Thursday, January 27, 2011

I’ve Died and Gone to Weight Loss Heaven

As I previously mentioned, when I started on this journey, I began following The Best Life program. Essentially, I am still following that, but I have not been happy with the website. Tracking food is time consuming enough, but when the program/site you are using is not user-friendly, it practically becomes a full-time job. I found the food tracking particularly annoying on The Best Life site because it automatically has a daily menu entered for each day, which if you aren’t using, you have to delete each meal before entering the foods you actually ate. Also, many of the foods I ate were not in the database so I had to manually enter them using the nutritional information on the package. Other complaints I have are:

1) I contacted Tech Support twice. The first time, I never got a reply. This was during my first week of using the site. I am still awaiting a reply to my second question sent earlier this week.

2) You can only enter your weight in whole numbers. This may not seem like a big deal, but as someone who has gone down this road, there are some weeks that you hold on to that .4 lb weight loss for dear life!

3) There is no place to enter any other body stats such as measurements and body fat percentage.

Then, this week, I discovered the most amazing website! Seriously, I think I am in love. The website is My Food Diary. Food tracking is easy. There are so many different tools that make it user-friendly and SUPER motivational. Listen to this! You can view a detailed report of your food intake that breaks down your calories, fat, protein, carbs, etc by meal. It also shades different parts of your report in dark green for “very healthy”, light green for “healthy”, light red for “unhealthy”, and bright red for “very unhealthy.” This is so great, particularly if you really are trying to improve your overall health and not just eat low-calorie crap to lose weight. THEN (yes, there’re more), if you scroll your mouse over the shaded areas, it tells you what was good or bad about it, and how to fix it (if it was bad).

Now, here is the best part. After you enter your food and exercise for the day, you get a daily report that gives you a Food Summary and an Exercise Summary. That’s pretty basic, but here is what is so motivational. You get a chart called “If Every Day Were Like Today…” and this is what it tells you:

  • You would lose ___ lbs per week.
  • You would reach your goal weight of ____ lbs on (specific date).
  • In one month, you would weigh _____ lbs.
  • In three months, you would weigh ____ lbs.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?! I think it is the greatest motivation I have ever gotten from tracking calories. What’s more satisfying than knowing the exact date you could reach your goal weight? Or knowing what your weight could be in one or three months if you keep up the good work?!?! I LOVE IT!

Other things I love:

  • Overall, the whole site if very visually appealing. Neat, organized, lots of graphs & charts to highlight all of your progress.
  • You can use decimal points in your weight.
  • You can track other body measurements and body fat percentage.
  • You get smiley and frowney faces at the end of each day highlighting what you did really well and what could use improvement. I even got a smiley face for drinking a glass of wine yesterday!! It said, “You consumed 14g of alcohol, which is within the healthy range for women (0g-14g).” Awesome! Smiley face, indeed!
  • I contacted customer service and got a reply in less than 24 hours.

Now, keep in mind, despite my tremendous following, I am not being paid to review either of these sites. I just think it is my civic duty to do so! I'm currently enjoying my free 7 day trial, but you can be sure I will be paying my $10 a month to keep using it. It is so worth it! Happy tracking!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Tall and the Fat of It

I am here to tell you firsthand that people who are tall and fat are discriminated against in the world of retail clothing. Do you know how hard it is to find plus-size clothes in tall? Ridiculously hard. Apparently, you can be tall and thin or short and fat, but not tall and fat. It is so annoying. You pretty much need to shop online for these clothes, which sucks because you end up returning half of it anyway. Have you ever needed an outfit for an event the same day? Well, I hope you aren’t tall and fat, because you won’t be able to find one in the stores! No matter how much you pay out the wazoo for expedited shipping, you’re not going to get clothes you order online in the morning for a party in the evening, and even if you could get it, who knows if it is actually going to fit.

Now let’s talk about the frumpiness of the majority of plus-size clothing. Just because I am fat, doesn’t mean I am also 90 years old!! Lane Bryant has a decent selection of fashionable clothing in plus sizes, and they used to carry tall pants in stores, but they have recently cut back on their in-store stock of them. I even asked about it in the store, and the sales lady told me they are primarily only carrying them online now. WHY!?!??! What really annoys me is that many stores will carry plus-size pants in “regular” and “petite”, but not in “talls.” That, my friends is height discrimination!

