Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Fitness Pal

A friend of mine mentioned using My Fitness Pal the other day because she could track her water and fiber intake - both of which are very important for your health and weight loss. I originally chose not to use My Fitness Pal because I have a very low opinion of counting calories. However, so long as we are using it for other purposes as well and not as a rule, I think this is a tool that we can benefit from even if we are not counting calories.

BTW - it reminds me a LOT of Weight Watchers tracking except theirs track points, track foods differently and do not show nutrient content.

If you are going to use it, I would like to encourage you to not put too much stock into the calories and fat intake amounts it gives you. Especially if you are using low carb meals occasionally to lose weight, you will be constantly going over on calories and fat.

Unfortunately, most diets want you to restrict your fat. That is a bad idea for lots of reasons. Fat is important - especially for brain health. As long as you are aiming for healthy fats, please don't pay too much attention to their fat numbers. You actually want to eat more fat than they are going to recommend.

Check out their handy mobile app!


Read this series about fat and weight loss:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday

Weigh in Tuesday got skipped so I am weighing in today and have decided that Weigh In Wednesday is kind of catchy so I will be switching to Wednesdays. :)

Lost .6 lbs this week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Better Health for Weight Loss

Anything you do for your health, causing your body to function properly, is going to help you lose weight.

For example:

Ever feel hungry even after you've eaten? Not getting enough nutrients can make you think you're hungry or even result in cravings. Taking a multi-vitamin can help supplement what we aren't getting from our food.

Being low in vitamin D, magnesium, or iron can compromise your immune system, sap your energy levels, or alter your metabolism in ways that make it harder to take healthy-lifestyle steps. "You may compensate for low energy with caffeine, sweets, and simple carbs," says Dr. Hedaya, "Or find that you feel too run down or weak to exercise." - Bary Nan Cohen of Prevention

Doing a colon cleanse will help to restore proper function, and takes a toxic load off your body, giving you more energy and the ability to think more clearly.

Sleep is very important for weight loss. This topic is so important and this writer covers it well: Web MD: Sleep and Weight Gain

Balancing your hormones has such an impact on your weight, that there are several books written about it. My favorite is Julian Michaels Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!
Also, the better your health, the greater chance of your body balancing your hormones on its own.

Fruits and vegetables not only have less calories and are overall good for weight loss, they also nourish your body, resulting in needing less food.

Taking a flaxseed oil or fish oil supplement balances the omegas in your body and helps you think better, which of course leads to better choices. A deficiency may cause cravings, especially for fatty foods.

Drinking 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day cleanses your system and helps to avoid hunger and cravings that are actually thirst. Drinking water is generally known as a part of any good weight loss plan.


Health Issues

There are all kinds of health problems that cause weight gain. Kidney, heart or liver problems, thyroid problems, PCOS, hypothyroidism, depression, blood sugar problems, medications, Cushing's syndrome, food sensitivities, hormone imbalances, stress itself and emotional eating from stress.

The best treatment is prevention. Most illnesses start a long time before they are noticed and are caused by toxins, especially in your colon. The book Gut Wisdom helps with understanding how the colon works, how to treat problems and improve digestion.



Conclusion

I would recommend starting with a cleanse - it doesn't really matter which one (colon, liver, whole body, etc). Make sure it's natural, with herbs and start out slow. If you have a toxic load on your system (as most people do), you may experience detox as your body clears out toxins. This is normal and even desired, but if it happens too quick, you could experience cold or flu like symptoms.

Learn what you can about your health. There's an overwhelming amount of information out there, but each small change you make, each new thing you learn about your health, are a small steps toward feeling better and losing better.
Go nourish yourself!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Low Carb Food List

In general, I do not recommend using a low carb diet long term. Not only is it unhealthy because our body needs carbohydrates, but it will ultimately lead to feeling deprived and you will likely end up gaining the weight you lose back or even more. However, when used in addition to a more healthy and sensible plan, low carb meals thrown in 2-3 times a week, can really boost your weight loss efforts. Eat low carb meals about 3 hours apart from carbs.

I also don't recommend counting carbs. I think that's a bit obsessive and is likely to cause you to burn out. It's a better idea to eat foods that are low carb for a meal or two and just limit carbs in general.

Your weight loss plan needs to be something you can live with for the rest of your life. If you can't live without cake for the rest of your life, it needs to be included in your weight loss plan. The goal of this blog is to teach you how weight loss works, so you can use that knowledge to eat better, without deprivation, to lose weight.


Low carb foods in a nut shell would be meat, cheese, eggs, fats, veggies, and some condiments. Here are some more specific (but not all inclusive) examples:

Meat, cheese, eggs, fats:

Butter
Cheese
Cream
Eggs
Fish
Mayo
Meat
Oil
Poultry
Sour cream

Veggies:

Alfalfa seeds
Asparagus
*Avocado
Bean sprouts
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumber
Eggplant
Green beans
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Onions
Peppers
Radishes
Spinach
Tomato
Zucchini

Other:

*Bran (wheat, oat, etc)
Coffee
Dill pickles
*Flax
Mustard
Tartar sauce
Lemon juice
Salad dressing (most)
Seasonings
Sugar free Jell-o
Tea
Vinegar


Limit:

Eat in limited amounts when eating low carb meals:
BBQ sauce
Brazil nuts
Catsup
Lemons
Macadamia
Tahini
Walnuts

Not so low exclusions:

Corn
Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Winter squashes
Liver
Milk
Nuts
Tofu

*Their carbs are mostly unusable due to their fiber content.

What are carbs?

Another Low Carb Food List

What Are Carbs?

In case you are not sure what exactly carbs are, here is a list (that is not all inclusive) to give you the general idea of what foods are considered carbohydrates:

Sugar:

Desserts
Fruit
Honey
Molasses
Soda
Sugar

Starch:

Beans
Bread
Cereal
Corn
Flour
Grains
Milk
Nuts
Oats
Popcorn
Potatoes
Pasta
Rice
Wheat

Carbohydrates (carbs) are an important part of our diet. Choose whole foods and whole grains as often as possible.

Read Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

10 Weight Loss Myths Debunked

"Misconceptions about how to lose weight abound, especially on the Internet. Get the facts on shedding pounds now: Start by dispelling these 10 commonly held - but wholly inaccurate - notions."

10 Weight Loss Myths Debunked

Be Nice to Fat People

People who are overweight live a little different than those who are not overweight might think. If you've never been overweight, you may not understand what it's like and may be missing a little empathy.

A thin friend of mine once told me that she thought overweight people choose to not get off the couch and go take a walk. She saw being overweight as laziness and thought of it as a choice. That was a very painful moment for me and I have never forgotten it. What it seemed like she was telling me was that she thought I was lazy and I'm guessing stupid too since it would be stupid to make a conscious choice to be overweight!
What she was lacking was understanding and empathy. She couldn't possibly imagine what it feels like to be overweight and not have a clue what to do about it. Of course we all know that calories in - calories burned = weight gain or loss but somehow it's not that easy.

I've made plenty of plans and tried many ways to lose weight that didn't work out for me before. Diets are a racket nowadays and it should be clear to everyone that they don't work. Usually people who diet end up feeling deprived and gain back even more than they started with initially!

I've seen this with someone I'm very close to. She has been overweight since she had her last baby, then only months later had her gallbladder removed. He has been nagging her for years to lose weight. When she eats, he makes suggestions about the amounts and her choices.
HE is the reason she is overweight. He has never been there himself and doesn't have a clue what he is doing to her. He doesn't realize how it feels for someone to constantly disapprove of you and guilt you for your food choices and weight. I know how I beat myself up for eating badly, I can only imagine how tough it would be to have an external source of guilt as well.
She can't lose weight until she decides to do it for herself. As long as she is trying to lose weight for someone else or motivated by guilt, it's not going to last. She has health issues and genetic factors that contribute to her being overweight, but honestly it's more about what's broken in her head that keeps her from sticking with something. As long as her motivation is trying to make him happy, she'll never succeed.
He doesn't know what it feels like physically, mentally or emotionally to be in her shoes. Never judge someone until you have walked in their shoes!

The Mental Factor

Being overweight is physically limiting but more than that, it does something to your mind. There are many, many things that are different for an overweight person. I don't know how to describe to you how this affects someones mind, so I'm hoping you can understand what I mean.
Each 'little' thing makes an overweight person feel really bad, lame, stupid, horrible, etc.. The only word that I can think of that is similar to what I mean is 'frustration'. When you feel frustrated, it feels a little bit helpless and hopeless. Being overweight isn't just feelings of helpless and hopeless but also of guilt and stupidity.

You might know what it feels like to be overweight if...

You can't cross your legs. To this day, when I sit and cross my legs, I still do not take it for granted. I was so excited when I realized I could cross my legs while sitting! I still notice every time I cross my legs, how good it feels to be able to do that and it brings a feeling of happiness.

You can't sit in theater seats without your thighs scraping the sides. The day I sat in a theater seat without my thighs scraping as I sat down, was a really awesome day for me. This was an amazing NSV (non-scale victory) for me! My thighs scraping the theater seats was one of those things that made me feel so lame.

You are uncomforable. I didn't even realize I was uncomfortable until I noticed that the more I lost weight, the more comfortable I felt. I remember laying in bed on my tummy and it felt so good!  I realized at that point that everything feels different when you have extra weight. Even if you don't realize you're uncomfortable, you still are. That contributes to the overall bad feeling in a way that people aren't even aware of.

Your thighs rub together so much when you walk that it causes painful rashes. That is frustrating, painful and very limiting.

You are not 'comfortable in your own skin'. I gained a lot of confidence when I lost weight. When I was overweight, social gatherings were a great source of anxiety for me. It was miserable to be so unhappy with myself that I couldn't talk to people. I always thought that if I could only accept myself as overweight and be ok with who I was, I would be a lot happier. I'm sure there are a lot of overweight people who are able to do that and it works for them, but I never could accept that for myself even though I wished I could.

You have to shop in plus size clothing (where apparently only fashionless old people design clothes). Unless you have plenty of money to buy clothes from 'proper' places, it is really difficult mentally to go shopping.
First of all you have to go to special places - you can't just shop anywhere. Imagine going to the mall and only being able to shop at 2-3 stores. Even the clothes that have your size on the tag, at most places, are not designed for full figures and will not look good no matter how big they make them. Lane Bryant is the one store I know of that is plus size and has clothes that look nice. The clothes in most plus size stores and even most plus size sections tend to look like they are designed for older people. Not everyone can afford to shop at Lane Bryant though.
So already I was shopping in 'special' stores, alone (forget going shopping with friends who are thin, you don't even go to the same places), then I hated trying clothes on. I hated what I saw in the mirror. Shopping was not a pleasant experience for me and I avoided it unless I just had to have something, which resulted in wearing clothes that I really hated a lot.

Have you ever worn clothes that you hate? When I wear clothes I hate, I feel ugly. I feel uncomfortable the entire time. At this point, it doesn't matter what other people think, I feel ugly and cannot be myself because I'm so conscious of how I look the entire time I'm wearing that. Even when I'm at home, wearing something I don't like can make me feel crappy all day. What's worse than being overweight? Being overweight and wearing clothes you hate all the time.

You have tried so many times to lose weight. It's not as simple as the calorie equation might seem. Unless you know HOW to lose weight, no matter how hard you try, it really is impossible to get the weight off and keep it off. Every failed attempt is really hard on a person mentally. It really hurts to not only fail over and over, but the result of your failure is something that makes you feel even worse! So Thomas Edison failed at making a lightbulb a few times, at least his failure didn't result in still being overweight.

You feel different/special. Being the odd one out, different, special... is not fun. When you look around you at all the 'normal' people who you'd give anything to be like, who don't understand you, it feels really bad.
This might sound hilarious to you, but even overweight people don't seem the same as you. As an overweight person, you know how bad it feels for a thin person to say they feel fat or need to lose weight. You wonder what they must think of you if they think they are fat! So you can never say that you feel fat (even if you are) to someone who is more overweight than you are. Unless you are the same amount of overweight, you are not the same. Funny how that works... :)

You can't do things that everyone else can. Like doing that stretch with your hands behind your back, there are many things, great and small, that an overweight person can't do, that most people can. Those little things don't seem little when you can't do them. In my mind, those things seemed big - it really hurt to not be able to do things that everyone else could.

You don't know how to help yourself. No one chooses to be overweight. You really don't know how to help yourself. That made me feel really hopeless and stupid.



So how does this affect someone who has never been overweight? Please take it upon yourself to look at overweight people with love. Have a little empathy for them and understand that even when it doesn't seem like it, that person may be really hurting. Kindness and acceptance goes a long way.
Of course, you can't really help them unless they want to help themselves, but accepting them the way they are and realizing they have mental battles that you can only imagine may give them the hope they need to find a way to lose weight or accept themselves the way they are so that none of the above really matters anymore.

Also, check out Psychological Consequences of Being Overweight

Do you have something to add to this list? Feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weigh In Tuesday

I gained .4 lbs this week. Not too surprising after my last post. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Falling Off the Wagon

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day dinner, we went to Chili's. Fighting the crowds on Mother's Day doesn't appeal to us, so fast food or an evening meal is what we prefer. Chili's didn't use to be too weight loss friendly but that has changed and I chose Chili's because I knew they have lighter options.

I ordered a grilled chicken plate with grilled veggies (yum!), beans and broccoli - a very weight loss friendly meal. I felt full before I got to the beans so I took them home with me. I was so proud of myself for not only ordering a light meal, but I didn't even eat all of it!

However, that is not how my weekend has gone. I have had the hardest time eating right this weekend!

Saturday

We went to eat at a buffet with my mom on Saturday, for a Mothers Day meal. I did great on both of my first two plates, eating low-fat meats, lots of veggies and making low carb choices. The desserts were more than I could resist though and I ate so much that I felt blugh the rest of the day and didn't get hungry again until the next day. *sigh* This is NOT how to lose weight...


Friday Night

The night before, my Mom had made 2 different kinds of cookies and I ate way too many of them after eating too much nachos, followed by eating graham crackers and milk (a nostalgic snack for our family) and cookies again because everyone else was. *sigh again*

Thursday Night

Going back even another night, we had company Thursday night and after eating too much food for supper, I ate too much of the apple pie and ice cream they brought with them.


Back to Mother's Day...

So after a weekend with my family of making bad choices and botching up a visit to a buffet, I ate entirely too much for lunch and was desperately asking myself "Why?" Why am I eating too much and making bad choices? Then I remember something... baked Cheetos. I haven't had baked Cheetos in forever!
When I was really seeing the weight come off (1-2 lbs a week), I always had baked chips on hand. And deli meat - I love cold cuts but I haven't eaten them for a while. Which leads to asking myself what has changed.

I think the answer is coupons and health issues. Because I am learning to budget my groceries and use coupons, my eating habits have changed a lot. My health problems (gallstones) changed my eating habits a LOT! I have lost sight of the plan and veered off course...

I used to eat things like hot cereal, cold cereal with skim milk, eggs, bacon and 45 calorie toast or fruit or yogurt and nuts for breakfast.

For lunch, I typically ate deli meat and cheese on 45 calorie bread with mayo on one of the bread slices. Maybe I would eat some fresh veggies with it or throw pickles, spinach or lettuce and tomatoes on the sandwich. I would usually eat baked chips on the side.

Dinner could be anything like grilled or baked meat like chicken, fish or pork, spaghetti, chili, etc. Usually we had sauteed veggies on the side or baked potatoes with light sour cream, butter or healthy oil, salt and pepper.

I always weighed my foods and knew how much a serving of things were. I still know how much a serving is pretty well but I tend to cook whatever is quick and easy or what I have on hand forgetting to make sure it's going to help me lose weight.

What to do now?

Getting back up

When we've fallen off the wagon, my suggestions are:

  • Re-evaluate your pantry. Get rid of the foods that are tripping you up (trigger foods).

  • Write a menu and make a shopping list of items that are going to help you lose weight (i.e.  yogurt, frozen fish (tilapia and swai are inexpensive options), deli turkey, frozen fruits, veggies, baked chips, 45 calorie bread, nuts, fresh spinach, eggs, lean microwave meals, etc).

  • Pull the fruit basket back out and stock it with fruits that you like to eat.


  • Go to the library and get one or two of the books that I suggest and read through it for inspiration.

  • Or revisit some of the posts on this blog.


Do you have anything to add? What has worked for you to help get you back on track?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How NOT to Exercise

This is my second round of doing the Shred. The first time was a flop and here's why:
I saw a friend of mine had started the Shred - Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workout DVD. I was immediately inspired to join her for the support because I too wanted to get in shape and knew a partner would help keep me motivated.
I was still overweight at the time and she was a thin girl but that difference didn't mean anything to me at the time. I went to Walmart that day, bought the DVD and started working out the next day.

To help us connect while on our journey, I started a Facebook group called 30 Day Shred. We immediately had several people join us and it became an instant success!
We discussed whether to do the Shred every day. I knew that you are not supposed to start out exercising every day but it was the 30 Day Shred and everyone said "Of course, we'll do it every day". Like duh...
So we all did it every day. (Well most of us...)

I missed one day because we had guests in our home overnight and there was no opportunity that day. I surprised myself by sticking with it and lasted even past the 30 days. I did it for about 6 weeks until I went with my mom and sisters on vacation for a week. We tried to exercise while we were there but I lasted about 2 days before giving up exercising entirely.
After returning from that trip, I truly tried to get back into an exercise habit but that was in September and until this week I bet I have exercised maybe a handful of times. We tried walking every day - flop. I tried pulling out the Shred a time or two, yoga, crunches... nothing could get me back in gear. I had burnt out after 6 weeks straight of exercising EVERY day!

Two days ago, after most of my work required me to sit most of the day, I REALLY wanted to do something active. I pulled out the Shred and while doing it, I felt really inspired to seriously change my life from this point on. I have all kinds of ideas and I've been thinking for a while, about all the things that have defeated me time after time and formulating a plan of how NOT to start exercising again. You see, I have never had a good exercise habit that stuck, so I don't know for sure how to start the habit, but I have some major experience in how NOT to start exercising. So here is my advice:

DON'T think you can do everything skinny girls can do.
While doing the Shred (2 days ago) I did something for the first time that I was not able to do even during the 6 weeks of doing the Shred before. You know that stretch where you clasp your hands behind your back and lift your arms up to stretch out your shoulders? On the 30 Day Shred group, we discussed doing some of the exercises at one point. Some would say some of the moves were easy while some of us were feeling lame for not being able to do those things.
That stretch is something I never could do. I could maybe get my hands away from my back a few inches, but I was really straining to do that. I am just as out of shape now (actually more so when considering I had done it for 6 weeks) and I can do that stretch now. The difference? Several pounds. Now that I have lost more weight, I can do that stretch.
If you can't do something they're doing, it might be because it is physically impossible for you right now.

DON'T take exercise advice from people who weigh a lot less than you OR from people who are already exercising regularly.
Weight as well as fitness, really makes a difference on some of these things.
The girls on the group talked about pushups. I was doing the girly kind (on my knees). Some of them were not only doing several more than I could push out but they were doing them normal (on their feet)! Even after doing it for 6 weeks, I couldn't do very many. I can do more pushups now than I could then and I'm out of shape now! I think back and realize that the people who were doing more pushups and regular pushups were girls who were thin and the one who did regular ones was already exercising regularly before the Shred! Regardless of how in or out of shape you are, the amount of weight you are pushing up really makes a difference.


DON'T do all the reps.
If you push yourself to do the entire workout, that is an excellent way to burn yourself out, make yourself too sore and end up not exercising for weeks.
I went to the YMCA for a class once and I expected the girl teaching the class to tell us beginners how to do the modified form. Since she gave no directions for modifying her moves, I thought I was probably doing a beginners class and like a good girl, just followed directions. I could barely move the next day. The 4 steps in front of my house were agony to get up and down. It took me like a week to get over that - I hurt SO bad. I couldn't even think of exercising let alone going back to the Y for a while. When you are beginning, even if they say "You can do it", no you can't! Don't do it. Do as much as you can at first and don't push yourself. You can do more tomorrow... and the next day. Those videos/routines (even the beginner kind) are designed to keep you challenged for a few weeks. Even 3-4 days into it you will be able to do more than you could the first day.

DON'T hang in there.
Same as above, different wording. When they say "Hang in there, you can do it", don't. Take it easy at first. Even if your 'at first' is a week or two into it. I don't think I ever did all the reps without breaks during the first 30 days of the Shred.

DON'T buy stuff.
Every dollar you spend on workout gear, yoga mats, hand weights, programs, DVD's, water bottles, equipment, etc is one more dollar that is going to make you feel guilty when you don't use them.
If you're going to buy something, buy it at a reduced price or just buy 1 or 2 things that are inexpensive. Unless you can buy them at a yard sale, flea market, resale store or even a used sports place, my advice is to not buy it. Do you know someone who you could borrow from for a little while? I'm sure someone you know has bought a bunch of workout stuff they aren't using. :)
You are so motivated when you decide to spend all that money on the item that you are so sure will get you into shape, but it's really hard to stay motivated after that. If you are already motivated, and have already established the habit, it would make more sense to invest in the items that you already know you would use. There is no magic 'thing' that is going to make you fit.
When I started the Shred, I knew this piece of advice (from experience) and used canned food as my weights. I eventually bought 1 pound weights once I had stuck with the program a while. Which leads to another piece of advice that seems quite obvious to me but I have learned is not so obvious to some...

DON'T buy the big weights until you've been exercising a while and feel you need more of a challenge.
Those little weights might seem small in the store, but they won't feel so small after lifting them in ways you've never done before over and over again.

DON'T overdo it.
Going from completely out of shape to exercising every day is a terrible idea for so many reasons. Especially if you are fitness illiterate, meaning that you don't know what the muscles are called let alone the names of the moves. Grapevine... what?
Some of those moves are difficult to figure out at first. DON'T let how silly you feel or look keep you from trying it again the next time. It took me forever to figure out how to do that silly grapevine!

DON'T do it alone.
If you decide to start exercising and tell no one, if you give up the next day, who cares! Find SOMEONE, even if it's someone across the country (preferably someone who has similar fitness levels and weight as you) to do it with you. With as many types of social media as we have now, it shouldn't be too difficult to find someone (or someone who knows someone) to do it with you.

DON'T think you have to do something MAJOR!
Yoga IS a valid form of exercise. Yoga tones muscles as well as stretching them. When I did yoga for the first time, after about 3 days, I noticed was that I had more energy because I could move more easily. Stretching and becoming more flexible made doing everything more easy, resulting in feeling more energized and stronger. Surprising but true!
Thinking you have to do some set amount of exercise or you're not doing it right is a silly notion that most of us get in our heads that is likely to defeat you.

DON'T let soreness defeat you.
You are already not going to be super sore after following my advice on not doing all the reps at first, but when you first start out, you are going to be sore. The best way to get rid of the soreness is to work through it. Exercising those sore muscles again helps to work out the soreness.

DON'T let injuries or limitations defeat you.
I have had back problems for years. When I started the Shred, being out of shape and not knowing better, I put my back out the first day. I realized though that she didn't spend enough time warming us up and did a little warmup on that area of my back (between my shoulder blades) before starting the DVD.
A friend had knee problems and couldn't keep doing the Shred because some of the moves were too hard on the knees. Some of the exercises cause my hip to pop in a very uncomfortable way. I modify those moves and just do them as much as I can.
I used to feel like I wasn't doing it good enough and I almost thought I couldn't do it because of that. I nearly gave up. Only the group kept me going - I couldn't bare the shame of giving up. Now I realize that modifying the moves is a completely acceptable thing. The programs are designed for a general audience and the sheer fact that you are doing the program even if you can't do ALL of it, is absolutely good enough!

Last but not least...
DON'T give up.
Taking a tiny step in the right direction is always better than standing still.

And a quote...

"So I know that it’s not the easiest habit for most people, and most people’s experiences consist of starting and stopping and starting again. Which is fine — don’t beat yourself up about it. The important thing is starting again." - Zen habits


For motivation, check out this post:
How To Start Exercising

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weight Loss Manners

When my grandparents still lived in the area, we would go visit them a couple of times a month. They had discovered that my kids liked hot dogs and mac-a-roni and cheese. And potato chips... and cookies... and soda (not the diet kind usually)... and candy... and ice cream. So of course they were always offering these things when we visited. It was at that time that I determined to never let my weight loss become more important than my manners.

Since there was nothing being offered to eat that was remotely weight conscious, I ate what they served and tried to limit it some but not to the point of being rude. I would at least eat one cookie. To not eat what they offered would possibly make them think I didn't like it. To tell them that I was dieting would probably stress them out.

These kind of occasions will present themselves occasionally. People are always more important and there are ways of making up for it later and trying to eat carefully when faced with this type of situation. Please put your respect for people over your weight loss goals.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Starving

I love this information from Mens Health. Simple yet so true...

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Starving

Foods That Make You Gain Weight

If you simply avoid foods like these, you would probably lose weight without doing anything else:

#1 - Foods with a high fat and carb combination
Because carbs cause our body to store fat, foods that are high in fat AND carbs are going to cause weight gain unless you eat them in small amounts.
Examples: pizza, biscuits, cheesy foods, mashed potatoes, gravy, corndogs, creamy foods/soups/sauces, donuts, pies, cake, desserts, chips, junk food in general, carnival foods like nachos, pretzels, popcorn, etc.

#2 - Sugar
We eat too much sugar in general. The kind of sugar we eat is not a natural food. It has been stripped and processed to the point that it actually uses up minerals from our body's resources to process it. It is literally taking nutrients from your body!
Sugar is not only high in calories but also void of nutrients. It doesn't satisfy our bodies nutritional needs, which results in your body asking for more food!
Don't forget the large amounts of sugar in your drinks: sodas, coffee, juice, tea, etc.

#3 - Carbs
We do need carbs in our diet, but we eat too many and the wrong kind. Simple carbs (white flour, sugar) taste the best and are what most carbs are made of, but they are nutritionally void (have been stripped of their nutrients through processing). They not only cause weight gain, but are a large part of what's making us sick.
Try to choose complex carbs (with whole grains) as much as possible.
Example of problem carbs: muffins, dried fruit, cereal, bagels, white bread, rolls, white pasta, white rice, potatoes, etc.

The easiest way to avoid foods like these is to not let yourself get hungry and eat the stuff that is good for weight loss first. For example: If I can just eat the green beans and turkey first, the roll looks less and less tempting as I get more full.

Weigh In Tuesday!

I lost 1.6 lbs this week!

How I did it:
I paid attention to what I ate.
I thought about my choices as I ate instead of just eating whatever because I didn't care at THAT particular moment.
I used the information I blog about - what I know causes weight loss or gain to make my food choices.

I did not diet.
I did not feel deprived.

I did eat like a dozen cookies in one setting (which I regret) but was able to overcome the calorie intake in the meals before and after that.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm an Abstainer

While reading this post, I realized I'm an "abstainer". I do better when I give something up completely than if I try to moderate it. Take donuts for example - I rarely eat donuts because after a while, I forget what I'm missing out on, whereas, if I eat them, I can't seem to stop.

I don't have doughnuts on my list of trigger foods for that reason. I do not eat donuts. I need to do the same with chocolate chip cookies...


Quiz: Are You an "Abstainer" or a "Moderator"?
by Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

How about you? Which one are you?

Foods That Make You Lose Weight

Here is a list of foods that cause you to lose weight. This does not mean to exclude any other foods, but when you are eating these foods, thank them for making you lose weight. You don't HAVE to talk to your food, but it might be fun. :)

Lean protein - Your body works harder to break down protein, burning more calories and it takes longer to process too. That is 2 reasons (works harder and longer) why lean protein helps you lose weight.
Grilled chicken, fish of just about any sort, eggs, BEANS (protein AND fiber = superfood), lean pork, turkey and other lean meats are good options. Even bacon in moderation is ok. You CAN eat bacon!
Egg whites or egg beaters are a very lite option but I personally do not recommend this as a habit because it is not healthy. For a quick, light meal, cook egg substitute, frozen diced veggies (onion, pepper mix) and frozen turkey sausage together, seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

Fiber - For the same reason as protein, fiber helps you lose weight - it takes longer to process and slows down digestion causing your meal to stick with you longer. Choose whole grain versions of your breads as often as possible. Sara Lee makes amazing bread! Their Soft and Smooth varieties makes the 100% whole grain breads much easier to eat. I use Sara Lee 100% whole wheat 45 calorie bread. The slices are thinner so you are eating less bread which also helps you to lose weight - less carbs.

FRUIT!!! - Fruit has little consequence to your weight. Fruit also has fiber. Eat fruit regularly. Try fruit you've never tried before. Eat fruit before a meal to curb your appetite. Eat fruit when you have the munchies. Ignore what the extremists tell you about certain fruits having sugar in them and all that jazz. Just eat it!
If it is not convenient, you are not as likely to eat it. Keep convenient fruit on hand - ALWAYS! Some examples - grapes, apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, frozen fruit, etc.
Use fruit to replace dessert. When everyone else is eating cake, eat the frozen berries with low fat or fat free whipped topping (that you brought with you because you planned ahead). Yum!
Eat Green Smoothies!

Vegetables - Vegetables will make you lose weight. Vegetables will make you lose weight. Vegetables will make you lose weight! I'm not kidding... so I repeat - vegetables will make you lose weight. Some of them actually burn more calories to chew and digest than they have in them.
Use your imagination. Sauteed and roasted veggies taste amazing. Sautee broccoli in butter and olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic on high heat just until it browns like you've burnt it. That charred taste is amazing!
Add spinach to everything! Spinach has a very mild taste and adds color to foods. I blend it and put it in eggs, mac-n-cheese (the kids love it), sauces, etc.
Add onions to whatever you can. If you don't like the taste, add a little at a time until you get the feel for how much is tolerable, cook them a little longer and you'll barely know they're in there.
Salads are great but don't eat them if you hate them. Or find ones you love and eat them when you want them.
There's just nothing like grilled cabobs. I love to make them with meat, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. My husband doesn't even like mushrooms but he can't get enough of the grilled mushrooms!
Try green smoothies. They're delicious and SO nutritious!
Try doing google searches to find ways to eat veggies for people who don't like them. I used to not like veggies but I eat as much as I can now.

Dairy - Drink skim milk, eat yogurt frequently, make pudding, cheese sticks, butter in moderation, cheese in moderation... Butter and cheese are not lean options but taking them out of your diet causes feelings of deprivation which leads to failure. Just eat them in moderation. Which leads me to another important food for weight loss.

Fat - Yep, you heard that right - fat. If you cut nearly all the fat out of your diet, you are likely to lose your hair, become constipated, create health problems, have trouble thinking clearly (fat is brain food), crave fat and of course feel deprived. You need healthy fats in your diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight. This series explains: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly

Condiments - Condiments like ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard and relish don't affect your weight enough to worry about them. These help a lot to avoid deprivation. Pickles and salsa should be eaten freely.

Also - Light popcorn is high in fiber and curbs the appetite. Sugar free Jell-O is a great snack and is 0 points. Hummus is high in fiber, protein and nutrients - a great option for weight loss.

Soup - Broth based soup (not cream soups, which are loaded with fat) are generally very low points/calories and are very effective at curbing your appetite and helping you lose weight. Try eating soup before your meal to keep from eating as much of the other food - especially at buffets.

Herbs and Spices - These do not affect your weight and add much flavor to your foods!

For more on foods that make you GAIN weight, click here: Foods That Make You Gain Weight

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Trigger Foods

What Weight Watchers calls trigger foods are foods that once you start eating them, you just can't seem to stop. These are foods that you've gotta see coming. You can still eat them, but you have to understand which ones they are, their affect on you and have a plan for them.

My trigger foods are pizza, french fries (any kind of fried potato), hollandaise sauce, sausage, whipped cream, rolls, nachos, and chocolate chip cookies!

My plan for example:

Pizza - if I know I'll be eating pizza, I plan to eat only one or two slices and decide beforehand what else I'm going to eat with it or I eat only the non-carb portion of the pizza (toppings) and maybe a salad too. By the way, have you ever considered why pizza is a dieters enemy? EVERYTHING about pizza goes against weight loss. It's a large amount of simple carbs baked in oil loaded with fattening meat and soaked with the grease from the fat loaded cheese. One slice of a regular piece of pizza is more than enough points/calories for a meal. Eating thin crust with as many veggies as you can handle is a better choice for pizza.

French fries - I usually don't order anything potato because they are such a problem for me. Otherwise, I have to make up for them later by eating lighter meals or lighter foods. The last time I ate french fries, I ended up eating a bunch of them and ate my next meal carb free. At least order a small fry if you gotta have them. A small ends up being enough anyway.

Hollandaise sauce - IHOP's omelet with spinach and mushrooms may not sound that great to you, but they put hollandaise sauce on it (which is a sauce made from egg yolks and butter) and the flavor is unbelievable! I of course add sausage and am unable to help eating the entire thing which is nearly a days worth of calories (or points). Hollandaise sauce is a weakness of mine. However, I'm almost sure that omelet is low-carb. I bet I could get by with it if I thought about it that way... :)

Sausage - Next to calamari, sausage is my very favorite food. I can eat sausage just about all day long. I didn't eat it very much while I was losing weight at first because it is so high in fat but now I typically only eat it if I'm not eating carbs. Works for me!

Whipped topping - I eat low fat or fat free. I'm sure that's not even real food so I don't eat it often, but when I do... I just LOVE whipped topping so I make sure it's light.

Rolls - I don't eat them often because when I do eat them, I have a hard time limiting myself. It's been so long since I've had a good roll, I barely remember the pleasure of eating one. It gets easier to avoid them after a while. The problem with rolls, besides being a simple carb full of calories is that they demand BUTTER! Yeah...
If I eat them, I usually just eat half a roll. If I were to eat a whole roll, I would limit my intake that meal or make up for it the next meal by eating lighter or low/no carb.

Nachos - Oh my word... If I eat nachos, and NOT the Velveeta kind but the kind from the fair, I gotta watch it. I LOVE nacho cheese! We went to Fuddruckers Sunday and they have that kind of cheese for dipping your fries in or putting on your burger. While waiting on my food, I sat and ate one of those small dipping containers of cheese off my finger, knowing it was rude and immature, because I couldn't help myself. :) I love that cheese!

Chocolate chip cookies - Yet another food that hates me. Well it at least doesn't want me to lose weight. This is a food that you not only have to limit, but plan for too. Either watch your intake before or after to make up for this carb and calorie load.

Another thought: I'm An Abstainer
Do you know what your trigger foods are?

Spoil Your Dinner With Pickles!

We've been taught not to eat before a meal because it will "spoil our dinner". Now that we're losing weight, spoiling our dinner is exactly what we want to do. A mid afternoon snack or snacking while you're cooking is a good way to keep from eating as much during the meal.

Eating 'free' things like pickles, fruit or veggies or light or filling foods with protein and fiber like hummus will curb our appetite. Nuts and yogurt is a favorite snack of mine. The combination of protein and carbs keeps hunger at bay even longer.