Waiting for a lift from Plateau Point!

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Happy Monday, everyone! Well, as you can see from today’s weigh-in…

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scales
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…I’m still hanging out at Plateau Point, waiting for the “whoosh!” effect to kick me off.

What’s the “whoosh!” effect, you ask? Well, see, during the past few days, I consulted with reputable nutritionists and did in-depth research at a medical library Googled “weight loss plateau” and found this fascinating theory:

whoosh

The basic theory: as you lose fat, the fat cells don’t just disappear — they fill up with water, which hangs around for a little while before “whooshing” on its merry way.

Which seems like as good an explanation as any for why I’m currently stuck in the ’90s.

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Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing — I loved the ’90s! In fact, it’s the decade I’d love to revisit first when/if they ever get that time travel machine perfected.

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But for now, I guess I’ll just have to be content here in good ol’ 2018! Meanwhile, I’m just gonna continue doing what I’ve been doing — countin’ my calories, goin’ to the gym, and enjoyin’ life in the good ol’ days of 2018!

Hope you have a great week, everyone — see you Friday!

First “Post-Diet-Break” Weigh-In!

OK, ready for this? Let’s go!

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scales
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So, up exactly one pound from last week. Not too bad! Honestly, I was expecting worse. I did my best to follow through on my pledge to take a diet break, indulging in things like NON-diet soda, like classic Moxie:

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farm-fresh eggs fried in REAL BUTTER:

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and my all-time favorite breakfast, country-fried steak in gravy:

So all things considered, one pound up ain’t too shabby!

And I know it’s only temporary. Follower tidingsofcomfortandjoy said it very well in her comment on Friday’s post:

I was eating at maintenance calories for awhile, but felt my control over what I was eating slipping a bit, so I went back to eating at a calorie deficit.

Yeah, I’m almost at that point! It’s kinda tricky, once you get into the “diet all the time” mindset, to let yourself take any kind of a break, isn’t it? Almost like you have to reprogram your brain or something!

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Yeah, I know how you feel, but a little cofveve should help. See you Friday, everyone — have a great week!

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block print by artnoose (https://flic.kr/p/V3sw1B)

Summer Vacation? Diet Break!

Well, it’s summertime, and for those of you who’ve been watching my blog (all 2 of you – hi!), I seem to have entered the dreaded —

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Weight Loss Plateau!

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So while I’m not ready to do anything drastic, like change the diet completely which would be kinda silly, ’cause it’s WORKING, and you know what they say —

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Oh! Well, I guess that’s true, Dwight! But still, what I’m thinking of isn’t so much changing the diet, as just taking a TEMPORARY break from it.

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Now, the idea of taking a “diet break” is nothing new. It’s recommended in an AWFUL lot of diet plans (both sensible and whacko). The idea is, as Lyle MacDonald at Body Recomposition puts it:

…Say that you are someone who is extremely overweight, perhaps you have 50-100 pound of weight to lose (or more).  Going by the standard recommendations of 1-2 pounds per week, that means that you are realistically looking at 25-50 weeks of dieting.

…What if, instead of facing that huge mountain, you knew that you only had to go say, 10-12 weeks of dieting before getting a break for 2 weeks where you could eat relatively ‘normally’ (note: this does NOT mean returning to your old horrible eating habits) before starting the next phase of active weight loss?

Suddenly, that might seem a whole hell of a lot more doable.

Jay at AWorkoutRoutine also recommends the diet breaks in his self-published book, “Superior Fat Loss” (which may seem a bit pricey, to us cheapskates, BUT it’s really a great resource, chock-full of strategies, techniques, and tips — and WAY better than 99.99% of all the other diet books you’ve already wasted way more $$ on, IMHO, so there!) as well as on his blog:

Instead of going months and months in a consistent caloric deficit, use refeeds and/or diet breaks to periodically pause your deficit and go back up to your maintenance level (or a small surplus) to help minimize the amount of water retention that occurs and get rid of whatever water weight you’re already holding

And of course, the entire concept of the “No S Diet” involves taking regular “diet breaks,” if only on certain days:

There are just three rules and one exception:

  • No Snacks
  • No Sweets
  • No Seconds

Except (sometimes) on days that start with “S”

So I’m giving it some thought. Please note, though: as I understand it, taking a diet break does NOT mean just dumping all my nice, new healthy eating habits and eating all the junk food that got me to the point where I had to go on this diet in the first place!

 

No, no, there’d be at least a minimum schoche of planning involved! Basically, what I’d do is add about 500 calories per day to the level I’ve been losing at, to bring me up to maintenance level.

I don’t know if I have the guts to do this for TWO weeks, but I’m gonna try it for at least ONE week (from today through next Friday) and see how I feel by then. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

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Awww, come on, Snowdrop, not in just one week!! I don’t THINK that could happen … but we’ll find out!! So I’ll see you Monday for the post-first-three-days-of-diet-break weigh-in! Have a great weekend!

Friday 5: Day 5 … what a weigh to go!

Good morning,  everyone! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a beautiful weekend!

who's with me

Yeah baby!! But first, let’s get this stuff outta the way:

1. Day 5 of the 7-day weight averaging thing:

193.8
great

Wow — that was unexpected! Hey, remember how I started out on Monday at 198.0? That’s almost seven, count ’em 7, pounds lost in five days! Now you know and I know that could NOT be 7 pounds of fat. It’s definitely water — and tomorrow morning it could very well go up again. Which demonstrates that we really shouldn’t worry about these little (and sometimes not-so-little) fluctuations from day to day, or even week to week. As long as the LONG-TERM trend is downwards, you’re fine. (Jay at aworkoutroutine.com lists a whole bunch of reasons for these daily fluctuations here.)

2. Another day, another gym. Now that I’ve been a member at Anytime Fitness Chatsworth for more than 30 days, I’m allowed to visit gyms in other locations, so this past Wednesday I visited the one in Simi Valley (shoutout to Jasmine in the office!) It was actually pretty nice, although the video treadmills were set up a little differently: no YouTube app, so no Corner Gas, but a whole slew of DirecTV channels, so lots of sitcoms and game shows. It’s all good!

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Anytime Fitness Simi Valley

3. Eat something small to keep from eating something big. So yesterday I was doing a walk around my neighborhood, when I was suddenly seized with an almost irresistible desire to stop at the nearest KFC and savor as much of those 11 herbs ‘n spices as possible. Where that desire came from I have no idea. I thought I’d managed to kick the fried chicken habit, but ya know, these things come back to haunt you.

kfc evil

I confess — I actually walked to the door of the KFC down the street, ready to take the calorie hit. FORTUNATELY, it was 10:45 and they didn’t open till 11:00. So I went to the Starbucks next door, ordered an Americano with just a scosche of regular, full-fat half-and-half, and decided to indulge in one of their yummy 80-calorie string cheeses.

Half an hour later, after sitting at a table sipping my coffee and savoring the cheese, I walked out — with absolutely NO desire to revisit the KFC, even though it was wide open! Yes, the evil cravings were GONE!

So there you go — today’s Diet Wisdom:

If you’re struggling against a 1,000-calorie craving,
treat yourself to something yummy with 100 calories instead.

Worth a shot, right? Let me know how that works out for you.

4. Man, I’m having trouble coming up with a fourth thing. Tell you what, we’ll just agree that this counts as #4, and move on. Um, if that’s OK with you …

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Thanks, Napoleon!

5. On a more serious note, very saddened to read this morning that Anthony Bourdain apparently took his own life. Although I hadn’t watched very many episodes of his show, “Parts Unknown,” I did recently read his book, “Typhoid Mary,” the true story of an Irish immigrant cook who spread disease to dozens of people before she was found and jailed. What made the book really enjoyable is that he obviously felt a lot of sympathy for her, as one cook to another. It was a good book. He wrote quite a few books. It’s sad to hear he’s not going to write any more.

+Eternal memory, Mr. Bourdain

OK, that’s your Friday Five, more or less. Hope you have a great weekend — see you Monday!

Weekly Weigh-in: On Fluctuations and Freakouts!

(sigh) OK, let’s get right to it, shall we, ’cause this is one o’them “teachable moments” y’all’ve heard tell about. Ready? Let’s go!

Today’s Weight:  198.0
d'oh

And what was last week’s weight? Let’s see … oh yeah … 194.8. Which means since last week — a mere seven days — I’ve GAINED 3.2 pounds!

Oh no!! Could it be my diet is at fault??

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Er, no. While I have to admit I was tempted to have a minor freakout at the number on the scale this morning, I realized that it wasn’t really as bad as it might seem. Here’s my rationale:

  1. I’ve been sticking close to my basic daily calorie allowance every day. Sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower, but on average, I’m okay.
  2. I’ve been going out on long walks, not every day but every other day. And since the weather’s warmer, I’m drinking more water than usual.
  3. Ipso facto ergo sum: the extra weight’s probably water, hun! (I know that doesn’t quite rhyme, but gimme a break, I haven’t had my coffee yet!)

This may well be just one of those dreaded “weight loss plateaus,” where you’re doing EVERYTHING right, but the scale doesn’t seem to agree. If you haven’t already, really, you NEED to bookmark this great blog, aworkoutroutine.com/blog, which talks you through all this stuff:

Problem is, most dieters (and I include myself, the last few times I’ve tried this!) get panicky when the scales don’t change, and after a while, they decide, “Aw, I give up! This diet isn’t working! Exercise is for suckers!”

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And they head straight for the nearest KFC, order the Big Giant Fried Chicken O’Death (with Mac & Cheese AND Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, puhleese!), and go back to the way of life which led them TO the diet in the first place!

And guess what happens next? Yeah — you veteran dieters are nodding. We know this all too well, right? As Flora, a Weight Watchers leader, once put it (at one of the few meetings I actually sat all the way through), “All those pounds will come back, and this time they’ll bring their little friends!”

 

Hey, if it happened to Doctor Who, it can happen to anybody!

So, I REFUSE to freak out and make any radical changes to either my diet or my exercise plan. I *will*, however, make the following (re)commitments for the week ahead, and see if that makes any difference next Monday:

  1. Be more diligent about writing down my food calories. I’ve allowed myself to get a little lax in the past few weeks, sometimes just keeping a running total in my head. Writing everything down, even those 15-calorie Ricola cough drops, may seem overly nitpicky, but that way I can be closer to 100% sure I’m in compliance with my daily calorie allotment.
  2. Go to the gym at least twice this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, walking outdoors is more fun, exercising outdoors is more fun … I’m the one who always says that stuff, right? Still, going to the gym is good because you’re less likely to be distracted by interesting stuff along the trail (SQUIRREL!) and lose your exercise mojo. Plus, it’s gonna be super hot this week (yay!) so I’ll get to enjoy that sweet, sweet air conditioning.
  3. Weigh every day, check the averages. Again, from aworkoutroutine.com:

…if you weigh yourself every day and then take the AVERAGE at the end of the week (and base your decisions on THAT weekly number)… then you’ll have the most accurate figure you could possibly get. Doing it this way actually serves to eliminate the potential of daily weight fluctuations throwing things off. (from How Often Should You Weigh Yourself & When Is the Best Time?)

So — MAJOR BLOG FORMAT CHANGE! ALERT THE MEDIA!! — starting today, I’m going to post my morning weigh-in EVERY DAY!!

Wow — bet you didn’t see that coming! Guess what — neither did I! But ya know, it seems plausible, so I’m gonna try it for at least this coming week. (If it gets to be too much of a hassle, I’ll pretend I never said it, like people used to do in pre-Twitter times.)

Man, sounds like the week ahead is gonna be hard … I better get that coffee going! OK (deep breath) … see you TOMORROW then!

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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.

math hard

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!!
sprinkles

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!