Showing posts with label weight loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weight loss. Show all posts

So You Think You Want To Lose Weight...

Every New Year, millions of people decide they want (or need) to go on a diet. But unfortunately, 80% of those with good intentions will have failed within a month and never look back. Personally, I think starting a diet during the coldest time of the year is not really a great idea. In the winter we all have our "fat" clothes and can hide in them for months. I think the best time of the year to diet is in the summer, like right after Memorial Weekend. The days are long and warm, and most people get outside and are more active during the nice weather. That being said, losing weight is not about being more active, its about simple calories in and out.

Your body burns calories even if you don't do anything particularly active, this is your basal metabolism rate (BMR). It is easy to calculate how many calories you burn by knowing your weight, your height and age.

1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate):

    • Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
    • Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )
2. Multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
    •    Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
    •    Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
    •    Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
    •    Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
    •    Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9
3. Your final number is the approximate number of calories you need each day to maintain your weight.

My BMR without the activity factor is 1231 calories. Since I am moderately active, if I multiplied by the factor 1.55, my calorie intake could be 1908 calories. However, I know from experience if I ate 1900 calories a day, I would gain weight. I also know from experience that I will maintain weight if I eat about 1500 calories a day. I can lose weight at 1200 calories a day (which is the least amount anyone should eat), but the food choices must be healthy and it helps if I burn about 500 calories with walking or biking each day.

You might wonder how to measure your calories and activity now that you've determined what your BMR is and how much you can eat. I use the free app on my phone and computer, You can enter all your activity and meals in one app. You can also enter photos and share with your other friends on the app. It tracks your progress and even calculates your macros (fat, protein, carbs) so you know if you're eating the right proportion of foods to maximize weight loss. I modified my goal in the settings so its 45% carbs, 30% fats and 25% protein.

From my experience last year - starting in May, I ate 1200 calories a day for 100 days and lost 25 lbs. The key for me was to make sure I ate enough protein each day and to measure my food portions so I didn't overeat. Generally, a serving of anything is about the size of your fist. It was a struggle to eat enough proteins at first but I learned to make my snacks a protein source like peanuts, chicken or beef jerky, fat free cottage cheese, almonds, protein bars and protein beverage mixes. I also cut back on breads since I got plenty of carbs in other foods. I did not give up alcohol. I had up to two or three drinks, but I alternated with a glass of water in between.

So, If you're determined to start a diet in the cold of January, do a little prep first. Download myfitnesspal and figure out how many calories you can eat to lose weight. Buy lots of protein snacks. Be prepared to stay out of restaurants for two months at least, until your will power can resist others eating really fattening foods next to you.

Good Luck

My Weight Loss July Update

Well, its been a month since I posted about our weight loss since our cruise in May. If you remember, both DH and I had gained some weight and were determined to lose it. It's not necessarily a goal to lose weight fast, but by slightly modifying our diet and and increasing our exercise we did manage to lose five pounds in June.

July has been a little tougher because of the wonderful free sweet and salty snack deal at Busch Gardens this past month. We've been walking there several times a week and of course we have to get the free snack. Popcorn is the healthiest snack they offer, and then the frozen fruit bar could be considered healthy too. But, we've splurged a couple times for the dippin dots cookies and cream ice cream treat, and the snickers ice cream bar. So, there's that. Plus the fact that Ryan Newman won the NASCAR race at Indianapolis this past week and his sponsor gave away a free Bloomin Onion at Outback on Monday. I know all these excuses are lame, but that's the way life is. So, we only lost 3 more pounds.

The good thing is we've been eating healthy recipes and lots of fresh produce. Our daily healthy snack is some fruit. DH learned this cool way to cut melons on the cruise ship. The chefs just cut off the top and the bottom of the each round melon and then it sits nice on your cutting board so you can just slice off the rind, without wasting any fruity flesh. Then he just grinds up the rinds in the food processor with our other compost items and pours the whole mess into the garden composter outside.

So we've lost eight pounds in 8 weeks, for an average 1 pound a week. I would like to lose about eight or ten more pounds so I'll continue to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and exercise daily. These 3 diet tips are all you need to know.

