Friday, August 2, 2013

Target that Weight Loss!

Sometimes I wonder if I'd remember to eat if I lived alone.  I mean seriously, I have a responsibility to my daughter to ensure she has nutritious meals everyday.  But what happens when my house turns into that empty nest?  Honestly, if it weren't for her asking what's for dinner, I'd probably forget to eat.  Not always, but there are some days.  Has that happened to you before?  You just get so busy that there are no hunger pains and even if there were you probably ignore it?  Anyway, that was random.

Work was busy again today, so not much walking.  Hardly any.  At all.  I won't even hit 5K steps before bed.  No exercise to speak of either.  I'd like to say I didn't have time, but really, I just didn't feel like it - well, that and no time.  On the way home from work, I filled a prescription for my dog Coal - he's got a infection in his ears and we ran out of his meds this morning.

Got home from work, checked out for flights home for my son to visit in a few weeks and then jumped right into looking up info on my broken dishwasher.  Using, I found out which part(s) might be bad and started taking apart the dishwasher.  (It's not dissolving soap all the way, not heating up the water enough, and certainly not cleaning the dishes - for all you appliance savvy people out there.)  Turned off the circuit breaker, grabbed some tools and down on the floor I crawled.  This was NOT good for the knee.  I tried using a pillow to cushion the floor a bit - that helped some.  I located the first part to check - the float switch - it was good.  I also know the pump works.  Next, I checked the water inlet valve with a meter - it was good, but it could be bad mechanically.  Since it's a good possibility the valve got clogged, I went ahead and researched prices for a replacement valve. gave me a link to where I could purchase the part for $43 plus an additional $8 for shipping.  Not bad I guess, but I'm pretty thrifty and decided to search a bit more.  Then I found the exact same part on for $36 w/FREE 2-day shipping.  So, hmmmm, cheaper, faster, and returnable - DONE!

Oh and at some point in all this I hear, "Hey Mom! What's for dinner?"

Annnnyway, all this to say how much I didn't feel like jumping on the treadmill afterwards.

Yep, that's my life.  Is there any wonder why I'm tempted to eat out?  But we didn't (YAY!).  Just had Refried Black Beans, Tortillas, 2% cheddar, avocado & salsa.  We were supposed to have this meal Monday, but I made slow cooker beans instead of canned, so we swapped some stuff around.  It's all good as long as no food goes bad. =p

So..... weigh-in tomorrow.  Yeah, I wonder.  I peeked this morning, just to see.  It wasn't bad, but not great either.  The scale is evil.  I like Charlene... target that weight loss!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Forbidden Fruit

Have you ever noticed how badly we want what we can't have?  If someone tells me not to look, I do.  If I'm told I can't go over there, I wonder what's really over there and why can't I go?  I think the same could be said while we're watching what we eat and trying to make healthy food choices.

When we restrict something from our diet that we formerly enjoyed, we tend to want it more now than ever.   That may not be true for EVERY restricted food, but say your favorite not-so-healthy food choice is... a KitKat candy bar.  But you have decided that candy is not conducive to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle.  So from Monday on, (because all diets start on Monday, right?) you won't eat another candy bar until you lose X amount of weight.  And what do we do Sunday night?  EAT A KITKAT!!!  Right?!?  If I'm gonna be deprived of my favorite thing, then by gosh I'm gonna have one NOW!  I don't know, am I the only one this has ever happened to?

Well, Monday rolls around and then Tuesday and I'm still doing ok - no monster cravings - whew!  But then suddenly, for no apparent reason, I start seeing KitKat everywhere.  They're next to the cash register in every store, they're in vending machines, and snack bars at work.  They're in giant-size bars in the grocery aisle and even on stinkin' bill boards.  Next, I start hearing that jingle over and over and over "Gimme a break!  Gimme a break!  Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar!" 

What happened?  I decided I wasn't going to eat candy bars and now it's like they're going out of they're way to tempt me - as if that were even possible!  But here's my thought - by restricting something that I loved eating so much, I've now made it untouchable - precious.  (I hear Gollum now... "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious."  No matter how much I know it's not a healthy choice, I want it.

I propose we stop making things "precious".  This is something I remember from the quit-smoking book by Allen Carr.  It applies to anything we have deemed off-limits but still love as much as it applies to smoking.  The trick is to not make the food precious.  Instead of telling myself that I can't have it, I remember the reasons that I don't want it.  As I start associating the not-so-great stuff (high calories, high saturated fat, high sugar, sugar crash) about KitKat bars instead of focusing on what's really only a 5-minute or so guilt-ridden pleasure, I get to a place where I can let go of the forbidden and let it just be a choice.  I can chose to have one or I can chose not to have one.

I have forbidden myself donuts.  It's not necessarily my favorite food or anything, but I realized the other day that I can now smell donuts when I walk into a room that has a box of donuts.  What is up with that?!?  But I'm serious!  Eleven weeks this past Wednesday is how long I've skipped the donuts.  Did I make them precious in the process?  Hmmmm.  Anyway, I will no longer forbid them.

Now on to our regularly scheduled post...

Yesterday's post was so long, I decided to post exercise/goals stuff today:

Cardio intensity was definitely up there.  I was able to hit a HR of 130 and 135 during my treadmill time.  I had to push it up to a 3.0 incline and 3.5-3.8mph to do it, but it finally got up there and maintained it for about a minute or so.  Funny thing is that as soon as I went back to 2.0 incline and 3.0mph, my HR went right back down to 123 and stayed there.  It didn't matter that I was completely out of breath and holding on to the treadmill with one hand, or that my legs felt like they were on fire, my HR stayed at 123.  That's why I only did the 130+HR thing twice.  I didn't think I could do it anymore.  Once I stayed at 3.0mph for over 5 minutes, my HR dropped to 117.  Apparently, my heart is fairly strong, but my body is weak.  Well, and there is the altitude thing too.  Maybe my muscles are burning due to the lack of oxygen?  Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Today was supposed to be an upper body resistance training day.  However, I opted out due to knee pain from yesterday's treadmill experience.  This morning if felt like it was the size of a basketball!!  Oh why oh why didn't I ice it when I was done?

Water intake was much better.  I made it to over 80 ounces yesterday for sure.

Pain level is worse, but I did push myself.  I will just have to work up to this - maybe 130 was too high of a goal.

Sitting too long at work.  It was good yesterday, bad today.  But we're understaffed on Thurs/Friday so I am pretty much stuck on those days.

Core Workouts - didn't do it - again.  Pain - again.

Summary - yesterday good/today bad.  I won't give up.  I'm willing to keep making mistakes and fixing them, keep finding ways to be more healthy and doing them.

Have an excellent Friday!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review - "Lose Weight Now" by Allen Carr

This is the second "Easy Way" book I've read by Allen Carr.  The first was "Easy Way to Stop Smoking," which actually worked for me.  I would never have imagined that reading a BOOK could get me to quit smoking.  That was 2 years ago and I haven't touched a cigarette since.  Given that book was so helpful, I thought I'd check out "Lose Weight Now" and see if my buddy Allen could work his magic again.

"Lose Weight Now" uses the same approach as "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" in that the author attempts to change the way we think about food.  The difference of course being that I can quit smoking and never ever touch tobacco again, but I can't really quit eating.  The trick is to stop overeating.  Allen proclaims that after you read this book, you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived."

In order for the concepts of this book to work, you have to have an open mind.  When quitting smoking, I had a very open mind because nothing else had worked - what did I have to lose?  So I went into reading "Lose Weight Now" knowing I'd have to do so with an open mind - no pre-conceived notions, no guessing what's ahead and no shooting down ideas just because they disagree with my own.

At the of the first chapter, Allen says that his "method is easy, eating is a pleasure, overeating is a pain, dieting will not solve the problem, it will only make it worse."  At the end of each chapter, there is a nice bulleted summary with a "tip" summarizing the main point.  Each chapter gives you a little more to think about while he re-enforces previous chapters.  You kind of feel like you're being strung along and you might start to wonder if he'll ever tell you how you can possibly "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived," but he does indeed tell you.

I have no doubt that if I followed every instruction in this book, I would indeed lose weight.  The thing about these books that allows them to work is 1) You must have an open mind; 2) You have to believe what he is telling you or at least grasp the concept and 3)You have to ultimately want to do what he's saying.  I don't think it would be "easy" per se, but doable.

Now, if you've made it this far in the review, you may be thinking this is a book you'd like to read.  If so, STOP READING NOW!!  In order for this book to "work," it really should be read from cover to cover and in the sequence the author meant for the reader to receive the message.  This is an important part of the Easy Way book.  I am about to spoil the ending in a minute and explain what the author tells you to do so you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived."  (Yes, I've quoted that several times now, right.  This is how the book is laid out as well.  Allen believes in repetitive re-enforcement)

But just so we're clear...


Ok if you're still reading then you must want to know.

I've done what I can, so no hate mail on the spoiling, ok?

Before I spill the beans, I just want to add that these are not my ideas and I am not defending them, I'm simply agreeing or disagreeing.

This book is written on the premise that you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived."  When you read that, doesn't it sound too good to be true?  It does to me and it also sends up flags like crazy.  Is he saying I can eat cheeseburgers EVERYDAY?!?!?!  No he isn't unfortunately - but I was really hoping!  Then of course, there's the no "special exercise" thing.  I mean, is the word "special" the key word?  Or is he saying I don't have to get on my treadmill ever again?  No willpower?  Seriously?  It takes willpower for me to go to work everyday, how is it possible to even consider losing weight without willpower?  Yeah, so there went my open mind...  But I pressed on because I remember the quit smoking book and how silly some of that stuff sounded.

Allen does a really good job in breaking down complex science and biology into simple analogies that everyone can understand.

Humans are compared to wild animals and to a car.   

  • In the wild, animals aren't overweight because they stop eating when their hunger is satisfied.  Wild animals eat their favorite food as often as they want and as much as they want and don't have a weight problem.  Allen says we should be like the animals.  
  • The strongest animals on earth (elephant is the example) don't get their protein from meat (do you see where this is going yet?).
  • Our body is like a car in that it needs sufficient supplies of fuel and air and need to be maintained correctly.  We need air to breathe.  We need food to survive.  But when you fill up your car with fuel, it weighs more than when it was empty, but you don't drive your car around the block10 times to cause it to burn off excess fuel.  Therefore, we shouldn't exercise to burn off excess calories, but for the benefits exercise offers. 
  • Putting the wrong food in our bodies is like putting diesel in a Ferrari (I actually like that analogy).  This makes sense to me though.  Eat 2000 calories of candy bars everyday compared to  2000 calories of fruits and veggies and there will be a noticeable difference in how you feel, right?
Brainwashing by "Big Food"
The companies that supply our stores and stores themselves are referred to as "Big Food".  Basically, he's saying that "Big Food" is like the tobacco industry and doesn't care a hill of beans about consumers, only the money they can make from us.  If they need to sell addictive food and beverages in order to do so, they have no problem with it.  I agree with this to an extent.  Business are in business to make money.  It's simply up to us to make the right choices when shopping.  I get that.

Only eat when you're hungry.  Again - I agree.

You can acquire a taste for virtually anything
Did you like black coffee the first time you tried it?  Beer?  Oysters?  Blue Cheese?  Ok, those last two I still don't like.  But I acquired the taste for coffee and I think you'll agree - not all beer tastes good.  Allen says that fortunately, tastes can also be unacquired (enter processed foods).

We aren't designed to eat meat or dairy
Ok, here's where I disagree.  I think we are.  No, our teeth aren't pointed and sharp like a lion's, but the lion doesn't know how to start a fire and cook either does he?  I also NEVER had to force myself to enjoy a steak, in fact my mouth waters just thinking about it.  Allen proposes that since our DNA is so similar to monkeys, that we should eat like them too.  I say we are NOT that much like monkeys and I don't believe we evolved from monkeys either - otherwise there would BE NO MORE MONKEYS!  So, I'm breaking into a bit of controversy here, but that's ok, this review is also a blog and therefore my opinion.  I believe that our very complex bodies were not made by mistake but by design.  Following that, I have read and do indeed believe the Bible.  Since I believe the Bible and what is written there, I believe it's perfectly ok to eat meat.  And since God was sending His People to the "Land of Milk and Honey," then it's also ok to consume dairy.  So that's where I stand on this one and I have to say that Allen pretty much lost me here on out.  

Eat only "Real Food" in its natural state
Don't eat "Junk Food."  Junk Food is defined as any food that is processed, mostly with chemicals and unnatural additives and preservatives.  I totally understand the concept of not eating processed foods.  I just don't find it "easy" to do.  I must say though that Allen must have gotten through to me a little, because since reading this book, I do check labels for those extra ingredients.  I really like finding labels where I can pronounce and actually know what the ingredients are.  But he's also saying don't cook foods because the high temps ruin the nutrients.  Ok, so now we really are like monkeys. =(

We are addicted to sugar.  No surprise there.  Remember the 90-minute video from UCSF called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth"?  If you haven't seen it, it's really interesting with some cool science to back up what he's saying if you have 90 minutes to spare!

The bottom line
Here it is, the whole book in a nutshell - become a vegan.  But not a true vegan because there's a margin for error allowed here.  He never says that you can never eat meat ever again.  But I think he feels that after reading this book, you simply won't want to.  How do you "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived?"  Answer:  Change your favorite food from <insert bad-for-you-food here> to your favorite food from the fruit, vegetable, nut or seed category.  Eat no processed food, sugar, meats or dairy.  

It is with great sadness that I can only recommend this book for people who really want eat like a vegan, vegetarian or something really close.  Of course, maybe you could pick and choose the parts you like and maybe just eliminate... say processed food.  But if you'd still like to read the book, and you have a Kindle/Kindle app, I can "loan" it you.  It'll save you $5 and let you decide if you like it.  Email me for details.  (UPDATE:  The book is no longer available to loan.)

So, this is turning out to be a really long post.  Sorry about that.  I'll hold off updating you on my goals 'til tomorrow, except just to say that I did ok.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Day at Time

Today, I've decided to post how I'm doing on those struggles I mentioned yesterday.  Gotta stay accountable somehow, right?

Cardio Intensity:  Today was a resistance training day - the only cardio was warmup, not really much of an opportunity to push it there. 

Healthy meal choices:  3 servings fruit and 1 serving of veggies - need to work on this one.  Tomorrow, I have 3 servings of fruit and 2 servings of veggies planned.

Water intake today was still around 60oz.  Today isn't over though!

Pain and joint stiffness - still there, as is the cloudy wet weather.  Not much I can do about that - maybe take some pain meds?  

Sitting too long at work:  Today, I only noticed my knees hurting from too much sitting once at the end of the day.  I walked so much that I almost made 10,000 steps - an improvement over my normal 8K.

Core workouts:  No core scheduled for today due to resistance training

Next up were the goals for this week:

HR @ 130 - Cardio not scheduled for today

Fruits and veggies noted 

Drink water in the a.m.  - This didn't happen.  I didn't even remember the goal until just now - NOT a morning person =(

Core training - scheduled for tomorrow

Pics of core training exercises - I have those - just need to transfer them.

Alright, looks like water is definitely one area that needs attention.  I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!  I'm taking this thing one day at a time.

Oh, almost forgot - I finally finished reading "Lose Weight Now" by Allen Carr.  I'll post a review soon.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Practice Maintaining

Weigh-in results>>>>>>  Stayed the same.  We'll call it "Practice for Maintaining".  I ate fairly well last week and pretty much stuck to my meal plans.  However, I didn't feel like the intensity was there in my workouts.  So, staying the same... I can't complain.

But I will.

Right now...

It's not going fast enough and I don't feel any results.  For some reason, this past week has felt like week 1 or 2 all over again - minus the cool "I'm gonna do this!" feeling.  Everything aches.  I've had headaches, joint pain, and foot swelling, not to mention really crappy days in general.

I have to share a potential problem with you.  This is the point, EVERY SINGLE TIME, when trying to lose weight, that I "fall off the wagon".  It's at THIS point when nothing but sheer willpower keeps me on track and as we all know, willpower only lasts so long.

I've been doing this weight loss / healthy living / exercising thing (this time - I'm calling it - the last time!) for about 10 weeks now and I can tell you that if it weren't for writing this blog on an almost daily basis, I probably would have stopped after week 5.  But I've made it twice that far, so I guess there's something to be said for "journaling" in this manner.

But I can feel the wavering.  I can feel the laziness.  I can feel the busyness creeping in on me.  Derailment is in sight.  But I don't want to quit even though sometimes I do want to quit.  To quit trying.  I can feel the "why bother" attitude just around the corner people and I desperately want to stop the attitude before it sets in!  Why does this happen?  Every. Single. Time.

(***WARNING*** ALERT ***Math about to be performed here!)
I've been doing this for 10 weeks now and I've lost around 13 pounds.  13?  Seriously?  Only 13?  It should be 20 at least.  I should be down at least one size in pants and I'm not.  If I stay on this path, losing approximately 1.3 pounds on average per week, it'll take me another 48 weeks to reach my goal or more realistically - ONE YEAR.  If I'm having problems now, after only 10 weeks, then what about after 20? 30?  You see where I'm going with this, right?  I have 62 pounds left to hit goal.  When I started 10 weeks ago, I was thinking 2 pounds a weeks was attainable, so in approximately 9.5 months I could reach my goal.

Well then, obviously that's not going to happen.  On to a bit of troubleshooting:
Troubleshooting goal here is to figure out a way to up the losses to at least 2 pounds per week.

What do I know for sure that I am doing right?

  • Not eating out everyday like I have in the past
  • Cooking fairly nutritious meals at home
  • Watching portion sizes
  • I enjoy the meals I'm making
  • Walking a lot more than I did before
  • Parking further away from the front door at work
  • Taking the stairs
  • Weight Training is good

Where do I know for sure that I'm struggling:

  • Cardio intensity may be lacking (see HR note)
  • The meals I cook aren't necessarily the most absolute healthiest choice
  • Water intake is around 64 oz/daily or less, it should be at least 80 or more
  • Pain & joint stiffness (very wet weather lately)
  • Sitting too long at work
  • Core workouts are a struggle to fit in

HR Note:  Heart rate plateaus at 125 after 5 minutes on the treadmill and stays there for the rest of the workout - resting heart rate is around 60bpm.  According to FitWatch - my max HR is 179 and I've been exercising at about the 55% mark.  This should probably be a bit higher, however I constantly worry about having a heart attack - seriously - like hypochondriac worry, ok?  Anywhooooo....

Goal Realignment for this week:

  • Bump up HR to 130 (60%) for at least one minute for every 4 minutes on the treadmill through incline/speed
  • Make note of fruits and veggies eaten this week vs. carbs & sugar-loaded foods
  • Drink a big glass of water (16 oz) first thing in the morning to get a good start to hydration for the day
  • Get core strength training done just after arriving home from work.  
  • Put up pics so I don't have to try and remember how each is done

Anyway, I apologize for the gripe session that is some of this post, but I just wanted you to know, it hasn't been easy.  I know there are folks out there who have lost far more weight than me, and who are still seeing losses on the scale or in clothing size.  I know there are even those who have more than me left to meet their goals, but see consistent progress in the right direction.  If you're one of them, please, advice, anything?  All I have left is will power and it seems to have gone into hiding...

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...