Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Articles of Faith

Part mission statement, part disclaimer, part allaying some myths: if you are new to my blog the information below will help you get caught up and avoid confusion or me having to repeat myself. :)

  • I post thoughts, comments, food, exercise, and calories daily
  • I read your thoughts and comments and try to reply frequently
  • I weigh in on Monday morning's and post the results (be they good or bad)
  • I take a photo on the 14th of each month to show progress
  • I accept weekly challenges that are feasible and compliment my diet plan/goals
  • My daily caloric intake goal is 1,600 or less (subject to change with progress)
  • My daily caloric burn goal is 300 or more (subject to change with progress)
  • I permit myself 1 "caveman" day per month to avoid plateau
  • I acknowledge mistakes but don't beat myself up over them or let them discourage me
  • I count calories using and verify my numbers on (created by Lance Armstrong ... perhaps you've heard of him?)
  • I spend my hour lunch break working out and add the shake weight or wii at night as a supplement
  • I measure my food whenever possible, will tell you when I don't measure/count something, and am prepared to do that for the rest of my life to stay healthy ... just like my dad measures his diabetes medication.
  • I have made big changes in my eating habits and will continue to work on them; this is a process not a marathon
  • I am working toward a new lifestyle not a crash diet that will lose it quick and gain it back quicker
  • From the date of this post I am giving myself NINETEEN MONTHS to accomplish my goals
  • I will not eliminate the occasional fast food meal from my diet because it is not practical, realistic, or sustainable.  I work full time, go to college full time, am writing a book, learning to speak Italian, and am now adding exercise to my daily to-do list so in addition to not liking to cook, sometimes I just don't have time.
  • Calories in - Calories out = weight loss.  It's scientifically proven.  I acknowledge the nutritional importance of healthier foods but they are not strictly required for weight loss.  It's all about the calories.
  • I try new things, I tell you what I think of them, realistically, and if it doesn't work I try something else.
  • Any form of movement burns calories and beats sitting on the couch watching TV.  I embrace the alternatives because killing myself on a treadmill every chance I get is not realistic for me.
  • Caloric burn is based on weight, the more you weigh the more calories you burn walking a mile or climbing a flight of stairs.  It's like wearing 100 lb weights strapped to your back ... everything is harder and takes more effort when you're obese.
  • Different diets work for different people.  I've tried dozens of them over the years that haven't worked for me but have worked for other people I know.  Dieting is like religion - to each their own.
  • Yes I have mentioned the Twinkie diet, I am NOT, however, advocating or supporting it.  It was an experiment conducted by a professional in nutrition to prove a point.  That is ALL!  I do not suggest that anyone actually try it as a method for losing weight.
  • I don't sleep well due to medical problems unrelated to my weight, therefore, my morning coffee is necessary.  It's healthier than the 4 cokes a day I used to drink and it is a good source of fiber.  I do not use sugar or sweetener in my coffee, if I did I would tell you.
  • I don't actually like fruit, at all, just ask my mom who pops in here from time to time.  So every time you see that I've eaten a piece ... it is a major accomplishment of personal will-power.
  • I hate to cook.  Hate it.  There is not a domestic bone in my body.  I cook out of necessity on occasion or get a wild hair for it ... but don't be surprised that it doesn't happen often.
  • I live with a saboteur trying very hard to tempt me and support me at the same time.  I think he's confused and I'm doing my very best but it's not always easy to resist "Temptation" ... as you all know.
  • I don't have a lot of money and, in my area, whole foods and raw foods cost twice as much as processed so, for me, dieting is a balancing act.
  • I firmly believe that my hunger signals are misaligned.  If they weren't, I wouldn't be fat, therefore I don't listen to them usually.
  • I have already succeeded!  I will not forget that!
  • I will continue to succeed and push myself to try new things and grow throughout this process!