Weight Loss Breakfast: Zucchini Patties #Recipe

This is one of my favorite diet foods since it is quick and easy to reheat premade patties for  breakfast. They are filling and healthy. You will love them too! Serve as a breakfast item with some bacon or sausage, or serve as a vegetable side dish for lunch or dinner.
Nutrition Info: 95 calories for 3 patties (14 gm protein, 6 gm carb, 2 gm fat) 
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 medium zucchini, shredded by hand or in food processor (top blade only)
1 T. green onions, chopped
2 T. parmesan cheese, ground
1 egg, or 2 T. of egg beaters
Spray Pam or Olive oil for skillet lubrication
1. Shred zucchini and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add onions, parmesan cheese and egg.
3. Stir mixture until well mixed.
4. Put skillet on medium heat stove top burner, add lubricant, warm up the pan.
5. Place spoonful of zucchini mixure into pan, flatten and shape as desired. About six or seven spoonfuls will fill a skillet.
6. Cook zucchini patties until brown on bottom, then flip with spatula and cook other side too.
7. Place 3 or 4 patties on plate to serve, or cool for eating later.
Serves 2

30 Day Weight Loss Results

A month ago we stepped off a cruise ship after a long holiday weekend of lazing around and eating lots of yummy, fattening food. We each gained several pounds that needed to come off so our clothes would fit better and we would feel healthier. Here's a picture of us at St Johns USVI where we went on a nice catamaran and snorkling excursion. This is the "before" picture.

This is us each five pounds heavier, the "before" photo UGH
At first we kept up our regular meal plan of a carbohydrate rich breakfast of raisin bran with a banana, or homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal. But the problem was we were hungry for a morning snack about an hour later. Recently, the past couple weeks we've made turkey bacon for breakfast, alon with zuchinni patties (shredded zuchinni, parm cheese, egg beaters fried in a pan) Snacks in the morning are protein snack bars, cereal bars, almonds, beef jerky, fresh cut up melon or berries. Then lunch is a lettuce salad with chicken and veggie toppings, along with a nonfat yogurt for dessert. After work, we have a small snack of hummus or corn salsa on chips, then dinner is usually something from the stockpile like fish, pasta, rice or pork and of course frozen veggies steamers. Oh, and a couple beers. But no night time snacks, no eating after dinner for me.

our lunch salad, and a yogurt
I track my food and exercise using the MyFitnessPal app on my smart phone, If I am trying out a new exercise I track it live with the CardioTrainer app which uses a GPS to calculate steps, miles, calories, time etc so I know what it's all worth (It's a 2 mile trip around Busch Gardens). I try to eat about 1200-1400 calories a day, and burn up 400 to 600 calories with exercise (biking, walking. treading water in pool) each day. On Fridays and Saturdays, I may go out to eat (love those buffalo chicken wings!) so my calories can jump to 2000 per day. But my activity is up too so I think it evens out.

 I also read a diet book I checked out from the library (an ebook) The Adaptation Diet by Charles A Moss, which outlined a basically low carb diet with other ideas too. I've implemented some of the ideas, like eliminating anti inflammatory pills like Aleve or Advil because they cause a "leaky gut". I've pretty much cut out bread, and corn products and potatoes. I've cut back on drinking beer and we've never been sugar lovers, so sweets are easy to ignore.

Well, I'm pleased to report we have each lost five pounds in a month with this plan. DH doesn't bike like I do, so his plan includes less exercising, but men lose weight easier anyway. And the wonderful thing is, this lifestyle is frugal. There are no special foods, or pills, or drinks needed to lose weight. It's good old fashioned healthy diet and exercise. It's a lifestyle that can endure and be long lasting, with occasional treats that will not sideline your efforts because overall a healthy lifestyle can sustain the bumps in the road.

When we lose 5 more pounds, I'll post an "after" photo. Stay posted.

