Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-In, plus Slow & Steady Wins the Weight-Loss Race!

Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday to you and yours!

First of all, let’s celebrate – I THINK I’m back at my pre-vakay weight, yay! Let’s find out for sure, though. Ready? (deep breath) OK, here we go!

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Yeah, almost there – just a silly little millimeter away from where I was oh, those long, long weeks ago (three, to be precise). It’s headed in the right direction, so I’m happy!

And besides, that gives me a chance to say something I’ve been thinking about. Isn’t it discouraging when you’re measuring your weight loss in fractions of pounds, rather than big chunks? I mean, you watch those Fatty Fat McFat shows on cable, and see people losing hundreds of pounds from weight-loss surgery; you live for each new season of “The Biggest Loser;” you see happy people in ads claiming they lost 60 pounds in a month by switching to this diet or that supplement …
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and then YOU, who’ve been diligently tracking your calories and doing your daily walk, hop on the scale and … hmm … a half-pound since last week. Not quite so dramatic, right? Still, as I’ve frequently said, math is your friend.

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No, it’s really easy, Barbie! Trust me! Pull out your abacus, your handy-dandy solar-powered calculator, or even one of them new-fangled calculator apps, and punch in some numbers with me, ‘kay? Ready?

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Half a pound of weight lost in one week equals 0.5. There’s 52 weeks in a year. Therefore, 0.5 times 52 is … got it? Pencils down! The answer is:

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So even if you’re “only” losing half a pound a week, that’s 26 pounds DOWN in a year. That still may not sound like as much as you’d like to lose, but think about it – at 11:59 PM on December 31, 2018, wouldn’t you rather look back on a 26-pound LOSS than a 26-pound GAIN? I know I would!

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Also, this is just my personal theory, and I don’t know if it’s backed up by Science(tm). But I think the slower you lose the weight, the less likely you are to gain it all back when you reach your goal. You’ll have developed better eating and exercise habits, plus your body will have had more time to get used to the changes.

So even though you, as a dieter, may feel a bit awkward compared to all those “professionals” out there losing weight by the ton, you’re actually doing great! Hang in there, take your time, maintain that caloric deficit, and you WILL get there!

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Friday Five: 4 things I’m looking forward to, plus 1 yogurt recipe!

Well, good morning, one and all! You know, summer’s on its way, and although it may be a bit premature, here are a few things I’m really looking forward. Plus, a fun Chobani yogurt tweak! Ready? Here we go!

  1. Swimming pool! I know, I know, I keep yammering about the awesome pool at my 24 Hour Fitness. But c’mon, isn’t it gorgeous? I’m really looking forward to that first 100-degree-plus day I can dip my tootsies in that cool blue water (and blithely ignore all the grunting and tire flipping from the CrossFit area next door). Mmm, pool!
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  2. Train trip! My husband and I like to take train trips. (Well, he IS an engineer!) And this year is no exception. This August, we’re taking the Amtrak Coast Starlight up to Olympia, Washington, where we’ll meet lots of friends we haven’t seen for a while at a special event our church sponsors every year. I always love that moment when the train starts moving slowly, slowly, sloowwwllyyy* out of the station. (*well, it IS Amtrak, after all!)
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  3. Beach Walks! Once the weather starts warming up, I hop in my rusty but trusty ol’ 2005 Toyota and head down to the best beach in Southern California, with the most awesome parking you can imagine, with trails and bike paths and all sorts of places to get that outdoorsy, fun in the sun exercise we all crave so much. Yes, I’m heading to the fabulous Beacha del Incognito! (Heh — you didn’t really think I was gonna TELL you where it is, now did you?? It’s MINE!!)
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  4. Hittin’ the Gym — in Multiple Locations! Yeah, as I’ve yammered on about ad infinitum these past couple of weeks, I joined the fabulous Anytime Fitness Chatsworth. I’m very happy with it so far, especially the treadmills with video screens and the studios where I can work out in complete privacy, most of the time (except when some hapless newbie stumbles in by mistake looking for the restroom). Anyway, in a couple of weeks I’ll have hit my 30-day mark so I can visit some of the other locations! And you’ll get to hear about it! Aren’t you just thrilled?

     

  5. YOGURT TWEAK!! And now, as promised, here’s an idea I came up with totally on my own, which you may want to incorporate into your breakfast routine!

See, earlier this year, I became enamored with Chobani Yogurts, specifically their Vanilla Blended version. I still like the Yoplait Lights at 90 calories, but the Chobani’s only 20 calories more (you do the math, I still haven’t had my coffee), and has a more substantial feel to it.

Well, NOW they have a flavor called Vanilla Chocolate Chunk blended. Which, I mean … uh … chocolate AND vanilla? That’s almost overkill, dude!

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And it’s 170 calories, which isn’t TOO bad. About the same as an egg (70 calories) and a slice of bacon (90 calories), give or take a few. (Again, math / coffee.) But there are two problems with it: 1) it’s really hard to find, at least in my area, and 2) that is a bit higher in calories that I normally want in a yogurt.

Well, never fear – I’ve got your lower-calorie Vanilla Chocolate Chunk yogurt idea right here! Just get a little container of chocolate sprinkles at the grocery store (they’re in the baking aisle, with all the cake decorating stuff), and add a little to your plain or vanilla yogurt. Even if it’s not on the label, I looked it up: one teaspoon is 20 calories.

So, let’s say you start with unflavored yogurt, which is @ 70 or 80 calories. Add the sprinkles (20 calories) and a little vanilla extract, et voila! Your own Vanilla Chocolate Chunk yogurt, at or near 100 calories! Mmm!! You’re welcome!!
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So there ya go — your Friday Five with some yummy summertime ideas. I’ll be back Monday when I’m hoping all that extra vacation weight will be gone gone gone! Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Is weight gain on vacation inevitable? Not necessarily!

Good morning, everyone, and welcome! Time once again for the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and of course, this is the Post-Vakay Weigh-in, so there may be some issues to deal with! Ready? Here we go!

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Yeah … it’s a slight gain! Oh well…inevitable, right? Because I was on vacation for a week, and it’s perfectly normal to overeat, cut back on exercise, laze around by the pool, etc. etc. … right?

Wrong! Now, true, I DID do all those things. Here’s a list of the goodies I noshed on:

  1. Barbecued pork ribs with mac ‘n cheese on the side (mmm!)
  2. Homemade Thai sticky rice and mangos (thanks, Sri! And no, *I* didn’t think it was too salty at all!)
  3. Simply Organic Doritos White Cheddar
    and finally, the coup de grace:
  4. Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with Extra Whipped Cream

Mmmm!! They were all oh, so yummy, too!

And, in spite of my good resolutions (to use the hotel fitness center, to do exercise videos, to get up early and walk every day), I wound up not doing a whole of exercise at all, because, vakay, amIright?

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So because I ate those particular foods, and didn’t exercise, it was inevitable that I’d gain some weight…right?

WRONG, oh cromulent one! It’s NOT inevitable, and I didn’t have to gain ANY weight! In fact, I could have done all (or most) of those things, and LOST weight … if not for one little thing:

I DIDN’T TRACK MY DAILY CALORIES.

Yeah, that’s it. That was my one and only mistake. If I’d counted my calories, and made sure that I stayed in that magical caloric deficit (as explained so well over at AWorkoutRoutine), I’d probably be sitting here bragging about how I’m the only dieter in North America who went on vacation and LOST weight!

And I meant to! I usually write everything down in an app (like MyFitnessPal) or even just a piece of paper. But last week, I threw the paper away, unplugged the devices … and just like that, weight gain! So there you go.

However, I don’t want you to think I’m upset, or shocked, or even disappointed. The truth is, I kinda KNEW this would happen, and I was okay with it. See, I was on VACATION! I decided to let myself relax, for a period of one week, knowing there was a good chance I’d have a slight weight gain when I got home — and ALSO knowing that I’d jump right back on the horse when I got here.

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And I am! Today I’ve got my pen and paper, I’ve logged my breakfast calories, and now I’m heading for the gym for that sweet, sweet calorie offset.

That extra couple of pounds won’t be around too long. In fact — if you want to look at it from a totally weird, yet very Doctor Who-ish point of view — it’s the FAT that’s on vakay this week … at my place! And next Monday, we’ll have said our goodbyes and the fat’ll be on its way home! Yeah, that could totally happen.

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Doctor Who, “Partners in Crime,” Catherine Tate & David Tennant

Meanwhile, me and my new fat pals are heading to the gym! Have a great week, everyone, and remember: KEEP TRACKING THE FOOD!!

Finally Friday!

Hey everyone, I’m finally home from my travels! Sorry I didn’t do my regular “Friday Five” post today, but I didn’t have access to my fancy-schmancy computer while in the wilds of Arizona.

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No, I didn’t get lost in the Haunted Forest, but still, it was a long trip! Anyway, I’ll have my regular post on Monday, with my post-vacation weigh-in and everything.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, Road Trip edition, plus another (unpaid*) plug for Anytime Fitness!

Happy Monday, everyone! Hey, guess what? I’m getting ready to hit the road this morning for a technically unexplainable journey into the outer stratosphere!

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Well … okay, Arizona. Still, a road trip is a road trip, right, Dorothy? Anyway, before that, how’s about we hit the scales?

Ready? Here we go!

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Yippee-skip – not too shabby!

Anyway, as mentioned above, I’m about to hit the road (figuratively, please God!). Sadly, I won’t be able to visit one of the AZ locations of my new gym (Anytime Fitness in Chatsworth – hi guys!) while there, as my membership hasn’t hit the magic 30-day number yet. So I won’t be able to enjoy my treadmill walks/runs through the Grand Canyon, on the Pacific Coast Trail, through the wilds of Australia, or …

Wait, didn’t I tell you about that yet?

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Oh, sorry! OK, well, ‘member a couple of weeks ago, when I humble-bragged about how I’d joined a new gym (Anytime Fitness, hereinafter referred to as “Anytime” because I’m too lazy to write out the whole thing every single time) while still belonging to my old gym (24 Hour Fitness, hereinafter referred to as “24HrF” because again, lazy)?

Well, funny story! I joined Anytime because 24HrF no longer has any gyms in Arizona, and Anytime does. But (here’s the funny part) I can’t go there on this trip because I have to be a member for at least 30 days. And I ain’t.

Mind you, I’m NOT complaining! I already knew all this going in. I’m just sayin’, ya know … gosh golly gee willikers … I’ve come to really enjoy my twice/thrice visits to Anytime, so I’m really gonna miss it during the week ahead!

Besides the aforementioned videos on the machines (which, as I mentioned before, allow me to watch my beloved “Corner Gas”), they also have ANOTHER great feature for misanthropes and loners like myself: a studio where, if there aren’t any live classes going on, you can punch some buttons, shut the door, and have your very own private video workout!!!

Now I’ve done workout videos at home before, as I’m sure you have. My all-time fave, OF COURSE, is that beautiful soul, Richard Simmons (who, for those of you under 30, was basically the Huell Howser/Bob Ross of fitness)!

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Now, true, AF doesn’t have any Richard Simmons videos (whyyy noottt??). However, it DOES have something I don’t have in my living room: lots and lots of SPACE!!

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Yeah, that’s right, no more pushing the coffee table and the cats out of the way to move my bod! And there’s mats, weights, and stationary bikes inside – everything you need for whichever video you choose. I did a 15-minute cardio warm-up last Friday morning, then did 30 minutes on the treadmill — and this time NOT to a Corner Gas episode, but to a gorgeous walk on parts of the Pacific Coast Trail!

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By Bureau of Land Management – #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, May 15, BLM Part of Annual Pacific Crest Trail Kick-Off, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42087466

It was great! Not only did it feel good physically, it was just a heckuva lotta fun!

Now as I’ve said before, I’m STILL not ready to give up my venerable 24HrF membership … primarily because, once again:

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Yeah, once the temps start bumpin’ up over 100 every day, I’ll probably be rekindling that 24HrF love!

Even so, I still plan to go to Anytime at least twice a week. And at some point during the summer … perhaps as a reward WHEN (not if!) my weight goes below, let’s say 175 … I WILL be rewarding myself with a historic chili cheese dog at the historic Munch Box!

 

Meanwhile, I’m outta here! Enjoy your week, and I’ll see ya Friday!!

*(I’d settle for a lanyard!)

(Bonus unused Daily WordPress Prompt: flaunt!)

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Five ways to keep from gaining weight on that summer road trip!

Hey everyone — it’s that time of year! Everyone’s loading up the minivans and heading out onto the Great Open Road! But be careful — it’s way too easy to get all cramped up and sore in the car, when you’re strapped in and having nothing to do but watch the scenery. I get it — cows, man!

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Gary Larson, 1973

You really should try to move around when you can. Even if it’s a long way between rest areas, here are some great ways to stay flexible (and even burn a few calories), even on the longest road trip!

  1. Abdominal Contractions (in the car): Draw your belly button in toward your spine as you contract and hold your abdominals tight while you continue breathing. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, release, then repeat another one to two times. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises Designed for Long Trips)
  2. Calf and Toe Raises (in the car): Raise your heels as high as possible, putting your weight in the balls of your feet while contracting your calves, then rock back on your heels to stretch the shins. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set. Work towards completing three sets total. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises)
  3. Rock your oblique stomach muscles. Flex your lower and upper abdominal muscles and then raise your right hip as high as it will go. Hold for 3 seconds and then lower and repeat on the left side. Repeat 10 times on each side or until you feel muscle fatigue. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  4. Do isometric exercises. Imagine you need to flex every single muscle in your body. Begin by wiggling your toes and then flex each muscle 1 at a time for 3 seconds, until you reach your arms, neck and top of your head. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  5. Raise the roof: Sit tall, with your spine straight and your abdominals engaged. Extend both arms above your head and push your palms into the car ceiling. Hold for three seconds and release, bringing your arms back down to your sides. Repeat for one full minute. (Best Health Mag CA: The Best Workout for Road Trips)
  6. AND A BONUS TIP! Food: Of course, there are tons of convenience stores and fast food places along the road. I’ll do another post on those later, but for now, just remember that even in the wilderness of the junk food aisles, more and more places — even gas stations — have healthier options like string cheese, bananas, and even my beloved Buddig slices! Look around, you can always find *something* good. And when you can’t — well, just count the calories and do the best you can!
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And OF COURSE, whenever possible, get out of the car, st-r-e-t-ch, and WALK! You’ll burn some calories AND stay flexible, which is really important because if you’re like me and have arthritis, you’ll get all cramped up and sore in the car. That’s no way to spend a vacation from your problems, friends – that’s a way to invite MORE problems!

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Whatever you’re doing on YOUR vacation, enjoy it! See you Monday for one last weigh-in before the freeway!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: tide)

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and You Do the Math!

Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday! Let’s get right to it, shall we? First of all, the always astonishing Weekly Weigh-in:

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Do the Little Kicks!

Yay! I was a little worried, since I went on a chocolate bender Saturday. See, we were almost out of Trader Joe’s Mini Hold the Cones, so naturally I suddenly started craving CHOCOLATE!! which is weird, because chocolate has never been a major “trigger food” for me.

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Still, I’ve learned that when I start craving something, it’s best to get the healthiest, lowest calorie version of it I can, so I won’t go too far afield.

I went to my friendly neighborhood Albertsons and got some Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bars which, at 120 calories, are only about 30 calories more than the Mini Cones, and actually pretty yummy. Also did a little walk around the store (which may or may not have worked off that extra 30 calories), got my Monopoly game pieces (the clerk assured me someone else had JUST won $2 million, so I’m feelin’ lucky), went home, and enjoyed one big chocolate truffle bar.

And then … I enjoyed a SECOND one, to make sure I stifled that chocolate jones! Plus, my husband went to a birthday party at an accordion school (absolutely true!) and brought home a delicious cupcake topped with yummy frosting. Sorry I don’t have a photo of it for you, but it went into my digestive system pretty quickly.

So with all that sweet stuff, I was a bit worried. Still, as I’ve said before, the great thing about calorie counting is that if you really WANT the sweet stuff, you can have it — you just have to pay for it out of your calorie budget.

Let’s say you have a 1,500-calorie-a-day budget, and you’re craving a 1,000-calorie breakfast “slam” at your favorite high-calorie diner. Well, if you really want it, you can have it. But do yourself a favor: stop and DO THE MATH first. If you eat that 1,000-calorie breakfast, you’re only gonna have 500 calories left for the entire rest of the day. That’s 250 for lunch and 250 for supper. And that’s it! No room at all for snacks, bub.

Now maybe you’re sitting at that breakfast table, grinning from ear to ear, looking down at that huge, yummy plate o’ goodness, sure that this won’t be any problem at all, ’cause after this big breakfast, you “just can’t eat one more bite!” Trust me — from personal experience! — in a couple of hours, you WILL be hungry again. And now you’ve stretched your stomach out to the point where it’ll be demanding WAY more than 250 calories to fill it up again!

“But I LOVE eating a big breakfast!” you wail. “Why you so MEAN to meee??” Sshh, sshh, calm down. I’m not gonna leave you high and dry. Here ya go — my Big Three Big Breakfast Calorie Cutting ideas for today!

  1. SLASH ONE: This takes a LOT of self-discipline, but if you’re already in the diner, determined to get a taste of Bob And Denny’s Big Giant Combined Slam, go ahead and order it. BUT ask your friendly waitperson to bring you a doggy bag/box right away, along with the meal.

    Then, as soon as you get the meal, before you taste ONE BITE, take your fork and dump HALF that Plate O’ Buttery Goodness into that box. HALF, okay? That means if you got 4 sausages, you put TWO in the box. Four pieces of bacon? Two in the box. Four eggs? Two slices of French toast? You got it – HALF IN THE BOX.

    Then — and this is gonna be the hardest part of all: Excuse yourself from the table, take that box with you, go into the restroom, and THROW THAT BOX IN THE TRASH! That’s right — I’m advising you to THROW FOOD AWAY! Do it, pal!
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    “But … but wasting food! Sin! Evil! Starving people everywhere!” Yeah, yeah, cry me a river. Listen: you’re paying for that meal, whether you eat every bite or only one, right? That means you can do whatever you want with it, right? And you were about to shove the entire contents into your bulging tummy, right?

    So all I’m telling you to do is shove HALF of it into your tummy, and the other half where it would’ve wound up eventually anyway. And now you can eat the other half in peace, happy in the knowledge that you just slashed that giant 1,000-calorie breakfast into a more manageable 500-calorie chunk. You’re still getting the goodies you wanted. Your stomach will be satisfied. And you’ve got 1,000 calories left from the day, which is a LOT easier to divide into two meals and a snack or two.

    Right? Hey — it’s worth a shot. But still, if you just can’t bring yourself to throw away perfectly good food (and I’ll concede the food is good — it’s just not good for YOU, right now!), here’s another idea.

  2. Pick Two: Instead of ordering the Big! Giant! Huge! Breakfast! Slammerino!!, order a la carte. That’s French for “one thing at a time, pal.” What I mean is, instead of ordering the Breakfast Combo, which is usually bacon, eggs, French toast, regular toast, rivers of butter and jam (and don’t forget the salsa!), look around on the menu till you find the section usually labeled “Side Orders.”  Then order just TWO things. Maybe a couple of slices of bacon, and one egg. Maybe one piece of toast and two sausage links.

    Be picky and choo-choo-choosy. Just order the two things that are calling out to you most insistently from the Big Giant Stomach-Stretcher. You’ll still have a nice yummy breakfast, but again, WAY fewer calories than if you just ordered the combo. Also, if you’re just ordering one or two things, it’s easier to get an accurate calorie count. Trust me, math is hard — make it easy on yourself!
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  3. Spread Out! Listen, I get it … it’s morning! You’re hungry! Breakfast food rocks! Have some, by all means — just take it easy and don’t have it all at the same time! Spread the goodies out over a few days —  and they’ll taste just as good! Try this: Bacon for breakfast today … scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow … toast with butter and jam on Wednesday … sausage on Thursday … French toast on Friday. Mmm! Everything you were seriously considering having TODAY, in one high-calorie meal, but spread out over the week in manageable, lower-calorie chunks. It’s worth a shot, right?
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Well, there ya go, three calorie-cutting strategies, just off the top of my head, pre-coffee and everything! What do you think? Let me know if you decide to try any of ’em, and how they work out for you!

And now, to reward you for reading this extra-long post (and as suggested by Penny Wilson in the comments last week), here’s a “happy Monday” video for ya! Enjoy, and I’ll see you Friday!