Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Usually the focus is on the dark side of habits and how to break free of them. However, used correctly, I've found that habits are this WW's best friend. When I first joined WW, all the stuff you need to do day in & day out to tick off at least one of each GHG category seemed maybe a tad overwhelming - but do'able, 'cuz you had that "I believe" J.Hud thang putting a major gust of mojo into my sails.
But what about after a few months, your first "bad" WI, a plateau, emotional crises that make it feel impossible to stay anywhere near your minimum DPs?
That's when habit'll get you through. I know for me, if I'm feeling well, I automatically walk Puppyboo a few miles early every morning. There's never any "should I skip it?" internal debate. There might be some grumbling to myself, particularly when the notoriously inclement Northwest weather is feeling particularly frisky, but that just means adding an additional layer, or a rain poncho or whatever. Ditto working out. I particularly like that new "routines" section that's part of WW 360 Degrees where you tick off the box if you already know today how you plan to get your exercise in tomorrow. That's an awesome way of framing that habit if you ask me. (This whole holistic 360 thing is allkindsa awesome IMO.)
I've been quite under the weather the past few days & got struck with a major migraine. As in the slightest ray of light is painful, there's a tiny imp who managed to slip behind one of your eyeballs and is up to no good with a sharp implement and if you're a migraine-sufferer, you know the thought of eating anything is positively vomitous. Even drinking coffee sounds vile (that's how I know I'm authentically ill rather than trying to talk myself outta something).
So for two days, I transformed into a sluggish human zombie suspended in a miserable condition where exercise is simply not feasible. I barely got her Puppyness for even one walk and that had to happen after the sun set. However, I woke up this morning feeling about 98% and really without much thought slipped right back into my WW activity routine.
What a NSV, no?
These routines are our friends and they make it so that you can have ups & downs but at least 80% (or more) of the time you're doing what you need to do to control your weight, be it losing, keeping from gaining again or maintenance.
What about you - what's your fave habit you've developed since starting this particular WW WLJ?
My weight loss
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Food waste really bothers me, as in visceral disgust when I read the statistics on how much perfectly-edible food simply gets tossed away on a daily basis.
- the average American wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia
- the amount of food that goes uneaten in the US is around 40%
- the annual cost of food waste is around $165 billion, not to mention the fact it also siphons off 25% of the freshwater supply
Disgusting, no? Especially when 1 in 6 people report not having enough to eat. And having ended up at the food shelf a few times in the last few years, I have a deep respect for food and do my best not to waste it.
However, I've begun drawing the line at foods that trigger binges or other "big" eating that disrupts my normal WW flow & throws me off my game. Like homemade roasted pumpkin- & squash-seeds, it turns out. I like to roast local winter squash - delicata in particular is wonderful, as is turban squash. And I was tossing the seeds in a container in the freezer. When it was full, I would let them thaw, roast them on a cookie pan in the oven to dry out and then toss them in some refined organic coconut oil (I like refined b/c it has no taste) with some salt & either savory spices or cinnamon & brown sugar.
While roasted seeds you buy pre-packaged from the store really do nothing for me, my homemade ones are like a different species: they're just too yummy and started leading to me eating them compulsively. This happened a few times, so the last time when I was looking back at my Tracker for the day & bemoaning how many PP+ I spent on those roasted seeds, I decided then & there I would choose to have a more successful day tomorrow - and I went out to the kitchen and tossed the seeds in the trash.
The same fate befell some homemade peanutbutter cookies my ex made during the holiday season, so in the trash they went. Plus the leftover Christmas pumpkin pie. Next year, I'll either see about making a smaller pie so there are fewer leftovers or be super-enthusiastic about sending people home with them.
I think there's a difference between the fat-of-the-land food waste in that 40% figure and being mindful about keeping your environment conducive to managing your weight. I still sigh a bit involuntarily when I cut open a new squash & scrape the seeds into recycling. but they threaten my WI & peace of mind in the kitchen - so they had to go.
What about you? What holiday food(s) have you had to throw away lately that was becoming a problem & what gave you the discipline to follow through?
Saturday, January 05, 2013
...favorite things in no particular order that I can discern:
- fashion history
- contemporary fashion (aka shopping...a lot)
- Naguib Mahfouz
- Her Royal Puppyness, Cassandra
- my solitude
- the first few hours of the day early in the morning
- fresh-ground & -brewed espresso
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Turkey (the country)
- French cuisine
- time-traveling with a good vintage cookbook
- seeing my byline
- when I finish-finish as in really finish writing book
- Burma (the place & people, not the politics)
- classic roast chicken with Mire Poix
- a great maintenance WI
- fitting into teensy/tiny sizes I never would have thought possible
- getting Paypal'd to write stuff for clients
- French Vogue & Italian Vogue (a tie)
- a pic I snapped of my mom when we were in Tanzania
- being in really great shape
- reading about how to get/stay in really great shape
- learning about nutrition
- historical non-fiction (like that awesome book Cod)
- David Sedaris short stories
- you all
Saturday, January 05, 2013
...or, at the very least, if it goes missing, don't stop looking until either you find your groove or it finds you again.
After a rocky month culminating in a pointy week punctuated by too much sugar, I pulled it together - again - after WI on Sunday. I knew I'd be up and was. A little over two pounds. Which meant I was standing at a pretty vital fork in the road with two possible outcomes:
- Beat myself up, declare myself & WW a failure and revenge-eat until 2 turns into 5 turns into 25 turns into more than when I joined (this time).
- Swear like a drunk sailor at the scale and then close the history books on that particular week. Use my weekly fresh start to recommit myself to doing what I know works WW'wise and scale back on the treats for a bit until I banish the gain back to the same place as the Diet Demons.
Which road do you think I chose?
After working so hard to get to Goal in the first place and then riding the waves and sometime choppy waters of Maintenance, why would I want to return to that unhappy place the night I signed up for WW online in 2010. Ugh. No thanks. Nothing tastes that good and I'm certifiable when it comes to food. I've since become certifiable, though, about being able to fit into my now teensy-wardrobe. If I were to start gaining in a serious way, I would have to buy new stuff in larger sizes. No thanks.
Tonight, to a social thing I went to, I wore my new fave jeans: Levi's 569 with the wide-leg - made for 14 year old boys. As in slim hips & long legs & no spandex nuttin' to speak of. And they fit exactly like they should. I also rock a pair of boy's 14 skinnies in a fun camo print and while they're way-snug, they look cute and leave no room for even thinking about food shenanigans.
My point is that come WI, you get a fresh start on WW. Often. As in once a week often. So take advantage of it to pull yourself together when you're having issues staying on the straight & narrow. And most important, keep moving, drink your water & track. Every bite. Even if your Tracker goes into the red, big deal. It's certainly not the end of the world & it will happen. But it doesn't mean it's a one-way ticket back to your pre-WW weight.
Unless you let it.
So dish & help your fellow WWs out: share your top tip for someone struggling after a binge or a number of days of "big eating" to reign things back in & get right back in the losing zone?
My weight loss
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
I do love the "fresh start" element to a new year. Especially if it means the "lose weight" one has been ticked off the list, freeing up the mental space for something new & non-food'ish. But still related to the scale, I think, because the more we tend to beat ourselves up (which I would say all of us WW are experts at), the more reasons we have to beat ourselves up.
What we focus on, we become.
So here are my I-love-me goals for 2013...which should probably be delivered in *Stuart Smalley* voice:
- take better care of my nails
- read something rich & wonderful every evening
- keep getting a good night's sleep every night
- take the afternoon off once a week & do something fun
- master a way-complicated but divine new dish
My weight loss
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
One of the best things about hitting your Goal Weight & staying within putting distance is that your presence is no longer required at the annual New Year's Day Beat *Yourself Up for Still Being Fat* Ball. Please. You actually lost the weight & kept it off. Take that, Fat Fairy!
Notice I said "putting distance", the emphasis being on distance. Meaning: it's no surprise if you gain a few during the holidays - although I majorly salute anyone who managed to lose, you seriously rock - but a few is do'able. Knuckle back down to 26PP+ & cut out the sugar for a few weeks, maybe hit the cardio a lil' harder and you're back in fighting form.
I was up about 2 on Sunday, which was no surprise. I've had a rough, rough few months (year, actually) and the Sugar Demons had me in their clutches. But that wakeup number on the scale did its job. And once you reposition your head so it's focused on The Game, everything else seems to fall into place. Which isn't to say it's auto pilot & doesn't take effort. It does. But it's do'able.
What I do when I've slipped if I want to keep a misstep from turning into a dive headfirst down a slippery slope back to Fatland. First, up the protein. For me, in looking back at my Tracker at the weeks where I haven't had any sugar binges & had awesome WIs, there are a few helpful trends:
- I have at least one meal with a lot of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines
These three in particular seem to give me that stay-with-it edge. Because even during those rough weeks where your Tracker never sees the light of 20-anything in the PP+, I always track, drink my water, exercise & these days, get a proper night's sleep. While good habits, they are puny adversaries against the Diet Demons. Which seem to shrink in fear of the weird trifecta of Fatty Fish, No-Flavor Oil & PNP (they sound like oddball characters on an Adult Swim show).
When I follow WW without too much struggle, any blips on the scale take care of themselves. And the longer I'm on Maintenance, the more I enjoy those peace-of-mind weeks more than I can express. As my pal Lori
recently observed, these days, I feel my fragility when it comes to food more than ever.
So true, wise Lori, so true.
My weight loss
Thursday, December 27, 2012
It's funny how the Snarf Monster sneaks up on you. I did fine on Xmas, eating around 37 PP+ for the day all told. I did all the cooking & by the time the food was served, the only things that looked appealing were the turkey meat, this white-trash'y green bean casserole I assembled (I can't really call it cooking & yes, it's the one made with Campbell's condensed Cream of Mushroom & those french-friend onions that come in a plastic container...but it's surprisingly good) and my homemade cranberry sauce. I couldn't even look at the pumpkin pie for whatever reason, so I didn't. I did have to exercise restraint with the cranberry sauce it turned out that good.
However, the day after Xmas, yesterday...ugh. I guess with the break in normal programming, my brain decided to take the day off and during my food-danger snack hours, I forgot I had a bag of baby carrots in the bottom of the fridge. I eat those without fail every day & when I don't, bad things seem to happen. Like one peanutbutter cookie which turned into two, followed later by a slice of the pumpkin pie & whipped topping. Although I did plate it in a charade of being civilized. Of course there were other indulgences and while I jotted everything down in my notebook, hating myself all the while, I couldn't face the music until today. I had figured the day would point out at around 60PP+ and i was correct to within 2PP+. After you've done this a while, you start to get good at knowing what food follies will cost you.
Any time you come off one or two days of big eating, it's hard to reign your appetite back into the pen. But the good thing about counting everything is you never really wander off the Reservation as far as you might think. And tracking everything is part of following the WW program with integrity which is about the only way it works in the long run - in my experience at least.
Today, I kind of went nuts on the protein, at both meals, but I cut out any & all treats today to help myself get back on track. I went over 2PP+ more than I wanted to but whatever, tomorrow I can fix that. Of course I worked out today and probably will both tomorrow & Saturday. And then Sunday, it's face El Musico time. Yesterday's "thing" demolished any WPs I had left, so anything over my dailies I'm into APs, which I don't usually eat. But this isn't a usual week. Plus, my the soon-to-be-ex hubs decided to completely ditch the plan we had come up with for dismantling stuff in a civilized way and with no notice at all, move in with his new girlfriend and stick me with rent & other bills four days before it's due. Such a classy move.
I'll of course figure something out, but I'm definitely struggling with that sense of wanting to just throw discipline to the wind & eat. And eat. And eat. But when has that ever helped.
I won't lie, it's tough nonetheless.
My weight loss
Monday, December 24, 2012
As the only somewhat-enthusiastic cook in the house where I live, creating a holiday feast fell to me if there was even to be one. My housemate had two Albertson's Gift Cards worth $25 & I have cooking know-how, so I humped it over there today on foot (like I usually do) & picked up enough stuff to stuff a few people - plus the roving cast of strange characters that seem to materialize, especially when there's non-foodstamp fare to eat.
Last night, I was looking at the various WW dishes and the idea of trying to make so many "special" recipes made me want to go back to bed. So, instead, I decided I would make sure to get an organic bird, a pumpkin pie already-made from the freezer section & would cook the rest. For some reason, my Albertson's has no cranberry sauce without High Fructose Corn Syrup, so I bought a bag of fresh berries & made it the old school way - with actual sugar. It's cooling on the counter as we speak. I was amazed at how easy it is to make. I'm sure it's not low in PP+, but it can't be that insane either. I'll run it through the Recipe Builder later to figure out how much to portion myself out tomorrow.
The turkey meat will be easy-peasy and that's what I'll be loading up my plate with. I forgot to buy gravy (I guess 'cuz I don't like it that much) but found some in our house pantry you can mix with milk & make in a saucepan, so I'm covered there. I also picked up some frozen greenbeans & some lower-fat (okay, so I had to WW-ize at least one item...I just couldn't help myself) Campbell's condensed Cream of Mushroom soup to make a green bean casserole topped with fried onions. I'll probably skip the onions, but again, I'll run it through Mr. Recipe Builder later so as to avoid any post-meal sticker shock in terms of PP+. I already have fresh broccoli which most everyone likes steamed plus a giant "turban" squash that shall be roasted, along with a few baked potatoes.
When I was perusing pumpkin pies, I looked at a few & chose the one that wasunder 300 calories a slice, so that'll come out probably to around 8-9 points. It'll be yummy and while I'll skip the whipped topping, there's already some Cool Whip in the freezer if people really need it.
The WW acorn squash & sweet potato recipe I made to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck sucked, and I can't say I'm all that wild about most of their official recipes (although the Tzimmes/Crockpot pot roast stew isn't bad), so instead I decided not to worry too much about de-sugaring or de-fatting everything. Rather, I bought the highest-quality turkey I could given my budget, will have lots of fresh veggies, a dollop of my homemade cranberry sauce & a slice of pie. Probably no gravy though - I like the taste of good-quality turkey & gravy just seems to hide it, not to mention adding PP+ I'd rather spend elsewhere - or not.
Oh, I forget to mention the other dish I'll be having: a side of Grandma Wisdom, aka moderation. Just enough of everything so I don't feel deprived but not so much it explodes all my WPs or me.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Had to do another roadtrip from Portland to Tri-Cities (Washington) and back same day this last week. All the hours & hours of driving aside, these road trips can be so difficult food-wise for a working WW.
So here's what I did: knowing I'd be sitting a lot & driving, I figured I would make a low-fat day of it. Normally, my meal "formula" is Fiber + Protein + Fat = Satiety. However, that would mean any fat I ate would end up as bodyfat, so I had to not only eat low fat, but it had to have some sticktoyerribs'ness as well. Hence, the potato! Plus, I always like eating baked potatoes that have been chilled since it kind of feels fun & picnic'y.
Veggies & fresh fruit also scored well in terms of satiety and are low in fat. So that's what I packed: a decent-sized (5PP+) baked potato for my lunch and a big bag of baby carrots to munch on en route. I did bring a few pieces of fruit - an apple, a banana & some mandarins - but not tons. And of course I treated myself to a Sbux Skinny Peppermint Mocha (3PP+) when we started out & to fuel my journey back home.
And it worked out okay. I didn't even have to dip into my WPs for the trip and while I can't say I was in love with what I ate, it certainly satisfied for being so low fat overall.
My weight loss
Saturday, December 01, 2012
New hair = new...
- ...bank account
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
...which continues to reinforce this new WW way of life? I've discovered that mine starts first thing in the morning, usually a long while before the sun is up.
It's 3 PP+ and if I don't do it, it can cost me a lot more PP+ later.
It's the oddest thing really and something I discovered by accident. In the course of doing research on the book I'm currently finishing up, I've been doing a lot of reading about this hedonic eating which coincides nicely with the upcoming changes/tweaks to the program about to be launched here on WW.
An interesting study done a while ago, now, something like the 50s or 60s (before the days when science & Big Pharma were so intertwined) they took a group of overweight folks and had them live in a hospital environment for a spell in order to be able to accurately monitor their caloric intake. They let the volunteers eat as much as they wanted ("ad libitum") of this liquid served from a straw-contraption by a fridge. The liquid contained some calories & added nutrients, but was made as tasteless as possible. And to consume it, you stood in the sterile fridge area, sucking this tasteless stuff through a straw.
How much less hedonic a meal can you think of?
Well that was the point. And once all the stimulants that enhance eating were gone (including the usual rituals associated with a nice meal - china, a tablecloth...seats), something quite amazing happened. The volunteers spontaneously began consuming somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 calories a day. Their bodies began burning through their stored body fat like crazy & because they were allowed to eat ad libitum, they never reported feeling hungry or faint once. Not at what would otherwise be considered starvation-level intake.
My takeaway from all I've been reading is that the more exciting flavors and variety of food you surround yourself with, the more your brain will instruct you to eat & the more it will operate in "store fat" mode. Obviously, it probably dates back to the days when food was scarce most of the time and when it did become plentiful, two things happened:
Talk about an ingenious device for ensuring survival in a world of scarcity, but in our current 24/7 life of food-as-eatertainment, ie. extremely hedonic, it's turned against us.
- to ensure we took advantage of this food windfall, our brains increased our appetite so we were driven to eat-eat-eat
- to preserve as many of the windfall calories as possible to use during the lean periods to follow, a higher percentage of calories consumed were turned straight into body fat
So back to what I discovered. I was up one morning, early, and found myself quite hungry. I usually wait 14 hours between dinner the night prior and breakfast in order to give my body a chance to do cleanup and repairs (called "autophagy"). But once you eat carbs or protein, the autophagy stops. However, fat doesn't interfere with cleanup. So all I had on hand was some organic coconut oil that I usually cook with - but this is key: it's the kind that's refined, meaning it has no taste. I added it to my black coffee and hoped I wouldn't puke. But wait...I couldn't taste it all all. And it took the edge off.
Later, however, was when I noticed the difference. At dinner: I could barely finish the meal I had made myself. Which is NOT like the Lesley I know. Wha?! Well, the tasteless coconut oil had no hedonic reward but contained calories, making my brain think we're more in a lean period and turn to burning body fat instead of driving me to consume it.
This "tasteless oil" trick is, coincidentally, the basis of the Shangri-la Diet. And yes, those 3PP+ that the coconut oil costs me in the morning can seem like a lot at the time, but man, they come back to pay you back later with a much decreased appetite & more control over my Sugar Demons.
Which is always welcome (the control, not the Diet Demons).
My weight loss
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Life can be pesky and get in the way of WW blogging. *sigh* So here's the short of it for now:
- Thanksgiving week was tough, but I tracked everything & worked out 6 days (3x with weights interspersed with 3 cardio-workouts) & weighed in at the bottom of my maintenance range this morning: 109.4#
- My life has not been going as well, however. Am getting divorced, so the Sugar Demons have been having their way with me. But I keep tracking & moving & drinking a lot of water and some days are better than others. Thankfully all the new habits I've worked so hard to cultivate are keeping my eating OP and my weight within Goal range.
- I went to a communal Thanksgiving attended by a bunch of other strays and while everyone (mostly) seemed to be nice and well-meaning and brought a bunch of vegan-friend, gluten- & everything-else free dishes, it was like an episode of Portlandia listening to people announce what their food contributions did & did not contain. I had trouble keeping a straight face. In all, I found the whole affair of trying to make polite chit-chat with a pack of extremely earnest New Age strangers exhausting. Plus, I don't drink anymore & as the evening progressed and people got more drunk, I found it more annoying. I think I ate about 19-20+ worth of food & only the turkey was really worth it; the cook bought a happy-hippie one at Whole Foods & brined it for 2 days & it was delectable. The rest of the dishes were mostly drenched in either nuts, some kind of fattening dairy, or both. Even the pie was unable to escape unscathed; it made me wanna inquire if people wanted some pecans with their lump of dark-brown sugar. Honestly, I wish I had stayed home with Puppyboo and a good book. I think that would have been a much more restorative holiday - mentally, emotionally & food-wise.
- During such emo upheaval, I've found it easier to "do" WW if I remain pretty strict about limiting treats and being really diligent about getting in my workouts. The "moderation" thing, for me, especially when I'm off-kilter, is like one of those waterpark slides that would have me head first in a pile of calories faster than you can say "oh, my Tracker's gonna hate on me"
- Some weeks are just really hard to be a WW. That's just the way it goes. For life, I guess. But hey, if I'm gonna go thru the miserableness that is getting divorced, at least it's better to be skinny IMO.
My weight loss
Saturday, October 27, 2012
As I've been making what, IMO, is an heroic effort the past week or so to try and follow the anti-sugar-bingeing strategy recommended in Potatoes, Not Prozac, something interesting has happened: it's made food less "fun" in way.
Not bad. Just different. (Although my inner Fat Chick begs to differ.)
The reason I decided to give PNP a whirl was that I was doing everything "right" to keep my bloodsugar on an even keel - scheduling "proper" meals for myself with tons of nourishing protein - loading up on the veggies & some fruit for snacks. And still, I was getting hammered by the Evil Sugar Demon and sugar-bingeing. All tracked, but truly h3ll on your hormones and peace of mind.
Especially the way it sets up cravings afterward. Sometimes they can last for days.
And really, if I'm gonna keep up this maintenance pace for the rest of my days, staying OP has to mean the balance is tipped in favor of more days of joy & less where it makes you feel like you're serving a sentence without parole in Diet Jail. And according to PNP, although even bloodsugar is vital, the other key thing to pay attention to is having high enough levels of serotonin, 'cuz serotonin is what gives a girl impulse-control.
The PNP strategy for beefing up your serotonin levels is pretty easy:
While I'm thrilled I haven't had a single sugary episode to report since I've been PNP'ing it, this regimented eat-wait-snack-wait-eat-wait-snack routine feels very... routine. Very boot camp'ish. But following this pattern is making it downright easy to stay within my DP. If anything, I've had to figure out a way to eat more DP earlier so I don't come in too much under at the day's end.
- Have planned meals at scheduled times.
- Make sure each meal contains a goodly amount of protein.
- After you finish your meal, wait a minimum of 3 hours and then have a complex-carb snack containing little-to-no protein, such as a baked potato, an apple, orange, banana or a cup of grapes or fresh cherries (if they're not a trigger item). The 3-hour wait is key because before that, the tryptophan from the protein you ate can't get access to your brain to make serotonin, the key substance which helps with impulse-control (ie. bingeing on sugar). However, after three hours, if you have a moderate spike in insulin (the complex-carb snack), then tryptophan can get into the brain & make serotonin.
- After the carby snack, wait at least 2 hours until the next planned meal - this gives the serotonin boost time to kick in.
One thing the author of PNP suggests is whenever you track what you eat, make a note of how you feel both physically & emotionally. eg. When I track, I make notes like "P: hungry! E: angry at hubs!" (The latter is coming up a surprising amount of the time.) Since I already track religiously, I've found that taking stock of how I feel physically and emotionally takes but a quick second to do, but has made me start to really connect both the physical and emotional components of my cantankerous relationship with the very pushy and won't-take-no-for-an-answer, Mr. You're Hungry.
But making this physical & emotion connection to my eating in a way that's really conscious. More than I'm accustomed to. Maybe it's all this enlightenment nonsense I'm finding so tough. Which made me think of that dude in The Matrix that begged for them to put him back to sleep.
My weight loss
Sunday, October 21, 2012
After one too many sugar binges lately, I got my hands on a book which Cheryl talked about called Potatoes, Not Prozac. The premise is that if you're wired a certain way biochemically, you respond much more dramatically to incoming sugar - be it simple table sugar in your coffee or a full-on addiction to liquid sugar (aka fine wine or whatever your pick of poison). The puzzle has 3 parts:
People who are "sugar sensitive" like me tend to have too low of levels of serotonin and beta-endorphin (who knows why), so our brains adjust by increasing the number of receptors to each. That way, when any does come along, it can be sure it's able to respond. And the lower you let your levels of serotonin or beta-endorphin sink, the more receptors get opened up. So when you do finally give in to a sugar binge, because of all those open-and-ready receptors, the hit to your brain is way more dramatic than it would be for someone with "normal" biochemistry. This dramatic hit makes your brain super-happy & want this kinda bliss again. Now. Yesterday. Which it keeps nagging you about until you give in. Aha! Now I finally understood why if I give into my Sugar Demon & have even a little "in moderation," it fails to satisfy. No, a small bit of sugar hits my beta-endorphin receptors & bam, I become the Cookie Monster. (Just less furry & a tad less cobalt-colored.)
- Keep Your Blood Sugar Even: This leg of the stool is probably the one that most of us who are binge-prone know about already & address. How? By trying to eat enough protein & fat to keep our blood sugar levels from dipping too low, which is when you get so hungry you can't think straight anymore and instead of chewing your own arm off, self-preservation kicks in & you binge instead.
- Impulse Control: Having regular access to Dr. Feelgood, aka serotonin. When your brain lacks serotonin, not only does it affect whether certain hormones get made, but it means all your best intentions of staying OP can fly right out the window.
