Happy Birthday to Moi!

Since yesterday was my birthday…and since I did indeed lose 50 pounds by my 60th birthday (hence the name of this blog)…

I’ve decided the best present I could possibly give myself is…

NO WEIGH-IN TODAY YAYYYY!!!

fb happy.jpg

So, pass me another cuppa cofveve,
and hand me a slice of birthday cake,
’cause this is it — my special birthday!
It’s time for another diet break!**

Plenty of time in the next week to go back to the calorie counting and the exercise, right? At least, that’s the theory! We’ll see how that plays out next week, as I begin the next phase of my diet journey*: 30 More Pounds By (Orthodox) Christmas!

Who’s with me?

bueller
OK, that’s it! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! (Oh, and by the way, when I was a kid, my mom told me it was called “Labor Day” because it’s when I was born, and I believed her, so be sure & thank her for your nice long weekend!!)

(*I know, I hate that word too, but what are you gonna do, eh?) 

(**Inspired by “Truck Drivin’ Man,” written by Terry Fell & performed by many, many, many folks — here’s Buck Owens for ya! here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVgo6bgLw9Y)

Pre-Vacay Weigh!

Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday! Here’s my weigh-in —

188.2
oh-poo.jpg

Up just a tad from last week. Oh well, really, that’s OK! I’ve decided that for the next few weeks, I’m gonna temporarily shift my focus from losing to maintaining.

reagan.jpg

See, Mr. 50by60 and I going on yet another Vacay Train Trip starting this week, so I’m going to allow Amtrak to tempt me with all their delicious onboard menus, as well as enjoy the luxuries of the Hotel Continental Breakfast Bar. I’ll try to keep things in check but I’m not gonna try too hard — I mean, come on, it’s VAKAY!

downton eating

Anyway, my main goal right now is to maintain that 50-pound loss till my official 60th birthday, which happens to be right around Labor Day (my mother told me that’s why they named it that). After that, I’ll continue with Phase Three of the Big Giant 100-Pound Weight Loss. And I just KNOW I can do it!

carson side

(In case you’re new to the blog, Phase One was 2016-2017, when I lost 20 pounds; Phase Two was when I started this blog & then lost 50 pounds; Phase Three is from now till Christmas (with the option of a 12-day Orthodox Christmas extension) when I plan to lose the final 30 pounds. 20 plus 50 plus 30 equals 100. There ya go, a little math for ya, and no Barbie meme to spoil things.

math hard cat.jpg

Harumph! Anyway, this is the LAST WEIGH-IN for two weeks, since they don’t provide bathroom scales on Amtrak or our hotel, and we’re not packin’ ’em, either. I’ll try to post from the road (er, the rails) at some point, but meanwhile, hope YOU have a nice vacay planned! If not, at least try to take a long lunch, sit outside with some iced tea or something, and enjoy the last dregs of summer!

staycation.jpg

 

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!

195.6
scales
little kicks.jpg

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 …
amph.jpg

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?

compt.png

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:

26 new.jpg

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!

2019 new.jpg

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!

biggest loser.jpg

 

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:

196.6
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.

rhoda

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!
    simpsons

    “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!
    barbie

  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?
    stooges

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!

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: Post-Hike edition!

Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday!

149bi1

Yes, it’s time once again for me to entertain you with the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, wherein all those years of judiciously studying the classic poetic works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Walt Whitman, and Edgar A. Guest finally pay off! Ready? Here we go!

210
scales
pen2
pen1

Lookin’ good (and if you’ve never seen that “Kids in the Hall” sketch, “My Pen,” well, here you go, and you can thank me later)!

As for the “hike” part of the title, yesterday my husband and I did a nice walk slash hike in the foothills of Chatsworth, California — not very long, but enough to remind me that (a) I do really like hiking and (b) it might be time to shop for some sturdier shoes, ’cause I was slippin’ and slidin’ on the rocks along the path at one point. But still, it was fun! Here are a couple of photos:

0114181415.jpg

Looking down at Chatsworth Park South, where there used to be a pond, way back in the 20th century, long long ago, etc.

me park.jpg

C’est moi!! In all my hiking glory! Note the comfy but slightly slippery Merrell Mary Janes on my tooties.

So it was a fun day. And every time I do one of these “big walks,” I say that the NEXT day I’m going to “rest” (i.e., not walk), but this morning I’m planning to walk up to the library, not a big walk but still not resting either.

You know what? Once you get started on doing an exercise you really enjoy, you’ll find yourself WANTING to do it, and looking for excuses! So don’t worry so much about which exercise burns more calories than others. The one you enjoy is the one that’s going to burn off the most calories, ’cause you’re gonna do it more often!

sense1

Weekly Weigh-In, plus Diet Wisdom from Martin Luther!

First things first:

219.7
Weight loss heaven!scales

Wow – I’m in my teens again!!! Can I start texting and making snide remarks about everything? Oh wait, I already do that.
nvm

Anyway, this past Saturday, I was driving aimlessly around the Valley (San Fernando, in case you’ve heard of another), listening to AM radio (on Saturdays, it’s mostly food shows and tax advice), and getting hungrier and hungrier.

