Mission Statement

I will in general eat healthy, eat "normal" food, without gimmicks, pills, surgery, or trademarked diets. I will log all calories consumed and estimate calories burned on a daily basis. I will then be able to track my progress and estimate arrival time to my goals through My Food Log. I will also develop non-food rewards for reaching my goals knowing that reaching each goal is a reward in-and-of itself. I will not give up. I know that I will not be perfect but that I am making a permanent lifestyle change. The good days will out-number the bad days. I will not give up!



Christina 2009

After taking a 12 day hiatus, I thought this poem would be a good way to get started again.

Also, free and personalized diet plans still available. This is not a trick or gimmick. I earnestly want to help anyone who is having a difficult time, is just getting started, or wants to try a different tactic.

To start again,
Refreshed and new,
To recommit,
With brand new shoes.
For the cleared path,
That lies ahead,
A brand new day,
Of breaking bread.
One meal at a time,
I will not give up,
Permanently shaping,
Lean from lump.

Christina 2009

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Twin Speaks

by Christina2009

Such an inspirational phrase I just had to do an article on it right away...

"The most important pound to lose is the next one," says one of the twins on The Biggest Loser. His words just keep ringing in my ear. I've established a bad habit of taking a break on the weekends. Overall my eating habits are better. I'm not buying junk food so the foods I eat over the weekend are generally good, but I still eat too much. Basically I am working hard 4 nights out of the week and slacking off 3. It is no wonder that I feel like I take 2 steps forward and one step back. That is essentially what I'm doing. I need to not reward myself for 4 good days by allowing 3 not so good days to happen. I need to remember the twin's phrase and repeat it frequently, especially over the weekends.
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Back In Black

by Christina2009

Took another long weekend and admittedly some back sliding, but, I'm back now! According to My Food Log, my daily calories burned/gained are back in the black...

meaning that I'm burning. This weekend does not count for much loss, it was a good deal of gain (nasty red numbers). I did work extra hard on Saturday though. I served 400 cups of individually squeezed and prepared lemonade. It was quite a workout.
I need to also talk about exercise in general here. Lady Rose of The Incredible Shrinking Ladies and The Diet Pulpit has inspired me to exercise more. Her current mission is to be able to do 100 regular push ups. In an effort to reach her goal she is engaged in several types of strength building exercises.
I have not yet braved the strength training exercises but I am incorporating more cardio-vascular exercise... mainly walking. Increasing the level of activity (exercising more) is the only way to keep my body loosing weight. The less you weigh, the slower your metabolism, therefore exercise more to burn more calories.
What kind of exercise are you doing? How often? Have you seen progressive results? Do you feel better about yourself after an exercise session?

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Yummy Yummy For My Tummy, Light And Delicious Too

by Christina2009

Slowly but surely I have begun to incorporate healthy features into my family's meals. I have been successful at keeping all the flavor, taste, and texture of a few dishes while cutting the calories and fat. Here are two of the recipes that, while my family may not realize are altered, My Food Log and I do.

Just Like Betty's Tuna Noodle Casserole
This recipe for Tuna Casserole really sticks to your ribs. It's also quick and easy to prepare. It tastes so much like Betty Crocker's recipe that I really couldn't tell a difference. Also, this recipe yields 4 large servings instead of Betty's 6. This will also save about 200 calories per serving.
1 10.5 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup (store brand)
1/2 c. skim milk (store brand)
1 c. uncooked elbow macaroni (store brand)
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded or cubed 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese (Cabot's Vermont Sharp)
12 oz. white albacore or lite chunk tuna packed in water - drained (Starkist)
1 c. frozen peas (store brand)
1/2 c. crushed corn flakes, usually 1 c. before crushing (Kellog's) - see tip below***
1 tbls. lite margarine (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Lite)

Preheat oven to 350
Cook macaroni according to package directions (usually boil for 8-10 minutes)
Set peas out to thaw
Meanwhile mix milk and soup (try using a fork or whisk, but don't froth)
Drain and rinse macaroni in cool water
Mix all ingredients except corn flakes and margarine
Pour mixture into 1.5 quart casserole dish and smooth over top
Place in oven for 20 minutes
While that's cooking melt margarine and mix with crushed corn flakes (try the fork again)
Remove casserole from oven after 20 minutes and cover with corn flake mixture
Cook 10 minutes more
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes
Serve and gobble down!

Makes 4 large servings 414 Calories 12 grams fat

Good as Granny's Green Bean Casserole
This recipe will really surprise. It's got all the savory flavor like Granny's but about 60 fewer
2 14.5 or 15 oz cans of fresh cut green beans - drained (Del Monte)
or 2 16 oz bags of fresh green beans - cook as directed by Granny
1 10.5 can condensed cream of celery soup (store brand)
1/2 c. skim milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper (store brand)
2 tsp. spicy dijon mustard (French's)
3/4 c. crushed cornflakes - usually 1 1/2 c. before crushing (Kellog's) - see tip below***
1/2 tsp. onion powder to taste (store brand)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder to taste (store brand)
1/4 c. parmesan cheese (store brand)

Preheat oven to 350
In a 2 quart casserole dish, mix milk and soup (try using a fork or whisk)
Stir in green beans, black pepper, and dijon mustard then smooth top
In a separate bowl combine crushed cornflakes, parmesan cheese, onion powder and garlic powder
Spread cornflake mixture over top of casserole
Place in oven for 30 - 40 minutes until hot and bubbly
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes
Serves and gobble down!

Makes about 6 3/4 c. servings 107 Calories 3 grams of fat

*** Tip ***
For an easy and mess free way to crush cornflakes place whole flakes in a zip tight sandwich size plastic bag. Leaving one corner of bag open, squeeze out most extra air. Seal that corner and make sure entire seal is tight. Use a rolling pin to roll over the bag until desired consistency is achieved. I prefer a fine crush. You can then use the same bag to mix in other dry ingredients when called for.

Here's to yummy eating and We Can Do It!

DType the
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One Pound Of Flesh

by Christina_2009

How do get those 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day? It might help to think about it in terms of cups. Guys and gals need different amounts. Your age will also help determine how much you need. Everyone over the age of 2 needs at least a pound (2 cups) of flesh and preferably fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Although, keep in mind that frozen, fresh, dried, canned, fruits and vegetables all count as servings. Keep reading to find out how much you need.

Ladies First
Age 2: 1 cup each
Age 4: 1 cup fruit and 1 1/2 cups veg
Age 9: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 2 cups veg
Age 14: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups veg
Age 19: 2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups veg
Age 31: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups veg
Age 51: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 2 cups veg

Age 2: 1 cup each
Age 4: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 1 1/2 cups veg
Age 9: 1 1/2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups veg
Age 14: 2 cups fruit and 3 cups veg
Age 19: same as age 14 and remains same until age 51
Age 51: 2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups veg

Good to know, but how much is a cup? Better still, how much is 1/2 cup? 1/2 cup servings are generally better because that gives more opportunity for variety. And variety is important to help get all the vitamins and minerals we need.

Examples of one cup servings are:
one large orange - all flesh, no rind, no seeds
one large ear of corn - all kernels no husk
one large sweet potato - all flesh, no skin

Examples of 1/2 cup servings are:
one large bunch of grapes - about 16
baby carrots - about 6
strawberries - 4 large, no tops

for more examples visit 5aday.gov
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Cravings! But Why?

by Christina_2009

My wonderful husband is trying to turn me on to a site called Life Hacker. At the top of their home page are tabs to what they call "hacks". There are several categories including "food", "food hacks", and "kitchen". A few weeks ago, hubby forwarded an article to me.

"Food: What your cravings are trying to tell you." The chart found at the link is pretty good. It even highlights certain types of cravings like that time of the month cravings. Apparently general overeating... the stuff that I do... is caused from your body craving Silicon, Tryptophan, and Tyrosine. You can find these minerals? enzymes? vitamins?... food additives in nuts, seeds, cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach, vitamin C, and orange, green, and red fruits and vegetables.
This seems to make sense to me that my body is craving something when I over indulge. I'm not supposed to eat any nuts or seeds (whole) because I have diver's ticulitus (or ticulosus depending)... a degenerative disease of the colon. So I over eat because I'm craving silicon... interesting. Perhaps my body also needs tyrosine because I don't seem to overeat after my daily lunch has included yellow squash (well steamed), broccoli (also well steamed) and red bell pepper (seeds removed). See My Food Log for examples of said days.
So, check it out. Can you identify with any of the cravings listed? Are your cravings quelled after you eat some of the recommended foods?

We Can Do It!
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Eating Out, Easy On The Extras

by Christina_2009

What are the least healthy fast food choices? According to helpguide.org it's mostly the sides. But some of my favorites are on this list too.

Most unhealthy sides/extras:
cheese sauce
"special sauce"
tartar sauce
sour cream
gravy (country or brown)

Most unhealthy menu items:
chicken nuggets
croissants, most pastries in general, and croissant breakfast sandwiches
fried fish sandwich
fried chicken sandwich
fried chicken
large and jumbo sized fries
onion rings

Ah, I miss the soda, guacamole, sour cream, tartar sauce, "special sauce", fish sandwhich, chicken sandwich, fries and onion rings. That's most of the stuff on this list. And it's probably the reason I packed on the pounds. Here's to do 0r diet and We Can Do This!

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More Ways To Cut 100 Calories

by Christina_2009

From americaonthemove.org with my own embellishments of course. Also, see Little Changes, Big Results from Wednesday's post. One note I found that I will repeat word for word....
"Some health experts say that the increasing number of overweight Americans is caused, on average, by an imbalance of just 100 extra calories per day. Eating a little less, moving a little more or doing a bit of both can help you stop weight gain and achieve calorie balance."

That being said, as I mentioned on Wednesday... if you cut just 100 calories per day from your diet and don't replace them, or if you can burn 100 calories more by exercising... the average person will loose 1 pound per month for a total of 12 pounds lost per year. Cutting 100 calories is easy.

Eat frozen fruit instead of ice cream. I mentioned this in Thursday's post as well.

Make your own smoothie out of low fat/lite yogurt, fresh fruit, and skim milk. Also, eat lite yogurt instead of regular yogurt whenever possible. Remember, little changes = big results. You can probably cut 15-30 calories just by doing this one.

Don't snack on chips or pretzels from the bag. Use a bowl. Also, get smaller bowls so smaller portions seem to fill them up more. I use 10 oz. cups and leave a little header at the top.

Try sugar free gelatin (jello) with fruit poured in. I think Dole is selling this in individual sizes now.

Substitute hummus for mayo on sandwiches. It's also great with raw veggies... it's about the only way I can stand to eat raw veggies. You can also use it in place of cheese dip on tortilla or pita chips.

Rinse away syrups from fruits packed in water. I also mentioned this Thursday. Try fruit packed in its own unsweetened juice or fruit packed in water.

Choose smaller pieces of fruit or have half of a larger piece. Some apples get huge. Have half of that sized fruit. It will still count as a whole serving. Use your fist as a portion estimator. Just about any food portion should be the same size or smaller than your fist.

Make kabobs with fruit and fat free cheese. If you bite both at the same time you won't notice the taste of the cheese. This was also mentioned yesterday.... are these guys using the same source?

Focus on the fruit and veggie when using a dip. Keep in mind the portion size of dips, usually 2 tablespoons... not very much. Try fat free cream cheese, fat free dressing, low-fat caramel, or lite yogurt for dips. Again, little changes = big results. You can probably cut out as much as the whole 100 calories by watching your dip portion and using lower calorie alternatives.

Have 1 less handful of nuts. A serving size of Planter's Peanuts is 39 pieces, not 39 whole peanuts. Also, try reduced fat peanut butter or natural peanut butter with the oil poured off instead of mixed in. Try using only 1 tablespoon instead of the recommended serving size (two tablespoons) of peanut butter on a sandwich. It can be spread pretty thin. You still get all the flavor of the peanut butter and maybe your sandwich won't stick to the roof of your mouth. Drink skim milk instead of whole milk to scrape the peanut butter off the roof of your mouth. Doing this will definitely cut at least 100 calories.

Don't add butter to your microwave popcorn. Buy varieties of popcorn without added butter or even butter flavor.

Got a craving for chocolate? Take tiny bites and let it melt on your tongue. Have half the recommended serving size. Also, try a fat free Snack Pack or other individually sized chocolate pudding. This way you get a serving of dairy in too.

Do or Diet

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Frozen, Fresh, Dried, Canned... They All Count

by Christina_2009

So if you follow the USDA Food Pyramid Guidelines, the average adult should have 9, NINE I say, servings of fruits and veggies everyday. How in the world do you incorporate 9 fruits and veggies into your daily menu? I don't. I should. But I just can't seem to squeeze them all in. Here are some tips from the Department of Health and Human Services USA and the Center for Disease Control.

Add fruit to your cereal... if you even have room in your menu for cereal. I don't, so I usually just have the fruit. But, I have been eating oatmeal lately. Perhaps I could eat 1/2 the oatmeal and slice some peach in too....hmmmm. Oh yea, and what about grits? Are they a vegetable? And, expounding on that thought, do corn chips count as a vegetable? Probably not.

Eat a salad every day. Most salads use iceburg lettuce mix. Iceburg lettuce has absolutely NO nutritional value. It's not even a significant source of fiber. Just about any other type of lettuce has at least some vitamin A and fiber. I get baby spinach as the base for my salads. Baby field greens are good too.

Have raw veggies or fruit as a snack. I like plain fruit but I really, really, really don't like very many raw veggies. I like cucumber... but isn't that really a fruit. I also like tomatoes, but aren't they technically a fruit too. I love steamed broccoli, but hate it raw. I also hate raw carrots, cauliflower, and celery. Anybody out there got some suggestions for this one?

Have two veggies with dinner and fruit for dessert. I was brought up with the two veggie sides. But one was usually a starch... potato. I still tend to serve this way. I could definitely work on this one. Fruit for dessert... sure if I can spare the calories.

Top yogurt and ice cream with fresh fruit. Lite yogurt and fruit... iffy... the sweetness of the fruit against the artificial sweetener in the yogurt makes that artificial bitterness stand out. Ice cream... no way. I have very little will power. If there's ice cream in the house it's probably already in my stomach...err... around my stomach and thighs.

Use fresh fruit instead of jelly. I can see this with bananas but raw apples are a little hard to spread. I suppose unsweetened apple sauce would work pretty well. It might even pretend to be apple butter on biscuits and toast... if you can eat biscuits. Hey now, berries might work too.

Put veggies in your omelet or eggs. Yup! I love green pepper, hot peppers, and onions in my eggs. The only problem is that I want to put cheese into them too.

Keep a small box or bag of dried fruit in your purse or lunch bag. That's actually a novel idea to me. Gotta watch the portions though with dried fruit. It takes up less space so you might find yourself eating more than an ordinary serving. Also, without the water you might not fill up as fast, but I think this is still a good idea.

Freeze fresh fruit. Freeze whole grapes, melon balls, and pineapple chunks. I LOVE frozen grapes. They're almost like a substitute for ice cream... almost, more like a sub for popsicles. Try frozen fruit cabobs or frozen fruit on a stick. How well do banana slices freeze?

If you've got room in the menu for pizza, try more veggies and less cheese and meat. I like Hawaiian style pizza, Canadian bacon (ham) and pineapple. Ooh, ooh, look, I figured out a way to add fruit to pizza.

Eat more salsa instead of cheese. I also LOVE salsa, but not picante sauce. There is a distinct difference to me. Fresh from the Mexican restaurant salsa is my favorite. I have to be careful to avoid the deep fried tortilla chips though. Salsa is obviously good on Mexican food but it's also good as a dip for veggies and with eggs. That's huevos rancheros right?

Add veggies to casseroles, stews, soups, and pasta. Sounds simple enough. It wouldn't really be hard to add a can of beans to a soup or stew. It might also be good to put frozen broccoli or peas in pasta or casserole.

Canned fruit counts too. Be careful of the packing liquid. Some fruits can be packed in water. There are several varieties of fruits packed in lite syrup too. You can also pour canned fruit into a colander and rinse the syrup away. Canned fruit is good to have on hand because it takes up little pantry space and doesn't spoil quickly.

Remember, little changes, big results and we can do this!

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Little Changes, Big Results

by Christina_2009

Did you know that by just cutting out 100 calories a day you will loose about a pound a month for a total of 12 pounds a year. 1oo calories less a day is easy. Here are some tips on how to do it. You probably won't even miss those calories anyway.

Try lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on sandwiches instead of cheese.

Use light or fat free mayo whenever possible. You probably won't miss it when you use it in tuna or chicken salad. Also, try to use smaller amounts than recipes call for.

Use tuna packed in water, not oil.

Try a turkey tortilla wrap, and don't forget the veggies.

Use lite whole wheat bread. That alone will save you at least 50 calories a day.

Try a veggie burger, but mind how you prepare it... microwave or in the pan with cooking spray.

Use smaller tortillas (6-8 in.) instead of larger burrito size.

Use low fat or fat free sour cream. Also, plain yogurt is great on baked potatoes.

Use low fat or fat free dairy products in general (i.e. cottage cheese, skim milk).

Skip the croutons on salads.

Use light, low fat and reduced fat dressings and sauces.

Incorporate just a few of these tips into your daily eating habits and wa-la! You'll cut out at least 100 calories a day and be on your way to a healthier, slimmer you. Just remember not to replace the calories you are giving up other calories or worse habits.

Source: www.americaonthemove.org

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I'm A Loser

by Christina_2009

The season premier of The Biggest Loser is on right now. Have you seen it? What do you think about this show? I know there's alot of overly exaggerated drama...

...but I really like the show. To be quite honest, it was about this time last year, while watching the show over a heaping bowl of ice cream that I first thought (since giving birth), "...now might be a good time to change my life."
I didn't actually start to do anything about changing my life until this past February when I participated in the Anderson Area Shrink Down. It was a series of free seminars and events focused on healthy living. A slew of organizations and businesses hosted the program. The focus of the program was on healthy living in general but there was a ton of information and events focused on helping people loose weight. Weekly weigh-ins were offered for 8 weeks.
I lost 1/2 of a pound in the entire 8 weeks. I was disappointed and came out with the attitude of, "What's the point?" But the more I thought about the program, the more I realized, just participating in a program won't help me shed pounds. I have to participate, change my lifestyle, and do the work all by myself. I can't blame anyone or anything for my shortcomings.
Then I re-read the printed materials I received during the program and visited some of the suggested web sites. I learned sooooo much.
The key, I think, is in the little things. Change a little here and a little there. Lots of little changes add up to big results. A couple of weeks ago I finished the first 8 weeks of My Diet Plan. This time, with more knowledge and desire, I lost about 19 pounds. Lots of little changes add up to big results. So there's where I got my start. What did it for you? And what do you think of The Biggest Loser?
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Healthy Hydration

by Christina_2009

Since the last article was about water weight, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about healthy hydration. I'm sharing more information I picked up at the Anderson Area Shrink Down. My source for this article is again, AmericaOnTheMove.org.

Water in the body serves several important functions. Having the right amount of water is essential for healthy living. Having at least some water is essential for living period. It is impossible under any circumstances to sustain life for more than a week without water. Water is therefore a life-force. It also regulates body temperature. Water helps cushion and protect your vital organs. Water is also important for proper digestion and to the digestive tract in and of itself. The average person can loose more than a whole quart of water during just one hour of exercise.
Here are some hopefully helpful hints for healthy hydration (and some alliteration:-)
Drink 4 - 8 oz. of clear fluid at least 1 hour before starting an exercise session.
Drink another 8 oz. of clear fluid about 20 to 30 minutes before starting an exercise session.
Drink 4 - 8 oz. of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes while exercising.
Drink another 8 oz. of clear fluid within 30 minutes of finishing an exercise session.
If you have a particularly active day when you have actually lost whole pounds during the day, then you should drink 8 oz. of clear fluid for every pound lost.
Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body. Be sure to compensate for their dehydrating effect by drinking 4 - 8 oz. of clear fluid for every 2 - 8 oz. of caffeinated or alcoholic beverage consumed.

There is such a thing as drinking too much water. The results are called hydro-psychosis or hydro-intoxication. Hydro-psychosis or hydro-intoxication in extreme cases can cause death. It is caused by the body rapidly becoming desalinated causing vital organs to shut down.
Avoid drinking too much water at the same time. Don't skip on "pre-hydration" before exercise and then attempt to compensate by drinking excessive amounts of water after exercise. Some symptoms of hydro-psychosis include head ache, nausea, fever, cold sweat, chills, and racing or sluggish pulse. Inability to concentrate and behavior like that of an intoxicated person are also signs of this desalination of the blood stream.
Hydro-psychosis and hydro-intoxication can also be caused by attempts to flush the body of toxins. Avoid drinking more than 20 oz. of clear fluid in the an hour more than once a day.

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Wait! Wait! Water Weight?

by Christina_2009

Did you know the average person's body weight will fluctuate about 3 pounds from day to day? This is due to water retention or release. This is one reason people who are dieting should NOT get on the scale everyday.

There are varying opinions of how often one should weight. I think Bob Greene suggests weighing at the end of a 3 month period. I try not to weigh more than once a month. Some folks do it once a week. And then there are those who are addicted to the scale, they weigh everyday and sometimes more than once a day. This type of obsession with the scale is only a set up for failure. There really is very little you can do to prevent this 3 pound fluctuation and ladies... it's worse for us than the men.
Some things that can influence water retention include:
amount of salt or sodium in even just one serving of a particular food
the body's general level of hydration
amount of sleep you get (in one night or on a regular basis)
how much exercise you are doing
type of exercise you are doing
how long you stay in the bath
amount of fiber in your diet
your diet in general.
In other words, there are too many factors to control to count on eliminating that daily fluctuation. Sure you could take steps to minimize this fluctuation, but I think your energy would be better spent developing your healthy eating habits and exercising more. Bottom line... stay off the scale as much as possible. Work on changing your menu, eating habits, and incorporate more physical activity. Don't worry about what the scale says. Focus on your habits. You WILL see positive changes.
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Tomorrow Today

I am working extra this weekend. I hope I will be able to post at some point over the weekend, but I already know that tomorrow is out of the question. So here's tomorrow's post today.

This is more information that I picked up from the Shrink Down... the series of free healthy living seminars that I participated in at the beginning of the year. And I thought this would be a good time to mention the source of this information which is America On The Move.
Tomorrow Today's topic is 10 Ways To Cut Fat In Food:

Eat 3 or less egg yolks per week.

Avoid frying food... bake, roast, microwave, broil, or boil instead.

Use less oil in the pan by incorporating cooking spray and/or non-stick coated cooking surfaces.

Use liquid vegetable oils instead of butter or lard.

Skim the fat from soups and stocks. It's easier to do if the liquid is chilled.

Eat more grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, legumes, and lentils. Use the above methods for preparation.

Drink water. 8-10 glasses per day. This helps you stay fuller and helps flush toxins from the system. Also, substituting caffeine free liquids for SOME of the water is OK.

Choose lower fat food products when purchasing at the store. Read labels for fat content and opt for lower fat foods.

Have fruits for dessert, or low fat yogurt, ice-milk, or sorbet instead of fattier desserts. Except for chocolates and caramels, most desserts are fruit based anyway.

Have healthy snacks on-hand. Fresh fruits, low fat popcorn, rice cakes....OK...ICK!... vegetable sticks (like carrots) and low-fat granola bars or cereal.

Incorporate these suggestions into your daily menus. Most of the suggestions are for subtle changes. You might not even miss the fats you cut out by using these tips.
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I Cheated And It Was Beautiful!


I did not follow through with my plan from yesterday, which was to eat only vegetarian for 3 days. But it's OK.

It's OK because I did mostly stick to it today and the end result was BEAUTIFUL! I had to add an extra column to My Food Log so I could log all of the food I got to eat today. This is because I mostly ate vegetables with a little fruit thrown in. I ended up having 2 servings of protein. One meat at dinner which is where I cheated. And one serving of good old fashioned Planter's Peanuts, Dry Roasted as a snack. Also with the snack I had one serving of oatmeal with one pad of lite butter. This was my only bread serving for the day. I DID NOT make the same mistake that I did yesterday, what with the FOUR rolls at dinner and all. I actually have 70 calories to spare, but in light of yesterday's failure (and the day before for that matter) I'm going to call it quits on eating for the night.
I am rather impressed with this vegetarian-ish way of eating. I avoided dairy and meat until dinner. I also avoided bread and simple carbs (sugar and the like). So I'm going to try to do the same thing tomorrow. Also, one little plug... O'Charley's in my town will sell a To-Go side of vegetable medley (broccoli, squash, and carrots) and they will prepare it with no butter for $2.07 tax included. The medley was surprisingly filling. So props to Chux! And here's to shooting for the same kind of day tomorrow!
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Like the Leaves of September

My body is changing shape and so is my attitude. My stomach shrinking is great and so is my positive outlook.

I'm sure that this is just me being moody, stressed, and tired but I'm getting bored with dieting. That being said, I am determined not to give up! I should write that ten times just to reiterate it to myself. I do fine with lunch. I am usually skipping breakfast and then I am tending to eat waaaayyy too much for dinner. I'm going to go re-read My Diet Plan (see archives... too tired to put in the link) and hopefully I will revive. My title has to do with the fact that in August I was rapidly racking up red days. Many days were green, some days were yellow, and more often than I would like, red days appeared. My Food Log (see LINX) looks like the leaves of a tree, changing in September. I need to hold on to the green of July and if I have to stumble, my log should then look like a tree in March or April... mostly green but with hints of immature yellowish green.
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Eating Evolution

I want to share with you all the type of information I received during a series of free seminars given by a number of healthy living advocates in my area. Tonight I will begin with some weight loss reduction tips for evolving your eating habits.

Some of these will be obvious to most of you. But I find that these types of list usually stimulate my own thought process. They also help me think more broadly about other things I can do to be successful. Sometimes I even find a new and novel idea. I hope at least one of these seems like a fresh idea to you.

Eat slowly. Take time for a breath and for conversation between bites (but not with your mouth full ;-)

Chew well, you might even try chewing each bite a certain number of times. This helps you body digest, get all the nutrients out of the food, and will help you feel full faster... say that ten times fast.

Think about the food you are eating as you eat it. Don't just mindlessly gulp down food. Ask yourself if the food you are eating is the best choice for you. Think about alternatives to the food you are eating. If you have chosen a healthy food, think of different ways to prepare it.

Cut your food into small bites. Cut it into the smallest bites you can. Then remember to chew each bite well.

Drink water with your meals... ever been to Europe... wine or water with all meals. Water will help digestion and help fill you up.

Serve from the stove. This will make you have to do more than just reach if you decide you have to have seconds. I like this idea in particular and have started trying to incorporate it at family meal time.

Tell everyone close to you that you are dieting. Be accountable for your actions. If people are aware of your goals they may be less likely to tempt you.

Get a diet buddy, either a family member, friend, or co-worker who regularly eats with you.

Don't buy junk. It's harder to eat it if you don't have it. Also, don't make sweet treats to have at home. You will set out with the best of intentions for having one portion of the treat a day and end up eating half of what you made in one sitting.... I know this from personal experience.

Set realistic goals. Not meeting your goals could lead to you giving up all together. Set goals that may be a struggle but not goals that are unattainable. Break your long term goals into shorter sections and feel the sense of accomplishment after reaching each part of that short term goal.

Remember that little nibbles here and there count too. Try to avoid tasting or sampling food during preparation.

Don't give up! Realize how long it took you to put the pounds on. Realize that it may take just as long to get rid of them.

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When Green Suddenly Turns Red

When a good run of green days suddenly turns red... what do you do?*** Last week I was determined to get back on track with my diet after having had a few weeks of events and vacation. I incorporated the use of mini-goals. Instead of just striving for the large progress markers, I focused on the next few days. This was a tremendous success as I ended up with 5 days in a row with green results. But then...

I got busy again, had company come to stay for the weekend, a festival to attend, and an outdoor catering venue to work at. All of these events are out of the ordinary for me. I was completely off schedule. As a result I logged 3 red days in a row! It's like I take 2 steps forward and 2 steps back because on at least 2 of the red days I also consumed more than I burned... this equals weight gain. Actually overall, I have not seen a weight gain, even though I was over eating. I attribute this to the increase my level of activity. I normally have a sedentary day. I work at a computer/phone and I love watching TV. Over the weekend I did lots of walking, standing, lifting, and in general saw a huge increase in my activity level. But none of this explanation answers my question... what do you do when green suddenly turns red? I could try the mini-goal of 3 green days again. I could also concede slightly and strive for 5 days of yellow. I'm wondering if green day goals are putting too much pressure on me and therefore at the first change in schedule or activity I am more likely to fail. This weekend will also be filled with out of the ordinary events. I will be traveling to the Charleston area on Friday. Back home on Saturday. Then I have another outdoor catering event to work Sunday and Monday. Knowing that I may be setting myself up for failure, I am going to strive to have green days for the rest of the work week. Then I'm going to try hard to have yellow days (and I may push all the way up to 1800) all weekend. This is an obvious concession to my overall goal, but even at 1800 calories, I am still having some, albeit slower, forward progress. Should this idea not work out, I will be better prepared for next time, and I will have a better understanding of how to set those short term goals for stressful periods.

***If you're not familiar with my system, visit My Food Log for a better understanding. I color code my dieting success on a log of my daily calories. That way, when it's time to get on the scale, if the results that I'm expecting are not there, I can quickly scan back to my eating history and see why I was disappointed. Green days are days where I met my goal, currently 1200 calories per day (I still call it a green day if I was over the goal but by less than 50 calories). Yellow days are to represent days where I did not meet my goal, but I still was able to burn a significant amount of calories. Yellow days are from 1250 calories up to 1800. Anything over 1800 is a red day. Red days also cover days when I consumed more calories than I burned.

I am pleased to announce that I have had 3 official takers for my offer to develop free, personalized, diet plans. I am looking forward to hearing back from these folks. I am more anxious to see if I've actually helped. I still have 22 slots left for free plans. One aspect of creating these plans that I wasn't quite prepared to deal with is the time it takes away from my blog. My post rate has been low as of late because I have a limited amount of time each day to devote to internet/computer/blog work. So, I apologize for not having fun fresh material every day. I am working on ways to resolve this issue. I am currently "pre-writing" this article. I am hoping that this method will make it so I can get a good archive of articles that are relevant and ready to print while at the same time make my evening work hours more productive.

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Alli, Friend or Foe

My mother just announced to me that she is now taking Alli. The question tonight is whether to convince her that is bad or to support her efforts to recover a healthy weight and disregard the chemical side of her plan. What to do?

I think the answer has to be to support her no matter what. For one, she is my mother. Secondly, she is doing this with the blessing of her doctor. Thirdly, I did the workup of her daily calorie usage... it's not pretty. Due to her age and short stature, she only burns 1800 calories in a day. She has to work 14% harder than I do to burn the same amount of calories that I do in a day. This is rough because she is 22 years older than me and is 3 3/4 inches shorter than I am.
Just by coincidence, I discovered that we are now the same weight. I am attempting to get her to wager with me as to who can loose the most weight and keep it off. But, then I realize that I truly have the advantage. While I'm talking about money.... I would MUCH rather her pay me the $45 - $80 monthly that she will spend on Alli.
I can do the same thing for her. I can "block" the fat from her diet by guilting her into not eating junk, but then, I realize that as much as I want her to succeed, I can't do it for her. She has to want to be healthy for herself. She has to want it so badly that she will do whatever it takes to get there. I guess this is my biggest concern with her choice of Alli. It seems like she wants an easy way out.
Now I will say that the "Alli-Oops" or treatment effects (oily and gassy discharges, sometimes uncontrollable) seem to be a struggle to put up with in and of themselves. And according to the Alli diet plan, calories and grams of fat must be counted to make Alli a success and make the Alli-Oops minimal. So they are striving for personal accountability. But I just don't know. It seems terribly unhealthy to chemically alter your digestion in this way. At the same time, doing nothing at all is ultimately just as unhealthy.
All in all, I will support her efforts whatever they may be and continue to offer what I believe to be more healthy tips and information. Got any better advice?
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Free Diets

A short post tonight. So far I've had no takers on my offer for free diet planning. The offer is still open to the first 25 people who respond. In other news, I have lost another pound. Go me!

Has anyone talked to Flabuless lately? I haven't seen a post since the announcement of her co-blogging with The Incredible Shrinking Ladies. I worry about her in light of her recent personal troubles. Lady Rose seems to be doing well. And although The Middle Aged Shed is down one buddy, they seem to be shedding along. Hang in there. We Can Do It!
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Free, Tailor Made, Designed Just For You, Diets Available Now

I have just a couple of hours before bed time and I feel confident in saying that I accomplished my Mini-Goal. Now I need to make another one. So what will it be???
Also, I want to help you! I will personally make a new lifestyle eating plan for you, for free. All you have to do is ask.

Three cheers for me on accomplishing my three day Mini Goal! If you didn't want to scroll down I will summarize... three days green. For me, that means three days eating no more than 1200 calories (with a 50 calorie grace area). So really I could have eaten 1250 and still had green days. As it was, only yesterday did I actually go over the 1200 mark.
The new Mini-Goal will be to go 2 more days at or under 1200. This is supposed to be my goal all of the time, but, if you have read my other posts then you know I have been on vacation. I am also feeling overwhelmed at the moment. Over at The Middle Aged Shed, there is a great article, Losing A Large Amount of Weight - 5 Tips. In that article they discuss the importance of setting small goals. I think this is a great way to combat that feeling of being ovewhelmed that I am experiencing.
Now I know some of you may say, "eee gads, 1200 calories is not enough." But I will refer you to My Diet Plan and my Mission Statement Explanation. Please read these before you deem my diet unreasonable. I will also point out that there are several professionally marketed diets that promote the same low calorie premise, at least in the beginning. And for those of you who don't have time to read both of those articles, let me reiterate that this is My Diet Plan, a plan designed specifically for me.
I will be glad to help you specifically design and tailor your own new lifestyle diet. This is basically the same kind of service offered by many marketed diet centers, but mine does not cost anything but your time. I would also ask that you stay in touch after the plan is created so we can harbor good group energy and motivation.
Hope this post finds you in a happy, healthy, and progressive weight loss mode! We can do it!

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First Day of Mini-Goal

I have done well today so long as I stop eating now. Right now I feel full. I hope that carries over through the next 5 hours before bed time.

I actually have 19 calories to use if I just can't stand it, but what can I eat for 20 calories? Plain lettuce does not sound so appetizing. I guess this is really part of the push. Were it not for the heat, I would have the energy to fight cravings. I could go to bed early. That actually sounds like a great idea right now. I'll let you know how things went tonight on tomorrows post.
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Google Cheat Sheet

About two weeks ago, my techie hubby sent me a link to Lifehacker. He then directed me to a really cool Google cheat sheet.

Thank you Lifehacker , my hubby, and adelaider.com for making it easier for e-dummys like me to quickly access so many Google features. The cheat sheet is very well organized. It is color coded (red, green, and yellow) and segmented into various types of features used within Google. Red boxes are for expert user features. Green boxes are centered on the sheet, slightly larger than red or yellow boxes, and are for novice user features. Yellow boxes are on the right of the sheet and are for intermediate user features. This sheet also contains sections detailing general information about Google. One section describes services that Google maintains which are not called "Google". And there is even a section near the bottom of the sheet detailing text formatting for using the Google Search Engine should you want to use it to search for something such as a vehicle VIN number. I highly encourage everyone to visit Lifehacker, the article they wrote about the Google cheat sheet, and adelaider.com. Everyone needs to have a copy of the PDF which opens using Adobe. It is simple to understand and delightfully useful.
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Incorporating Mini-Goals

Over at the MiddleAgeShed there is a great article written to inspire and assist a fellow weight loss blogger. The article lists 5 tips for successful, sustained, and dramatic weight loss. I would like to mention one of those tips in particular and officially state my intentions to incorporate this principle into My Diet Plan.

The tip from the article Losing a Large Amount of Weight - 5 Tips is #2, "Break down the weight loss into small goals." I think this is an excellent idea. In My Diet Plan I originally broke it down into 2 large goals. After reading this article and having had time to experience this long-term weight loss battle, I have decided to revise my goals. That being said, I have already met one smaller goal... to get below the 200 pound mark. Though I am just barely there, it is a significant accomplishment. I am already able to fit back into some clothes that had become too tight. That's a double reward as I don't have to go buy all new clothes and having too tight clothes was the reason I started this new lifestyle to begin with.
I'm going to take this smaller goal idea in a different direction for the time being. Instead of focusing on pounds lost as a small goal, I'm going to focus on re-commitment to my principles. My first mini-goal is to have 3 days of "green" according to My Food Log. This may seem like a wimpy first mini-goal but I have just returned from a week long vacation. During the last 7 days (OK 8) I have not been logging my calories. I was unable to log while on vacation and the first day back just got away from me. I need to revitalize my commitment and I think a mini-goal of three days green is a great place to start. Wish me luck!
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Back In The Saddle

After a wonderful vacation and successful casting out of demons from my son (baptism) I am very glad to be back. The Great Smoky Mountains National Forrest is definitely a place everyone should visit, several times if possible. I fell off the diet wagon during the vacation, but I didn't fall as hard as I expected.

I learned a few things about my eating habits, metabolism, fitness, and activity level while I was away. My eating habits overall have certainly changed for the better. I generally don't eat so much anymore. I don't know if my stomach has shrunk or if my body is now better able to listen to it's full signals. But in general over the vacation, over-eating was not my biggest downfall.
My metabolism is normal, I think. I did eat more calories but I also had far more activity than usual. I did not gain any weight after falling off the wagon for 7 days.
I am impressed and inspired by my apparent overall fitness level. There were several days where I expected to wake up sore the next morning. Several days of the vacation incorporated far more walking than is normal for me. Two of the days included excessive cooking and cleaning in less than cool temperatures. I experienced no soreness and actually had the energy to push through the work without exhaustion.
The increased activity level and absence of exhaustion lead me to believe that my general activity level is higher than I had originally estimated (during the creation of My Diet Plan). This also would explain why I have lost more pounds than indicated by My Food Log.
So, all of these points are good. In what way did I fall off the wagon? Well, it was mostly in the type of foods I indulged on and in my beverage choices. I was a sucker for dessert. I was able to resist the homemade, freshly made, still warm, and smelling soooo sweet fudge. But, I had a few servings of ice cream and chocolate cake. I also grabbed a Coke at every opportunity instead of my requisite diet sweet tea. Had I cut those two areas out over the vacation, I could have probably lost at least 2 pounds given the increased activity, instead of maintaining the same weight. In other words, I could have probably reduced my daily caloric intake by about 600 calories, if I had skipped the desserts and sodas.
One other, very important lesson I learned.... although I did have the energy to push through some very trying days, I did notice that on the days where I filled up on desserts and sodas, I had a noticeable change in energy level at the end of the night. I guess what I'm suggesting here is that sugar and fat may give an initial energy burst with sustaining properties, they will eventually cause an energy depletion.
All in all I had a very relaxing, fun filled, purposefule trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Forrest. I would love to do it again. I miss living there but I am glad to be back to my current home.
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Another One Bites the Dust.... but how?

One more pound lost. But according to My Food Log I shouldn't have. How did this happen? The best explanation I have is that on Saturday (after having a "red day" on Friday) I worked a catering job for my father-in-law. It was hot, so very, very hot. I also had a "red day" on Saturday. And I have had one today too. I suppose I have exercised so much that I am still burning calories instead of storing them. This puts me at 17 pounds lost since June 4, 2007. I am right on schedule for reaching my first goal. This is also helpful as the coming weekend, I will surely eat too many calories, but I will be engaged in much more activity than usual. On a side note, I am wondering if anyone is out there... reading I mean. The comments seem very sparse. Give me a shout if you're reading. Read more!



My Food Log links have been changed so that you can now view my entire log. following the link, first you are taken to the original sheet (created with Google Documents). That sheet is a good source for copying the format and starting your own log. To view July or August, just click on that tab.

McDonald's sucks. See post below.

Vacation coming soon. I will not be posting August 10-13. I will think about you while I relax in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Read more!


McDonald's announced today in a press release that they were going to bring back a "super sized" drink. They are going to call it "Hugo". What in This Freeworld can they be thinking? First of all, it is a 44 oz. drink. If one were to fill it with the recommended amount of ice and add regular coke, it would contain over 400 calories. Why not just sell a 2 liter? That's about 67 and 1/2 ounces. Not to mention that I find using that name in particular to be offensive because when I was a young teen, the old family farm was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Hugo. Do the people at McDonald's have french fries for brains? No, wait, I bet they have a brain made of "100% beef". Read more!


Why 1200? Because It's Working.

I have received a few comments about my goal of only eating 1200 calories per day. In answer to those comments I would like to explain why I feel this is an important premise of My Diet Plan. I will also explain how I intend to fend off "starvation mode".

Let me begin by stating the truth, I am an underachiever. I always fall short of my goals by rationalizing to myself why it is OK to fudge. This is across the board in my life with everything from dieting to laundry and banking. This is a known personality flaw. Therefore, if I set my goal to a higher calorie mark and I revert into my classic behavior, I will fall far short of my goal.

Late this winter I participated in a series of free healthy lifestyle seminars where I discovered to my amazement that I was regularly consuming over 3000 calories per day... and I wondered why I was gaining (insert sarcasm mark here). I also learned that I could easily reduce my intake to 2100 without feeling deprived or working very hard. Then I took that mark one step further and reduced my calories to 1800. I stayed at 1800 calories per day with lots of exercise (3-5 times per week both muscle building and fat burning) for 7 weeks. In 7 weeks time I lost 1/2 of ONE pound. I realize that I may have added muscle which is good. I also realize that weight loss takes time. But really now, I have to say that project ended in failure and of course led me to gain 10 extra pounds after I stopped.

I now fend off starvation mode by eating 4 meals per day. On a perfect day, I eat 300 calories at each meal and space those meals 4 hours apart. This is more than enough stimulation of my metabolism to keep my body from entering starvation mode.

More importantly, THIS IS WORKING! As you can see from My Food Log, I have been doing this since June 4, 2007. It has been almost two months. I have lost about 15 pounds by the scale and about 11 pounds by the log. My weight loss is constant but not too rapid. I am also making a lifestyle change. This is not just a diet. This is a way to retrain myself into healthy and achievable habits.

I have set my weight loss goal to 140 pounds. I am 5'6". That goal is in the acceptable and healthy range for a person of my height. The range is 115 to 154. I am even shooting for a goal that is on the higher end of that healthy range. When I reach my goal at my current level of activity I will be able to eat about 1400 calories per day to maintain that weight. Based on my current weight loss rate, it will take me until June 2008 to reach my goal. I think this entire reasonable and achievable.

I appreciate all of the comments I have received about this premise of my diet plan. I welcome further comments and would be happy to help outline a personal diet plan for anyone out there who is need of free but unlicensed help. Read more!


Kudos to Google

I mention that Google features have helped me with my weight loss battle in the introduction to my blog. It's time to explain how.

First, Google makes it easy for me to navigate the web. There tool bar set up is very easy for me to use. Bookmarks are particularly easy to establish and I can group various pages into folders for quick and easy access. I am not very computer savvy and you don't have to be in order to have success surfing the web with Google.

Second, Google's search engine functions very well for me. I can usually find the information I am seeking upon first click. I am rarely directed to sites or pages within sites that do not contain the information I want. For example, if I'm looking for the caloric content of a particular food, Google's top ten suggested site will always give me that information. Rarely does it suggest a site that will ask me to log-in or pay money before disclosing the information.

Third, Google makes web utilization fun. I have my own home page that opens automatically when I log on. I can customize the appearance, add and subtract content all with a click of the mouse and a little click and drag. I can also set up tabs which work like folders to group home page content features together. Currently I have my main home page with my Google Calendar, a Burt & Ernie/Aqua Teen Hunger Force terror level alert meter, my daily horoscope, three daily quotes and three daily "how-to" links. Then I have a second tab labeled, Games. This tab has a daily crossword, a mini version of Bejeweled, and Pac-Man. There are hundreds of content options available to add to my home page or a tab. It's so easy!

Fourth and finally for now, Google applications have directly helped me achieve weight loss success. Using Google Documents I created a spreadsheet that allows me to log, calculate and estimate the time it will take to reach my goals based on my verifiable progress (or regress as of late). I call it simply, My Food Log. I have the option to share it with specific individuals, allow them access to modify the page (and track their changes), and publish the document for anyone to see. If I notice that the weight is not coming off, I can look back to see what I've been doing lately that I need to modify. Similarly, when the weight is slipping away, I can verify what is working.

Although Google's Help features and 'Contact Us' functions are superb, I'd be happy to help anyone (as much as I am able to verbalize) in setting up a Google account, modifying their home page, searching for content, and setting up a Google feature such as Google Calendar or Google Documents. All you have to do is ask. Read more!


Blew It So Bad Today

I've been on a roll with green days this week. See My Food Log for details. But tonight was the office party. I work in a small office and we recently won a runner-up prize in a sales competition. The prize was a gift card with which to throw an office party. Since there are only 3 of us, we decided to go to dinner and take our husbands. I would have done OK were it not for the... and I'm NOT kidding... DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE. It's a really good thing that I have done so well this week. Otherwise I'd would have gained this week instead of lost. And then there's the upcoming weekend. This will be a challenge. Weekends tend to be my worst times. I'm off to a great start.... here goes. Read more!


More Simple Substitutions

I'm feeling a bit lazy tonight so this will be short. I have a huge sweet tooth....it's really gross and makes my cheek pooch out ;-). I'm generally not a fan of artificial sweeteners but after I realized how many calories I cut by using them in my tea I knew something had to give. I'm currently sampling various artificially sweetened products, usually substitutes for desserts. So far I've tried Hunt's Cherry Snack Pack. It's so-so by itself. I get a bitter taste in my mouth when I eat it plain but it's only 10 calories and 0 grams of fat. Eating with the dark chocolate is really good though (see yesterday's post about the Black Forrest Surprise). I've also tried a lite yogurt smoothie... same problem as the snack pack. Tonight I tried Breyer's Double Churn Lite Chocolate ice cream. It's half the fat and calories as regular ice cream with 100 calories and 3.5 grams of fat in a 1/2 cup serving.... of course I ate a full cup. It was very chocolatey, creamy, sweet, and left me with no bitter taste. I don't think it saves me very many calories and I don't chew very often, but when I chew gum now, it's sugar-free. I like Trident any flavor except their fruit mixes so far. It does taste a little bitter at first but wears off quickly. Still looking for your substitutions. Post a comment and I'll try to mention it on the main page. I'm working on having comments posted on the main page. Got any tips for that? Thanks for reading. Read more!


Simple Substitutions

Check out My Food Log to see how I incorporate these simple substitutions into menus. These substitutions allow me to not feel deprived. Not feeling deprived is important so that I don't gorge on "moment on the hips, forever on the hips" foods.

Splenda or Equal in my previously sugar sweetened tea. I don't like Sweet-N-Low because it tastes bitter to me. Splenda also tastes bitter to me if I use too little.... weird. This saves me about 400 calories per day as I drink alot of tea (too much in fact but that's another post).

Marinated mushrooms in place of meat. I still eat meat, but I can't afford the calories at every meal. I use a brand called Monterey. A serving of 'shrooms is "about 4". I slice them and add them to marina sauce, in salads, and in wraps. And 1 serving has only 10 calories and 0 grams of fat!

Hummus Dip instead of mayonnaise. I could use light mayo but it tastes weird to me. When I want to whet my palate and add a punch of flavor I use Hummus Dip. This is a little different than real hummus. It has fewer calories, less fat, and costs less. I've used this on wraps, with tuna, and with sandwich meats. I use a brand called Wild Garden. It costs less per ounce than other prepared hummus too. Each serving of 2 tablespoons has 35 calories and 2 grams of fat.

Nothing wrong with Lite Bread. It chews a little thicker but saves 40 or so calories from each 2 slice sandwich. I also like some lite yogurts, lite ice cream, lite dressing, and I almost forgot my favorite...Cabbot's Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Cabbot's has several varieties including 15% lite, 30% lite, and 50% lite. The latter is a little hard to cook with but the taste is all there.

Currently my favorite sub. I call it Black Forrest Delight. This is a semi-sub as I still use real chocolate. I use 1 serving of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate. The sub here is Hunt's Sugar Free Cherry Snack Pack. I nibble at the chocolate so it melts in my mouth and follow with a small bite of cherry. It really takes the edge off when I'm having a decadent craving. Weighing in at 210 calories and 11 grams of fat, it's an acceptable solution for indulging.

Got any great substitutions? I'd love to hear about them. Read more!


Just As I Am Challenge

Thanks again Flabuless for the inspiration!
I am about to turn 20-10 (I can't yet make myself say that other number). I am a loyal and committed friend to my husband of 3 years, my 13 month old, and my long time girlfriends Sarah, Lara, and Catherine. I love the water. I used to be a whitewater rafting guide, a lifeguard, a local roadie, and a camp counselor. I am now an Administrative Specialist helping other people find jobs. I've always tried to "do what you love" for jobs. This one a little more mature, looks a little better on the resume, and is still in the public service sector. I love to travel though I can't afford it these days. This GRITS (girl raised in the south) can tell you how to get from Central Park to Times Square. I've also been to Europe for fun and Mexico on a mission trip. I would love to go back but funding is not the only issue keeping my feet firmly planted here. Enough about what I like. Here's some good, positive, and hopefully inspiring things about me.
Five Points About Me
1) I have really pretty blonde/brown very curly hair when I take the time to fix it. I recently spent mega bucks on makeup (for the first time in my life) and I clean up very well now. When I was five, people used to ask me for my autograph because they thought I was Drew Barrymore. Now you can only see the similarity when I make a certain face, but I don't know what that face is. It just comes out every now and again.
2) I am a good mommy and wife. I am attentive to my son and husband. As well as working, I run the household, make time every day for baby play, and stories. I also cook hot meals alot, though I can't say everyday, 4 out of 5 is fair. I work hard and I'm proud of my accomplishments.
3) I care alot about the environment, but I try to keep it in a realistic scope. I hate litter more than anything. I'm all about the three R's (reduce, reuse, and recycle). I'm really good at the first two. I live in a rural area and recycling is not practical at all. But I try. I also have a slew of creative ways to reuse containers. Ask me about Sobe incense burners.
4) I am moderately well educated and pushed through some very tough times to complete my bachelor's degree. Life has not been smooth sailing...errr, rafting for me, but paddling through the waves makes for a much more interesting ride, makes you stronger, and helps you appreciate flat water. I was in a car wreck where they told me I might not walk again. Guess what... I can run (though I am so out of shape that I run out of breath very quickly.... I'm working on it). I've been in a mental institution and lived to tell the tale. I've had my heart shattered but who hasn't? I think I have an awesome breadth of understanding for just about any human condition.
5) I learn fast and have participated in some totally thrilling experiences. I've been down some gorgeous and ragging rivers. I've loaded and set up equipment for more musicians than I could possibly list (OK Steven Tyler waved at me... just me... once. Seriously I'm not delusional). I play the guitar well enough to keep up and the piano fairly well. I love to sing and think I have a good voice (I might be just a bit delusional on this one point). I've written 3 good songs. I can do water ballet or synchronized swimming for those that are offended by the first phrase. I've danced the lead in a play, had a small part in a rock-u-mentary, and I quote movies and TV very well. So ".....aaaaasssss yyyooooouuuuuu wwwwiiiiiiiiiiiishshshshsh!" and welcome to my blog.

Congratulations to:
Finding Flabuless
Lady Rose
Crabby McSlacker
You are now "IT"! Read more!


This Really Works (My Diet Plan)

The Long and Short of My Diet Plan (Short First). I am down 14 pounds since June 4, 2007!

The Short

  1. 1200 calories daily
  2. no more than 500 calories in 4 hours
  3. 60 or less grams of fat daily
  4. use the Food Pyramid
  5. eat normal foods
  6. eat recommended portions (or less)
  7. stay hydrated
  8. exercise
  9. log calories, track progress

The Long

My starting weight is 214 pounds. My goal weight is 140 pounds. I want to loose 74 pounds. I divided that goal into 2 major parts. I initially want to loose 34 pounds. This will put me at 180 pounds. Upon achieving this goal I will have to reevaluate my methodology as my body will no longer be burning the same amount of calories. The heavier you are, the more calories your body burns. The first premise of my diet is to reduce my daily caloric intake to 1200 per day. I also want to divide these calories into 4 meals. Ideally I would consume 300 calories at each meal. This is not always possible, especially when eating on-the-go or at a gathering. The second premise of my diet is to consume no more than 500 calories in any given 4 hour period. Any calories consumed over 500 at the same time are stored in the body as fat. Allowing up to 500 calories in one meal will give me flexibility when eating out or in a group. I will still remain at a daily total of 1200 calories. The third premise of my diet is to limit fat intake to 60 grams in one day. Eating more than 60 grams of fat in a day means that I have not eaten sufficient servings from all of the basic food groups or have neglected to eat from one or more of the groups altogether. Premise four of my diet is to be guided by the USDA Food Pyramid. I want to eat at least one serving from each of the basic food groups daily. I also want to allow for some treats (sugar) and consume some fats to ensure proper digestion. The fifth premise of my diet is to eat normal foods. I want to eat the same foods that I serve my family. I am sure to slowly incorporate healthier, more calorie conscious, and lower fat meals into menus for my family. The idea here is to not have to cook one meal for my family and a separate meal for myself. Premise six of my diet is that I want to eat the recommended serving size of the foods I eat. Eating less than the recommended serving size is also acceptable as often the nutrition label on a food package and the USDA Food Pyramid have different measurements for one serving of a particular food. Eating less than the recommended serving size is also useful when quelling a craving or considering what extra flavor punches to incorporate into a meal. The seventh premise of my diet is stay hydrated. This will be especially important after the first 10 pounds come off as poor hydration can lead to baggy, hanging skin. Consuming the proper amount of liquid daily will aid digestion and help keep the excretory system functioning properly. Premise eight of my diet is to incorporate exercise. Exercise burns calories and build muscle. Muscle burns more calories. This is essential in order for the second part of my weight loss goal to be achieved. Premise nine of my diet is to not rely on the scale as the sole progress indicator. The way my clothing fits and the notches on my belt will also be good indicators of success. Using My Food Log and the calculations for calories burned should be the main indicator of progress. The weight scale should only be used as a reminder of previous success and as a final marker for goal completion. The tenth premise of my diet is to not give up, no matter what! Should I discover that my stated plan is not effective then I will reevaluate and modify the plan. I will not be satisfied until my goal weight is achieved. I will not revert into bad habits and an unhealthy lifestyle upon reaching my goal. Read more!

Mission Statement Explanation

I will in general eat healthy. The tools and products to develop healthy eating are already available to me. My idea of eating healthy is largely based on the USDA Food Pyramid. A person of my height should eat at the lower range of serving sizes mentioned on the Food Pyramid. I should eat from each of the five basic food groups. I differ from the USDA suggestions in that I believe that it is not necessary to eat from each of the food groups every day. Eating from each group at least once every 2 or 3 days is sufficient to maintain proper health provided that the right multi-vitamin is taken on a daily basis. This variance from the USDA suggestions is an acceptable way to control my total daily caloric intake.

...eat "normal" food. In order to make a lifestyle change I need to migrate away from my bad habits but towards a realistic diet. In other words, something I can live with. I consider "normal" food to be foods that are readily available at the grocery store. Some "diet" foods are OK but the idea here is to avoid foods like diet bars and diet shakes. Foods labeled "lite", "low-fat", "low-calorie", "zero calorie" and "zero fat" are acceptable choices provided that the tastes are not so altered that my family will not eat them. Also, foods with those labels should not have so many unpronounceable ingredients (chemicals) that I would not give them to my toddler to eat.

...without gimmicks. I will not use a gimmick-style diet, i.e. eat nothing but watermelon for a day or eat as much steak as desired but no carbohydrates on Tuesdays. This also includes popular diets such as The Grapefruit Diet and The Cookie Diet.

...pills. I will not take diet pills, appetite suppressants, or any other artificial weight loss supplements. I will take a daily multi-vitamin. I do not consider taking a multi-vitamin to be in contradiction with the premise of not taking pills.

...surgery. I will not have any kind of bariatric or plastic surgery (i.e. liposuction) to facilitate weight loss. I am not in general opposed to the practice of stomach reduction surgery but I do not feel that it is the right choice for me or my family.

...trademarked diets. I will not use any diet plan that is for sale including but not limited to Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Dr. Atkins, NutraSystem, Slim Fast, Bob Greene, and The South Beach Diet. My diet plan may unintentionally be in line with some commercial diets. The only trademarked diet I have ever done is Atkins. I do not think that all commercial diets are bad or that they do not work. I do believe that at least temporary success may be achieved with just about any diet. My diet plan is just that, my own ideas based on bits and pieces of knowledge that I have acquired through nutrition classes, seminars, other blogs, and research. It is a diet in terms of an account of what I actually consume. It is a plan, a plan of action for what I believe is realistically attainable.

I will log all calories consumed. I will keep track of everything I eat or drink that contains calories. I will do my best to notate portion size, calorie and fat content. I will do this on a daily basis. I will use Google applications whenever possible to do the logging.

...and estimate calories burned on a daily basis. I have an idea of how many calories my body will burn during an average day using information generally found through Internet research. I will also use the same methodology to estimate how many calories I burn doing out of the ordinary activity (such as exercise) until such activities become part of my average day. I will keep track of calories burned on an average day. I will log extra activities as often as they occur. Extra activities will not be included in daily calories burned totals until they become part of my daily routine.

I will then be able to track my progress. Using the log I will have a clear system for tracking progress by each meal, day, week, month and year. This log will act as an indicator for success and highlight areas for improvement.

...and estimate arrival time to my goals through the calorie log. Unfortunately weight loss using my methodology will not be at a constant rate. The log will enable me to calculate and estimate the time it will take to reach each goal. Calculations and formulas will be reset upon arrival at each goal. This is in order to keep my goals and estimated time to achieve each goal realistic. This system will also highlight any periods where my goals were reached ahead of schedule. Having a record can serve as both a reminder and motivator during the tough times.

I will also develop non-food rewards for reaching my goals. Special recognition of success is important. I know one reward will be buying a new wardrobe, although I can't afford to do that for every reward. I am VERY open to suggestion in this area.

...knowing that reaching each goal is a reward in-and-of itself. My body, mind, and spirit will certainly reap the rewards of reaching each goal, without external recognition. It is also satisfying to know that my toddler will have a positive influence and example for leading a healthy lifestyle.

I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up.

I know that I will not be perfect. If I hold myself to a standard of absolute perfection I am only setting myself up to fail. I will not fail this time.

...but that I am making a permanent lifestyle change. It becomes less of a chore, less of something I don't want to work for if I look at my diet plan this way. Eventually, this diet will be my lifestyle and vice versa.

The good days will out-number the bad days. As I said before, there will be bad days, however, overall, the good days will be more prevalent and frequent than the bad days. The calorie log will help insure this remains the case.

I will not give up I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! I will not give up! Read more!