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September 2013
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October 2013

Waddya mean, don't count calories?

I had my Skype session with my Retrofit counselor today and she suggested that I start logging my meals on the site. I have been using My Fitness Pal, but there's one big difference between Retrofit and MFP:

There's no calorie counting on Retrofit.

I have been a slave to calories ever since I was, oh, 10. Yeah, you read that right, 10.

I received my first calorie counting book then and a colorful poster-sized calorie chart was hung on our kitchen wall as a child.

I know the calorie count of EV-ERY-THING.

Instead of slavishly recording every calorie, I'm supposed to be "calorie aware," and instead pay more attention to hunger cues -- something I rarely do.

This ultimately paves the way to eating in a more natural, hunger-based manner, rather than wondering how many more things I get to eat in the day before I run out.

This is going to take some time for me to wrap my head around. 

Old way: Hey, I can still eat 200 more calories!

New way: Am I really hungry for more food?

See how the second scenario sounds more "normal"?

Eeek. I'm going to give this a try 

It's the brussels sprouts and Ben & Jerry's diet!

Ben and jerrys brussels sprouts crunch
(OK, this isn't real.)

Still not back to 233 but I'm working my way back down.

But what's up with that headline?

I guess that shows I was eating a random assortment of food, and since I wrote it all down, I lost weight because all the brussels sprouts and all the Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt were accounted for.

I've been making a concerted effort to eat more vegetables throughout the day.

Breakfast? Spinach in the eggs.

Lunch? Veggies with the entree or more spinach in the smoothie.

Snack? How about a bag of frozen brussels sprouts? (Sorry, I just love 'em.)

Dinner? This one's easy since I always have vegetables at dinner.

After dinner? Eh, not really the best time to be packing away the broccoli. We'll skip it here, although a small salad is sometimes a nice option.

I'm going to play around a bit with calorie cycling this coming week because I've kinda been doing that a couple days a week (especially those Ben & Jerry's days). "Extreme Weight Loss" trainer Chris Powell and "Biggest Loser" Dolvett Quince (in his upcoming book) are both big fans of it. The first time I tried it was back in the 1980s -- remember the Rotation Diet? -- and it worked back then.

I'll let ya know how that goes.

I don't have to be an athlete: A self pep talk

My shoes
My workout tools.

Weekends can be tough on Facebook. All my pals doing triathlons, marathons, slogging through mud pits and doing other feats of athletic prowess.

I say to myself: "And what are you doing? Sitting on your can, watching football."

I can't help but compare myself to others -- it's just what I do. 

And I beat myself up because I only walk 8 or 9 miles a week and do strength training one or two days a week..

Americans, on average, exercise around 2 hours a week.

I figure I do about twice that, so yay, me!

I have to keep reminding myself of something I was told by one of the doctors at the Non-Surgical Weight Loss program at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, which I did a few summers ago:

"You exercise for health; you eat to lose weight."

So running myself ragged at the gym or pounding miles and miles outside isn't really going to get me there any faster. In fact, when I start to ramp up my workouts, I find myself gaining weight, which is what happened last Friday on the scale. 

Then I read a couple of reassuring things today -- one was an article in USA Today that said brisk walking is great for keeping both diabetes and breast cancer at bay. The operative word was "brisk," so today I stepped up my pace by a full mile per hour.

And then tonight, Amber from the blog Go Kaleo wrote about the benefits of walking:

"It isn’t sexy or rapid or extreme (the things that sell diet books) but walking works. It works really well, and it can work for your whole life." 

Right? Thanks, Amber, I needed to read that. I adore going out and exploring my neighborhood. Heck, I even enjoy sweating buckets like I did today.

I do enjoy a 5k from time to time, and I've done two of them so far this year. But a marathon may not be in the cards for me. (Damn! Even writing that makes me feel guilty! Gotta get over that.)

As long as I keep doing what I love and do it consistently (ahhh, consistency!) I'll be good on the exercise front.

