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February 2010

January 2010

Better than butter? A schmear of avocado

Avocadotoast Remember the bad old days of dieting, when people were told not to eat avocados because they were "fattening"?

Thank goodness that nonsense is over. Avocados are a superfood -- full of monounsaturated fat (MUFAs), vitamins and fiber.

Avocados have been pretty inexpensive lately so I've been buying a few a week. Aside from guacamole, avocados can be a great substitute for spreads and sauces like butter, mayonnaise and cream cheese.

Take today's lunch. I had some leftover turkey chili from last night, which was virtually fat free. I like to make sure that my meals are balanced with protein, carbs and protein, so I added a slice of toasted sourdough bread (it's lower on the glycemic scale than other breads because of the acidity). And to it I added an ounce of mashed Hass avocado with a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of my fancy-pants salt. (Yes, that's a Shrek plate.)

That ounce of avocado only has 45 calories and a bonus 2 grams of fiber. Take that, butter!

How many calories does a redesign burn?

I was reading an especially poignant post over at the blog See Sara Shrink. She wrote:

... I haven’t lost weight in awhile.  But it’s not like I haven’t been trying.  I wake up every day with the best of intentions, but by lunch I’m fighting the same battles I’ve been fighting for years.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

OK, who can relate?

(Raises hand.)

Scale I've been holding steady since the end of the year, when I burned off a few holiday pounds. But I'm tired of holding steady and need to see the scale move again. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I did work on bettering my health in 2009. I got my cholesterol down from borderline icky to perfectly normal and dropped my triglycerides 100 points into the completely normal category. And I did it all with diet and exercise.

So that was 2009. Now it's three weeks into 2010 and I need to make more changes, primarily in calorie intake. I have already mentioned that I have to drop down to 1,200 for a couple of reasons. One, I have a slow metabolism (I had it tested). And two, that will help give me leeway for the "invisible calories" from supplements like fish oil, dark chocolate calcium and other good-for-me things that aren't really food. I really hate counting the calories of stuff that isn't food.

Step one is this redesign. When I first redid the logo I had in it a photo of my sister and me from 1991. That's not realistic, now, is it? So I freshened up the site and added current photos of us.

It's cleaner, lighter and brighter and I'm hoping that'll rub off on us. And you, if that's what you need.

Soup is good food

South Florida recently was in the throes of a cold snap (got all the way down to 65.)  I 95171-062609_ProgressoSouplooked into my pantry to see what kind of stick-to-my-bones food I could serve for dinner, and spied the soup that my sister gave me. MyBlogSpark had sent her some new varieties of Progresso soups that are lower in sodium, calories and higher in fiber.

My daughter, the 9 3/4 year old food aficionado, concurred.  Soup was on.  

I was impressed that a 1-point meal of soup was as good as Progresso's Light Chicken Noodle Soup.  The chicken was REAL chicken (not little brown mystery cubes) and the vegetables were firm and tasted and looked like real vegetables.

My notoriously picky daughter gave it two thumbs up.

Progresso has recently offered no MSG varieties of soup to their product line as well.

The cold snap ended days ago, but the soup is staying in the front of the pantry.  I've started taking them to work for lunch; there are four new flavors that each have 7 grams of fiber per serving, which keep me full throughout the afternoon. 

Right now, Progresso is holding a "Souper You" essay contest -- the grand prize is a trip to NYC for a makeover. The sweepstakes is going on through March 15. While you're getting the particulars on the sweepstakes, you also can get a $1 coupon for Progresso soup at the same site.

A little shameless self promotion

Readers have asked whether there were any Shrinking Sisters T-shirts or anything to purchase.

Of course!

31206546v14_350x350_Front_Color-RedWhiteFor some time we've had a Cafe Press store but it hadn't been updated in awhile (I kept fiddling around with the blog logo and needed to put in a current one).

So I updated the store with our strawberry logo that you'll find on our Facebook page, and you can buy shirts, jackets, tote bags, journals, mousepads and coffee mugs. The shirts come in men's women's, juniors and plus sizes.

Check out this beauty at left that I'll be wearing to FitBloggin '10 in March.


I'll keep this my dirty little secret...

Woman eating and sitting on terrace writing

As we all know, tracking food consumption and exercise is a key to successful weight loss.  SparkPeople  is a free Web site that is chock full of tools to help achieve your weight loss goals.

But one of my favorite things to do is to lurk on people's profiles and see what they're eating and how much exercise they do.  I came across one of my favorite members' logs and was shocked at what was consumed.

Below is a typical lunch for this person:

Lunch Cal.   
Burger King, BK VEGGIE Burger, 1 serving 420 46 15 23
Burger King Medium French Fries (salted), 1 serving 480 61 23 5
Burger King Medium Coca Cola Classic, 1 serving 230 56 0 0
Kraft Singles White American Cheese, 1 serving 60 2 5 4

So although I may snicker at a fast-food lunch at nearly 1,200 calories, I must acknowledge that this person AT LEAST logs all that is consumed. The good, the bad and the fattening.

I dare you to track me on SparkPeople.  My user name: I_AM_CAROL.  You will never see one meal that is nearly my entire day's worth of calories.

Now to start tracking ...

Goodbye, Mr. Chips!

Yesterday was crazy busy. Pick the kid up from school, take him to golf lessons, grab a bag of dinner at Subway and then home to eat, change into his baseball uniform and make it to the game by 6 p.m.

All of that in a little more than 2 hours.

Subway The Subway stop isn't a regular thing but we were seriously strapped for time and Subway is our go-to place for fast food. You have total control over what's going in your sub or salad and the calories are reasonable.

I usually get a footlong turkey sub on the bread with the highest fiber (even though the honey oat has 5 grams for a 6-inch, I get the 9-grain wheat at 4 grams of fiber because it has 210 calories instead of 260 calories). And then I run it through the garden -- every available veggie -- and a squirt of mustard.

When it came time for my son to ask for his toppings, he looked at the list and said to me "Oil? Why would anybody put oil on their sandwich?" Beats me, kid.

My son likes to grab a bag of baked chips with his sub but I don't do that anymore -- I don't need the extra 120 calories of fiberless carbs.

I would always ask him for a chip or two -- "just one!" I would say.

But yesterday I ended that. Mom doesn't want that chip anymore. The sandwich suits me just fine.

Just another thing I'm doing differently in 2010.

'Move along folks, nothing to see here, show's over'

Big Ben?

Today I'm introducing a new tactic in my "Doing Things Differently in 2010" plan.

I'm introducing an eating cut-off time.

There's no magical reason for not eating after a certain time of day but enforcing a cut-off time (usually 2-3 hours before bedtime) will keep you safe from the "danger zone" of being bored and tired -- not really hungry. That's when a lot of people can get into trouble.

Often, when you go to bed stuffed you'll wake up not feeling very hungry. You want to wake up ready to eat breakfast to get your metabolism humming for the day.

In theory, my bedtime is 10:30, so my cut-off time will be 8 p.m. After that, it's water or maybe decaf tea with a little honey.

(I was thinking of one of those cop shows where the officer shoos people away from the crime scene when I came up with the headline.)

Eating at Pizzeria UNO in the face of temptation

Being a Chicago girl, part of my girth was created at Pizzeria UNO. Imagine my "delight" while still on vacation mode, passing an UNO's. Official diet starts for me on Monday, so I was thinking of going down in a blaze of provolone & sausage deep-dish glory.

Walking into UNO's I was greeted with an electrical nutrition kiosk which, had I so chosen, would have told me how many fat grams & calories that "personal" cheese deep dish pizza would have held. I don't know that I could have gone into the deep dish goodness with full disclosure.

As I opened the menu, however, I spied the multigrain roasted veggie flatbread pizza. Guilt having gotten the best of me, along with the promise of heartburn and the entire plethora of what Pepto Bismol cures, I told Andy ( our waiter) "multigrain flatbread with extra veggies.". And so begins my journey...

Eating at Pizzeria UNO in the face of temptation

Eating at Pizzeria UNO in the face of temptation

Eating at Pizzeria UNO in the face of temptation

What the what? Three pounds gone, and another change

Stepped on the scale this morning and was surprised that I've dropped 3 pounds since Monday.

I started keeping track of my food again but I only started doing that yesterday. I didn't really work out that much but I did restart that.

Perfect10diet The only thing really different I did? I started applying some of the principles of The Perfect 10 Diet, a book that I've been reading.

I'm barely through it, but the diet focuses on the body's hormones and how overprocessed food and the wrong fats (margarine, soybean oil) can mess with them and create leptin resistance.

My food changes this week consisted of changing my usual cereal and milk breakfast to cottage cheese and fruit or a couple of eggs. My lunchtime sandwiches became salads. Then I worked on the fats. Instead of soy creamer in my coffee I used (gasp!) organic half and half. I even made a chicken stir-fry with coconut oil instead of the usual vegetable mystery-blend oil. I put avocado on everything and ate almonds as my afternoon snack.

Simple as that.

I still need to make my way through the rest of the book, but I like the hormonal approach to weight loss. Hell, nothing else has been working. Plus I had been reading up on leptin resistance and how many overweight people can develop it and become hungry all the time.

(Raises hand)

The first night eating this way I felt a crazy, ravenous hunger around 8 p.m. that had me going crazy. So I made a cup of tea and gradually it went away. Later in the week that bear didn't really rear its head. So maybe there is something to this.

My other change

The kid had baseball practice today at noon, and instead of planting the "sports mommy" chair in the dirt and sacking out for 2 hours, I brought my iPod and my water bottle and walked the park for 40 minutes. Then, sitting in the chair felt more like a reward.

(I took a picture giving myself a thumbs-up, but it looked like I had my thumb up my nose so I didn't post it.)

Just like I skipped the Rose Parade for a workout DVD, baseball practice will be walking workout time.

Because that is how 2010 is going to roll.