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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!

Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gearing Up for a New, Healthier Year--while fighting depressive onset

I had a nice weigh-in Monday: 264.2 A new low.

But I'm also mentally fighting off the clear onset of a depressive episode. I have sensed something off for about a month (notice I'm not posting much, either). I felt draggy, but my thyroid check showed it was totally fine. I was sleeping more and more and avoiding activities. I didn't even do my holiday cards this year. My bills piled up and, though I had plenty in the checking account to pay them, I kept putting of paying them cause I felt...totally lacking in motivation to do ANYTHING. I barely made it through the holidays without totally bumming out. But I didn't feel great holiday cheer, despite a really nice family gathering with roast pig and the Cuban-American works.

Since Christmas, all I wanna do is sleep. I'm in total avoidance mode. I can feel the blanket coming over my spirit. Sucks.

Sometimes, whatever weird mechanism is involved in this physiology of mine that's made me have recurring episodes of depression since I was, er, about nine years old, well, sometimes it just short circuits and I return to feeling okay, which is why I try to rule out other stuff before I think, "Ah, the blue funk is coming on."

I'm hoping for a big crash and return to normal. Two years without depression has been very, very nice. I want to start the year joyful, not like a limp rag.

I finally told hubby yesterday to get cracking on praying for my mood. I didn't want to worry him, but even he's noticed I'm not quite bubbly and I'm not waking up until well past sundown. And the place is getting to critical clutter mass, cause I can't be bothered to put stuff away.

On the diet side, it was going decently, if not zippily (holding and a little loss, holding and a little loss). But depression makes me less active and makes me want endless supplies of serotonin-inducing carbs. I have been this way for almost two weeks, fighting off (or not fighting off) the endless desire for farina, macaroni, grits, toast, cookies, mashed potatoes, chips, fries (and I so rarely eat those, but I've had them 3 times this month)...anything to churn carbs into my system.

I don't want to lose ground, not in weight and not in happiness. I've had a happy year and I want a happier New Year.

I'm thinking positive. I'm gonna focus on the good and work had to get my body to refuse this round of blues. I will, I will, I will.

I WILL...have a healthy and "lighter" New Year.
I WILL...see great things to come. I WILL.

And I will wish a healthy and Happy New Year for everyone. May it be so...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Evaluating The Holiday and ReSparked

I had gotten pretty busy and didn't spark for a couple days. Holidays sort of make the focus go onto something OTHER than the routine, than journaling, etc.

But, I never had my mind totally off what I needed to do. I didn't exercise Thursday or Friday, so I have my sneakers on and plan to do my alloted cardio before showering for whatever we're gonna do this evening. I've eaten fine today, and I'm not terribly hungry at the moment, either.

So, the holiday and Black Friday:

Thursday: I ate breakfast, cause I knew dinner would be round 4 or 5 pm, depending on the turkey's doneness. We outdid ourselves this year, as the food was especially delicious (and plentiful, of course). My contribution was an organic salad with arugula, watercress, pears, dried cranberries, blue cheese with raspberry vinaigrette and toasted pecans. I thought it was great, the blend of sweet from the fruits and dressing, earthy and peppery from the greens and pecans, and the sour-deep taste of the cheese crumbles. I also took a veggie platter with assorted raw veggies. This way, I knew I'd have lots of F/Vs to select from. Instead of making the low-fat chocolate cake and baked apples, I spazzed and got pumpkin pie and key lime pie at Whole Foods. It worked out. I had about two tablespoons worth of the insides of key lime pie (I hate the crust of those pies, graham crackers are icky to me). And that with a bit of whipped cream did me fine, along with a couple bites of dark Belgian chocolate (60% mini bites, not truffles).

Later that evening, at home from my family's gathering, I got peckish. In order not to totally go into food depravity, I heated up some lentil soup, had a pear, called it a night.

The scale was fine the next day, other than a little salt uptick. Salt has continued to bedevil me, so I have not returned to 266 (I'm at 268 and change). I have been in stasis, not losing, but the salt regain hasn't left cause I've indulged in the salties. My bad.

It's still thrilling to see me in the 60's, but I"m really ready to move on, here, peops!

Black Friday: I had a beef craving (again, what up with dat), so we went to Chipotle. I had part of the Barbacoa Bowl (I asked for very little rice and extra beans to give me fiber-fill-me-up) and had the guac for the good fats and flavor. Hubby let me have one of his beef tacos. That satisfied my beef craving, so I had a very light dinner of leftover turkey breast in light gravy with some organic whole cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes and fruit (papaya, orange).

Today, I've only had one meal--egg white garlic-tomato omelette with Ezequiel toast and St. Dalfour four fruits jam, Trop 50 orange juice lite, coffee.

I have noticed that when I have several 400 to 500 calorie meals in a row, my appetite is a bit quieter. When I have a a couple big meals in a row, my appetite readjusts upward. This makes me want to not binge, I can tell you. I like that I'm feeling calmer in terms of appetite, and I am so afraid to set up a binge by having a huge blow-out.

Anyway, I haven't lost this past week, I have held on except for salt bloat variations, and now it's time to lose a bit before Christmas sets up its obstacle course.

I have done some Sparking today--my breakfast, read some articles, etc--and I want to get my head on straight for a new week. I have my horrible tasting Zinc liquid supplement (since I kept coming consistently way low on that in my nutrition profile from my online food journal), and my B-complex/B12 tabs. I've got my Amazing Grass for an afternoon pick-me-up. I'm ready to tackle the next seven days.

On to my Saturday cardio, ab work, and stretching...

Enjoy your weekend, gals and ladies. And be very healthy in your choices~

Monday, November 23, 2009

If It's Lifelong, Then It Better Fit; If it's Forever, It Better Taste Good...

I've tried various diets over the last 4 decades. When I was younger, it was out of a magazine or from some book. I think you know what I mean? This time, I'm trying to figure out what to eat myself.

I figure if this is forevver (or however long forever is in a finite/mortal frame about to hit fifty in a couple months), then I better enjoy it or I won't do it. I am not a martyr. I cannot eat a plan that I can't actually get some pleasure from.

So, while Sparking my nutrition and trying to fill voids, I'm trying to gauge how much pleasure I'm getting from what I eat.

I don't like spinach and egg whites as much as I like garlic and tomato and egg whites. One feels virtuous. The other makes me ridiculously happy.

I like swiss or mozzarella or parmesan cheese in omelettes, even reduced fat. I like reduced fat american or cheddar or feta a lot better.

I like strawberries. I love raspberries.

I like dried fruit. I really like freeze-dried fruit.

I like turkey and veggies in a hoagie. I much prefer flatbread. I had been having Subway's turkey and veggies on whole wheat. I switched to flatbread and raised my enjoyment 100%. Today, trying to make it even BETTER, I switched my post-Pilates order (the Subway is one floor below my Pilates studio) to a turkey and veggie salad and, when I got home, I used a low-carb Joseph's Flatbread (shoving the turkey and salad into it). I liked it, too, with 100 fewer calories than Subway's and more fiber. Ya see, experimenting.

I am okay with WW lite bread. I like Nature's Own whole wheat. I much, much prefer Ezekiel bread. It has more flavor and mouth texture.

I like green tea iced to hot. I prefer black tea and coffee, iced or hot.

I like skim milk in my lattes, but I love 2%, and I feel bouncier.

So, today, I nixed the skinny latte at Starbucks and had a sugarfree one in grande (not venti, as I had for two years prior to this month), and went for low-fat. It tastes a lot better, so I can drink a smaller one and feel really satisfied. I might even notch it back to tall and go whole milk. Let's see. :)

I'm gonna work with what to bring Thanksgiving. I want to have big taste and satisfaction with lower calorie/lower-fat/lower-additives and crap/higher health.

I've found in the last two weeks that I'm a bit calmer (for now). This weekend brought a lot of challenges, and each of the three times I was in trouble, I made compromises. I thought it through.

Like at my family's for a birthday party. I asked for the teeniest bit of chocolate birthday cake--cut off the top with the frosting, left myself a 3 in by 1.5 inch rectangle of only the chocolate cake part. Why? Frosting is fine, but it doesn't do it for me like chocolate cake. So, I had the part that gave me smiles and left what only was "okay." And I made it a smaller serving.

Also at the party we had assorted Cuban pastries and appetizers on the table. I only allowed myself to sample one of the savory ones. Avoided the dip and crackers and the sweet pastries. However, part of the lunch included special Puerto Rican meat pies, homemade, stuffed with seasoned ground beef. These are a specialty of my SIL, and she only makes them a couple times a year. They're FRIED. But they're relatively small. So, I weighed it and decided to have one. Context: Just about everyone else had from 3 to a half-dozen. I had one, and made the best of it.

I didn't have the noodles. I had the low-salt, lower-fat chicken breast and rice with creole red bean soup (one of my favoritest things on earth, Puerto Rican or Cuban style red bean soup. I could eat it every day.)

