Friday, December 31, 2010

I am Perplexed

Yesterday I was 100% certain I had torn a muscle in my right thigh, specifically the quadriceps femoris (which I highlighted in blue with the graphic editing world's WORST recolor tool):

This morning I very gingerly rolled out of the bed, placed my feet on the floor, braced myself with my hands and slowly applied weight to my leg.  Nothing.  Not even a tinge of tightness.  I'm thrilled, of course, but confused and a little irritated.  Last night that muscle had me in TEARS and I've always known muscle pain to get worse over a period of approximately three days, before it starts getting any better.  But today ... nope I'm good.  The Sartorius muscles (inner thighs) still feel a little bruised but I could totally go walking again today.  I'm sure I'd pay for it afterward, but right now I feel hunky dory.  WTH?!

In other news, I did some research on runners addiction last night because everyone has been asking me why I'm doing three miles like a crazy woman.  To answer everyone all at once ... I don't really know why.  I got on the treadmill last night, plugged in my Mp3 player, turned it up to 3 mph and started walking.  The first song came on and it was really up-beat and one of my favorites so I felt like I was walking too slow to enjoy the song so I popped the speed up to 3.4 ... within a minute I was realizing I couldn't keep up very well and popped it back down to 3.2 where I stayed the rest of the time.  I started getting into the music big time, Nickleback, Tatu, Rammstein, even a few songs from Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murpheys.  I was alone in the gym so I started singing and drumming my hands on the safety bar of the treadmill and just having a grand old time!

Next thing I know "Temptation" sends me a text about dinner and I look at my stats to see where I'm at.  2.89 miles and around 50 something minutes.  So I said "sure we can go to dinner, come pick me up I have 10 minutes left".  When I hit 3 miles I tapped the "cool down" button on the treadmill and it started to gradually reduce my speed and that was that.  I wasn't out of breath (breathing and sweaty but far from exhausted), my legs weren't tired, I felt pretty darn good actually!  So how can walking feel so good that I can actually hurt myself?

One of our fellow bloggers who has created an entire a veritable encyclopedia about running mentions addiction: "Many new walkers and runners discover they are becoming addicted to walking or running, and they like that feeling and they like being in charge of their body. I would suggest, however, that becoming addicted to walking or running can be dangerous, because it can cause one to overdo it."  I can relate to this; I suppose that when I've spent as long as I have being obese and having trouble just climbing a flight of stairs, to get on a treadmill and walk for 60 minutes without falling over or even wanting to quit is empowering.
I also found a very interesting article re: runners addiction posted by MSNBC here .

Before you read today's food ... yes I majorly screwed up!  We canceled the trip to my mom's for the weekend and then "Temptation" came home and wanted to go to the bank and pick up a few items and we ended up running to every craft store in town looking for a specific color of yarn and then we ended up at Sears to exchange a rice cooker and blah blah.  Bad night, so then the topic of dinner came up and Applebees parking lot was packed so "Temptation" suggested Macaroni Grill (I'd never been there before) and it was past 8 so we were starving and cranky, plus we were exhausted so I just went with it.  Once inside ... it was all down hill.  And then "Temptation" ordered the tirimisu then said he couldn't finish it without my help and "besides it's the last night of 2010" or "this is the last thing you'll eat this year, enjoy it", plus I really can't resist tirimisu, especially freshly made, not pre-packaged tirimisu and ... yeah I know this is BAD!  Be gentle.

6 glasses of water
1 banana
1 cup of coffee w/creamer (I just couldn't skip it after all)
2 Korean rice cakes
1 cup tabouli
1 whole wheat bagel
2 light laughing cow cheese wedges
1/2 order mediterranean olives
1 order chicken scaloppini, light sauce, no proscuitto
1/2 order tirimisu
Daily Caloric Intake: 1868

3 hours shopping (grrr)
300 crunches

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Three miles!!! UN, DUE, TRE!

First off, for those of you wondering, that's Italian for 1, 2, 3; not Spanish.  Secondly, YES I WALKED THREE MILES ON A TREADMILL LAST NIGHT!!!!  Plus I had to walk up to the office where the workout room is located so I was huffing and puffing by the time I got there, then had to walk to the mailbox in the center of the complex, and home again after the workout.  About 20 minutes after I got home last night, the pain hit.  It's been awhile since I've really worked-out to the point of pain and I have to say; pain is really the reward for working out is it not?  I've missed it!  Who wants to bust their butt and break a sweat only to feel like they didn't do anything at all an hour later, or even the next day?

So last night when I stood up after resting on the sofa I realized that the muscles on the insides of my thighs were so sore and swollen that it felt like I had a tennis ball between my legs.  I had a blast but I need to find my charger for my iPod and get it ready because the gym has one TV with no sound and it was showing college football.  Bleh!  Today I had to crawl from my bed to my office and I can barely lift my arms enough to brush my hair.  I got some crunches in during lunch but "Temptation" wants to go to a movie tonight so I think I'm going to take it easy and let myself heal a little.

"Temptation" called me away from my computer for a minute just now to show me a segment on a morning show featuring a guy named David ZincZenko, author of the book "Eat This Not That".  He was showing various foods from chain restaurants and listing their calorie, fat, and sodium levels; then suggesting alternative dishes from the same restaurants.  One item he featured on the segment was an 8" deep dish pizza from Uno's (a Chicago restaurant); that had 2,500 calories.  Now I know why I gained so much flipping weight when I lived in Chicago!  I used to eat at Uno's ALL THE TIME!  In one little sitting I was eating more than the average daily caloric intake for a healthy person!!!  HOLY COW!!!

I'm going to get his book and I will more than likely be sharing some info with all of you.  If it's really, really good I will let you all know in case you want to grab a copy for yourselves.

4 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/ creamer
1 banana
1 cup canned veggies
1 cup tabouli
22 berry poppy seed crackers
1 foot long grilled chicken sub
>>9 grain bread
>>no cheese
>>teenie bit of light mayo
>>vinegar (my usual)
1/4 cup of fat free frozen yogurt (shared with "Temptation")
Daily Caloric Intake: 1232

30 crunches
walked 1 mile (not sure of speed, wasn't on treadmill but it was very slow)
Daily Caloric Burn: Unknown

Today I had to crawl from my bed to my office for work this morning because my legs were seized when I woke up.  I had trouble raising my arms to brush my hair because my arms still hurt so much.  My glutes are so tight and sore from last night's treadmill love-affair that sitting through the latest Harry Potter movie was like sitting on a bed of nails.  I forced myself to do some crunches during my lunch break because my stomach is about the only thing that doesn't hurt right now.  Even my hands hurt from all the crocheting I've been doing every night on the blanket I am making for "Temptation" but that's arthritis pain, deep down in the bones.  I developed a major blister on the back of my left heel so I had to wear flip-flops to the movie in spite of the cold.  But my calorie intake the past two or three days has been low so I am going to do my very best to not feel guilty about not getting much done, physically, today.  And I am going to promise that tomorrow, blister or no blister, my ass will be back on that treadmill.  I may or may not be doing 3 mph ... but I WILL be doing SOMETHING!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Marathon? What?

Wow are my arms sore from last night's push-ups.  YAY ME!  The weather is beautiful out so I really want to go walking after work.  I wanted to go last night but "Temptation" reminded me, when he got home, that we had to go grocery shopping ASAP because we were out of toilet paper.  By the time we got done, hauled the groceries up the stairs and put them away not only was it dark but I was exhausted.  The squats felt great and my legs were like Jell-O all the way through the store as we did our shopping yesterday.  There were several times that I would take a step and my knee would buckle a little bit because my upper thigh muscles were so tired.  People probably thought I had some kind of medical condition or something.  I didn't fall down, but I'm sure it looked like I was limping.

Oh well, I don't care!  I am MUI PROUD of my grocery choices last night!  I bought more whole-wheat bagels, more laughing cow light spread because it has way less calories and fat than cream cheese, picked up some low-cal mixed berry and poppy seed crackers (those things are so awesome, they're my new favorite snack), bananas, pears, spinach, a southwest corn mixture, some frozen veggie stir-fry, a peppercorn pork loin (which steered "Temptation" away from the Teryaki one he wanted), and chicken breasts.  I'm running low on coffee creamer so I think I am going to try training myself to enjoy black coffee.  This morning I added ice to my coffee and used half as much creamer as I usually use for two reasons: 1) To stretch out the little bit of creamer that I have left because money is getting tight with all the traveling we've done and 2) because I know that if I gradually reduce the creamer I can adapt to the taste of black coffee.  I did that with sugar and it totally worked.  When I first started drinking coffee I was using three tablespoons of sugar per pot (I use a french press which makes three cups of coffee at a time and then I put the press in the fridge and only drink one cup per day).  Eventually I cut that back to two tablespoons per pot, then one, then I stopped using sugar entirely and I've completely adapted myself to the taste of coffee without sugar (something that seemed impossible to fathom just 6 months ago!)

