often even better for you nutritionally. Ditto veggies. (Although tomatoes give more lycopene when cooked.)

I think getting into the habit of eating raw or minimally processed produce at EVERY MEAL is a beneficial one for health and helps keep dieters feeling more tummy-full. I mean, sit down and eat a small portion of grains and some protein, but eat a lot of zucchini and asparagus with it, then eat an apple and a pear, and tell me you don't feel that tummy-comfort of volume. But zucchini and asparagus are zero-points veggies, and an apple (unless its ginormous) is one point, and so is a pear (ditto about size). You've only added 2 points, but you've gotten FOUR fruits and veggies and made your insides feel like they ate tons!

If you just say you don't like veggies or many fruits, you have to slowly retrain yourself. It can be done. Think of what you wouldn't eat as a kid, but you enjoy now. Taste buds are flexible.

Try new recipes. Be bold.

My hubby, when I met him, only ate iceberg lettuce and celery. That was it. Now, he eats green beans, carrots, asparagus, spinach, romaine and mesclun, peas, and I'm still working to get him to expand his vocabulary (still too restricted).

I mean, it's not like I'm asking you to eat liver or pancreas or animal guts! It's beautiful, colorful stuff that God originally intended us to eat in abundance. (Read Genesis' opening chapters to see what God told them to eat, those perfect new humans. It wasn't cupcakes or burgers.)

So, how to do it? Just start buying stuff and learning how to fix it in ways you like. Make a point of adding two to each meal (to get to six a day), then work up to at least 9 a day. If you can handle more, then more. If you fill up on healthy produce, maybe you won't want the junk, cause you won't have room. :)

And don't allow yourself a processed treat--a diet cookie or popcorn or baked potato chips--until you have something unprocessed that's green, red, purple, blue, yellow, or orange.

Breakfast is a great time to get one veggie or more and one fruit. Regular or Egg white veggie omelettes are probably the best breakfasts for a dieter (low carb or low-fat or Clean Eating). Why? Studies show eggs give you a sense of fullness. You can put as many veggies as you like and want. One of my fave combinations: zucchini, red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach and tomato. I'll even sprinkle something cheesy on top, sometimes--parmesan or low-fat cheddar. Have an orange or grapefruit or some berries, and there you go. A bonanza of produce!

If you prefer a cold breakfast, get a quality, high-fiber, no-sugar cereal and add lots of berries, or cut up peaches, or a banana and some dried cranberries or raisins. Don't just have grain and milk. Have the fruit. Then take some cut-up veggies with a low-fat dip or some low-fat cheese (string cheese) or an apple and some peanut butter to work for an afternoon snack. (Low fat is actually better than nonfat for a dip, cause you absorb nutrients from veggies better with the presence of some fat.)

Apples, bananas, grapes, and pears make year-round work-friendly snacks. Try plums and peaches in the summer, and cherries!

Try something scary-looking to produce uninitiates: kale, collards, eggplant, weird mushrooms, radicchio, leeks, okra, pomegranates, bean sprouts, bok choy, sugar custard apple, sapote.

Give them all a try!

What f/v's did I have yesterday (my first day trying to get back to my higher counts):

papaya (two servings with my breakfast eggs)
artichoke hearts (adore em)
lettuce (two servings)
green peppers
portobello mushroom (two servings)
watermelon (2 servings for dinner's dessert)

Processed f/v's:
pasta sauce, fresh (poured on the eggplant and meatballs)
apple juice, bottled

Today, I plan to have fresh carrot juice and plums with my veggie scramble breakfast (got up late), and I'll have a salad with lunch (or maybe lightly saute a big honking mess of bok choy and have vegan dumplings, mmmmmmm).

If I had cantaloupe, I'd love some. Makes for a great breakfast fruit, and with some cottage cheese, make a delightful light breakfast or lunch, I find. (I wish I had some.)


Let's gobble up that produce. This is one place where it pays off in good health to be wanton. :)


UPDATE: Since Donna can eat apples and citrus, I'm hoping she can also eat spinach and can try (and tweak as needed) the following recipe:

Apple and Spinach Salad

Donna might like this lite apple and sweet-potato bake.

Mangoes are still abundant (and cheaper) out there. This roasted mango sorbet allows one to enjoy a cooked fruit as a dessert treat.