Dieting Hurts

My stomach is growling with hunger. I ate a good breakfast of oatmeal with cinnamon apples. And I had a banana for a snack. And some melon and strawberries as another snack. But my morning commute on the bicycle makes me really hungry. My metabolism is higher all day long. And makes my stomach hurt. I am craving carbohydrates, and those couple bottles of water just aren't making me feel full or satisfied. I want some bread or crackers, but my lunch will offer no relief with just a salad and yogurt packed in my bag.
I have a snack drawer here in my desk with cereal bars, snack bars and protein bars that I am resisting. It is to prove to myself that losing weight is not easy. It takes a lot of will power to stick with it. I know a 120 calorie snack bar won't make or break my efforts, but its the point. You should know and feel if you are dieting. If you are hungry, or exhausted at night and fall asleep in one minute, or your muscles are tight, or your ischial tuberosity is sore from the bike saddle - these are gentle reminders from your body to your brain that "Hey, I know what you're doing and it hurts".
The effort to lose weight is tough if you're doing it the right way, with proper nutrition and exercise. Do you eat breakfast everyday, at home? If not, you're probably overweight or have unhealthy issues. Do you prepare your own lunch? If not, its probably out of box or a restaurant meal and you're probably overweight or have health issues. Do you exercise at least thirty minutes every other day? If not, you probably are overweight or have health issues. These are three simple things that are frugal and will lead you to a healthier lifestyle, where you can control your weight.
But it won't be easy. It will take some effort on your part - you have to wake up earlier to make breakfast. You need to prepare your lunches ahead of time which requires planning, time and effort. Exercising is the easiest of all to fit in. Just slip on a pair of walking shoes and head out the door for 15 minutes, twice a day on your break at work. Or park in the back of the parking lot at the store. Take the stairs instead of elevator.

So, I sit here and my stomach still hurts, but my jeans are looser. Only a few more minutes to lunch time. I think I can do it.

Evil Scale Update 4 Weeks

Anyone who has ever dieted can tell you its not terribly hard to lose weight, but the real story is how to keep it off. Well, I've been really successful at losing weight in the last month, but unfortunately the yo-yo effect is more evil than the scale. Over the last 4 weeks, I have lost 11.4 lbs. That seems reasonable considering all the hunger I've endured and sweaty hot outdoor exercise I've done. Unfortunately, all the cool refreshing beers and chilled fruit snacks I've consumed have helped me gain 5.8 lbs, for a net weight loss of 5.6 lbs. Not exactly that rewarding.
However, I did make a change in my diet the last week by substituting vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and shredded cabbage in place of bread, rice and pasta. The decrease in carbohydrates from over 150 gms a day, down to about 75 gms has helped me minimize hunger and maintain weight. Its kind of a little like the Atkins diet modified. I try to keep protein and fat around 40 gms per day, carbs 75 gms for about 1400 calories. I burn 2400 calories with my lifestyle and exercise, so a 1000 calorie deficit should give me a 2 lb weight loss per week. Remember 3500 calories equals one pound, so a deficit of 7000 calories per week is the 2 lbs. If I don't bike or walk for an hour each day, I need to cut back calories on that day.
So, I'm going on a road trip to the Bristol, TN NASCAR race this weekend and that means restaurant and track food, plus lots of beer. My diet is taking a sabbatical for a week. My hope is that I can just maintain this next week.

Evil Scale After 3 Weeks

This is getting really old. Talking to my friends they ask why are you denying yourself food you like when you don't lose the weight when you diet. Why not just eat what you want and still not lose the weight? That's a very good question, one I ask myself everytime I drool over chicken wings or when DH is eating Ben and Jerry''s ice cream - half baked. So, I had that extra beer on Saturday night, and the chicken wings using the excuse that I did lawn work, rode my bike 10 miles, walked for an hour and other sweaty outdoor things in Florida. And I paid the price. I was up 1.6 pounds from my lowpoint of week on Sunday morning weighin.
More determined than ever on Sunday, I rode my bike more, walked faster, ate less and then it turns out this morning that the evil scale was going to just show me I'm down 1 pound this week, for a total of 4.6 lbs in 3 weeks.
I'm not looking forward to many more weeks of this to lose 10 more pounds. I'm thinking it might be worth it to just stop the madness, quit eating ANYTHING fattening, and lose 5 lbs a week. Then in two weeks it would be over and I could do maintenance eating.

Evil Scale Update Week 2

It was a disappointing week of dieting. I still managed to burn more than I ate, but only lost 1 pound this week for a total loss of 3.6 lbs. Remember my goal is to lose 15 lbs, but at this rate it will take a while. Its been so hot and steamy, that its hard to get plenty of outdoor exercise without getting fatigued from the heat. I did get a bicycle ride in on Sunday morning and it felt harder to ride my bike with no panniers, than it does with them loaded down on my way to work riding.
I did ride my bike to work today despite the 40% chance of rain in the forecast. One of my favorite treats to eat this past week has been a fruit cup. We got pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, grapes and blueberries mixed into little fruit cups and they are the perfect snack - low calorie and satisfy the thirst and hunger.

Evil Scale Update

Well I'm happy to report I've lost 2.4 lbs in my first week dieting and exercising. Last Monday I started documenting everything I eat and all my activities on and its amazingly hard to cut back on calories. I thought I ate good, but morning snacks are my downfall after riding my bike to work. I get so hungry. Right now its almost lunch time and my stomach just aches with hunger. Its painful losing weight! I also need to give up the alcohol every night, those 2 beers a night add up to 1400 calories a week. When it takes 3500 calories deficit to lose a pound, those drinking calories don't help!
So I did pretty good riding my bike 10 miles daily, and walking an hour at least 4 days, but the beer and the chicken wings on Saturday night were a setback. I did see the evil scale tip up slightly. I don't like to see the yo-yo pattern at all, since that's always been my downfall. I lose 3 lbs a week, but then gain a pound on the weekends with my excess consumption. This weekend I rode my bike 10 miles each day to make up for my otherwise lazy ways on the on the weekend, so that was what saved me this week.
Here's a chart of my calories eaten vs calories burned and I managed to burn more than eat all days, so that's good.

The Evil Scale Is Back

This month we've been trying to clean out the little freezer so we can defrost it, and also empty out the primary freezer to make room for ice. We're planning on driving over 700 miles in August to go to one of the NASCAR races, so we can bring everything we want, including beer. Which is why we need to start making ice. So, in between the free Papa John's 10" cheese pizzas from the Rays Strikeout deal, we've been eating DiGornio pizzas, TGIF snacks like chicken wings, potato skins and cheesey artichoke dip with Tostitos. Along with that we ran out of berries so we're eating Fisher Fusion Nut snacks, Emerald Snacks and Cascade Farm granola bars for our morning snacks. Don't all these products sound familiar? That's right, they were all free or just about from using coupons.
Well, despite eating healthier cereal for breakfast and a salad for lunch, we've gained weight this year - especially in the last month. I have reached my threshold where I must do the turn around. Even though I ride my bike 10 miles a day, and walk 4 miles about 5 days a week, the fattening food has won again. I vow to quit buying that prepared packaged food, even if its free. Since we finished our kitchen remodel in March, we have a regular kitchen to prepare again instead of just the microwave to make our meals. Thankfully, all the Contessa meals are gone, along with the breaded fish fillets, and most of the steamers veggies. What a perfectly good way to make vegetables bad for you. Ugh!
So I'm starting a diet today, using my food and exercise log at to track my consumption. My goal is to lose 15 lbs in 60 days. The method will be to track calories consumed, and calories burned with the simple goal of burning up more than I consume. No foods will be prohibited, but by logging in my food log it will be evident I need to drink less beer on Friday nights, and probably cut some Buffalo Chicken Wings from my meals.

Does Couponing Make You Fat?

As I pull on my pants each morning, lately the button seems a little harder to get closed. My tummy is a little more jiggly, and my boobs are bigger. I hate to step on the scale because I told DH and myself that I'm going to lose some weight as swimming season is here. But it hasn't been happening. I did step on the evil scale earlier this month and weighed about 12 pounds more than I want to be. According to my favorite weight log site, I'm about 15 lbs over the desired weight. Either way, I don't like it.
I usually have no trouble losing weight quickly and maintaining the loss, but this past year has been different. I'm a firm believer in the thought that you can't improve what you don't measure. So I log my weight into  (its free BTW) and I know that I used to weigh my goal weight last year in April 2009. I gained about 20 lbs by Christmas and then lost 15 after New Years, but now its creeping up again. My bike riding has been pretty consistent with about 380 miles ridden each quarter (I ride about 15 of 20 weekdays to work each month.) It did drop off during the winter when we were remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen so I could meet with the contractor each morning, and have the car to pick up supplies. I rode about 150 miles the 4QTR, and 200 miles the 1QTR of 2010. This lack of exercise probably contributed to my weight gain, since my body is pretty responsive to exercise.
However, now I am riding almost every day, and walking an hour a day, and still not losing weight. I eat the same breakfast and lunch I've had for years ( I know boring!) cereal with a banana, and a lettuce salad w/ chicken, plus a yogurt. So dinner is the change. And guess what we now eat for dinner? Yup, you guessed it - all that prepackaged, processed food that we get cheap with coupons. Frozen fish fillets, Curlys BBQ pulled pork, Zatarains Jambalaya with Premio sausage, Steamfresh meals, TGIF appetizers, Contessa frozen pasta meals, etc..
Since I've been couponing over a year now, I have it down to a point where I don't really even have a grocery budget, I spend less on food for the month than we spend on our cheap SERO cell phone bill. But, its taking a toll on my health and beauty. I'm trying not to buy the junk food, but when its free with coupons I can't resist. I tell myself I'll give it away, or serve it when we have company so that we don't eat it. But its just so darn convenient to open a package and have a quick meal.
So, the struggle continues. The evil scale vs the full freezer.

Weekly Weigh

Actually, I haven't really been dieting, as evidenced by the evil scale - I weigh the same as I did at the beginning of the month. Still down 7 lbs overall since I started this diet, but I still have a month to go to reach my goal weight by Easter, on my birthday. I've got a big list of freebies to get on my birthday and most of them are food, so I'm definitely not dieting that day. Who can pass up free starbucks coffee, krispy creme donuts, Denny's grand slam breakfast, Qdobe burrito, and Kobe's free teppanyaki Japanese meal? Plus I aim to get my free African Safari ride to feed and photograph the wild veldt animals at Busch Gardens. Hope it's not busy there on Easter.

Anyway, my diet siderailed due to the cold frigid weather. I feel sorry for all the folks up North where they have six months of this misery. I was so excited to ride my bicycle to work today in the 65F weather, even though it was misty rolling through the clouds on the ground. It's my therapy. It makes me happy to ride my bike. The fresh air and just being outside exercising makes me more aware of my surroundings and notice details and beauty.

I also am starving now. I read this little tip in an email and realize I don't eat enough. I'm hungry all the time, right after breakfast, and every afternoon.
Physicians often advise their patients to eat six small meals if they want to lose weight or lower insulin spikes in the case of diabetics. Small meals every three hours keep you satisfied, and speeds up your metabolism, thereby helping you to lose weight. If you get hungry again in about three hours, your food portion sizes are correct. If you're hungry sooner, you didn't eat enough. Still feeling full four or five hours later? You ate too much.

Fit Day Free Online Diet Journal

Whoa. I sure ate a lot this weekend. I finally weighed myself and find that my jeans are tight. I need to go on a diet. I thought it was from not biking, and that perhaps just adding biking to my daily routine would help me maintain. But I have exceeded the cushion of safety in my weight and it is time for some serious efforts here. I think part of the problem is the Eat From the Pantry Challenge and all the processed foods that we've been eating this month, but the stuff is going away from the freezer and fridge. It just landed on my fat ass. Just temporarily though.
One thing I'm going to do is start documenting everything I eat, and all my activities in a fitday online journal. It is a free tool that has helped me tremendously to lose weight in the past. When you document everything, its pretty obvious how fattening a certain food may be (like chicken wings) and how much exercise helps burn calories.
My goal is to lose 15 lbs by Easter.