Here are a couple other examples:

  • They rarely carry shirts in tall sizes. Chances are that if I am 6 ft tall with a 36-inch inseam, I don’t have “regular” length arms. I’d be walking around looking like a T-Rex. They carry shirts in petites, why not talls?!?
  • Don’t even get me started on the elusive trifecta of tall plus-size maternity clothes. IMPOSSIBLE!

When I lose weight, one of the things I am most looking forward to is shopping in “regular” clothing stores. Even though you can’t always find clothes in tall sizes, it is a lot easier when they don’t also have to be plus-size. The frustration is that when you wear a size 14 at a healthy weight, it only takes about 10 pounds and one pant size to shove your fat ass right back into plus sizes.

Week 3 Weigh-In

Another week, another weigh-in, another 3+ pounds down. YAY! I am VERY happy with this. And, that even included my DFFs and a burger to go with them on Sunday. Can you really eat fries and a salad? Maybe you can, but I can’t. I had a black angus burger, with only half the bun. I enjoyed every bite of the burger and fries. I also stayed within my calorie range for the day. I wasn’t sure I was going to stay within range, so on Saturday, I added 10 minutes to my treadmill workout (45 min total) and added 20 minutes on Sunday (55 min total), all before my delicious lunch. Most importantly, I didn’t let this splurge be an excuse to write off the whole weekend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Date With My Husband and DFFs

Did you think that was a typo? You may be thinking, oh, she meant BFFs. How nice, she is going out with her husband and best friends. Wrong. I meant DFFs. Duck Fat Fries! If you are not a foodie or have never had nor heard of duck fat fries, you may be wrinkling up your nose simply at the thought of them. I am here to tell you, YOU MUST broaden your horizons and immediately seek out a restaurant in your area that has them. Trust me on this. Please. Just trust me.

In December, before I adopted my new wonderfully healthy lifestyle *eye roll*, the hubs and I discovered perhaps one of the most delicious things you will ever put into your mouth (Insert “That’s what she said.” joke here.) But, seriously. They are to. die. for. I don’t know if all duck fat fries are this good, or if Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD has some uncanny ability to transform a mere potato into something worthy of idol worship. The fries are sprinkled with truffle sea salt (I’m not even sure I know what that is, and I don’t care) and served with a roasted garlic aioli. YUMMMMM!

Apparently, for the past week or so, my husband has been fantasizing about these fries. As soon as he mentioned them, I too began to fantasize about them. And, so, on Sunday, we will be going to a movie and lunch at Victoria, where we WILL be ordering the Duck Fat Fries (and a salad, of course). I have actually tried to find the nutritional information for these things. I even emailed the restaurant to see if they provide nutritional information. Alas, they do not. However, I did find a menu item (Duck Fat Fries with Cilantro Aioli) that I consider to be comparable at another restaurant. Here is the low down for a whole order:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 287g
Amount per Serving
Calories 436
Calories from Fat 220
Total Fat 24.5g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 327mg
Potassium 976mg
Total Carbohydrate 51g
Dietary Fiber 5.2g
Sugars 4.7g
Protein 5.1g
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 50.6% Carbs 46.8% Protein 4.7%

I really don’t think it’s THAT bad. Besides, I won’t be eating a whole order. Or will I? Only time will tell. Obviously, the worst thing is that half of the calories come from fat. In order to prepare for this indulgence, I have not and will not take a day off from the treadmill this week. I will count my calories for the day and compensate in my other meals so that I still come out around my target. And, most importantly, I will not take use this as an opportunity to fall completely off the wagon. I will not say, as I have a tendency to do, “Oh, I ate those fries so why worry about anything else the rest of the day…week…year…life.”

I am going to eat my beloved DFFs. I am going to enjoy my DFFs. I am not going to feel guilty, and I am going to continue on my journey. If this is truly a lifestyle change I am making, I know that I will not be living a life that does not include DFFs every once in a while.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

-7 + (-5) + 2

My official weigh-in on Monday revealed that my antics at the party on Saturday had indeed come with a penalty. I should also mention that I had a really crappy day on Sunday, which resulted in no workout and a glass of wine. To my credit, however, that normally would have resulted in a day of not giving a crap about what I ate all day long and several glasses of wine instead of one. I still stayed on track with my food, even though dinner wasn’t the healthiest. It included two servings of Stove Top Stuffing (I needed comfort food!!). Yet, I still didn’t exceed my calories for the day.