Because the party had been pretty devoid of veggies, I had for supper a big bowl of berries and watermelon, and a bigger bowl of arugula with minimal dressing. :)

I ended up 100 calories over my limit, cake, ham croquette, alcapurria and all.

Today, I'm doing great. Did the egg white-tomato-garlic omelette and was happy. Did the Subway substitution and was fine. And I'm planning to have lots of veggies with some leftover low-carb, high-fiber pasta for supper. My energy is really, really good and got me through Pilates fine. I'm not missing the venti-ness of latte, cause killer yummy grande is perfect.

And for dessert tonight, I'm thinking of leaving calories (60) for a sugar-free vanilla pudding. After decades of sticking mostly to chocolate (with slight deviations to butterscotch now and then), I realized this past month I really love the vanilla one. It makes me happier than the chocolate one.

I know I have to find a way to shove as much food and beverage pleasure into 1700 to 1800 calories. For life. Or I may as well just stay fat, cause I won't be happy settling for "Oh, well, this has few calories, so I'll settle for it." (And some stuff of what I've sampled at Hungry Girl is really "settling". And those Progresso soups suck. And Stevia makes me gag. But Amazing Grass is nice! And some of those WW concoctions you hear about at meetings are icky. But Just Strawberries rule!)

I was reading that people need to find what fits, whether it's low-carb, low-fat, flex, low-cal with splurges, etc. We don't all like brussel sprouts or kiwi or broccoli or tofu. I think forcing ourselves to eat what we hate backfires.

So, in your dieting explorations, what have you discovered you love?

(Oh, and I really love raw cacao powder on bananas. Ooh. Who needs drugstore candy bars!?)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Steak Dinner: Making Choices, Good and Bad

Five days of in-range calorie eating, five days of nearly perfect nutrition, and I got a mad craving to go out for steak. So...we did.

I sat and made concessions. None of the usual sides with steak, ie. mashed or fried potatoes or baked loaded, plus veggie souffle. Or that dreaded blue cheese and creamy dressing salad that steakhouses lure me with. :)

I started with their simplest salad and a vinaigrette (sorry, blue cheese). I had these sides: a baked sweet potato, plain, and sprinkled diet-friendly cinnamon on it ( not sugar). I had broccoli steamed, plain, no salt. I I had a couple ounces of merlot to balance its heart-healthiness against the saturated fat/cholesterol in red meat. I had unsweetened iced tea. I skipped the usual fruit tart or chocolate mousse (that I'd usually give in to at this particular eatery) and made do with a double espresso with Splenda.

That's what I did right. What I did wrong, besides eating too many ounces of NY Strip: I had not one, but two slices of French bread (it is a French restaurant, so the bread is really enticing). I used EVOO, not the butter they served with it.

What else I did right, knowing we'd be having dinner out: I had a moderate braekfast and a very light lunch that, together, totalled 650 calories. Enough to keep me from being utterly famished, but not so much that I didn't have some leeway at supper.

At the end of the day, after, yes, five days of great caloric containment, I went 500 calories over the maximum SparkPeople nutrition tracker allows me. I would have only gone 400 over, but I decided to have a coconut water to get in some potassium, and I had a fiber mix to push the meat through my system a bit faster. :)

I drank my water, good. I didn't make time to exercise, bad.

A day of good and bad choices.

After the restaurant, I asked hubby to drive to Barnes & Noble. I wanted to load up on health/fitness magazines, low-cal holilday cooking ones, too, in order to get myself motivated for the coming weeks of temptations.

It starts this week. Holiday eating. Lord, help us plan and help us make the better choices!

Tomorrow, a family birthday party will likely set all sorts of minefields. But I have set aside healthy snacks and beverages to take to minimize temptations/damages. Will I be perfect? Doubt it. But I will be...better.

Happy Weekend to all Fatfighters!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Impromptu, Organic Substitute for "Chunky Bar"--all healthful stuff with yummy taste!

I was doing great foodwise today. Had no overt cravings until about a half hour ago. I was eating small meals, watching my F/Vs and nutrients, counting calories.

After dinner, I still had a few hundred calories to use, so I thought I'd have some more fruit, maybe a treat.

But a bit ago, I got this urge for a CHUNKY. Now, I remember I had a CHUNKY craving around early October and after a bite, I threw it away. It didn't taste as good as I remembered. It didn't taste chocolatey enough and it tasted too sugary.

That memory didn't stop me from wanting one.

So, I scrounged around in my kitchen for:

1. organic, unsalted peanut butter that I got from a local farm
2. organic Thompson raisins
3. organic raw cocoa powder

I smooshed a couple teaspoons of peanut butter, a teaspoon of raw cacao powder, and tossed in some raisins to my taste--about 12. I stirred it up and I'm eating it off the spoon. Under 120 calories.

It's not pretty visually, but the flavor is AMAZING. Using quality ingredients makes a difference. The burst of the flavor combo on my tongue is delightful. It's got a CHUNKY vibe, but better--more chocolatey, more nutty, more raisiny. And this is much more healthful than a candy bar--all the components are good for me, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no bad oils, heart-healthy fat, minerals, vitamins.

But for my craving tongue, the most important part is: Ahhhh. Yum.

I'm sure there are all sorts of ways to make this prettier and tastier, but for something that is treating the craving without falling into a candy stupor, I can't complain.

The Micro-Awareness Upside of Tracking Food: What Ae You Lacking? What are you overdoing?

After tracking my food intake for a couple weeks, I noticed something interesting--and slightly distressing: I am consistently ranking way, way low on zinc, and often ranking low on folate. I almost never make the recommended minimum for potassium, and I wouldn't make magnesium without my regular supplementation (and from what I've read, few Americans do make it to minimums on these two nutrients). Also, I just about always go over the recommended maximum for salt\--no surprise-- and often go over for cholesterol, easy if I have two eggs in the AM. I sometimes don't make the minimum for calcium (now that I've drastically reduced pizza, takeout Italian, and cheese enchiladas!) without a pill.

I have started using my nutritional report to see what supplements to add to dinner or my evening snack. I was already long accustomed to taking calcium and magnesium and vitamin D--I am after all female and don't want osteoporosis. I'm asthmatic and pre-diabetic, so I've taken magnesium supplements for about 10 years for those particular conditions.

Since Sparking my nutrition, I've consciously been trying to add even MORE potassium to my diet via foods, but even on really conscientious days, even with 11 or more fruits and veggies, I don't make the 4500 mark (though I can get real close). So, I'm gonna start tweaking. I have high BP, so this is important. And I need to wean myself of my sodium addiction (that is gonna be tough.)

So, supplements take care of adding calcium, magnesium, Vit D, and, as needed, when I fall short of B12 or some other B (I have stress B complex that I use on hard exercise days).

So, what about zinc and folate?

Foods highest in zinc and my issues:

Shellfish and oysters--can't eat them. I have terrible seafood allergies. I end up in the E.R.
Pine nuts--hate them in anything except pesto sauce (which can only be eaten in moderation, as it's pretty calorie-rich)
Brewer's Yeast--Hey, I used to take that as a kid (my sister was into it in the seventies). A possibility, as long as I am not sensitive to it these days. (I am hyperallergy-prone.)
Wheat Germ--excuse me, ugh. Have tried many times to eat this. Ick.
Wheat Bran--well, I do eat whole grain bread, just not as much as my "eat what I want" periods. Weight loss = less food= fewer nutrients. Geesh.
All Bran Cereal= I'd rather take a pill. Another Ew.
Pecans--Like em in salads, but again, oodles of calories.

OK sources and issues:

Liver--you have got to be kidding? My mom used to force me to eat this in my kidling years, and I would gag unless there was a layer about an inch and a half thick of onions on top to mask the nasty texture/taste. I'd rather take a pill than eat even one forkful of liver.
Cashew Nuts: Love them! But again, high calorie price.
Parmesan cheese: Adore it. Use it regularly. But it's not a huge huge source, unless, I guess, I gobble a wedge.
Fish: Um, I really hate going to the ER.
Eggs: Eat em almost every day, gotta watch the cholesterol a bit. Not a great source, unless I eat like 10 eggs.

OK. I understand now why I keep getting low on this one.

Onto folate...

Foods richest in folate and my issues:

Brewer's Yeast: OK, I'm really gonna have to research and try this again (as long as there isn't a connection with Candida or anything else for my immune system). Two birds with one brewer's spoon.
Lentils: Oh, I like lentils. I didn't like Dr. McDougall's version, but I could try to find a great recipe and freeze batches or use them in salads or as an appetizer on bread. Yeah, maybe this could work.
Edamame: I have to limit soy products (I love tofu and soymilk, but the thyroid does not.)
Romaine: Eat it frequently.
Pinto Beans: Like.
Okra: Like a lot sauteed with tomatoes and onions.
Black Beans: I am Cuban-born. Need I say more? We'd kill for our black beans.
~More good sources--spinach, kidney beans, asparagus, broccoli, fresh o.j., papaya, whole wheat bread, etc.

All right, folate is doable. Lots of my fave foods on earth and lots of foods I eat regularly are on here. Have no idea why I'm lagging here. Maybe I need to see if the foods list at Spark is not listing folate properly. I eat some of those foods many times a week.

Still, the point is that this is making me more aware of choices. So much so, that I like to leave a 100 to 200 calories for an after-dinner snack to make up "voids" in my day's nutrition.

I also know that there are supplements I can take, but I'd rather get it from food. Since my 20's, when I first started learning about nutrition (at college, in a class on it, and later on in my own readings to try and improve my chronic conditions), I always believed the food itself, the way God created it, supplied more than science even knew, so it was the better way. Supplements were merely aids, to fill up gaps that imperfect choices make. Not something to utterly rely on to make up for crap eating all the time.

I still believe this. I think back on how much we know now compared to the sixties and seventies about what's in stuff--tea, coffee, fruits, veggies, chocolate, etc. How color is indicative of benefits. And we'll learn more.

Even if you aren't feeling the mojo to reduce calories or diet right now, I recommend you do some nutrition tracking with a free online tool to find out where there are nutritional holes in your diet. You don't want to find out LATER, when your bones are Swiss cheese, that you failed to get enough calcium and Vitamin D and magnesium. You don't want to up your risk of HBP cause you eat too much salt and not enough potassium. You don't want to risk stroke or x or y condition cause you failed to ingest vitamin this or mineral that.

Do a tracker for a couple weeks. It might be a revelation.

So, let's see, gotta make up a new shopping list. :)


But, it does make me stop and consider. So, I did a web search to remind myself what foods are rich in these.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. McDougall's Lentil Soup. Salt Cravings, and the Joy Effect

I had another high salt eating day yesterday. I think something hormonal is going on to make me crave saltiness so intensely. Last night, I went for sushi and salad with miso dressing and a ginger-honey stir fry with brown rice, with all but the rice soy intense, meaning SALTY. I had some--okay get ready for TMI, you've been warned--spotting from my nethers, so I do think the salt vampirism has to do with my female fluctuations.

I'm sipping a Starbucks unsweetened passion green tea as I blog. I used this to make up for giving up my venti 2% sugarfree vanilla lattes. I had a tall vanilla latte instead, iced and skinny style. It gave me that vanilla coffee flavor kick with fewer calories and fat. The tea is to make up for lost flavor volume. :)

Interestingly, I got a lot of compliments today about my chipper personality--one lady called me delightful, one effervescent, and one gal at Starbucks gave me a spontaneous size upgrade and a free latte. Surprised me. I guess smiling and being nice to people can bring rewards. I will admit, post Pilates, my muscle pain lessened by the activity and stretching--pain leftover from the hours of labor when the water heater flooded my kitchen--that I am a happy camper. Maybe my Joy Gravity Field is pulling people in. Heh.

Now, on to the soup:

I really, really liked Dr. McDougall's Vegetable ready-to-serve soup (which I reviewed earlier). Even my super-nitpickey, veggie-unloving hubby liked it when I packed some for his lunch earlier this week. I didn't feel the same way about the lentil. Now, normally, I dig my lentil soup. But I like my lentil soup savory/herbally/garlicky/oniony (pick one or several of that list). This one tasted very vegetable-ey, notably celeryish and carrotish. I do not care for celery much, but I can tolerate celery (raw especially) in salads and soups if discreet. This was not discreet. For me, this lentil soup needed more spicing and less celery flavor. But, YMMV, as you may be a celery and carrot fiend.

The texture was just as nice as the veggie one--thickish, without being too thickish. It had lentils and rice as the notable main components, offering more protein than the veggie soup, naturally, and a complete protein, of course. A cup is 115 calories (contrasted with 75 for a cup of the veggie soup).

So, while I won't repurchase this one due to its not suiting my taste bud needs, I think some of you will just love it like mad. It's healthful for a convenience food and not high in calories with a good mouth feel... and it's vegan. So, it hits a lot of spots and lets you get some veggie and legumes into your meal plans without a big caloric punch.

I'm super lethargic after having a late lunch, so off I go to try and stay away. ::sipping tea:::

Happy Thursday, y'all!!!

Denise Austin's Top 5 Tips

Coach Nicole over at SparkPeople interviewed fitness expert Denise Austin. Here's one of the Q&A's:


CN: Share your top 5 tips for staying fit and healthy in your 50s.
1. Body toning. Nothing will droop or sag if muscles are firm and taut. 2. Do cardio to burn fat from the entire body. 3. Stretching to stay flexible and lean. 4. Eat healthy and organic meals (lean protein, fruits and vegetables) and drink 8 glasses of water every day. 5. Be optimistic. Always think and stay positive. Don't beat yourself up. Think and act young with a positive attitude and always keep laughter and humor in your life. It's the best medicine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Okay, Sorry, But I'm Not Digging TBL Resort

See it here, if you haven't already.

When I first heard about it while reading a blog post today, I thought, Ooh, lemme see, lemme see. Sounds great. After all, I'm the gal who has wanted to go to one of those weight loss program places since ages ago--like Green Mountain or Structure House or the Pritikin in Aventura (near to me, but just not affordable) or "insert name of cool resort for weight loss here". Since I was old enough to read VOGUE and other women's magazines and see gorgeous pics and recipes and articles touting the beauty/wellness benefits of these places, well, it's seemed right up there with my dream of going to Tuscany.

Sadly, when I was healthy enough to travel, I was poor. And when I had enough money to travel, I was too sickly and would get terribly ill at hotels, any hotel. (I went deaf after a three day stay in one, my chemical sensitivities went haywire. And it was not a cheapo hotel, either.)

So, of course, I hadda see TBL resort.

Er...not impressed.

I'm sure the results are great and, were I to win a trip there, I might even risk it, on the hope that it's fresh and new and maybe not too toxic on me.

But, er...I find it ugly. I find the scenery ugly and the buildings ugly and the rooms uninspiring. It strikes me as...well...institutional, not resorty. (Note: Zion Nat'l Park has lovely vistas, as I've seen in photos, but around the resort itself, it looks bare and stark and kinda lonely.)

If I'm gonna be away from my beloved hubbypoo and my family and my comforting belongings, I at least want beautiful scenery. I guess I'm too firmly in the "I like trees and flowers" catgory, being the daughter of a gardening-mad mom born in the mountain boonies of Cuba, having spent most of my life in the subtropics (though born in the Caribbean), and the owner of a yard chock full of hibiscus, bougainvillea, a really nifty pink flowering bush whose name I don't know but that makes me so happy, palm trees, a resilient gardenia that bursts into white fragrant blooms twice a year, assorted little "don't know what they are" bushes, and one humongous Royal Poinciana that burns with orange-red blossoms in June (and shadows my front yard, kinda killing my grass, but, oh, well). My mom used to plant anything she could in our yard when I was a teen/twenties--flowers, herbs, veggies, fruits.

I'm used to being surrounded by lots of green with punctuations of bright colors and white.

I'm just not a desert girl. Although Sedona always looks cool to me on television (maybe the color or something).

Now, put a resort near the Yosemite Nat'l Park--or just put it right in the Ahwahnee--or in the highlands of North Carolina or in the Pacific Northwest and I'd be okay. :D I's gotta see some green.

So, there it is. I really am not feeling the beauty of TBL's resort's aesthetic.

Anyone out there find it beautiful?

A Salty Day Puts the Kibosh on My Losing Streak


Well, the streak hadda end, and this time, it wasn't a binge or overeating. (I stayed in my calorie limit and I ate my 11 fruits and veggies and drank my water, and I had about 41 grams fiber, so I did well.)

No, I simply went nuts with salt/salty foods. It put me up a few pounds, which I know is water weight, and it will come off.

Yeah, I have a weakness for the white stuff, which is ubiquitous in convenience foods, too.

I had cheese at breakfast and dinner, I oversalted my eggs and avocado slices, and I used a salad dressing that even to my salt-benumbed tongue tasted salty. Oh, and jarred salsa with supper's low-fat veggie and cilantro quesadilla.

I wish I had some fresh coconut water to help desalinate here.

Oh, well. All I can do is keep on my plan and try to control my salty urges if I want a nice downtick again.

I need to get to the store and get me some papaya and cantaloupe. I ran out. That'll help, too.

So, what's your white weakness? Salt, sugar, white flour, marshmallows...? :)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dr. McDougall's Vegetable Soup and...Down Again!

I've had a loss on the scale every day for about a week now, and it's really encouraging. I started fiddling with my eating almost there weeks ago, but until I got my caloric intake UNDER 2100, I didn't see movement, and until I got it under 1900, I didn't see daily downs.

Yesterday, my body was "off" from the sleep interruption posed by the flooding--see previous post--and I ended up eating two meals and a snack, instead of three with two snacks. My calories were lower than usual at just over 1500. I figured it would be a minor change (possibly even upward, as I ate a very salty dinner and had salty feta with breakfast), but I was nicely surpised:

266.0

That's 1.2 lbs less than the previous day.

Yes!

It's still so cheering to see the different "decade" on the scale. I'd wanted to see it for so long, and there it is. Now, I want it to be a very brief visit and be in a new decade by New Year's Day.

Now, the soup:

I was beyond lethargic last night, so, being hungry, I looked for the easiest thing to fix. Ended up with reduced-fat kosher hot dogs and veggie soup with fruit and Amaretti cookies and cinnamon milk for dessert. I didn't make it to 11 f/v's yesterday. Only made it to 7, but the lack of a third meal made up for it, I guess.

The veggie soup was one of the ready-to-serve from Dr. McDougall's. It's only 75 calories for one cup, 150 for the whole package.

I love this soup. I will be buying this soup as a staple 'hunger control/get veggies/get fiber" diet tool. It had a lovely, satisfying texture (not overly brothy, not overly thick). It had lentils and rice (for complete protein), and that made the texture shine. I didn't find the taste overly salty. The broth was tomatoey, but not aggressively acidic. Chunks of potatoes, bits of peas, carrots.

I liked this soup very much for a packaged soup (nothing's as nice as homemade). One can't quibble with the calories. I had one cup and sprinkled imported parmesan and it was great.

I like the Hebrew National reduced-fat beef franks. I cut off one-third of the hot dog bun to reduce calories, and I don't miss it. Since I'm not a piler at home (ie, lots of stuff on top of the hot dog) I don't need the extra height of bun.

We try not to eat these often. Just when I get a craving. I don't consider hot dogs a healthful food, but they do make me feel like a kid again. Can't deny that.

I'm planning to make a veggie lasagna for supper today....

May we all have a health-advancing day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweep/Bend/Push/Haul for Three Hours: Lose Almost a Pound

Well, I didn't make it to Pilates.

Our water heater burst during the night. Hubby noticed it, then I woke up to find water up nearly to my ankles in the kitchen and our carpet soaking on both sides of the closet that holds the water heater.

A plumber agreed to come first appt (said 7:30, came about 9).

Before that it was 2.5 hours of almost consistent sweeping of water out the door into the yard, while hubby tried to think of where the main water switch was (this is an apt building, and i had no clue). He found it a round 5 am, and the water mercifully stopped tsunami-ing. We swept out the last pile of it, got oodles of towels to mop out worst of soaking from carpeting, threw out a bunch of stuff that got wet in the pantry closet (boxes with dried goods).

My feet and back hurt some.

I got a few hours of sleep after the plumber arrived, and I woke up to find I was...

267.2

So, it only cost $850 and sore feet/back to lose almost a pound "overnight". :)

We have a shiny new water heater, a smaller checking account, and some damp carpeting I'm worried over (mildew, mold). Any suggestions on how to treat them welcome (they are still drying). Fortunately, the weather during the night was cool and dryish for Miami, so things ARE drying out.

I'm happy with the weigh-in, but I wish I could have lost that 3/4 of a pound in a much easier way.

Oh, and I just realized I'm more than 10 lbs lighter than New Year's Day of this year. I had wanted to end the year lighter. Now, I want to end the year at least 15 pounds lighter than I started.

Okay, time to have something to eat (I haven't eaten since 8:30 pm last night). My Dr. McDougall's ready to serve soup (vegetable) arrived minutes ago via UPS (I bought on the recommendation of various online fatfighting bloggers). I hope it's good. :D

Have a healthful, not appliance-disastrous day, guys, ok?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Nice Step Forward, One Small Step Back, and Redeeming Poor Choices

Well, I had another happy weigh-in this morning: 268.0

So, about a half-pound less than the day before. I'm firmly in this "decade", hooray.

But it was a family get-together, and I had 4 hours sleep. Not a good combo. When I feel tired, my brain interprets it as: hungry.

I was in a rush (hairdresser appt way down south, a 45 min drive), so I had a small breakfast (I had to eat SOMETHING). I didn't have time to make my veggies or any other fruit than a quickly scarfed orange. I took protein mix to have mid-afternoon to ward off a binge.

Unfortunately, I made some bad choices, but not as bad as I normally would have. I only took a couple bites of the dessert, though I wanted it ALL.

When I tallied my calories (in a notebook, as I was away from a puter for tracking), I knew I only had a couple hundred calories left for dinner. Trouble.

So, I made a smart decision. Not to skip dinner, but to have a lighter one. I was afraid if I tried skipping or just having fruit or another protein mix, I'd set myself up for a late night binge.

I stopped at Chicken Kitchen and got grilled chicken breast on a garden salad. I carefully measured out 2 TBSP Italian dressing and mixed in lemon juice to expand. I used lots of pepper for flavor. And I ate that huge salad, which wasn't a lot of calories. Because I still had a yen for something sweet (due to that taste of cake), I had a sugar free vanilla Jello for 60 calories.

In the end, I went over 200 cals of my target. Not too bad, really. I stopped and made conscious choices rather than "going with the food flow" and blowing my calories all to hell. I'll pat myself on the back for that.

It's a lesson: It's never too late to stop, think, plan, and make adjustments in order to minimize damage. A day is not done until you hit the sack.

But, okay, I didn't exercise and I'm too pooped now to do it.

Tomorrow, Pilates and another day to do better with food choices and movement. :)

I still feel very good and full of hope....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Couple Pics--Hard To Post, too, My Goodness--Of Me In Workout Wear

I'm uploading these to have something for comparison later, as I'm gonna hold on to that optimism that I will transform!

Anyway, I took a side and front view in the sunny garden (lovely day in Miami). Gosh, it's hard to take pics in shorts and sleeveless top. So dorky. But here we go. Me at 268.6.

Front:





Side:



As you can see, I'm an appley gal, lots of midsection fat--especially that protruding belly competing with my boobies (which are flattened by that sports bra, ick. I have some waist noticeable in the front view (Pilates helps with that). But my belly is a huge, huge thing. Less huge than at 299, granted, but still. And my upper arms could well be holiday hams...

I am happy to see my butt lifted with Pilates. It's a good two inches up there, not laying on my upper thighs. It's so much firmer (ditto thighs. And under all that belly fat, I can feel hard muscle. Ditto biceps. :) My butt, btw, used to be this flat square thing hanging down. Now, I have some curve and uplift. Yay, Pilates.

I plan by my fiftieth birthday, February 20, to have progress pics that show real, real progress. Yes, I do.

Yes, I will.

Note: For the larger gals who are just embarking on working out and having a trying time finding workout wear, I used to get mine at Junonia (when I was more like 300 lbs), but I found the tops at Old Navy (t-shirts and other workout type usable ones, like the sleeveless tanks and camisoles I use for Pilates) are way, way cheaper. I get my workout pants (bootcut, shorts, capris) at Danskin Plus (very good quality, I can wear the pants with nice tops). In this pic, I'm wearing a tank I got a Old Navy that stays put when I'm in weird positions in Pilates. The shorts are from Champion Plus. The wide-size aerobics shoes (not walking ones, those I get from Brooks, great for overpronators) are from Ryka. Very flexible for stuff like Kukuwa/salsa cardio. My microfiber undies (good for when you move a lot) are from Avenue. (But I use Junonia's quikwik briefs mostly for long sesions when I sweat a lot, cause they're very comfy and sweat-friendly. I use Goddess and Glamorise sports bras, cause they carry larger sizes.

Feeling..."Down" :)


Oh, yeah, baby. It's not a fluke. Today's weigh-in:

268.6

One less than yesterday.

The lowest weight I've been since I began this blog in May of 2007. That's right--my lowest weight in 2 1/2 years of blogging. And, better yet, my lowest weight since 2003, when I was 266. So, lowest number in 6 years.

Woohoo!

I'm officially more than 30 lbs below my highest weigh-in at home (299) in May of 2004. (I probably went over 300, just didn't get on the scale to find out back in 2004, the year my mom was in excruciating pain dying and I was eating, eating, eating to stifle the vicious emotional pain. I gained 33 pounds in 8 months.)

Now, to the weird stuff: I had to force myself to eat yesterday.

Let me clarify: this is supremely abnormal. I was hungry and eating even when I had raging, agonizing appendicitis. I was hungry and overate even in the midst of the flu.

Normally, I have to force myself NOT to eat.

But yesterday, around 10:30 pm, I was looking at my SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker (online food journal) and realized I was UNDER the recommended caloric intake. I was at about 1300 when I should be at a minimumish of 1500+. I was low on Calcium, Magnesium, Folate, and some other nutrients and not at the best place protein-wise (despite making a lower fat version of Shepherd's Pie for supper, with extra lean ground beef).

I don't like to eat too little.

Stop guffawing. Really. It's true.

I know, I know. Dieters will think 1300 is fine. But I like the metabolic roll I'm on (I was at 276.8 just 3 weeks ago, and I'm down 8.2 lbs). I don't believe eating too little (and robbing myself of nutrients) is a good idea.

So, I made a protein shake with half a cup of skim milk, a packet of Amazing Grass Chocolate Superfood (great stuff), two teaspoons of raw cocoa powder (organic, healthful), and a scoop of BSN Syntha-6 chocolate protein powder (I use the BSN protein powders in assorted flavors to fuel myself pre-workouts normally). Shake, shake, shake. Drink. Add a Vitamin D and Magnesium supplement. Done for the day. Stayed in my goal calorie range (two days in a row, dang, another miracle). Got in my crucial nutrients.

My energy has been really, really good for a few days now, which I appreciate. The weather is turning magnificent in Miami--winter is paradise down here, so I want to be able to do lots of stuff, go to museums and festivals outdoor with hubby. I want to have the oomph to take advantage of it this year, for a change.

Oh, and yet again, with food journaling, I confirmed my personal theory of what works for me weight loss wise (as it has in the past): When I balance meals and hit 11 fruits and veggies a day, I get movement on the scale. That's a big number, but all my food journals bear it out over the last decade. 11 is my magic produce number. Get below that and I seem to compensate with non-produce eating that is, inevitably, higher in calories.

It's not easy shopping and planning to have enough f/v's on hand to satisfy that target of 11. It's not easy for me to cook (I hate cooking). But when I eat at home and shop religiously, I have a better chance of losing.

For me, it's when I slack off the shopping/cooking/11 f/v's that I regain and regain.

Wish it were easier, but for me, it's not. Dang.

Okay, I've gotta happy dance on a Saturday for a good week of eating and moving. Yay!!

:::shimmy, shake:::::

Happy Saturday!


PS: If you haven't yet taken my wee survey, please help out by letting me know which fat fighting tool works best for you: See this post. Or just...click here to take survey

Friday, November 13, 2009

HAPPY DANCE! Broke 270 at last!


You regulars know I've been agonizing over being stuck in the 270's, up and down, in this "decade".

Well, I got on the scale today and it said....

269.6

Granted, that's just BARELY outta the 270's, but I haven't seen a 260-something since a brief blip in April of 2008. Two and a half years of solid 270-somethings. And just last month I was up at nearly 277 after the flu-comfort-food binge-fests.

I credit the motivation and accountability I'm getting over at SparkPeople. Now, I'm feeling pretty hopeful. Yessss!! I want to see lower numbers in the '60s. And then...tada, I wanna get out of this decade before New Year's Day.

That's the goal.

So, off I go to ingest lots of those lovely veggies and fruits I bought yesterday.

For those weighing-in today, I hope you love your scale today.

Happy Friday!

Note: The "Happy Dance" art is by Maria Mercado, who I think did a great job. Makes me smile to look at it.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Tool Helps You The Most in Your Fight Against Fat? Take A Survey, Please!


I was wondering what tool aids you fatfighters most. So, if you would, kindly take a few seconds to choose one from the list in my survey:

Click Here to take survey

For me, it's food journaling. Now, I can't wait to see which is the top pick.

THANKS.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally, I can put a new lower weight on my update!


So, I think I mentioned I joined SparkPeople a little over a week ago. I felt very demotivated, and I thought that might be a place to help me get back in the right frame of mind to restart a diet and fitness plan.

I spent the first few days just getting used to the site--it's got a lot of tools and stuff. I was still feeling the flu, so didn't dive in. But now, I'm starting to find my groove.

The first two weeks (I'm not done with those) is a sort of "start slowly" phase there, and you really are asked only to track three things you start changing. But for a few days, I've been tracking all I eat and all my exercise. I had been eating pretty much whatever I wanted for a month while ill, so let's say about 4000 or so calories a day, or more. I had regained a few pounds. But I started SparPeople with the intent of beginning the cutback.

I've logged meticulously in my nutrition journal for a week. It really reminded me how easy it is to lose track of what goes in the mouth.

My first week of logging and consciously eating less, I have been doing about 2400 calories, some days a bit more, some less, but never under 2000 and the highest was close to 2800. I started to make little changes--skipping fruit juice and eating the fruit at breakfast, for example.

For the first time in, what, a year and a half, I'm drinking water purposefully. It's REALLY hard for me to drink water. Just don't like doing it. But since I have to track water, it reminds me to drink. I feel the benefit of it.

Cardio has been a sticky issue for me. I have had asthma my whole life, and bad enough to require many medications daily. I start coughing and spitting up goo when I breathe really hard during cardio. So, I tend to avoid it. This past week, after more than a year of not doing any sort of movement like that, I did cardio twice. Not for long--I'm still flu-impaired and I'm so cardio-out of shape--but twice. Once on my own with music for 10 mins, and once for 15 minutes with a Leslie Sansonen DVD (a one miler at a good pace).

And so, I can change the number at left to 271.6.

I had bobbled around between 275 and 273 last week, so I expected 273ish again today. Seeing a number that hadn't been on my scale since, I think, Novemberish of last year (see stats on sidebar, scroll way down).

My goal is to work myself down to 1800 to 1900 a day. I should lose at a moderate pace at that level. It's still hard for me to eat below 2700, which seems to be the low end of my "I can be pretty satisfied and have some treats" level of eating (not my "eat whatever I desire", though). But I know that to get under 200 lbs, I can't have what I want. To get unde 200 lbs, I have to do without and feel some pain.

Anyway, if your mojo is long gone, maybe SparkPeople can give you a little kick in the pants. It's free and it's useful, but it does take time and has a bit of a learning curve (not much). I'm "PrincessDieter" over there. If you're already there, friend me. :)

This week, my goal is to stay closer to 2000 than I have, in order to eventually work down to 1800 cals a day. And my goal for next week is to be in the 260's. Gosh, I've waited for that one a while.

Let's not give up...ever.

Happy Tuesday, peops!

Onward and DOWNward...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Links to Informative Comparisons of BodyBugg vs GoWear Fit


Here.

Another here.

The comment thread HERE has good info from actual users of both products.

A critical review of Bodybugg by Coach Dean Anderson.

A couple posts by a GoWear user. Another user talks about her first 24 hours with it.

I'm considering one of these. The price makes me go "YIPES!" I'm leaning to the GoWear Fit only because of the sleep monitoring function, as I have sleep apnea. Because my thyroid went kaput over 15 years ago, I suspect I don't burn as much as a "normal" metabolism person.

Plus, gadgets are kinda fun.

Anyway, still mulling it over. Reading that Ali Vincent still uses her Bodybugg makes me interested, but, well, it's a pricey purchase, so I gotta ponder.

If you're using (have used, plan to use) one of these devices, let me know how it worked/is working for you, or which one you plan to get. Did it motivate you to burn more calories or eat fewer. Did it show you sleep disturbances (GoWearFit) or help you be more meticulous about food logging?

And if you want to look into a less techy/cheaper alternative that's like a revved up pedometer, maybe the FitBit?
See ya...

ADDENDUM 11/10: I found this blog whose GoWear user actually screencaps her reports, in case you are curious what they're like...

TBL's ALI VINCENT--How She's Keeping the Weight Off, Advice To Those Starting Weight Loss Journey

There's an interesting interview with THE BIGGEST LOSER'S female winner Ali Vincent over at That's Fit dot com that's worth visiting to read in its entirety.

Here are two Q/A snippets that I found of special interest.

The first tells us how Ali is keeping off her huge weight loss--and it's not easy, not for lazybones, shows focus and strength of will:


TF: What was your daily calories in/calories out goal on the road to winning Season 5 compared to today? (Ali was initially voted off, but did win a spot to return to the ranch.) In your book you share you still keep a food journal, but do you still strap on a bodybugg?

AV: I've got it on my arm right now. Yeah I do, I love it, love it, love it. People are like, "Do you still have to wear that?" I don't have to wear the bodybugg, but for me, it's the best tool I've found to track the calories I've burned every day. For me it's liberating. As long as I burned it, I can eat it. Now I'll stay on about 2,000 calories and I'll just make sure I burn 2,000 calories. It was hard for me to do before, but now I have an active lifestyle. I never go more than three days. On that third day, if I haven't done a workout, then I go.

When we first went to the ranch, my calories [in] were 1,200, but they didn't use the bodybugg [for the burn] like they do it now. On Biggest Loser we had one day of rest with higher calories, so I added 800 calories on my rest day for a 2,000 calorie day. [After being voted off the show] I stayed on a 1,200 calorie budget and I had to burn 3,750 a day to get me in a 50 percent [weight] loss range at the finale. When I returned to the ranch, Jillian asks me, "What in the hell are you doing?" I told her, "I go to bed when my bodybugg tells me to go." I relied on a mathematical equation. When you win the Biggest Loser, you live and die by the bodybugg. There's other tools out there, the bodybugg was the tool that I was given and that I use.


The second is advice for those starting a journey to lose fat and gain fitness:

TF: What do you tell people who are obese/overweight and don't know where to start?

AV: A, you gotta tell the truth of what you are. I didn't even know I weighed 234 lbs. You have to know where point A is before you can get to point B. Then think about what point B looks like. How much weight do you want to lose? Get clear on what your goal is going to be, then break it down in between. Start journaling everything that you do throughout the day. Go online, get support groups, get a trainer or a friend. If you want to be healthy, find the healthiest person you know and start hanging around them. Start watching them. You have to take action.