The big picture looks better

At first I was annoyed when I saw the number on the scale:

But then I looked at the second chart below the weight -- although I may have gone up 3 pounds on the scale, I apparently dropped 3 pounds of fat and gained 3 pounds of muscle (which I saw on another chart). 

That made me feel better but -- yeesh! -- why can't this be easier?

I will be making an adjustment to one of my evening routines, which does hamper my nighttime eating. I'm going to make my kid's lunches right after I eat dinner -- that way I won't be tempted to let the errant slice of turkey or cheese slip into my piehole.

Recipe of the Month: Turkey-Zucchini Meatloaf

I haven't posted a recipe in ages, but I've been working on perfecting my turkey meatloaf and last night I hit the jackpot. It came out great.

(I'm labeling this Recipe of the Month because that way I owe you a recipe every month!)

I didn't shoot a bunch of pictures because nobody needs to see my hands stuck in a bowl of raw meat. You only get the beauty shot:

Gails turkey meatloaf_edited-2
I served it with frozen green beans and almonds and roasted red potatoes, which I drizzled with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I roasted them at the same time I cooked the meatloaf. If your kids are averse to vegetables, they won't even taste the shredded zucchini -- it just disappears into the meatloaf. I used instant oatmeal packets because that's what I had in the pantry, but you could use any kind of oats, except steel cut.

Here's the recipe:

Turkey-Zucchini Meatloaf

  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used 94 percent fat-free turkey)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 3 packets plain instant oatmeal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sodium-free Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put everything but the marinara sauce in a medium bowl and squish it together with your hands.

Pack the mixture into a loaf pan (I use a great silicone one; nothing sticks to it) and top with the marinara sauce.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until meatloaf feels firm to the touch.

Makes 5 large servings.

Nutrition information (calculated on My Fitness Pal): 225 calories, 16 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat, 24 grams protein, 408 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

One more: Why a Gatorade ad is inspiring me

Watch this and then we'll talk:

I was thinking "one more" on Friday when I trucked up and over and back up and over the Florida Turnpike overpass. I normally walk 3 miles but I've been doing great on the scale and want to keep the snowball rolling downhill so I figured that "one more" mile would accomplish that. So I did 4 miles.

Today on my walk, I thought "one more" and added on a loop around the park across the street from the high school.

"One more" is my new fitness mantra. Sometimes it's one more rep, one more mile, one more inch on my squats. Other days it's just one more block or one more step.

I thought I had to push myself harder and harder in my workouts, but all I got was sore or injured or frustrated. So I stepped back a bit and remembered what someone told me:

You exercise for health; you eat to lose weight.

I was burning myself out on exercise, not enjoying what I was doing, making workouts an unpleasant chore.

I really, really like walking outside but I thought that it wasn't intense enough, so I had cut back on it to make time for other workouts, but I just wasn't enjoying them as much as my walks.

Dramatic squirrel(Did I tell you I had a staring contest with a squirrel this morning?)

I'm back to walking three times a week now and loving it. My goal is to log 10 miles a week. The other two days I work on strength training or bodyweight exercises. No programs, no rotation calendars. 

I always end up going back to my program of Extreme Moderation.

Dancin' like Dora the Explorer: We did it!

Got on the scale this morning and I see this:

Then I'm all:

Baby fist pump
And then I feel like:

Right? That's what crushing goals feels like.

It may only be a pound but that pound is BIG. I have bumped down to 234-ish a few times in the past couple years but I always bounced back up on the scale.

Not this week!

After I got a peek at my bloodwork, I knew I wanted to make some changes to push my triglycerides into the normal range, which led me to walking home from Whole Foods with two big bunches of dinosaur kale and a pound of pistachios in my backpack yesterday afternoon (I felt like such a healthy bad ass). I'm focusing on more movement, more vegetables and more "unsweet" things.

But back to the scale -- now I really feel like I've busted through a plateau and Monday I'll tell you how I'm adopting this commercial as my mantra: