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!


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!