Plums have been great this year, and they can be BAKED with cinnamon!

Along with veggies, fruits can be roasted/baked with chicken breasts and pork, such as peaches and apricots, pears and grapes, pineapple (great with ham). EXPERIMENT!

So Sad, So True

This hasn't been just my experience, but that of most of the folks I know who have weight issues:

Then the "after-after" turns into the "before" and the "after" is less slim than the original after, rinse, repeat.

Which is why I'm not even thinking of fast loss. I keep telling myself--even if it's 1/4th of a pound a week, fine. Just eat smarter and move more, and start building good habits, bit by bit.

Lose fast, regain fast, has been my story. I want a different story.

hat tip to Diet Blog for the drawing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ask the Doc? No, Actually, I don't.

Jennette of Half of Me asks if her readers consult a doctor for diet advice.

Nope. I only volunteer my diet details if she asks, and she normally only asks if my CBC or lipid panel has something out of range. (Last year, she was worried I was eating too much protein or doing extreme low-carb due to weight loss with higher cholesterol and elevated liver enzymes. I suggested my fatty liver was reacting to my weight loss and releasing fat into my bloodstream. My next exam had weight maintenance and my cholesterol had come down to near normal.)

The one time I did ask her advice YEARS ago, she handed me a photocopied list with a meal plan and said, "Avoid high fat meats and sugar." The meal plan didn't do anything for my appetite. I ditched it and went to Weight Watchers, lost 35 lbs, gained it back when I stopped doing the program. (Duh, that's what happens when you stop being disciplined, vigilant, and on plan.)

I read diet news daily. I've read books on nutrition, taken a college course on nutrition, gotten advice from various dietitians in private practice over the last two decades--long enough to watch the high-carb/low-fat mania overloaded with pasta transform into the low-glycemic/high-fiber groove touting quality protein and veggies and whole grains to the Clean Eating/organic phase which I've semi-slid into now--and my library is stocked with a hundred plus books on the subject of eating, cooking, human nutrition, insulin resistance, diabetes, liver health, Metabolic Syndrome, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and women's health.

I probably know a lot more than my doc about THIS subject of weight loss.

The problem is never knowledge.

The problem is application with consistency.

I don't need a doc for weight loss. I may need a couple of other types of professionals (cognitive therapist, personal trainer (which I have), cooking instructor, life coach, etc). I need the behavior, not the knowledge.

So, er, no. The doc doesn't usually ask and I don't generally tell.


Time To Get Serious In the Kitchen & on
the Move! & A Tasty Microwaveable Soup!

What I ordered minutes ago:

And what helps with Mexican cravings at lunchtime:


Royal Fatfighting Tournament Tools: #2 Produce--Are you eating 11 fruits and veggies per day?

I'm thinking maybe not. Am I right?

I did, however, stop and go "hmmm" when I saw this chart over at Diets In Review which showed "11" as the number of fruits and veggies alloted for Weight Watchers:

I don't recall WW telling me to eat that many f/v's. But I do remember this number as key for me.


When I was losing the most weight in the past (on Weight Watchers or on my own), it was when I was eating 11 minimum (but sometimes more) fruits/veggies per day while keeping my calorie intake at or under 1900 calories (that's about 38 points). I noticed this fact from my food journaling. More produce=more loss. (And this is one excellent reason to keep a journal. It shows you WHAT works best for you and what makes you regain and what intake makes you maintain.)

The fullness factor had to help. That's bulk! And hydration: fruit and veggies have high water content. Maybe even the increase in nutrients and fiber moving things along.

But I always remember that as my crucial number: 11.

And that's with me not counting starchy veggies, like potatoes or sweet potatoes. (I don't count corn as a veggie, either. I consider it a starch. Heck, they get fricken OIL and sweetening syrup from it!) I also don't count beans, as I consider that a protein. So, when I say 11, I mean 11 non-starchy veggies and fruits.

I do wonder, though, if folks doing WW are really getting that many F/V's? I've known folks who have done WW and only had, maybe, 3 to 5 f/v per day--a fruit at breakfast, a salad at lunch, some broccoli or other veggie at supper.

I'm glad posted that chart. I have been eating about 8 to 10 f/v's per day, and I've been having too many "treats." I've been eating immaturely, especially during my trouble time: evening. Hence the more maintaining than losing.

I need to plan out my 11 per day eating plan--which means allowing for 3 for breakfast, 4 for lunch, 4 for supper, minimum. It worked in the past, it can work again. It does require a lot of planning for me (that's a LOT of f/v's!!!)

Are you getting enough colorful produce? Think about it...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Saw Ellie Krieger make these Zucchini Parmesan Crisps on tv a few weeks ago. They looked really good.

Tonight, got a craving for something cheesy with supper, so I decided--given I had the items on hand: parmesan cheese, organic zucchini, EVOO, salt, pepper, bread crumbs--that I'd make them and satisfy that cheesy urge and get a veggie besides.

They're baking now. Can't wait...MMMmmmm.

Looks like they're about 2 points for a half-cup serving, for you WW gals. Would be less sans the bread crumbs. One can always fiddle with these simple recipes. I bet they'd be fine with just a slight misting of EVOO and sprinkling of parmesan and spices. If you try them, let me know whaddya think or if you tweaked the recipe.

Off to finish with supper prep.


Dragonfire Factoid: You Can't Always Trust Labels

In 2007, POM Wonderful filed a federal lawsuit against Purely Juice claiming it was deceiving consumers by selling adulterated, imported pomegranate juice. Purely Juice marketed and labeled its product as 100% pomegranate juice, when in fact, seven independent labs verified that Purely Juice’s "100% pomegranate juice" "is not pure pomegranate juice," but rather "consists primarily of cane sugar and corn sweetener, and contains little pomegranate solids." Additional independent lab testing showed evidence of repeated adulteration over a period of several months.
--POM Press Release from July 21, 2008

Purely Juice statement (which doesn't explain the corn syrup, does it?)

Royal Fatfighting Tournament Tools: #1--Accepting the Unmerciful Numbers

Yesterday, Diets in Review's Brandi hosted an interview with that lovely fatfighter Roni of Roni's Weigh blog. In it, Roni addresses some of the frequently asked questions about the Weight Watchers program.

Here is a portion of that which ALL of us who have been used to EATING LARGE, as evidenced by our BEING LARGE, need to read. It's one of those things we just have to face up to, pull up our knickers, and get on with adapting to hard truths:

10. I’ve reached my goal weight. How do I determine Points to maintain my weight?

The maintenance plan is tricky. Weight Watchers has you add 4 points to your daily target for a week and then evaluate your weight. If you’ve gained, then drop your new target by 2; if you’ve lost, add 4 more. Most people I’ve talk to in maintenance eat about 10 points over their weight loss target to maintain.

11. Is the weight range for Points goal weight or current weight?

Current weight and as you lose it will change. I started at 26 I think, by the time I reached goal I was at 20.

Now, you may be wondering why I'm excerpting a part about maintenance, when this tournament is for those who are in the LOSING phase.

Well, take a look at how little Roni ate while losing and how little most folks get to eat to MAINTAIN the loss.

Read it again.

Roni wasn't as large as I am (or as some of you are) in the losing part. But still, she ate about 1300 calories to start, and by the end of her losing phase, she was eating about 1000 calories.

If maintenance is roughly 10 pts more per day than in the losing phase, then she's eating about 1500 to maintain (ie, 30 points).

Ponder that. Fifteen-hundred calories is not a lot. It requires planning and learning to eat much less than what one ate to get fat. Maybe half. Maybe more than half. Maybe 2/3 less to get to a slim weight like Roni's.

If you have harbored any notion that this is the hardest part, think again. This is the part where we can see changes DOWN on the scale, in with the inches, up with the confidence. But eventually, if we're very fortunate and work very hard, we can get to a weight we're happy with and then we have to hold it. Hold it for years, decades, the rest of our lives. And that means eating a lot less than we'd want, planning meals for however long we're on Earth, giving up some of our favorite treats except for rare days.

You and I won't maintain a slender weight by reverting to old eating ways. If we can't resist those snacks now, we won't resist them then.

This is the University of Weight Loss. We get our degree when we reach goal weight. We get our Master's when we've kept it off for five or more years. We become the elite, the top echelon, when we keep it off until we die.

Knowing the numbers is a tool. It's not fun, but necessary. Eating less now is not temporary. Eating fewer calories/points is the way it's gotta be.

