Week updates and pics

by Christine on July 30th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Howdy Revolutionists! The weekend is upon us, at last! How are you going to celebrate this lovely summer weekend?

I am celebrating by going to not one, but two wedding celebrations! The celebrations are for the same couple: they are getting married on Friday (tonight) with a small ceremony and then having a big, informal, outdoor picnic for many guests on Saturday. I can’t wait to see them get hitched at last! They are a wonderful couple and such good friends of ours.

The week has been a busy one. Tuesday I went over to the couple’s house to help them assemble their party favors (jelly beans in engraved shot glasses). Wednesday I saw a Sublime cover band at a local street festival. 40 oz to Freedom did a great job, and I boogied on down a lot!  Yesterday I went with the Bride to get our nails done. Today I came into work an hour and a half early so I can race home and get myself ready for the wedding. I’m wearing a new dress: it’s purple, and a size 6!! I’m so excited to wear my dress tonight! I’ll be sure to post pictures on Sunday!

(isn’t her engagement ring gorgeous? She designed it herself!)

I have been thinking this morning about what I will do at the wedding to make healthy food choices. I already sent in my food reservation card and ordered fish. I hoped it would be a healthier alternative to red meat or chicken. But I’m sure there will be finger foods during the cocktail hour, plus wedding cake! (I think they got cheesecake.) Not to mention four hours of open bar, which I’ve been known to take advantage of. Oh yeah, and Jelly beans that I helped assemble in the party favors!  So what’s my gameplan?  (1) No finger foods, especially because there is a dinner to come.  This is the most important rule, because this is where I can usually really lose track of how much I’m eating, plus finger foods are usually fried. It’s best to avoid entirely. (2) Only have half of the cake.  (3) Dance. A LOT. Burn those calories off!  (4) Give all the jelly beans to hubby, OR give them to the kids. The shot glass I’m keeping!

Saturday’s outdoor picnic will be a little easier to navigate food-wise, even though they are BBQ-ing and getting catering and food will be all around us! For starters, we only live two houses away, so I can run home for healthy food if I need to.  My plan is to wake up early and go to the gym prior to the picnic. Then we plan on swimming at their house and playing volleyball!  We can have fun, socialize, AND get exercise! How great is that?  Avoiding things like potato chips is going to be the hardest challenge (especially if there is guacamole!), but I don’t think that’ll be a problem because I feel certain that there will be salad and fresh veggies to munch on there. My gameplan is to stay totally active all day long!

You see, this whole weight-loss thing is, to a large extent, a mental challenge. It’s about preparing yourself, educating yourself, planning, and trying to make the healthy choice. It’s not about deprivation, but about how to navigate every-day scenarios and making the best possible healthy decisions that you can.

I had two food challenges this week that I think I circumnavigated okay. First, my office got ice cream cones for everyone! I looked at the boxes, and each pre-made cone was 250+ calories. Oh no!  Those calories were higher than I was comfortable with. I wanted to partake though. What did I do? I took one that had a cone attached. I ate the ice cream on the top of the cone, and then threw the rest away (about half of the cone).  Not bad!

eating ice cream at work

The second challenge was when we went out to see the band play. We stopped at a pub for beer and food. I felt like finger food, so I ordered a cheese platter! It was absolutely delicious! I have a hard time with bread though (it gets stuck in my band), so I used some of the nacho chips to put the cheese on. The platter was great because it had fresh fruit, too! I had LOTS of leftovers. I had some of the nachos, as well, while we were there.  There was absolutely nothing nutritional about the nachos, but I didn’t mind because, you know, sometimes, on special occasions, you need to live a little!  I didn’t overdo it. That’s important.  I doubt I broke 300 calories for the cheese and nachos.

cheese and nachos 40 Ounces to Freedom

Did you guys see my post over at Miz Fit yesterday? I talked about the importance of finding your target heart rate when working out. If you didn’t see it, check it out!

Thanks to the guest posting, I acquired a few more followers of my blog yesterday! I now have 50 followers! How exciting! Welcome everybody, and thank you for visiting! I will reciprocate and follow your blogs, as well!

In the words of the wonderful blogger Sean….have a good weekend, and make good choices everyone!

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She met her goal weight!

by Christine on July 29th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Today Bitch Cakes (who is a totally amazing blogger, by the way) reached her goal weight! Her description of the anxiety-filled day as she waited for her Weight Watchers weigh-in, followed by her celebratory workout and rewards really got me choked up! I sat here crying like a little baby at my desk at work.

It makes me wonder…I’m so close to reaching my goal weight! After so many years! I wonder…what will that day be like? What will that moment feel like?

Congrats Bitch Cakes!!!

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12 Healthy Foods that will Make You Fat

by Christine on July 29th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Sushi

  1. Salads. I love salad. I know, that’s unusual. How often has it happened that you show up at a restaurant and look over the menu and all you see are high-calorie-value-options. But then you see “salad,” and you think, “Ah ha! I can eat healthfully now!”  The problem with salads are two-fold:  Firstly, the toppings.  Cheese. Almonds. Dried fruit. Croutons.  Bacon Bits.  All of these items add up significantly! The second problem: Dressings. Most are laden with oils, salt, and fat. In moderation, that’s not a problem, but if you’re like me, you want to douse your greens with some flavor.  Your best option if you’re going to pick a salad: Mix up some homemade dressing and carry it with you. My homemade dressing is: equal parts red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Add a little water, some salt, and some dill.  (Add a dash of olive oil if you want, but I typically don’t.) On its own, this dressing has ZERO calories. It’s worth putting in your purse or keeping in the fridge. Just in case.
  2. Sushi. I have several issues with sushi. For starters, they are filled predominantly with white rice. White rice (CARB) doesn’t do a thing for you other than raise your glucose levels and then make you crash about an hour after eating it. It’s bland, meaningless filler, devoid of nutrition and vitamins that you can find in other foods. Secondly, let’s talk about the sodium. In a typical serving of Sushi (9.5 oz) there is about 1182 mg of sodium! That’s a whole heck of a lot!  You can typically find the salt in the seaweed wrap, in the rice, and in any sauces.  And let’s talk about the salt. In Wegman’s Hoisin Peanut sauce for sushi, there’s a ton of sodium (620 mg) and a ton of sugar (12g). There’s nothing healthy in it.  So, sushi, I say shame on you! You are not a health food!  If you are stuck with Sushi or Sashimi at a party, pick that bad boy apart and just eat the fish or veggie in the middle. THAT part is good. The rest is naughty!
  3. Dried Fruit. While I admit that dried fruit is healthy (it’s fruit, after all), they pack more calories than if you got them served fresh. For instance, 10 rings of dried apple is 156 calories; a regular apple is less than 100 calories. Half a cup of raisins is 219 calories; half a cup of regular grapes is 52 calories. If you LOVE your dried fruit and must indulge, do so in moderation!
  4. Granola. Holy calorie nightmare, batman! One cup of granola has about 597 calories! Plus, many types of granola are high in saturated fats.  I don’t know why granola is associated with a skinny, hippie lifestyle, but if you eat this stuff regularly, you’re going to be anything but skinny.
  5. Wraps. Many people opt for wraps instead of regular bread when enjoying a sandwich.  The problem with wraps is that there’s more surface area to them than regular bread, so you can pile more food in the middle. Case in point: A Honey Baked Ham Turkey Bacon Ranch Wrap has 705 calories. Red Robin’s Caesar Chicken Wrap has 1244 calories.  A Ruby Tuesday Turkey Burger Wrap has 658 calories.  None of those are diet-friendly choices. If you really feel like indulging in a sandwich, why not wrap the outside with a big hunk of lettuce?
  6. Veggie burgers. These bad boys are becoming pretty much standard in most restaurants and offer a “healthy” alternative, especially for vegetarians.  One good reason to choose a veggie burger is because it cuts out saturated fats. Also, the portion sizes of a veggie burger is typically much less (2.5 ounces, as compared to 5.0 ounces for a burger).  They are also higher in protein.  These all seem like great choices, right? The problem is when you start slapping on the extras. Have you ever seen just a plain veggie burger, on a bun? Nope. They’re loaded with cheeses, sauces, veggie-chili, ketchup, etc.  A quick perusal of calorie counts shows an average veggie burger cashes in at 650 calories!  At that nutritional price tag, you’re better off choosing something else.
  7. Diet, microwaved meals. While many of these frozen meals offer yummy variety, quick cooking, and low-calories, the amount of salt they put in the dishes in order to preserve them on your grocery store shelf is deadly.  Most meals clock in around 600 mg (or more) of salt in each meal! Holy smokes!  You’ll be so bloated it’ll be a shock if you can squeeze your butt out of the cafeteria chair after that. Steer clear, my friends.
  8. Bran Muffins. I checked out a few bran muffin recipes, and most of them are extraordinarily high in cholesterol and carbs. That being said, they are an okay (not good, but okay) source of fiber and protein, and don’t always have high amounts of calories and fat. Not all bran muffins are created equal, so if you must have one of these, read the labels carefully. Personally, I wouldn’t touch these with a ten foot pole.
  9. Rice cakes. Remember back in the 1980s when everyone was chowing down on rice cakes as the latest diet craze? I don’t know about you, but rice cakes are inexorably linked in my mind to weight loss and waifish figures delicately grazing on them. But are they really that healthy? Well, they are low in calories (about 35 calories per cake) and can be filling. The downside is that they offer pretty much zilch in terms of nutrition. They have very few vitamins, devoid of fiber, high in carbs, and a high glycemic index. For the same caloric price tag you can wolf down a big cucumber, and I guarantee it’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  10. Half and Half. Most people enjoy their coffee in the morning, and there’s a lot of people out there that put enough sugar and cream in the coffee to kill a small village. But not you, health-conscious person! You use half and half! But is it really as good as you think?  For a little container of half and half, it’s 20 calories. “What’s wrong with that?” you ask.  But think about it…8 oz of half and half is 160 calories, whereas 8 oz of skim milk is only 80 calories. If you’re watching calories, this is a significant difference. My advice? Replace that half and half with a dash of skim milk.
  11. Bottled Tea. Tea isn’t necessarily that bad for you. Lipton’s Unsweatened Tea has 0 calories, after all.  But if you grab a SoBe Green Tea found in so many convenience stores, you’re chugging down 240 calories and a whopping 61 grams of sugar.  At that calorie price-tag, you might as well chug a Red Bull.
  12. Juice. Most of us are aware that juice is pretty high in sugar. Many companies add a ton of extra sugar as well. For instance, a regular 8 oz cup of Tropicana Orange Juice has 108 calories and 21g sugar, whereas 8oz of SunnyD has 128 calories and 30 g sugar.  But let’s take a look at the carbs in these drinks, too: 25g and 31g, respectively!  Between the sugar and carbs, you’re better off just saying no.  If you’re going to drink some juice, get a fresh piece of fruit and juice it yourself. You’ll cut out a lot of added sugar by going the natural route.
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“Taking a day off” when you’re dieting…

by Christine on July 28th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Yesterday I didn’t go to the gym. I’m not going to go to the gym tonight, either. I’m “taking a day off.” Or, rather, two. Whatever, it’s okay.

Right?

The old Christine would have been in a frenzy. The old Christine would have been mumbling, “committment” in her own ear, scolding herself for being “weak,” and anxious because this “didn’t fit in with the plan.” The old Christine was the same person that dieted for years and never lost the weight. That obsessed over losing weight, did research, saw seven doctors for help. The same person that beat herself up every night when, finished tallying the calorie counts for the day, saw that she went over by 20 calories, or had more carbs than she should have. In short: the old Christine was a mental train wreck of depression, anxiety, and frustration.

The new Christine doesn’t approach weight loss the same way, but the difference is that this time the weight loss is working. You see, if you follow the 8 easy secrets to losing weight, you’ll notice that Rule #1 says that this whole “weight loss thing” should be easy.  If you’re stressing, losing sleep, feeling anxious, or mentally beating yourself up, then your plan definitely is not going to work, and it’s probably not working at all right now anyway because it’s intrisically flawed.

I do the best I can. Whenever I get a free day at home, I go to the gym. I work out hard, and I try to get the best calorie-burning bang for my buck. I also try to eat well, but you know, sometimes I just crave some chocolate or a beer.  And all of that is okay, but this time I’m changing. I’m giving myself some leeway. I’m allowing myself to be human. I’m allowing myself to enjoy life. I’m..well…giving myself allowances all over the freaking place.

I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m lackadaisical about this, or that I don’t care, or that I’m not committed. I’ve lost just about 90 pounds, and I’ve got 10 more to go and I’m going to get there, goddammit, come hell or high water.  But the process this time is much different. It’s….easier.  It’s the only way I can explain it.  I do my best, I’m conscious of what I’m doing (and what I’m not doing) all the time. But if I want to go out for a beer and listen to a concert, like I will tonight, then that’s okay.  It’s okay because it’s one beer. It’s okay because my mental health is just as important to me than my physical health. It’s okay because I know this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It’s not a sprint to lose those 10 pounds as fast as I can. No, I’m losing slowly but steadily, and that’s okay.

I’ll get to my goals, but I’m going to have a wonderful time getting there.

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Are you eating enough?

by Christine on July 28th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning, Revolutionists!  I hope that this hump-day is treating you all kindly!

This morning I wanted to talk about whether you can “take a day off” when you’re “dieting,” but first I wanted to address a few other things floating around my mind. Tune back in later today for a word about “taking a day off.”

  • SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS! Thank you very much for the wonderful people that visit my blog and post comments. Your comments encourage me and give me hope that people are indeed reading and visiting me!  Thank you Maggie, Traci, Amanda, Freckle, Patrick, Clyde, and Allan!  It’s funny…I look at that list and see three guys on it! This surprises me, because I’ve always figured that the weight-loss realm (blogging and otherwise) were ruled predominantly by women. Boy was I wrong! I follow many men’s blogs, and I find them all to be extremely insightful and inspiring. I’m so glad that men blog about weight-loss!
  • BLOG ROLL UPDATES! I want to update my blog roll! If you want to be included (and aren’t currently), let me know by posting a comment on here. Similarly, if you could add my blog to your roll, I’d be appreciative.
  • I’M GUEST POSTING TOMORROW! If you don’t real Miz Fit’s blog already, you should. She’s brilliant and inspiring! But tomorrow yours truly will be guest posting there, so check it out!

I also wanted to address I comment I received in the mail the other day:

forgive me, i don’t mean to be nosy, but are you eating enough calories?  what you wrote about seems like so little… is it enough to keep your metabolism going and to keep your strength up?  off my soapbox. :)

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write me, and to be concerned about my well-being! Your email was touching, and I really appreciate it!  But to address your comment…it’s true that I don’t eat very many calories! I typically average 800-900 calories per day.  According to some sources, this may be considered “dangerously low” and even meet some criteria for anorexia! However, I have a very differing opinion of calories than many sources do. You see, I believe that every individual has a very unique “calorie setpoint,” or, rather, the amount of calories needed to maintain one’s weight. Doctors and the USDA offer very vague and general guidelines that make sweeping generalizations about an individual’s body composition, lifestyle, genetics, medical conditions, etc. For instance, all these doctors and charts and RMR/BMR calculators say that I should be eating 1500-1700 calories a day. However, I know this from experience — that’s far too many calories for me!  I believe my calorie setpoint is about 1000 calories, which is why I am aiming for 800-900 calories per day in order to lose weight.  I believe my calorie needs are much lower than what doctors and charts recommend because of many factors: my height (I’m short), my job (sedentary), my genetics (overweight, all of them), my medical conditions (hypothyroid, among others), etc. All these factors play into the fact that my metabolism just isn’t as spry as some other peoples’.

I honestly believe that every individual out there needs to carefully evaluate his/her calorie intake and tweak it for him/herself. You just can’t follow a doctor’s chart or following very vague guidelines that don’t take into your own, individual physiology!  If you’re going to try to lose weight, you need to figure out what your unique calorie setpoint is (generally done by trial and error). Otherwise it’s just not going to work.

But to answer your other question: Is it enough to keep my metabolism going and keep my strength up? Absolutely! I have never felt better, more energetic, or healthier. Too much food makes me feel sluggish. With this current lifestyle, I don’t eat much, but I eat all the freaking time — every 2 hours!  And, because I often choose to eat healthy foods, it’s easy to keep the calories within my low-range. After all, how many carrots and lettuce do you think you’d have to eat in order to eat 800 calories worth? A lot, my friends!

For more information about this, and seven other “tips” for how I’ve lost 90 pounds so far, then check this post out.

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