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August 2010

37 weeks, and you're in on the deal

It was my first Monday since the Cleveland Clinic Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program ended. I got on the scale and was up a quarter of a pound. Not bad considering I didn't work out at all last week and I had some major PMS bloat going on.

Why didn't I work out all week? Because in the back of my sneaky, little sabotaging head I knew I wouldn't be weighing in with someone who wasn't me.

Who will I be accountable to now?

Being accountable to myself isn't good enough, so I decided that I'll be accountable to YOU, dear readers. Every Monday I'll let you know what the scale says. (Who knows, someday I may even let you know what the number is.)

But I had a productive summer. I lost 10 pounds and am sneaking up on PRE-BABY WEIGHT (that's right, old skool blinky type), which is only 4 pounds away.

(The, ahem, baby started middle school last week.)

Fitblogginlogo11So what's the 37 weeks, you ask?

 That's how many weeks until Fitbloggin' 11, the second annual awesome healthy living blogger conference that will take place in Baltimore, one of my favorite cities in the USA.

And I already promised Roni, the Queen of Fitbloggin', that I will be returning as a weight-loss blogger success story. Or pretty darn near it.

Here's the deal: If all I lose is a measly pound a week, I will be one size away from the Happy Weight by Fitbloggin' time. I also signed up for the 5K run this time. Last time I did the 1-mile walk, which was already too easy for me. I've gotta push myself more and will be training for that goal.

BroccoliSo I have a lot on my plate.

 Or a little.

Or a lot of broccoli. Yeah. I have a lot of broccoli on my plate. I'm going to meet this challenge. Last year I made a grand pronouncement before Fitbloggin' and fell far short of the goal. This time, thanks to my Summer of Success, I know I can do it.

(Oooh, that even motivated me!)

Have a food or cooking-related catastrophe?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews  for my latest post for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories and for a chance to win $150. Just leave a comment below on one of your cooking-related goofs. That'll buy a lot of broccoli.

Take me out to the ballgame: May I run the bases?

OK. I got the pork nachos out of my system.

Literally and figuratively.

Dolphin Stadium isn't a culinary bastion among ballparks. While we've had sushi and healthy turkey wraps at Dodger Stadium, grilled fish tacos at Petco Field in San Diego and crabcakes at Camden Yards (we go to a lot of baseball games on vacation), the fare in Miami is pretty ordinary -- hotdogs, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches.

  But there is a relatively new barbecue stand, and their signature dish is a monstrosity known as "pork nachos."

It's a pile of tortilla chips blanketed in nacho cheese sauce and topped with pulled pork. Diners then can squirt a variety of barbecue sauces atop the whole thing.Everglades BBQ nachos

Miami New Times did a recent piece on Dolphin Stadium food and ran this photo of the Everglades BBQ pork nachos covered with peppers (hey, I didn't get peppers!).

Saturday we went to the Marlins game and as is custom, around the fourth inning I took the kid for his snack. Usually it's ice cream but we walked past that barbecue concession stand one too many times.

"Wanna split the nachos?" I asked conspiratorially.

C'mon, he's a 12-year-old boy. What do you think he's going to say?

As we walked to a table, pork nachos wobbling on the cardboard tray, you'd think I was carrying the Hope Diamond.

"Where did you get those?" more than one person asked. People pointed, stared and salivated at my feet.

So we split the nachos, walked laps around the table, then did a circuit around the ballpark (wow, those outfield dwellers really can't hold their booze!) and headed back to our seats. If I could have, I would have raced down to the field and trotted the bases. Burn calories, burn!

Craving finally sated, we now never have to get them again.

It's probably a bazillion calories and to put on my food critic hat, the nacho cheese sauce doesn't quite work with the smoky pulled pork flavors.

I compensated the next day by keeping calories low and myself busy.

Have a food or cooking-related catastrophe?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews  for my latest post for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories and for a chance to win $150. Just leave a comment below on one of your cooking-related goofs. That'll buy a lot of pork nachos. Or not.

Pei Wei and Zumba: A cautionary tale

Peiweizumbagreen copy
I had a Zumba DVD that I got from Special K boxtops and I'd seen the infomercials. But I'd never done a live Zumba class before and I was dying to. This morning I had printed out the class schedule at my gym and highlighted classes I'd like to try.