- Pain Control: Both physical pain & emotional pain. The key? Basically replicating a runner's high by boosting your level of endorphins (technically beta-endorphin).
Now, I already eat diligently for even blood sugar & I exercise & meditate which feed my beta-endorphin levels, but I was doing two key things wrong:
By sugar-bingeing, I keep "priming" my beta-endorphin receptors to yell at me to eat more. And because I don't have enough serotonin to control the impulse, I give in. Which then primes my beta-endorphin receptors to an even-higher & more intense level of desire for sugar, which.....
- I wasn't keeping my serotonin levels high enough, which mean less impulse-control - which means binges.
- Binges then "prime" your beta-endorphin receptors to want more.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Ugh. Enough already!
Thankfully, the solution turns out to be surprisingly easy. Have three proper meals which each contain a goodly amount of protein (eg. 3 eggs; 3-4 oz. of meat or fish). Done. Then three hours after a meal, have a snack that makes your insulin rise. Insulin-provoking foods that aren't unhealthy include items like 1/2 a banana, some raw honey or a baked potato.
So what you do is this: 3-4 hours after you eat a meal, have an insulin-provoking snack. And make sure the protein-content of it is really low, like 10% (or less) of its total calories. (So if your snack is 100 calories, no more than 10 should come from protein, which would be 2.5 g of protein. Remember, protein is 4 calories/g.) For my snack, I've been using 2PP+ worth of potato or sweet potato (mostly because I just like them) or a banana.
- Why 3 hours? Because for 3 hours after you eat protein, it blocks one of its aminos on which serotonin is built, called tryptophan, from entering the brain & making the serotonin.
- Why the insulin? After 3 hours when tryptophan is finally permitted access to the brain, its transport in for a round of serotonin-making is insulin.
So far, so good. Stay tuned.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Ms. Shepherd here is now 74. At the tender age of 71(!), she began bodybuilding. Currently, for fun, she gets up every day at 4am to train for the 5K and 10K races she does just 'cuz. What keeps her motivated every day to train and eat in order to maintain a physique of 10% bodyfat? (Seriously, who are the grandkids lucky enough to have this lovely role model to look up to?!)
Some of her strategies may ring a bell:
- - She began her fitness odyssey following expert advice on what to do and what to eat & proceeded gradually. (Read: success breeds more success.)
- - She makes sure her fridge is always stocked with what she needs to make her balanced meals and snacks.
- - She gets the rest she needs.
- - She maintains "a positive attitude about everything", including her workouts which she sees as "fun" and part of her "long happy journey".
- - She believes in being encouraged - and encouraging - feeling inspired and relies on support from her fam & friends.
- - She has a clear map in her head of where she wants to go and what she wants to accomplish.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Seriously, originating in another star-system is the only explanation that makes any sense to me.
The lady we rent from is naturally thin. She doesn't really "like" food she tells me. Aha! My first clue as to her true identity. And then there was the suspect container of Oikos Greek yogurt with fruit on the bottom (blueberry, actually, which I noticed because me - I like food). She opened it and ate some of it, maybe 3/4 and put it back into the fridge. Where it's been sitting...not since this morning though, mind you, but as of a few days ago. Unfinished. With some still in it. Since Saturday and today is Wednesday.
Now these Oikos-fruit-on-the-bottom containers are tiny. Teeny. Miniscule - any way you measure them, but especially in Lesleyland. So small it would never cross my mind not to finish one at a single sitting.
But these oddball naturally-thin "foreigners" do such things. As I was pulling my post-workout meal outta the fridge, I thought: "Dang, that's been there since...the weekend?! Huh? How do people eat like that?" Which started my mind wandering straight to Men In Black & "the dude in the Edgar suit."
Maybe I'm living with a relative. But probably not. She hates cockroaches & bugs as much as I do.
Sunday, October 07, 2012
Actually, I have more of a toolkit when it comes to being a working WW on the maintenance path, which includes:
So, what's in your magic WW wallet or Toolkit for Success?
- Tracker - a WW's indispensable GPS. If you don't track, WW doesn't work, whether you're trying to lose or maintain. Tracking is not negotiable and if you don't track, you're setting yourself up to fail. Why would you do that? If you're tempted not to track, ask yourself: Why am I trying to undermine my WLJ? Don't I deserve better?
- Kitchen Scale - so much easier & more accurate than messing around with measuring cups (and way less washing up all the time)
- Tupperware - for putting extra portions outta sight/outta mind when you make them, so you're not tempted to go for seconds or thirds.
- Water - yes, technically I guess caffeine-free diet soda or coffee counts, but c'mon. You know in your heart that what your body really wants isn't Starbucks Blonde-blend decaf or a Sierra Mist. It wants W-A-T-E-R.
- Supplements & Probiotics - fermented cod liver oil for Vitamins K2, D & A; magnesium, Betaine HCL (for stomach acid), digestive enzymes; bone broth I make in my Crock Pot, sauerkraut I make each week; kombucha; kefir & Greek yogurt
- Protein - Whole oysters; Fatty fish such as salmon, herring (usually sold as "Seafood Snacks" or "Kippers", sardines (the ones from Wild Planet are good), and Albacore Tuna (Wild Planet, again); Beef that's been grass-fed & finished; Eggs (from pastured sources)
- Exercise - non-negotiable. Weight-training for dembonesdembones three times a week, cardio for a healthy ticker 2-3 times a week & a long morning walk daily
- Soluble Fiber - apples, green leafy veggies (collards; kale; spinach; Swiss Chard)
- Pedometer - gotta make sure to rack up those 10,000 steps each & every day for optimal health!
- My WW Game Face "I got to Goal Weight over 2 years ago & here I am still. I've got this & I can do this for good."
My weight loss
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Since great minds think alike, Cheryl (NovaiaZhizn) and her anti-sugar crusade made me chuckle when I came across an article on the Robb Wolf's site (he of health-by-paleo fame), approaching some of what Cheryl is addressing from a slightly different angle: a deficiency of serotonin.
Serotonin (5-HTP) is a hormone found in different spots, including your pineal gland (aka your Third Eye), your blood platelets, your central nervous system, but mostly your gut (a good 80% of it). From its various locations, the serotonin transmits nerve-impulses between nerve cells (neurons) related to how much your blood vessels should constrict, your intestinal movements, your sleep habits, your ability to learn, your moods & most importantly (IMO) for us WWs: your appetite.
Apparently, the symptoms of serotonin-deficiency include insomnia, phobias, panic attacks, depression, anger & anxiety, shyness, obsessive cravings for sweets & chocolate (especially at night), low self-esteem & binge eating. Serotonin is in such short supply that the most widely-prescribed antidepressants work by keeping those feel-good serotonins bouncing around in your synapses longer, inhibiting their departure out of the synapse, called the re-uptake (that's why they're called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or SSRIs). And they work until your body starts to need more serotonin to get the same level of feel-good.
One way that we replicate this feeling is with foods, particularly anything which brings on the insulin. Like sugar. The sugar brings out the insulin. The insulin removes it from the blood along with other amino acids that all compete for access to your brain. With the other amino acids safely tucked away into your muscles (yay for insulin!), the Welcome Mat to your brain is now unfurled for the key amino precursor to serotonin: tryptophan. More tryptophan = more serotonin.
Protein - which is where we get the vital amino acids our bodies can't manufacture - is hugely insulinogenic, which gives serotonin precursors direct access to the brain. As does exercise, interestingly enough. It functions like insulin by taking all the amino acids and pouring them into your muscles, save one: tryptophan - which is why you usually feel so blissful after a good, hard workout.
A few of the ways we deplete our serotonin is by not getting enough sunlight (Vitamin D) and drinking too much caffeine. To get more (not caffeine, serotonin ... remember: it controls the Binge Monster), it's key to eat enough protein with each meal, eat starches that are non-toxic (like potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice or winter squash) and obviously cut back on too much sugar. Seems obvious & easy, but if that were the case, more of us would be doin' it naturally instead of having to make a deliberate point of it.
Not to mention reading about it. Cheryl's book-pick on the topic: Potatoes, Not Prozac.
Friday, October 05, 2012
...to maintaining your goal weight is to eat in a way that makes staying OP not make you go out of your mind.
There. That's about the extent of it. :)
The difference between WL & WM is probably about 6PP+. Yep, that's the grand extent of things to look forward to. (Nice, Lesley, raining on everyone's "when I get to Goal" parade.) Meaning: whatever you're doing right now to lose, you'll be doing the same thing at goal.
Every. Single. Day.
Yes, you'll have a bit more food each day plus room for treats, but the WL part really determines how solid a foundation the Goal "house" rests on. Good habits that you can keep washing-rinsing-repeating = a solidly-built foundation. Sure the house can have...
...but if the foundation is temporary, so will be whatever is built on it.
- - renovations (more lovely muscles)
- - additions (better bones from weight training)
- - subtractions (fewer required WIs)
- - & seasonal decor (those tasty treats)...
Including, I think, madly racking up unsustainable amounts of APs in anticipation of a "great" WI. Sure, every once in a while really getting your workout on for a week or more to get over a hump or motor through a plateau, well that's awesome. But overdoing I think runs the risk that you get so burned out & sick of "doing" WW, it's beyond tempting to throw in the towel. When I read WW blogs, I really have a lot more faith that the peeps who might be losing at a more moderate rate but show all signs of doing so in a way that's obviously becoming habit & a way of life they'll simply continue when they get to goal.
Remember: this is a marathon. It's epic in length. Pace Yourself.
I've learned the hard way (is there any other way?) that simply eating the way I did pre-WW, just in "lighter" versions and smaller portions made me feel miserable. Deprived. Sentenced to Diet Jail. When I was able to feel like WW was a way of life, rather than a temporary sentence, was when I really started re-tooling what I ate each day. Cravings never go away entirely, but they become a lot more manageable if you learn what to eat that keeps you satiated and what to avoid because it just makes you crave more-more-more. Plus how much I exercise. I probably exercise more now that I'm maintaining than I did during the WL phase, or at least more consistently. Meaning every day, even if it's just a 30-45 minute brisk walk twice a day with Puppyboo.
However, maintenance - while wonderful (everything in your closet fits & looks cute!) - is also a challenge in that you have to start coming up with your own way of challenging yourself so you stay OP. I've done that with exercise and working out. There's something about really starting to sculpt some muscle tone you've never seen before that keeps you jazzed to stay on the straight 'n narrow foodwise. Not just "staying OP" but beyond, as in trying to eat as healthy as you can to support (rather than ruin by eating junk) this shiny new buff alien body that you're not exactly sure where it came from, but sure is welcome to stay for good.
My weight loss
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I'm starting to wonder why I have such a hard time exercising restraint when it comes to fresh grapes. When I do buy them, I can never seem to limit myself to just one serving. And, in accordance with the WW Laws of Lesleyland, eating more than one serving of a single type of fruit at a time means the fruit goes through the Recipe Builder in order to take the PP+ hit.
Man, but grapes are pointy. Good, certainly, but ouch. I sighed, took the penalty and resigned my lovely and elaborate dins to the next night, instead scaling back to my low-PP+ "emergency" meal (fish & veggies) for days like this.
I know many WWs don't have issues with eating a lot of fruit. Me, I'm not one of them. So to make sure I don't overconsume, the one serving of fruit at a time rule is the strategy I've come up with for myself. No, it's not some kind of "punishment" - more just about being mindful of what I'm eating. I can have a single apple, no probs. Ditto a nice juicy orange or my daily banana.
But oh those grapes.
I assume they're higher in PP+ because of their sugar content, which probably means for me I should be even more careful about bringing them into the house. Either that, or limiting when I eat them mostly just to meals out.
I didn't think I had trigger foods to worry about in the produce aisle, but ya learn something new every day.
My weight loss
Friday, September 28, 2012
When I come across articles here on the WW site such as Hungry Girl's latest search for "guilt free" candy, I don't know whether to leave a blisteringly-rude comment or simply sigh. Sighing is probably better for my blood pressure (and karma), but still...
I guess it seems that "guilt free" candy defeats the purpose of relearning our relationship with food on so many levels.
For me, if I'm gonna have candy, it'll be the real thing (I have an unnatural fondness for See's Candies - their California Crunch is to die for as is their Peanut Brittle & Rocky Road fudge. And dark-chocolate enrobed almonds. And their truffles. But I digress. Seriously.) The real thing, sugar 'n butter 'n calories 'n all, should be enjoyed completely: every bite, lick, sniff & crumb. Every last gooey morsel. And then, not again for a period of time. Treats, I think, should be every once in a while, not often enough that to stay OP you need to step down to "guilt free" candy.
Besides, these "guilt free" things are usually filled with various unpronounceables that are probably way worse for your system than some plain old-fashioned sugar.
But for a long-term way of eating that allows me to stay OP without going out of my mind, it's meant completely changing the way I eat. I started by doing "lower PP+" versions of favorites until I finally realized they didn't satisfy at all; they just made me hungry for the full-fat versions I used to enjoy and in the same quantities. Having that pale "lite" imposter on my plate made me really feel deprived and "on a diet". And we all know what happens when you diet.
However, by changing everything from what I considered a happening breakfast to when I ate to the amounts, it made it do'able for me to get to Goal Weight & stay there. And I think a key part of that means not trying to shove some "lite" version of your pre-WW way of eating into your shiny new healthier mold.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
People have such funny ideas about what skinny WWs eat & don't eat.
I was baking myself a lovely sweet potato the other evening and the woman who we rent from popped open the oven to check if something was in there. "It's mine," I told her. "I'm making myself a sweet potato."
"You eat potatoes?!"
"Yeah, I like them. Sweet potatoes especially."
"Wow, I didn't think you'd eat those."
"Why is that?"
"Because you're so skinny."
That totally of course made my night. But it did make me laugh about what people consider "diet" foods and "fattening" fare. Apparently, potatoes & sweet-potatoes fall into the latter category.
When I added my 1/2 tablespoon of butter, I thought she might just fall over.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I love Top 10 lists of stuff - so much info conveyed in so little space (sort of like the pre-Twitter).
In order to stay healthy & full on WW, in addition to the usual Power Foods, leafy greens and colorful veggies & fruit, here are my Top 10 always-worth-its:
If you're vegetarian or allergic to shellfish or whatever, go in peace...meaning no hassles please about my choice (ie. all the reasons you hate on X food on this list or refuse to ever eat Y).
- Raw Sauerkraut I make myself - 2 words: probiotics & sulphur (one of the best vitamins for glowing skin)
- Eggs from pastured chickens: the yolks especially are loaded with mega-nutrition. I try to have some eggs every day.
- Oysters - The world's most underrated superfood, especially for your brain.
- Fatty Fish - Salmon, mackerel, sardines & herring: they contain EPA & DHA in the form your brain can use right away - as opposed to the version from flax or walnuts of which only a small fraction survives the conversion into the form your brain & body can actually use.
- Butter from grassfed sources (like Kerrygold) or clarified butter, aka ghee: a wonderful source of saturated fat which is like sending your brain a love letter + most of the vitamins in leafy greens (salads, kale, spinach, etc) need fats (they are fat-soluble) if your body is to access the nutrition within
- Offbeat Animal Parts from grass-fed & - finished animals that graze (cows, buffalo, lambs): the liver, heart, kidneys, tongue & if lucky, sweetbreads. All contain amazingness nutrition-wise that the regular cuts of muscle-meat everyone tends to buy.
- Bone Broth Gelatin - I toss beef marrow bones & "cow feet" into my Crock Pot, add a tablespoon of sea salt, a splash of white vinegar, cover with water & leave set on "Low" for a few days. I check in every now & again to top off the water if need be. The gelatin that results is so good for your digestive tract - the same place where your immune cells live - and it's way cheaper than paying for the processed versions which are sold as Glucosamine and Chitosan (or whatever they're calling it).
- Bone Broth - Just like with the cow/lamb bones, I toss any bones from raw or roasted chickens/turkeys into the Crock Pot with salt, vinegar & water. Cooking time is around 24 hours. Then strain it & feed some to your dog & tell me it doesn't make their fur the softest ever. (Ditto your skin & digestion). The bones become crumbly like macadamia nuts, meaning they're now pet-friendly, so I chop those up & feed them to Cassandra. I also make the occasional classic fish stock, using the head, tail & weird parts, but it reeks when you make it, so I do that outside & not that often as I don't want my neighbors to try and have me evicted.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) supplements - The only ones to buy are from Green Pasture. They have different formulations, but if you just want to hork them down, get the gelatin capsules. The FCLO is combined with high-vitamin butter oil and nutritionally amazing, mostly because they contain the right balance of vitamins A & D for bone health plus vitamin K2 (not to be confused with K1) which regulates where the calcium in your blood ends up - like in your bones & nails & hair where it's supposed to rather than places it shouldn't). K2 was "discovered" by the intrepid dentist Weston A Price, who dubbed it the "X factor" and found that it actually remineralized teeth (as in made cavities heal themselves).
- Grass-fed & - finished Meat - . Beef, bison/buffalo & lamb from grass-fed & -finished sources. Contains all manner of good stuff, especially because of what eating only grass does to the animals & their resulting meat. Because the cows are healthy and moving around and not allergic to their food (cows are allergic to grains), they don't need to be fed a steady stream of antibiotics to keep their feed from killing them.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Although my #1 goal with WW always has been (& always will be) my weight, I also have a number of other goals I actively pursue as part of my WLJ.
Health being right up there.
In doing more reading about what happens when you sit too much throughout the course of the day, I came across this e-brochure on the American College of Sports Medicine site:
Here are some of their suggestions for being less sedentary:
- Scientists think that too much sitting impairs the body’s ability to deposit fat from the blood stream into the body. These constantly elevated blood fats are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, researchers have observed that too much sitting during the day impairs the functioning of the body’s healthy cholesterol, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL is the scavenger cholesterol that cleans up plaque sticking to arteries. If healthy cholesterol loses its ability to clean arteries, it will also increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
I've rigged a desk-like contraption for my laptop on a stool by a window so I can stand more when I'm at my computer. I'm even thinking at some point of buying a treadmill & treadmill-desk. Now that would be cool.
- - After dinner, take a walk with your partner or the fam.
- - Get a pedometer to make sure you're logging at least 10,000 steps daily.
- - Walk the dog every day.
- - Instead of Sunday drives, make them Sunday strolls.
- - If you're watching TV, during the commercials, get up & move around.
- - Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- - Stand when you watch the kids at practice or a game.
- - Take up a new hobby that involves activity, like cycling or hiking.
- - When you read a book, after 6 pages, get up & move around.
- - If you're talking on the phone, do it standing or moving.
The fact I even think that's cool makes me realize how much I've changed since April 7, 2010 - that desperate, low-point of an evening I joined WW.
Monday, September 24, 2012
I found this tidbit interesting. I was on the Self Magazine site, taking this cute interactive quiz they have called: Are You Actually Hungry? If you answer "yes" and then in response to Q: How much food do you want? A: "A ton!", they explain that you can actually build up a tolerance for junk:
- "If you’re used to eating sweets [when stressed], then how can sweets calm you down? You need more sweets."
In addition to advising you never let yourself get too hungry (duh), they actually recommend a specific limit on the amount of added sugar per day:
If you eat mostly unprocessed foods you prepare yourself, that limit is certainly do'able. But if you eat a ton of stuff with labels, frozen foods & the like - god help you.
- 25 grams a day which is about 5 teaspoons
Sunday, September 23, 2012
What's kind of surprised me on maintenance is the degree to which my weird food obsessions haven't disappeared. They're a less prominent part of my day now than before I rejoined WW, but they never seem to die like I had hoped they would.
Ever so often, they drop in to say "hi" and torture me. However, thanks to sticking to WW and what I've learned through many, many months of diligent tracking, I've gotten a lot more skilled at fighting back. Most notably by eating food I prepare from scratch for the most part and by not doing the "in moderation" thing too often.
Yes, I know WW says we can eat anything in moderation and many on WW do, so congrats if you're one of them. But it doesn't work for me for this reason: eating sugar-rich treats that also contain a lot of butter or oil - ie. the combo of lots of sugar + fat - seems to lead to fallout.
While I can control the actual portion I eat of the treat, no problem, it's what happens afterward I find so difficult. For at least a few days after eating one of these treats, sometimes more than a week, that single treat seems to "open" up some pathway in my brain that thrives on stuff made with lots of sugar & fat. Where the day before eating the treat I was kind of going about my WW day, ho hum, the next day and the one after that (and the one after that) is like getting tossed without warning into an awful Dessert Smackdown.
Cravings: 1, Lesley: 0.
I was talking to a friend IRL who quit hard drugs & drinking about how addictions all seem to live in the same part of your brain and I was telling her about this idea of eating trigger foods "in moderation". She cocked her head, shook it and then deemed that the "dumbest idea...EVER" because, if you compare it to drinking, she noted that would be like overcoming alcoholism by drinking "in moderation". And if there's anything I've learned from the few AA meetings I could stomach, I do think they're correct when they repeat: It's not the 8th drink that makes you drunk, it's the first.
In other words, don't start at all and you'll be much more likely to stay sober.
Similarly, with treats "in moderation", I'm thinking this same logic applies. For what it's worth, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine recently discovered that the neurons in the area of the brain that controls hunger, the hypothalamus, are not just associated with overeating but with thrill-seeking & drug addiction (like cocaine) as well. If you haven't yet reached maintenance or you find you're struggling to stay OP, it might be time to re-think your "in moderation" strategy. Right now, though, I'm really more interested in hearing from my peeps who've reached maintenance: please fellow Goal'ies, leave a comment as to what your treat strategy is.
My weight loss
Friday, September 21, 2012
I had to do a mini road-trip yesterday (I'm the chauffeur in the fam) and had the chance to compare how my WW day went when I had the presence of mind to pre-Track & pack a bunch of food & snacks - versus the very same drive, undertaken about 2 months earlier with no pre-Tracking or even much planning.
Two months ago: About the only thing I did right was get up early enough to get my workout in. But the rest of the day - a chaotic nightmare of packing up the car for the final leg of a roadtrip/move to Portland - was spent alternatively starving, scarfing down whatever I could find (inevitably pointy & not particularly satisfying) which set me back mega PP+, kind of put the remainder of my WW week on the wrong foot and of course ended in way that mirrored my miserable attitude right back at me: with a gain at WI.
Yesterday: I had to drive the hubs for a court date in Tri-Cities, Washington & then turn right around & come back. All told, about 3.5 hours of driving each way - for 5 minutes in court. *sigh* So nice to see everyone's tax dollars hard at work.
The night before, I pre-Tracked as much of my day as possible and thought through every meal, every snack, everything. I knew we'd be back for dinner, so I didn't have to deal with that, but everything from breakfast through late-afternoon snacks had to be planned, packed & stashed at the ready in the fridge. I made sure to get up early enough to get in a workout and then started eating according to plan: which was mostly about staying satiated, starting with eating a nice wallop of rib-sticking protein (salmon!) Then, mid-morning, when the munchies started to hit as I knew they would, I had the hubs extract my go-to bag of baby carrots from my WW Preparedness Bag.
Around noon, when we were finally reaching Kennewick (or Kamp Kennewick as I've come to think of that sh!tty place) I had a giant organic apple to take the edge off. While the hubs & his lawyer did their thing with the judge, I enjoyed a moment's peace, sitting in the shade and noshing on some homemade frittata (mushroom, onion & rosemary with pastured-eggs...DELISH!!!) and a handful of grapes for dessert.
It turns out, I had pre-Tracked more almond milk than I ended up using & bringing with in my thermos, plus the hubs forgot to go to Albertsons & get me some kombucha the night prior, so that freed up another 2PP+ - giving me 4PP+ to treat myself with - which I promptly did on a yummo Starbucks Skinny Mocha (3PP+) to give me the courage to tackle the drive back.
And when we arrived home, I was 1PP+ under what I had budgeted, so I treated myself to a nice dinner. In all, I used maybe 4WP.
What a difference from the prior road-trip.
And honestly, if you have your kitchen stocked, it's not that hard to get your WW life organized and have what you need on the go.
My weight loss
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
When life isn't going smoothly I think is when all the smaller WW habits you develop add up to a much bigger payoff: not gaining it all back.
Here are some that have really helped me:
Anyway, those little habits have helped me immeasurably, especially during those "off" weeks when staying OP feels nigh impossible. Of course, there are the big lifestyle changes (like the fact I exercise first thing in the morning to remove as many impediments to working out as possible) but for me as a working, for-life WW, the devil is really in the details.
- - If you can save the 1PP+ on something, do it. It's not the calories in the 1PP+ per se that matters but the element of exerting control over what you eat because control = mindfulness = the antidote to falling off the WW wagon.
- - Always track. I have a stash of those tiny notebooks that have a plastic cover in a cheery color & are spiral-bound along the top edge. I always have one with me plus a pen (I don't have an iPhone at present). Always. It's teensy enough to keep in a pocket or purse and that way I can always jot down what I eat. I do this without fail. Then later, when I'm at my computer I can quickly enter it all into my eTracker without having to try and remember what I ate 8 hours earlier, the portions, etc. Trust me - unless you pre-Track & stick to your plan like glue, track what you eat when your memory is still fresh. Otherwise, the small stuff you forget add up over the day to big stuff you don't want come WI.
- - Guesstimate the PP+. An easy way to quickly guesstimate what the PP+ damage of, say, a Starbucks snack or Panera combo will be is to assign 1PP+ for every 40 calories. If something is labelled at 300 calories, you can quickly do a rough & dirty calculation in your head and know it will cost you about 8PP+ (I tend to overestimate if need be so I don't have to deal with nasty surprises later.)
- - Ditch Desserts. Know that desserts of every persuasion are gonna be bad-news PP+'wise. There is no such thing as "just a little" dessert. The minimum you're gonna get away with is 8PP+ (for something like a frosted chocolate brownie or slice of fruit crumble) and most are more realistically around the 11-12PP+ mark. This is the time to ask yourself if it's really worth it? That's a half a day's PP+ just for five minutes and some sugar. Not be all Debbie Downer about the joys of dessert, but I think that unless it's a once a year holiday treat or maybe someone made something homemade to surprise you on your birthday, your best day-to-day strategy is to give it a miss. "Oh, I'm too full right now but maybe later," has helped me many a time to wiggle out of a dessert tight-spot, social graces intact.
- - Drink your water. It isn't enough to stay within your DPs, WPs & APs to know that you're OP with integrity. You also have to comply with the GHGs. Which includes drinking a minimum of 6-8 glasses a day (not counting what you drink to re-hydrate after a sweaty workout). If the munchies hit, I start by drinking a glass of water and sometimes that will take the edge off. From what I've read, many of us are dehydrated and misinterpret the signals our bodies are sending us as hunger when what they really are, are signals of thirst.
My weight loss
Friday, September 14, 2012
I hadn't really realized it, but WW does actually have a recommended maximum amount of daily exercise as part of The Plan: 6APs.
I guess what piqued my interest at first was one of the Challenges I participate in: any day you do at least 30 minutes of working out, you check in. To my mind, that means you check in once a day - at most - since the Challenge stipulates 30 minutes total for the day. When someone who was a good 6 or so checkins behind me one day & then the very next, showed up a more than a few checkins in the lead, it definitely raised an eyebrow on my part. But it got me to thinking in general about some of these mega-AP totals I often see bandied about on this site.
If you're playing a straight hour of tennis (singles) or running & then hitting the gym, okay, I get it, but housecleaning....
Anyway, this is how I found out that portion-control apparently applies as well in the AP department. "Earning 6 activity PointsPlus values per day, on average, is the maximum amount of exercise most people should get without special supervision," they explain in the WW Activity FAQ. "The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you don’t regularly exceed this amount of daily exercise unless you’re under the supervision of a qualified exercise specialist to reduce the risk of injury."
Now in terms of my "formal" exercise: I walk well over 2 miles every morning pretty much without fail (Puppyboo wouldn't have it any other way), then at least a mile or more in the evening (Puppyboo, again) plus daily either train with weights & do high-intensity interval-cardio or straight high-intensity cardio - for 40-50 minutes. That strikes me as a decent amount of exercise, and it doesn't include the fact I hit my 10,000 step minimum each & every day.
And my daily AP average? About 6 APs, or between 40-50 APs per week - which could be considered "low" I guess.
I thought it was interesting when the various WW status updates first started including stuff about the ActivityLink, a lot of it was devoted to enthusiastic complaining about how low the APs-awarded were.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
This last week has been deadline-h3ll for me. Plus a heaping helping of hormones, just in case the ground wasn't fertile enough already for a nice bumper crop of Emo eating.
However, this time I think I outfoxed Mr. Stress Eating. With protein. Lots & lots (& lots) of protein. Fish, in particular.
I generally eat so clean that when I start craving sugar, it's a sign that Mr. Stress Eating has dropped by. I used to try and have something sweet "in moderation" which was a total disaster for me & usually just ends up in some sort of stoopid mini-binge involving frosted brownies or other cr@p I regret for days afterward and crave for weeks.
This time, what I decided to do if I was still jonesing for something after dinner, was allow myself a can of sardines. Kinda gross, right? Exactly. It's not that I hate on sardines or anything, but I was trying to come up with something that would actually be satiating and that I actually had to be pretty hungry (um, okay, starving) to eat.
Another thing I did was if the day was just one of those ones where you're hungry from the get-go & it doesn't feel like it's gonna let up, I increased my healthy fats. The healthy-fats thing actually helped, especially later on. I added a half a tablespoon of grass-fed butter (Kerrygold) to my post-workout meal in the morning for 1PP+ & while it didn't make me feel magically full at the time, I noticed I wasn't as out-of-my-head come dinner. While dinner has been protein-centric, today was the first time in a while I dared have a sweet potato (with Kerrygold) for dins.
Fortunately, it didn't precipitate anything weird. (Yet, at least.)
You'd think after you've been on maintenance for a while, the Food Demons would leave you alone for good, but no. They're like zombies & never seem to really die...just lay dormant for periods of time and then come back to try their luck yet again. Happily, my weapons against them are getting more sharp and my aim a lot more accurate.
And besides, when I do have those odd 60PP+ days, I just go right back to bidnez as usual the very next meal and that seems to take care of matters. My WIs might be off for a few weeks, but eventually they return to the Happy Zone.
Sardines, anyone? Um, no. Caffeine-free herb tea & an evening walk with Puppyboo, methinks.
My weight loss
Friday, September 07, 2012
Stress eating happens and even when you're on maintenance, it's gonna happen. Where I think we WW have this covered, though, isn't the stress-pigout itself per se (although doing your best to track the damage doesn't hurt) but what's more important: what you do next. Pre-WW, one stress eating bout sort of lent itself to a series of them, sometimes an entire season's worth. Now, however, I have the skills to deal with it.
I had a serious afternoon PP+-fest yesterday (thanks whoever sent Mr. Stress Eating my way) but come dinnertime, I kind of came to my senses. I had the WP for a full meal if I wanted it, but did I want it? How hungry was I really?
Not enough to spend all those WP so I resorted to my Low PP+ Emergency Meal: fish. A half can of sockeye salmon contains satiating protein, good natural fats & is only 4PP+. Add some veggies for fiber - in this case, fresh cucumbers from the garden, sliced & sprinkled with sea salt & ground pepper. And for dessert? A lil' willpower.
And would you believe it, I didn't actually die during the night from hunger.
But it got me to thinking: this is Ground Zero of weight control - or out of control. So even if you overdo at one meal, your WL fate lies in your very next meal. It reminds me, actually, of the AA mantra: it isn't your 8th drink that gets you drunk, it's your first.
My weight loss
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
I know all of us who were on WW pre zero PP+ fruit & veggies certainly rejoiced when they no longer added to our daily PP+ count ... until we all way overdid that first week on previously-pointy stuff like bananas and all pretty much had a gain.
The "free" fruit thing is kind of a double-edge sword IMO because it while it's awesome in that it definitely encourages you if you're feeling snacky to go the fruit route, it's also so easy to overdo on the stuff, which totally sucks at WI. I love me some banana action, but not as much as I dislike a banana- or fruit-fueled gain I then have to spend the next 1-3 weeks getting rid of. Such a drag.
So I came up with these arbitrary fruit rules in order to keep my consumption reasonable:
As for dessert, I've found I've had kind of an after-dinner sweet tooth lately for some reason and started having the occasional organic orange, which is delicious. As long as I'm under my 3-fruit/day limit, I count the orange "normally" in my Tracker as 0 PP+.
- 3 portions is the absolute limit for me for a day of zero PP+ fruit; if I go for more than that, I just use the Recipe Tracker when I track the fruit so that I know how many PP+ to plug in.
- If I have more than one serving or type of fruit at a single sitting, eg. 2 cups grapes (1 serving = 1 cup) or a banana and an apple - I automatically use the Recipe Builder to track it (you need a minimum of two ingredients to make a recipe). Yes, that sometimes means if I have a banana and say some grapes, it's an automatic 6PP+ "penalty" but whatever, it's real food, it's delicious & it does kind of make me less ravenous around dinner time I've noticed. I figure if I want the two servings of fruit badly enough to eat at a single sitting, then I must want them badly enough to take the PP+ hit.
- Don't have fruit if I'm gnaw-your-arm-off-hungry. For me, if I'm between meals & starving, fruit is probably not a great snack because I'm much more likely to eat more that one serving (a lot more, sometimes) which means a lot of PP+ - so fruit is better for me as a "take the edge off" snack or maybe dessert.
What about you - what set of "rules" have you come up with for yourself in order to keep your fruit intake moderate?
Monday, September 03, 2012
Somewhere in the dark recesses of my peabrain, I have long suspected that my always-contentious relationships with food, drinking & money were all somehow related - all different manifestations of some single basic issue.
When I signed up for WW & starting following the steps as laid out by WW, rather than my interpretation of how it should work (I'm sure you know what I mean, here), the weight thing began to get resolved and with it, finally, my drinking. I felt like I had become a little too excited about my daily glass(es) of vino fino and had long wanted to put them in the past. But never seemed able until a good bit into my current WLJ.
And with diet under control and drinking now a part of my past, it's obvious what was scheduled to take the spotlight next.
So I recently started reading Money Drunk Money Sober, by Julia "Artist's Way" Cameron & Mark Bryan, in an effort to find some clarity and peace of mind in my financial affairs. And wouldn't you know it, the first step they recommend in their "90 Days to Financial Freedom" plan is....writing it all down: whatever comes in and whatever goes out, all gets tracked.
Since I'm already so on autopilot as a WW with tracking whatever I eat or drink - I always carry this small notebook & pen that everything gets jotted down in so it can be entered into my eTracker, later - it's really no biggie for me to jot down expenses on the back of the page. And as we've all discovered from consistently tracking our food, recording it reveals a whole lot more (TMI sometimes, definitely) than simply what foods/drinks we consumed & in what amounts. "By counting our expenditures," the authors write, "seeing where we overspend and where we cruelly skimp...we begin to sense the balance in our lives, the balances in our relationships, the balance in our work, the balance in our creative endeavors, the balance in our days...As simple as it appears, this tool yields us a remarkable degree of information and control."
Even though food, booze & money issues might seem - at first glance - unrelated, I found it so interesting that the first helped me resolve the second & that the primary tool for dealing with the last is the same as the first.
If it walks like a duck & it talks like a duck...
My weight loss
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Food & nutrition author Marion Nestle recently blogged about how people choose what to eat when there are food regulations. "Regulations make it easier for people to eat healthfully without having to think about it," she writes. "They make the default choice the healthy choice. Most people choose the default, no matter what it is."
This of course made me think about my own WLJ and how true her insight it is. Once you commit to, say, a certain way of eating & it becomes automatic, you make it a habit - just something you do to stay OP - and it turns into the default.
Some of my own now-default behaviors:
Now that these are my defaults, it actually makes like easier 'cuz I don't gotta 'tink too much aboudit. "We have a limited bank of decision-making ability and we waste it by making too many decisions about small things, like: What am I having for breakfast?" observed Dr. Oz in the October 2012 issue of Prevention. "Just have the same darn thing for breakfast every day. I automate as many decisions as possible, which helps me."
- I walk with Puppyboo first thing every morning & at the end of every day, and I work out every day for 40-45 minutes.
- I eat yogurt or kefir with Brewer's Yeast every day & some of my sauerkraut I make on the weekends.
- I track everything I eat & drink.
- I check off my GHGs every day.
- I go to the grocery store when I need to in order to have the foods on hand that enable me to stay OP.
What are some of your now-default behaviors that help you stay OP?
My weight loss
Saturday, September 01, 2012
...you have time to get in some APs.
Because check this out: a recent study found that exercising just 30 minutes with enough gusto to break a sweat sheds more body fat than working out for 60 minutes.
These researchers at the University of Copenhagen had 60 Danish men who were moderately overweight but healthy exercise daily, half for 30 minutes & half for an hour. After just over three months, the total average weight lost was 4 kilograms - a little under 9 pounds - but within the two groups, the 60-minute a day exercisers lost 2.7 kilos (6 pounds) while the 30-minute a day workouters lost 3.6 kilos or 8 pounds!
Huh? Shouldn't that be the other way round?!
The researchers had the same reaction & their theory is that the 60-minute group probably ate more so they lost less, but more interestingly: the less-is-more group-members found the 30 minute session of working out so "doable", they had more energy and wanted more physical activity, leading them to walk more & move around more the rest of the day. "Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should have relative to the training program we set for them," says the lead-researcher. "In fact, we can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. 30 minutes of concentrated exercise gives equally good results on the scale."
Granted, this study was just on men, but still.
Friday, August 31, 2012
I've been thinking more about that study of modern hunter-gatherers in northern Tanzania, the Hadza, & the fact they burn about the same amount of calories as people living a dramatically different, much more sedentary "Western" lifestyle. "These findings upend the long-held assumption that our hunter-gatherer ancestors expended more energy than modern populations," explain the researchers, "and challenge the view that obesity in Western populations results from decreased energy expenditure."
Meaning: the fact we're sedentary is not the reason we're fat.
Given the Hadza are so much more active than many of their Western counterparts (particularly in the US), trekking long distances every day on their native savannah to forage for wild plants and hunt game & yet expending the same number of calories, it means (to me) that the bulk of the calories we burn as humans is the result of stuff we have no control over: fueling our big brains (a massive user of incoming calories), digestion & metabolism (another huge drain on energy) & everything else that goes into just stayin' alive. "The similarity in daily energy expenditure across a broad range of lifestyles suggests that habitual metabolic rates are relatively constant among human populations," they continue. "This in turn supports the view that the current rise in obesity is due to increased food consumption, not decreased energy expenditure."
Or, in plain English: what you weigh is determined by how much you eat. Not how much you work out (or don't work out). The quantity of calories you consume. The reason we're fat in the West is simple: we eat way too much.
So if the main factor that matters to what you weigh is how much you eat, it explains why it's a myth that you can "make up" for bad food choices (like binges) by exercising more. Because exercise apparently doesn't really have much of an impact on how many calories you burn. Exercise is wonderful for so many other things - especially if you don't want to spend your old age in a diaper & a wheelchair - but determining how you do at WI ain't one of 'em.
Which then made me think about the current dilemma-du-jour I've been reading about on many WW blogs: whether or not to eat your APs. My APs are usually earned in two ways: I walk at least 10,000 steps a day & I work out, usually daily & usually pretty hardcore. And the weeks when I don't "offset" my APs earned by eating an equivalent amount of PP+, my energy levels suck. However, I know that we all tend to underestimate what we eat and way overestimate how many calories we burn exercising, so I've always been kind of leery of eating my APs. What's a WW to do?
This is the strategy I came up with: I let my APs earned guide how many WPs I use that day.
When I do a cardio workout, I rack up a lot more APs than with a weights-training workout, so later, I'll usually have an additional power-foods snack or maybe a more pointy dinner. However, I have the peace of mind of knowing that I'm still within my WPs. That way, I'm getting the best of both worlds: eating enough extra to support those APs which gives me tons of energy to keep working out & feeling fabulous but not having to worry about whether I'm overdoing it. And the (rare) weeks I eat all my WPs (they really don't happen that much any more), I may start dipping into my store of APs but I'm super frugal about it & tend to just wait for my new WW week to restore all my WPs.
Your turn: what's your take on The Big Question of whether to eat or not to eat ze APs.
My weight loss
Thursday, August 30, 2012
In honor of that lucky be-atch Alison (DCCeline) getting to have one of my fave ever foods on the planet when she dines out tonight somewhere foofoo-sheeshee with some of her foofoo-sheeshee fashionista friend - roasted bone marrow! - I was inspired to blog about the wonders of marrow.
One of the reasons the cavity that contains bone marrow matters is that it determines how productive blood stem cells are at creating healthy blood. Healthy blood boosts your immune system & makes it easier for your system to utilize oxygen to do things like clot wounds. Whether the climate of the bone marrow cavity is "friendly" to the blood being made depends on what kinds of cells it's constructed from. If, for instance, a lot of fat starts to fill the bone marrow cavity, the blood stem cells become much less productive, leading to things like anemia.
So what would cause the bone marrow cavity to fill with fat?
You probably guessed it: sitting on your butt too much. Sedentary behavior leads to fat-filled bones. *Wait...stop for a second & and imagine what that must look like.* Ugh. Okay, you may now pass GO (which means getting up off said butt, so that's a good thing). Now check out the pic above again: it compares a cross-section of thigh bones from sedentary rats & rats that were exercised. A & C are from a sedentary rodent while the much-denser B & D cross sections demonstrate the benefits on bone of exercising.
And to avoid fat-filled bones, it really doesn't take that much exercise. Researchers comparing the bone marrow cavities of two groups of mice, one sedentary & one not, found that the latter group only had to do a moderate amount of exercise to have a significant impact on how much blood they produced. And to get this amazing result, how much did the mice have to run? Marathons? Hardly.
The mice ran less than an hour three times a week.
"The interesting thing was that a modest exercise program was able to significantly increase blood cells in the marrow and in circulation," said the lead researcher (the study was conducted at McMaster University). "What we're suggesting is that exercise is a potent stimulus - enough of a stimulus to actually trigger a switch in these stem cells. Exercise has the ability to impact stem-cell biology...Some of the impact of exercise is comparable to what we see with pharmaceutical intervention."
Okay..."wow" is about all I can say to that.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
This happy hippie staple of the 60s, it turns out, is a verifiable superfood for us new millenium types.
Brewer's Yeast is the culture used to transform malt, grain & hops into beer, however, when it's instead fed sugar beets - a crop so good at extracting micronutrients from the soil, if it's grown in the same ground more than two years, the soil will become depleted - it becomes this wonderful B-vitamin rich blend. It's rich with micronutrients including selenium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron & chromium. Chromium, in particular, is great for blood sugar control & weight loss.
Seriously, one serving of Brewer's Yeast (2 Tablespoons or 15-20g) is only 1PP+ but look what you get for that:
Brands like Lewis Labs & KAL are trustworthy & high quality and focus on formulating their yeasts so that the taste is do'able. Which is key with this stuff. Don't - repeat: Do Not - be tempted to cheap out the $1 or $2 when you're buying your Brewer's Yeast as you'll pay for it every time you try and consume it.
- 10g of protein (of the kind your body can readily use right away)
- Bs galore: 100% of Thamine/B-1; Riboflavin/B-2 (50%); Niacin/B-3 (35%); B-6 (40%); Biotin (10%) Folic Acid (100%) - Note: the one B it doesn't contain is B-12
- Amino Acids - too many for me to list here
I try and have some every day mixed into my kefir or Greek yogurt & really like the "nutty" taste, personally. I've also tried it sprinkled on lightly-buttered popcorn which is completely delish. Perusing the back of my own container (I bought some from KAL at Whole Foods) yielded these suggestions: stews & casseroles, soups, meat loaf, broth, gravies, protein drinks, juice, over salad, with fruit salad, on cottage cheese & with nut-butter.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Without Hallmark, I wonder what the state of in-law relations would come to for many families. If you're blessed with a lovely MIL who adores you & doesn't consider you competition, bless you. However, for the rest of us, good thing there's Hallmark and their off-the-shelf, pre-digested sentiments which are non-offensive & enable relations-duty to get done without the drama that would accompany any sharing of actual feelings. A lovely convenience-sentiment card with sugary cute puppies (but no unicorns) arrived in yesterday's mail, reminding me today is my 5th wedding anniversary. (The MIL boycotted the wedding b/c of food but has religiously sent these commemorative cards like clockwork each August. Go figure.)
Actually I was glad to get the card. And not just b/c it contained a generous check to spend on a dinner out (which I thought was quite thoughtful) but because I had totally forgotten today was my anniversary & my hubs, who, just like mom, puts great stock in Hallmark milestones, would take it personally if it had totally slipped my mind (which it did). The check - which may or may not go towards dinner (probably not as there is something clothing-related I'd much rather spend it on) - actually arrived at time when our money situation has finally started to become a lot less dire. And I get to buy some clothes again!
However, I'm leery of buying even the smallest item. Decluttering a second time to move from the tiny studio apartment in Miami Beach to a similarly small abode in Portland, OR has cured me of my clutterbug tendencies for good. Now, instead of just living for the thrill of shopping (I've always, always loved to shop) I actually think it through to the consequences: Where will X live? Will it take up space? Is there something I can get rid of to free up space for this purchase?
A total change in approach which started after I joined WW. As I started shrinking & shrinking some more, I realized more than just my dress size was changing. The contents of my closet started becoming more and more alien to me, these items someone else's sartorial projection of themselves. As my armor of bodyfat melted, an inner shell cracked open revealing this new tiny & buff pocket Venus. Who was this small but fierce athletic chick with amazing biceps who weighed around 110-112 pounds (!) & looked like she could eat (or at the very least keep up with ) P90X's Tony Horton for breakfast? I was almost intimidated to make her acquaintance.
My Sleeping Beauty transformation extended to my environment & my life and as we were packing to move, I was relentless about ditching, pitching, thrifting, donating, ebaying, giving away & leaving by the dumpster. And in its place: glorious, zen, beautiful, restful white space.
But once I streamlined my closet to basically nothing, I didn't really know what to wear. So for a while now, I've worn the same five'ish things. Which aren't "me" but I didn't really know what to wear instead. So I've continued to think extensively about what I do want to wear. And a picture - fuzzy at the edges but with a definite motif - has begun to emerge...right in lockstep with our money situation lightening up. So I've begun firing up my inner eBay stalker, compiling a Watched Item list (& checking it more than twice) in anticipation of really being able to enjoy my Goal Weight body and a coherent wardrobe designed in a thoughtful way to really express this new Buff Venus me.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I always assumed that bit of diet advice about getting enough sleep had to do with the physical limitations (sleepwalking aside) of not being able to put food in your face when asleep. But apparently being short on zzzzz's affects your hunger hormones (why does it seems like everything in life comes down to hormones in some way...either that or it's 'cuz I'm at "that age" that I have my hormone-colored glasses on). Sleep deprivation does a number of your hormones, which slows down your metabolism and also makes you eat more: a lot more.
A recent study at the Mayo Clinic found that people who are sleep-deprived consumed an extra 500+ calories a day. That's like the equivalent of a 10-12PP+ meal.
Instead, it's better to leave the 500 calories, take the beauty rest, wake up looking like Bardot...with no extra PP+ to hafta count.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Even though I'm lifetime, I still weigh every Sunday morning. Religiously, you could say. After all, if I didn't, how would I know if I'm up & that I might need to nip a quick lil' gain in the bud ... before it is takes the initiative to grow into a blob weighing 5, 10 or even 25 pounds? And if I've learned anything about weight blobs, they're ambitious & a lot like mushrooms ... they love the dark (especially if it's you in there) and thrive on sh!t - in this case two varieties: physical (sugar & other cr@p) and emotional (self loathing).
Obviously it takes more than just a weekly WI, but that's certainly one super-important weapon in my war against regaining. As it is for 3,000 members of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of 10,000 people who lost at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for a year or more. They (and I) also do the following:
Sure, keeping weight lost for good some dedication and work, but really, once you get in the maintenance groove, it's really not all work. In the least. Opening your closet & knowing everything fits: not work. Loving what you see in the mirror? Definitely not work. No longer having to be photo shy? Not. Work. Shopping for clothes 'cuz they're cute and show off all your hard "work"...so not work.
- track what we eat & drink
- stay within a caloric "budget", be it PP+, counting calories or tracking fat grams
- eat about 1,800 calories a day which is around 40 PPs - which essentially means about 32 DPs + an additional 7 or 8 WPs per day; of their total intake, fat calories accounted for about 30%
- eat their own cooking, mostly - they dine out an average of three times a week (or less) and only indulge in fast food once a week, if that
- tend to eat similar foods day in & day out and during the holidays and on special occasions, don't splurge that much
- watch less that 10 hours of TV a week and spend an hour a day walking or burning the equivalent amount of calories doing something physical
What not-work ways are you finding that you're enjoying your WLJ?
My weight loss
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Well this is innneresting. It confirms something I've discovered thru experience but I do always get satisfaction from knowing the reason behind why stuff works (& doesn't).
Scientists have been focusing on the major blood vessel that drains blood from the gut, the portal vein, & in particular, its walls. The walls of the portal vein contain a set of receptors called mu-opioid or MORs. When these receptors are stimulated, you wanna eat (or perhaps indulge in some better living thru chemistry...the "opioid" part also refers to the fact they also bind to morphine). Blocking MORs creates the opposite situation: you feel full & no longer want to eat. Apparently digested-protein peptides act to "block" the MORs, which messages the brain, which then messages right back and gives the intestine the go-ahead to release blood sugar (glucose).
And it's this glucose release that curbs the appetite and suppresses any further desire to eat.
This messaging relationship was discovered after the researchers genetically engineered mice so that their portal veins lacked MORs. After eating, the mice didn't release any glucose and showed no signs whatsoever of feeling full like unaltered mice normally do after feeding on high-protein chow.
Yes, I know this is a mice study, but the hunger-mechanisms uncovered in these rodents are the same as in the two-legged and, like the mice, our portal veins also contain MORs in the neurons. "These findings explain the satiety effect of dietary protein, which is a long-known but unexplained phenomenon," adds the senior author of the study which was just published in the prestigious journal Cell. "They provide a novel understanding of the control of food intake and of hunger sensations."
I remember reading somewhere the "magic" satiety formula is PROTEIN + FAT + FIBER, and I can attest from first-hand experience that this is is allkindsa awesome for a WW & pretty much true. Common sense agrees! Compare, say, a hard-boiled egg, which is 2PP+, with 2PP+ worth of bread or maybe air-popped popcorn. Which snack do you think will keep you functioning better & your blood sugar on a more even keel?
What about you? What's your protein-rich go-to snack or meal you've discovered thru trial & error on your WLJ?
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Normally I'm not that keen on flashing my bod all ova the interwebs, but in the name of WW, I've realized there's not much I won't do!
Earlier this year, I received this 4-DVD workout series called The 28 Day Challenge by celeb trainer Robert Brace. I did it for the 28 days & liked it so I did two more 4-week cycles for a total of 12 weeks (3 months now).
There are three different ways to do the workouts:
The first two weeks, I found it sufficiently challenging that I followed the Standard. Then, I wanted more of a challenge & started doing the Ultra. The main way I changed it was to workout on Monday & Tuesday & then, on Wednesday, do one of my cardio DVDs (a day off from weights, but not working out). Thursday, Friday & Saturday - weights - and Sunday, a day off from weights but not from cardio.
- The Standard: Workout two days in a row, for eg. Monday & Tuesday, then take Wednesday off. Do workouts 3 & 4 on Thursday & Friday respectively & take the weekends off. Then, the following Monday, start with Workout #2 & repeat. Week 3 starts with Workout #3. etc.
- The Express: Do all 4 workouts on four consecutive days, eg. Monday - Thursday & then take Friday, Saturday & Sunday off. The following Monday, start with Workout #2 & repeat the sequence.
- The Ultra: Do all 4 workouts in a row & on Day 5, repeat whatever you started the week with. For eg., if you started on Monday doing workout #1, come Friday, you repeat it. Then, you take Saturday & Sunday off, and start the next week off with workout #2 - which you'll do twice that week.
As you can see, these DVDs are the real deal. My weight changed less than 2 pounds - from 114 down to 112.2 & back into my goal range - but the way my body looks is a less puffy & way more buff. My abs especially.
One thing that bugs me about most workout DVDs - these included - is that after you've done the workout a couple of times, you get sick to death of the banter. P90X actually has it so you can choose whether you want Tony Horton chitchatting or with that muted, which is awesome! With these, Brace did a fair amount of explaining stuff in Workout #1 and by the second or third time I did that workout, I used the explanation time to repeat whatever exercise I had just been doing. eg. if it was pushups, then when his explanations started in, I just do more of them. In other words, I found a way to make it challenging & interesting for myself.
I'm overall pretty happy with these DVDs, as I don't think my abs have ever resembled the way they look now, not even when I was in my 20s.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Apparently, just in the US alone, we spend a whopping $40 billion-with-a-B on diets & diet "products"!
Which of course made me wonder: if we're willing to fork out this kinda cashish annually for a product with a 95% (or more, probably) failure rate, why are so many people failing at dieting?
According to this article on Livestrong, these are the Top 10 main culprits:
- (1) Having to restrict certain foods or entire food groups. This is obvious: anything "verboten" immediately transforms into forbidden fruit, to be obsessed over, binged on & ultimately causing one to abandon the Good Ship Diet.
- (2) Food Fatigue. Eating the same thing over and over and over again makes Jack & Jill bored...& boring, what with all the moaning & complaining about having to eat the same thing yet again. And being bored leads to temptation leads to the same place as #1.
- (3) Inflammation. Any diet that promotes filling up on excessive amounts of inflammation-causing foods (wheat-based whole grains or too much fruit, especially) or advocates skimping on healthy fats to "save" calories is pretty much doomed from the get-go, not to mention all the ways that eating this way messes with your health & looks.
- (4) Being required to buy X specific-foods. I'm talking to you, Jenny-Craig-CookieDiet-MediOptiSlimFast. These items suddenly out of stock? Buh-bye Mr. Diet...until the next wash-rinse-repeat cycle.
- (5) P!ss-poor planning. I don't believe any of us don't "have" time for X. When someone claims this as an excuse, what I hear is: "X isn't really important enough for me to bother making the time." And eating healthy and staying OP requires a fair amount of prior planning, keeping your kitchen stocked with the foods you need to stay OP & introducing enough yumminess into your meals to avoid Food Fatigue (see #2). Woe to the dieter who lets themselves fall into the "not enough time" trap as that rabbit hole leads but one place & one place only.
What about you? What is your big-picture motivation for staying on WW?
- (6) Dieting for a specific event. Sure, no one wants to be the whale in the room at the class reunion or at that upcoming wedding, but if this is the main reason for "wanting to lose weight", once the event is history, so is motivation.
- (7) Dieting to "be thin". While I love-love-love being really thin and it helped jumpstart my WW mojo, over the course of my WLJ, I've become far more concerned with being vibrantly healthy. Which, in turn, helps keep me motivated to stay on WW for the long haul.
- (8) Getting cocky. You diet, you see some success, you figure you got this & go back to your fattening ways.
- (9) A case of the I've-blown-its. We've all of us here have been guilty of this. You have a slice of something forbidden & suddenly, you find yourself in a food-trance & mid binge. "Oh you've been so bad," your inner Diet Demons taunt you, "You may as well go for it. And while you're at it, forget this stupid diet."
- (10) Not being clear on why you need to follow the diet for good. I believe this is probably the most important reason the 5% "elite" lose the weight & keep it off. They/I have a crystal-clear vision of the "why". I may have joined WW "to lose weight" but the more I follow it and learn how to eat properly & which foods make me feel great - and which don't - the more I want to pursue this way of life. And now, my big reason for staying on WW is that following it makes me feel like a champ.
My weight loss
Sunday, August 19, 2012
When she was doing the press rounds to promote The Dark Knight Rises, the subject of Anne Hathaway's bodycon-and-then-some leather catsuit of course came up. To get in the super-sleek level of shape required to sashay around on the Big Screen in one of these, Hathaway obviously started going to the gym a lot. She also started eating a lot more protein, which is a strategy I've discovered on my own on the meandering trip that is my never-ending WLJ.
But I think her most telling comment was this: "To get into the suit...it had to be a lifestyle change."
(source & image)
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The second annual Ancestral Health Symposium recently concluded, where some of the biggest hitters in the field meet, greet & share ideas.
Actually, I think should probably be subtitled "So what the h3ll have we evolved to eat - and avoid - for optimal health, anyway?" as it's becoming increasingly clear that most of our modern diseases, including obesity & metabolic syndrome, come from our modern environment being out of synch with our genetics. Our genes don't really change that much over time so what really determines whether we stay healthy or become diseased is how our genes "behave". How genes are "expressed", epigenetics, is actually what is responsible for our various evolutionary adaptations.
One of the key ways we mess with our epigenetic expression is by eating stuff we're not yet properly adapted to.
And based on the mindbogglingly massive amount of digestive havoc they cause, grains like wheat & legumes seem to top the list of Food Felons that send our genes the wrong health message. But aren't "whole grains" always touted as so "healthy"? Technically, yes, they are loaded with lots of excellent vitamin & minerals but not in a form that our bodies can access & use - as the presentation by one of my fave smartypants in the area of ancestral health explained. Mat Lalonde has a PhD in organic chemistry from Hah-vahd & can actually understand hardcore scientific studies & translate them into understandable English. He made the point that many of the commonly-accepted measures of how nutritious a food is - such as the ANDI score or Joel Fuhrman's Nutrient Density scale - are based on the nutrition contained in the foods before they are cooked.
The reason the term "before they are cooked" matters is that when foods are cooked or otherwise processed for consumption (eg. sprouting or fermenting), it changes how much nutrition is available for your body to access & use - its bioavailability. Bioavailability is the key & what matters when it comes to how nutritious a food is.Instead of nutrition in a vacuum, what makes a lot more sense is to look at how bioavailable a particular food's nutrient density is in the state in which we eat it.
Items such as whole grains, wheat & legumes (which includes peanuts) in their unaltered state are completely inedible - & totally toxic. Uncooked, they rate well in terms of their nutrient density, however, when cooked, they are completely unimpressive. White potatoes, on the other hand, are loaded with minerals and when cooked, are actually slightly more nutrient-dense than sweet potatoes.
Yeah, that surprised me as well.
And what foods scored exceptionally well in terms of nutrient-density that was highly bioavailable? Animal foods, especially the less-lean cuts of meat from grass-fed (& -finished) sources (US Wellness Meats is a fantabulous resource), fatty fish, eggs from pastured hens & organ meats, especially liver.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Most of us sign up for WW in a moment of crisis: from the less dire - the sartorial threat of having to wear a new, much-bigger clothing size - to the truly dire: a change-your-ways-or-else order from the doctor. We then trudge home from our first meeting or online signup with all that newbie literature to have to read & figure out, resigned to all the stuff we're sure we won't "be allowed" to eat anymore & all that time we're now gonna have to spend at the gym. Blech. Like the start of a really long sentence in Diet Jail.
But what's so interesting is that instead of less of everything - food, fun, friends even - changing your way of eating to align it with the rules & principles that WW lays out seems to bring more. Instead of being your body's janitor (as you were pre-WW), it's like you suddenly got a juicy promotion to its CEO.
I was reading this insightful post on SCDLifestyle - a site run by two guys who overcame severe digestive disorders & restored their plumbing back to health through nutrition. He notes that after adopting the "specific carbohydrate diet" lifestyle, he "had started walking down a road of change that I wasn't even aware of. By changing what I ate, what I thought, what I did...I started to take full responsibility for my health." And as his body's newly-minted CEO, he found himself thrown in the role his health's decision-maker but without the benefit of prior training.
However, the most productive part is what comes from what we do after committing the various mistakes we're all guilty of here: the binges, the questionable tracking that "mysteriously" still shows up on the scale, the purchasing of trigger foods "for someone else" - basically all the blah-blah that leads to bad WIs & little to no motivation to stay OP. "Learning to pick myself up after many weekends lost..., $ thousands spent on miracle pills and the latest health theory has been invaluable as I go forward. I've tried so many things, been swindled, tricked myself...The best part of becoming CEO of my health and failing over and over was the confidence I've developed. Once I accepted complete responsibility for the outcomes of my health, my failures rose, but so did my success. These days, I'm a much wiser CEO of my body."
How have you found yourself making the leap from janitor of your body to CEO?
Thursday, August 16, 2012
When I saw this, I immediately thought it would be perfect for any potlucks or picnics I need to bring a dish for. The way the various fruits have been arranged to replicate the order of the colors of a rainbow makes for such a pretty presentation!
I know whenever I've shown up at various events with a large bowl of yummily-dressed greens or something fresh & fruity, everyone tends to scarf those straight down & ignore some of the more elaborate "world famous" concoctions (Have you ever noticed that the more fat- & carb-laden is someone's contribution, the more it tends to come with that label of being someone's "world famous" whatever...which I've decided is a sneaky euphemism for "fat bomb on a plate".)
Be sure to snag a skewer (or 3) of these pretty fruit-kabobs for yourself when you first plunk the platter down 'cuz the potluck & picnic crowds - they're guaranteed to love 'em.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
How much do you LOVE this healthy-food container by LunchBots??
It was developed by a woman who had gotten in the (very WW-friendly) habit of packing her snacks & lunches in order to always have healthy food on hand. "After my kids were born, rather than get stuck at a drive thru, I started packing food for them too," explains Jacqueline Linder. "As news emerged about the chemicals leaching into our food, I went on a search for alternatives - healthy food needs healthy containers. I was also concerned about the environmental impact of plastic. Millions of plastic sandwich and snack baggies are piling up in our landfills each year."
Although she decided to eliminate glass as an option (impractical & way too heavy), she finally settled on stainless steel. "It was the perfect material!" Too bad she couldn't find containers made from it anywhere: "not online, not in restaurant supply stores, not in gadget stores." After a year of searching, the former designer for Apple decided to make it herself and launched her new biz out of, where else, her Cali garage (just like Apple).
LunchBots come in different fun colors & with a variety of internal compartments to choose from: a single large one, one that's divided into three parts & one with four compartments - each for just under $20. She also sells sets as well as smaller containers for condiments & insulated containers to keep stuff hot or cold. These are PERFECT for us WWs (CLICK HERE to check 'em out) - plus I love the fact they're affordable, eco-chic & the money is going to support an entrepreneurial woman who, like us, cares passionately about eating healthy food.
(source & image)
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
So skinny. [But said in that way that "so" means "too".] And...strict...about what you eat. Maybe if you weren't so strict all the time with your food, you'd be...happier."
This convo transpired last night as I was cooking up a frittata for the rest of the week. I enjoy having a piece cold & ready-to-go in the morning after I work out. The lady we're currently renting our place from had just cooked up a large mess (literally, too, given the state of the kitchen afterward) of fried chicken which she & the people she hangs out with devoured with great relish. Her work involves helping people "in recovery" - from booze & meth, mostly, but with a lovely smattering of he-said-she-said-domestic-violence-denying men thrown in. Suffice it to say, our differences in education & background are pretty dramatic.
Okay, so I'm a total snob, but I also feel that given English contains upwards of 250,000 words to choose from at present, the need to use the f-word every other word & describe every possible situation is gross & at best, beyond boring. Although, the flexibility of the f-word is certainly impressive: it's an adjective (you ef.fin so-and-so; and, in these parts, my ef.fin ex-wife or that ef.fin judge); an adverb (you got so-and-so judge?! oh, you are so effed); a threat (eff you); a cry of dispair (we're effed) and a cry for help (what the eff should we do about this ef.fin judge, my ef.fin ex, and the fact, that, well...EFF!)
So, back to the chicken.
First, I watched them unwrap a giant such-a-deal pack of grocery store chicken breasts and all I could think was that this meat came from unfortunate chickens kept crammed into those football-stadium sized warehouses that never see the light of day. They are given food toxic enough that you have to wear a face mask to feed the birds & should your skin come in direct contact with it, do all sortsa toxic-substance removal maneuvers. Then, the chicken was dredged in flour. What went through my mind: ah, lovely wheat glutens! One of the primary causes of inflammation and gut issues on the planet (& gut issues are intimately tied into mental health and, yes, violence issues). Yum, just what this crowd of losers needs.
A giant plastic bottle of some horrible veggie oil was finally dragged out & the flour-dusted chicken breasts fried up. Again, my inner snob had this to say: lovely, the oil is already rancid and now heating up to high temperatures will make sure to thoroughly ruin any part that isn't & make it as inflammatory as possible. That, plus the fact that chicken meat is really really high in Omega 6 fatty acids (the inflammatory kind).
In all, a disgusting (and really disgusting-smelling) heart attack on a plate with a yummy side of probable coronary heart disease. A few years back, I can assure you I wouldn't have thought twice about eating this stuff. And enjoyed it. And then felt guilty and wondered at the same time, why I could never seem to lose weight. Amazing how you change your relationship to food (& definition of it) the longer you remain a working WW.
I almost laughed outright when she made the remark about me and my "strictness" when it comes to food. Where to even start?! However, my manners kicked in & I simply replied: "No, actually money would make me happy. Really really happy." (Which is true. Otherwise we would be living elsewhere. Where my inner grammarian doesn't have to have a daily conniption fit. Obviously.)
Along with money, eating nourishing food that doesn't harm my body makes me happy as well. No veggie-oil-conventionally-deep-fried-chickens need apply.
Monday, August 13, 2012
...because I've been getting a tad annoyed reading various WW blogs & seeing status updates about "only" having lost X or maintained Y or being disappointed that WI wasn't "better".
I should add that I used to be 100% guilty of it myself until I realized the monumental stupidity of this kinda stinkin' thinkin'.
A "mere" five pounds of fat lost & the same gained from that weighttraining you're doing (& you are doing regular weight training, right?) looks to me like a pretty amazing transformation. That massive blob on the left G-O-N-E & in it's place: that teensy sleek mass of muscle on the right - which makes everyone look smaller, faster & generally X*Y more fabulous.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I was reading this interesting article by Yoni Freedhoff, an MD who specializes in non-surgical weight management & also has a blog called Weighty Matters. He confirmed something I had suspected from my own experience: that if you drink your calories, you just don't feel full the same way you do when eating the equivalent caloric amount.
"Simply put, our bodies don't register liquids the same way as solids," he explains. "Eat 120 extra calories along with your breakfast and you're likely to compensate for those calories by eating a smaller amount of your usual choices. But if those 120 calories come from liquids, studies show your caloric compensation will be minimal at best."
Huh. I know the weeks I spend more PP+ on my beloved Starbucks Skinny Mochas, I use more WP. Whereas, if I'm jonesing for a little sumpin' sumpin' & I eat that same 3PP+ - especially if includes protein + fat + fiber (the magic satiety formula) - it really takes the edge off in a way that liquid treats don't.
Now I'm obviously not saying I'm never gonna indulge in some the liquid yumminess (& yes, it will always be accurately tracked), but for weeks when the WW going is rough, I will now try to consciously skew my PP+ toward food as much as possible. "If you're worried about your weight, your goal should be the smallest number of liquid calories you need to enjoy your life, as the health benefits intrinsic to liquid calories are minimal to none," he continues. And yes, this includes even milk: both the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study - two big & long-running nutritional investigations - found that regardless of what the Milk Mustache campaign would have us believe, whether the people in the studies drank two glasses of milk per day or less than a glass of milk per week, their risk of breaking and arm or a hip was the same. Rather, when it comes to reducing falls and breaking bones, it's now believed that for bone strength what is far more important is:
"Eat your calories," Freedhoff concludes. "Don't drink them."
- regular weight-training
- getting enough Vitamin D - & not just from sunlight, but from food...that you eat...
Saturday, August 11, 2012
For me, this means not being as chained to my desk & having more excuses to move around & do fun stuff without guilt. Hello, APs!
My day will often include spending some time trying a new WW-friendly recipe; since I've learned the basics of cooking (thankyou, YouTube), it's actually a fun way to spend time, I've discovered. Today, I made my biggest vat of sauerkraut EVAH. Once you haul out the food processor to slice up those cabbages and get out the jar you're gonna layer everything into while it ferments itself into sauerkrauty goodness, it's basically the same amount of work to make a small batch as a massive one. So 5 organic cabbage heads plus a bunch of wonderfully bright locally-grown carrots later - with fresh dill squeezed in between the layers - I filled my special sauerkraut "vat" (an enormous cylindrical glass vase I saved from simply being tossed away) to the rim and will soon have a new flavor of my homemade sauerkraut to look forward to in a few weeks. I enjoy sauerkraut, especially my own, so for me, eating it during the week is a real treat.
Which...psssst...is the secret. Shhh! Come closer. Listen up, this is important. Ready? One of the big secrets of successful loser/maintainers is this: eat foods that are real & really make your taste buds rejoice.
I'll be headed over to Whole Foods later - on foot, 'cuz I enjoy the walk (& the APs) - to pick up more of my nutrient-dense during-the-week staples I've really come to enjoy eating. Mr. Scale has let me know over the weeks & months that he approves of them as well.
What about you? Do you use the weekends to prep foods for yourself for during the week? What are some of your yummiest go-to foods that have surprised you with how much more tasty they make your WLJ?
Friday, August 10, 2012
The weekends can make it challenging for many WWs to stay OP. Maybe it's because you have WI on Saturday morning & all those fresh & shiny new WPs are just calling your name, demanding you spend them on your days off. Perhaps it's the fact you're on your weekly "mini holiday" from the daily 9-to-5 weekday grind, which seems to give the Diet Demons the excuse they're looking for to come out & play.
However, if you want to make WW your way of life, at some point, you really need to get the weekend thing under control.
I know the other 280 million times I joined WW and failed to come anywhere close to goal (forget about Lifetime), I always took the weekends off from WW. WI was first thing Saturday followed, automatically, by a huge breakfast of my fave comfort foods: huge omelettes smothered in melted cheese and with that lovely brown bubbliness just at the edges or perhaps a giant stack of blueberry pancakes and shameless amounts of syrup (more along the lines of "would you like some pancake with your syrup?"). Or Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries & if I was feeling particularly festive, with chocolate chips.
All yummy, absolutely. But pointy and not really very filling, meaning I'd be hungry enough at dinner to eat a full meal - and then, because I took Saturday off, it was that much harder come Sunday morning to "be OP". So I'd usually take Sundays off as well, figuring that (somehow) I had the rest of the week to make up for it.
One of the problems with this approach - among many, many problems with it - was that I'd pretty much be out of WP come Monday morning and my weekend vows to only eat my DPs evaporated by dinnertime. Once I was (yet again) in the red, I would feel discouraged and less motivated to have a strong OP day Tuesday. Which fed into more discouragement by Wednesday, and suddenly it was WI again, and instead of being down or even maintaining, I would probably have had a gain. Cue more discouragement, more stoopid eating, and, ultimately, another failed WW attempt.
So what did I do differently this time?
The short answer: I completely changed the way I ate. Fundamentally, I realized that continuing to eat the way I was eating, just in smaller amounts, was akin to acting like an insane person...just in smaller amounts. The definition of insanity (the bad one, not the cool workout program) is doing the same thing over & over & over again - and expecting different results. So why would eating the same way that got me into trouble and led to massive amounts of bingeing, overeating and self-hatred - just in smaller amounts - yield the life-changing results I was after?
Obviously it wouldn't.
I bid adieu to the processed cereals that sometimes caused binges (I'm talkin' to you, Cinnamon Toast Crunch), as well as frozen "diet" dinners, all those Smart Ones & any Lean Cuisines (a dubious use of the word "cuisine" if ever there was one.) Instead, I took to heart that piece of advice that when it comes to changing your habits, that subtracting things tends to lead to feelings of deprivation; rather we do much better adding things in. I added in food that was real and it started to supplant - organically & without so much willpower required - my cravings for the processed stuff. And now I can say I've given up things I never thought I would (artificial sweeteners; wine; bread) and have embraced other foods I never thought I would (liver from grass-fed animals; pastured butter; cod liver oil).
What does all this have to do with staying OP on weekends?
Everything. By not eating the way of insanity & instead embracing something different, you'll find that weekends are just another day rather than a WW challenge. Which is the way it should work - if you don't want it to feel like so much work.
And you: what's your your top tip for solidly staying OP on the weekend? Be sure to share 'cuz you never know how your tip or insight could help another WW out.
My weight loss
Thursday, August 09, 2012
While trolling Costco a few weeks back, I discovered this wild-caught tuna & picked up a 6-pack. Talk about good stuff. The nutrient profile read like music to my ears (what can I say, I'm a nutrition geek & stuff like this really excites me) as did their methods of catching the fish:
A can contains 5oz of fish & sea salt that's it. As no water is added, you're advised to not even strain it as the preservative "juice" is brimming with Omega 3s.
- Using a pole the way our ancestors did.
- The same thing I was doing at Costco: trolling! Which is essentially attaching a few fishing poles to a small boat & catching the fish that swim closer to the surface, ie. the younger fish. The older (& obviously wiser) tuna typically congregate in deeper waters, so they aren't affected that much by this type of fishing.
Per can of WILD PLANET Wild Albacore Tuna:
Yes, it's pointier than your "normal" can of water-packed albacore, but you can't beat how amazingly rich in vital nutrients it is. Worth every single one of the 8 PP+, absolutely. I really love how it still contains its natural fat (the best way to eat fats is attached to the rest of the meat they came with) and is so high in Omega 3s.
- 40g Protein
- 15g Fat
- 3460 mg Omega 3s: 720mg EPA & 2320 mg DHA (the particular variation of this fatty acid that that big brain of yours lurves)
- more Omega 3s even than salmon
And mercury? Because trolling & pole-catching snags smaller fish, they have had less time to accumulate mercury. Plus there's the fact that the selenium in the tuna binds to any mercury, which means that when you digest it, since the mercury's already bound to the selenium, it will pass right through you without incident.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
... you're definitely worth listening to.
Especially if you glow like girlfriend here, the lovely & lithe almost-centenarian Esther Tuttle.
Her secret to staying active & vibrant on her journey through life? Wait for it...a nourishing diet & exercise. "Your body is your instrument and you have to take beautiful care of it," she advises (I love how she said "beautiful care"). "I do one hour of yoga and walk for 30 minutes every day. You really enjoy life a lot more if you're healthy."
That and, of course, the miraculous never-underestimate-em supa'powers of a sexy pout. "And I never leave home without putting on lipstick. It makes me feel pretty!"
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Remember that best-selling 1980s diet book Fit for Life? Vaguely? Then please allow me to refresh your memory. The authors, Marilyn & then-hubs Harvey Diamond, claimed it was possible to lose weight without needing to count calories as long as you focused on "living foods" that "cleansed" the body and avoided "dead foods" that "clogged" it. A key part of their program was that you avoid eating certain food combinations at the same sitting, lest they sit in your stomach and ferment, thus destroying enzymes & key nutrients.