  1. I will admit, your snarkyish comment on 266 blog left a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth, but I didn't put it together until Allan mentioned you. However, as I read your statements here, I think that you have some very good goals. I think your caloric intake is good, your movement is good and varied (hell, wish I moved daily that much). I don't understand the "needy" vibe for followers, but then I never sought out followers, so that's me. Your food choices do look improved--so maybe something said out there did influence matters. :) You increased the veggie profile.

    I think your calorie level and exercise program will result in excellent losses. YOu're also likely young (college age?), so the factors are good for some nice drops in weight.

    I hate to cook and we eat out and take-way often, but I am committed to do more home-made meals. Simply easier to control what's in food at home and cheaper. In time, you may find that assembling a sammie or salad and taking along snacks is simpler than you realize and will make your budget happy, too. I started making lunches for hubby over a year ago and he gets way more nutrition and fewer calories as a result. And spends less on lunches out. Takes me maybe 10 mins, less if I plan better. Usually just involves assuring there are leftovers. So, one meal cooked can be 3 meals eaten. (Not that I'm anywhere as skilled as the ladies in my old church who cooked one month's worth of meals in one day and never had to cook for 30 days. Just reheat or thaw. Now THEY were amazing at stretching dollars and saving time, but then, when one is, say, a pastor's wife with 5 kids who also teaches elementary school and is used to getting called at all hours by church members in crises, one learns to budget time and money.)

    I wish you well. I wish us all well.

  2. I wish you the best, and I hope you eventually reach your goal. I agree with a lot of what you've written, but I just want to add one thing: be careful w/ fast food. That's something you should only eat once in a blue moon (like a few times a year). Cutting calories and getting exercise are both steps in the right direction, so hopefully, over time you'll be able to incorporate healthier foods into your diet. That's kind of my plan, too. LOL.


    On the topic of coffee... I am not stating it is a "health-food", but black coffee is a lot healthier than most people think (in moderation) and the effects of caffeine (in moderation) aren't nearly as negative as most people think.

    Several years ago I wrote a paper on the benefits of coffee and then a brochure comparing coffee to soda. I don't recall all of the details now but you're right about the fiber. Additionally, most Americans get more antioxidants from their coffee than any other source... now this doesn't mean coffee is the ideal source of antioxidants (it's not, it would be better if we got more from fruit/veggies) but only serves to demonstrate that coffee does have redeeming qualities.

    Additionally, much research has shown that moderate but daily intake of coffee (again, black) is directly-correlated with a lower incidence of obesity and diabetes.

    Anyone harping on you about drinking a few cups of coffee a day simply isn't making their argument from facts -- research I looked into showed that up to about 5 cups/day is relatively health and that it isn't until you drink more than that that you start to suffer bad side-effects (mostly being that at those caffeine-levels, it makes it hard to sleep later).

    One thing constantly observed in my research, however, is that a lot of coffee drinkers tend to accidentally replace water-consumption in the morning with their coffee -- something you should strive to avoid especially since caffeine is a diuretic -- and water is fairly important for weight-loss.

    One thing I try to do is keep a cup of water next to my coffee mug and make sure I sip on it at times as well. Additionally, every time I make a trip to the loo I drink about 8oz. of water to keep myself hydrated. I just down it all in one go.

    Add a few pieces of fruit to your morning coffee, and you actually have one of the healthiest breakfasts you could really ask for.

    With coffee, you *can* eat you cake and have it too! You just have to understand what moderation means and be willing to supplement with water and fruit.

  4. Princess: my comments on 266 were snarkyish, I know. I posted them while feeling emotionally "let down" by her. She was my original inspiration. Her blog was the boot-in-the-ass that I finally needed to get started and her anniversary video had me bawling with joy and anticipation. Then I started reading her more recent posts and the comments of others regarding her daily ice cream habit and I started feeling a little bit betrayed and irritated with her. I shouldn't have posted while upset like that, I know that now. I knew that then but I tend to be a slave to my emotions and regret it later ... typical Scorpio. I am in college but I am 28 years old, getting a late start.

