Cut the Crap & Add the Zap

You have probably been wondering where I have been. Well I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that on the day of my last post my husband moved out, and we are now in the progress of getting a divorce. It has become clear since then that he was seeing someone else at the time he moved out (although he still won’t admit it). The good news is that I am happy to be moving on with my life, we are still friends, and I have still been able to slowly but surely lose weight. I am currently at 185.6. I wasn’t sure when I logged in if I would be up or down. I have been trying to be good from an eating perspective, but it has been very difficult to get into an exercise routine since everything changed. I have finally gotten into a routine which I know is critical to losing weight and staying healthy. I am determined to continue on my journey and reach my goal. I have started looking at online dating sites. I realize that most men want someone slim/slender, and I know I can reach that goal not for a man but for me. I hope you will read and comment on my blog to help keep me motivated. I came back because I got some comments on some old posts and I really really appreciate your support.
This past couple weeks I was feeling pretty down. Then something sparked my motivation again. A co-worker jokingly referred to me as “kind of chunky” in front of a group of people. I was traveling at the time, and went back to my room and cried for a couple of hours. I didn’t want to go into work the next day. I was hurt and upset. Now I am just motivated.  Since then, I have managed to go from being able to squeeze into a Size 12 to fitting very comfortably in  a Size 12.  Only two more clothes sizes to go to reach my goal.  I am never going to be called chunky again, that’s for sure. I hope you can help me stay on track so I can feel better about myself and never have to feel that type of embarassment as the victim of teasing about my weight ever again.

My goal right now is to exercise first thing in the morning at least five times per week. I do this on my rowing maching because it is efficient and I can’t have any excuses. Even if it makes me late for work, I must do it. I know that regular cardio is critical to keeping my body from slowing down its metabolism and to continue weight loss.


I was afraid to get on the scale this morning because it has been a busy week with a couple days of travel.  Overall, I have been pretty good at sticking to the plan eating a lot of healthy food including fruits and vegetables except for the two days I was traveling.  I only exercised two times in the last five days since my last weigh-in – 50 minutes of rowing in total.  But, I did do a lot of outdoor walking while traveling in the city of Phildelphia and also yesterday spent a lot of time walking around outside now that the weather is finally getting better.  Overall I have definitely eaten much smaller portions in the last week than before I was on the plan, and I have made much better conscious choices.  So I am staying with the plan of being practical and slowly losing the weight.  As long as the trend is downward I am going to view this all as highly successful!

{March 27, 2007}   My Goals

Someone had asked me in a comment “How overweight are you?”.   I started at 206.4 and a size 16, and my goal is to lose 50 pounds to reach 156.4 and a size 8.  I am 5’8″.   I am currently at 193.6 and a size 14.  I have lost 12.8 pounds over the last 33 days and I have 37.2 more to go to reach my goal weight.  People are just now starting to notice that I look different, which is nice.  I am going to keep posting until I reach my goal, and I know that I can do it.

Okay so I have not been a good girl – sorry for not posting for so long.  I have been traveling for work for the last few weeks.  I haven’t posted in over two weeks, but the good news is I am still losing.  I have been trying to be practical over the past couple of weeks.  I consciously made a lot of good decisions but I also went off plan quite a few times.  I didn’t beat myself up over it.   For me, this is about making consistent positive change but not about giving up living life altogether.  Here is how it went:

My strategy for the actual travel days and flying is that I drink primarily water and only one diet coke during each trip and I eat fruit and nuts – I bring apples and mini boxes of raisins and preportioned nuts and sometimes a meal replacement bar like a zone bar.  I did have one bag of pretzels on one flight and it really wasn’t worth it.  I typically eat one apple, one other piece of fruit and a handful of nuts for meals while I am traveling.  If a meal is served on the plane, I eat parts of it, but honestly the airplane food isn’t very appealling.  There is a lot of walking and carrying luggage when traveling those these travel days so the combination of healthy, very light eating and a lot of walking were used to balance my actual days in my travel destinations (more below).