So, here are the official results for the week. Down 3 pounds! Can’t complain about that, right? Sure I can. It had been 5 pounds two days before that. Although I am disappointed with the 2 pound gain in two days, I am pretty pleased with 10 pounds in two weeks. Moving on.

I am Woman, Watch me Bloat

I’ve always seemed to retain water. The morning after Chinese food, for example, I would do the walk of shame to the bathroom first thing in the morning, noticing the sausage like quality of my fingers and sensing the puffiness in my face like a marshmallow in the microwave…swelling, swelling, swelling, nearly to the bursting point. I assumed that once I cut back on my sodium, this would improve, but I’ve still had mornings where I feel like I am going to float out of bed before I set my feet on the floor. Still, I believe the sodium is the main culprit.

So, I did my little cheat weigh-in on Saturday morning instead of waiting until Monday because I knew I had the Raven’s party, and I wanted to take note of any progress before I undid any of my good deeds at the party. Not that I was planning on eating a dozen buffalo wings or anything, but you never know what may happen under the duress of a football game…have I mentioned that I am an emotional eater? Oh yeah, I’m also a social eater. OK, FINE, I’m just an EATER! Anyway, I digress. Back to the weigh in…I was down 5 more pounds!! That was in only 5 days since I weighed in on Monday! WOO-HOO!

I was motivated…determined to stay on track at the party. I ate a good breakfast, worked out, ate a small but hearty lunch, and snacked on an apple on the way to the party. I was READY to face the cocktail meatballs, chicken wings, and whatever other deliciousness that lay in wait ready to seduce me with their salty, savory, and fatty pick up lines. The verdict: not too bad. Although, I will admit, I think my downfall was the beer. I had planned on having a couple, but I didn’t plan on it coming from a keg where I wouldn’t know exactly how much I was pouring. Plus I got caught up in the game and kind of lost count. Oh yeah, and I got peer pressured into doing a shot. Ooops. I was desperate. My Ravens were coming undone. And, apparently, so was I.

Actually, I didn’t feel too bad about the party. Perfect? No. A thousand times more reasonable than I would have been a month ago? Definitely. I went to bed content. I woke up as swollen as the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Woman.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pavlov's Kris

Like Pavlov’s dogs, I reflexively respond to certain stimuli by salivating. Fortunately, since I am a mom, I usually have a tissue handy to dab the corners of my mouth before anyone notices. OK, so maybe I don’t actually start drooling, but I am definitely a reactive eater. Here are a few examples of the stimuli, situations, and environments and what they result in.

  • Trip to Target = Diet Coke & popcorn (to share with the kids…of course)
  • 4:30 pm + long day with the kids + husband not due home for 2 more hours = wine
  • 4:30 pm = wine (OK so maybe it has nothing to do with the husband and kids, I just like my wine!)
  • Watching Ravens’ game = salty snack food
  • 12pm + kids in the car + nothing planned for lunch = drive thru
  • 9pm + couch + TV = ice cream
  • No breakfast + heading out for the day = Diet Coke & sausage biscuit
  • Weekends in general = non-healthy food & carry out

You get the idea. So far, since starting my “diet,” I have not reacted impulsively to any of these triggers. Today’s trip to Target did involve a Diet Coke, but no popcorn. A girl’s gotta have something, right? I have been trying to cut back on my DC consumption so I made that my one of the day…ummm, I should probably mention that I refilled the cup on my way out, so technically, it may have been just a wee bit more than one. :-/ Don’t hold it against me. I have an affinity for fountain soda!

I think my next big obstacle is this weekend’s Raven’s play-off game. I know there will be the impulse to order pizza and/or wings, but I WILL PERSEVERE! I’ll let you know how that goes…

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

“All 7 and we’ll watch them fall”

Somehow I don’t think the petite-framed Prince was referring to losing seven pounds from his 5’2” 120 pound body when he was singing those lyrics. BUT THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! Oh yeah, friends, I lost 7 pounds last week. I’m sure most of that was water weight and the additional pounds I added over the holidays, but it was just the kick start I needed. I will say that my track record proves that I tend to be very successful the first week of any diet. Usually around the five pound mark. I am particularly happy about this because the weekend included a party at which I indulged in 3 glasses of wine (very healthy pours, I might add), nibbled on apps, and sampled 3 different desserts. Not bad, right?

