Monday, February 28, 2011

Did You Know?

There are many helpful food and weight loss facts that I have discovered while gathering information for this personal journey. Many facts are valuable for everyone, so I decided to share some of my favorites-

1.Butter is better. Margarine isn’t always a better choice than butter. Most margarines contain just as much fat and as many calories as butter so they do not offer any real weight loss benefits. Worse still, they may also contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are thought to be harmful to the heart. If you like the taste of butter, there’s no reason why you can’t include it in your diet, providing you count the calories. Since I am a butta-lover, this is really great news for me!

2.Cereal bars and fiber bars aren’t always the best snack choices. Some ‘healthy food or fiber bars’, have as high a calorie count as candy bars. For a sweet snack, you’d be better off choosing fresh fruit. But if you must have chocolate or a sweet treat, check out the nutrition and calorie information on the label first. Small chocolate bars or treats, like Hershey Kisses, contain fewer calories than some healthy sounding cereal bars- and many are less expensive! Candy bar instead of fiber bar? Fine with me!

3.Low fat foods do not always help you lose weight. Foods that are described as ‘low fat’ or 'fat-free' aren’t automatically low in calories. In fact, some low-fat products may actually be higher in calories than higher fat products. Some low fat foods contain extra sugars or additives to enhance flavor or texture. Low fat does not mean low calorie.

4.Honey is higher in calories than sugar. 1 tsp. of honey contains 25 calories, compared with 16 calories in 1 tsp. of sugar! Plus, it’s just as likely to cause tooth decay. I like both, so no problem.

5.Potatoes, bread, pasta and rice do not make us gain weight any more than other foods. There is no proof that foods high in carbohydrates are worse than other foods. Extra calories will add pounds, regardless of where the calories come from. It’s usually the fat that we add to carbs that raises the calorie content, such as butter on toast, creamy sauces on pasta,or sour cream on potatoes.

6.Spinach is great. If you could eat only one vegetable for the rest of your life, eat spinach. It’s one of the highest ranking vegetables as far as overall antioxidant capacity. It can easily be added to many recipes, meals and salads. Popeye always was my hero.

7.Diet soda does not automatically contribute to weight loss. In fact, it’s been shown that diet sodas actually increase hunger. I don't drink many carbonated beverages, so I can avoid these without too many struggles.

8.Red meat is OK. Red meat is much leaner now than ever before. Around half the fat in red meat is actually heart-healthy monounsaturates. In particular, red meat contains oleic acid, which is the same type of fat that’s found in olive oil. Red meat is also packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It is easy to choose lean cuts of meat and to use cooking methods that do not add fat. You don’t have to limit yourself to chicken anymore. Bring on the filet mignon!

Bottom line on most of these tips:
First and foremost-count your calories!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Steady Limit

Today I found a definite 'speed limit' for my journey.

My plan is to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Although I have been cutting back on the foods and calories I am eating, I have not focussed on an actual number of calories to eliminate from my diet each week. Today I found my limit:

To lose 1 lb. of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. Therefore, I need to reduce my calorie count by 500 calories a day. By reducing my calorie intake each day, it should be easy to lose 1 lb. a week.
If I take in fewer calories than I need, my body will start to use up its extra fat to get the extra calories it needs to keep functioning properly. Over time, this will result in weight loss. Bingo!

Exercise can help me burn off some additional calories too. It is important not to eliminate my favorite foods or starve myself.
Regardless, the basic weight loss rule still applies:

Extra calories means extra pounds.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Ordered deep dish pizza tonight.


No point in discussing it further.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wrong Way!

I’m going in the wrong direction. Today was the first time since beginning this journey, that I discovered my scale is going up- instead of down.

I am still counting calories faithfully, but I have been eating too many of the wrong kind of calories and it shows. In recent days, I have wrongly convinced myself that sugar is OK as long as I count and limit the calories. In another lapse of judgment, I stopped paying attention to the fat content in foods.

I need to get back to eating pure unprocessed foods. Eating organic foods like fruits, vegetables and meats is very different from taking in processed or high sugar foods. My attempts to steer clear of processed foods are failing. I started to enjoy too many of the delicious 100 calorie (although processed) foods that lure me into defying my diet rules.

The result of my bad choices is obvious. My forward momentum and progress on this journey has stopped. The worst part is that I am now going in the wrong direction.

I plan to get turned around soon and get back on my way to Thinville.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It seems that ALL the best recipes and food shows are on T.V. right after I get home from work. This is, of course, the hungriest part of my day.

Today, I watched Paula Deen making a 'melt in your mouth' pot roast and frozen chocolate mousse pie. It was more than I could handle.

These T.V. temptations taunt my taste buds too much.

I am well aware of the fact that I need to guard myself from the perils that lie deep within the flat screen. I don't know why, but I just can't look away when I see delicious food preparation staring back at me from the square glare.

There can be no more sightseeing on the Food Network or the Cooking Channel for me. From now on, I've got to respect the stop sign when tempted to view tasty cooking techniques and recipes.

It will be difficult to give up my food watching fascination cold turkey. I'm thinking that maybe I can watch a little of my favorite food shows - as long as it is after I eat a good meal,
but never before I fill my tummy with food first!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I really need a lift. If only someone could pick me up and carry me the rest of the way to Thinville. Some days the road seems too long to endure. Lately, it seems that I am spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.

Encouragement makes the road so much easier to travel. Recently, a friend who I hadn't seen in a while, noticed that I looked a little thinner. Actually, she said my butt looked tiny! She carried me a few miles with that comment!! It was so nice to receive validation that even 10 pounds can make a difference. I am noticing that all my pants are fitting better these days. Additionally, it doesn't seem that my belly sticks out quite as far as it did a month ago (of course, my perspective may be different from that of others). Successful results have a positive impact on my journey and carry me further down the road.

Sometimes discouragement makes me feel like a hitchhiker waiting on the side of the road. For now, I plan to stay on course and keep following my road map-
I just wish I could find some shortcuts!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Road Block Ahead

It’s too early to hit a road block. Seven weeks into this journey and my weight is holding steady at a 10 pound weight loss. The good news is that I am not gaining weight. The bad news is that I am not losing any either.

I’ve heard about people hitting a plateau, but not this early in the process. 10 pounds will simply not do. It won’t get me into skinny jeans or skimpy summer dresses.
It definitely won’t get me into the bathing suit of my dreams.

So where do I go from here? I had hoped to average a loss of at least 7 pounds a month. Right now, I have less than a week to lose 4 more pounds. My options are clear. I have to ramp up the exercise and buckle down on my diet. Both options are challenging with the weekend approaching fast.

Getting beyond road blocks is always a challenge. Sometimes we have to go around and sometimes we have to just break through. Either way, I have to ask myself how badly I want to reach my destination. Where there's a will, there's a way.
Stand by for updates...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just a Fad

Anything that seems too good to be true, probably is.

Fad diets and quick fixes are everywhere. The problem is that they are what they seem:
weight loss plans that become popular for a short time and then disappear just as quickly.

I have generally kept away from diet programs that seem too crazy to make sense. I have found more than a few ridiculous eating plans in my quest to reach Thinville.

Any diet that limits you primarily to a single food or type of food, like grapefruits, cabbage or mostly meat will generally become very boring. I like most foods, but being encouraged to eat ANY one food over and over again is not really very exciting or motivating. Even if I could eat pizza every day, sooner or later I would be ready for a change. Variety still helps keep me on track.

Any diet that uses the words cleanse or detox is generally a bad idea. Most of the time, it means some kind of liquid fast is involved. It usually means extreme bathroom visits are involved too. Again, not real exciting.

Diets that promise losing many pounds in a short amount of time are also difficult to stay with for any extended amount of time. My efforts to jump start my trip to Thinville with quick weight loss fads have failed every time. Drastic changes to eating patterns rarely work.

I know now that quick fixes don’t work for me. Effective weight loss for me means having variety, flexibility and choices. Being a slave to food will never work for me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This weekend I have been diligent about walking off a few calories. I know that a brisk walk does not burn off as many calories as a high cardio workout. Still, I feel good knowing that I did get outside and got my muscles moving.

I have been able to include 2 days of intentional exercise each week since starting this journey. It hasn't been enough to impact my weight loss tremendously, but I am trying to include some physical activity each week. Eventually I hope to increase my exercise goals.

My focus, thus far, has been on food. I have been very deliberate about planning and watching my meals and calorie intake. As I reach more weight loss goals, I hope that my fitness goals will also increase. Ultimately I want to shape this body into a well-toned machine.

It may be a lot to expect six pack abs and Madonna's arms, but making dreams come true is what this journey is all about. Anything is possible with perseverance.

Perseverance- noun.-
Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Caption: You Can't Let Go and Still Win

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hilton Head Beach: 3 Months Ahead

This weekend's weather was better than the last. Today the thermometer reached over 70 degrees. I can see summer weather ahead and I am anxious for June, when we will vacation at the beach in Hilton Head, S.C.

I love the beach and all warm weather vacation spots. However in recent years, my enjoyment of all places sunny has been hindered by my appearance insecurities. Let's face it: even the best bathing suit cannot cover up wide hips and a bulging belly. Even the longest shorts do not cover up thick thighs. As a result, I now own multiple pairs of capri length pants instead.

As I dream of warmer weather and sunny beaches, I am resolved to arrive at Hilton Head in a newly remodeled body. The road signs ahead indicate that the beach is just over 3 months in the distance. Staying focussed on the road ahead is important to me.

While Thinville is the ultimate destination, there will be stops along the way. I look forward to taking a small detour to Hilton Head Beach, where I hope to enjoy the surf in a new bathing suit- which will highlight my thinner self.

Surfs up- weight's down!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Detour Ahead

The thing about trying to be disciplined is that nobody is perfect. Sometimes, I just can't stay on track the way I would like to. Today was one of those days that I veered off the main road to Thinville and took a detour.

During the day, I stayed on course with my eating. By nightfall, my weekend tendencies kicked in. The husband brought home one of my favorite 'take out' dishes: Bang Bang Shrimp, from Bonefish Grill .

Although Bang Bang Shrimp is a seafood dish, those little shellfish are fried and covered in a deliciously creamy hot sauce -that must be full of fat and calories. Bonefish always sends baked bread to accompany the take out shrimp and tonight I had to taste a slice of the freshly baked loaf - actually two. Oh, and I might have added a few pats of butter to my bread too. Throwing caution to the wind, I also decided to enjoy one of my husband's special raspberry martinis as well. It is the weekend, after all.

My calorie count for the day isn't crazy, but my body took in a lot of extra fat and sugar tonight.

The nice thing about detours is that they are temporary. There is always a route back to the main road. Tomorrow, I will get back on track and take advantage of warmer weather outside. My dog is always up for hiking a couple miles. Once I get out into the fresh air, I always enjoy it as well. Exercise offers me the option of burning off a few of those extra calories I enjoyed tonight. As a result, my Fun Food Friday won't be a great setback.

Yes, taking detours usually mean slowing down the trip and delaying arrival times. Choosing this alternate route may delay my arrival to Thinville, but some detours make life a little more enjoyable and interesting.

Happiness is a direction, not a place. ~Sydney J. Harris

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Adding Food, But Not Pounds

Most people feel that losing weight means giving up food. I have learned the substitution rule for losing weight: Add more fruits and vegetables - Remove fats and carbs. This philosophy has filled me up, but not filled me out. It has been great to eat until I am satisfied and not feel guilty.

There are many benefits to eating more fruits and vegetables. For one, we are less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. There are many healthy, disease-preventing qualities in produce as well.

I have found that adding vegetables into my meals instead of serving them as side dishes has helped me on this journey. It has been relatively easy for me to incorporate a variety of vegetables into many dishes, pastas, and soups. Veggies add volume to many sandwiches without penalties as well.

I love the contradiction of being disciplined and still eating to my heart’s content. Produce gives me the right to eat with a little reckless abandon.

Eating more does not mean gaining more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Greek to Me- Yogurt, That is.

My health conscious friends at work keep talking about Greek yogurt. I have now discovered for myself why this yogurt is becoming increasingly popular.

It turns out Greek yogurt is is strained to remove the liquid whey, and as a result it is thicker and creamier. Since it is more concentrated, it packs more grams of protein per serving. It's also lower in sugar and carbohydrates, since lactose, a form of sugar present in all dairy products, is removed with the whey.

Greek yogurt makes a great substitute for sour cream. It’s a great base to make healthy salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, yogurt based ice creams, and desserts. It even has less sodium than most other yogurts.

Keep in mind that standard yogurt usually has more calcium than Greek yogurt. The Greek version also may be higher in fat and calories. Check your labels and try going Greek! You may never go back to sour cream or standard yogurt again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Waist Not- Want Not

My waist is NOT what I want it to be.
In fact, my waist is one of the key motivating factors behind my desire to lose weight. My belly is the main reason I can no longer buy the shirts and dresses I enjoyed in the days of my yesteryear. My midsection no longer has a shape- other than plump. My torso has just expanded in every direction until now there is really no telling where my waist begins or ends.

I've heard varying explanations by experts telling what proper waist measurements should be. One such calculation is known as the waist to height comparison and I've included a WHtR calculator (courtesy of you to use to check your own measurements:

WHtR Calculator
Waist Size (inches):
Height (inches):

The WHtR Calculator calculates the waist to height ratio for a body size and body fat measurement that is said to be an even better measurement than calculating BMI (Body Mass Index). Enter in your waist size in inches and your height in inches into the fields above and press calculate to find your waist to height ratio.
The following chart helps you determine if your WHtR falls in a healthy range (these ratios are percentages):

• Ratio less than 35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight
• Ratio 35 to 42: Extremely Slim
• Ratio 42 to 46: Healthy
• Ratio 46 to 49: Healthy
• Ratio 49 to 54: Overweight
• Ratio 54 to 58: Seriously Overweight
• Ratio over 58: Highly Obese
• Ratio less than 35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight
• Ratio 35 to 43: Extremely slim
• Ratio 43 to 46: Healthy
• Ratio 46 to 53: Healthy, Normal Weight
• Ratio 53 to 58: Overweight
• Ratio 58 to 63: Extremely Overweight/Obese
• Ratio over 63: Highly Obese

The WHtR is thought to give a more accurate assessment of health since the most dangerous place to carry weight is in the abdomen. Fat in the abdomen, which is associated with a larger waist, can lead to diabetes, elevated blood pressure or heart disease.

There is also a WAIST TO HIP ratio that compares your waist and hip measurements. Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips.

Waist Hip Ratio is calculated by dividing the measurement of your waist by the measurement of your hips.

Measure your hip circumference at its widest part.
Measure your Waist Circumference at the belly button or just above it.
•A healthy waist hip ratio for women is 0.8 or lower.
•A healthy ratio for men is 1.0 or lower.
•Ratios above 0.8 for women and 1.0 for men are associated with obesity and are linked to greater risk for health complications and diseases.

Regardless of the ratio you choose to use,
when it comes to your waist- choose to lose!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Successful Sunday

Today was a beautiful Sunday that was part of a beautiful weekend. After snowy days that seemed to never end, the sun came out and warmed everything to near 60 degrees today.

These are the kind of days that make people want to get outside and wash cars, play with their kids or walk their dogs. My dog and I enjoyed a long walk and we could not get enough of the great weather. When I arrived home, I had to open windows and bring in all the fresh air. It did not seem like a February day.

Today reminded me that warm temperatures are coming soon. March is just around the corner. As the temperatures rise, appetites decrease. Soon our tendencies to eat and hibernate will fade away.

This weekend I was very disciplined about my calorie count. It could be that the weather helped distract me from eating. Or it could be that I am getting better at staying on track. Each week I find that Friday to Sunday I am presented with my greatest food challenges. This weekend was different.

Whatever the reason, it was a successful Sunday and I'm all about success on this journey. Color me happy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Instantly Slims- Instantly Sells

Today while I was shopping, I stumbled across some really great prices on exercise clothes. As I rummaged through t-shirt after t-shirt hunting for my favorite $5.00 bargains, I found a treasure. It was a shirt marked boldly with a sticker that screamed:
Instantly Slims You!
As you can imagine, I was instantly interested.
I’ve already learned that a little elastic added into a pair of pants goes a long way towards slimming my hips and thighs. My stretch denim jeans conveniently expand and contract with my appetite. Finding shirts that squeeze and flatten the bulges in my mid-section is yet another bonus of expandable fabrics. It’s like getting an instant tummy tuck without the price or the pain.

I long for the day when I do not depend on flexible fabrics to hide my flaws. But until the day I get to Thinville, it sure is nice to know I have clothes that build my confidence. Actually, I will probably continue wearing these flattering elastic fashions even after I get to my goal weight.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Control Creates Confidence

So few things about our lives can be confidently controlled or determined by our actions. Being intentional about my food intake each day offers me an element of control over my future. This control factor may be one of the most overlooked benefits of taking this journey.

I can say, with assurance, that lessening the amount of calories I eat will lead to losing weight. After 5 weeks, my scale displays evidence that I am 10 pounds lighter. Having control over this aspect of my life not only builds my confidence, but encourages me to work diligently towards my weight loss goal.

I look forward to the benefits of being a leaner version of me. Shopping for the clothing styles I enjoyed in years past will be one of my greatest joys. The summer season will be enjoyed to a much greater degree when I am able to wear warm weather clothes with confidence.

There is great satisfaction in working towards a goal that is achievable. Accomplishing this weight loss goal will bring me a sense of assurance that I have longed for in recent years.

Most dreams are achieved with determination. Each of us has some control over our destiny.
Destination: Thinville!

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."
~ Tommy Lasorda

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fabulous Fiber

Fiber is not the enemy after all.
I never thought I could lose weight because I love bread and bread products so much. Since beginning this journey, I am realizing that whole grain fibers come in all shapes and sizes and are very tasty too. I have found whole wheat/high fiber English muffins, whole wheat bagel thins (only 110 calories each), and tasty whole grain breads. I can still have a toasted muffin in the morning or a sandwich for lunch and not risk calorie overdose.

I really expected to give up all bread products when I began this journey. I am learning that giving up the things I love is NOT the way to lose weight. Making small changes is still the best way to stay on the right path. There are lots of good choices to be made that don’t force me to give up the things I love.

And fiber is not just found in bread and grain products. It is in almonds and peanuts. I love it in some of favorite cereals and crackers. There are many delicious fiber filled types of squash. Even baked potatoes are allowable, if I don’t load them up with butter and other off limit toppings. Many delicious fruits contain fiber, like watermelon or strawberries.

My biggest challenge is that I don’t do margarine. Butter is almost a requirement on my favorite toasted bagels or toast. However, I am learning that a small amount of butter can go a long way. The same is true of my love for mayonaisse on sandwiches. I used to load it on- and I like real mayo. As I said, small changes and using small amounts means I don’t have to give up eating what I like.

Today I was shocked to discover that I have lost 10 pounds! It has been 5 weeks and still I don’t feel like I am dieting! I can’t wait to arrive at my first milestone goal of 13 pounds, which should be only days away.

Thinville or Bust!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rules of the Road

Harsh reality is settling in. Giving up food is not the only rule to monitor on this road to Thinville. Along the way, I am discovering many unexpected cautions, speed limits, and stop signs.

For starters, a caution sign now guards my T.V. Gone are the days of watching mouth-watering comfort foods on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives or tempting European desserts on Everyday Italian. I simply cannot allow the memories of deep fried delicacies and candy confections to invade my brain.

I am skating on thin ice if I accept invitations to join friends for lunch or dinner. Salads are available on most menus, but so are juicy cheeseburgers and raspberry martinis.

My intentions are always honorable, but my mouth doesn’t always choose the menu items that my sensible brain tells it to.

There are Danger signs everywhere when I enter restaurants: delicious smells, attractive entrees on nearby tables,and decadent dessert trays.

When I do begin to eat a meal, I now have speed limits. I've learned to slow down and properly chew my food. Each bite must be small and deliberate. Everything fast about food is wrong. My stomach needs time to realize that it has been fed.

I’ve also found giant stop signs accompany some temptations that I simply have no willpower over. Pizza is beyond the limits of my self-control. It is impossible for me to resist even the worst frozen pizza. The old comparison to sex is true of pizza- even when its bad, it’s still pretty good. When my favorite take out pizza enters our home, I am at its mercy. One piece is never enough. Simply put: Pizza is for me a Do Not Enter Zone.

All in all, the rules of the road must be monitored at all times. The most significant warning on the road is always in the distance-

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rapid Decay? Eat Away!

In recent food news, a McDonald’s Happy Meal was photographed after 4 months and showed no evidence of decay. Immediately, health food police everywhere declared that McDonalds uses too many preservatives in their food. Yes, it’s true: preservatives preserve food- but there is more to this story.

After further investigation, scientists at Washington State University have stated that ANY food with a high fat content will decay slower. When food has a high fat content, it also will be low in moisture. When moisture is low, it slows down the growth of mold and food won’t decay as quickly. Salt also acts as a preservative and foods that are high in sodium have a low rate of decay as well. Remarkably, McDonalds sell foods that are high in both fat and sodium.

The next logical question is, “What foods am I eating that are high in fat and sodium?” If I eat something that doesn’t break down on its own, how difficult will it be to break down once it is in my body? This is a no-brainer. Cut down on the fat and sodium.

The foods that decay the fastest in my fridge are fresh foods and vegetables. Celery and cucumbers are essentially filled with water. My next sensible step is to eat more of the water based foods, veggies and fruits. That provides a double bonus: water has zero calories and water based foods break down quickly.

Today’s lesson is a no-brainer: Rapid decay? Eat away!

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Holiday: DIETER'S DAY

Why are so many holiday celebrations centered around food? As Valentine’s Day approaches, we cannot escape the invasion of chocolate treats and heart shaped boxes. Dinner dates at fine restaurants are being reserved all over town. And Valentine’s Day is not the only time that a holiday equals food:

• Easter hops in with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks
• Christmas is a barrage of cookies, candy, and more cookies
• Halloween = Candy (duh)
• 4th of July means cookouts and casseroles
• Thanksgiving. (double duh)

I propose a new holiday: Dieter’s Day.
Instead of celebrating with food and drink on Dieter’s Day, people everywhere meet in parks and take long walks. Afterwards, everyone drinks lots of thirst quenching water and compares who has the most interesting water bottle. To amp up the excitement levels, participants trade fiber bars and then compare the calorie counts just for fun. Not to be outdone by other holidays, Dieter’s Day can end with an hors d'oeuvres smorgasbord of celery, cucumbers and carrots.

Who says Dieter’s Day can’t be all that and a bag of chips?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl - Arghh!

Super Bowl Sunday could not exist without salty snack foods, hot cheese dips, sugary sweet treats and calorie-packed beverages. The challenge for those of us trying to resist these temptations is which road to take?

A) Resist cold turkey- no food or drink-and be miserable all night

B) Resist within limits and have small amounts of food and drink - still no fun

C) Stay home and avoid all parties; think about all the food and fun you are missing
D)Just give in and eat whatever you want

There just aren't any good choices on a night like this. Reality reminds me that it will only take a few fried foods, chips, and adult beverages to gain back every pound I have lost in the last month. I don't want to start over again when I have made it this far.

So I remain devoted to my journey. I confess that tonight I had a few more calories than usual, but it could have been worse. I will have to get in some extra exercise this week to get back on track.

Football may mean fantastic feasts, but Thinville means bigger thrills!

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
Mae West

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Drink up!

I'm just not a water drinker. I know we are all encouraged to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but I have trouble trying to gulp down one glass a day.

A new study says that cold drinks help burn more calories than hot drinks. Apparently our bodies work harder to warm things up and in turn we use more energy. The study even went as far as to say that if you sit in a cold bath or exercise in cold weather you will help burn off some extra calories.

I like reallly hot showers, so anything colder than lukewarm will never do for me. Sitting in a cold tub of water sounds like torture to me.

The closest I come to drinking extra water each day is my daily coffee or an evening cup of tea. I hope to improve this water drinking habit and recently found a 'water drinking game' on .

Here are a couple of the game's rules:
OBJECT: Drink all your water!
Drink = Reasonable sip
Kill it = Finish whatever you've got in your bottle/glass

1. Someone calls or emails you. Drink.
2. You let the dog/cat out. Drink.
3. You let the dog/cat in. Drink.
4. The buzzer on the dryer goes off. Drink.
5. You mean to turn off the t.v. but accidently don't and watch an hour of Golden Girls. Kill it.
6. A newscaster says "from Wall Street to Main Street." Drink.
7. You get a call from your kids school. Kill it.

Maybe a cute water bottle or flavored water will help. One way or the other, I hope to drink up. I'll worry about all the trips to the bathroom later...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flu Fights the Appetite

So today my nose is running like a faucet. I hate having a cold and feeling miserable. Most people don't feel like doing much when they have the flu and I am no exception.

This cloud of congestion has one silver lining. I don't feel much like eating today. Food just doesn't have its flavor when your nose is all stopped up. Taking decongestants always seems to curb my appetite as well.

So tonight I am curled up on the couch with my box of tissues. If I have to have the flu, at least I can look on the bright side:

There aren't any calories in a hot cup of tea.

Have a cold,
starve your appetite.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I used to always be looking for a quick fix when it came to weight loss.
I tried a few short term diet plans that offered fast weight loss in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, most of the 'fast fixes' are so drastic that I ended up quitting soon after starting.

This is the first time I set a realistic goal. Losing 6-7 pounds a month does not require extreme changes to my life. I can easily visualize myself in 5 months, after losing 30-35 pounds. One month is already completed and now I only have 4 to go!

I've learned to try something new every day. Sometimes, I try a new food and sometimes I try a new strategy. I've investigated websites and exercise ideas. Each week I add something new to my grocery list. This gradual day to day process has been very manageable for me and the best part is that it is WORKING.

It has been challenging to cook for my family and still eat my preferred foods. Tonight was one example. I made spaghetti and meatballs for the family, but I had a small portion of whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and scallops. I was very satisfied and did not stare longingly at everyone else's plates. One night I made a stir fry dinner for all of us. I limited myself to a reasonable portion and skipped the rice I made for everyone else. We were all happy.

I'm not the only person who is trying out the new foods in our kitchen either. My son loves smoothies and chocolate fiber bars. My husband and I both like to snack on Barbeque flavored PopOChips. And we all love oatmeal cookies -although I have to be careful not to overindulge on them myself. There really are a lot of good, high fiber, low calorie foods out there.

Being disciplined about listing everything in my food log daily has been critical. Even when I want to snack, I worry about not exceeding my daily calorie count. Some days my weight doesn't change at all, but still I know that I have to stay on the path to Thinville.

Just like the Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Zumba Zoo!

Tonight was my first Zumba experience.

I know I am getting on the Zumba Bus later than most people, but I had to see what all the fuss was about. This was my first foray into the energetic dance class. It was also the largest exercise class I've ever participated in, with over 70 people in attendance. I should note that the class was offered for free at my church and we packed the front lobby with women of all shapes and sizes.

My impression of Zumba was positive. It was not too difficult to catch on to the moves and the time went quickly. I think there also must be an unwritten rule that Zumba music should be very loud. I've heard the music pulsing from the exercise room at our local rec center and tonight the rythmic beat shook the walls of our church like thunder from above. There's also lots of whooping and squealing during Zumba, which I'm not quite comfortable with yet.

I am hoping to attend this weekly event again next week. I rarely get this 50 year old body moving that much after 5PM, but I am looking forward to doing it as often as possible now.
If you are up for some saucy Salsa moves, check it out!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Off the wagon-

Today I kind of fell off the wagon. My calories are still O.K., but I ate something decadent, containing 470 calories and 26 grams of fat. Since beginning this journey, I have religiously avoided all fast food. But today my willpower was weak.

I had nothing planned for dinner tonight and my son texted me to ask if I would get him McDonalds. I hesitated, but ultimately opted for an easy dinner solution. I stopped on the way home from work and found myself ordering a Filet of Fish sandwich for myself.

It was sinfully delicious. I savored every bite of the fried fish sandwich. I didn't leave one drop of tartar sauce behind either. I knew that my calories for the day were fairly low, and I just couldn't help myself.

Now the guilt sets in. Most items off McDonald's menu are not on the good calorie list. This was the most reckless food decision I have made to date. I am a little worried about staying disciplined after this setback. Still, I have a kitchen full of good foods and worthwhile calories.

I need to see this momentary lapse as motivation to have a great day tomorrow. Yeah, that's it: today is my reason to do better tomorrow.

Hang in there. Nobody is perfect!