Say goodbye to supersized meals--or stay fat.
Say goodbye to junk food--or stay fat.
Say goodbye to sneaky treats--or stay fat.

Truth is a tool. Maturity is necessary to face it.

Can you see the long road ahead? Can you live with the harsh reality of the numbers?

Then grasp the future with your mind and imagination, and tell the numbers you accept them, even if you are full of fear and dread about them. Overcome the fear. Then, knowing that limiting those calories expands so many other parts of your life, head into that future with great expectations.

This month is a new beginning.

Onward and Downward!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Royal Fatfighting Tournament: Day 4

Wanna join me this month for a self-challenge?

My goals for today: Stay within 38 WW points, get to Pilates training session, drink 8 glasses of water, & spend time praying/meditating/soul-searching about my personal obstacles to health.

What's your plan?


The Ever-present Soreness

When you start a regular, challenging workout program, you get used to that ongoing soreness that follows each session, peaking the next day then at low-level until the next peak. The harder the workout, the greater the muscle groaning.

About the only day that I am not overtly sore is Sunday, cause I do Pilates M, W, and F. I'm sore all the time in some part of my body.

I like the soreness. It reminds me that something is happening.

This is different from the constant soreness/pain from when I was on a statin a few years ago for cholesterol. I went about three years with constant muscle aches and sensitivity. At first, it was pretty bad, and I felt like someone beat me with a bat. Then, like many things in life: you adjust. It wasn't until the liver enzymes went up that I got taken off the statin. Within a week, my mind was clearer, my memory improved. Within a couple weeks, my muscle pain receded. It's amazing what you learn to live with as normal. That was not normal, but it took it affecting my liver for the docs to sit up and take notice. Never mind I had such muscle pain that my hubby could barely touch my legs or upper arms without me ouching.

I still wonder if I have permanent damage from those statin years.

This Pilates soreness is a healing, stengthening soreness, not a destructive one. I welcome it. It's building me up, not tearing me down.

Are you having a good sore today. Even butt cramps, maybe? ; )

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Month, New Beginning:
Historical Notes for The Princess'
August Fatfighting Tournament

It's a new month in our domain.

Time for a renewal...or just "newal."

What happened in the past in August, and what can happen today in order to make future Augusts so much better?

Let's see what we get with a little help from Wikipedia:

* Some of Ireland's most famous battles have been fought in this month. They include: the Second Battle of Athenry (1316); the battle of Knockdoe (1504); the Battle of the Yellow Ford (1596); the First Battle of Curlew Pass (1599); the Battle of Dungans Hill (1647); the Battle of Castlebar (1798), and the Battle of the Bogside (1969).

Today: Let August be the month of your most famous battles against whatever is holding you back from your best self. Fight against those double-cheeseburger cravings and send them packing. Overcome an addiction to sugary soda. Fight against inertia, and get moving. Take up your sword against the emotional blocks that are keeping you (and me) fat, and finally bury them for good. Your good. Become a warrior this month. Emerge victorious.

* August 6, 1806 Emperor Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire lays down the Roman Imperial Crown and renounces all claims on this throne.

Today: Renounce all right to eat what you want, when you want, and abdicate your couch potato status. That's the way to win the crown, ultimately. The fatfighter's crown.

* In 1945 the end of the Second World War was brought about following the August 6 bombing of Hiroshima and August 9 bombing of Nagasaki in the first and only use of nuclear weapons against people. Emperor Hirohito declared Japan's unconditional surrender on August 15.

Today: Bad habits war against your desire to become healthy. Imagine those harmful habits as the collective enemy. Use every weapon you have to win the war. Don't give up until those bad habits surrender, unconditionally, and you get slim and fit.

* August 10, 1822 Ecuador became an independent country.
* August 15, 1945 Korea became an independent country.
* August 15, 1947 India became an independent country.
* August 17, 1945 Indonesia became an independent country.
* August 25, 1825 Uruguay became independent from Brazil.
* August 31, 1957 Malaysia became an independent country.

Become independent of excess fat. Declare that independence today. Make AUGUST 1st the day you recommit to freedom, freedom from obesity. You are your own country, and you need to take care of state business, its general welfare, its defense, it's pursuit of healthful happiness. Does anything taste as good as liberty from fat feels?

* August 14, 2003 United States the Northeast Blackout of 2003 occurred.

* In the United States, August is National Back to School month. Some US School districts and systems return to school in August.

Don't stay in the dark. Get educated about food, about exercise, about your medical conditions. It all starts in the mind and heart, before it moves to the body. Get illuminated. Get smart. LEARN. GROW. If you want to get in shape, you gotta go back to "school."

* August 15, Catholic, Feast of the Assumption

Mary was an exceptional woman, and I can't imagine her getting fat and lazy on some couch. She had too much to do and was too self-controlled. Our Catholic friends believe her body and soul--as one--rose up to heaven, intact, unseparated; that her purity allowed her to rise up and never experience decomposition. While we can't stop aging, we can improve the quality of our lives by virtuous eating and faithful exercise. We can aim to be fatfighting saints. Even if we lapse into sin--sedentary ways, binges--we can accept mercy, forgiveness, and rise up, higher and higher, to a place of wholeness--flexible, strong, unencumbered by rolls of fat. Wouldn't that be heaven of sorts?

If we want to "rise up, intact" , then we need to struggle against the desires of the flesh in the here and now.

* August 15, 1769 Corsica, birth of Napoleon Bonaparte

Let your inner conqueror of obesity be born this August. Subjugate your food cravings. March over your inertia. Charge mightily into your inner fortress and beat down your emotional demons. Conquer everything in your path to good health. Be your own Empress of Exercise and Monarch of Clean Eating.

* August is Women's Small Business Month

Losing weight and getting fit is pretty much like running a business, isn't it? Working constantly, responsible for the results.

It pays off, too, just not always immediately in $$$, rather in feeling good and looking better. (Although studies have shown that thin folks have a job advantage over fat ones, so it does pay off in moolah to lose weight.)

Think of fatfighting as a business: Write down your business goals and objectives. Plot a strategy, both short-term and long-term for success. Monitor the activities of the business with a keen eye, ready to intervene at once when something goes off plan. Make corrections as necessary. Offer rewards for excellent performance. Track revenue and expenditures (what goes in, what goes out, be it calories or money, since some expenditures are tax-deductible for those for whom losing weight and exercising are mandated by a doctor due to a medical condition.) Set money aside for emergencies. Hire staff as needed to fulfill the objectives and maximize profit. Tweak the plan if results are lagging. Be accountable to investors (ie, spouse, parents, friends). Seek support from experts. With time, enjoy a smooth-running operation that, if continuing to be successful, will add to your emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and financial riches.

* In many European countries, August is the holiday month for most workers.

No holidays for fatfighters. Work, work, work. Sorry. Days off must be few and judicious.

* In common years, no other month begins on the same day of the week as August. In leap years, however, February does.

August starts today. A Friday. Fridays are supposed to be unlucky for beginning sea voyages. Fridays have been associated with "quashed dreams."

Know what? Screw superstition. Friday's are days we say, "thank God!" We should mean it. Thank God for this day, every day. The weekend begins for many on Friday, and that's great. The Sabbath begins with sundown on modern Fridays, and that's a blessing, introducing rest to our lives. We get to do fun things starting Friday night--going to the movies or a play, eating out with pals.

I say Fridays rule! Make this a truly auspicious Friday. A lucky one. Your dream won't be quashed, squashed, or washed away. If you've been putting off your lifestyle change, do it today. A good, good, good Friday. First of the month. A new beginning.

Let's make August fabulous. Let's challenge ourselves. At least ONE pound a week...or more if your body can handle it. Let's be 4 or 8 or 15 pounds lighter come August 31st.

My goals: I'm aiming for six pounds of loss. About 1.5 a week. I figure that since I'm actively building muscle, I gotta allow for a slower scale descent. I"m also aiming for more consistent aerobic work to add to my 3x a week Pilates training.

So, are any of you in for the Royal Fatfighting Tournament for health here at Once Upon a Diet? You won't be challenging other dieters, like knights against knights. No. You're gonna challenge yourself. I'm gonna challenge myself.

Every fairy tale needs a good beginning....or a good beginning again after a lapse...before it can have a happy ending.

Why not comment on what you plan to do and to overcome in order to meet an August fitness goal? And why not pledge to blog at least 4x a week on your progress. It's a good way to keep the motivation mojo going, and it forces accountability. Right?

Ready, set...(straighten that armor)...begin....


NOTE: My starting weight for the tournament is 272.4