My strategy for my travel days at the destinations was trickier.  My business travels include lots of good food and drinks and socializing.  Since I knew that I would be drinking I tried to keep my choices of food very healthy (see The Plan) and servings small (think Weight Watchers/Lean Cuisine) which isn’t always practical at restaurants but I tried my best earnestly on the food part.   I traveled to London for a few days then came back home and then to Las Vegas for a few days.  While in London, I have never been served so many cookies (aka biscuits) in my life.  I had 2 cookies a day and I was able to bring myself to pass on the scones with cream and jelly and a lot of the other pastry type of things that were put out for eating.  I focused on selecting healthy choices and small servings from the meal buffets.  I tried to have a good breakfast everyday to get my metabolism going in the morning at a minimum some fresh fruit.   Lunches were usually salads and rice and vegatables and a very small serving of pasta.  Dinner was salad and an entree with plenty of vegetables (i.e. vegetarian pizza, pasta with vegetables).   I never ate after dinner except for one night at a pub when there was a big bowl of crisps (potato chips) that I couldn’t resist.  I drank several drinks every night.  My exercise included a lot of walking.  In between trips, I have been rowing for about twenty minutes a day at the rate of about 500-700 calories an hour about every other day.  I have been pretty good about following healthy eating choices in between trips because I was petrified to get on the scale for fear i gained weight from my trips.  The day before yesterday, I had scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast, wheat noodles with teriyaki sauce chicken and vegetables for lunch, and a potato skin (okay i should not have eaten this) a few french fries (again a no no) and a piece of vegetable pizza for dinner.  Yesterday, I had fresh fruit and nuts for breakfast (apple and almonds), oatmeal with flaxseed and maple syrup for lunch (it was a hectic day at work and i missed lunch) and pasta with vegetables and chicken for dinner.

So, I guess the net of all of this is that by keeping portions small and choices healthy for the most part and exercising regularly, you can still lose weight if you drink occasionally and make poor choices (like a cookie here or a potato skin there) once in a while.  What you cannot do is overindulge too much in those poor choices and you cannot consistently make poor choices for several meals in a row – what i mean is on the days that I had alcoholic beverages i seriously watched my food intake, and if i had a cookie it was one at a time not five at a time… having a blog and knowing that you will have to report your progress is another incentive to be good.

Anyways, I am pretty happy to have lost 12.8 pounds so far and I appreciate you reading this.  Blogging about my weight loss definitely is helping keep me on track.

{March 11, 2007}   Day 17 – 8.4 pounds lost

Well I was happy that I lost some weight on my first day back from my trip.  I still didn’t do too good it is always a struggle to get back onto a plan when one cheats.

Breakfast:  nuts and raisins and coffee

Lunch: chips and sour cream dip (BAD!), cheeseburger on white bun with ketchup, lettuce, tomatoe, green peppers, strawberries and grapes (I went to my sisters and could not resist the chips and dip but I only had one burger and fruit for lunch which is much less than I would normally eat).

Dinner:  Half of a chicken enchilada Lean cuisine meal – it really didn’t taste good so I didn’t finish it.

Wu-long tea

Low fat hazelnut latte from starbucks

8.4 pounds lost 41.6 more to go

I went across country this week to California on a business trip. It was not pretty, but the good news is that I did not gain weight. I made good choices most of the time but not all of the time. I hope that it was good for my long-term weight loss to mix it up a bit. I am going to be traveling a lot over the next couple of weeks, so I need to get better at it.

What I did right:

– started out each day wtih a healthy breakfast. I ordered room service a couple of days, had a brebakfast meeting one day, and grabbed fruit and nuts on the run one day. From room service and the restaurant I had my oatmeal with maple syrup and coffee. I tried an egg white omelette with peppers and low fat cheese one day but that wasn’t very tasty at all. I got some grapefruit juice for a change.

– I exercised three times this week. My co-worker made fun of my large suitcase especially when I explained that I had to bring a few workout outfits since I am on a mission to lose weight. He said I could just bring one workout outfit and wear it again and again since I am going to sweat on it anyways. Even the socks? yup… No wonder men at the gym are so stinky! Anyways, I did 20 minutes of cardio each time and one of the days I also did weight training with hand weights and machines. I was pretty sore from this.

– I didn’t finish my meals and I almost always skipped dessert. At conventions, you get served meals with little choice on the menu. I didn’t always eat all of my food, and I only had dessert once.

What I did wrong:

– I drank some beer and wine which of course is not a good thing for weight loss.

– I had dessert once and candy at convention booths several times (pieces of chocolate) I have a lot of trouble avoiding sweets when they are right in front of me.

– I had bread with meals a few times

– I had chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant (another thing I have trouble avoiding)

Day 6

Exercise: 20 minutes rowing

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flaxseed, syrup, and cinnamon, V-8, coffee

Snack: Apple and 2 TBSP peanut butter, water

Lunch: Chicken and brown rice and peas, Pepsi One

Snack: Handful almonds, handful turkey jerky, water

Dinner: Lean Cuisine meal rosemary chicken and rice, tiny wedge of a quesadillaThis was a very good day overall.

weigh-in: 5.8 pounds lost

Day 7

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flaxseed and maple syrup, Coffee, a V-8

Snack: Apple,water, pepsi one, a handful of turkey jerky

Lunch: Small serving of Chicken Tikka Masala and taste of 3 other Indian dishes at an Indian restaurant buffet on basmati rice and salad. 2 TBSP of Rice Pudding. Handful of licorice covered fennel seeds. Lots of water.

Dinner: Bowl of vegetable soup and apple, walnut, gorgonzola salad with blueberry dressing at Pizzeria Unos.

I went to lunch with co-workers and was hoping to order something light. Of course, the restaurant we went to ended up being a buffet! I only made one trip and got very small servings of everything. I tried to pass on the rice pudding dessert, which honestly didn’t even appeal to me, but I gave in to peer pressure of several people insisting that I try it. I was very good at dinner to make up for it. I did make myself eat salad at lunch to make sure I was getting enough vegetables. I also made sure to eat an apple between breakfast and lunch so I wouldn’t be starving when we went out to eat.

weigh-in: 7.2 pounds lost

Day 8

Exercise: None.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flaxseeds, syrup, V-8

Lunch: Handful of nuts, apple, 5 vanilla flavored tootsie rolls (I really struggle to pass a candy dish so I tried to pick the lowest in fat and calorie choice), water, diet coke

Dinner: Diet pepsi, water, one small piece of cheese pizza from a personal size pizza, two chicken lettuce wraps, and salad with blue cheese dressing and one steak tip. I went out with friends for someone’s going away party at work. Everyone was shocked that I didn’t have even one alcoholic drink, but I am really trying to lose weight here!

weigh-in: 7.4 pounds lost – fantastic

Day 9:

Exercise: 20 minutes rowing

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flax, syrup, cinnamon, coffee

Snack: handful peanuts, apple

Lunch: Salad with greens, vegetables, chickpeas, and 2 hard boiled eggs and light vinegarette dressing

Snack: banana, PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE – I should not have had the piece of cake. It was someone’s going away party and I could not resist.

Dinner: zilch I had to go to a wake that was pretty far away and didn’t have time to eat. By the time I got home I was exhausted and fell asleep. I did have 2 Altoids, Pepsi One, V-8

Weigh-in 8.0 pounds lost – woo hoo

Day 10:

Exercise: zilch I had to go to an early morning funeral

Breakfast: Oatmeal, flax, syrup, coffee

Snack: V-8, water

Lunch: Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beas, 1 roll with maple butter, handful of french fries, half a piece of cheesecake – okay I totally just ate what was put in front of me at the luncheon after the funeral. I kept telling myself that I was going to eat healthy but you essentially had a choice – turkey or beef – and all the trimmings were delicious. I guess now my body isn’t thinking I am starving it at least, but I will expect to maybe gain a bit of weight back after this… now I have to get right back on track.

Dinner: lean cuisine vegetarian pizza, salad with blue cheese dressing, water

Weigh-in: 7.2 pounds lost (yes, that means I gained .8 pounds from the day before…)

Exercise: 20 minutes of cardio (I am moving exercise to the beginning of my daily details since I typically do this first thing in the morning before eating anything which is highly recommended to burn fat and also to get my metabolism going right away – I personally am not quite awake and have a marked reduction in performance in the wee hours BUT my heart rate gets into cardio mode and that is what matters.)

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flaxseed and syrup and cinnamon, low sodium V-8, water, coffee (I know I am boring for eating oatmeal everday, but I love love love it!!! seriously, but don’t worry when I go on vacation or travel I might opt to be a bit more adventurous, and occasionally like yesterday I go crazy and have some breakfast for lunch again…)

Lunch: Whole grain hot pocket lite (yes they actually make a lite version of a hot pocket – it tastes great but unfortunately and honestly it is also less filling), water, flavored low-calorie sparkling water

Snack: Apple and a handful of smoked turkey jerky (I was going to dip my apple in peanut butter but we got the healthy peanut butter and it just didn’t taste right…)

Dinner: small chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing and sauteed in olive oil and rosemary, garlic, onion, and basil, peas in butter (I didn’t have any fresh green vegetables so I had a very small serving of these peas that were packaged in a butter sauce), brown rice mixed with black beans, flavored sparkling water, large glass of low sodium V-8.