However now, the lovely (and now Harvey'less) Marilyn has admitted on FB that Fit for Life was complete cr@p and that following her own advice "for the better part of 20 years" practically killed her. "I almost died," she admits. "I was in serious muscle wasting. In one year, I became unable to pick up my toddler grandson. I had a heart condition that caused anxiety attacks, because my heart muscle too was wasting. I think...it may not be sustainable on the biochemical level of the body's requirements to ignore essential food groups interminably."
- <RANT> Dumb diets come & go. Human biochemistry...not so much. There's this substance in your stomach known as hydrochloric acid which, if you were to accidentally spill a few drops on your hand or your furniture would burn. A lot. It's strong, strong stuff & Mother Nature provided you with it to dissolve any food you eat it and allow your body to metabolize the nutrients within. So this retarded myth of food somehow being able to "ferment" inside this living, churning vat of acid is a dumb myth that really, really needs to die. Lest someone else end up being duped by money-hungry dopes like the (aptly-named) Diamonds. </RANT>
Having apparently seen the light (by which I mean a great opportunity to do the sackcloth-and-ashes Comeback Kid routine Americans are such suckers for), she now eats things like "a salad topped with sliced roast chicken, bacon, blue cheese & slices of hard boiled egg" (but not bread) and "a grass-fed beef burger with a beet, basil, Persian cucumber and tomato salad dressed in a creamy olive oil, lime & yogurt sauce."
Not one to miss the chance to keep her finances fit for life - plus fund all the plastic surgery & spa treatments & personal-training sessions required to look as amazing as she obviously does on the cusp of 70 - she recognized the limitless profit potential of the growing market of "older" folks. And promptly pounced, penning Young for Life: The No-Diet, No-Sweat Plan to Look & Feel 10 Years Younger.
This is why info is power, especially when it comes to diet & nutrition (like the harmful myth that the saturated fats & animal fats we ate for so long are suddenly dangerous to your health) and just another reason I love WW so much.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Our modern arrogance about how much we know (which, the more I "know" the more I think is not much at all) borders on the surprising to me, often kind of shocking. Start to delve into so many of the "truths" we grip onto for dear life now and come to find out what they're usually based on some unsavory combination of money, politics or career ambitions - or all three.
Like this idea that eating animal fats causes heart disease.
For pretty much as long as we've technically been considered "human", our diets have included two types of fats in varying degrees:
The "thing" about fats that are saturated &/or from animals is that they are not toxic to the body when eaten even in high quantities and do really well when heated up for cooking. However, the "heart healthy" fatty acids that are polyunsaturated (PUFA), yes the veggie oils that supplanted traditional saturated fats have a couple of key properties worth knowing about:
- fat that is "saturated" (just a way of describing a particular molecular structure) from either animal sources (like whale blubber eaten by the Inuit) or coconut (various Pacific Islanders & in astonishing quantities: 50% of total calories)
- fat from animals - like cattle (the Masai eat the meat, milk & blood) or from fish like cod livers preserved via fermentation (Scandinavians)
(That being said, olive oil isn't a fabulously nutritious oil, but it's certainly not tricky & potentially dangerous like the PUFA oils are.)
- - they are extremely delicate (like hand-blown glass ornaments) and if they spend too much time in your blood stream without being attached to enough antioxidants, they start to "break" like glass ornaments, which is more correctly called "oxidizing"
- - PUFAs oxidize at high heat, all of them pretty much: canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, etc. - the usual suspects adorned with that "heart healthy" symbol
- - most of the veggie oils sitting on grocery store shelves have been exposed to too much light and air & as a result, before they even arrive at the store are already rancid...and eating rancid, highly-oxidizing oils is like buying an Express ticket for internal inflammation
- - PUFAs are linked in clinical trials to increases in heart disease & cancer
But the American Heart Association promotes these PUFA oils - and enthusiastically. Well, if you follow the Benjamins, it won't surprise you to know that politics & career ambitions were involved. In 1957, the AHA was not buying the "healthy veggie oils" argument at all. But in 1961, they suddenly did.
Of course not.
- In a four year period, did the available scientific data change?
- After so much time, did sat-fat suddenly become dangerous overnight?
What happened was that the composition of the AHA Board changed. One of the new members was a scientist named Ancel Keys who had staked his burgeoning research career on being a renegade and promoting his hypothesis that eating animal fats led to heart disease via torturing the statistical data. His weapon of choice? A cherry-picked data set called the Seven Countries Study. After the politically-savvy Ancel Keys joined the AHA, suddenly animal fats were bad & veggie oils were in.
As an aside, when I read that Keys was at the University of Minnesota, I did a bit of digging & discovered this interesting factoid: one of the largest financial contributors to the U of M has long been none other than Cargill, which specializes, in, you guessed it, grain...as in "heart healthy" corn, soybean, safflower & canola. Trading it. Purchasing it. Distributing it. If Cargill were public, it would rank around #13 on the Fortune 500 list, so obviously profiting heavily from it as well.
But don't believe me. When it comes to your health, it's worth taking the time to find out for yourself what's truth & what's spin. Why not start with looking into whether you should or shouldn't be eating more saturated fat? I know that for me, accepting the party line as is is simply too dangerous for my heath.
Sunday, August 05, 2012
The hubs & I were invited to a lovely garden party/potluck in the nabe yesterday afternoon and in the 100 degree heat, it was beyond delightful to hang out in the cool of an old tree & spend time with your neighbors. IRL. As in chatting & noshing. No one was on their phone or crackberry. Everybody brought something to eat. The hubs made a large bowl of fresh guacamole & picked up some organic tortilla chips at Whole Foods.
I was hungrier than I realized & ended up pretty much using every last one of my WP. I haven't done that in a long while & I made some really good choices & some not-terrible choices, but you know how processed treats can add up & fast. When I counted everything up after I got home in the late afternoon, my total PP+ for the day were 65.
Which is a mega-whopper of a PP+ day for me. But you know what? I felt awesome afterward. Around 7pm, I was still feeling pretty stuffed so I decided to take Puppyboo for a 3+ mile walk. And honestly, it was the best walk energy-wise I've had in a while. Lately, by early evening my energy simply crashes & when I take Cassandra for a even a short walk of around a mile after dinner, when you're as tired as I normally feel, even a mile can feel like a marathon.
However, last night felt great. Fabulous. Amazing. Wonderful. Joyful. I had energy to spare & when we got home 3+ miles later, I probably could have walked another couple of miles. Which made me wonder if I've actually been eating enough lately. If not, that would explain why, come evening, my energy has been so depressingly low.
I got up this morning and still felt great. Took Puppy for a 2-miler and then cranked out one of my harder cardio-interval workouts which, of late, I can usually motor through, but I can't say I've been exactly brimming with vim & vigor.
Like I was this morning.
I'm going to think more about the amounts I've been eating to see if I need to tweak. I'm still at 26DP until I get squarely back at the bottom of my maintenance range (between 109# & 110#), and I have to be honest - there were a few days here & there the last couple of weeks where I didn't use all my dailies. I simply wasn't hungry and didn't feel like forcing down that missing 1 or 2 PP+. But my excellent surge in post-feast energy yesterday & carrying over to this morning has me rethinking that a bit, for sure.
As today is Sunday, a day I usually always take off from weight training, I didn't need to worry about a post-workout meal. It was about 10am by this time and I still hadn't eaten anything since about 5:30 or 6 the evening before. And that's actually okay. That's the way your body is supposed to work. After you feast, you can go up to 24 hours with nary another bite & not do anything bad to your metabolism. (I really doubt our hunting/gathering ancestors had 3 square meals + scheduled snacks each & every day.) In fact, at about the 16 hour mark after not eating, your body really switches into fat-burning mode so I figured that - on top of my morning walk & cardio - would all help to "work off" a goodly portion of my 65 PP+ afternoon feast.
It's not really "thrown" me today - I'm back to my WW-bidnez-as-usual state of affairs, except for waiting until closer to 4 or 5 pm to eat my first meal.
Why until 5pm?
Because that is the fastest way for me to get back to my normal WW routine. I generally eat dinner early and then I don't eat again until the next day until at least 9:30 am, when I combine a post-workout meal with my first meal of the day. I try and go a good 16 hours everyday without eating in order to give myself the health benefits of intermittent fasting. I also like the control it gives me over my appetite. Always responding to "you're hungry, eat something!" food cues makes me feel like I'm a slave to food, rather than it being there to service my needs (that whole *live to eat* vs. *eat to live* thing).
My weight loss
Saturday, August 04, 2012
Regardless of how much weight we've lost or still have to lose, the one thing I think all of us can agree on as WWs is that we're looking to get slim (however you define it) and stay that way. Sustainably.
And reading about this recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine cheered my inner WW right up. Apparently:
- cutting down on how much time you spend in front of the TV or at your computer (ie. moving more) +
- eating more fruits and especially veggies (hello, GHGs!) =
- work together to cut back significantly on the amount of junk food eaten for longer periods
The researchers were trying to think of a really effective way to change two of the most egregious habits we have: being way too sedentary and instead of eating plentiful plantlife, munching down on processed- & refined-sugary high-fat stuff. And since staring at screens & noshing mindlessly go together, the study was designed to address both at the same time in a way that seemed do'able.
- In other words: 1 + 2 = more than 3!
Very do'able, apparently.
After the 204 people were no longer being compensated for participating, 86% reported that they were continuing to try & maintain these changes by moving around more & eating better. "We thought they'd do it while we were paying them, but the minute we stopped they'd go back to their bad habits," notes the pleasantly-surprised lead researcher. "But they continued to maintain a large improvement in their health behaviors. We found people can make very large changes in a very short amount of time and maintain them pretty darn well. It's a lot more feasible than we thought. There was something about increasing fruits and vegetables that made them feel like they were capable of any of these changes. It really enhanced their confidence. Just making two lifestyle changes has a big overall effect and people don't get overwhelmed."
Wow. If ever there was an added incentive to get those 8 servings in each day of mostly veggies & some fruit plus earn some APs, this would be it.
What two small changes did you adopt after you started WW that you're amazed brought about great & lasting change for the better?
My weight loss
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
It's August 1st. How did this happen? Why can't time feel infinite and endless the way it did in childhood?
Now that the calender has announced we're well into the second half of the year, it means another New Year's Eve & annual round of New Year's resolutions will be upon us before we can say "surviving holiday parties, turkey feasts and, of course, the dreaded fam...& staying OP".
So why don't we all make a pact to arrive at this upcoming NYE in style, having followed through on at least one of our most important resolutions? I actually revisited this topic earlier this year, at the end of April & it was fun to read everyone's comments about whether they even made resolutions & if so, how they were coming along with the follow thru.
I know one resolution I won't have bothering me: lose the weight. 'Cuz I did! And maybe that's my new non-resolution Resolution: not to ever have that other WL resolution hanging over my head again. Ever.
Where do you stand on WW-related New Year's resolutions? Do you make them? If you do, how are you doing with them this year?
My weight loss
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
When your WLJ is going well, it tends to flow really really well, no? I love-love-love those weeks. But there is a downside to them in that they make WL seem so easy that it can be easy to forget that succeeding as a WW involves change - permanent & in large quantities - which can tough. It's something to bear in mind when the WL goin' gets rugged. Especially when you don't really expect a rough patch but suddenly find yourself facing down ghosts of old bad habits that messed up your WW WLJ the first (several) times you tried.
I'm so focused each day on ticking off my GHGs, tracking my food, earning my APs ('cuz I live for ticking stuff off a list), fulfilling my daily mini-goals that I forget sometimes to simply give myself a pat on the back just for trying so consistently to be such an upstanding WW citizen.
Plus, in terms of staying with WW for the long-haul - which in my case is for good - it does pay to remind myself every once in a while that there will be days when a workout just ain't happening. Like yesterday. I've been fighting off some kind of weird bug the last few days and it pounced full-force just in time to derail my Monday morning. I got my daily couple-mile brisk walk in with Puppyboo and then had to collapse back into bed & lived pretty much on homemade broth I made the rest of the day. And honestly, my old habit of yelling at myself kicked in before I had time to think about it. "You're skipping your scheduled workout, you lazy a.ss," yelled the Bad Ghost. "I'm a loser. I suck," I immediately agreed. But then I heard my self-talk and recognized this perfectionist thinking that is the downfall of WWs everywhere in its clever disguise and kicked that nasty ghost to the curb.
And patted myself for even attempting to walk in the morning and then again in the evening. "Recognize that you need to expect lapses where you don't have time to work out," agrees the PhD/psychologist author of *A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness* in this piece I was reading on Shape.com. "Be proud of what you're doing and look at how far you've come."
So I did just that.
I went into the bathroom and looked at my abs. Which, now that I'm entering my 10th week on The 28 Day Challenge Workout, are looking pretty ab-fab if I do say so myself. (When the week ends, ima take my measurements & snap my "after" pic & post about it next week.)
My abs cheered me right up. :)
"Reward yourself with non-food treats that motivate you," she continues.
And you...why not share an example of non-food stuff that's helping keeping you motivated as a WW lately?
My weight loss
Monday, July 30, 2012
"I was so good today & was OP all day."
"I ate some ice cream. Plus chocolate cake. I was so bad all weekend."
"I had a bunch of wine - I totally cheated."
"I ate the dessert I swore I wouldn't. I totally failed."
"I promised I'd stop eating gluten & dairy & can't stop misbehaving."
"I'm like addicted to sugar. What a disaster I am."
How many times in all of our WLJs have we said something like this to ourselves. Repeatedly, right?. And this kind of poisonous self-talk makes whatever generated the negative self-talk to begin with do double damage: to self worth as well. "Your value as a person has nothing to do with ice cream or broccoli," points out this interesting piece I was reading on The Whole 9. "Linking your food choices with your self-worth is damaging and destructive. You are worth more than the food you put on your plate."
So true. So why, then, when we don't eat as pristinely as we were hoping do we turn a food choice into an opportunity for self abuse? I wish I knew the answer, but I know that the longer I'm at Lifetime and the more practice I have with being in control of what I eat & drink - rather than the other way round - the more I'm getting better at separating my self image from what I chose to eat.
The operative word being *chose*, a neutral verb instead of a loaded adjective - like "bad" or "failure".
Maybe the choice wasn't the best one in terms of nutrition and wellness, but one choice doesn't a failure or worthless person make. Rather, The Whole 9 gang suggests adjusting the language used when it comes to food choices:
"Imagine," they continue, "that your food is just food and that your choices are just choices - good, bad, those words describe your decisions, not you. Imagine how freeing that would be?"
- Instead of "I cheated", try "I made X choice."
- I didn't "fail", I chose X.
- Rather than feeling guilty, I know there will be consequences (at the scale) but I will choose differently at my very next snack or meal.
- My choices with food are choices. I made a bad choice, but it doesn't mean I'm a bad person. In fact, I'm an excellent human being because I still put it in my Tracker and vowed to redouble my efforts to make food choices that are more health-promoting.
What ways have you noticed your own self-talk changing with regards to food? What are some of the key words and phrases in your new food vocabulary?
My weight loss
Sunday, July 29, 2012
...then it must be what they ate, obviously.
Check out this interesting study by a team from NYC's Hunter College, U of Arizona & Stanford that studied a traditional tribe of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, the Hadza, where it's all in a day's work to trek long distances across their native open-savannah to forage for wild plants & hunt game. Which you would expect to add up to a ton of calories burned each day, right? Get this: after analyzing the average number of calories they expend every day, it turned up something super surprising (to me, at least): the daily calorie expenditure of the Hadza is indistinguishable from that of Westerners.
That means that exercise doesn't explain why the hunter-gatherers are thin & the majority of Westerners aren't. So the difference must come down to one main thing: food. The foods eaten traditionally by hunter-gatherers were grown in the ground, grazed upon it, or swimming next to it - and they all have something key in common: these food sources are made up of living cells which are protected by walls of fiber and which can only store a limited amount of amount of calories in the form of carbohydrate.
The cellular-carb calories are then accessed by our bodies this way:
Unlike cellular carbs, foods made from processed grains like flour (especially from wheat), sugar and anything made from plant-starch such as french fries creates a class of refined, acellular carbs which contain a zillion more calories than their cellular counterparts. I repeat: unit for unit, acellular wheat flours, sugars & processed plant-starches contain like a gazillion more calories than their cellular counterparts.
- Cooking: When we cook cell-containing foods, the heat from cooking breaks the cells apart & separates them.
- Digestion: After we eat these cellular carbs, the digestive process then breaks down the cell walls & accesses the energy (the calories) within.
"The consumption of acellular flour and sugar-based foods is thus suggested to have a higher carbohydrate concentration than almost anything the microbiota of the upper GI tract [your digestion] from mouth to small bowel would have encountered during our evolution," write the researchers who figured this cellular-carb thing out. "This may stimulate differing bacterial species to prosper or be outcompeted...and the effects of these enhanced carbohydrate concentrations will include a more inflammatory GI microbiota, initially causing leptin resistance, hence the greatly elevated leptin levels seen in Western populations when compared to those eating a wholly cellular diet."
In other words, eating a lot of processed starch-stuff, goodies containing wheat flour & sugar actually attack the healthy gut bacteria & leave a trail of inflammation in their wake. So taking probiotics and consuming fermented stuff (like raw-unpasteurized sauerkraut & kombucha) are great for WL; and now, scientists have really started to hone in on why eating food that's "real" is the right thing to do both for WL & health.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I made my own sauerkraut for the first time last week & had fun with dinner yesterday enjoying the briny yumminess of my efforts. Score! There are actually two really great reasons to eat raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut - or anything fermented veggie-wise, for that matter - every day:
The reason raw is better than pasteurized is that when the typical store-bought stuff is pasteurized, the heating process kills off many of the very bugs you want in it. So I decided to try making my own. I found this recipe/method on SCDLifestyle.com, a site devoted to using nutrition to heal your gut. They took pix of the various steps along the way, so I figured they wouldn't mind if I "borrowed" theirs to show you.
- eating a few tablespoons 15 minutes before your meal really helps improve your stomach acid levels, which means you're extracting maximum nutrients from whatever you eat
- the probiotics: the act of fermenting veggies in brine creates a gazillion good bugs which are the key to digestive & gut health
- a head of cabbage, sea salt & purified water
- a knife or food processor
- a glass bowl or ceramic crock
- another plate & something to use as a weight
- a tea towel (to cover it from flies & the like when it's fermenting)
Your goal is to get all the cabbage submerged under the liquid - if by the end of the day, it's still not totally submerged, you can always add some brine to help things along. NOTE: Don't just add tap water; add salt to the water first so it basically is like cloudy seawater & then add that to the sauerkraut, cover it & let it do its thing.
- Chop or food-process the cabbage into sauerkraut-sized ribbons.
- Pack a layer against the bottom of the bowl or crock & sprinkle with a bunch of salt and any seasonings that sound good - I used caraway seeds for my first batch.
- Add another layer of shredded cabbage on top of the first layer, salt & season & press down hard so you really pack it in. The act of packing it in + the salt pulls the natural juices from the cabbage which creates the brine in which it will ferment, changing from cabbage into sauerkraut.
- Keep layering in the cabbage, salting & seasoning & packing it down.
- When all the cabbage is layered & packed in, cover it with a bowl which you then weight down (I used a sun-tea jar filled with water).
- Cover with the tea-towel & leave in a non-busy corner of the kitchen to let the salt do its work pulling the juice out of the cabbage and creating the brine.
- After a few hours, check on your creation & push down on the weighted plate to further pack in the sauerkraut.
Check on it the next day to make sure everything's submerged under the liquid & if need be, press down a bit on the weighted-plate. Then leave to ferment for about 7 days. At the week mark, if you like the taste, pack your sauerkraut into a glass jar & add some brine. If you refrigerate it, it won't continue to ferment so if your kitchen isn't too hot, you could just store it at room temp in the cupboard. Pour any remaining brine into another jar & stick it in the fridge so that it's ready to go when you make your next batch.
Remember, have a few spoonfuls about 15 minutes before you eat to really help your stomach acid do its thang.
Oh, before I forget - a REALLY great resource for anything & everything to do with fermenting stuff is this guy Sandor Katz who wrote the book Wild Fermentation. He has a bunch of vids on YouTube that are fun & show how easy it is to ferment whatever your lil' heart desires!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, as Lao-tzu so famously remarked and - I would add for the times in which we live - is propelled along on daily goals that are bite-sized.
And when you're at goal weight, you no longer have the carrot of a loss that week to keep you motivated, so I've found it doubly important to invent my own mini-goals in order to avoid becoming complacent on my WLJ.
For instance, this week, my WW mini-goals are:
I list these in the "notes" section of my eTracker so as soon as I pull my Tracker up in the morning, bam, there they are to remind me & help keep me on-point and focused on my WLJ. Sometimes it's just easier if you have a small to-do list of various activities; that way, you can kind of ignore how overwhelming the big picture feels and focus instead on do'able stuff for that day only.
- workout every day for 30-40 minutes, alternating weight-training with cardio-interval days (personally I do better when I don't take too many days off as they sort of interrupt my rhythm)
- spend at least 15-30 minutes daily by myself, either meditating, doing fun reading or just chilaxing & livin' large
- eat something containing a probiotic every day - such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi &/or dill pickles - as well as a daily teaspoon of cod liver oil
- eat a cold-water (fatty) fish like salmon, tuna or herring at least 4 times this week
- walk at least 4 miles (10,000 steps) each & every day without fail
But day after day, completing those small goals certainly starts to add up to something much more dramatic, permanent & bigger (or, in this case, skinnier). Think about it: whatever you start today & do your best to follow through with, come this same date next year, won't you be glad you did!
What are some of your daily mini-goals that help keep you motivated to stay OP?
My weight loss
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I've been reading a spate of blogs here in our lil' WW online community of late having to do with "renewing" one's dedication to staying OP and living the WW way of life with more gusto. Which made me start wondering about where that fork in the road occurs when we meander off the path of being an alert & dedicated WW and start to drift back to pre-WW ways of eating.
I think it has to do with staying awake vs. just going through the motions. Negotiating that edge where you are paying attention to what you're doing and rather than just being on autopilot, you're fully dialed-in & engaged and making an effort - just like those first heady honeymoon days as a WW newbie.
The analogy for me that jumped to mind immediately is from my days living in L.A. when, as your typical Angeleno, I basically lived in my car. I'd be zooming down a highway and would suddenly find myself snapping out of some kind of a trance and wondering what happened to the last 10, 20 or 30 miles. I remember being mystified and then unnerved by how I could be conscious but so definitely not awake.
"Wakefulness is a state of the brain in which it is able to receive input from the external environment and from the self, the internal environment," opines one learned professor of neurology in Psychology Today. about the difference between being conscious and being awake. "It's wakefulness plus content."
Wakefulness + content...I see.
That key difference struck me as vital for a WW wanting to stay this WL course for good: staying awake so as to remain open to new information that will help us, be it about our food choices and what we need at any given moment to stay OP in a way that isn't such a struggle. Information is power, but according to our smartypants prof, if we want to use it to our advantage, we can't just be conscious, we have to be fully awake.
And probably the best tool we all have for remaining wakeful WWs is that trusty tracker. After all, if you really make the effort to record whatever you're eating & drinking, it's kind of hard to be unconscious about it - which I think is where much of the trouble lies.
The point at which we turn back into conscious but asleep Food Zombies.
So lemme ask you: What tips do you have for the rest of us about how you stay motivated to keep your tracker accurate & up-to-date each & every day?
My weight loss
Monday, July 23, 2012
It's always interesting to ask a WW: Do you regularly eat your WPs? If so, how many & on what?
I tend to treat mine a bit like a bank account set aside to cover DP overages or to fund the occasional treat. Meaning: I normally plan to eat just my DPs, but if the dinner I make dips into my WPs by a few, no probs, but if I don't spend them, that's good too.
These days, my DPs pretty much go solely toward "must-have" nutritious basics:
By the time I've had all those plus two hearty meals, I'm at my DP limit & if I want something additional - like my beloved Starbucks Skinny Mochas - it comes exclusively out of my WPs. Somehow though, for me, structuring my eating this way makes me really decide whether I want to spend the PP+ on a treat; this is just the opposite of when I first joined WW & would spend PP+ on treats from my DP allotment. I was a lot more free & easy about spending them which then seemed to leave me with none to spare when I really needed them.
- GHGs & Power Foods first & foremost, plus additionals including...
- Brewer's Yeast (crucial B Vitamins);
- butter or ghee from a pastured, grass-fed source (Vitamin K)
- Nori & other sea veggies (iodine);
- eggs from pastured chickens (the B vitamin choline + natural cholesterol)
- fresh raw milk from my neighbor the goat farmer, kefir & kombucha (for probiotics);
- a daily tsp. of cod liver oil (Vitamins A, D & completely bioavailable omega 3 fatty acids to feed my peabrain).
And you? How do you feel about your WPs & what do you spend them on?
Sunday, July 22, 2012
That's how it felt this morning when I stepped on the scale & was rewarded with a hearty "you're back in Goal range!"
That 2.4# I gained through stoopid-eating when I was moving was finally moved...off my scale, thankyouverymuch.
Now that I'm back at 112.6# means I'm once again inside the perimeter of My Happy Weightland (I'm 5'4"). However, I'm still at the upper end of my range - my comfortable place is between 110# & 111# (the bottom of my range is 109#) - so I still plan to stay at 26 DPs until I hit 111# or less. Now I can dial my WL back from a military operation and back to more of a long-term occupying force situation. :)
It really helped that this week went pretty smoothly for me with no real out-of-control cravings to contend with or Diet Demons to do battle with...although, when my WLJ is at Defcon 1 the way it has been lately, all I have to say to you Diet Demons is: "Really?! Pshaw. Bring it!"
For me at Lifetime, my biggest sort of ongoing low-level fear is, obviously, gaining the weight back. I've only got 2 years under my belt and from what I've read, it's about this length of time that your body still kind of fights to get you back to a higher weight it's more comfortable with, usually located at wherever your last plateau occurred. However, after about 2 years, if you stay vigilant and don't slack too much, from what I understand, your body will kind of adjust to your new, much-lower weight & not constantly create lizard-brain urges to eat which, if ignored, can easily escalate into full-on binges.
The tweaks to my WLJ I've been making lately have involved really being dedicated about getting my 10,000 steps daily in which are non-negotiable for solid long-term health. That correlates roughly with about 4 miles of walking per day - minimum - forever. Evah & evah. So it may as well become a fun activity. Which I do enjoy most of the time. Puppy's certainly happy because she gets at least two 2-miles walks each & every day, one first thing in the morning and one in the evening after she & her Puppymama have been fed.
The other area I've been focused a lot of mental attention on is finding out more about how to stave off binges & out-of-control eating. It seems that the main reason this occurs is when your brain perceives it's not getting the nutrition it seeks, so it sends your various hormones into overdrive to get you to keep eating & eating (& eating) until you either give it what it wants - or you're physically too full to eat any more. And even if you eat only minimal amounts of processed foods & a lot of organic stuff, our soils have been so depleted at this point that even the fanciest organic produce has significantly lower nutrition than the same items harvested 40 or 50 years ago.
Which is one good reason to at least make sure you supplement a bit (one of the WW GHGs is a daily multivitamin) plus there's another factor I recently read about. If you don't have enough stomach acid, you can't really break down the foods you eat properly & extract all the nutrition within. How to know if your stomach acid levels are too low? Based on how you feel after you eat. A lot of people think they don't do well eating meat when really, they lack enough stomach acid to process it. Ditto really fibrous veggies & certain fruits.
So I added the digestive supplement Betaine HCL to my life & have to say, I've seen a definite drop in my appetite.
Betaine is readily available at any health food store - just make sure to buy a formula containing pepsin. The way to find out how much you need is to take the recommended dosage about 10-15 minutes before you eat a meal containing protein. After eating, see if you feel any different. If not, the next time you have a meal, take another pill & see how you feel. Keep upping the number of pills until you start to feel your stomach is pretty "warm" after you eat. Then you know to go back one betaine pill & that's the correct dose for the correct level of stomach acid for you.
My weight loss
Saturday, July 21, 2012
This interesting piece on Shape.com I found summarized all key eight WL hormones you always hear talk of, but what I really liked is they put everything in one place for a change & provided a handy, sound-bite shortcut as to what activates each one - all of which I thought was incredibly helpful.
- GHRELIN Where: Released by the stomach. Function: Tells you "You're hungry. Eat!" Working with it: When you cut calories, your stomach gets the message to make more ghrelin and the levels remain higher for another 12 months. The best way to beat down the extra ghrelin is, you guessed it, intense exercise.
- LEPTIN Where: Released by your fat cells. Function: Tell you to eat less & use body fat for fuel instead. Working with it: Losing weight, eating colorful veggies (leafy greens & bright reds) and antioxidant-rich berries, and getting enough sleep - these 3 work together to make the leptin sent out from your fat cells to your brain work as effectively as possible.
- ADIPONECTIN Where: Released by your fat cells. Function: Increase the rate at which your body breaks down body fat, curbs the appetite, makes your muscles better able to burn up the carbs you eat for fuel & boosts your metabolism. Working with it: The leaner you are, the more of this hormone gets released; also, being more active throughout the day plus eating fewer refined sugars & carbs & instead eating more monounsaturated fats (fats that remain solid at room temp, like avocados, olives, butter).
- INSULIN Function: Keep your blood sugar levels stable by telling your body when to use the carbs you just ate as fuel and when to burn stored fat for fuel. Working with it: Eat less refined sugars, combinations of high fat & high refined-carbs, and mostly eat combinations of protein + non-refined carbs + some fat (so if you're going for a fruit plate, add in some nuts or maybe a gourmet full-fat cheese). Regular exercise also makes your muscles better able to utilize insulin when it gets produced.
- GLUCAGON Function: Insulin's equal-but-opposite. Where insulin stores excess carbs & any fats you've eaten, glucagon instead is responsible for using them & getting them released so they can be transformed into energy. Working with it: Eat meals that have a lot of protein and fiber-rich, unprocessed carbs (ie. veggies, not whole-grain breads, pastas or starches).
- CCK (short for cholecystokinin) Where: From the cells that line your gut (your intestine). Function: Whenever you eat protein or fat, it does two things: (1) talk to your stomach to slow down how fast the protein &/or fat is being digested; (2) communicate with your nervous system to "flip" your satiety switch. Working with it: At every meal, be sure to include a little of both protein & fat - doing this lets CCK make you feel fuller for longer.
- EPINEPHRINE Function: This is the fight-or-flight hormone. It operates on your fat stores, releasing them so they can be burned for energy. Working with it: Exercise, especially interval-training, is the best way to turn on epinephrine release. Once it's released, it will not only direct body fat to get burned off, but help suppress your appetite as well.
- GROWTH HORMONE Function: Break down fat to burn it for energy. Working with it: Intense exercise & sleep both increase the amount that gets made. Note: Eating fructose 2 hours before or 2 hours after you work out will shut this down, so the best way to maximize it is to skip the energy drinks or fruit during this particular 4 hour window. Your reward is that letting growth hormone do is akin to turning on your very own Fountain of Youth.
My weight loss
Friday, July 20, 2012
When I first got up this morning & was making my daily espresso, I looked out at the gray, moody sky and watched a rapid succession of fat, messy raindrops tap & splash against the window.
"Ugh. Ugh-ugh-ugh. I so don't feel like walkin' in this."
"Woof," disagreed Puppyboo, happily wagging her fluffy tail excitedly 'cuz she & I walk every morning (you know how dogs love routines, plus she comes equipped with built-in raingear).
I contemplated how creaky and stiff I was feeling in my lower back area. I'm like some kind of old-timey farmer who can predict changes in the weather based on whether his knee is complaining, except in my case, it's my lumbar-region on the left-hand side. But as the caffeine kicked in, I threw on a rain-thingy anyway, laced up my sneakers, leashed up Her Royal Spoiledness and stepped out.
Just like we do every morning.
Which got me thinking about routines and how powerful they can be. Wishes without actions remain on your wishlist. Add in action, consistently & persistently, and they becomes goals. Which you can attain. And do.
It generally takes something big to spark you to action; in my case, I doubt I'll really ever forget how completely miserable I felt about myself & my body the night I signed up for WW online. And when I have setback-weeks at the scale, all I have to do is dredge up how I felt that night & compare it with how great I feel now & how much I like what I see in the mirror (and in my skinny jeans) - and that generally eliminates "forget WW" as an option.
But that awful WW-signup feeling would have remained just another of many failed diet attempts for me if I hadn't backed up my intense desire to change with actions. And the actions themselves aren't very glamorous or amazing
...but collectively and repeated day in & day out, they certainly add up to something tremendous: lasting change
- keeping track of what I eat
- controlling my portions & intake (my WW food scale is an automatic part of my kitchen life)
- checking off the GHGs
- saying "no thanks" over and over again when what I'd really love to do is say "I'll have seconds, please"
- walking Cassandra in the sun, rain, sleet & cold to earn those APs (not to mention Puppyboo happiness)
- regular weight-bearing exercise 3-4 times a week
Routines are powerful stuff as going off them has proven to me. When my daily routine gets disrupted by something major - like moving or going on vacation - tell me it ain't a total beatch to hop right back where you left off. You think you'll be able to, but it usually takes at least a few days, weeks even, sometimes. But once you're back in your routine, your groove, staying OP without as much muss & fuss does seem to follow in a pleasant & organic way. Which is the way I like it.
Although at this point on my WLJ I've gotten the food part mostly nailed down (occasional brushes with the dreaded Diet Demons aside), it's the exercise part where routine has really helped me stay on track. And lately, it's something really small - but in a way, not - that helps me make working out just another routine part of my day. It's how I feel when I step into my post-workout shower: fit, accomplished, disciplined and really, really good. And so when I think about skipping a weights or cardio workout, I think about how I'll feel in the shower afterwards and bam, my mojo tends to comply.
And you...what was the spark that jolted you onto the path of WL and what routines have you put in place to keep you there?
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The speed at which the Diet Demons can come out of nowhere to try and derail my WLJ sometimes takes my breath away. As I find myself tucking into really pointy, not very nourishing stuff (trail mix is one of my worst trigger foods), it inevitably leads to at least a few more days of sugar cravings & other point-unfriendly obsessing. The small but sane portion of my brain watching this food nonsense unfold shakes its lil' head sadly.
So what to do?
The more I read, the more it's clear that while it may feel like the Demons pop up randomly, it's probably actually related to something well within my control: nutrition. The brain seems to respond the same way to both hard drugs like cocaine and sugar in terms of the way it lights up the reward centers that create that feeling of intense oooooohhhhhh.........aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Diet hyperbole aside, this does make sense to me from personal experience. When my life is in upheaval or I'm feeling particularly stressed out or overwrought, the food ghosts of my pre-WW days come back to encourage me to go back to my old ways of coping with anything uncomfortable: sugary, high-fat treats. If I make the mistake of telling myself "c'mon, you have the PP+ & can indulge in a gooey treat *in moderation*," what follows is anything but moderate.
Eating sugary, high-fat treats seems to clear off a reward-path somewhere in my brain that already exists but w/ lack of use becomes overgrown. But one measly trip down that overgrown path - ie. by eating even one serving of something sugary & baked, even homebaked (think brownies or fruit crumble) - seems to instantly transform that overgrown dirt road into a paved super-highway. This super-highway of desire for trigger foods then takes me quite the act of willpower & "diet mentality" (which I don't really enjoy, truth be told) to close down again. And even when it's demoted, it then seems to take weeks and months to grow over again.
Simply from one trip down that path in my brain.
This correlation between actual drugs & pseudo drugs like sugar made me wonder if there was a nutritional component. And apparently, there is. Julia Ross, author of The Diet Cure, found in her clinical practice of helping people kick the drug habit, when her team supplemented treatment with micronutrients, vitamins & minerals, compliance soared and the falling-off-the-wagon rate plummeted.
In addition to eating foods grown in the ground, grazed on it, or living in the water (sea-veggies & fishes), it's worth supplementing a bit. Our soils are now so depleted today & the waters so polluted, that a bit of additional supplementation is usually recommended to stay nourished & help keep those Diet Demons dormant:
- magnesium - key!
- Vitamins A, D, E, K, C, & B (I remember them w/this pneumonic: "A DEK of CarBs)
- iodine from sea creatures & sea veggies (like the seaweed nori that sushi is wrapped in) & K from pastured, grass fed butter
- beef liver & other organ meats 1-2 times/week
- leafy greens
- fatty fish 3-4 times/week (salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.)
- traditional bone broth (I make it in my Crock Pot)
- Brewer's yeast - for B vitamins (and since the main Bs that your body can assimilate are only found in animal products, vegetarians & especially vegans need to get B-12 shots)
- cod liver oil - from a quality source like Carlson's or Green Pastures that doesn't add in Frankennutrients - for vitamins A & D in the right ratio
- eggs - especially ones that are "pastured" - the yolks contain choline, a B vitamin that helps keep you skinny (a lack of choline is strongly correlated w/obesity)
- fermented foods - kefir & sauerkraut & kombucha for vital probiotics that reduce inflammation & heal the digestive tract
- Chia Seeds (a bigtime superfood)
- LIMIT/AVOID: veggie oils (especially refined by-product ones like soybean oil) & too many nuts & chicken/fish - any/all these have a ratio of Omega 6s to 3s that is way too high - a situation which leads to internal inflammation (which is really fattening)
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I know the PP+ count is low enough on Egg Beaters to make them seem attractive, but then I came across this pic which stopped my in my tracks. The rat on the left was fed pastured eggs - this study was from the mid-1970s when Egg Beaters first appeared, meaning chickens were still being raised in more traditional ways completely unlike the giant warehouse-sized commercial chicken-raising operations of today.
The poor lil' thing on the right was fed Egg Beaters & from its scraggly fur to scrawny physique, it's pretty obvious Egg Beaters are not the nutrient-equivalent of the real thing. Not even close. It won't surprise you to know that it - plus all the other rodents in the study that were weaned on Egg Beaters - developed diarrhea within a week and died within a month.
Although the results of this study were dramatic enough to save thousands of babies from being raised on Egg Beaters, this "food" product is still served routinely in nursing homes. Which is awful & this is why: The yolk of a real egg is loaded with the vital B-vitamin choline (a lack of which has been found to correlate with obesity) plus natural dietary cholesterol which is what the brain uses as a building block for creating new memories and saving old ones, in other words: brain health. And when it comes to brain health, anyone who is aging needs all the nutritional support they can get.
So what do Egg Beaters contain eggs-actly? From the nutrition label:
Me, I'll always take the PP+ "hit" for the real thing, especially from a pastured source as the nutrient profile is far superior to the commercial product. Not only does an actual (pastured) egg support my health, but all organic/hippie-dippie'ness aside, as a WW it has the one key thing I look for in foods: it makes me feel satiated when I eat it and full for much longer afterward.
- Egg Whites, Natural Flavor & Natural Color (whatever that means), Spices (again, a typical hiding place on food labels for all sortsa stuff that we probably shouldn't be consuming), Salt (just what we all need more of added to our food), Onion Powder, Vegetable Gums (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Maltodextrin (*sigh*), various added Vitamins & Minerals
Monday, July 16, 2012
Change is a good thing...for other people. For me, I generally love the end results but not so much having to go through the growth spasms that come with leaving the familiar behind to venture forth somewhere unknown.
Like reaching goal and no longer having "you have to lose weight" along to accompany my on my journey through life. I love being at goal, don't get me wrong, but losing that 45 pound millstone, while a total relief, also felt disorienting b/c it had been my constant companion for so very, very long.
And what to fill the resulting vacuum with?
Obviously a lot of successful losers fill it right back up again with weight. For all manner of reasons. Probably mostly to can keep right on procrastinating - about all the dreamy & wonderful things you're sure you'll do when you're finally (back) at goal - and therefore avoid the work of living an awake life. An awake life is amazingly rewarding but it's also hard work, no doubt.
I think one of the Jedi mind-tricks that the 5% who don't gain the weight back have mastered is some version of this: they embrace the journey.
So what does it mean to "embrace the journey"? It sure sounds very enlightened, but what are the mechanics of this embracing exactly? One take on this dilemma I found interesting was an insight by yoga-celeb Eddie Modestini: Find that point where your full attention intersects with the effort you're making and work on staying there. By staying in that zone, it will lead to the growth you want to keep at your WLJ. "There are people who have practiced [yoga] as long as I have [30 years], and their bodies haven't changed because they don't don't how to find and ride the edge," he explains in an interesting article I was reading in a back issue of Spirituality & Health magazine (May/June 2012). The edge, as pertains specifically to asana practice, is any pose where you find yourself trembling to the point where your mind is fully occupied with holding the pose correctly rather than wandering off & making lists or thinking about lunch - and you are still able to breathe. This intersection between attention and effort is where real change occurs; it's that elusive threshold where profound learning takes place.
Attention & effort. The way I translate this notion to my WLJ is:
This idea of creating lasting change, ie. movement, by staying put in one place - where attention & effort intersect - kinda pretzeled up my brain & brought this quote by Franz Kafka to mind:
- Attention: Keep trying each & every day to track 100% & even if I don't, get up and try again the next day. And the next. And the next.Yes, tracking - accurately - is kind of a WW's Job #1.
- Effort: Keeping the right foods available & accessible; cooking & preparing foods that make mealtimes sing; making time daily to earn AP sweat equity & checking off the GHGs - basically anything & everything to minimize any chances for the Diet Demons to strike or the Excuse Monster to "eat my homework" come WI day. And, of course, not letting a bad day or few days completely derail you (that ole' hopping-back-into-the-saddle-again thang).
- You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
My weight loss
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Here in the US, our obesity rate has now surpassed 30% (basically meaning 3 in every 10 people you know) while in Italy, it remains below 10%. And those Italians, they lurve their pasta. Maybe all that dramatic gesticulating they do when they talk burns off more calories than I thought.
So how do they stay so skinny?
I was reading about what actual Italians living in the Mother Country eat and while pasta's frequently on the menu, so are number of other items. Plus a few things are conspicuously missing or only eaten rarely (meaning truly "in moderation").
A typical Italian lunch on a Sunday or at a celebration will include:
But unless it's a special occasion, lunch will not include all these courses. And in both cases, the portions will be appropriate, as in what we here in the US have designated as "kid size" portions.
- a "primo" of soup, rice or pasta
- the "secondo" - meat or fish, veggies (contorno)
- the "dolci" - something sweet...like fruit or cheese & nuts
"In Italy, pasta is never intended to be an entire meal," explains one expert on Tuscan country cooking in this interesting piece on WebMD. "Instead, it's eaten as a small first course." And then there's the skinny-promoting "either/or" - rather than that fattening American "and"... they EITHER precede their pasta plate with an antipasto (salami, olives, thin crostini toasts drizzled lightly with olive oil, some garlic & diced tomatoes) OR they follow the pasta with secondo & those contorno, especially grilled mushrooms &/or asparagus.
It's fresh, seasonal vegetables - not pasta - that comprise the mainstay of Italian food. Here is a day in the food life of a "real" Italian:
Italians also place utmost importance on the quality of their food, are suspicious of food that is imported & prefer to know the source of what they're eating. They spend more than we do on groceries & know how to prepare the stuff they buy: presenting it, making it taste amazing, maximizing nutrition. Americans, however, buy food based on how convenient it is rather than how healthy or fresh it is. (Apparently less than 50% of main meals prepared in US homes last year included even a single fresh product.)
- breakfast: caffeine (espresso or cappucino) w/ something bready like a pastry, slice of toast, petite brioche
- lunch: the main meal - a pasta with EITHER an antipasto OR a meat/fish/veggie dish
- dinner: something lighter - soup & cold cuts OR a small plate of pasta, veggies & maybe a small piece of cheese
- snacks: Italians apparently don't really eat between meals so these are virtually non-existent or maybe limited to an espresso with a piece of fruit
- desserts: generally most meals end with small portions of cheese & nuts OR fruit (peaches, plums, grapes, pears, figs, apricots, cherries). Only on special occasions & holidays do they tuck into a post-meal cake or sweet.
- pizza: not a daily mainstay at all but more of an occasional grab 'n go nosh when you're out and about on a Saturday with friends
- bread: rarely eaten with butter & never served with pasta - tends to accompany fish, salads & stews with the lightest drizzle of olive oil.
"You eat to taste the food & enjoy it - not to get full," explains another expert about Italian eating habits. Americans, on the other hand eat without tasting and then feel too guilty to enjoy what they're eating. Probably because if they stopped to really taste what they're eating, they would be less than enamored with what they discovered.
Rather, people who tend to cook report enjoying their food to a much greater degree. Just like those svelte Italians. "To Italians, preparing the food is as important as eating it, since it's part of the ritual."
Friday, July 13, 2012
This is a little reminder mantra I tend to tell myself when I'm out walking first thing in the morning with Her Royal Spoiledness, Princess Puppyboo.
It's just another interesting benefit of following the WW program and being fully aware of what you're eating. Once you get off of autopilot about what you're putting in your mouth & body, for me, I've found this mindfulness has started creeping (okay, taking over) the rest of my life.
When I take HRH for walk, I often find myself lost in thought, suddenly snapping to & surprised to find myself where I am. What a waste. A waste of savoring the fresh air, enjoying a small respite from the daily email tidalwave and especially being really present during my time with puppyboo. She's so independent the rest of the day and lovey/snuggly/attentive so little, I want to enjoy our time together when we're on the same wavelength. Which tends to happen mostly before our walk; our early am pre-walk ritual is that as soon as I get up & get the espresso maker fired up, I open the front door and peek my head out to tell her good morning. She likes sleeping outside at night, in part 'cuz she's husky/malamute with the mega-coat to go with it and especially 'cuz she's just super-nosy about whatever's going on in the nabe...I'm pretty convinced in a previous life she was one of those busybody old-woman concierges you find a lot of in Paris (speaking of which, if you like amazingly well-written fiction in the vein of Ursula Hegi, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is one of the most amazing books I've read in while.)
Usually she's anticipating me already and intently positioned in the front yard so she can see the front door the second it opens. As soon as I make an appearance, she leaps up, wags her tail wildly & gallops into the house, where we chill on the couch for about 15 minutes. She promptly floops onto her back so I can rub her tummy & she does this weird primal groan/grunt noise which is apparently Puppyspeak for "blissssssssssssssss". I stay on tummy rubbing duty while sipping coffee & reading trashy magazines. 'Tis mahvelous. And then we walk, making her even more happy.
Also, I admire people with great posture. Slouching, I think, is just another way we stay asleep in our bodies.
So in addition to tracking my APs & food, I now try and track my being here in the moment: standing up straight & taking in just whatever's happening right this moment, rather than spending another second lost in my head which is the same as sleeping through my life (which is exactly how I ended up fat in the first place).
My weight loss
Thursday, July 12, 2012
...'bout yours truly:
- I was born in L.A. but raised in Hong Kong.
- I attended a German-speaking school from ages 8-13 and have a good accent, but have forgotten almost everything speakingwise, although I can generally understand someone if they speak to me auf Deutsch.
- I spent a number of years teaching economics to bratty college kids in former Communist countries: Romania (2 years post-Ceaucescu), Latvia & Almaty, Kazakstan.
- I lived in NYC for almost 11 years working in the fashion biz as a stylist & was working NY Fashion Week during 9/11.
- Some of the more interesting destinations I've visited include Tasmania, the Inca Trail, Patagonia, St. Petersburg (Russia), Burma, Samarkand, Tanzania, Nepal & Morocco.
- I love historical non-fiction, especially anything to do with European royalty starting with Eleanor of Aquitaine through the reign of Elizabeth I.
- Guns, Germs & Steel is one of my fave books, ever. However, I have a huge soft spot for the Russian giants (especially Dostoyevsky), I do adore Dickins, think American writers generally are pretty overrated & suck (talkin' to you Cheever et. al, except I'll make 1 exception for Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume which I'm convinced someone else wrote & he got the credit for)
- I used to play polo on horses and even played a New Year's Day game of polo on an elephant at a resort outside of Katmandu. (Oh, Everest, that reminds me: The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a really funny spoof on the mountaineering genre.) Also, some of the short stories in David Sedaris's Naked made me laugh so hard that others riding the NYC subway would approach me to find out what on earth I was reading so they could too.
- I used to play the flute for years. Now, I'm jonesing for piano lessons so I can play Mozart and Chopin.
- I have a weird weakness for images and statues of Buddha. If I had the funds & the space, I would quite happily spend my time & fortune amassing the world's largest & most insane collection of Buddhas & buddha-kitsch.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I love the easy-breeziness of summer. Also, having fewer options in the way of hiding under layers plus showing more skin really helps keep me motivated to stay OP. That being said, if you need to be ready for your close-up (weddings, parties, reunions), it never hurts to have a few fast-acting weapons in your WLJ arsenal.
Here are some of mine:
Also, I know a lot of people have issues with water retention and sodium, so keeping added salt to a minimum is a good idea in the fight against bloat.
- more cardio: if the scale's up or I'm feeling like I look bloat'y, I add in another cardio workout on the days I don't do weights
- more water: it's easy (for me) to become dehydrated when it's hot so water with a splash of lemon added helps me feel more evenkeeled. Plus I remember reading that when you're dehydrated, it's easy to mistake thirst signals for hunger cues, so drinking enough water is a great way to help keep binge'y cravings at bay
- more kombucha & fresh-pressed veggie juice: kombucha is a deliciously fizzy & fermented cold tea-bevvy that contains something like 2 billion healthy probiotics per bottle (I like GT's raw & organic kombuchas - the Gingerade flava especially - that they recently started carrying at my local Albertsons) & is only 2 PP+ per 16oz bottle - it's a great way to sneak in more hydration & especially more probiotics; ditto fresh-pressed veggie juices - I like combinations like kale/celery/beet - again, super-hydrating plus brimming with amazing skin-friendly enzymes & leafy green goodness (if the taste is too strong, ask your veggie-juice maker to add in some lemon)
- more protein: especially cold-water fish with that comes with its own fat - the combination of protein + fat + fiber (so some added veggies) really helps me feel satiated after I eat
- less starch & fruit: things like sweet potatoes and fruit are obviously great for you, but if I'm finding myself dipping more into my WPs than normal, or maybe more food-obsessed than is typical, I find cutting back on starches like sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice & fruit help keep my appetite more in check
What are some of your top tips for staying motivated to stay OP when it's summer and everyone's in vacation mode?
My weight loss
Monday, July 09, 2012
Quick: Why is fish good for you?
Oh, the "omega 3s" you say? Well I already take flax oil for those. So why do I need fish as well?
I was similarly perplexed until I tuned into the Real Food Summit yesterday & learned some interesting stuff about the nutritional bennies of feesh which I never knew. Well, I knew some of them, but sort of in this jumbled way that wasn't particularly helpful. Now I'm definitely a few IQ points smarter, at least when it comes to why it's healthy to eat fish.
Fish contain Omega 3 fatty acids. They:
Unlike Omega 3s, Omega 6s are inflammatory. And while we used to eat a 1:1 or maybe a 2:1 ratio of 6s to 3s, now it's closer to 12:1 or even 25:1. The big problem is that these two omegas compete with each other along vital health pathways, so if you have a huge store of 6s relative to 3s, your body will use the readily available inflammatory ones for rebuilding & functioning; conversely, if you give it a plentiful store of 3s, you're automatically decreasing internal inflammation.
- are anti-inflammatory
- are found in two places: (1) plants; (2) the sea (shellfish & fish)
- were traditionally consumed in about a 1:1 ratio with Omega 6 fatty acids, which are the fatty acids found in typical supermarket veggie oils, most food & snack stuff that comes with a label, most anything served in a chain restaurant, most anything fried - or served - at a fast food joint, and in most any "healthy" protein bars & granola balls, etc.
So obviously the trick is to eat far fewer 6s & way more 3s. But which Omega 3s?
Omega 3s come in 3 types:
EPA and DHA have a longer molecular structure than ALA, making them "long chain" omega 3s. These two long-chain omega 3s are concentrated in the retina of the eye (DHA is vital for visual function), the brain (allowing cells to talk to each other & protect against Alzheimer's), and keep blood vessels & the heart healthy. When we eat EPA & DHA, the body & brain can basically put them right to work building & rebuilding. When we eat ALA, however (ie. from flax oil), what isn't first burned up for energy then needs to be first converted by the body.
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): from plant seeds & flax
- EPA: from fish & shellfish
- DHA: from fish & shellfish
And talk about a miserable conversion rate...on a good day:
Since DHA is so vital for brain health (plus, if you're pregnant, for baby's), other fatty acids get substituted in, but they have been found to be less than ideal. So "less than ideal" that once depleted of DHA, the retinas may not recover 100%. So cold-water fishes are obviously hugely important things to eat regularly. (And no, you can't just slug back fish oil. It's handled way differently by your body than in whole-food form.)
- less than 5% of the ALA becomes EPA
- & it's worse for DHA: less than 1% of the ALA becomes DHA
However, what about the threat of mercury toxicity?
While real, nature has also supplied this lil' gift: Selenium. Whenever Selenium is present, the mercury will bind right to it, meaning it's not available when you digest it and it will pass right through you, no harm done. The key thing is to eat varieties of fish that contain a lot more Selenium than Mercury; and if you choose farmed fish, opt for selections grown in a lake or body of water that's rich in Selenium (which varies by location, requiring some detective work on your part).
The chart above shows which fish contain a lot more Selenium than Mercury. Basically the usual suspects & Power Foods you already knew about. The two to steer clear of are Swordfish & Pilot Whale (eaten in Japan). And once you know your fish is protecting you thanks to Selenium, then you need to choose varieties rich in vital, health-giving DHA & EPA:
- Anchovies, Herring & Shad 2300-2400 mg (per 4oz/serving)
- Tuna (Bluefin & Albacore): 1700mg
- Pacific Oysters: 1550
- Mackerel: 1350-2100
- Salmon (Atlantic; Chinook; Coho): 1200-2400
- Sardines: 1100-1600
- Albacore Tuna (canned): 1000
- Salmon (Pink; Sockeye): 700-900
- Pollock: 600
- Tuna (Bigeye): 500
Sunday, July 08, 2012
WW Lifetimers talk a lot about getting right back OP when you have a bad splurge/meal/day/week. They happened, they happen, they're gonna happen. What matters is how we respond.
And getting back "on track" after a particularly grueling cross-country move & two consecutive weeks of demoralizing gains, I've been thinking about what enabled me this week to have such a successful WW week. I "only" lost last week's mysterious 1 pound gain, leaving me still up a bit (a non-mysterious gain), but whatever. The scale's moving back in the right direction and while I rely on it for feedback, ultimately I agree with Lori: it's my eTracker that is the ultimate arbiter of how successful I am at being OP.
This week, I was an A+ WW:
Like I said, a model WW citizen.
- I exercised daily & earned a goodly amount of APs
- got in my 10,000 steps (a lot more, actually) every day
- only dipped moderately into my WPs
- ticked off every last one of my GHGs without fail
So it got me to thinking how, on the heels of two pretty miserable & non-enjoyable WW weeks, I was able to pull it together so flawlessly. And I think it comes down to this: figuring out if you're an (A) or a (B).
For me, having even one buttery/sugary baked treat "in moderation" seems to send smoke signals to my Diet Demons, telling them the coast is clear & to come out & play...immediately. Last week, I avoided any & all sugary treats & triggers, focusing instead on doing right by my health & WLJ by eating really clean, which helps keep my appetite similarly clean. Very little willpower required to stay OP and not much, if any, drama to report. Which is a good thing.
- (A) You enjoy eating treats regularly as they keep you from feeling deprived, which keeps you happy & OP.
- (B) Eating treats simply makes you wanna eat more & one splurge can result of days of fall-out where you keep craving more sugar, more junk, more cr@p.
I'm decidedly a (B).
I think that knowing which category you fall into really helps with knowing how to stay OP successfully for the long term.
Which are you: A or B?
My weight loss
Saturday, July 07, 2012
These are ludicrous, right? Obviously no one (except me, of course) is perfect 100% of the time in life and at work. We all know that mistakes happen and what matters is what you do about them. If you were late for work, you probably will try harder to be super-punctual the rest of the week, be it getting a better alarm clock, leaving earlier for your commute, even going to bed earlier. If you blew a presentation, you do a damage assessment & use what you learned to be better/stronger/faster in the future. Whatever X-thing-wrong you did, you come up with a plan to not keep doing X-thing-wrong.
- ...so obviously I'm weak, useless and may as well be late for everything today, if not the rest of the week!"
- "Dang, I blew that presentation. I'm obviously a bad person and useless and may as well say "blow it, I don't care, I'm just gonna give up and do bad work from now on."
- "Dang, I did X-thing-wrong. Well there you go, I'm obviously [insert negative self-talk & abuse, the worse the epithets & insults, the better]. I'm just not going to figure out what happened so I can fix it and ensure it doesn't happen again."
So why are we so reluctant to apply this common sense to our WLJ?
I dunno. I sincerely wish I did. Whenever I have a "bad" WW week, it's so easy and tempting to start beating myself up. And it definitely takes more than a little faith in yourself plus a healthy heaping of moxie to correct course and really get "back" OP (meaning: doing all the stuff you know you're supposed to be doing to authentically "be" OP). In this awesome post I read by certified-nutritionist/blogger Julianne of Paleo & Zone Nutrition, she points out that we tend to be (somewhat) grown up in most other areas of life, but when it comes to our weight & diet, we act like children. Her strategy, when she indulges and didn't really intend to, is first & foremost to "own" it. "We often act as though someone else is making us, or we can't help ourself," she notes. "We HAVE to make up a justification and that justification is how we let ourself off the hook." Basically, the "adult" version of "the dog ate my homework."
Next time you inadvertently splurge/binge/indulge, answer the following:
Whatever you filled in the blank with is your justification, your excuse, your out.
- "I ate it because _______________________."
And out is exactly where it needs to go. Instead, vow to start choosing your WLJ fate. "When you are next offered a piece of case, will you choose it or not choose it? If you do choose it, will you then be responsible for your choice WITHOUT GUILT?" she asks. "If you do choose to eat a piece of cake, ENJOY IT. Savor it, eat it slowly and thoughtfully. Eating one piece of cake does not make you a failure." Especially not if you choose it, take responsibility and when the "bill" comes due, man up to the consequences - instead of, say, using the resulting "bad" WI as yet another justification to tell yourself "WW doesn't work. I suck. Forget it, Ima eat X-trigger-food, maybe have a binge even. It's not my fault. I can't lose weight. I'll never get to Goal."
Instead of being all-or-nothing about being OP - ie. unless you're 100% on, you may as well be 100% off - what abut being just "good" enough? Julianne has her perfectionist clients look at their WLJ in terms of percentages: what percentage of the time are they OP? Looked at that way, the answer is probably surprising. In a good way. "Give yourself a mark out of 100," she continues. "Anything over 80 is an A."
So dish: what's your grade? What percentage of the time are you OP? If you're an A student, spill some of your best "study" tips so the rest of us can be A students, too! And if you're currently a B or C, what advice do you have for yourself to pull your grade up to an A?
My weight loss
Thursday, July 05, 2012
WW Challenges, that is, have turned out to be quite the good addition to my WLJ of late.
Before the most recent tweaking of the WW site, I had looked at the various challenges, but most struck me as cluttered, rambly and truth be told, kind of clique'ish in that off-putting High School way. Too many insidery-convos & not enough focus on WW and WLJs.
However, when the new WW Challenge interface was unveiled, I must say, I was more impressed. Impressed enough to decide to give it the ole college try and sign up for three:
And I must say, there's something motivating about clicking that "Check In" box and seeing your results in black 'n white (or e-color in this case). Once you start seeing your place in the pecking order, you definitely don't wanna lose it, which tends to tip the balance in favor of "okay, just slip in some kind of workout" on the occasional day when I find myself waffling.
- the commitment to work out every day for at least 30 minutes
- 15 minutes to Sanity - you give yourself 15 mins. of "me" time
- LiveLifeActive - when you check in with this challenge, it pulls your AP count from your eTracker & keeps an ongoing cumulative count of the APs you earned since signing up, letting you compete with other WW fitness fiends
I think the key is to not sign up for too many Challenges, or they start to lose their power to motivate. I stopped at three with no desire to add any more checklists to tick off to my day, but then Sonya launched the 100 Miles in July challenge to walk or run at least 100 miles that month & 'cuz she's so cute, of course I joined right up. That, plus it's fun to have a central place to keep an ongoing tally of how many miles I walk over the course of a month. Again, seeing those numbers grow at the end of every day when I check in keeps me jazzed.
You may not find Challenges motivating the way I do, but if you haven't tried one since they retooled the site, why not give at least one a go? If it's annoying rather than motivating, you can always drop it, but I know for me it's always worth it to try new ways to keep my WLJ interesting, fresh & fun.
My weight loss
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
This morning as I was walking Puppyboo first thing, the vibes from my new eco-hippie neighborhood in Portland were apparently rubbing off & I was having some kind of retro Summer of Lovefest...starting with my mug of just-made mug of espresso (in one of those awesome & sleek Sbux insulated thingies), and then rippling out to loving being one of the first people out & about in the hood, getting a kick out of Cassandra prancing about in the grass while smelling everything & snorting feistily, the cool weather we're so lucky to have in these parts, being skinny.... :)
So much lurve.
And it hit me. I could - and can - keep this up for good. As in the rest of my life good.
I've really come to look forward to my early morning walks with puppy for any number of reasons beyond just the APs (which I also lurve), mostly having to do with time: alone time, sharing time with puppy, having time to think, taking the time to just be - rather than be somewhere (else). I've definitely been more conscientious about getting in my "me" time since I signed up for the 15 Minutes to Sanity Challenge, but I'm so glad I did. Participating in these WW challenges is something new for me; I now do a select handful of them find them quite motivational. You guessed it: L-U-R-V-E!!
Ditto following my walk automatically with some kind of hard-to-intense workout of around 40 minutes. I used to tell myself "I don't have time" to workout more than 3 times a week, but that's just a tale. I really do feel so much better after, plus I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that "feeling virtuous" is one of the long-lost GHGs. As is making the time once in a while to walk instead of drive to the grocery store plus finding more excuses to get up, move around & rack up those steps (you do own a pedometer as well, right?!) Together, my alone-time walks & regular workouts really work and I don't know that I would have figured that out without following WW. They create the structure and if we follow it as written, really good things start to happen.
Which reassure me that I can follow WW for good and not end up a post-diet weight regain statistic.
Nah. I think I'd rather remain in the elite & stylish 5% group. But I have a secret: I've figured out that what you need to do in the way of staying active enough can actually be really fun. But don't tell the other 95%.
My weight loss
Monday, July 02, 2012
If you cook a fair bit and you track your food & drink like you mean it, you know how the PP+ in all those Bites, Licks & Tastes can add up. So when I'm making a tried & true recipe, or following one from a trusted source (like this site or Martha Stewart), I know I don't need to taste as I go as the end product will be good to awesome. If not, I can always adjust the recipe a bit next time I make it.
So to keep the BLTs away, I rely on an oldie but goodie tip: when I start cooking or baking, I pop a stick of sugar-free, calorie-free gum in my mouth. Seriously, it totally works.
And you: what's your fave tip for refraining from BLTs?
- QUICK NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A DOG The only thing to be careful of w/sugar-free gum is if you have puppies. Something scary I learned recently is that the artificial sweetener Xylitol - used in a lot of calorie-free gums - is lethal to dogs. If they manage to break into a pack of gum you may have left laying around or dig one out of your purse and scarf it down, it will cause a precipitous drop in their blood sugar - as soon as 30 minutes after ingestion & up to 12 hours later. Once hypoglycemic, they will usually start vomiting out the toxin and maybe also stumbling, bumping into things and other neurological signs of distress. Worse, Xylitol can cause a dog's liver to fail. And if pup's stomach isn't pumped, like, immediately, it can actually lead to organ failure and death. This obviously applies to any cookies, muffins, cupcakes or produce sweetened with the stuff. Doggie-safe calorie-free sweeteners include saccharin and Splenda (sucralose).
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Just as the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed but merely changes form, so I'm convinced that with WIs, for anyone who has a surprising loss at the scale, someone else has a gain they didn't expect.
And apparently yours truly's num-bah was up this week.
Last week, I totally expected a gain but just kept right on keepin' on, doing everything "right", including working out 5 days hardcore for about 40 minutes, walking in the morning & evening with Puppyboo, getting a lot of other steps in throughout the day & not having any off-program maneuvers to own up to. All my GHGs were checked off, I ate maybe 15 or so WPs, my usual, and earned 45 APs.
So why another 1 pound gain?
What I do know is that there's not enough room in my tiny timezone for the two of us, so it's gotta go. So what did I do when Mr. Scale flashed me the middle finger this morning? Did I get depressed? Temperamental? Dive face first into a vat of "comforting" trigger food?
Yes. Yes. No.
Instead, I decided to up my cardio workouts on my days when I'm not doing weights this week. I normally still walk at least 10,000 steps on those rest days but for now, until my weight acquiesces and goes back into the Happy Zone, I will do more cardio.
Starting with this morning.
After my cr@ppy WI, I had some strong coffee, put on my workout gear and popped a really tough cardio-interval DVD by Jari Love into my laptop & got my sweat on - pretty bigtime - for 40 minutes. Then I showered and had a lovely Sunday luncheon made from leftovers from last night's roast chicken feast. I had the chicken, a nice helping of the veggies I roasted with it & a yummy baked sweet potato. Followed by a homemade almond-milk espresso.
A pointy lunch to be sure (12PP+) but whatever. It was delish, non-triggery in any way, totally satisfying, decidedly non-diety and most important, made from food that is "real" and nourishing not just to my bod, but my mind and soul.
Food that truly comforts.
And this evening, I'll go for a long walk with Puppy (more WI-friendly APs), have another lovely real-food meal - probably a French-style frittata (I've been on a Jacques Pepin kick on YouTube) and simply keep on keepin' on. By now, I've come to accept that these gains happen and that continuing to be solidly OP makes everything even out in the long run. But there's no denying that a "bad" WI can be depressing. No doubt about it.
So I hope whoever got my loss this week, unexpectedly, is enjoying it. :)
My weight loss
Saturday, June 30, 2012
...when asked by another WW for some tips or help?
You hang around deeze heh pahts long enough, you will start to get asked for your 2 cents about WL. Here's typically what I tell someone when they're looking for an assist:
If they're a WW newbie:
If they've just had their first gain at WI:
- Study up on Power Foods & make sure your Tracker is awash in those green triangles each & every day.
- Track EVERYTHING, even "free" foods & limit those to no more than 5 per day.
- Yes, you're technically allowed to eat "everything", but to get your WLJ off to a strong start, prioritize how you "spend" your PP+: top priority goes to anything that helps fulfill a GHG; treats are what WPs are for.
- Try & avoid eating your APs until you're a few weeks into the program and start to understand what works for you.
- Don't overdo on fruit. If you suspect you're eating too much of it, try this strategy I use: if I'm eating more than one type of fruit at a single sitting, eg. a bowl of mixed berries, run it through the Recipe Builder and take the PP+ "hit".
- Drink enough water.
- Divvy up your DPs into thirds & plan out three nourishing & balanced meals for yourself & some snacks if you find you're having trouble making it the distance to the next meal. For me, my appetite is "hot" from late morning to late afternoon, so I have a mid-morning snack without fail, a big lunch & usually an afternoon snack, but am able to go lighter at dinner.
If they're on a plateau:
- Gains do happen, even if you did everything "right" - if you can honestly say in your heart of WW hearts that you weren't slacking or overdoing in any way, then keep on keepin' on & know that this program works. Trust me on this as I know this firsthand.
- If your conscience is nagging at you, then see if you're religiously checking off those GHGs - typically, slacking off the water or veggies or not getting in enough healthy fats can lead to snack attacks & overdoing & bad WIs.
- Exercise: maybe it might be time to try upping your walking or adding in a bit more cardio to get over this hump.
- Tracking: are you tracking every morsel? Don't lie to your tracker. Just don't.
If they've seriously mislaid their WW mojo:
- If the scale isn't changing but your measurements are, you're doing fine. No, really. It means your body is readjusting to your new weight; actually, in a way plateaus are your friend because as you bump on down the scale, they kind of act like barriers that keep you from sliding back to your starting weight - they sort of put an upper limit on how much you're likely to regain.
- If you aren't getting out the tape-measure & taking your measurements once a month, start.
- If the scale is freaking you out, go to your WI but turn your back and let the person weighing you record it so you don't see the result for 3 or 4 weeks so you don't get depressed & tempted to throw in the towel. Use your staying OP 100% (or as close as you can) as your measure of success for a few weeks or a month.
So help a fellow WW out. What are your top tips & secrets?
- This happens to even the most dedicated WWs. It does. Those old bad behaviors and habits can come back with a vengeance...like horrible zombies. I've found it useful sometimes to scale my own focus back from the span of a week to just that day: when I wake up, I only plan what I intend to do that day stay OP. And then do that to the best you're able. If you "fall off" or eat "bad stuff" or whatever, just get up the next morning & try again. And the next. Eventually your mojo will just kind of come back of its own accord. I promise. And whatever you do, keep working out. That way you don't let your fitness level slide and by exercising, you really are helping to minimize any of the damage you're doing to your WLJ with what you're eating.
My weight loss
Friday, June 29, 2012
Today is the first day in a while that WW has felt more just a routine part of my day rather than like I'm in bootcamp or perhaps preparing to summit Mount Everest.
Nothing special to report, but that's what's special.
Moving across the country and then becoming embroiled in the joys of family melodrama with my obese, oxy-addicted bridge troll cousin kind of put me off my WW game. Which is when the Diet Demons love to strike. However, a while ago my mindset changed to accept the fact that WW was for life, and so I've been relying on the power of habit to get me through this rough patch until my mojo reappeared.
Which it did this morning.
As I was walking puppyboo first thing (HABIT #1) and enjoying the fresh air, I suddenly felt this wave of being fit and feelin' mucho skinny. Then, as soon as I got back home, I popped a weights/cardio-interval DVD in & before I could give it much thought (other than to tell myself that "no one ever regrets working out") banged out a workout (HABIT #2). A post-workout meal/breakfast followed made up mostly of Power Foods (HABIT #3). After brewing up an espresso with unsweetened almond milk, I automatically logged on to the WW site to track (HABIT #4). Followed by reading the usual suspects' WW blogs plus writing one of my own (HABIT #5).
So many healthy habits...and all before 9 am. Take that, marines. :) When I look at my behavior through this filter, focusing on all the ways I'm doing it right, it feels empowering. Which is one of the best Diet Demon repellants I've found.
That & of course you guys!
What healthy habits have you developed that help you stay OP for better...and of course, for worse?
My weight loss
Thursday, June 28, 2012
In my current book-bestie, The Good Housekeeping Cook Book from 1944 (the 7th edition), the editors included an extensive section in the front portion on meal planning - which includes both what to do if you need to gain weight (remember when this was written) or need to shed some poundage. "As we grow older (they define middle age as 30!)...we tend to slow down and become less active, though our appetites often remain hearty. Many of us are even inclined to increase the amount we eat. And unless we are one of those who remain thin in spite of what we eat, we begin to gain in weight."
After getting over my surprise at a meticulously-edited book from the early 1940s starting a sentence with the word "And" (I do it myself when clarity trumps rule-based clunkiness, but always kind of guiltily and with tut-tutting in my head delivered in the the stern & clipped cadence of Mrs. Clemence, the strict British school-marm who taught me the fundamentals of English grammar and proper-sentence structure...so, hah, I guess my writerly impulses were not so wayward after all), I was also surprised at how much common sense they had "back then" about how to keep your weight in check. "Weigh yourself each week and if there is a tendency to put on weight, start at once eating enough less of those high calorie foods such as candy, sugar, cream, fats, starchy vegetables, and sweet or rich desserts, to keep down weight."
Similarly, they advise trimming visible and excess fats from cuts of meat, using an "interesting & flavorsome" low-calorie dressing, eating lots of leafy greens & pumpkiny/mushroomy type stuff, avoiding excesses of corn, lima beans & potatoes, being sparing with added salt, drinking plenty of water, "taking" plenty of exercise & not nibbling between meals. They even lay out a 3-meal a day diet plan that is low in calories, provides key nutrients, plus "minerals, lots of bulk, interesting flavors and variety."
Huh. Sound familiar?
The Good Housekeeping Cook Book (1944) Low Calorie Dressing
- water - 3/4 cup
- cornstarch - 2 tsp.
- salad oil - 2 Tbsp.
- lemon juice or vinegar 1/4 cup
- salt - 3/4 tsp.
- granulated sugar - 1.5 tsp.
- bottled horseradish - 1 tsp.
- prepared mustard - 1 1/4 tsp.
- paprika - 1/2 tsp.
- garlic - 1 clove
- Worcestershire sauce - 1/2 tsp.
- ketchup - 1/4 cup
- cook water & cornstarch together until clear & thickened (5 mins)
- add in remaining ingredients & beat until smooth & well-blended
- store in fridge & shake well before using
- makes 1 1/4 cups; 1 Tbsp. = 20 calories
- Veggie Dressing: add in minced green onions (2 Tbsp.), minced cucumber (3 Tbsp.) & minced green pepper (2 Tbsp.)
- Egg Dressing: add in a chopped hard-boiled egg
- Fruit Dressing: omit the sugar & replace 1/4 cup of the water with canned pineapple juice. Add in an additional chopped 1/4 cup of fresh or canned fruit, such as oranges, peaches, pears, apricots, cherries & grapefruit
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I'm currently obsessed with The Good Housekeeping Cook Book from 1944.
(I love reading cookbooks from the days of yore, the older the better. For me, they're a fun way to fly-on-the-wall in a different place & time.)
What I found particularly interesting is the way food was viewed during this period; despite wartime scarcity & uncertainty, the writing exudes a certain joy, enthusiasm and even delight. In the section devoted to how not to waste food unknowingly, ze book advises not reheating cooked veggies b/c that leads to a loss of Vitamin C; rather, they should be served cold in salads. They also advise eating potatoes "in their jackets" to benefit from the "food value" under the skin. Also, one should consider serving raw veggies often - not just for maximum nutrition but to add texture and variety to meals. And lastly, no pinching da fruits (like peaches) to test ripeness as this will start them to spoiling, according to their colorfully-spoken produce vendor.
Whether it's meal planning, setting up your kitchen to make food prep easy, storing foods, or even how to eat nutritiously, this old-school gem has a meticulously-researched, in-depth chapter devoted to it. (Man, but they don't edit books like they used to...sad.) We New Millenials do pride ourselves on our "cutting edge" nutrition know-how, but the more I read on the topic, the more I realize that all good-food roads seem to lead directly back to the Wisdom of Yo' Granny.
Like the place of beverages in our lives.
A smartypants blogger I particularly like, Evelyn at My Carb-Sane Asylum, recently wrote a post musing about the idea that our national "obsession" with drinking bevvies constantly - from supersized sodas to whipped-cream & sugarbomb coffee drinks - might be part of what caused the current obesity epidemic. Think about it: the last time you binged, I bet you didn't do it "dry". No doubt, a Diet Soda or maybe some milk was how you washed everything down the hatch.
Now compare this behavior to the wisdom of the day - as dispensed by the marvelous Dorothy B. Marsh, Food Editor of Good Housekeeping Magazine who edited my new fave cookbook/time-machine. The bevvies back then were not caloric Godzillas consumed whenever & wherever. Rather, they were well-mannered and played a supporting, supportive role. In the chapter on milk and recipes for making different drinks from it, the focus is on getting your quota in for the day - ie. making it palatable to drink for reasons of nutrition rather than eater-tainment. Ditto coffee. Yes, it has much ink devoted to its selection, storage, grinding and prep, but it was typically consumed either in fancy china cups in the formal living room or in a thermos as part of a packed/boxed lunch - ie, as a tasty way of finishing off a meal. The way a period is placed for a reason at the end of a sentence or participating in symphony requires coordination & planning, what you had to drink was similarly given thought; what it wasn't: a mindless source of endless calories.
This whole cook book views food within the context of life, neither the be-all-end-all nor the enemy but an aspect of living well and staying healthy. I wonder: when did we lose this healthy perspective?
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I love the results of exercise, especially weight-training, but I can't say I'm always in love with going through the actual motions of working out. Sometimes, yes, but generally working out is something that I pencil in and "just do" before I have too much time to consider whether I actually want to do.
It takes a lot of effort, working out, so I'm always alert to new info that can help me from inadvertently undermining my exercise efforts. Which I think I might have been doing with my post-workout banana.
The good news: working out in a "fasted" state - such as first thing in the morning on a totally-empty stomach - actually promotes muscle-building. Something to do with circulating amino acids (which are supplied by the healthy proteins you eat) not only providing the raw materials for building new muscle tissue, but also containing information: apparently, certain aminos signal genes located in your muscles and instruct them to grow. According to Ori Hofmekler who wrote both Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat and Unlocking Your Muscle Gene, as long as the aminos are present & circulating in your blood, if you exercise while fasted, you will soon start sprouting some sexy new muscles.
Also, when you work out, your body releases the so-called "fitness" hormone, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is vital to building muscle and helping a would-be loser shed bodyfat. But according to Ori, there are two key things to pay attention to:
So what to eat post-workout?
- Eat within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Eating at this point in time signals your fasted & now-exercised body to stop its cleaning & breaking-down of tissue ("catabolic" activities & internal housecleaning) and instead start building muscle ("anabolic" activities).
- Avoid eating & drinking anything containing fructose - be it an "energy" drink or even a piece of fruit - for 2 hours before or after working out. The reason is that fructose interferes with HGH, actually destroying it. Yikes. Buh-bye post-workout banana or apple.
Protein. I know a lot of people swear by protein powders, but these days, I generally gravitate towards real foods, so post-workout, I've been eating a few ounces of cold roast chicken, a can or tuna or wild-caught salmon, or even some hard-boiled eggs.
image: source (no, the pic isn't me...yet)
Monday, June 25, 2012
When I have all my WW ducks in a neat lil' row - aka a relatively predictable daily schedule - I've found that at this point on my WLJ, many of the things I need to do to stay OP & not fear the scale sort of happen on autopilot. Not in a "bad" mindless kind of way but more in a I-don't-need-to-think-about-it way.
No internal debates or thinking; rather, just doing.
One of the benefits of being a newbie WW is the "beginner's mind" where everything is still fresh and new and your motivation is off the charts. However, one of the downsides of being a newbie is how much work is involved figuring out all the angles of the program - especially what & how to eat to keep your tummy happy, your mind at ease, your workouts do'able, the scale moving downward. And where you should splurge on the lil' treats & tidbits that make WW a do'able way of living rather than a dreaded four-letter word.
Having been on the road for about two months driving/moving from Miami Beach via the Tri-Cities to Portland, OR has made WW challenging for me. Oddly, when I'm stuck in the car for long stretches each day, it's been easier for me to lay off too much snacking between meals. Getting workouts in was impossible, but what wasn't was making the time to walk a few miles first thing in the morning as long as I set my alarm early enough (one of those *a will = a way* situations).
And now that we're finally moved in & comfy in our new digs, I've been working on reestablishing my daily WW routines. It's funny how not two weeks earlier, they were automatic while this week I'm finding them "challenging". Which just goes to prove (to me at least) that 99% of this WL "game" is all about mindset and the mental part. If you think you can, you can. If you think it's "too hard", it is. (I particularly like that Zen idea of having a "mind like water" - mizu no kokoro - and your thoughts either making the waters choppy, which distorts anything reflected in the pond, or the exact opposite, total calm.)
Easy to grasp, sure, but the devil to follow at times.
In the past week, even when my food choices haven't been optimal, they have been measured & honestly tracked, habits which do make it easier to exert control over food choices when you finally get your head squarely back in the game. Also, being able to work out regularly is kind of a godsend; just doing it definitely makes you less tempted to throw in the WW towel & say scr3w it, which puts the odds of permanent success a lot more in your favor.
But what I do know from past experience is that if I just kind of power through this portion of faking my WW groove, my authentic mojo will do a Field of Dreams and sort of magically appear...almost as if nothing ever happened.
My weight loss
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I hate to say "big girl" because I don't wanna be big & would prefer to be a grown woman. :)
I was up a bit at WI this morning, which didn't surprise me in the least given the horrible week I had. Moving always throws me off my WW game, and then old cravings tend to come back & make me eat things I'd prefer not to and in bigger quantities than is really advisable.
It's all tracked and, unusually for me, I was out of WP by mid-week and well into eating my APs by yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, I did earn a lot of them by working out diligently with weights/cardio-intervals five mornings first thing, walking a ton, biking to go grocery shopping and, surprisingly, house-cleaning for a big chunk of hours.
Part of my mad pantry-cleaning yesterday was actually a covert mission to ferret out any & all trigger foods (trail mix tends to cause me a ton of problems) and ditch them on the QT. My housemate & her friends have a pretty impressive snack "food" habit, most of which don't appeal to me at all. Just the trail mix, even the junkiest kind (my inner Trail Mix Fiend is pretty non-discriminating which I find sort of scandalous). There is a 1/4 of one of those giant Costco bags left (the kind laden with garishly-colored M&Ms) which will be quietly tossed out later when I bike over to the Farmer's Market. And with that, my new house is now pretty trigger free.
Anyway, this morning post-puppyboo walk & check-in with Mr. Scale, my WW week re-set.
I'll keep doin' what I normally do WW-wise this coming week, just with a few tweaks. Obviously, my DPs will be set for losing at 26PP+. I'll still pencil in my beloved Starbucks Skinny Mochas as I really enjoy those & find them totally worth the 3PP+ they cost. However, where I will scale back a bit is probably on fruit. It's not the PP+ per se that worry me with fruit (any time I eat more than one type of fruit at one sitting, say, a bowl of different kinds of berries, I run it through the Recipe Builder & take the PP+ "hit"), but when I eat more fruit, I have more of an appetite in general, so scaling back on it should help me keep my appetite squarely under control until my next date with Mr. Scale.
Sure, it's disheartening to hop on the scale and see a gain, even after a sort of "bad" week where you know you could have done a LOT more damage but refrained & held back, but it is what it is. And I've long since come to the conclusion that I'd rather have a pound or two extra to deal with than, say, hiding from the scale until it snowballs up to 25 or even 50 extra pounds.
This WL thang is for life, so "bad" WIs don't really set me back emotionally that much any more. If anything, they kind of juice up my motivation and help me get my WL mojo back in tune. Sure, the scale factors into the equation, but it's only one part of a much bigger, more interesting - & positive! - picture.
My weight loss
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Moving always makes WW incredibly challenging for me. I've moved cities now 3 times in two years. I did okay on the 10 day portion from Miami Beach to Washington State. But my 6 week detour to the lair of my cousin from hell proved unfortunate. She ended up banning the hubs from her house, leaving me to have to coordinate our move, including packing all our stuff in a rental, scooping up the hubs & safely whisking the pair of us out of the horrible nuclear-waste graveyard otherwise known as the Tri-Cities area of Washington state (and I'm not being facetious...well, I am, but not about the nuclear grave part....just Google "Hanford nuclear" and enjoy the lovely reports of all the tanks of this high-level waste leaking into the groundwater & making everyone sick from various heinous cancers).
While enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Columbia River on our way to our final destination, Portland, I found out more of my hubs side of the story. Basically, the cousin said many, many things to him that are unfit to either print or repeat, and did all but come straight out and call him a "dirty Jew" (using the "you people" attack instead). Take my word for it when I tell you I apparently have a total bigoted, racist troll in my direct family tree. What an embarrassment & a scandal.
When I found out exactly what was said, it pretty much made me decide it was time to cut off any further contact or relations. It's too ugly and gross and my life is too short & precious.
While I've been relatively calm on the surface, my inner Fatty's been having a field day, driving me to eat, eat & eat some more. However, I'm still OP - barely, mind you - and really low in WPs. I'm now down to a scant 6 to see me through until Sunday morning when my WW week re-sets. I'm feeling more in control today, and the one thing I have done right is keep working out; even on Moving Day, I got up 45 minutes early in order to slip in my weights/cardio workout.
One rough week does not an entire WLJ derail...unless I let it. Which I won't.
I took preventative measures yesterday evening and did a partial stock-up at a nearby Albertson's of the Power Foods that help keep me satiated and able to rock the program. A visit to the nearest Whole Foods is also in the stars today, which is where I can really find the foods that make both me & Mr. Scale happy.
A super easy but surprisingly effective trick I used while moving was to toss a teensy notepad & pen into my bag & simply jot down anything I ate. I decided in advance to not go overboard trying to "save" PP+; my criteria while packing & moving was to drink enough water and if I ate, make sure it was "real" food. Yes, I went to work on my WP, but I'm not in the red (yet) and everyday is a new opportunity to improve.
We finally landed in Portland at a lovely sprawling house with a super-nice roommate/community situation. There's a big yard & 3 other dogs to keep Puppyboo happy; raised beds for growing produce in the back; a patio by our part of the house just begging for a hammock & Weber grill situation; and progressive eco-types everywhere in this nabe. I'm even treating myself to a new 'do - something dramatic enough to require a consultation in advance, which will be this afternoon. The appointment is scheduled for tomorrow...so stay tuned. :)
The force of old "bad" eating habits sometimes overcome me so ferociously, I find it a bit scary. My best defense tends to be eating as "clean" as I can & having a schedule plus access to a place where I can prepare what I eat instead of eating something processed elsewhere. Needless to say, I'm beyond glad to be returning to a sense of normalcy where the kitchen is just a kitchen instead of a warzone, my eating choices aren't fodder for battle, and the fact my hubs happens to be Jewish doesn't matter.
As of this morning, I consider the familial trash that was hogging mental space to have been deposited back in the nuclear-waste dump where both it & she belong.
My weight loss
Sunday, June 17, 2012
The power of a great WI just never seems to get old.
Sure, on maintenance, the goal is different than it was when you were losing, but what doesn't change is the fact that it's still the best feedback on how you're doing on your WLJ. If you've been diligent about staying OP, Mr. Scale will give you a nice pat on that week; if you're up more than, say, 2 pounds, he provides a super-early warning you've been off track and need to readjust. Basically, Mr. Scale lets you know if you're headed in the right direction - or toward disaster - when it comes to avoiding the sand-trap that seems to snag a good 95% of everyone who loses weight & causes them to gain it all back.
But interacting with the scale takes only about 5 minutes. The question is: how to stay motivated the other 10, 075 minutes until next week's appointment? For me, a lot of the parts kind of clicked into place when I really internalized the fact that my WLJ would never be over; rather, the only difference was the scenery. Once I updated my mental map, it dawned on me the underlying terrain never changed and I would always need to keep my direct line-of-sight focused firmly on the key landmarks:
That being said, I've found it helpful to set myself new mini-challenges to keep things interesting and fresh. I've had good luck with various fitness challenges, currently, a 4 workout DVD set called The 28 Day Challenge that you follow diligently for a full month. It's been exciting to see my upper body get stronger, my abs more defined, my skinniest pants (I'm wearing right this minute) fit in a way that's body-con but not uncomfy....just more show-offy.
- what I ate & in what amounts (tracking)
- getting in enough regular exercise (APs)
- correct nutrition & enough water (GHGs)
And you...what's changed about your mental map since you started your WLJ? Where did you discover deadly undercurrents hiding? And what surprising treasures have you unearthed in them thar' hills?
My weight loss
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Yesterday was a disaster. But not.
Quick backstory: the hubs is quite bi-polar with schizophrenia. It's normally okay, until Ye Olde Mental Heath formula gets tipped: genes + stress = mental illness. ie., someone can be genetically predisposed toward mental illness but if they don't feel stressed, the outcome is fine. And while IMO the hubs tends to be overly melodramatic and, I think, uses his delicate mental balance as an excuse for being indolent, underneath, there is a serious condition that I do take seriously. And the stress of our current situation started to send him into what I euphemistically call "an episode", which is always confirmed for me the minute he has a drop of alcohol. (There's something about the change in brain chemistry that turns him almost instantly into a raging angry drunk.)
And once the drinking starts, it's a lot like a rollercoaster: it takes places on a well-worn track and the ride is predictable - but wild. The rollercoaster was already chugging up the first hill, where the anticipation builds until suddenly the ride takes that startling, stomach-lurching downhill whoosh. Which is when cops get called. And he is now spending his Father's Day weekend as a guest of the state.
However, my cousin & her hubs are of a different generation and when the shouting (and in my case, frightened screaming) started, she of course flipped out. She accused us of "high school BS" and while it sure could seem that way, it isn't. And he was "a loser" and me "a user". (If I hadn't been so emotional and also mad at the pair of them, I would have laughed: The Loser & the User would make a great title for a short story or an article, no?) Well, I know I have ice in my veins; I have since my mom died as some part of me died with her and I've felt much more disconnected from people ever since. However, if I am in fact a "user", at least I now know what branch of the family I inherited it from.
When I tried to apologize and explain that we were dealing with mental health issues and that I'm truly sorry our stay turned out to be so trying for them, she told me she sincerely doubted it, and was "shocked" I would bring such a person into their home. "I told you many times he's bi-polar and has mental issues," I exploded, "but your memory is really bad." (Conveniently bad, I think.) I added that the hubs is damaged & I haven't been "right" since my mom's death, she literally spat at me: "Well there's the closet over there with the world's smallest violin."
Ouch. But at the same time, if you've never dealt with mental issues, I can understand why you'd feel that way, especially if your values were formed during the reign of Father Knows Best and his sidekick Beaver Cleaver & company.
After the sheriff (& company) arrived, statements taken & the hubs hauled off, I sat on the steps outside for a good while, trying to compose myself & gird my loins against the next onslaught that was sure to follow. But it didn't. A cup of tea & sympathy did as well as an afternoon/evening of just kind of hanging out, watching The Mentalist marathon and the hopeful signs that it might be possible to repair some of the tatters back into something that resembles the fabric of a relationship.
When I walked puppy later, we passed a woman holding the hand of her 5 year old son. She had adopted him from Central China a year ago and he was quite hyperactive with a speech impediment, but beyond cute & thoroughly taken with Cassandra. "Wolf, mommy, WOLF!!!" he kept babbling excitedly and trying to hug her. And when his mom gently tugged his hand to go, he spontaneously ran around puppy and wrapped his arms around my thigh, holding his little face up to me - all scrunched up - in order to give me a kiss. As I quickly stooped down, he also gave me a huge hug & toddled off.
I almost cried on the spot.
PS. For what it's worth, my WW day was nothing short of fully OP in every way. So, to quote Bill Murray in Caddyshack: "At least I got that goin' for me."
Friday, June 15, 2012
There's a saying I find true that experience is a tough teacher because you get tested first & taught the lesson afterward. Sometimes staying OP feels the same; yes, we're given the set of skillz up front by WW, but how - and whether - we apply them when the waters get choppy enters that lesson-afterwards gray area.
Sometimes we fail miserably, but if we weren't sleeping during the lesson that followed - ie. we do the work of figuring out where we got off track & how would we prevent that from happening in the future, formulating a survival strategy - when you get the next Pop Quiz, you pass w/ flying colors.
Yesterday was such a day for me.
Test - Part A: No privacy. I earn my living writing & as Virginia Woolf pointed out in A Room of One's Own, if you don't have one - or, at the very least, a private space to call your own - it's nigh impossible to ply your trade in any meaningful way. For longwinded reasons I won't bore you with, we're still staying with my cousin & her hubs. I've been trying to work in the "formal" living room: a sunken floor, couch & chairs arranged stiffly around a grandma'esque coffee table which is cluttered with those books made for coffeetables that no one ever reads. My World Headquarters are currently located on the loveseat, but it's still so close to the main axis of the house, there's nothing private about it. And I'm an extremely private writer, sometimes to the point of being really hostile with people. (I can't really help it, it's just the way I'm built.)
So no privacy = a major personal stressor.
Test - Part B: The kitchen as passive-aggressive war zone. The kitchen is one of those wonderful light & airy ranch-style jobs with high vaulted ceilings, a massive island, room for a full dining table & that shares space with the family-room & opens out onto a patio. Really, it's quite lovely. However, the cousin doesn't approve of how I eat & after a nasty blow-out the other day, we kind of stopped speaking altogether and in "retaliation", she's pretty much taken up residence in the kitchen, either baking - again - or continuously making quilts at the dining room table. It's gotten so bad, I actually kind of lose my appetite when I even enter the room.
Seriously - this appetite disappearing act has never happened to me before. There's a lot of water under the bridge between us at this point & neither of us is behaving like adults. I'm resentful of how she's disrespected the memory of my mother (they grew up together) but pretended to do so out of "caring", telling me a lot of dirt I didn't need to know that has made me feel just awful and hate that arm of the family even more (all thugs and cheats and con artists, the lot of them). She's resentful of the-fact-I'm-skinny-shes-obese-I-don't-approve-of-their-Costco-carbon-footprint-blaseness-lifestyle-I-think-Bill-O'Reilly-is-a-total-tool (but I think the same about Rachel Maddow & Bill Maher w/one exception, Maher's at least funny). Basically, take your pick, It's actually hard to tell b/c she operates on a toxic blend of off-kilter expectations, strange w-t-eff assumptions about people's motives & is strung out on oxycontin & godknowswhatelse. (Frankly, sometimes I'm amazed she can even heft her considerable, multiple-personalitied girth out of bed and into the mix each day.)
Food as war = major personal stressor.
Yesterday, by lunchtime, I was s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g; I've been working out doing cardio/weights in the mornings as well as walking puppy, so I need me some protein. The whole blech situation made me lose my appetite, but I learned during prior "lessons" that not eating will bite me in the butt the next day. So I took a page from the guy playbook & did the honorable thing: I ran away. I humped it 2+ miles to Sbux for a panini & a tall Skinny Mocha & some peace.
However, I got in my DPs, no WPs & I earned APs. I was solidly OP eating mostly decent foods (not too much junkola) = solid A+ for me.
In the WW department, at least...
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Now this rocks. Seriously.
This study I was just reading about published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by researchers at U of Michigan & Johns Hopkins who decided to look at the exercise/healthy-diet paradigm from a slightly different angle: in combination. Most studies of the factors that impact longevity apparently focus either on exercise or on diet, but not both together.
So the group recruited just over 700 women ages 70 to 79. They estimated their
The women self-selected into three groups: those who didn't exercise (53%), those who exercised moderately (21%) & those who reported being quite active (26%).
- ...intake of fruits and veggies by measuring the blood levels of the compound that makes them colorful, the cartenoids. The more fruits & veggies consumed, the more cartenoids were circulating in the bloodstream.
- ...amount of exercise by having the participants fill out questionnaires about how much time they spent engaging in various physical activities, which were used to calculate the number of calories expended.
What they found over the 5 years that they tracked the ladies:
Taken together, the levels of exercise and amount of fruits & veggies point to much better survival as we age. Which one of the researchers summed up: "It is likely that maintenance of a healthy diet and high levels of physical activity will become the strongest predictors of health and longevity."
- death rate & exercise: the women in the most-active group had a 71% lower death rate as compared to the 53% that were inactive
- death rate & cartenoid levels: the 26% of women in the most-active group had a 46% lower 5-year death rate than the lowest cartenoid group
- death rate & both factors: during the 5 year follow up, a total of 11.5% of the participants died. The survivors had serum cartenoid levels that were 12% higher & their total amount of physical activity was more than twice as high.
Reading about this just ratcheted my love of the WW lifestyle for life up to a new level.
(source of article & image)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
This kind of cool lil' study I was just reading about from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found that eating just over 3.5 servings a day of fruits & veggies actually improved how attractive someone was judged.
For six weeks, they studied a group of 35 people and discovered that the more fruits & veggies someone ate per day, the more attractive they appeared.
Why? The pigments that make bellpeppers yellow; carrots, apricots, pumpkin & sweet potatoes orange; spinach & kale a rich green; cabbage & blackberries purple; blueberries & heirloom yams blue; pink grapefruit & raspberries pink; and tomatoes, watermelon & strawberries red. After eating these cartenoids (which include beta-carotene & lycopene), they then get distributed to your skin's surface, changing its color so that it contains more tones of yellow and red. "This suggests that skin color reflects better health," explain the researchers. "Conversely, those that worsened their diet became paler."
The only two caveats about this study are that it (1) was small, and (2) only demonstrates an association, not cause & effect (ie. the same massive gaping-hole of a flaw in that pro-vegan tome comprised not of scientifically-validated cause & effect but rather a gazillion observational sets: The China Study...Remember, kids, correlation does not equal causation - were that true, then I could easily "prove" that the size of my fat pants resulted in increases in the size of my caboose pre WW). However, we all know from direct experience that when we dutifully eat our F&V and tick off those GHG boxes day in & day out, it's easier - and, I would suggest, more fun - to stay OP.
"Your skin is a reflection of your overall general health," adds one dermatologist who was interviewed about the study who is at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC & has the coolest name ever: Dr. Doris Day. "The healthier your skin is, the better it functions, the more it can help the rest of your body function. The healthier the rest of your body is, the healthier your skin is as well. "We really are what we eat and it shows it your skin. And there are no shortcuts."
Tell it, Ms. Doris.
If you wanna read the article about this study, CLICK HERE.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Then the highlights of this interesting article I just read by a DC-area fitness expert Josef Brandenburg (CLICK HERE if you want to read it) might help ya find yo' mojo.
Skipping the occasional workout happens, but if it becomes a habit, it's helpful to know the cost:
Brandenburg does make the point that it's not about having to go full-throttle or go home; rather, it's doing something as long as you're consistent about it that makes the difference. "One of the biggest secrets to being more consistent in the gym is that when time or energy is short, do less," he advises. Even if your trainer outlined a workout for you with three sets of this and multiple sets of that, just show up & scale back. "People think, 'Just do one set? I won't get anything out of one set. If I can't do it all, I won't do anything at all." Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Even one set of resistance training can give you the same metabolic boost for the next 72 hours; sure, it won't be equal in terms of calories burned or muscles built, but whatever. Let's all agree to forget "being perfect" & just focus on being really, really consistent about earning those sweaty APs.
- 2 days of not working out: the levels of "feel good" and "alertness" chemicals drop (beta endorphin & adrenaline), making your general mood & outlook less sunny and your energy levels lag & sag.
- 3 days of skipping exercise: your heart & lungs become less fit - 5% less fit! (decreased aerobic capacity)
- 1 week: because your aerobic capacity has declined, your body is less able to use oxygen. And it's oxygen that your body needs to burn calories! As a result, your metabolism starts to slow down & your body stores more fat than it did a measly 7 days ago.
- 2 weeks: your metabolic rate continues to drop, your heart is 15% less fit and your body continues shedding muscle tissue & replacing it with fat
- 3 weeks: your aerobic capacity falls another 10%, making for a total decline of 20%. 20% less aerobic capacity means it's that much harder for your body to create energy, making you more tired and lethargic. Also, if this occurs during summer months, your body has to now work harder to keep you cool, leaving you with less energy for the rest of your life. The bottom line: your heart has to work harder, you have less muscle, a higher bodyfat % and you're uncomfortably warm-to-sweaty and tired all the time.
- 25 days: you've just kissed a good 10-15% of your muscle mass goodbye - most (if not all) of which is now body fat.
- 29 days: your strength declines by up to 30%
I was recently sent a 4 DVD set of workouts called the THE 28 DAY CHALLENGE: Total Body Transformations & have been doing that as a way to start summer feeling sexy and wonderful. I'm already seeing improvement in my guy's pushups and abs definition. Huge woo hoo for me. I speak for myself here, but I'm sure I'm not alone in shuddering at how I felt just before joining WW: fat, ugly, tired, out of shape, gross, fat (did I mention that already).
How did you feel the night before joining WW? But more importantly, how are you planning on making sure your next 29 days (and the 29 after that &...) see you fitter, faster & ever more fabulous?
Monday, June 11, 2012