Here's what I think were my keys to success:

  • 30 min of walking 6 out of 7 days
  • planning ahead
  • not eating out or ordering carry out
  • lots of water
  • not eating entire bags of potato chips in one sitting (or does that seem obvious?)
So, we shall see what this week holds.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Been There, Done That, Still Fat

Been There, Done That, Still Fat

I am pretty well-versed in various diet regimes. Here are a few that I have tried over the past 15 years:

  • Weight Watchers
  • South Beach Diet
  • Biggest Loser Club
  • Slim Fast
  • No S Diet
  • e-diets
  • Diet-to-Go
  • Changing Shape
  • cabbage soup diet
  • counting calories
  • not counting calories
  • counting grams of fat
  • not counting grams of fat
  • eating as much fat as humanly possible
  • working out, but not dieting
  • dieting, but not working out
If you are someone who has tried to lose weight on more than one occasion, then you know what I’m talking about here. Chances are there are a few more that I have left off. I have had the most success with Weight Watchers. I’ve probably gained and lost over a hundred pounds with them. When I am committed to it, it works, as most plans do. So, why not do it again? It didn’t teach me how to eat healthier overall, and I can’t see myself doing it forever. No “lifetime” designations in my future. Plus, they just changed their Points Program, and I didn’t feel like learning a whole new system.

So, what am I doing this time around? I’m sure you are just dying to know because of my incredible results so far…settle down…it’s only been five days; there are no results yet. Well, I wanted something simple and straightforward with a focus on healthy living. Of course, that also entails losing weight, but I wanted that to come as a result of being healthy without it being the primary focus. After all, it would be possible to lose weight by consuming twelve 100-calorie snack packs a day, but that wouldn’t really set up a healthy diet that was sustainable. I ended up choosing The Best Life Plan. You know the one with Bob Greene, Oprah’s guru. It seems sensible without any super crazy restrictions, and there is a huge emphasis on making changes that will become a lifestyle, not just a short term fix. (HOLD ON, not sure what just happened, I slipped into infomercial mode…sorry about that.)

My short term assessment: so far, so good. Would I still rather snack on a bag of chips than a multi-grain wrap with some cucumber, peppers, a little cheese (reduced fat…OF COURSE), a little guac, and a little salsa? The answer is decidedly YES! But the fact that I chose the wrap instead of the chips (at least for today) is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Road to Obesity is Paved with Fast Food

I won! I won! I looked temptation right in the eye (actually it was about a mile and a half away, but still), and said "Not today, sucker!" Here's what happened. The little one woke up at 7:15. I woke up starving. Got her up, dressed, and in her chair eating breakfast while I went to get dressed. It's now 7:50. I woke up the big one. All the while, the little one is shouting from downstairs, "Mama, Maaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Mooooommmmmmmmyyyyyy!" Run downstairs, throw some more food at the little one, so I can help the big one get up, get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed (which when you have two curly haired monsters is quite a task), and styled as directed by the "princess". Then we head downstairs, put the finishing touches on getting ready. This includes a new pre-school ritual of writing my daughter a note (which she dictates and tells me what to draw on it) so she doesn't feel sad at school. That's a whole other post unto itself! Socks on. Shoes on. Alright, we're ready.

OH CRAP! THE DOGS! I hate when my husband is out of town (thank God it's not very often) and those mangy mutts become my responsibility in the morning. It's now 8:17. Did I mention school starts at 8:30 and we don't live right next door to it? Dogs out. Dogs fed. Dogs crated. Coats, hats, mittens. Damn this 25 degree weather! 8:26. Getting in the car, phone rings, don't know the number, don't answer it. Everyone is strapped in, ready to go. Check voicemail from unknown number. "Ms. Harrison, this is the child development center. We're going to have to close today because of a water main break." WHHHHHAAAAATTTT?!?!!?

