Saturday, July 25, 2009

It always pays to ask

This morning my sons wanted to go to IHOP for breakfast. It's not something we always do, we were getting a late start to the day, so why not? You can get breakfast there at any time.

I was being smart and I planned ahead. I looked up IHOP's menu so I could decide ahead of time what I was going to order. I already knew that I was going to skip out on the hashbrowns, the pancakes and the toast. I just really wanted a mostly-egg white omelet with veggies.

They have a spinach, mushroom and tomato omelet made with egg substitute, 330 calories. But the carbs were 37 gm! When I looked further into the menu, I noticed they add some buttermilk pancake batter to the mix to make the omelet fluffier. Well, that's nice, but not what I wanted. I don't like Egg Beaters. I can cut back in my own way, so I set out to see what IHOP could do for me.

I asked our waiter if the cook could leave out the pancake batter. Done. Then I asked how many eggs the cooked used to make the regular omelet. Are you ready to hear this? EIGHT! I have really good cholesterol levels, and even so, I felt my heart flinch when I heard that. So, I asked the waiter to have the cook make me an omelet with one whole egg and fill the rest in with egg whites.

(At the table at IHOP there was a chart that listed the nutrition for all their menu items. The original omelet was close to 1000 calories!)

The omelet normally has Hollandaise Sauce. I am a slut for Hollandaise. I kept that in the equation. And I didn't let him bring me any fruit to substitute for the pancakes, hashbrowns and toast. I've just calculated the damages...347 calories, and while I am decidedly above the egg-substitute omelet regarding the fat by 14 gm, carbohydrates came in at just 19 gm. I got exactly what I wanted, AND I was satisfied. I was actually quite full.

I think I might get one of those phone things that has calorie counting applications on them. I don't want to get caught uninformed again!

Hmmm, very interesting...

Have a look at these sites on new findings on weight and mortality...I may not have to lose as much as I thought!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crossing the Finnish line

(Sorry, that was a lame, crappy-journalist title to write.)

Have you heard about what Finland has done to curtail the couch-potato trend in their country? Read all about it
here. Why can't we do that too? Oh, wait, our agriculture and food lobbies have too much power.

It's Day 5 on Medifast and I'm feeling back in the driver's seat of this new effort. I lost two of the four pie-pounds gained a couple days ago. I'm feeling my groove. "They" were right, if you can get past day three, it's all good from there!

I ordered my new Concept 2 D-model rower. It's coming on Tuesday. I can't wait!!! My garage/gym is almost complete. I just have to sweep out another portion of it and I still have to pick up my treadmill and weight bench from the old house. Once it's all installed, I'll post a photo of it here.

Maybe I should put up some mirrors too...

PS) I posted a question about my 4-lb gain on the Medifast discussion board and got the following response from a dietician...I've done my best to edit down to a digestible size. Her explanation does make sense to me, but as pointed out by a recent comment to my blog, I'm not sure how the 100 gm applies to everyone.

"The Medifast meals are a balanced combination of protein and carbohydrates, as well as fortified with vitamins and minerals so that with 5 (meal packets) a person is getting at least 100% of the daily value for 24 vitamins/minerals and with the Lean and Green meal would be getting adequate amounts of protein, 800-1000 calories and yet would be limiting their carbohydrates more than most Americans do on a daily basis.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan does induce a mild dietary ketosis (which we refer to as "the fat-burning state). Ketosis is when the body uses ketones (energy made from your own fat stores) rather than glucose (from carbohydrates) as the primary source of fuel for the body. A person does not need to eat zero carbohydrates in order to enter ketosis; however, carbohydrates typically need to be limited to 100 grams (total) or less of carbohydrates per day in order for the body to seek out your fat stores as the primary source of fuel.

What causes a person to lose weight? Weight loss occurs when a person takes in less calories than they burn in a day (i.e. when energy in is less than energy out). Typically one pound of fat requires about a 3500 calorie deficit. The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan is designed to do 2 things in order to promote weight loss in an effective and efficacious way: limit the number of total calories a person is consuming in a day and induce a very mild dietary ketosis (the fat-burning state). The latter of these two components not only helps to create a very rapid initial weight loss (as the body turns to your own stored fat for energy it uses up the "hidden" sources of carbohydrate we naturally have in our bodies, this is called glycogen. When glycogen stores are used, they also allow water to be released which is also reflected by the numbers on the scale), but it helps to protect lean body mass (by giving the body more efficient access to energy stores--our own fat).