I know some of you who have been reading for awhile are probably wondering WTH happened to my marathon plans huh?  Well I still wanna do them!  I know I haven't been walking (really walking) in AGES but the weather has been crappy and it's been getting dark almost before I even get off work and my hood isn't a place to go-a-walking in the dark.  However, I noticed yesterday that I had about an hour between work and sunset so I'm going to regroup my motivation; also seeing the work-out room at "Temptation's" brother's place in San Diego reminded me that my complex has a work-out room too and I've not taken advantage of it once the entire time I've lived here because I'm a moron.  Rain, snow, or the dark of night I can go in and walk on a treadmill to my heart's content (and probably solve all the treadmill controversy by finding out exactly how long it takes for me to burn 200 calories on a treadmill once and for all!).

Plus I've got Tia to walk with as soon as the bloody holidays are over and maybe I can even get her to plan for the next walk-run marathon with me.  I could use some help in this area for any of you walkers/runners who know the drill.  I need to find a marathon or half-marathon in my area (Vegas) that is either free to enter (do those even exist?) or that will help me set up a fund-raiser type website to raise the entry fee.  I know charity walks do this sort of thing because my brother did one for diabetes awhile back (I'm talking to you bro!).  Someone find me a marathon in my area, tell me when, where, and how to get started and I will make it my new personal challenge.  You can choose whatever cause you want but travel is almost impossible for me so it must be in the Vegas area if possible.  I'm sure we have plenty of marathons here, I just don't know how to find them.  Carpe Diem!

5 glasses of water
1 cup of iced coffee w/ creamer
1 banana
1 red pear
1 can hearts of palm
2 cups tabouli w/diced tomatoes
22 berry and poppyseed crackers
10 oz baked chicken breast
Daily Caloric Intake: 1077

Treadmill: 3 miles @ 3 mph
Daily Caloric Burn: 405

The treadmill's caloric count jumped erratically from 245 to 370 and did not factor in weight OR heart rate!  How can anyone assume caloric burn based on something so flawed?  However, I put the speed and time into both and and got the exact same burn number, to the last digit.  "Temptation" is going to get me a calorie counter that's based on heart rate to wear on my wrist so I can end this controversy once and for all.  I can't wait!  But I'll have to, until his next paycheck at least.

Seventh Weigh-In

Well I didn't "survive" the holidays with as much gumption as I had hoped I would but I did better than I had feared I would ... so far.  As I am sure you all know, it can be really hard to count calories when you're more or less at the mercy of others. We had a great time, took lots of pictures, and I remembered to get some physical activity in the entire weekend but the availability of wine and champagne all weekend eventually got the best of me.  Thank goodness I'm home again...for now.

Yesterday we left the house early, skipping breakfast entirely, so that we could try to make it to the beach before the bad weather got there.  I walked over half a mile (3706 feet round trip) on a pier to get take-out from a restaurant at the very end and then we went to the dog beach to eat and let our dog play in the sand.  I had a Greek chicken sandwich and five french fries with an iced tea.  We got stuck in traffic almost the entire trip so a three hour drive turned into a 5.5 hour drive and we swung through Cafe Rio for dinner where I had two salmon taco's (small tortilla's, grilled salmon, lettuce, cilantro, and lime), no green sauce or cheese, with black beans and rice.

We will be heading out again sometime later this week to spend New Years at my mom's house where I will, once again, be without internet.  I will still do my best to be mindful of what I'm eating and control my portions when I can't control my food selections but, thankfully, my family doesn't drink so that is a MAJOR temptation that will be off the table this coming weekend.  All-in-all I would say that a gain of only half-a-pound, though not what I was hoping for going into this weekend, is WAY better than what I was afraid it might be coming out of it.

3 glasses of water
8 oz Mocha Protein Shake
2 Korean rice cakes
1 fat free yogurt
1/2 leftover pork burrito (not enchilada style)
1 large whole pickle
1 can hearts of palm
22 whole grain berry and poppyseed crackers (YUM!)
Daily Caloric Intake: 1192

100 squats
100 jumping jacks
100 push-ups
1.5 hours shopping (not counted below)
Daily Caloric Burn: 327

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vacation Pictures

This post is just to show some pictures from the vacation.  My regular post with food intake will be added later tonight after intake/burn is completed.

Mission Beach (Friday)

"Temptation" & his nephew @ Mission Beach

Me seeing the ocean for the first time in my life

"Temptation" & I @ Mission Beach

Temptation drew our initials in the sand w/our foot prints 
(inside the heart)

"Temptation" on a surf board I drew for him

Me jumping rope with a piece of seaweed

Me sleeping by the fire w/Piper after a long day at the beach

Huntington Pier: 1/4 mile long (Sunday)

The first pelican I've ever seen in person (Huntington Pier)

The infamous Ruby's Diner @ the end of Huntington Pier!

Piper @ the doggy beach (Sunday)

Piper w/sand all over her little nose!  (Sunday)

 A seashell I found and put on my necklace

I really wanted to find a star fish but didn't so 
"Temptation" bought this one for me

I also wanted a sand dollar so he bought this too

My teeny tiny stocking 
(the spoon is there to show size perspective)
It had a couple of mini-candy bars in it which I gave to "Temptation" and the kids.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Checking In

Ok well I thought there was going to be internet where I would be spending Christmas but the recent rain in San Diego knocked out the connection and it won't be back up until Monday, which is after I leave so I've been MIA the past few days ... as I am sure some of you have noticed.

Counting without access to calorie websites when someone other than me is doing the cooking or when we go to non-chain restaurants is pretty much impossible.  However, I have remained aware and thought conscious of what I've eaten over the past few days ... as much as I can in the face of both temptation and "Temptation".

Over the course of the past four days I've had two grilled chicken sandwiches, a vegetable frittata, three cups of coffee, eggplant marinara with turkey meatballs, spinach ravioli (dry) with a dinner salad (drizzled with balsamic in place of dressing), 1 piece of bacon, 1/2 cup of ranch-style breakfast potatoes, 1/2 of a ham and cheese sandwich, about 3 oz of nibbles at assorted cheeses, 3 glasses of champagne, 2 glasses of red wine, too much water to count, and two shortbread cookies.  Although not everything on that list is A+ worthy, I am EXCEPTIONALLY  PROUD of my self-control considering that, of 5 different blocks of cheese I've only nibbled at them in moderation; in spite of the BUCKET of assorted cookies that have been taunting me since Wednesday I've only had two; in spite of the mountain of bacon and sausage, the perfectly fried over-medium eggs, and the three hours we spent in a karaoke bar ... I can actually count my intake over the past four days and list it out without having written it down; and that regardless of how bland those spinach ravioli's were, and how delicious all of the other food at the table looked ... I held fast and refused to ask the waitress to bring out some sauce for my dinner after all.

I've also done a fair bit of physical activity: I spent 45 minutes on a treadmill on Thursday; spent 5 hours walking the beach and playing at the ocean with nieces and nephews (did not sit down once the entire time), jumped rope with a piece of seaweed, and speed walked a local open-air mall for some very last minute shopping on Friday; spent 20 minutes on a stationary bike, went for a walk, and went grocery shopping with "Temptation" today; also walked the dog around the block 3 times and have done a fair amount of cooking and cleaning to help out.

I will be 100% honest in saying that I've enjoyed more champagne and wine than I had anticipated and will likely have a couple more glasses of wine with dinner tonight.  I will also be honest in saying that I couldn't even begin to count the calories of the past three days ... not because I have lost track of what I've eaten but because I've not always been the chef and it's much harder to figure calories on a recipe that you've not had your hand in.  However, although I haven't really been able to control what I've eaten these past few days, I have been able to control how much and I think I've done quite well.

I am fairly confident (yet hopeful) that I will not have lost 3 lbs on Monday as was my goal; guaranteed that my weekly challenge for this week is out the window; and yet still very pleased with myself for the restraint I've shown.  So far, Christmas has not had nearly the affect on me that it usually does.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL AND I WILL SEE YOU TOMORROW NIGHT WHEN I GET HOME!

(Writing this from "Temptation's" brother's girlfriend's house, so I can't stick around long, it would be rude).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Explanation

Hi all, this post probably won't be a two-pager like yesterday's was.  It seems that the majority of you prefer short and sweet anyhow so here's one you'll love.  Gotta leave today immediately after work for San Deigo but the rain is coming down in buckets.  My home-town of St. George, Utah has declared a state of emergency across all of Washington County and my parents were evacuated yesterday.  We had a scare when my sister and dad went to open the gate to the horse corral so the horses could run to higher ground and no one could get in touch with them to inform them of the evacuation.  Then my brother and I coordinated to get the family dog (also left out of his kennel so he could get to high ground) rescued.

It wasn't a great day and we're not out of the woods yet.  The rain is still coming down like crazy, a home has already been swept into the river and floated away, dozens of others are flooded, and it's expected to continue raining through tomorrow afternoon.  A big part of me doesn't even want to go to San Diego tonight and these events are sure putting a very big damper on Christmas for a lot of families that are out of their homes right now.

The worst part is that this is the second time in 5 years that Washington County, Utah has declared a state of emergency due to severe flooding.  We called the last one "the hundred year flood" and this one is already shaping up to be worse.  So far there haven't been any lives lost and far fewer homes lost than there were in 2005 but the water levels are several feet higher than they were and several dams in the area are under constant surveillance due to their potential for failure.  One dam containing 1,900 square acre feet of water was pronounced to have an imminent collapse yesterday morning causing the evacuation of over 300 people down river from it.  That "imminent collapse" was later changed to "cautiously optimistic" around 4:30 pm last night but many of those families are opting to stay evacuated to err on the side of caution.

I just have an awful lot on my mind today and not much energy for anything.  Yesterday's hyperventilating, violently sobbing, physically shaking all-over, panic attack really took an awful lot out of me.  I freakin' hate panic attacks, I really do.  That's probably the third or fourth one I've had this year and they are shockingly exhausting.  I wonder how many calories they burn?

4 glasses of water
8 oz protein shake
2 bananas
1/2 can light Progresso soup
1 Whole wheat bagel
1 grilled chicken sandwich
>>light mayo
>>swiss cheese
1 snack-sized bag of chex mix
Daily Caloric Intake: 1455

30 squats
30 lunges (each leg)
30 jumping jacks
15 minutes belly dancing
Daily Caloric Burn: 301

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blanket Statements = Ignorance

Today was the second time that someone said "I know for a fact that walking x distance on a treadmill burns x calories" and I am completely sick of this stupid statement.  People who make claims like this and judge everything else pertaining to caloric burn against this stupid statement are only flagrantly flaunting their ignorance to how calorie burning works.

So ... to today's comment poster who said precisely this: "I know that walking a mile on a treadmill burns 200 calories" this mid-day post is for you.  You know that do you?  You know that because you've walked a mile on a treadmill and that's how many calories your treadmill told you that you burned right?  Well here is the problem with trying to use that information to create a blanket statement and believing it applies to everyone.

1) How fast were you walking?  At a nice leisurely pace of 2 miles per hour you would complete the mile in 20 minutes.  At my weight (269.5 lbs) that would burn 101 calories per mile.  At 3.5 miles per hour you would complete the mile in approx. 17 minutes and 15 seconds which comes out to 132.56 calories per mile.  Any faster than 3.5 mph is unlikely to still be walking so ... how exactly did you manage 200 calories in 1 mile?  Keep reading.

2) How much do you weigh?  Have you ever tried to climb a flight of stairs carrying a 100 lb bag of dog food or groceries, or perhaps giving someone a piggy back ride?  At what point do people forget that added weight leads to higher exertion and higher exertion means higher caloric burn to perform the same exercises.  A skinny girl and a fat girl can walk the same route to school every day at the same speed and the fat girl will burn more calories doing it.  Why?  Because she's carrying extra weight.  If the principle of added weight to perform tasks were not a factor in weight management trainers wouldn't use weight belts and bar-bells.  Yes, they use them to build muscle but it is simultaneous with burning calories.

I fail to understand the mental concept behind "everyone needs to do x to burn one calorie".  How exactly do these people think calories work?  Are they like some kind of magical point system like Weight Watchers or something?  No ... BREATHING burns calories.  Doing your hair burns calories.  Wiping you ass burns calories.

Here is another absurd statement: "If these activities burned calories no one would ever get fat" ... and if they didn't no one would ever be thin.  We require calories to live, we must eat them.  On average a healthy person probably eats around 2,000 calories a day.  Now if walking a mile on a treadmill is the ONLY way to burn calories ... where do the other 1,800 calories go?  Don't tell me that our bodies use them to function because then you just might sound like you actually agree with me!  You can't claim that breathing, sleeping, and taking a crap burns calories but playing with your dog, chopping veggies in your kitchen, or crocheting doesn't.  Are you moving in any way during those last three activities?  Are you using muscles?  Because if you are you're burning calories and if you're not you should donate yourself to science so professionals can figure out what makes you different from the rest of us.

Fat people don't get fat because they only burn calories when they exercise, they get fat because they eat more calories than they burn.  I weight 269.5 lbs and lead a sedentary lifestyle where I am in front of a computer most of the day.  By estimation my body burns approx 2,300 calories per day just performing normal bodily and daily functions like getting out of bed, putting clothes on, brushing my hair, walking to the bathroom etc.  So how did I get fat you ask?  Because before actually making an effort to lose weight I was eating considerably more than that per day.  I was drinking almost 1,000 calories per day in soda alone!  I was waking up and eating leftover spaghetti, pie, or donuts for breakfast, then having a cheeseburger (1,000 calories EACH) for lunch and another one for dinner ... or worse, going to a buffet and eating until I felt like I was going to throw up.  And when it was all said and done I usually finished off the evening with some kind of dessert or snack.

It makes perfect sense and don't kid yourself.  We didn't get fat because we're not exercising enough ... at least that's not the only reason.  We got fat because we were eating more calories than we were burning ... plain and simple.

(This was just a much needed rant.  My real post will appear later after my caloric in's and out's are totaled for the day).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bonus Calories Defined

Everything that we do burns calories in some way and to some extent.  Breathing is the result of movement in the diaphragm muscle which allows the lungs to expand and contract as we inhale and exhale.  This muscle burns calories as it performs it's job.  The beating of our heart is, in itself, a muscle and it too burns calories.  Blinking, licking your lips, smiling, chewing, scratching an itch, and even digesting food are all activities that burn calories; the only element of this fact is how many calories are being burned and whether or not they are significant enough to aid in weight loss.  The items listed above are your base calories, they are the calories that your body burns every day, and has been burning every day of your life, and will continue to burn every day.

Bonus calories are calories that we burn on top of those required for our bodies to function normally.  These can, of course, be burned through exercise or physical activity ... but there are other, simpler ways to burn bonus calories too.  According to research conducted by the Mayo clinic, people who fidget tend to burn 350 calories more per day, on average, than people who don't.  This can include snapping your fingers while you walk (something my brother does), waving your hands around when you talk (something my mother does), or bouncing your leg or moving your feet a lot when you're sitting/laying down ("Temptation" does this to the point of making me want to tie his ankles together).

So what if you're like me and, to your knowledge, you don't have any odd little fidgets that come naturally.  Should you force yourself to develop one to burn calories?  Considering that all of the fidgets mentioned above tend to drive the people around you completely NUTS ... I would advise against this.  However, there are other ways to burn bonus calories throughout your day.  According to the Mayo Clinic's study, a 150 lb person burns approx. 136 calories just by taking a shower.  The number is significant less than taking a bath so, if you're like me and you love a nice hot bath, stand up and take a shower when you're done soaking to get those bonus calories.

Sewing, knitting, crocheting, wrapping presents, typing, drawing, and painting all burn approx: 183 calories per hour.  Cooking burns approx 244 calories per hour (provided you're on your feet actively cooking for the full hour and not sitting on the couch waiting for the timer to go off).  Playing with a dog or cat, while seated, can burn around 300 calories per hour.  Playing the piano burns 305, playing guitar burns 244, and drums burn 488.  (Bear in mind that ALL of these numbers are for someone who weighs what I weigh right now which is 269.5; if you weigh less these numbers will be lower).  For some really fascinating information regarding how many calories you burn during intimate moments with your partner (insert adult content warning here) check out this study as published in the American Journal of Exercise Calorimetry in August 2006.