OK...regroup. Tell my daughter there's no school. She starts crying. Again, WHHHHAAAATTT?!?! This is the same child who just spent the whole time getting ready telling me she didn't want to go to school today. Now what!? Did I mention that I am still starving!!?!? Here's where the temptation comes in. What I really want to do is drive the mile and a half to McDonald's (I mean the car is already running and everything), get a sausage biscuit and a HUGE Diet Coke, which is exactly what I would have done a week ago. I know it will make everything all better. I just know it. I sit. I sit. One kid is yelling "OUT." The other is saying, "GO-OOOOO."

I sigh. I get out of the car, unload the troops and go inside to eat a very fibrous muffin and some yogurt. One point me! Zero points obesity. For now.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Blog Less Traveled

I feel like I should be upfront about my intentions with this blog. What it will and will not be. So many of the weight loss blogs I’ve read (which are wonderful) seem different from mine. It’s like they are…what’s the word…inspirational…perhaps even motivational. But, I’ll be honest, that’s not what I’m going for here. I really don't have any particular intentions at all.

Simply Flabuloss will:

  • provide me with an outlet for my self-deprecating humor and frustrations with trying to lose weight.
  • allow me a place to complain, complain, complain.
  • attempt, every so often, to offer insight about this hellacious journey.
  • provide an outlet for others who feel similarly about this process and want to leave comments.

Simply Flabuloss will NOT:

  • reveal my current weight and goal weight. Well, at least not until I am already a success story, having lost a gazillion pounds and run a half-marathon and completed my first triatholon. (By the way, why isn’t it enough anymore for people just to lose weight? They have to add on all of this other crap now too. As if losing 200 lbs wasn’t enough?!?!)
  • claim to know anything about the best way to go about losing weight or getting healthy. I am not a nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer. Hell, I’m not even a healthy person myself, so I don’t have much to offer.

So, that’s about all I have for you (and by you, I probably mean no one because I can’t imagine anyone actually reading this blog). But, if you do happen to stumble upon it, and like it, let me know. Leave a comment. If you don’t like it, well, you can also leave a comment if you’d like. Just remember, I am in a very fragile state right now having restricted my calorie intake and all.

New Fat or Old Fat?

So, you might be wondering what kind of fat I am. New fat or old fat? Have I always been fat or did I recently come into some, like those toothless wonders who always manage to win the lottery?

Well, I’m a former athlete who played Division I college basketball. The fact that I could run up and down a basketball court for nearly 40 minutes straight is laughable to me in my current condition. I never had to worry about what I ate when I was playing basketball. Of course, I didn't, we practiced 2-3 hours a day and in the off-season, I was motivated to stay in shape to earn and keep a starting position. After college, I was sick of working out, so I rebelled (against whom, I don't know) and pretty much stopped working out completely, and I continued to eat what I wanted, so I started to add on some pounds. Then I just kept adding them. In 2004, I lost about 35 lbs (still I weighed 20 more lbs than in college). This is when I nabbed my hubby. *wink*wink* I fell in love, got comfortable, got a year-round desk job, got married, had two babies in two years, and well, here I am fatter than I’ve ever been. There were a few other contributing factors like swinging through McDonald’s drive-thrus and ordering carryout on a regular basis. Oh yeah, and not exercising, but I like to place the blame on love and babies. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I have always had body image issues. I attribute that to being a 6-foot tall female. No matter how thin you are at that height, you're always "bigger" than most of your peers in some way or another. I look back at pictures of myself in high school (a time when I thought I was "fat"), and I am shocked by how thin I look. I would pay to be THAT "fat" now. And, God Bless my dear friends, most of whom I have known since high school, but almost all of them are little tiny things that I could eat for a mid-afternoon snack!

Of course, I am not happy with the way I look. When I look in the mirror, I can actually hear cows mooing and pigs squealing because they want their fat back. Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who claims this doesn't bother him, and I actually believe him. I'm sure the fact that he has added a few pounds (very few in comparison to me) helps that, but I know he still loves me and is attracted to me. Though I would certainly like to feel sexy again. But what has really motivated me is a fear of dying. It’s probably not normal to think about dying as much as I do. I worry about having a sudden heart attack or stroke almost everyday. And, where would that leave my family…without a wife and mother. Not good. Oh yeah, did I mention heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes run in my family? EEK. So, here I am trying to adjust my lifestyle in a way that will not just help me lose weight, but make me more healthy. I know it's the right thing to do, and I know I can do it, but that doesn't mean I have to like the process!