Snack: coffee (in case you are wondering I take my coffee with a bit of whole organic milk and 1 splenda)

I have noticed that I have been starving by the time I go to bed. If I didn’t have to write it down here, I would totally be pigging out right now…

What I could have done better: I really should not have had a frozen hot pocket. I was starving and I really need to go food shopping for some better choices of fresh fruits and vegetables. Better planning on my part would be an improvement. Particularly on weekends, I need to think ahead and plan what I am going to eat. I need to make sure that I have healthy choices in my home. I need to drink more water and I need to eat more vegetables throughout the day.

Weight: Wow! Down 5.2 pounds which is more than I expected.  What a pleasant surprise.  Something is working!  44.8 pounds to go…

I hate to admit the fact that I have done this diet, because it sounds crazy – even to me.  And let me tell you, I have been on every crazy diet.  I have been on the one that you can only eat bananas and skim milk all day.  I have been on the rice diet.  I have been on the cabbage soup diet.  I have been on the Atkins diet.  Yet, you might think I am a quack for even mentioning The Lemonade Diet.  Why?  Because it really isn’t a diet.  It really is a fast.   As a matter of fact, even my son caught on pretty quick.  He observed me for a couple of days and then said “Mom, isn’t what you are doing really called a fast?”.   It is pretty hard to look like you are eating when all you have at the kitchen table is a glass of liquid that is a strange color with orange specks and a few seeds floating around…

The Lemonade Diet really does provide what it claims to provide – increased energy, glowing skin, very rapid weight loss, and cleansing of the body.  I did the diet for about 10 days  a little over a year ago.  I lost about 8 pounds, my body was significantly leaner, my energy was increased, I slept better, and I got a ton of compliments.  The rapid weight loss supposedly continues for up to 30 days but 10 days was challenging enough for me.  Did people notice?  Absolutely, I got tons of compliments for the couple of weeks after I did the diet.  Did I keep all of the weight off?  Nope, I kept about 3 pounds off because I totally pigged out afterwards – I think I was so freaked out psychologically over not eating for 10 days that I wanted everything in sight.  Did I have any strange cleansing experiences from the diet?  Yes, I had a unusual, large spot that showed up on my skin surface as a result of the cleansing that eventually cleared up a week or so after the diet.  Would I do it again?  Yes, although it requires an extreme level of discipline because there is no solid food involved.  You must plan this diet for a time when you are either a) willing to look like a wierdo extreme dieter or b) don’t have any social occasions that include eating situtations.

What I liked about it:  The diet is very simple.  The weight loss is very rapid and yet does not come with the typical energy drag of extreme dieting.  The body continues to glow and look good during the weight loss.  You basically have only “lemonade” – fresh lemonade made with fresh lemons, pure maple syrup and cayenne pepper.  It felt liberating in a strange way to give up food completely and not have to think about it.  This makes the diet actually better than a pure fast because you have some flavors – both sweet and sour – to quench your tastebuds and after a day the lemonade satisfied my hunger completely.  Getting past the psychological desire to eat was a good exercise to show that I do have some control over my eating, but that was quickly proven wrong when I got off the diet and proceeded to the nearest bag of chips and candy…

What I didn’t like about the diet: I couldn’t help but think that this diet couldn’t possibly be good for me.  I was worried that I might be screwing up my metabolism.  Obviously, the diet doesn’t teach any good eating habits for day-to-day but it does help you to focus on your feelings and control (or lack of it) over what you eat.  I gained a good part of the weight back.

If you take into account the weight gained back, you could lose the same amount of weight by eating a healthy, whole food diet – cutting out all of the crap and focusing on what is good for you.  If you really really really are seeking rapid weight loss that is more meaningful and sustainable, then I would recommend trying a 100% raw diet which will help provide you some good eating habits, will result in some quick weight loss and increased energy (if you have been eating a typical american diet), and will also provide significantly more nutrition throughout your day compared with the Lemonade Diet.

What is flaxseed? Flax seed is a pretty amazing food from a health perspective – flaxseed is a plant food that is packed with fiber, protein, and Omega 3 oil. It is reported to help in overall health and specifically in weight reduction.

Why do I add 1-2 TBSP of ground flaxseed to my diet every day? Well, to be honest, the main reason is that I don’t really like fish. I personally think the best way to get nutrients is by eating whole and organic foods, but I just don’t like fish. While you can get fiber and protein from many other sources, Omega 3 is more difficult to come by in foods that I like. Flaxseed has so many things that are good for me, and I like it mixed in with my oatmeal, that it has become a simple addition to my diet.  The site at flaxusa provides many details about the benefits of flaxseed and they sell flaxseed online (I bought mine in the supermarket but it was just recently available at my supermarket so you may have to buy online). There are many sites about flaxseed but I included flaxusa because I liked their site and the fact that they are a family farm that promotes whole food nutrition. Here are some of the highlights:

“What researchers have discovered through intense studies is that the high concentration of fiber and lignans in flax seeds may have a preventative effect against certain cancers.”

“Flax seeds can keep the digestive tract active and moving, which means that toxins do not sit in the lower intestine longer than they should. Scientists believe that incorporating flax seeds and flax seed oil into the diet may minimize a person’s risk of developing colon cancer.”

“The lignans found in flax seeds are also referred to as phytoestrogens. These lignans bind to estrogen receptors in the body and therefore may help reduce hormonally induced cancers such as breast, ovarian, prostate, and uterine cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research has stated that flax seeds contain “75-800 times more lignans than that of 66 other plants.””

“The high fiber, Omega 3, and lignans in flax seeds are natural defense mechanisms against high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Thus, taking just a quarter cup of ground flax seeds each day may help you decrease the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, while maintaining or increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood.”

“In addition, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in high amounts in flax seeds can substantially reduce insulin resistance in people with diabetes. This is important because when insulin levels are controlled, you do not feel the overwhelming urge to overeat or give in to cravings.”

“The Omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds are key to cleaning out the blood vessels in the body and supporting optimal joint health.”

How to add flaxseed to your diet? The best way would be to buy whole flaxseeds and to grind them in a coffee grinder once a week or so and store in a tight tupperware container. If you are very busy like me, then you can buy pre-ground flaxseed. However, once you open the package, you do need to store it in an airtight container and my understanding is that it only lasts a month or so. I don’t know what brand I buy because I already threw the box away when I transferred it to a container – but at my supermarket there was only one choice of ground flaxseed. Alternatively, you can also buy flaxseed oil at a healthfood store or vitamin store and again store it for short periods in your refridgerator. I personally don’t like the oil so I use the ground flaxseed. Ground flaxseed is slightly crunchy and nutty – the closest thing I can compare it to is adding ground wheatgerm although the ground flaxseed is a bit more coarse (at least the storebought kind).

How I use ground flaxseed:

  • Add 1 TBSP of ground flaxseed to my oatmeal (I met with a nutritionist who recommended that I put 2 TBSP in my oatmeal, but I personally found that while 1 TBSP was tolerable and didn’t affect the taste and texture of my oatmeal that much, 2 TBSP on the other hand was too grainy and made my oatmeal taste funny. By the way, I only eat old-fashioned oats (not the quick kind), and I’ll try to write about why oatmeal is so good for you in another post.
  • Add 1 TBSP of ground flaxseed to any sauce or dressing or sprinkling on top of a salad (I think adding to a dressing is better because sprinkling on top can result in ending up on the bottom of the salad and not in your body).

There is an article here that compares flaxseed to flaxseed oil and recommends flaxseed because it provides the added benefit of fiber. Always remember to grind the flaxseeds or buy ground flaxseeds, whole flaxseed will not be absorbed by your body and you won’t get the health benefits.

The interesting thing, however, is that I was unable to find specific studies that show the claimed benefits above. I believe, however, that flaxseed includes ingredients/nutrients that are shown in studies to provide the results, i.e. omega 3 studies, fiber, etc. I do believe that since this is a plantfood and it has the ingredients and I like it ground in my cereal that this is a very good way for me personally to get these nutrients. Let me know if you have any more information on flaxseed or other sources of Omega 3 and your personal experiences with it – like/dislike etc.

et cetera