    Jen: Though I know I still have a LOT of ground to cover on my fast food intake and agree with you whole heartedly on quantity constrictions, I also want to mention that I have made progress with it. Before starting this diet "Temptation" would bring home cheese burgers every single day for lunch, 6 days a week, and sometimes we'd grab some for dinner too. Now he calls me every day and says "I'm going to In n' Out you want something?" and I say "No". I ate more fast food around thanksgiving because we were on the road (weinerschnitzel) and because I gave in to "Temptation" (burger king). It was a mistake, one you won't see me make often as a follower. I do claim a few exceptions though: subway, if the right thing is ordered, is actually pretty decent and the fresco style taco's at taco bell aren't too bad either. Fast food restaurants are making very slow progress toward offering better fast food options.

    Anonymous: I stick to one cup of coffee in the morning because, if I try to drink more I get the shakes and I hate the shakes. I try to down it within an hour of waking up because I'm still not accustomed to the taste of it but I know it's better than the mountain dew voltage I used to reach for every morning. By 9 am I am usually filling my coffee cup with my first glass of water. I tend to drink more water at restaurants than I do at home, not sure why that is. I can have dinner at home and barely drink anything but when I eat out I tend to drink at least two glasses of water. Odd huh?

  5. That was great! Thank you for writing that out. I agree with so many of your points.

    I'm new to diet blogging and look forward to reading your blog in the future.

    You mentioned "caveman" days- what does that mean?

  6. Hi "Gonna" (sorry, I don't know what else to call you. :) ).

    First off let me welcome you to the blog and thank you for visiting. Every new visitor is motivation for me so I am really very happy that you're here.

    Second, thank you so much for reading the Articles! So many people skip them and then they're confused about what I'm trying to accomplish. I don't think anyone must do what I'm doing (they can if they want) but it does make life easier for me if everyone knows what my perspective and goals are so that they're not trying to figure out how I can justify eating a soft taco while on a "diet". It's great that you came to this thread and took a peek inside my head. :)

    Now to answer your question: Caveman days are loosely based on a program called "The Caveman Diet" in which it suggests that dieters consume nothing but water, nuts, and berries during the early part of the day. Then work out as hard as they possibly can until they feel like they're going to keel over in the evening. Then for dinner they can eat whatever they want and as much as they want. The Caveman Diet works off the concept of how early man might have lived when he was a hunter/gatherer. It presumes that cavemen spent all day walking around, drinking as much water as possible when it was available, snacking on roots and berries while searching for prey. Then he finds his prey and exerts an extreme boost of physical energy to chase, catch, kill, skin and prepare his meal. Then he gorges himself on his kill because he doesn't know when his next meal will come. Now, like I said "Caveman Days" are VERY loosely based on that idea.

    Caveman days are days where water intake is (ideally) twice as high as usual, caloric intake is 200-400 calories higher than usual (though they're spread evenly throughout the day, not binged in one sitting) and the workout for that day is either twice as strenuous or twice as long as usual. It's basically a jump-start day for the metabolism to kick it out of it's comfort zone and it's based on the idea that no matter what diet someone might choose, their body will always eventually become "comfortable" with it and compensate by slowing the metabolism. Jump-start days basically say "here's some extra food so my metabolism knows I'm not starving in a global famine" and "here's the hardest workout I could manage to wind my metabolism up like a top so it will burn hotter and faster for awhile".

    There's considerable data to support the method because the extra calories supply the energy for the extra work-out and the extra work-out burns off the extra calories. Yet the two things combined are like pushing the throttle on an idling car and it rev's everything up for awhile.

    Unfortunately, however, I haven't actually managed a Cave Man day yet. I keep thinking I'm going to align them with special occasions or planned splurges and then the splurges happen but the exercise doesn't. I think I need to just pick a date, like the 13th or something, and on that date every month just know it's Caveman Day.