So what happens when you eat something that is higher in carbohydrates (yet still controlled in terms of overall calories)? The body will then switch back to using glucose (carbohydrates) as the primary source of fuel and will replenish these glycogen stores (which means it will then hold on to a greater amount of water, which can be reflected by the numbers on the scale).

Did eating something "off-plan" ruin all your efforts? No. Eating something outside of the typical 5 & 1 Plan choices may have increased your total calories and carbohydrates for the day (which means it may not have created a deficit between the number of calories eaten and those used by the body). It may also mean that you are temporarily taken from the fat-burning state (which again, may mean that your body is holding onto water differently), but certainly it did not fully "undo" all that you have already accomplished.

If you continue to follow the 5 & 1 Plan as recommended this one "slip" will not affect your long term weight loss results."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hump Day blues

On the Medifast website, they say that the first week is the worst, and once you get past days three to five, it's all downhill from there.

I fell of the wagon last night. Apparently I picked up a few things when I got back on this morning.

My first mistake was having my L&G meal at lunch. I'm a evening-eater. If I start eating solid food at noon, it'll only be added to the solid food I'll want to eat in the evening. And the desire to eat is still strong (since I wasn't past Days 3 - 5).

I made pie. I wasn't planning to eat more, but I was going to make a pie for my sons. An innocent apple pie, with apples from my tree, lower fat pastry, not too much organic sugar, and some dried cranberries. There isn't even any ice cream in the house! I ate almost 25% of the pie. I pinched off one little piece of crust, then another, then cut a wedge, and then another. According to the calorie-counting website, I had 822 calories in my homemade apple pie.

So previous to the pie, I had almost 800 calories up to that point for the day. After I ate the pie, I was still wanting some protein, so I had a little turkey breast. In total, I ate just under 2000 calories for the day. So, why did I gain back four pounds as of this morning?

These are the tough moments for me, when my body seems to resist my efforts and then takes back ground at the first moment. Is my body determined to never weigh less than 300 lb? Well, I'm more determined than ever!!! I am getting back on this Medifast and not waivering until I'm down to 285, my next 10% marker, and then we're going to maintain that for another few months, until I don't gain weight from eating 2000 calories.

And I have got to buy myself another rowing machine, ASAP! (The ex has my other one and I'm not getting it back...but that's a whole other blog topic!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Will I last the week?

According to the Medifast site, this hunger will go away once I get into a serious fat-burning zone, in about three to five days. I definitely went to bed hungry last night, and my stomach talked to me well into the night, keeping me up till around 3:30 a.m. And I had 1270 calories! I was rewarded with a 1.5 lbs loss this morning, which I know will be more water and perhaps just a little fat.

I had my first celery stick in the morning after my mid-morning shake and marveled at how fresh and delightful it tasted. What a beautiful vegetable! But after my third stick, they started to lose their shine. Still, I'm about to get my second shake for the day and the celery is sounding good again.

Last night my dinner included half an avocado with my salad, a sliced beet, and lots of greens. I'm eating way more than my 3 1/2-cup servings of veggies. And I had three slices of turkey breast. I poached it in this new broth that I found at the market, which was a Thai curry flavored chicken broth. It was delicious! I threw some asparagus on top of the turkey when it was poaching. I got over 30 gm of fiber in yesterday!

I definitely don't like the Medifast for Diabetes Vanilla shake. I'm going to see if I can doctor it with some instant coffee and extra ice. Like a Frapuccino!

My Yahoo horoscope says: "Underestimating yourself is silly - be honest! You're more than capable of this!" Okay...*sigh*...I'll keep going.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 1 on Medifast

I'm hungry...I want to eat. I'm craving hard boiled eggs on Wasa right now.

I weighed in this morning. After a high at 321 lbs (a result of my trip to Monterey, drinking two alcoholic beverages and eating salty foods with melted cheese and fried elements), my preparations for my new Medifast journey dropped me back down to 313 lbs. Damn! You're asking (i know this, because I'm asking too), why am I subjecting myself to Medifast if I can drop 8 lbs. in less than a week. Because it was all salt and alcohol and retained water. I'm back on track now and will definitely be losing weight from fat from this point on.

But I'm so hungry! I want to chew on something!

I will resort to more water and celery. I'm allowing myself the celery. Because when I get hungry and my blood sugar drops, I get edgy and I need something to help me calm myself. And celery will do that for me.

At breakfast I had the Orange Creme 55 shake. Not bad. For mid-morning, I had the Dark Chocolate Antioxidant shake. Even better!

I went to Safeway this morning after breakfast. What used to not affect me at all (the bakery) was not flooding my senses. The smells, the mouth watered and for the first time in over 10 years, a bear claw sounded good to me. But I was strong and I took a turn down the detergent aisle so I could get that smell out of my nose.

I think tonight I'll be eating a LOT of vegetables with my medallions of turkey breast. Can't wait!

It used to be that I had been on so many diets that I ended up not being able to stay on-plan for more than five hours. This time, things feel different. I feel different. Food feels like food and nothing more, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything any longer. Because I can go and get whatever I want whenever I want it, and I have power over food. Not the other way around.

This is a good thing to know, now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Medifast starts tomorrow!!!

My first Medifast order arrived on Friday afternoon...I'm actually excited to get started! I've been preparing all week, getting well hydrated, cutting back calories. I quit coffee last week and have had headaches every morning, but today's headached didn't start till later in the day, so there's progress, I think. The pantry is clean, the fridge is tidy and full of lean meats and lots of non-starchy veggies. I'm set!

I'm also nervous about this. I absolutely MUST lose weight. I have to get down below 200 lb in the next three years so I can qualify for affordable health care. Getting divorced is going to leave me high and dry without insurance if I stay at this weight. I have to get in to see my doctor ASAP in order to get my annual check up and see if I can get a new CPAP machine before the divorce is final. But I also want to lose enough weight so that I no longer have to be prescribed blood pressure medication.

Along with my daily Medifast foods, I get to eat one "lean and green" meal (lean protein and three servings of non-starchy veggies). I've decided to supplement throughout the day with celery, which I've read (on the Internet, so it's true!) has excellent properties for reducing blood pressure. I don't mind going over the Medifast caloric guidelines, as long as I'm not popping over with all the wrong foods.

So tonight is my last meal before the fast begins. All week I've been cutting calories and drinking lots of water so that I've already lost almost all the weight I put on from the sins of last weekend. I've already planned my dinner. The boys want to go to Applebee's (not thrilled with that choice) but they do have Weight Watcher friendly choices, including a 4 oz. steak with portobello mushrooms and steamed veggies. So, there is a 4 oz. steak to be had out there in the restaurant world!

I'm probably going to be a little rabid on the blog for the next two weeks. I'm told that's the most difficult time with MF. I may need to write my way through some difficult cravings. I'm already having a huge craving for gooey cinnamon rolls with pecans, and I can't even recall the last time I had one of those...maybe three years ago.

PS) My friend Lynne recently left a little nugget, a comment in a recent post, and I have to say, it was an awesome idea! She said that when she's got a craving for a reuben sandwich, she ditches the bread and rolls the meat in fillo, sprays it with something like Pam and bakes until golden. I tried it...YUM!!! Thanks Lynne!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mitochondria are my new friends

My youngest son and I watched Nova ScienceNow last night. I'm a life-long science geek and I'm so happy that my kids are too. Discovery Channel is on far more than Cartoon Network. But I digress...

Last night's episode had a segment about a scientist trying to find a way to put the benefits of exercise into a pill. The benefit he was wanting to pack into a capsuel is the ability to burn calories like a marathon runner, because calories burned on behalf of endurance exercise comes from fat.

I won't go into all the science talk (you can watch the show here), but basically, he got mice to lose weight without having to exercise, and he did it by chemically getting their bodies to increase the amount of mitochondria in their bodies. Some people seem to be able to do that more easily than others (hate them!), and the more mitochondria there are in a body, the more calories are burned.

So, I was wondering how to increase the amount of mitochondria in my body without having to take pills, since those won't be available for quite some time. Mitochondria are cells in the body that do a lot of stuff, but what's important to me at the moment is how they help convert energy. And that process is what burns calories from fat.

While the doc wants to chemically increase the amount of mitochondria, the best way to do it naturally is to exercise...of course. And some of the best exercise for accomplishing this are activities like swimming laps, rowing, using an elliptical crosstrainer. The point is to engage the whole body in the activity. And you have to do it for atleast 15 minutes at 80% of the maximum heart rate, three times a week.

So when I discovered this, I started thinking that I could exercise, get more mitochondria, and then coast. Not true. When not needed, they do shrink and go away, so consistent exercise is necessary to maintain them.

No easy answers. I guess I won't wait for the pill.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Desperate measures?

I've thought about it for some time now and I've made the decision to go with Medifast in order to lose the next 10% of my body weight. I'm not altogether convinced this is a good decision, but I'm feeling a bit desperate to move past the 300 lbs, I don't have the time to devote to adding exercise these days, and I am really having a difficult time with reducing my calories in general.

I really wish I could just walk away from eating altogether. But that's a really unhealthy decision, and as hard as I tried, I can't seem to turn myself into an anorexic! So, I'm going with a modified Medifast program. I don't want to go below 1200 calories, so I'll drink five shakes a day, have one of their bars as a day, and for dinner I'll have at least three servings of veggies and a good portion of lean protein. That should keep me in the right caloric range.

Once I lose the next 10%, which is almost 32 lbs., I'll decide what to do. At the moment, I'm inclined to hold fast at that weight for another six months. What I really want is to lighten up so that exercise isn't so laborious for me. For now, I can only use the elliptical cross trainer for 10 minutes a day, I can only walk for an hour a day and not at a very taxing pace. My heartrate isn't getting up to where it needs to be for a good workout because my knees are suffering.

I have things I want to do! I want to go hiking with my friend Chris. I want to hike up to Vernal Falls at Yosemite with my sons. I want to be prepared to learn sailing. I want to buy a bike and actually use it. I want to go to a bellydance class with confidence! I want to go back to Green Mountain Spa and blow the sox off LynnAnn-the-Intimidator, their head trainer.

And that's only for starters...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Make the plan, work the plan

I was just chatting with a lovely group of women, part of my support and accountability possee. We were all lamenting how we were all suffering from those moment on the lips, life time on the hips days when we slip off the path to wellness. We all agreed, planning was a key part of staying with the program and getting back up again.

A key thing for me to work into my plans is having a strong vision and goal in my head. And one of my dreams has been to learn to sail, possibly build or restore a boat and sail it 'round the world. Now, I have no idea if I'm going to enjoy the activity. I've been sailing once, almost 30 years ago, in a little tiny thing, and I loved it. I was 19 and that Christopher Cross song "Sailing" was on the old romantic dream to which I still cling. But now I've got a plan as well as a vision.

First, I ordered a model's going to be my visual motivation. I'm going to put it in my living room where I can see it everyday. It'll remind me that I want to get into shape in order to be able to work on a boat.

Second, I joined a local sailing club. It's in San Francisco, and they have sailing lessons out in SF Bay all the time. I'll be going out on the water with my sons soon, to see if its something we really want to do. If we green-light the idea, we're going to take lessons!

Third, I'm planning a trip to Greece for a skippered sailing trip around the islands, hopefully for my 50th birthday. And perhaps some hot young captain and crew with which to flirt. I won't tell them I can speak Greek right away...

So if all that works out, I can look at aquiring a boat. For that, I've got to save money, which is something I can do now. And I need to learn more about woodworking, which I can also do now through the local community college. Eventually I can take some boat building classes as well.

And the vision is solidifying in my head...I can see myself out on the water having a lovely time, I can see myself sleeping and working on my boat...what a great place to write a book or a play!

Now, that looks like a good plan to me!