Tag Archives: Weight loss

Accountability To Myself

Food diary
Food diary

I Ate What?

Like I said, I had no clue what I was eating.  I was astounded to find out and I found our using a very simple tool – a food diary.

The one I used was LoseIt!.

You can find it at LoseIt.com and they have a great app for your smart phone.  You can log your food and your exercise either online or on your phone; so, there’s no excuse not to get things input.  I used their free version which has a few deficits.  I don’t know what the features are for their paid version are.

Their food database is extensive with lots of restaurant foods included.  I can scan bar codes for a super fast input and can add my own foods and recipes.  Since I make my own spaghetti gravy, I have to calculate each ingredient individually, then figure out the nutrients per serving.  As long as I make it the same way every time (fat chance), I have to do that only once.

Their exercise database is also pretty extensive and it allows me to add my own, as well.  However, the exercise duration times are only in blocks of five minutes.  If you’re maintaining your weight or if you are exercising for a couple of hours a day (yikes), fudging a minute or two is no big deal in the larger scheme of things.  BUT, when I first started, I could run only a couple of minutes.  I could manage only ten or so sit-ups and, by golly, I wanted every drop of sweat to count.  This app (at least the free version) didn’t let me account for that.

The one I’m going to use this time is MyFitnessPal.

I’ve played with their free version a little bit, but I’m still not totally familiar with it.  Like LoseIt, I can log my information either online or on my phone.

Their food database is also extensive and includes lots of restaurant foods.  The one issue I’ve encountered is that there are sometimes duplicate entries for the same item.  The duplicate entries may list different nutritional value for the same item.  I normally choose the entry with the highest caloric value.  Even if my calorie count then ends up artificially high for that day making it look like I ate at least my minimum calories when I didn’t, that error won’t happen every day; so, it’s not like my long-term progress is going to get knocked off track.  While LoseIt also tracks carb, protein and fat calories consumed, it doesn’t tell me which categories I’m light and heavy on.  MyFitnessPal does and I like that.  I like being able to look at my daily summary and see that I need to concentrate on vegetables at my next meal.  This app also allows me to add my own recipes so that next time I cook up a big old batch of Peel-a-Pound soup, it’s already in the database.

Their exercise database is also extensive and lets me add my own.  The real plus here is that I can count every. single. minute. of exercise.  I don’t have to do five minutes of sit-ups, two minutes will count.  They won’t count for much, but they will count.  As my friend Trish says, “Ounces make pounds.”  Calories ingested or burned account for ounces on or off.  Each one counts.

Both of these programs allow me to share my exercise and my weight loss (or gain) via Facebook and Twitter.  I really like that.  My friends and family have been an invaluable cheering section throughout my process.  It’s like a group weight loss program stacked with a group of people who already love me.  It’s great!!!  (By the way, neither site posts your actual weight.  I was a little worried about thaton account of I was a big girl.)

I would like to be able to change the caloric value for restaurant foods, but neither application allows me to do that.  For instance, if I order a Cobb salad at Chili’s, but I ask them to hold the cheese, croutons and dressing, my salad is going to have fewer calories than the one listed in the database.  To get an accurate count, I would need to measure the remaining ingredients and build a recipe, which is just not going to happen sitting there in the dining area.  It would be nice if the salad in the database had check boxes underneath for all ingredients.  You could check the ones you didn’t eat and the calorie count would adjust accordingly.  I’m sure that’s an absurd amount of programing work or maybe their paid versions already let you do that.  Hey! If you know, tell me!

Also, if you use, have used or know of another food diary (besides a note pad and pen, please) share it with us!

The big thing with these applications is that they are effective only as long as you use them and are honest with yourself.  If you ate two cups of Cheerios rather than the 3/4 cup serving listed, then count that.  That fish stick you ate to clean off your child’s plate must show up in your diary.  Lying to ourselves and/or being oblivious about what we eat is one of the reasons we can’t zip our pants now!

Together, let’s be honest with and accountable to ourselves in all things.  Nobody else has to know ; however, we are worth that attention! Let’s make sure we get it.

Who Is That Fat Woman?

Me and my dad on Memorial Day 2011
Me and my dad on Memorial Day 2011

I’ve had a weight problem almost all of my life; however, when I saw photos from a family Memorial Day event in 2011, I was surprised to see how big I had gotten.  In my mind, I was around a size 14.  In the real world, I was a size 20 and still going up.  Surprised as I was, I was not motivated to make any kind of real change.

Oh, sure.  I told myself I was dieting and cut out my daily Snickers bar, but that was really it.  You see, that was kind of my life-long pattern.  The Big Diet Lie, as it were.  Don’t look at me like that.  You know you’ve done it, too.  “Oh, no more lasagne for me.  I’m on a diet.”  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you scarf an entire box of low-fat cookies.  Hey, but they’re low fat.  Stop it. You know you don’t even believe that.

I had lost significant amounts of weight using both The Diet Center program and Nutrisystem when I was in my twenties.  With the Diet Center program, I cooked my own food.  Nutrisystem was just like it is now – super, super easy. I just wasn’t commited enough to myself to keep the weight off with either program.

When I made the decision this time to actually lose weight, I remembered the food list from the Diet Center program. Unfortunately, their store fronts have long gone out of business and the books are no longer in print.  So, I went to abebooks.com (my most favoritest book site) to get a copy of the cookbook and of the program guide.  The books are written by Sybil Ferguson who devised the program for her own health.  I also bought a book called Your Body Knows Best about eating for your blood type, metabolism and heritage.  I combined those two programs and came up with a group of foods that work for me.

The short description of the list is this: lots of fresh fruits & vegetables, no canned foods or premade sauces (they hide all kinds of sugar, sodium and preservatives in canned and jarred food – read the labels, they”ll scare you to death), meat-free Mondays (or just some day of the week), fish one day a week, no more than one diet soft drink a day (down from 6 or 7 cans a day!), and absurd amounts of water.  A daily multi-vitamin ensured that my vitamins and minerals weren’t all flushed out by the copious amounts of water I drank.  I also took flax seed and fish oil supplements to help curb cravings.  My body craves red meat; so, I eat it.  My dad had a calf slaughtered before it got into the meat processing system.  The cuts are leaner from this grass-fed calf (which also hadn’t been treated with all those antibiotics necessary for cattle in stockyards); however, even with fattier cuts, I just counted the calories.  A good piece of roast beef from time to time isn’t going to kill me and if it keeps me from craving worse things, then, in the balance, it’s the best move for me.

I ate three meals and three snacks a day, keeping my mealtimes as routine as possible.  For me, this regular intake of calories kept my blood sugar steady which kept me alert and hunger pang free.   I’ve read that the body often signals the need for fluid by making you feel hungry; so, if I found myself feeling peckish outside of routine meal times, I drank a large glass of water or a cup of hot herbal tea.   If the water trick didn’t work, I brushed my teeth.  That minty feeling often cut off hunger at the pass.

I do not buy sugar free cookies or candies since they actually contain sugar alcohol which, I have discovered, makes me hungry.  For 110 calories, I can have two pieces of sugar free candy and be hungry enough to gnaw off my own fist in 30 minutes, or I can have a large banana and be satisfied for two hours.  For the same reason, I rarely ate pasta or white breads.  Any bread that I ate came from the store bakery, from the farmers’ market or from my own oven.  Since the stuff sold on the shelves takes so long to mold, it scares me.  I’d rather buy from a local baker, pay a little more, put some in the freezer to keep it fresh and know that I’m reducing the preservatives in my diet.

I would estimate that the first 40 to 50 pounds were lost basically to changing food choices and habits.  It was phenomenal!  But, did you notice how an awful lot of those habit descriptions involved the past tense?  Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why.