Celery, though not actually negative in calories, is considered a "freebie" to calorie counters because, when consumed raw, it contains fewer calories than your body will need to chew and digest it.  Cooking it, chopping it up into little pieces, etc significantly modifies this rule.  So should we take up crochet as a replacement for exercise when we're trying to lose weight?  I personally don't think so but ... that said, yesterday instead of spending my few hours laying on the couch watching TV before bed like I usually do, I spent it working on a big, heavy blanket for "Temptation".  Instead of the 366 calories I would have burned just laying there like a bump on a log (over a 3 hour period), I burned 915.  How?  I burned the same 122 calories per hour that I would have otherwise burned just by existing, plus an extra 183 calories per hour by crocheting; and that is in addition to the 300 calories I burned exercising earlier in the day.

Next time you sit down to watch a movie and your hands are idle, ask yourself how you can keep them entertained for those few-hundred extra calories that you wouldn't otherwise burn.

2 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
8 oz mocha protein shake
2 bananas
1 Korean rice cake
1 yogurt
1 wheat bagel sandwich
>>1 tomato slice
>>2 tbsps cream cheese
>>1 scrambled egg
1 cup tomato soup
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,117

I didn't get any exercise done today; I think my 300 calories per day goal is some kind of curse.  When I don't set it I accomplish it and when I do set it I always have a bum day.  Today I didn't take a lunch at work, went all through the entire day at my desk waiting for the emails to come in or the phone to ring while simultaneously following a family emergency, coordinating communications with distant family members, talking to police and local rescue efforts, and keeping my family updated with info from news and response websites.  Once the emergency was over and everything had calmed down I packed my bags for the trip to San Diego tomorrow, did laundry, and then just collapsed in a cloud of emotional and mental exhaustion.  I did crochet for about three hours (550 "bonus calories").  Three hours that I know I should have been doing something somewhat physical but I just couldn't muster the internal incentive today.  It's funny because I didn't physically feel too tired to exercise; but I realized that motivation is a mental war ... and today I lost.  I just need to make sure that I don't allow this to be the beginning of a downward holiday spiral.

p.s. The family is ok, no one was harmed (including the family dog) and, for the time being, the crisis seems to be over.  However, there is still an active flood watch in effect and a whole lot of people are waiting before returning to their homes because it's still FREAKIN' RAINING!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sixth Weigh In

Well I'm down 1 lb at least ... I suppose that's better than breaking even again this week or even gaining but I am a bit irritated with it at the same time.  I've killed myself on the EA Sports Active for the past two nights, followed calorie protocol every day this week, burned 300 calories every single day this week, and lost one pound?  One?!

My arms hurt so bad that I can't pick up my cup of coffee with one hand.  My butt muscles are so sore from doing squats that I am in pain just sitting here at my computer.  I'm starting to think that running in place for part of my Wii Active workout was a mistake with as heavy as I am because the bones in my feet hurt as if they're on the verge of breaking from the repeated impact.  ONE FREAKIN POUND!  Ok ... deep breath.  I will be home this week through Wednesday and then we're heading to San Diego pretty much the instant we get off work on Wednesday night.  I've already considered the possibility that burning my 300 calories is going to be really hard on Wednesday considering it will take us a 5 hour drive to get to our destination.  Of course I will have to beef up my lunch-break exercise hour to compensate and make sure I get the job done.

I am experiencing a literal, tangible fear regarding whether or not I will behave myself this weekend.  I want to, oh how I really do!  But it is so much harder to exercise and log calories when I am at someone else's house, it was nearly impossible at my mom's.  At least I am off school until the 3rd so that's one less thing that I will have to worry about during the holidays.  One pound ... *shakes head sadly* that hardly seems fair, all things considered.

3 glasses of water
8 oz mocha flavored protein shake
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 Korean Laver Roll (kimbap)
1/2 cup seaweed salad (wakame)
1 banana
1 pear
3 little smokies w/sauce washed off
1 can progresso light chicken soup
1 whole wheat bagel
2 light laughing cow cheese wedges
1 Snickers 90 calorie snack bar
Daily Caloric Intake: 1375

200 crunches
50 leg lifts (side) each leg
50 leg lifts (front) each leg
10 min on the shake weight
Daily Caloric Burn: 334

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Korean Grocery Store

 So "Temptation" and I were driving home from a friend's house last night and I spotted a Korean market across the street from the gas station where we stopped to fill up.  I knew we needed to pick up some fruit and basic supplies anyway so I suggested that we check it out.  First of all, aside from a few Latino gentlemen bagging groceries (cute ones too!) we were the only non-Asian people in the store ... however, everyone was like double friendly to us.  This is just one reason why I love Asian culture.  I was completely out of place, everything was in Korean yet everyone in the store, even the other shoppers, were warm and friendly and eager to share their culture with us.  They had these little sample stands everywhere with things to try that I honestly couldn't identify and everything was extremely affordable.  I should mention, at this point, that I think I might have been Andrew Zimmern's twin sister in a previous life or something.  The guy is my hero because he travels around the world, immerses himself in other cultures without prejudice or fear, he dives right in to anything he's offered and does so with grace, consideration, and respect.  Ok, that said, read on.

So I went straight for the bananas because they were one of the few things that I recognized, and then we slowly wandered around the store looking at everything.  Sushi heaven ya'll ... I would give anything to get locked up in that market for a weekend.  Even though it was labeled on the outside as a Korean market I noticed that it had a variety of Chinese and Japanese items as well.  Spices and herbs I've never seen, pickled squid, marinated black pork belly.  Yum yum a thousand times over!  They had cookies made out of rice but I didn't get any because the nutritional information was written in Korean so I couldn't count the calories in them.

We shopped sparingly because we're going to be out of town for four days over Christmas so we didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff and then have it go bad while we're gone but we are soooo going back!  I picked up some sushi rolls, some seaweed salad, some bananas, and as we were leaving there was this guy at the front serving these puffed rice cake thingies (way tasty and only 22 calories each) so we bought a bag of those too.  You can buy masago and roe by the bucket for only $6!  I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!

4 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 Korean Laver Roll (ingredients below)
>>Laver Paper (seaweed)
>>Imitation crab
1 whole dill pickle
1 Korean rice cake
1/3 cup seaweed salad
1 cup fat free yogurt
1 hostess 100 calorie snack pack
15 sunchips
1 fresco steak burrito
2 fresco ranchero chicken tacos
Daily Caloric Intake: 1333

37 minute Wii Active (custom workout)
Daily Caloric Burn: 319

My Goal-Model

I firmly believe that it is perfectly ok for sexy women to have curves (real ones) and since there has been some concern as to whether or not a goal of 135 is too thin for my body-type I thought I would place a tangible, visual representation of where I'm headed with this weight-loss journey.

Mary McCormack is a kick-butt and takes names actress on the show "In Plain Sight" (which is great, by the way and airs on USA).  She's thin, toned, and has a realistic yet amazing body; therefore she is my goal-model.  She's 5'8" and I'm 5'7".  She weighs approx 150 lbs and has a significantly larger cup size than I do but very similar bone structure.  So here is my pledge ... if I look like this when I get to 150, I'll stop there and be MORE THAN HAPPY with it!!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Midterms Lead to Nutritional Decay

Anyone who has ever been a college student should be able to agree with the subject line of this post.  There are two potential ways in which Midterm Exams can lead one to neglect his or her nutritional goals.

Scenario A: Studying is more important than cooking and/or you've been invited to or have invited others over for a study group session and everyone knows that study groups = pizza, copious amounts of caffeine, chips, popcorn, donuts, or whatever else you can have delivered or pick at without a fork while your nose is buried in a book.

Scenario B: Studying is stressful, exams are stressful, you know pizza and chips are evil so, instead, you choose to go with a cup of coffee which you barely touch because you're too busy clenching your jaw until your teeth hurt as you study/complete the assignment.

Guess which one I suffered from today!  Yup ... B!  It's bad enough that we're running low on groceries (I am SO glad today is pay day but it's going to be teeny tiny compared to what we're used to because the rain cut back on "Temptation's" appointments last week and he had two full days with no work at all) so we're having to make do with the bits and bobs that are left in the fridge/cupboard.  Add to that the fact that what we do have requires cooking ... and I don't mean simple microwaving either.  Top it all off with the fact that I had to do two midterm exams this morning and you're left with less than 22 calories consumed by noon-thirty in the form of a partially consumed cup of coffee with creamer.

These were some of the worst midterms yet, too, because I bloody hate my classes!  Class A is allllll about critical thinking; no joke, it is an entire 9 week class based on learning the skills of critical thinking.  Why do I hate this class?  Well for one, critical thinking has never really been a problem for me so it's boring and repetitive.  Also because, in my book, 99% of the "skills for learning critical thinking" are COMMON FREAKIN SENSE!  Do we really need to spend 9 weeks learning how to study the process of resolving problems related to study?  Isn't that redundant?  Furthermore the very phrase "critical thinking" annoys me (Please refer to the third paragraph in George Carlin's "Explicit Lyrics" CD transcript found here for perspective on why this phrase gripes my butt).  "Describe the critical thinking methods you used when evaluating the events of the Boston Tea Party".  What the heck does that even mean?!  I read the material and it made sense ... where does evaluation with critical thinking come in?  It's not like I can create and implement an alternative solution to the problem because it already happened!

The second class is psychology.  GRAWER TWICE!  Does anyone watch Bones?  I love that show and I am so 100% in agreement with Brennan that psychology is mostly conjecture and guess-work.  Freud was a loser with a mommy complex who decided that everyone in the world was disturbed because that made him feel better about himself.  Basically, he was a psychological bully.  More often than not a banana is JUST a banana!  I know this seems odd considering yesterday's post about my dream but sometimes I have to read the fluff in my text book in order to be reminded that it's fluff.  Take motivation for example: motivation is caused by instincts but instincts don't explain physiological needs therefore motivation is caused by drive-reduction but drive-reduction doesn't explain dare-devil sports therefore blah blah blah!  Here's what I think.  No one knows how to explain, define, or otherwise study motivation, dreams, emotions, or personal preferences so everyone is throwing a possible explanation on the bandwagon.  That's fine, all great science has to start somewhere BUT ... until the whack jobs actually figure it out and come to a single, reliable, honest conclusion ... they need to keep it on the down-low just like astronomers used to do in ancient times and noetic scientists are doing now.  I think paranormal science actually has a stronger foot to stand on than psychology ... at least the majority of them are in agreement on the major facets of their conjecture.  At any rate, I got 28 out of 30 on the exam so that's not too shabby.

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1/2 cup of spaghetti w/2 tbsps sauce (last of the leftovers)
4 oz Tomato, Baked chicken (leftover)
1 V8 Fusion
15 Sunchips
1 #9 sammich from Jimmy John's
1 whole dill pickle
Daily Caloric Intake: 1516

5 min stationary cycle 93 RPM (50)
29 min Wii Active custom workout (266)
Daily Caloric Burn: 316

Friday, December 17, 2010

Psychology, Shopping, Water Intake

Shoppers Unite!:  There are two different products that I would like to purchase to assist with my weight-loss journey but I'm feeling overwhelmed and under informed by information I've found on the internet so I could use your insights if any of you are familiar with these pursuits.  The first item is some type of dance related work-out type game for the Wii.
  • Dancing With The Stars:  It looks like you really just wave the controller around to match signals and it doesn't actually teach dance moves or provide a work-out.  
  • Gold's Gym Dance Workout: Too much like a work-out and not enough like a game.  
  • Zumba Fitness: Looked awesome but I've never bought any kind of dance game for Wii and some of the reviews I've read on amazon said it's all but impossible to follow and that there are sensitivity issues with the Wii controller.  
  • Dance Dance Revolution: I fail to see how this game will teach me how to actually do any kind of dancing that I would ever want to replicate in public.
  • Just Dance: Reported to have the same motion problems as Zumba and I'm not sure about the music selections.  
I like hard rock and goth rock music mostly, some alternative, tiny amounts of pop, and *gasp* the occasional techno tune.  I'm actually very eclectic with music but also somewhat picky.  I want a game that is going to get my whole body moving, will actually teach me how to dance, will get me sweating, and provides enough gaming entertainment that I forget I'm "exercising".  If the game has some kind of calorie monitor that would be a MAJOR plus but I'm not seeing that as a feature in any of the games I've reviewed so far.  I would even be down with a non-dance game if it gets me really moving.  I have Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, and EA Sports Active but these get old very fast.  I'd be down with an RPG type game with an actual story-line where I have to use the controller as a sword or something of that nature even.  If any of you have tried these games, or have suggestions for other similar Wii games please feel free to share your thoughts.

The second product is a calorie counter.  I would prefer an arm band and I am fairly convinced that I want one that counts calories based on heart rate, not motion detection.  When I do leg lifts my arm is totally stationary so a motion-sensor based counter will be useless.  Plus estimates that I burn over 2,000 calories just living a sedentary lifestyle and I am still not totally comfortable with that so I'd like a tangible way to get a second opinion based more on actual heart rate than estimations.  I have found only one arm band heart rate/calorie tracker (BodyMedia) and it's almost $200 plus requires a monthly online subscription to view the data.  HOLY CRAP!  I've found a few watches (Schwinn Heart Touch), and one ring (Carepeutic Kh249) for around $30-$60 which is way more my price range but I can't help but question their accuracy.  One plus of a watch/ring is that most of them have stop-watches which would be ducky for me because I'm currently using the stop-watch on my phone and it's lame.  Feel free to chime in on this one as well.

Welcome to Psychology: So last night I had a dream that I found to be very interesting and I wanted to share it with you.  It was more of a nightmare really; I was in this huge house that was filled with dusty old clutter, dolls, doilies, mannequins, antiques, etc.  There were dozens of other people in the house with me, so many people that it was claustrophobic.  Half of the people in the house, including myself, were humans and the other half were Vampires.  The vampires had this marshmallow flavored gelatin type thing (looked like a Jell-O Jiggler from the commercials) and they were trying to tempt the humans to eat it because if we ate it that would give them permission to drink our blood.  I somehow realized this and refused to eat it but the people around me started to give in to the temptation and, as they did, the vampires started to feed on them.  I would try to run but the vampires would drag me back and everywhere I went in the house this was going on so I couldn't get away from it, and it was so crowded that everyone was bumping into each other no matter where you went.  So I am trying desperately to resist these vampires but they just keep insisting that I eat this jello thing and it's starting to get really tempting but I know that if I eat it I will die.  This sounds really stupid, I know, but I was frantic and really terrified in my dream that I would eventually give in and eat the jello.  I didn't watch anything vampire related, read a vampire book, or eat jello right before bed.  Am I the only one that sees this as a giant, glaring, subconscious metaphor for dieting?

Interesting Water Intake: I am a nerd.  There I said it.  So I guess I just assumed that my new mug I got for my birthday, which I have been drinking everything from (with the exception of wine which I literally drink out of a measuring cup now) was 8 oz.  Nope ... it's 12.  Now with coffee I only fill the cup half-way because I like to get 3 servings (one per day) out of my french press.  But with water, I fill that baby to the top every time so I realized that the 5 glasses of water I've been drinking daily amounts to 60 oz of water EVERY DAY!  Wowsers!

I found a free online belly dance instruction course and This Chick kicked my ass!

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 nonfat yogurt
1 whole wheat bagel
2 Tbsps laughing cow light cheese
1 cup of spaghetti
8 oz Tomato Baked Chicken
1 cup cheddar pasta
2 cups dry popcorn
1 Hostess 100 calorie snack pack
Daily Caloric Intake: 1423

20 min belly dancing
10 min cycling (90 RPM)
Daily Caloric Burn: 304

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tap-Water, Shmap-Water

Well I think I've just discovered a clue as to why it was so easy to finally quit soda after all these years.  Yesterday, during work, I stepped away from my desk to fill up my first post-coffee glass of water and noticed that the Brita cooler was running a little low.  I thought 'I should fill that up during my lunch break so it's filtered and cold after my work-out' ... lunch break came around and I drained the last of the Brita with my meal but forgot to refill it because I was running a little late getting off for lunch as it was.  Post-workout water break comes around and there's no Brita water so I fill my glass from the tap.

First of all ... tap water tastes like pennies.  I am not joking, I could have dropped a penny in my glass, let it soak for 20 minutes, and it wouldn't have changed the flavor one bit.  Secondly, there was a little black piece of some kind of metal or corrosion floating my glass that I had to fish out before I could drink it.  And third, it gave me heart burn!  Serious heartburn and I haven't had heartburn in a long, long time!

So I realized that we got the Brita for "Temptation" about 6 months before I quit soda but I never really drank any water from it because I would always just reach for a soda instead.  Then when I thought I'd try giving it up I started drinking water out of the Brita ... no wonder I was never able to quit soda before.  Tap water SUCKS!

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1 donut (I know, but we're running low on groceries)
1 V8 Fusion
3/4 cup spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce w/ground beef
1 can green beans w/salt & pepper
1 whole wheat bagel sandwich (contents below w/>>)
>>1 laughing cow cheese wedge
>>1 egg, scrambled
>>1/4 of an avocado, sliced
>>1 tomato slice
30 Sunchips
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,471

200 crunches
30 leg lifts (side) each leg
30 butterfly leg lifts
30 push-ups
Daily Caloric Burn: 307

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Notebook and the Litte Red Cups

So last night "Temptation" wanted to go out to dinner, big surprise.  The kitchen is a disaster and neither of us has any desire to clean it and I fired the maid last month so cooking was totally out of the question.  He suggests a buffet and the prime rib restaurant we've been eating at a lot lately.  I'm sick of prime rib and I was REALLY lucky to make it out of the buffet with my self-control in tact the first time so I didn't feel like tempting fate.  So he told me to choose a spot, I went online, looked up Red Robin and found a grilled chicken sandwich that was alrighty, when I told him where we were going he suggested Sweet Tomato instead.  Fine with me, I've been begging to go to Sweet Tomato for months but he doesn't like it there because it's mostly a giant salad bar and he's not a veggie-lover.

So I asked him for an extra 20 minutes to "plan" my Sweet Tomato (ST) adventure and I hit their website with a notebook.  Anyone who has been to ST knows that they rotate their menu, usually according to some kind of theme, so you never really know for sure what they'll be serving.  For those of you who aren't familiar with ST, it's a giant salad bar.  You walk in the door, grab a tray and a plate (I used to get two plates) load up on salad, pay at the end of the bar, sit down and then they have a big selection of soups, a little pasta bar and some bread and dessert items as well.  It's a cousin to Souper Salad.  Anyway, so I went to their website, pulled up the menu for our local location and wrote down a handful of things in my notebook that sounded both delicious and decently healthy (deliberately avoiding the cream-based soups, chocolate muffins etc).  I also wrote down a couple of items that I knew were probably a little bit higher in calories because I figured they would tempt me if I didn't.

Next I went to their nutritional info pages and I wrote down the number of calories in a 1 cup serving for each item that I put in my notebook.  I called ahead and asked them how big their soup cups were ... 1 cup.  LOVELY!  So this is how you eat at ST when your counting.  I took my notebook in the restaurant with me, who cares who's looking?!  Better to be gawked at for having a notebook on my tray than to be gawked at because I'm eating enough for a small marine platoon right?  Then, I got my tray but instead of a plate I had "Temptation" sneak around to the soup bar (he does that anyway because he likes to see what his soup options are before building his salad) and grab me four of the soup cups.  I then carefully measured my salad quantities into the 1-cup dishes, counting the calories for each salad as I went.  When I got to the table I totaled up my salad calories and determined how many were left for soup or pasta.  This even permitted me a smidgen of dessert: cranberry apple cobbler.  This is how you do it at the Sweet Tomato!

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 banana
1 red pear
1 cup boiled spinach w/lemon, salt & pepper
1 cup fat free yogurt
1 chicken and bean burrito
2 Tbsps green goddess dressing
1 cup of spaghetti noodles
1 cup of spaghetti sauce with ground beef
1 slice garlic cheese toast
1 Reese's 100 calorie snack pack
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,518

150 crunches
30 leg curls (front) both legs
30 leg lifts (front) each leg
20 minutes speed walking in the mall
Daily Caloric Burn: 370

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Motivation Hurdle

For some reason I really wasn't expecting this but I have encountered a motivation hurdle.  The motivation to count is still just ducky, though I'm sure you've noticed that my intake has been higher the last two days (still under 1,600 but not by much).  It's the motivation to exercise that is sapped, I take my lunch and think "I'd rather just exercise later and spend my lunch break relaxing".  Then later I think "I would rather take a bath first and exercise later."  Then even later I think "I'm still counting, will it kill me not to exercise today?"

Yesterday I forced myself to exercise but I didn't hit my 300 during lunch and I didn't make up for it after work like I had told myself I would.  It's silly because the motivation to lose weight is still there but I started feeling so good about what I had lost that I felt like I had lost 50 lbs instead of 16.  Looking at the pictures side-by-side this morning was a reality check but this solidifies something I've felt for a long time: I think that I have a tendency to see myself as being thinner than I really am, the way some anorexic girls see themselves as being heavier than they really are.  This is really dangerous and I think it has been a major contributing factor in why I've become obese in the first place.  I've always struggled with being a little chubby but I first became obese while living in Chicago and, even though I had gained over 100 lbs while living there, I couldn't understand why my best friend and my sister both said they barely recognized me when they picked me up from the airport.  I was completely clueless that I had gained so much weight and even now, looking back, I don't remember ever looking at myself and thinking "whoa".

Apparently, this is not an uncommon issue among obese people.  After realizing that I have actually been admiring my reflection for the last week and then seeing my picture today I had a kind of 'aha' moment.  I thought "well I look way better than that in person" but the whole "the camera adds 10 lbs" adage just doesn't cut it here so I went to google for some answers.  I found this article about skewed body image and how 30% of overweight American's think that they are skinnier than they really are.  This is pretty interesting I think because, just maybe, obesity and the trouble with weight loss stems from our inability to see ourselves for what we really are.  I have heard formerly obese people say that they just woke up one morning and decided that they were sick of being fat ... maybe that is because they woke up one morning and realized that they were really fat.  The question I have then is why.  Why do so many overweight people, like myself, see ourselves as thinner than we really are and why do so many thin people think they're overweight?  This would be a good subject to discuss in my psychology class; I think I will ask my instructor if we can broach it.

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 pack Newton's fig crisps
1 banana
1 whole wheat bagel
2 light laughing cow cheese wedges
1 cup boiled spinach w/lemon, salt & pepper
1 red pear
(The following items were eaten at Sweet Tomato)
>>5 pickle slices
>>4 oz pickled beets
>>1 tsp feta cheese crumbles
>>2 Tbsps fat free french dressing
>>1 cup wonton chicken salad
>>1 cup mandarin shells
>>1/2 cup turkey chutney pasta salad
>>1 cup potato, tomato, and spinach soup
>>1/2 cup tomato, basil, alfredo pasta
>>1/4 cup cran-apple cobbler
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,592

30 squats
30 leg lifts (side) each leg
20 lunges (front) each leg
10 lunges (side) each leg
30 push-ups
Daily Caloric Burn: 327

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weigh-In #5

Well I woke up this morning with swollen fingers and feet, a bloated tummy, and cramps.  I also had to get up three times in the middle of the night to use the ladies room, so the number on the scale this morning was not at all surprising or discouraging.  In fact, it was better than I expected: Precisely the same as last week.  I must confess, however ... I am suffering the consequences of eating cheese yesterday due to a very slight lactose intolerance issue.  I'm not usually this sensitive to it but I suspect having gone so long without eating any real, actual cheese has had something to do with my body's reaction to it.  Why must something I love so much come back to bite me in the ass?  (Figuratively speaking)

This felt like an extremely long week for some reason, so long that I actually briefly wondered if I'd missed a weigh-in and had to check the calendar to be sure.  Tomorrow is picture day and I'm sticking to it in spite of feeling all puffy today.  Puffy or not I'm still 16 lbs smaller than I was when I started this journey a month ago and that feels really, really nice, I just wish I felt better.  I mean, I feel fine as far as the weight goes but physically I am feeling a little bit run-down, still can't kick this cough from being sick, and I still have congestion in my ears.

I got 100% on both of my class assignments for school last week so I'm happy about that too but in spite of waking up an hour before the alarm sounded this morning, I wish I could go back to bed for the rest of the day.  It doesn't help that I forgot to make coffee last night before bed so that it would be waiting for me in the fridge this morning and I don't feel like brewing it up now.  On the upside I discovered these awesome Newtons Fruit Crisps thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to them.  They're surprisingly tasty and relatively filling for only 100 calories.  They also have 0 saturated and trans fat and contain decent potassium and protein!  Now if I could just find them in the store, right now it seems that they are a promotional item so you can only get them from certain courtesy locations.

5 glasses of water
1 banana
6 oz nonfat yogurt
1 Newtons Fruit Crisps Pack
1 can hearts of palm
8 oz pork loin (dry)
1 everything bagel w/cream cheese
1 can Progresso light chicken soup
2 slices white bread
1 laughing cow light cheese wedge
1 hostess 100 calorie snack pack
Daily Caloric Intake: 1530

50 crunches
50 leg lifts (side) each leg
30 push-ups
Daily Caloric Burn: 245

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Hi everyone!  So today "Temptation" and I were invited to hang out with our friends at their place and watch football.  They are some really cool people so, of course, we said yes.  They had crackers, sausages, cupcakes, and (drum roll please) cheese!  Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese!  The lady of the house is a truly awesome chick and as soon as I told her I was counting my calories she broke out some celery and carrots for my benefit.  This is just one example of why we like them so much; they are incredibly thoughtful, considerate peeps.  So I munched on the celery and drank water and went on quite happily but, all the while, the cheese was calling to me as I knew it would if I got within ear shot of it.

Eventually I caved, checked out the bottom of the cheese tray for a calorie count and figured out how many calories were in each piece of cheese using the calculator on my phone.  I then counted each piece of cheese as I ate it (I counted my carrots too).  Ya'll ... it was cheese and it was yummy, delicious, heavenly, blessed cheese to boot.  Oh behold the power of cheese, I am but it's humble servant.

So I may have ate a little bit more cheese than I originally intended but, I still counted it all and added up the calories on my phone.  The same woman also offered me some Newton fig snacks that are 100 calories per pack and mui delicioso.  She hasn't been able to find them in stores (she works for an airline and they serve them on her plane) so she gave me a couple to bring home with me.  We were there most of the day and I did good on my water intake.  "Temptation" dropped me off to nap and brought home dinner about an hour later, our usual fare from the super cheep prime-rib restaurant on the other side of the freeway.  I did not, however, get any of my exercise done.  The day is not over yet and I will most certainly try to make sure I get something done but right now my tummy is full of water and beef and I'm afraid if I try to exercise I'll whommit, plus I am still dog tired.  Go figure, I get dropped off at home to take a nap and as soon as I lay down and pull the blanket over me I can't fall asleep.  I FREAKIN' HATE INSOMNIA!!!

5 glasses of water
6" chicken sub (usual subway fare but only half today)
approx 3 stalks of celery (I didn't count these because celery is negative in calories)
20 bite-sized pieces of cheese (16 calories each)
12 baby carrots (raw)
2 Newton fruit snack packs
6 oz Prime Rib (dry)
1 cup seafood salad (dry)
1/2 cup lettuce
>>2 oz beets
>>2 oz red beans
>>2 tbsps olives
>>2 oz onions
>>2 tbsps french dressing
>>2 tbsps red vinegar
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,594

25 minutes with the shake weight (over the course of 1 hour)
Daily Caloric Burn: 300 (12x25=300)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Public Opinion Survey

Hi howdy all!  Ok this post has three parts: 1) Why I picked calorie counting and not some other diet method.  2) The foods I've avoided so far that I really FREAKIN MISS!  3) How to harmoniously marry my beliefs about dieting with my food cravings.

Part One:  I picked calorie counting for several reasons.  The first being that it doesn't require deprivation in order to succeed.  This was proved by the guy who did the Twinkie Experiment (I call it an experiment instead of a diet because he didn't ever intend for anyone to replicate it, he did it to test a theory.  See my Articles of Faith for more info on this.)  I've tried a LOT of different diets throughout my life, from Atkins to diet shakes and from killing myself at the gym every day to prescription grade diet pills.  The problems I've had with all of them has been sustainability.  Deprivation, for me, leads to failure.  Some people have the self-control to swear off fast food or chocolate for the rest of their lives.  I am not one of those people.  Quitting soda was a shocking feat and I still don't understand how I did but I did it to save my teeth, not to lose weight.  With calorie counting I can have chocolate and cheese and bread as long as I count them in my calories and eat them in moderation.  "All things in moderation" is the mantra of my new lifestyle.  Reason number two is "Temptation".  He presents a problem that prevents a major change in diet.  He won't swear off eating out, he won't give up fast food, he won't agree to more veggies and less pasta's, and we can't afford to buy completely different foods for both of us at every meal.  He won't let me buy whole wheat bread and I can't afford to buy two loafs, nor can I eat a whole loaf of wheat by myself before it goes bad.  I probably could afford it if I could increase the grocery budget and decrease the "eating out" budget but he won't go for that either because he LOVES to eat out.  So what can I do?  I can't always control what I eat but I can always control how much.  Calorie counting is ideal for this.  If "Temptation" wants lasagna we'll buy lasagna and I'll just make sure I control my portions and count the calories.  Finally, calorie counting appeals to my obsession with counting and math.  I need processes to succeed at anything and treating my diet like a mathematical equation makes me feel like I am doing something to solve the problem every day.  It gives me a sense of "take it day-by-day, follow the equation and success will happen".  All other diets, to me, have felt like "guess work" but with calorie counting it's a mathematical process, a formula, a sustainable daily plan of action free of doubts, guilt, regret, or questions.  I may not see daily weight loss but if I see that I am consistently following the formula my logical mind knows that progress is happening.

Part Two:  With all of that said, there are foods I've been avoiding because I am afraid of them.  Ice cream tops the list, and not just any ice cream.  Tin roof concrete's from Neilson's or Blizzards from Dairy Queen, or even those little pints of chocolate and coffee ice cream from the gas station on the corner.  Another food I miss is cheese, not that crappy white American crap I've been eating to make myself feel better but real cheese ... gooey mozzarella on pizza, pecorino and smoked gouda on crackers, and feta on salad.  I'm not a big drinker but the other things I miss are wine and margarita's on occasion with dinner.  I had a harder time saying no to a margarita last night at Chili's than I had rejecting the dessert menu.  I firmly believe that food is like a drug, except that it's legal and it's everywhere.  I believe that depriving myself of these items now while I lose weight will lead to a major food binge and yo-yo when the weight is gone.  It's like giving an addict who's been clean for two years a prescription for pain killers.  So I find myself in a conundrum.

Part Three:  I believe in all things in moderation but you can't buy 100 calories worth of cheese or concrete so how do I permit myself some ice cream without losing all self-control and destroying the last month of success?  I could probably get a pint of ice cream and only eat half a serving, but the rest of it will sit in the freezer and tempt me to the point of insanity.  I could buy a block of cheese and eat 100 calories worth but the rest of it will scream at me from the fridge "EAT ME!  EAT ME!"  Do I give in to the diet and deprive myself indefinitely and hope I can develop moderation once I'm thin?  Do I get a safe and make "Temptation" lock up the leftovers?  Do I eat a blizzard and then kill myself on the stationary bike to burn every last calorie that I consumed in the same day?  Do I eat the blizzard on Monday and then burn 1/7th of the calories in addition to my usual 300 every day for a week?  Most importantly of all ... what will you, my readers, say if I list 3 glasses of champagne on Christmas morning with my food intake?  This is your opportunity to sound-off on your opinions about this dilemma.  I would rather hear your thoughts now, before the cheese is eaten, than suffer a barrage of criticism after the fact.

3 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 everything bagel w/cream cheese
3 cups dry popcorn
1/2 cup seaweed salad
1 tuna sushi roll (6 pcs)
1 cucumber sushi roll (6 pcs)
1/2 california roll (3 pcs)
1 banana
6 oz nonfat cherry yogurt
1 Hostess snack pack
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,305

1 hour grocery shopping
2 hours shopping at the mall
1 hour shopping at target

Daily Caloric Burn: 611

"I will not try to satisfy haters.  I am not a jackass whisperer." (~Thanks for the quote Ki)

Friday, December 10, 2010

BREAKING NEWS & a conundrum

BREAKING NEWS: I pulled a pair of size 18 dress slacks out of my closet tonight and wore them to dinner!  Just updated my pant size in the right margin of this blog from 22 to 18!!!!!

So yesterday was a great day until "Temptation" came home from work and I looked at the clock and realized it was 4:00pm and I'd consumed only 22 calories in the form of coffee and creamer.  He brought me a salad with low-fat dressing and I ate a roll with it to boot but at 4:00 pm to have only a little over 300 calories in is a big problem.

Why?  You ask.  Well malnutrition isn't just about starvation.  Everyone on insists that eating less than 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day can lead to serious health issues including organ damage, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, poor eyesight, and can even contribute to osteoperosis later in life, even if it's only temporary for "dieting purposes".  In fact, people that I know personally who have had gastric surgery have told me that their doctor's told them to force themselves to eat no less than 1,400 calories per day even if they had to eat little things all day long or consume fattier foods to compensate for their smaller appetites.

So just eat 1,000 calories for dinner right?  Well for the first few days of this diet that is exactly what I was doing and a very wise person mentioned that this is really a form a daily binge eating and can be just as bad.  Ideally I like to try to eat around 400-500 calories before my lunch break, another 400-500 for lunch, and then around the same for dinner.  So for it to be 4 pm and I'm sitting on less than 400 for the entire day is bad, bad.  The only way to eat 1,000 calories in a single meal is to eat a Texas Double Whopper (or worse) and I'm trying to eat healthier than that.

So I had dinner, despite not being hungry, and was at just over 900 calories.  CUMMON!  So then I ate the avocado which brought me to 1,200 and, by now it's almost 9:00 pm.  I hate eating late at night because I know it just sits on my thighs all night while I'm sleeping but, at the same time, I've had extremely low calorie intakes for the last week-ish and that has led to extremely low energy levels so ... I downed two bite-sized chocolate snacks.  I didn't even want them but they were the most calories in the smallest package that wouldn't add a bunch more weight (food weight) to my stomach so I did it.  Twenty minutes later my stomach rebelled, I lost the fight, and about 40% of my calories "left the building" so to speak before I could really even retain any nutrients from them.

Now here I am again today, same problem.  Nothing before lunch but coffee, then I tried to work out a little while my soup was warming and it made me feel really bad.  Like, can barely stand up and walk to the microwave bad.  I find it necessary to mention that I didn't deliberately not eat all morning and most of the afternoon.  I literally forgot to eat ... sounds totally weird coming from a fat chick, I know, but it's the truth.  For the first few days it was hard to stay under 1,600, then it got easy, now it's hard to eat over 1,000.  Does anyone have any theories on why?!  Why can't my body just accept 1,400 to 1,600 without being obnoxious about it?!

5 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 can of Progresso light beef soup
2 slices of white bread
2 slices of white cheddar cheese
2.5 cups dry popcorn
1 grilled chicken breast w/rice, pico, black beans (Chili's light)
1/2 cup salsa and chips
Daily Caloric Intake:1362

150 crunches
50 leg lifts (side) each leg
50 leg lifts (front) each leg
40 minutes walking/shopping at the mall (in heels)
Daily Caloric Burn: 331

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why I Blog

So I've been browsing blogs for weight-loss lately and I've noticed that the incentives and motivations for blogging about dieting are many and varied.  Some of us blog because we hope that our journeys can inspire others, some of us use it as more of a personal journal of our experiences and don't really care if anyone reads it all, and some of us use it as motivation to boost each other up, celebrate our successes together, and receive support through the hard times.

Although my "Articles of Faith" explained the details of the blog, schedules, and my personal beliefs regarding my personal diet and weight-loss journey; I realized that some of you may be wondering why I am doing this so publicly.  Some of you, especially those of you who know me quite well, know two things about me: 1) I like to perform and I have enjoyed performing ever since I was a kid.  2) My problems with weight have a very profound effect on my psyche.  For the rest of you who are just getting to know me, I would like to explain both of these in further detail.

Performing:  I don't necessarily consider myself an attention junky because, when I am not in the mood to get on a stage and perform, I tend to be a bit of a wall flower.  At parties or big gatherings I am usually alone or with one or two close people engaging in quiet conversation and observing others.  I enjoy participating in group conversations and I usually have plenty to say, but I'm not the "dance on the coffee table for attention" type at all.  However, I've done a few beauty pageants (two to be exact, if you don't count Dimple Darling when I was a baby), I like to sing and have performed publicly in fairs and community events (even stood in line for 16 hours for American Idle in Chicago and never got to audition), and I'm good with speaking in public or making a spectacle of myself when asked (usually).

Weight Issues:  I'm the fat girl who calls herself a fat girl.  There it is, I'll just put it out there for everyone to see.  I frequently joke about my own weight and I really can't stand it when skinny people act all uncomfortable and awkward when I call myself fat.  Just stating the obvious!  I especially hate "oh no, you're not fat."  LIARS!  But I'm not really as happy-go-lucky about my weight as I seem, in fact I think I use self-deprication as a defense mechanism.  If I call myself fat first it can't hurt me when someone else says it, right?  Not really, but that's the theory I've been going with.

Why I blog: My love for performing and my natural instinct of having to do my very best (Never give up!  The show must go on!) when others are watching is a major factor.  I can fail, sure.  Sometimes I do it quite well, but I don't typically fail when I know someone is watching me.  I once sang "Tomorrow" from Annie at a fourth of July celebration in spite of the fact that I'd completely lost my voice from fighting with my sister and wanted nothing more than to run out of the building and hide.  It was horrible but I did it anyway because people were watching ... and I put my very damndest effort into it.  For most of my life I have failed at my weight because it was a private issue.  I'll call me fat but don't anyone else dare say it! ... that was my mentality.  The day I started this blog I did so because I had an epiphany.  What if I can exploit my fear of public failure and use it to finally lose weight?  If I make my struggle with weight-loss extremely public, to strangers and all, will my "the show must go on" personality take over and succeed where my "it's my body and my problem" personality has failed?  So far the answer to that question seems to be YES.

When "Temptation" calls me up and says "I'm going to Burger King, want anything?"  I look at my daily caloric intake and think "I can eat 1,200 calories today so a cheeseburger should be totally do-able" but then I think "What are my readers going to say when I list a cheeseburger on my daily food intake?  They're going to rip me a new one ... even if I don't exceed my caloric goal for the day."  And then I say to "Temptation": "no thanks, but would you mind stopping at Subway after you hit the drive through?"

4 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 grilled chicken salad with low-fat balsamic dressing

2 dinner rolls
8 oz Sundried Tomato pork loin
1/2 cup white rice w/lemon pepper
1 avocado w/salt & pepper
1 Snicker's 90 Calorie Ice cream snack
1 Reese's 100 calorie snack pack
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,422

Last day off, tomorrow I will be back on the 300 + burn bandwagon!!  YAY!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Common Cold

Well I am feeling even better today than I was yesterday so I am now more convinced than ever that my brother's advice to take a few days off for rest was sound and good for me.  I cheated and hopped on the scale last night because I was afraid that not exercising would be a problem but I was still 270.5, the same as Monday.  Of course that was less than an hour after eating dinner (chicken and rice) so I might even have a little loss that's just not showing yet.  I'm trying not to think about it too much though.

I found an interesting article on Yahoo! this morning regarding the common cold and I thought I'd share the cliffnotes version with you.  There are four things that it says we should take to boost our immune systems and combat sickness and then there are two things that it says we should avoid.

Good #1: Vitamin D, obtained through sunlight, milk and other dairy products, and often found in tandem with calcium supplements like the ones I'm taking.  "Laboratory studies indicate that the nutrient may help immune cells identify and destroy bacteria and viruses that make us sick" (Adit Ginde, M.D., University of Colorado School of Medicine).  From personal experience, if you have a cold, I would avoid using milk/dairy for your vitamin D because it can increase mucus production and coughing.

Good #2: Green tea, the wonder plant is it not?  I don't like green tea, typically, but herbal tea with lemon and cayenne pepper is practically the holy grail of cold remedies in my family so this doesn't really surprise me.  According to the article: "One laboratory study suggested that a particular type of polyphenols called catechins may kill influenza viruses" (No reference information provided).

Good #3: Probiotics, "good" bacteria found in yogurt that we're all hearing about in Activia and similar product commercials.  Well this is another long-time remedy used by my family though I must admit I'd forgotten about it.  Acidophilus is a key ingredient in yogurt and, in liquid form, tastes like it.  We used to get it in brown glass bottles with metal caps when I was a kid and it was milky and maybe a little gritty but the raspberry flavored version was quite tasty.  I haven't been able to find it around here, and I have asked several places but no one carries it in liquid form anymore.  Odd huh?

Good #4: Soluble fiber "abundant in citrus fruits, apples, carrots, beans and oats—helps fight inflammation" (Christina Sherry, Ph.D., University of Michigan).  Well I have been eating more fruit lately so that's good yeah?

Bad 1 & 2: "Airborne" and Vitaminwater "Defense".  It says that the excess amounts of nutrients found in the former are potentially harmful and the latter falls short of containing enough of them, plus is 125 calories per bottle.  Good to know huh?

4 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee with creamer
1 banana
1 foot long chicken sub (the usual)
1 cup cheesy rice
1 dinner roll
4 Tbsps Salsa
15 SunChips
Daily Caloric Intake: 1354

Still on hold but I'm feeling a lot better and should be back on the program tomorrow or Friday!