Turbo Kick, shadowboxing, Zumba ... I was looking for something to shake up my treadmill blahs.

I had been meaning to, but never got around to working out today. Laundry, dishes, the usual. Soon it was dinner and the weather was miserable so I ordered takeout for the family from Pei Wei after scouring their nutritional stats (Thai Dynamite with steamed shrimp and brown rice for me.) After I placed the order online I glanced down at the gym schedule and thought: "Hmmm, if we get done with dinner in time, I can still make the Zumba class." Here's the timeline:

6:40: Pick up dinner.

6:50: Come home with dinner and promptly eat it.

7:10: Change into workout clothes and dash off to the gym.

7:30: Zumba!

I was keeping up with the class, sweating my butt off, my heart rate an impressive 140-150 throughout the class.

8:25: A wave comes over me, like nothing I've felt before. (OK, I felt it once before, the day I rammed my head into a metal door and broke my arm racing to pick up my son from school for a dental appointment. Don't ask.)

I sat down on an aerobic step off in the corner and tried hard not to show the class what I ate for dinner. I was dying. OK, I wasn't dying. According to my heart rate monitor, my heart rate was coming down pretty quickly, so it wasn't a heart attack.

While I was sitting with my head in my hands, my dinner was still Zumba-ing in my gut. I crawled off to the ladies room to explode or die or collapse.

A couple of minutes later, I returned to the aerobics room, just to assure the instructor that she didn't kill anyone tonight. I told her my story and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

I'm an idiot.

But I'm also in love with Zumba.

Sometimes a peach is just a moose

... and sometimes a peach is just a snack.

I have used myriad food scales over the years, going all the way back to those old-school Weight Watchers manual food scales with the little plastic container on top.

Food_scale I've had a digital scale for around 10 years but when I saw my latest scale advertised on QVC, it spoke to me with a little "beep-beep."

Being the Biggest Loser fangirl that I am, I fell for Ali Vincent's pitch and picked up this food scale and am very happy with it.

First off, the stats are offset so you can put a plate or bowl on the scale and still be able to read it. It cycles between ounces, grams, milliliters and fluid ounces.

But what I love most about it is that it'll give you the nutritional stats for over 1,000 foods, so I can know whether my peach has 50 calories or 100.

The one in the photo was 76 calories, by the way. I had it pegged for much more.

I'm not obsessive about counting every last calorie -- gum, pickles, mustard and Propel often go by the wayside. But I'd like to know whether I magically ate more than 100 calories of fruit.

(I just checked and it's not available on QVC anymore but you can get it on Amazon.

Building muscle at Disney World

Just got back from a week tooling around Central Florida with the family. Most of the week was spent at Walt Disney World -- all four parks. And lemme tell ya, I have learned one thing:

Walking builds muscle.

OK, I learned another thing:

America -- we're fat!

If the Disney theme parks are a microcosm of America, then we're a bunch of turkey leg-chomping, scooter driving, 100-pound soda-swilling 5-year-olds stuffed into strollers. 

I wish I could say I am exaggerating but I"m not. I was Judgie McJudgerson all week. Here's a snippet of my inner dialogue:

  • "Get that kid out of the stroller and make him walk!"
  • "Why are you using a scooter? I just saw you get up and walk to the concession stand!"
  • "Seriously? You're eating that?"

And so on.

I felt a little bad about being so judgmental when my own caboose is plus sized but at least I was hoofing it while pounding down water and searching for fresh produce. (Yes, I found some.)

But the weight-loss psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic said it was OK and likened it to a newly minted non-smoker getting all up in the business of smokers. You look at things with new eyes.

  I can report that trying to eat healthfully at Disney's Orlando parks can be done. Some parks have fruit and vegetable stands where you can grab a banana or pack of baby carrots. Vegetarian dishes are on many menus. Grilled chicken sandwiches and salads are nearly everywhere. 

Epcot_tofuAt right is a lunch that I had at Epcot's China pavilion: stir-fried tofu and vegetables. Yes, the rice is white (there was no brown) but you pick your battles where you can. I ate half the rice, and I used the chopsticks to slow down the meal.

My favorite change is that the kids' meals automatically contain baby carrots, 100 percent juice and apple slices. You have to opt in to get fries, soda and cookies. 

I also brought along protein bars, Laughing Cow Light wedges (no fridge, no problem!) and Crystal Light Pure Fitness packets. And once there, we made a grocery run, and I stuffed the minibar crevices with Greek yogurt for breakfasts.

Getting back to the muscle thing

So, how'd I do? We left the day after I weighed in at Cleveland Clinic and came back the day before this week's weigh-in (today). I managed to lose a quarter of a pound but here's the really cool stats:

  • I lost 2 percent of my body fat
  • I gained 3 pounds of muscle

So that quarter pound is looking pretty good, huh? At first I was a bit bummed about the small loss but I reminded myself: Disney World is not the Biggest Loser Ranch. It is not designed for weight loss. Yet I managed to lose.

But that 3 pounds of muscle really has me jazzed. I did hit the spacious hotel gym a couple days and did some resistance work but I think it was the walking that built the muscle. First day was 7 miles, then 12.7, then another 8. The other couple days were a more sedate 3-5 miles. 

Since starting the Cleveland Clinic Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program seven weeks ago, I've lost 5 pounds but gained 8 pounds of muscle and lost 4 percent of my body fat.

While the total poundage lost is kinda small, I've turned fluffy fat into 8 pounds of lean muscle. While it'll be nearly impossible to lose the rest of the weight without losing some muscle, I'm pretty impressed with my machinery.

Looking for laughs?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews  for my latest post for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories and for a chance to win $150. That'll buy a lot of dumbbells.

A 5k every day

Close-up low section of the feet of a woman running on a treadmill

"5k every day."

That's what I installed in my brain last week. It was something that Shrinking Sister Carol came up with last year when she was on a gym bender. (Right now she's nursing a giant incision on her neck so there's no treadmill for her.)

I promised my "team" at the Cleveland Clinic that I'd add another day of exercise to my week and I did. I hit the gym five times last week and each time my mantra on the treadmill was "5k every day." On the days that I did strength training I still fit in that 5k.

And it paid off -- a little more than a pound down this week. But here's the fun part: Although the pound and a quarter didn't seem like much, I lost another 1 percent in body fat and gained another pound of pure muscle, which is what I did last week. Swapping fat for muscle is weight I don't mind.

This week will be more difficult because we'll be busy with baseball games, friends and theme parks. But it'll be interesting to see how my weight loss goes with all the eating out, walking and general busy-ness. I've got my fingers crossed, but restaurant food can be truly sneaky. I thought I was making the right choices tonight at dinner. We went to California Pizza Kitchen and I ordered the Korean taco appetizer and a half garden salad. Two little tacos and a green salad, how bad can that be?

How about 950 calories bad?

I know! Ridiculous! What does a girl have to do to find a 400-calorie restaurant meal?


Back to the 5k every day.

Looking for laughs?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories.

'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail'

Way back in 1991, Delta Burke hosted Saturday Night Live and was featured in a hilarious sketch about a Weight Watchers meeting. (Can't find the video, darn it! It was great if you've ever been a Weight Watchers member.)

That phrase "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" was one of the mantras that the Weight Watchers leader would chant repeatedly.

But, y'know? It's a great thing to keep in mind.

I've kept it in mind when food journaling. If I plan out the food at the start of the day I won't get a rude surprise at dinner. You know that surprise:

"Congratulations, you have no calories left!"

I also feel more in control when I have the day laid out before me.

Girl with hands over her eyes

It's one of the tools I'm using to battle my self sabotage, something I'm really getting a handle on. Another little trick is physically closing the kitchen doors at night.

Object permanence: Otherwise known as the "Peek-a-Boo" effect. Playing Peek-a-Boo with a baby is far more fun than playing with an adult, because babies haven't learned object permanence. When those hands go in front of your face you are really gone in their eyes.

So I'm playing Peek-a-Boo with the kitchen at night. Hey, don't laugh. The weight-loss psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic thought it was a great idea (and was impressed that I remember object permanence from college psych class). 

(Blogging tip: Holy crap, don't search for the phrase "peek-a-boo" on Google Images!)

But my stupid human tricks are working because I lost 1 percent body fat and gained a pound of muscle this week. Yay for muscles!

What tricks do you play with yourself to keep yourself on track?

Looking for more laughs?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories.