Category Archives: Weight Loss

Wanna Watch your Weight – or Lose It?

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I’ve been using the Weight Watchers app for two years now. I KNOW it works. Weight Watchers teaches you to make better choices than most programs. But – I’ve tried the Lose It app also, and in some ways I like the app (though not necessarily the program) more. It’s easier to use, and the bar code scanner is far better than the one Weight Watchers provides. And it’s free! HOWEVER, when I am using the Lose It app, I find it harder to lose weight. I’ve been trying to figure out why!

Yesterday, I tracked my food in both the Lose It app (top photo) and the Weight Watchers app (bottom photo.) In the Lose It app, I was 461 calories *under* for the day. But in the WW app, I was seven points OVER my allotted 27 points for the day – with the same food and exercise choices.

The obvious answer is that not all calories are “created equal.” Which is pretty sad to me, because I would like for the 136 calories from pasta to be the same as 136 calories worth of broccoli.  But alas, it is not. Pasta calories might as well be rubbed right onto the thighs and broccoli calories likely head straight for your biceps.

One piece of Oroweat Oat Nut bread (which I love) is three whole points. But it’s only 100 calories in Lose It. One ounce of my favorite cocoa roast almonds is FIVE WW points. But only 156 calories in Lose It. When I’m using the Weight Watchers app, I think twice before I eat that bread, because it “costs” more.  (I usually eat the almonds regardless, because I love them that much.)

Long story short, I still believe the Weight Watchers program works the best because it teaches you a better way to eat. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, fibers…things that will keep you feeling full and not just empty calories. Lose It will work, too, but you have to be careful when considering how to spend your calories.

That’s just my two cents worth!

 

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Conversations With Yourself

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At 5’3″ and 231 pounds, I was classified as “morbidly obese”. Whether or not I agree with that label is another story. But according to all the professionals, there it was in black and white, a body mass index of 40.9%.

Over the 25 years I spent being overweight (which I still am, by the way – according to the professionals) I often wished I could *see myself* at a healthier weight. Every new year I’d think “well, if I start in January and lose 8 pounds per month, I could be thin by Thanksgiving!” And then I’d fail to follow through, and Thanksgiving would roll around, and I’d still be hefty because all I did was THINK about it, and again I’d be ashamed of my lack of self-discipline.

There’s something about this commercial that really speaks to my heart.

I don’t know anything about Medifast. But personally, I think it’s good motivation to “visualize yourself” where you’d like to be. And in this commercial, in the two tearfully spoken words: “Good job!” – I sense her embarrassment over her current shape, her desire to accomplish her goal, her doubt over her ability to gain control, her hope that this time she’ll follow through, and the pride she knows she’ll feel when she does. Maybe I’m reading more into it than is really there, but I see me in her.

Back On the Wagon

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It’s cold. (Texas cold, anyway.) And John built a great fire, and we’ve been gone all day, and this morning I woke up with one of those headaches that just won’t go away, and it’s dark outside and The Biggest Loser is on and I have both Downton Abbeys on the DVR that I haven’t seen yet and REALLY want to watch and I need to finish some things to mail.

But we went to the gym anyway, and when we came back out the cold felt nice, and my headache was gone, and Downton will still be on my DVR and now I’m finishing the mail and the fire is still going AND I got four activity points and for the first time in a long time I actually tracked everything I ate today. Being back on the wagon feels good.

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I’ll Have Two Number Ones, Please

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Chick-Fil-A fried chicken sandwich with waffle fries (plus two packets of Honey Roasted BBQ sauce) and a DP…Pizza Garden’s pepperoni pizza (to go)…Dan’s Hamburger’s hickory burger with curly fries…two bean & cheese tacos and a beef fajita taco from Taco Cabana…Golden Chick’s #1 (4 tenders, fries and a hot, buttery yeast roll) and sweet tea…SLURP: my former fast food favorites.

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One of the toughest things for me has been changing the way I eat when I’m not home. At home, I feel more in control of my portion sizes and I know exactly what goes into what I’m eating. I can weigh the food and calculate points and generally feel confident that I’m not eating hidden calories. Away from home is a different story.

We had a potluck after worship today, and those are always danger zones for me. (My brother is highly suspicious of potluck food, too, but his fear is less about calories and more about food poisoning.) 😉  Typically everyone makes their favorite dish with two sticks of butter and a hearty dose of cheese on top…and then there is the smorgasbord of Paula Deen’s orange brownies and my mother-in-law’s banana pudding just begging to be eaten.

SO, I’ve had to make some changes. We don’t eat much fast food anymore. If I’m out, I like to get a Grilled Chicken Caesar salad from La Madeleine (dressing on the side, and take home the leftover dressing!) Mama Fu’s and similar places will make accommodations for you and cook without oil. Sandwich places are better than hamburger places – even though there are still carbs in the bread. Panera Bread has vegetable and chicken broth soups (cream soups are usually high in calories/points) and a lot of good choices. Italian restaurants are difficult, but a simple spaghetti & meat sauce isn’t a terrible choice, especially if you only eat half and take the rest home. And Chick-Fil-A has a great Southwest grilled chicken salad – it has lots of crunch and color and flavor!

As for potlucks….well, you might just have to bring your own food. 🙂

I’m interested in knowing what YOU GUYS have done to change the way you eat away from home. Any tips?

OBSESSED

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A few years ago, I saw an episode of an A&E television show called “Obsessed” that gave a glimpse into the lives of people with different anxiety disorders. One man was obsessed with working out. He would get up extra early in the morning to go to the gym before work, and he would work out during breaks at the company gym, and then would stop at the gym AGAIN on his way home.

At the time, I was a complete couch potato and could not fathom ANYONE being willing to subject himself to such torture not just once, but THREE or FOUR times daily! But now…now that I’m a long-distance-runner-hurdler-professional-weight-lifter-and-all-around-athlete 😉 I can relate a bit more. Well…actually I guess I should say that since I now go to the gym (usually) three times a week (except in December) I can relate a bit more.

It is hard not to be a bit obsessive when you’re trying to get rid of extra weight. The grocery store feels like a battle zone with sugar IEDs lurking on every aisle. The “Grilled Chicken Bowtie Festival” winks at you from Carino’s menu, luring you in with the words “grilled chicken” and then slapping you with the sneaky asiago cream sauce. And it’s scary to fall off the workout wagon – because once you’re off, it’s so hard to get back on again!

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Here’s what I’m still learning. It’s okay to have some Bowtie Festival every once in a while, and even then you don’t have to eat the whole plate full. If you have a 14 year old boy, you can count on him to be happy to finish anything you can’t. You can also have some Raspberry M&M’s, if you can make the bag last for a couple of months (yes, months!) And it’s not the end of the world if you go a week without working out. Just get back on the wagon and keep going.

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Food log today: Egg McMuffin from McDonalds. Chicken tortilla soup and some Garcias chips for lunch. Buffalo pretzel chips for snack. And maybe a Ghirardelli peppermint chocolate square. Four slices of lean brisket and a spinach salad for supper.

Trying to Stay Un-Hefty

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Isn’t “un-hefty” a word? If it isn’t, it should be!

We’ve had a few people ask us “how we did it” (losing weight), and the following is part of an email between me and a friend. I have to say that we still are fighting to lose the last bit and are fully aware that it’ll be a fight to keep it off. I don’t have any illusions that we’ve got it all figured out! I just thought some of you might be interested in a few of the things that worked best for John and me.

By the way, this is one of the photos that I saw of myself that was kind of “the last straw.” I keep it on my refrigerator for motivation. And because I love Gretchen. 🙂

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“Weight Watchers really does work because it teaches you to make better choices and it’s a lifestyle change, not a fad.

As far as my advice – I would say, don’t be in a big hurry because you need to be in it for the long haul. Don’t say “I’ve got to do it in six months” because that can set you up for failure. Also, don’t set unrealistic goals because you may get discouraged.

Track your food / points EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY! (John didn’t track, he just followed me…but I had to or I’d forget what I’d eaten.) If you don’t have time to record it before you eat it, take a picture of your plate with your phone camera and then you can take time later to track your points.

Set a goal for losing ten pounds, and then go from there. Losing really is motivating, and it’s easier to lose in the beginning but don’t get discouraged if it slows down a little. The less you weigh, the less you need to eat, so your points will go down. Sometimes that’s a little depressing because you already think you don’t get to eat enough…but it’s worth it!

Discover new foods that you like and that satisfy you. The things that helped me the most are good Boars Head deli meats (smoked turkey, Bavarian ham) for breakfast or lunch (I don’t even need bread) – lots of protein and no carbs and fat (but be careful of sodium content)….also Laughing Cow cheese. The light ones are two for one point – great on pretzel chips and on baked potatoes. Also, we love spinach salads with grilled chicken – lots of grocery stores carry frozen pre-grilled chicken breasts so it’s easy to make a salad. There are lots of good light salad dressings, but I prefer the real stuff, I just don’t use much of it. Progresso light soups are filling and tasty.

Find the things that are high in protein (so they are filling and satisfying) and not just empty sugar calories. Most cereals are just sugar, so it was hard in the beginning, because I like cereal – but I hardly eat any now.

Find a good salsa and use that instead of cheese on eggs or baked potatoes, etc….I love Julios.

Give up ANY kind of sugar drink and switch to diet. (A lot of people say the diet sodas aren’t good for you and I’m sure they’re not but it has been pretty crucial for my weight loss to be able to have a diet soda.) I don’t even miss the regular ones any more. At all. And it didn’t take long – maybe a week or two for me to not miss it. I love Diet DP, DP Ten, Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi with cherry….almost all of them are great! Red Diamond splenda sweetened tea is good.

I’ll eat a little teaspoon of peanut butter when I’m feeling munchy – it’s semi-high in points but tastes good and is filling.

Most of this will all depend on your tastes. That’s what I mean when I say – find what works for you. Stick with it every day – don’t have a “cheat day” (unless that works for you) because to me, it would ruin my whole week.

One of the biggest things I guess is – when you’re eating something, ask yourself “am I really enjoying this?” If your answer is not whole heartedly YES, throw it away. Don’t waste calories on it. Save that for things you really enjoy.

If you have a big piece of cake in front of you and you’re feeling guilty – eat a bite or two and then pour your drink on top of it.  That really works for me, because it takes the temptation away and you won’t keep nibbling it.”

We wish you the best!

Guilty.

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Hmmm, perhaps?

Food log today: 1/2 cup cottage cheese & 15 almonds for breakfast. Cup of tortilla soup & some Garcias chips for lunch. 🙂 😦 We had our Stitches & Such Christmas fun tonight and ate at Cracker Barrel – I had one biscuit, 4 chicken tenderloins, some hash brown casserole and green beans. BISCUIT – TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Hobbits Shouldn’t Take Shortcuts, and Neither Should I

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“There were many paths that led up into those mountains, and many passes over them. But most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers. The dwarves and the hobbit, helped by the wise advice of Elrond and the knowledge and memory of Gandalf, took the right road to the right pass.” J.R.R. Tolkien

I’ve been reading The Hobbit while puffing away on the elliptical machine, making it a much more enjoyable experience. Confession: I’ve never read any of the Lord of the Rings books (Gasp! And for that matter, I’ve ALSO never read any Jane Austen!)

Now that I’ve lost all of your respect, let me move on.

Those few sentences made me stop (not really, I kept puffing away…) and think. There are so many life applications! Here is one: there are a lot of ways to lose a few pounds. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, HCG,  and Gastric Bypass to name just a few.

(Remember Richard Simmons’s Deal-A-Meal? and Susan Powter?)

I don’t want to be a snob, but I really do believe that there is no shortcut: no easy, quick, painless way to lose weight and keep it off.  Some of the methods you hear about really are just cheats and deceptions. Some are even dangerous. I think it’s smart to have wise advice and knowledge from people who know what they’re talking about.

And a much more important application. There are many man-made “paths” and “passes” in the religious world. They are cheats, deceptive, evil and dreadful.  Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He also said “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9) And, He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

No shortcuts for me. I want to take the right road to the right pass – I want to follow the One who knows what He’s talking about.

Food log today: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 10 almonds for breakfast. I ran out of ham AND Pam, so my egg stuck to the pan. 😦 We had lunch at Mama Fu’s – I had about 1/4 cup of egg drop soup, 2 steamed potstickers, and 1/2 of my chicken broccoli plate. Supper was a big spinach salad with 2 tsp sunflower seeds and 2 tsp Olive Garden dressing, 2 ounces of yesterday’s leftover meatloaf, and some pita chips and hummus. And I had a teaspoon of peanut butter when we got home from the gym. 🙂

What Do You See In the Mirror?

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360_anorexia_0615Back in 1981 when the world as we knew it had only three channels, I watched a movie called “The Best Little Girl in the World.” The movie was about Casey (Jennifer Jason Leigh, remember her?) – a teenage girl who struggled with an eating disorder. I vividly remember one scene in which Casey stood alone in front of a full length mirror, wearing only a bathing suit. Her eyes saw chubby thighs, a spare tire around her middle, and a double chin when she was merely skin and bones. Casey’s mother (who had no idea the extent of the condition her daughter was in) suddenly opened the door and was horrified to see the reality of shoulder, rib, and hip bones jutting against Casey’s skin. I was a petite little girl at the time – and couldn’t imagine anyone deliberately making themselves upchuck (Mom’s word) but I remember a character in the movie saying it was “better than being fat.”

Body image is a complicated thing. When I looked in the mirror 75 pounds ago, I saw a pear shaped woman. Guess what? When I look in the mirror now, I see a pear shaped woman.

I don’t feel more worthy, more valuable, more important or more significant than I did 75 pounds ago. That’s not to say I haven’t noticed improvements in my life: among them a sense of accomplishment and increased energy. But I’m certain that to God, my value didn’t go up as my weight went down and I know this is true of every fat, skinny, high-waisted, short-legged, beautiful, not-so-beautiful, blonde, brunette, unibrowed, wrinkled, brawny, puny, “red, yellow, black or white” individual on the planet.

I say all this not to discourage anyone from losing extra weight, but as encouragement to focus more on health and less on appearance. (Oh, I’m not going to lie – of COURSE looking better is a bonus!) But what is important to God should be reflected in our lives: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Food log for today is early because I’m going to a Christmas party catered by Carino’s  tonight and I may or may not want anyone to know what I eat later. 🙂 I got crazy and switched things up at breakfast, and had an omelette with one egg and about 1/4 cup shredded potato and some salsa, plus about 10 cocoa almonds. Lunch was a cup of beef vegetable soup and some pita chips & hummus.