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.
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Summertime Cold!

by Christine on August 2nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

I don’t remember the last time I got a cold in the summertime, but yikes! I sure have one now!  I’m sneezing so much I feel like my brains are going to leak out of my head. And ugh, I’m sniffly and congested too. Tomorrow I have to give a presentation to a State Agency and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to mask my cold. I hope a decent dosage of Dayquil will make me presentable!

Yesterday I had a meeting with a client, which involved lunch-on-the-road. We stopped at a restaurant where I had a cup of soup (vegetables in some kind of clear broth) and a grilled chicken salad and a light raspberry dressing. Last night we had a long dinner at a restaurant, out with friends. I enjoyed a cosmo and “fish and chips” (but only 1 or 2 french fries).  I would have prefered grilled fish, but that wasn’t an option, and I figured fried fish was better than a cheesy quesadilla or a burger. I was so tired when we got home, I fell right asleep!

I feel like my food/intake has been pretty good overall… I’m mostly making healthy food choices when I can, although my weight hasn’t budged at all. I think I’m eating too much at too few meals. When I was losing weight, I was eating 150 calories at any given sitting, 5 times a day.  I’m still only eating about 1000 calories a day, but it’s only in 2 meals. I think I need to spread out the eating throughout the day a little bit better. I actually have some fresh veggies in my fridge that I can use a snack…green bell pepper from my garden, cucumbers, tomatoes that I can dip in light ranch dressing. Or a little bit of brie cheese on rosemary crackers with fresh herbs from my garden.  Today I tried doing small snacks, so we will see if that helps.

Overall, my weight is mostly-stable: 132 pounds, which is up 7 pounds from my Low/Goal Weight….not ideal, but not too bad after being in “Maintenance Mode” for 7 months. I would like to lose those 7 pounds, of course, which is what I’m working on. However I feel like those 7 pounds have really shifted itself on my body. In the last 2 weeks I’ve noticed all my pants feel very tight on me in my thighs and butt; my legs look bigger to me, too. I wonder if it’s possible for weight to shift and transfer itself on one’s body, or if it’s all in my head? Curious.

Anyhew, that’s what’s going on with me today. Cross your fingers that my cold melts away in the night and I wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to kick some public-speaking butt at my presentation tomorrow!

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A case of the headcase.

by Christine on May 17th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Today I was browsing through some three-year-old journal posts (for those of you that don’t know, I have an online forum here if you’re interested in joining) and came across this lovely “before” picture. This is about three years old now.

Look at that sad little fatty face of mine! And I remember that pink shirt, too. I liked it so much. It was a 1XL and it was tight on me. I also remember when I could finally throw that one in the “too big” bin.  Here’s another picture, more recent, this time wearing a Size 2 dress. What a difference with my chin! Oh, that laser eye surgery sure made a difference, too.

A case of the headcase

One thing that struck me as I was re-reading my old posts is that…well, I frequently suffer from a case of being a headcase. I have a tendency to over-exaggerate problems, create problems based on getting stressed out and worse-case-scenario-fearing, which just leads to more stress and fear, which leads to more stress and fear…

It’s a really rotten cycle. And I have no doubt that it has an impact on my weight, relationship with food, not to mention my mental health.

I’ve been in a real headcase cycle lately, and it is well past time to snap out of that. Instead of fearing the worst, I’m going to celebrate all the good things in life that exist CURRENTLY. Instead of exaggerating problems I’ll think of solutions. Instead of lamenting past problems, I will look to a bright and happy future. Starting now.

Do you ever work yourself into a headcase tizzy? How do you get yourself out of it?

How my eating has changed!

A review of my old posts were interesting from a food point of view now, too. Before, three years ago, when I was gaining weight at a rate of 5-10 pounds per week, I would:

  • Starve or have limited calories (500, say) one day, and have a lot of calories (2200, say) the next, for a wildly inconsistent eating pattern.
  • Drink a lot of alcohol. Every day, and perhaps 3-6 drinks a day.
  • Ate more carbs than I do now, which is quite a bit I suppose.
  • Ate a lot of healthy, full-of-vegetable meals.
  • I drank diet soda like it was water.

These days my eating could use improvement in terms of adding more healthy vegetables into my choices, but overall my new eating differs from my old eating because:

  • I eat a consistent amount of calories, every day, usually 800-1000 calories per day.
  • I still enjoy alcohol, but I drink a lot less apparently. Instead of 3-6 drinks every day, I might have 1-2 drinks, maybe 2 times a week. A drink a lot more beer now, too, as opposed to martinis.
  • I eat a lot fewer carbs because of my gastric band. I eat a lot more high-fat foods like fish, almonds, avocados, and even a limited amount of chocolate. However, I seriously limit my portion sizes with these high-fat foods.
  • I drink water like water, and drink diet soda as a special treat, maybe once per week.

I just thought the differences were interesting.

If Current Christine could meet Past Christine and share these differences with her….would it have helped Past Christine lose weight?  Could I have prevented the need for gastric banding surgery?

Honestly, I don’t know that I would want to change me. I’m so glad I had the surgery, and I’m so pleased for all it has done for me. I wouldn’t want to take that away from me, no matter what. Aside from marrying my husband and moving far, far away from home, getting the gastric band is one of the best things I ever did for myself.

What are the three best things you have ever done for yourself? If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, what would you tell your past self? Would you want to share your secrets with your past self and change the future?

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Kelly Osborne considering the gastric band for weight maintenance

by Christine on April 13th, 2011

filed under Eating Disorders, Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

Kelly Osbourne: Gastric Band For TV Star Kelly Osbourne?

Monday April 11, 2011

KELLY Osbourne is desperate to stay slim.

According to a report from Britain’s Daily Star newspaper, the E! Fashion Police co-host  is considering getting a gastric band surgery to maintain her svelte figure.

“Kel’s at her wit’s end over her weight and is worried she’s putting back all the pounds she fought so hard to lose,” a source said.

“She’s recently been on holiday and put on almost a stone (14 pounds) while enjoying herself. She got a bit of a shock when she got home and realized she couldn’t fit into her new clothes.

“Kelly knows a gastric band would be drastic but she’s desperate to keep the weight off. Being the face of Madonna’s range just adds more pressure. She’s scared of getting axed in favor of someone skinny if she puts on more weight.”

Kelly — who split with her last boyfriend Luke Worrall after he reportedly cheated on her with both men and women — recently revealed she wants to have a baby with her gay best friend, because her mother Sharon Osbourne would “love it”.

“I’m fed up with straight men — I’d love a baby with my gay best friend Nate,” Kelly told Closer magazine. “We’d be the perfect parents and my mum would love it!”

Kelly –- who is the new face of Madonna and her daughter Lourdes’ clothing line Material Girl — recently revealed she is dating 26-year-old musician Rob Damiani, but the pair are planning to take things slowly.

“It’s true, I’m having fun getting to know someone new,” she said. “I met Rob over in the UK recently, and I want to take things slowly, so that means keeping some things private.”

Source: http://www.showbizspy.com/article/230375/kelly-osbourne-gastric-band-for-tv-star-kelly-osbourne.html

Why do I bring this bit of drivel up?  I think this article is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it’s interesting that a doctor would consider performing gastric banding surgery on Kelly Osborne when she is under the BMI criteria, which is currently 40.  (In the USA the current minimum BMI is 40. Likewise, in the UK, the NHS requires a 40 minimum BMI) Kelly is not currently overweight, so she doesn’t need the surgery in order to lose the weight. Interesting.

(Read a recent and related article about using the gastric band as a weight maintenance tool here.)

Secondly, the idea of using the gastric band for weight maintenance is an interesting one. In my own experience, the reason why I chose the gastric band is because hopefully the device will allow me to maintain my weight without the need for a yo-yo weight gain/loss for the rest of my life. I’ve done the whole yo-yo thing and it sucks. The gastric band really does give me some kind of peace of mind that I can lose weight and keep the weight off.

So should a major surgery like this be used simply for weight maintenance?  Why not? Other than the risks involved in the actual surgery, I don’t see how it can hurt to put some measures in place to ensure that you can live a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

But I want to take this even a step further: I think that the gastric band can be a successful device for treating those suffering from eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder and perhaps even bulimia.  The band prevents binging from occurring (seriously. You just can’t overindulge in a short time frame with a tight gastric band), so why can’t the device be used to help those suffering from binging-related disorders?  Hmmmm. Food for thought.

What do you think about using the gastric band or other weight loss devices in order to maintain your weight? What do you think about the idea of using the gastric band for treatment of some eating disorders?

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New weight loss device: Abiliti

by Christine on April 8th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

There’s a new weight loss device out there on the market.

It’s called Abiliti and it’s basically a kind of electro-shock therapy to make you stop eating. There are sensors attached to the outer wall of your stomach. After you eat something, the food detection senor signals the gastric stimulator. The stimulator then sends low energy electrical impulses to the stimulation electrode, making you feel full, and thereby making you eat less. The activity sensor, contained in the stimulator, tracks your exercise, activity, and sedentary periods. It’s kind of like the BodyBugg, except built-in, without the arm band and wires.

The surgery is much like the gastric band insofar as it is an easy laproscopic procedure with minimal surgical risk. I think it is too soon to tell what the long-term effects of the surgery are, including what its success rates are.

This device is not yet approved in the USA but is being used in Europe.

More information about the Abiliti device can be found here.

Here is an article about the device.

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