New theme! New look!

by Christine on August 9th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

After a little fiddling around, I figured out how to give my blog a little facelift!  It seems pretty easy to use. What do you all think? Like it?


50 Weight-loss tips and tricks!

by Christine on August 9th, 2011

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

Take these tips with a grain of salt. Use the ones that make sense to you. Don’t be unhealthy, but keep your eye on the weight-loss prize.

  1. Eat breakfast. Choose one that’s high in protein and good fats; low in carbs and sugar. Go for the eggs; bypass the Fruit Loops.  (I just read an interesting blog/article yesterday that explained that there is not much difference between breakfast cereal and dog food.)
  2. Drink coffee. But limit the creams and sugars.
  3. Eat seafood. Pretty much as much as you want. Obviously watch your toppings, such as cream sauces and butter.
  4. Eat lots of vegetables, especially as snacks. They fill you up and give you much-needed nutrients.  You’ll get the best “bang for your buck” if you eat your veggies raw. (Cooking them depletes them of some of their nutrition.)
  5. Ladies, consider wearing a corset. It slims your waist and physically restricts your stomach so you can’t overeat. It’s the closest thing to a gastric band that a non-banded person can get to.
  6. Get enough sleep.
  7. Get your exercise! Cardio is important of course, but weight training is equally important. Don’t forget to do both. Choose exercise you love to do. That way you don’t burn yourself out or get bored.
  8. Make sure your workout challenges you. If you walk out of the gym feeling like you didn’t get pushed to your limit, then you probably weren’t.
  9. Be patient. You didn’t gain weight overnight. You’re not going to lose it overnight.
  10. Get inspired. There’s nothing wrong with picking out someone with a body type that you admire and working to achieve a similar model with your own body. Just set realistic goals for yourself (so if you’re going to do this, pick out someone with a similar body type as you.) For instance, you’re never going to be a 6’2 supermodel if you’re 5’1.
  11. Don’t be afraid to cut your calories. The concept of throwing your body into “starvation mode” is something of a myth that doesn’t pertain to 99% of the people that are reading this right now.  Try cutting your calories back by 10%.  Studies have shown that people that follow a lower-calorie diet are healthier and live longer.
  12. Quit eating processed food. For the most part, that means most food that comes in a package. Try to eat real foods without the added sugars, salts, preservatives, and chemicals. It really does mess with your body.
  13. Stop drinking carbonated drinks (or at least seriously limit them).
  14. Drink water. Lots of it. Especially a half an hour before you sit down to eat.
  15. Snack between meals, but be smart about it. Snacking is great for your metabolism, and I recommend choosing high fiber/high protein foods if possible (limit your carbs, and yes that means fruit too), but measure your snack to ensure that you’re getting the right portion size. 100-150 calories for a snack is entirely appropriate.  My favorite snacks are fresh vegetables, almonds, and tuna fish with mustard instead of mayo.
  16. When you feel hungry, take a walk and get some fresh air. Plan out what you’re going to snack or eat while walking around. Don’t just impulsively reach for the kitchen!
  17. Journal every thing you eat and drink daily.
  18. Plan all your meals out the day before.
  19. Quit buying junk food for the family. It sabotages your own weight loss, and they shouldn’t be eating junk anyway.
  20. Eat food that tastes good. Don’t buy “low-fat” or “low-calorie” foods that take like shit. There are more chemicals in that low-fat crap that you don’t want to ingest. Instead, eat the real versions of food, and instead just watch your portion sizes.
  21. If you’re always hungry and always want to eat, evaluate your food and see if you notice any trends. Are you hungry at certain times of the day? How long after you eat are you hungry again? Are you hungry after working out? I’m willing to bet that you’re hungry shortly after a higher-carb meal. You can work this out by eating higher protein and fiber foods and limiting your carbs. (However, carbs are great to have before a workout, so I’m not suggesting you cut carbs entirely. Just be smart about it.)
  22. Consider a protein shake supplement to help you through your hungry parts of the day. Protein shakes are especially valuable immediately following a workout. Just watch the calories in your protein shake. Most shakes have 200 calories per serving (which is a lot in my opinion) so consider doing a half-portion or watering it down.
  23. Soups are great, and they are a staple for me because of my gastric band. Choose soups with lots of vegetables. Limit soups that are heavy on creams. Minestrone, not Clam Chowder.
  24. Don’t deny yourself a treat, but make sure you have controls in place so you don’t have it laying around to binge on.  Put the treat in control of your husband. Or allow yourself a treat if you get a workout in that day.  Hide your treat so it’s not on the counter.  Treat your high-calorie treat like it was a prized jewel.
  25. Take before and after photos.
  26. Join an online support group. There are a lot of great ones available! Find one with people with the same goals and interests as you. There are gastric banding forums, Christian-weight-loss forums, teenager weight loss forums, and lots of others. (Shameless self-promotion: I have a link to my own forum at the top of this page.)
  27. Go public. Tell your family of your weight loss goals so they can support you. Ask for help: ask for workout buddies. When you screw up, tell someone.  Start a blog and be honest on it. I personally find that if you can’t be honest with the closest people in your life, you’re probably not being honest with yourself either.
  28. Take your multivitamin. And don’t forget to count it in your calories for the day. (My Gummy Vitamins have 10 calories in them.)
  29. Watch your weight. Don’t be obsessive, but weigh yourself regularly (say, once a week) to make sure that you are on track.
  30. If you are actively trying to lose weight, you should be losing at least a pound a week on average. If you’re not, your body has stalled or stopped or something. Change something up. Don’t keep doing the same old thing and expecting different results.  On the other hand, if you’ve found your groove–losing the weight and feeling good–don’t change! Stay in your positive groove.
  31. Remember that all weight is not equal. Muscle weighs more than fat, and muscle is good. Then again, muscle burns fat more effectively. Just keep this mind as you progress on your journey. You can help balance this whole muscle vs. fat thing by taking body measurements, which may be a better indicator of weight loss than a number on the scale, especially if you’re closer to your goal weight.
  32. Eat on smaller plates. It helps you limit your portion sizes.
  33. Measure your food. Weigh it (invest in a good digital scale) and get the measuring cups out to measure it. “Guesstimating” just doesn’t cut it, trust me.
  34. Sugar substitutes are just as evil as sugar itself.
  35. If you’re going to eat carbs (which I still say: “limit them” but don’t eliminate them entirely) then choose carbs that used to be noticeably alive at some point. Potatoes, rice, beans, and quinoa are great carb choices, and they all resemble the plant they used to be at some point. Bread and pasta are not living plants (you don’t pluck a baguette off a tree!) and should be avoided.  Merely changing to a whole wheat substitute isn’t going to do the trick. Choose a carb that was living at some point in the recent past.
  36. Consider adding 10% to the number of calories you THINK you’re eating.  Most likely you aren’t estimating your portion sizes exactly, and basing your food off a general online nutrition guide isn’t always accurate. Assume you’re eating 10% more than you’re really eating.
  37. Eat in areas that are brightly lit and colored with blue. Studies have shown that the color blue actually works as an appetite suppresant. And you know how most restaurants are darkly lit with dim lighting? That’s to make you feel relaxed, comfortable, so you eat (and drink) more. If you’re trying to lose weight, turn all the lights on in your dining room/kitchen, and use blue plates/blue napkins to eat off of.
  38. Eat in front of a mirror. Ha ha, try it sometime. It sounds silly, but you are much more likely to stop eating sooner if you’re eating in front of a mirror.
  39. Quit eating out at restaurants so much. If you do eat out, pre-plan what you are going to order. Feel free to get fussy too: order your meat grilled instead of fried, without the sauce, salad dressings on the side, vegetables steamed instead of sauteed. Even chinese take-out restaurants will custom order your food if you ask them to.
  40. Eat as slowly as you possibly can.
  41. Find other ways than eating to relieve stress, boredom, or to express love and gratitude.  When you’re planning family activities, why not play volleyball or lawn darts instead of eating pizza and watching a movie?
  42. Use flavors such as hot sauce, salsa, and cajun seasonings instead of creamy, buttery sauces.
  43. When you are at work, schedule a “non-smokers smoke break” every 2 hours. Go for a 10 minute walk; do squats at your desk; stretch in the bathroom stall; climb the stairs. Do something to move a little, but schedule it so it really happens.
  44. Watch less TV. Most people watch too much tv anyway, but most people eat while watching tv. (Thank you advertisers!) Turn off the tv and go for a walk, start a hobby, or spend time with your family.  Even watching 1 hour less tv per night will help you lose weight.
  45. Sniff peppermint if you feel hungry. For some reason peppermint curbs the appetite. Peppermint smells help curb the hunger feelings, or a small peppermint candy can help you deter a binge. (Peppermint gum also works)
  46. Brush your teeth after your major meals. Again with the peppermint thing, but most people will wait longer to eat again if their teeth are clean.
  47. Clean your fridge and pantries. Throw out any old and expired food. Throw out foods that are high in calories and that really don’t help you on your weight loss mission. For example, I have currently in my fridge a tub of apple butter than sounded like a good idea at the time but really shouldn’t be in there. In my pantry I have a tub of Nutella that should get chucked. Neither help me with my weight loss mission. A cleaned-out pantry and fridge allow you to fill it up with healthier options.
  48. When you are eating out with friends and family, dress up in your most flattering outfit, do your hair and makeup. When you feel “pretty” you’ll eat less. And you won’t want to spill on your outfit. And you’ll get compliments, which will help boost your esteem and help you stick to your diet.
  49. Celebrate your successes. Set mini-goals, and reward yourself when you reach them.
  50. Don’t give up! Never give up. Even if you suffer a minor set back, you can always get back on track right now. If you keep trying to lose weight but are unsuccessful, try something different. But don’t give up.

XN Challenge update

by Christine on August 8th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

Four days, and so far it’s been mostly a success.

Day 1: Walked with the hubby, so that was a success.

Day 2: Golfed for work.

Day 3: Fail. No excuse.

Day 4: Went to the gym with hubby. Success.

Well, that’s three out of four days of successes, which is good I guess.

It was pretty much a topsy-turvey weekend for me. Not all good; not all bad. I’m working on moving past shitty days  and embracing Joyful living, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s hard, hard, hard. Weekends like this make me wish that I belonged to some kind of religious community (preferably Buddhist, I think). Not one that preaches that some kind of diety in the sky will swoop down and make everything alright, but one that teaches how to find inner peace and joy within your own mind.  Such a way of living would probably help with the weight loss conundrum as well.

The plan this week is to continue moving forwards with the XN Exercise Challenge and try to re-instill some healthy workout habits into my lifestyle. That’s going to involve re-prioritizing other events in my life to fit exercise in, but I think it will be healthy and good. I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s something that happened last night that might help other banders or weight-loss-seekers who find themselves in a similar situation. Hubby and I were out walking last night with our neighbor friends, and they invited us over for pizza at their house. We wanted to socialize, but I didn’t want the pizza (can’t do it with the band, and it’s not healthy for weight loss anyway). We agreed, but I just brought over my own food (a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup) that I heated up at their house. Was it awkward? Kind of, but nobody was offended and I didn’t end up going to bed feeling guilty that I ate crappy food for dinner.

Things I am grateful and joyful about today:

My wonderful husband. A healthy family. A job with a paycheck. My car maybe getting fixed, and cash in my wallet to pay for the repairs.


XN CHALLENGE: 2-Week Exercise Plan

by Christine on August 4th, 2011

filed under Exercise

I have been sitting here feeling somewhat sorry for myself. Do you ever read through some of your fellow bloggers’ posts, see how amazing they are doing going to the gym, all the calories they are burning and the weight they are losing?

And you look at yourself and you notice that you don’t go to the gym. And aren’t losing the weight. But you really really want to.

Well, yeah, that’s kind of been me for the last week or two.  I’m being fucking lazy, you guys. So it’s time to cement some workout time. That means PUTTING IT ON THE OFFICIAL SCHEDULE.  Cuz that’s the way I rumble. If it’s on the schedule, I do it. If it’s not on the schedule, I won’t remember or will give 10001 excuses why I won’t work out. Bullhonkey!

So I’m setting out a 2-week exercise plan for me. The goal is not to lose weight really; my goal right now is to get into the beginning of a routine.  So don’t mock the lack of actual cardio. it’s not my goal. Movement is the goal. Every day. Period.

Thursday the 4th
Going to SPAC to the orchestra. Plan to get there early and get a few miles in around the golf course before going into the concert venue.

Friday the 5th
Golfing for work. Easy to plan this one!

Saturday the 6th
Gym in the morning, while hubby is off playing cards.

Sunday the 7th
Gym in the morning.
Hopefully something more active and fun in the afternoon, like canoeing or roller blading.

Monday the 8th
Rollerblading or walking at lunchtime. On the schedule.

Tuesday the 9th
I wan to try a walk-in yoga class after work this day. Hopefully I like the teacher. I’ve been missing yoga for a while now.  I’m soooo sad my old center went out of business.

Wednesday the 10th
Out with a friend after work.  Bicycle or go to the gym together. I’m lucky that a lot of my friends are agreeable to doing fun physical activities, not just eating or drinking!

Thursday the 11th (ONE WEEK DOWN)
Tricky day. Another orchestra event. Or pub trivia. This might actually require waking up early to go to the gym. I’m also putting rollerblading down at lunchtime on the official schedule.

Friday the 12th
Oh no. Another day up in the air. I don’t know what’s on tap after work, so I better schedule gym time in the morning.

Saturday the 13th
Either gym in the morning, or a fun activity during the day, such as golfing or hiking. Hopefully hiking!

Sunday the 14th
Same thing as Saturday. I’ll do the gym in the morning if I have to, but hopefully we can go hiking or biking or something.

Monday the 15th
Gym after work. Scheduled. On the calendar.

Tuesday the 16th
Gym after work. Scheduled. On calendar.

Wednesday the 17th (LAST DAY OF 2-WEEK CHALLENGE)
Out with a friend again. Hopefully go biking or golfing!

So there you have it! Two full weeks, actually planned out ahead of time, scheduled on the calendar, and made a priority in my life. The goal is to move and to create a better habit of exercising regularly. I’ll check in to verify that I’m adhering to the goal!


Just being silly!

by Christine on August 3rd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

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