It never gets easy. Not the start, not the middle, and obviously not the finish--which is no such thing. It's just the ongoing....

Ali's Book, BELIEVE IT, BE IT releases tomorrow. Previous TBL winner Matt Hoover also published a book. I'd like to see Kai Hibbard write a tell-all, frankly, of the manipulations behind the scenes and how the pressure of TBL seems to lead some pretty close to eating disorders, exercise addiction, and dangerous diet behaviors for the moolah.Wonder if they invited her for the "Where Are They Now" type of show coming up soon?

Prolly not?

Ali, Matt and Suzy, and Eric Chopin (who has regained, btw) will be in it.

Anyway, the special airs November 25.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

CHICKEN KITCHEN: POST YOUR DANG NUTRITIONAL FACTS ALREADY!

It really annoys the princess poop outta me when large food franchises bother to put up their snazzy lil websites and leave out nutritional facts.

We had Chicken Kitchen chop-chops for lunch (I left our 1/3 of the yellow rice on mine), but I could not find nutritional info on this online, except for an incomplete one on a calorie site.

Hey, Chicken Kitchen, get on the fricken ball. Give us the nutritional label type of breakdowns for your menu items. If you really want to be helpful, put WW points on 'em, too. How about it?

The Princess commands...

(Now, on the off chance that I'm a total doof and missed it on their site, do check it out and tell me if I missed it. Heh.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Amazing Transformations To Inspire Us

I thought these before and afters, courtesy of Woman's Day online, were really something. I want my own transformation, and I bet you do, too.

Take a look.

Our Habitat Choices Can Work for or Against Fatfighters

Well, last night sucked. I did fine with B and L, but D got the best of me. Nothing new. My fault. Why? I bought dessert. I bought a dessert that is tempting. It was there. And I ate it. 400 calories worth.

My mistake. It's interesting that I had an opportunity to backtrack, to NOT buy this dessert--when the clerk forgot to ring it up. But no, I bought it. And because I let it enter my habitat, it entered my body.

Anyway, I was over at Sparkpeople logging the dreaded calories of last night's mess, when I came across an article.

Here, a snippet:

The researchers investigated what set the weight-losers apart from the others, and published their findings in the October issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Those who lost weight and kept it off were about three to four times more likely to exercise than those who were obese or overweight. They were also about 1.4 to 1.6 times more likely to spend time thinking about restraining their food intake, considering things like calories.

Those who lost weight had fewer televisions in their home and less high-fat food on hand. They also had more exercise equipment in their homes, the study authors noted.

"You have to pay attention to your home environment if you want to succeed," Phelan said. "Do you have TVs in every room? When you walk into your kitchen, do you see high-fat food or healthy food?"

Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center, noted in the news release that the study's findings were "common sense" and "close to self-evident."

"If you want to choose better foods, keep better foods within reach. Don't just rely on willpower. If you want to be more active, create opportunities for exercise that are always within reach. Don't just rely on motivation," he said.


Emphasis mine.

No one is responsible for my home environment but me. Sure, I live with one of the finest and sweetest men on earth, but it's really me. I do most of the food shopping. I do all of the cooking. I know what's in the fridge, freezer, and pantry--hubby is blithely unaware of stuff like what's in the fridge. Amazing how men can do that.

So, today, my goal is to go through my living room and kitchen (where I spend most of my home-time when awake) and get rid of what's not beneficial and rearrange it so that I can see encouragement (low-cal cookbooks, exercise equipment) and can't see stuff I ought not (hubby's snacks, triggers). We only have one television (I know, we're so weird, right), but I spend more time on the 'puter (which is semi on the fritz, so I'll be getting a new one soon) than watching tv. I even watch tv shows, anime, and movies on the puter at times, so really, I need to sometimes just hit the off button and go exercise.

This is my habitat. I'm it's Empress. I need to get the empire in line.

And I need to stop bringing crap in here.

^^for some home gym funnies, visit this page.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Schizo Eating: KFC Tender Grilled is Nummy and VEGGIEMUNN Corn and Leek Chowder is amazing!


I had lunch for breakfast (went to bed at 7 am and slept until 11:30 am). I woke up with a KFC craving. So, I got dressed and went and bought the white meat tender grilled chicken. I had cole slaw, mashies, and three green bean sides with that. Yeah, 3 green bean sides. I have to admit, I like their grilled chicken better than the fried. I remember when they previously had--years ago--tender roast (which was the one my hubby used to get). That didn't last. Once they stopped carrying the roast chicken, hubby didn't want it, so we avoided KFC. For years, we didn't go to KFC but, maybe, once in a blue moon when I got the urge for some fried chicken and biscuits.

We still don't eat there often. Just got this weird craving. So, there ya go. I'll probably bloat.

To make up for a fast food breakfast, I had a raw lunch. An organic apple with organic peanut butter, an apple-raisin cookie, strawberries. The cookies are sort of a square-shaped, moist melange of sunflower seeds, dates, raisins, bananas, vanilla, agave, walnuts, cinnamon, and, natch, apples. I ordered them fresh-made, delivered Monday by VEGGIEMUNN, a raw food purveyor in South Florida. If you're gonna have cookies, these are wholesome--and whole. And really tasty. Sort of like an apple-banana bread, really, but flatter and chewier. :D

I gotta give kudos to VEGGIEMUNN for killer yummy raw corn and leek chowder. This is one of my fave soups they make (along with the pear watercress and the asparagus). The raw barley and mushroom is okay, and I got several this week for the barley fill-er-up and fiber properties and the earthy mushroom allure, but now I wish I had gotten a half dozen of the corn and leek. Amazing. Beautiful green color, lovely daikon sprouts on top, creamy, delicious. Here are the ingredients: sprouted sunflower seeds, corn, leek, avocado, agave, coriander, parsley, kelp.

I will be having the mushroom/barley raw soup and the raw plantain pie for dinner. (In case you're curious, the plantain pie's ingredients are ripe plantains, nut cheese & tomatoes, Macadamia Nuts, Cashews, Bragg'S, Lemon Juice, Italian seasoning, basil, garlic. The mushroom barley soup has sprouted barley, shiitake mushroom, white mellow miso, fresh herbs, cold pressed olive oil.)

As you can see, I'm not a totally consistent eater. Certainly, I"m not a raw foodie. But I like having regular vegetarian meals and I enjoy the occasional raw meal. I am a particular fan of some vegan raw soups and desserts. Miami is hot most of the time and cool fruity or veggie-ey soups are very delightful when one is prone to perspire when going outdoors.


Losing and Keeping Away Visceral Fat is Facilitated By Exercise

Let's not kid ourselves. Portion/calorie-contol is key and necessary, but for those of us with deadly visceral fat--especially if you're like me with an apple-ish physique, big belly and all and with Metabolic Syndrome--exercise is ESSENTIAL:

In the study, UAB exercise physiologist Gary Hunter, Ph.D., and his team randomly assigned 45 European-American and 52 African-American women to three groups: aerobic training, resistance training or no exercise. All of the participants were placed on an 800 calorie-a-day diet and lost an average 24 pounds. Researchers then measured total fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat and visceral fat for each participant.

Afterward, participants in the two exercise groups were asked to continue exercising 40 minutes twice a week for one year. After a year, the study's participants were divided into five groups: those who maintained aerobic exercise training, those who stopped aerobic training, those who maintained their resistance training, those who stopped resistance training and those who were never placed on an exercise regimen.

"What we found was that those who continued exercising, despite modest weight regains, regained zero percent visceral fat a year after they lost the weight," Hunter said. "But those who stopped exercising, and those who weren't put on any exercise regimen at all, averaged about a 33 percent increase in visceral fat.

"Because other studies have reported that much longer training durations of 60 minutes a day are necessary to prevent weight regain, it's not too surprising that weight regain was not totally prevented in this study," Hunter said. "It's encouraging, however, that this relatively small amount of exercise was sufficient to prevent visceral fat gain."

The study also found that exercise was equally effective for both races.

--from "Exercise Keeps Dangerous Visceral Fat Away A Year After Weight Loss, Finds UAB Study"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why I Didn't Choose Gastric Bypass

A couple years ago, for an extended period of time, I researched WLS--banding and bypass. I was heading toward the big FIVE OH with morbid obesity still dragging my body down.

Reading about complications scared me, but the clincher was this: regain.

I didn't want to risk my life and health (some people die from WLS, some develop serious infections, some get chronic problems like anemia and bone depletion and seizures, etc), and then find that the weight comes back eventually. Some regain is the norm--look at Carnie Wilson and Randy Jackson. I've seen it in IRL, a friend of the family who, once his pouch stretched a bit, gained back weight, though, happily, thankfully, not all. Even one of the most interesting of the WLS bloggers, Melting Mama, with all she's already suffered healthwise post-surgically, is having regain issues.

I think keeping even half of a huge loss off is a victory. So, I'm not gonna say that I think WLS doesn't help. Plenty of folks keep 1/4 or 1/3 or 1/2 or more of the original loss off. If you lose 100 pounds and keep off 50, that's still progress in my book.

Let me repeat: Even keeping off part of a significant loss is a type of triumph.

Let me clarify: I am not dissing any person who chose/is choosing WLS. Hey, I know just what goes on in the mind of the desperate obese. That's me.

However--and this is coming from my little corner of the world, a totally subjective offering--I couldn't help thinking I'd be the one who gains nearly all back in five or 7 years. Forget that. I'm too scared of anesthesia, infection, and chronic malnutrition issues (not to mention super-saggy skin and loss of hair, ah, vanity still pricks the soul). I don't want to get chopped up inside if I'm gonna be back at 275 or 300 lbs down the road.

Still, it's tempting. Whenever I read good reports about issues resolved by WLS (diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, cholesterol, joint pain), it's still somewhat tempting. When I read that some people lose their huge appetities, I sigh with envy. I want to stop being hungry and stop bingeing.

But I keep seeing regain stories and say, "Um, let me try diet and exercise yet again."

If WLS patients end up, a year or more down the road, still having to resort to diet and exercise, then why not just work on that from the start, I tell myself? I mean, if the appetite returns for some, if the weight regains for many, if the overeating desires do not resolve, and they have to be worked on in traditional methods anyway, then isn't that kinda ending up at the beginning?

Of course, I say again: If the surgery helps folks keep a percentage off permanently, then it's still an option.

How long before longterm studies of the masses having WLS gives us a clearer picture of the lifelong trajectory?

I started this blog after I nixed WLS for myself a couple years back. I have an online friend who got banding and lost 100 lbs. She has kept most of it off, as far as I know. I don't ask, though I know she plateaued and got frustrated. Still, being closer to 200 than over 300 is great. Who wouldn't want that? (I just don't want to mess with my esophagus as I already have GERD and asthma which is exacerbated by acids). There's regain with banding, too,unless you plan to keep the band forever. I suspect as years go on, we'll find out people can't keep the band on forever, or erosion becomes a serious health issue. (I would worry about cancer, too, as repeated acid refluxing and erosion may cause those cells in the esophagus to go wonky.)

See, I worry too much about surgery. I even almost backed out of LASIK in 2007, making the doctor say, "Well, you'd be the 2nd person whose left while on the threshold." I almost did leave. And shoot, that wasn't even my insides.

I keep the option open, though, and hope that science refines things and maybe comes up with a chemical cure that is not worse than the condition. Yes, I dream for the pill that solves the appetite issue. I'd rather avoid the scalpel.

If you had WLS several years ago, how's it going? Regain? Success? No chronic issues? Disappointment? Regret? Strategies?

Considering it, like I did, and, like me, did you get scared, skeptical, worried?

Let me know.


Why Using An Online Food Journal May Help You Find Out The Truth About How Much You Eat

I've known more than a handful of ladies who swear they hardly eat and yet can't seem to lose/keep gaining weight. From my own observation of these gals, it's obvious they are in denial about how much they eat in terms of calories. They assume that having a regular salad for lunch is healthful and "lite", but don't consider that that quarter cup of dressing is loaded with calories and fat. Or they split the fatty entree with a friend/hubby, but don't consider that the entree was 1800 calories to start with, so if it's halved, it's now 900 calories (and this doesn't count sides, rolls, beverages, etc.)

Well, my observations are borne out by a study (flawed or not, it rings true to me), and the emphasis is mine:

In a 12-month weight maintenance study (other details of which are being discussed in this recent post), the subjects kept diet diaries, which were examined by the researchers at regular intervals. However, the researchers report that "it was apparent that, on average, women in both study groups had underestimated their food intake."

And not by a little bit. On average, the women reported having consumed 1370 calories per day. The researchers calculated that their actual calorie intake was 2044 calories per day. That discrepancy of 674 calories a day adds up to over
5 pounds a month!

The men, on the other hand, were spot on: They reported average intake of 1765 calories, the researchers estimated actual intake at 1771.


If you're having trouble losing weight, even though you think you're not eating that much, I suggest you visit on online food tracker--whether the one at Weight Watchers online, or eDiets online, or Fitday, or SparkPeople, and put in EVERY SINGLE THING THAT PASSES YOUR LIPS, solid or liquid or mint or gum, no matter how small. Look at how the calories come out at the end of each day. Do this for a week or more. (If you've ever been to a dietitian/nutritionist, you probably have done this, as this is part of making an appointment. They ask you to keep a food diary. An honest one.)

Be scrupulously honest. Weight and measure stuff if you are not experienced at eyeballing portions. One thing I learned decades ago is that 1/4 cup is a tiny amount, much less than you think. Measure 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and see how small it is. A cup of cereal is puny, but some cereals have a serving size of 3/4 or 1/2 cup (especially dense granolas).

Some Metabolic Mysteries are not mysterious. They're simply a matter of ignorance.

Slept Too Few Hours, Woke up Crazy Hungry, Here's My Big Breakfast Lowdown


Well, I just had a breakfast blow-out.

Fortunately, it was on healthful foods, and not super-fatty/big meats/fried/sugary ones, like say a Denny's Grand Slam.

First, let me say I fell asleep on the couch watching the election results. ZzzzZZzzz. Woke up about 4.5 hours later and had to take some meds. Then read my local paper and thought, "Geez, I'm hungry. But I'm still sleepy. But I'm coughing, so maybe should stay up." This went on for hours. I did some reading. I kept thinking, "Geez, I'm hungry."

Anyway, chopped up some veggies, heated up some Mama Lupe's low-carb, high-fiber tortillas. Whisked up one egg with a couple egg whites. Ground, scooped, and brewed some killer good Ademe Bedane coffee from Terroir (who have some of the best beans I ever brewed), heated up the skillets, sauteed my veggies with Pam Olive Oil (organic)--spinach, zucchini, green peppers, onions, mushrooms--and got the low-fat cheddar and fresh salsa for garnish. Made me two breakfast tortillas (which would normally run me 450 calories for both, over 10 grams of fiber, more if you count the fiber in the two cups of coffee I slurp up).

But then I had this spasm and heated up leftover slow-cooker oatmeal (from earlier in the week) and threw some canned lite peaches and a 1/4 cup skiim milk on top. Had a cup of coconut water, too, as I was bloated from the ham I had last night.

So, I can't say I didn't fuel up! And I got 4 of my fruits and veggies in, 6 plus to go. (In the past, whenever I've lost weight and lost it consistently, it was o nly when I stuck to 10 to 11 fruits and veggies per day and counted points/calories while journaling. It's the journaling that taught me I do best when my produce intake is quite high, ideally 11 F/V's per day. That's a lot of planning, shopping, cooking. I know what's ahead of me if I wish to succeed. F/V's. Lots of them.)

To be honest, though, I had planned yesterday to have a good breakfast so I could just have soup or protein mix (I love that Dessert Lean in Banana Pudding) and keep my tummy unfull for my late afternoon training session at the Pilates studio. I don't do well exercising with any real food in my stomach. The reflux acts up.

Breakfast totalled out to 614 calories (about 12 points), with 86 grams of carbs, 18 of fat, and 45 protein.

This leaves me, at miximum, about 1300 calories for the rest of the day, which is a lot (dieting-wise), though not a lot from what I'm used to (non-dieting-wise). I have to get used to less food, and I know it's gonna be trying. I'm not good at reducing food intake. I feel deprived and cranky. So, I need to work on my mindset and patience...

If you haven't had a healthful breakfast yet, go on. Do it. Remember your fruits/veggies and fiber. And WATER! (I am sooo bad with water.)

I wish all fatfighters a happy, healthy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Calorie Guesstimating Is Still Primo...Now, If I could Just Get My Dinnertime Appetite in Line


I started logging my food on SparkPeople today. (My user name there is PrincessDieter, for anyone who is in that community.)

It's a bit of a slow-going pain, but I wanted to see how the calories/fat/protein/carbs added up.

I had written what I ate quickly in my diet journal at home, with a pen,the old-fashioned way, and I had guesstimated that breakfast had been roughly 550 calories.

When I entered the food into the nutrition log at SparkPeople, it told me the calorie count was 535. Good huh?

I remember the very first time I went to a dietitian. Not as a chubbyish kid or zaftigish teen (I was normal on the weight charts, but you could tell by looking at my belly and butt and thighs that I was on the higher side). I went as an overweight 29 year old carrying close to 190 pounds. The dietitian quizzed me on calories in meals, and I nailed every single meal she projected on a screen. The surprised look on her face made me think that didn't happen often, if ever. But hey, I liked to read diet books even then, even if they weren't really sticking.

So, I lost about 20 pounds that time. Regained plus. The usual story.

All that to say that the head knowledge of weight loss isn't correlative to the reality of weight loss, but it's still good to be aware. I can't fool myself when I scarf down pizza or cheese enchilada take-away that I'm eating A reasonable number of calories, cause I know dang well it's more like Z. I've seen caloric underestimation in action (just about everyone I know other than my middle sister underestimates how many calories they have at a meal.)

So, I had a pretty decent, high-fiber, highish protein, veggie/fruit enriched breakfast. I already planned what lunch and my snack will be. The crux always tends to be dinner. That's when my appetite goes nuts. It went a bit nuts last night, when I gave in to seconds/dessert temptation and felt pretty stupid, too.

But, fine. It's another day. I started off well, the middle seems manageable, and if I strategize (drink plenty of fluid, have my whey snack a couple hours prior to dinner, have a fiber supplement, too, to start filling me up) then dinner won't defeat me.

Tomorrow, I plan to return to Pilates after a 4 week absence due to this really hideous, lingering flu. I still have some cough (not much), some plegm (not much), some fatigue (middling). The idea of exercising is daunting, cause I am nowhere near my best energy levels. But I plan to eat lots of fruits and veggies today and get a lots of potassium and rest as much as I can before my session tomorrow. I want to recapture the muscle I lost being ill.

I hope I can continue the logging of food at SparkPeople. I tried this before at WW online and really kind of fizzle away. I always have done better at the pen/paper journal of foods (faster). But I want to see the nutrient breakdown, even if it's just for a few weeks to see where I'm lacking/excessive/etc.

I hope today is a great day for all the fatfighters out there. Write down your calories/points. Eat lots of produce. Drink water. Move some. Do that, you and I, and we're halfway to a good food/fitness Tuesday.

Later,

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?-- That "Biggest Loser" Song

I made a healthful breakfast this morning, including 3/4 fresh juice and an egg-white scramble with 5 servings of veggies (zucchini, spinach, onions, green pepper, mushrooms). I made hubby a fresh and healthful lunch to keep him shiny and handsome.

And I'm gonna start writing again after ages of not doing so. It's National Novel Writing Month, so why not? A good time to jump back in.

I'm feeling good, and I want to feel proud at the END of this day, having done my best to eat for health and move for health and think affirmatively.

We need a change
Do it today
I can feel my spirit rising
We need a change
So do it today
'Cause I can see a clear horizon

What have you done today to make you feel proud?
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?

--song "Proud" sung by Heather Small

Sunday, November 1, 2009

If There Were an ALL SAINTS DAY in Weight Loss...

Today, November 1, the day after All Hallow's Eve, is well, All Hallows Day--All Saints Day. Christians commemorate those who have been blessed with the beatific vision, ie, they are in heaven in utter and total bliss with God.

I know some who are there, now, among the holy. :)

But in thinking about the significance of today, I had this weird tangent of a thought: What if there were an All Saints of Weight Loss Day? These are not people in heaven, but here on earth who, rather than having attained purity and holiness with the Creator, have achieved harmony and health and a normal weight through strong efforts and self denial--and perhaps a solid dose of heavenly grace, too. I never discount that.

After all, the path of spiritual holiness is one of self-abnegation, learning new habits of godliness, giving up the old sins for new virtues, learning to think and see and feel in ways contrary to what our physical/worldly nature may lead us to think and see and feel, changing oneself into a better state. It involves often having a mentor or many mentors who are walking the same path. It involves daily effort and concentration. It involves self-awareness for the purpose of a new becoming. It involves, often, rituals that are tried and true. It involves affirmations (holy texts, prayers, chants, songs, poetry). It involves commitment and vows. It means having a very clear goal(s) and wanting it wholeheartedly. It involves the mind and soul, not just the body. It may mean losing old friends who are hindrances and acquiring new, supportive friends in a like-minded community. I could go on...

I think you see the correlations.

It's not easy attaining a goal, whether spiritual or mundane. And even something like successful weight loss--as far as I've observed from those who have done it, lost a lot of weight and KEPT IT OFF long-term/forever--requires the sort of steps that gaining holiness does.

It's time-consuming, requires dedication and persistence, requires a change of life that is significant, may result in many failures before there is success, and it is life-long. You don't stop and get results.

Those of us who admire saints, who take saints names for our middle names in rituals of the faith, who understand that they were mere mortals just like us, but somehow by the grace of God and their own will and desire, accomplished notable things--we understand that they are examples and motivators. If we're selfish or materialistic, we can learn from St. Francis or St. Claire how to free ourselves from the bonds of wanting things in order to want something better. If we think a sickly woman can't make a difference, we can look at St. Teresa of Avila and see how that is a lie. If we feel cowardly, we can learn from St. Peter that cowardice can turn into great boldness through faith.

For those of us feeling bound by fat, trapped in gluttony or sloth (ie, we eat too much and we aren't active enough), we can look to "Diet Saints", those who have gone before and been successful and share their experiences and diet "rituals" with us. I think we've noticed that while all journeys differ, since all journeys are not equally full of obstacles and setbacks, those who succeed share at least some similar traits. They had to stop a and do b, learn x and unlearn y and adapt to z. In successful weight loss, unless we're really, really not observant, we can see the obvious similarities among the "saints".

But the differences in journeys are helpful, because we may find kinship in A's journey moreso than B, as they are more similar to us in situation, health, obesity, financial status, etc. I cannot identify with a 20-something with 20 lbs to lose. But I can identify with a 40-something with 100+ pounds to lose who has chronic health issues. We each look for our own "saints" to guide us.

Doesn't look like there is an official patron saint of dieting/dieters, but man, given the obesity epidemic, someone in charge should get on it. I do like the suggestions that are implied by this charm bracelet. (Although I always thought St. Catherine of Siena was more like an eating disorder saint, frankly.)

If there were an All Saints of Weight Loss Day, we'd be celebrating the ones who got slim and fit and kept up the good fight til the end.

Do you have someone who is your Diet Saint? Someone that you look to as a role model for virtuous eating and self-sacrificial exercising? More than one?

If not, look for one. We all need some kind of saints in our lives.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr. McDougall Right Foods--Are they Right For Your Diet?


Because I'm restarting my eating plan, I've spent a mini-fortune in food--both at the supermarket and ordering stuff online for the cupboard/pantry. I tend to shop from Amazon and Netrition.

This past week, I've ordered lower sodium Amy's soups, Just Tomatoes brand dried items (cherries, strawberries, mixed veggies, apples) that I add to oatmeal and soups and just snack on, and pecans from amazon.com. From Netrition, I ordered my fave higher fiber/lower carb pasta--DREAMFIELDS linguine, lasagna noodles, penne, and elbow-- as well as lower carb/higher fiber tortillas and pita breads, GG crispbread, and unsweetened Almond Breeze in vanilla and chocolate.

Today, I placed an order with Glaser Organic Farms (a local operation, way south of me in Miami-Dade country). This is organic stuff, lots of raw stuff, too, including raw hummus, their own extra virgin olive oil, peanut and almond butters, lima beans/split peas/lima beans for soups, fresh coconut water, light agave nectar, and spinach-basil pesto.

One of the lines of foods that I try to keep in my "dieter's pantry" is Dr. McDougall's Right Foods. I order them from Amazon.com in bulk. I'm gonna post some about it after seeing this blog entry today over at Slim Shopping. Jennifer got a nice batch of soups from Dr. McD.

Man, wish they'd send me free food. :) Especially the maple oatmeal (which I haven't tried) and some of the other soups.

Anyway....These are vegan foods, mostly soups and cereal items. I've tried the following:

Peach Raspberry Oatmeal with Barley
Instant Apple Cinnamon oatmeal
Spring Onion soup
Miso Ramen soup
Split Pea soup (both the regular and lower sodium)
Tomato Basil with Pasta soup.
Pad Thai Noodle


(I have some Chicken Pilaf in the pantry, but haven't tried that one yet.)

The lowdown: These tend to be nicely conservative in calories and have a healthful array of ingredients. You usually just add water and steep. Convenient, low-cal, healthful. Yep, that's why it's in my pantry for when I'm on plan.

Tastewise: The split pea in a cup is the best instant of this type of soup that I've had. I've ordered the case twice. The Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal is better than the Quaker and McCann's versions of the same flavor. Way, waaaay better. Tastes fresh and apple-y. The Spring Onion soup is quite pleasant, with Thai-rice style noodles that are fun to slurp. The Miso Ramen has a nice miso broth but the noodles suck. I guess ramen does better when it's got fat. I ignore the noddles, use the packet for broth, and add tofu and scallions and mushrooms. (And yes, there are instant miso soups out there, but I have a severe seafood allergy and can't risk the bonito flakes, etc. So this vegan miso is safe for me to consume, even if I ditch the noodles.) The Tomato BAsil with pasta is fine, but it needs a lot of steeping/cooking and maybe additional microwaving. If you follow the instructions, it has a really hard/crunchy texture. Gotta cook it way longer, unlike the other soups.

The one big, huge fail (other than the ramen noodles in the Miso Ramen) was the Pad Thai Noodle soup. Didn't taste one darn thing like Pad Thai (one of my favest of foods). Bland. Lots of rice noodles, though, so for some, it's probably okay.

All in all, I've been pleased with the ones I've tried from Dr. McD. If you want to see more reviews or nutritional info, visit their site or amazon. They make way more products than I've listed/tried.