I stopped at the Quickie Mart to get some cash out of the ATM, and gazed longingly at the crappy-yet-fascinating hot food: hamburgers, pizza, hot wings and mmmm hot dogs!
ohmy
Suddenly … I was jonesin’ for a chili dog! I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my fondness for the many-times-aforementioned Canadian sitcom “Corner Gas,” in which chili dogs often serve as major plot points, or at least props.
brentlacey

My “Diet Brain” took note of my longing, and immediately started yelling at me:

“You can’t eat a chili dog! Do you know how many calories are in those? You’ll wreck your diet and gain back every single pound you’ve lost! Don’t be a schmuck!”

Then my stomach retaliated by sending long, groaning complaints up and down the alimentary canal, taunting Diet Brain with unquenchable longings.

Then – a miracle happened! Diet Brain and Stomach Brain were both interrupted by the voice of the great Protestant reformer, Martin Luther!
martinluther1

I know, right??

Now, I should just break in here and point out a couple of things:

1) I’m a Catholic, so Martin Luther isn’t usually a huge source of inspiration for me.

2) This isn’t a religious blog, and it’s not suddenly going to morph into one.

However, at that moment, I DISTINCTLY heard good ol’ Martin’s voice in my head, loud and clear, saying what he’s often purported to have said at least once: “If you’re gonna sin – sin boldly!”

martinluther2

And I thought, “Martin, ol’ boy, you’re right! If I’m gonna go wild on the calories, I’m not gonna settle for a grungy convenience store chili dog! I’m gonna get the best one I can possibly find, and really ENJOY it!”

So, long story short, I wound up buying a chili dog at a place called The Munch Box, in Chatsworth, California – an actual historical landmark!
munchbox

And I ordered me a chili dog. And that was the BEST dang chili dog I’ve ever had in my entire life! (At least, the best one I can remember. I’m almost 60, so my memory isn’t what it used to be.)

So here’s how I’d rephrase Martin’s purported* theological wisdom. If you’re going to defy your “Diet Brain,” don’t be a wimp about it. If you really want something, and you can’t stop thinking about it, then by golly gumdrops, don’t just settle for one of Apu’s rejects!
apu weiner

No sir (or ma’am)! Get the BEST possible version of it you can!

So just for today – listen to Martin Luther! Don’t just sneakily grab a few extra calories here, a few extra grams of fat there. If a chili dog is the panacea you need, then a chili dog is what you should have!

Thanks, Martin!

The First Temptation of Me!

It’s a thorny question amongst diet gurus: do you completely avoid fast food, or just try to keep it in moderation?

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s no easy answer. And today, I had my first (but not last, I’m sure!) major food temptation since starting this calorie counting stuff.

See, there’s this wonderful oil change place wayyyyy out in Eagle Rock, California (45 minutes from my home, on a good day), who’s been doing my oil changes for about – wow, 20 years now, I guess. (They’re REALLY good, and no, I’m not telling you who they are, ’cause they’re MINE ALL MINE!)

Anyway, I only go there about once every 5,000 miles, or 6 months, whichever comes first. And last time I went there, I hadn’t started doing this calorie counting stuff.

But today – well, let’s just say that while I was sitting there, waiting for them to finish my oil change, I started thinking about … fried chicken.

drumstick

And not just ANY fried chicken – but the best fried chicken in the known universe:

church's

See, I used to go to Church’s ALL THE TIME when I lived in Altadena, many, many years ago. This particular location, in fact. And it was always sooo good – juicy, crunchy, mmm mmm. (And no, this isn’t an ad for Church’s Fried Chicken – I’ve had the same issues with KFC and Popeye’s. Just not recently, and definitely not today!)

Anyway, I sat there thinking about it – and thinking about it – and when my car was ready, and I got in, somehow the car TOOK OVER and insisted on driving into Pasadena, to that Church’s, and FORCED me to buy their Thursday 3-piece chicken special for $2.99! It was horrible, I tells ya!

Heh heh. Okay – of course, the car didn’t “force” me to do anything (other than shell out $35 for the oil change). And of course, I was in complete control at all time.

But the thing is, since I’m counting calories, I knew it was up to me. I have 1,500 calories per day to “spend” on whatever I want. So far, I’d used 300 calories on breakfast. So if I wanted to give in to my “food nostalgia,” and spend up to 800 calories on a gooey, juicy, crunchy fried chicken lunch, that was up to me.

Fortunately, there were a couple of mitigating factors, which I hadn’t been aware of the last time (times!) I’d been here:

  1. Church’s has calorie information right on their menus now (and on Google too), so I could get a better idea of exactly how many calories I was getting.
  2. Even if they didn’t, lots of folks at MyFitnessPal.com and other calorie counting apps have put that information out, even providing calories per drumstick, thigh, wing, etc.
  3. A very sensible person named Shannon Sorrels, whose book, “Then Just Stay Fat,” inspired me to do what I’m doing now, points out that just because you *buy* the food doesn’t mean you have to *eat* all of it. It’s OK to throw it away. What a concept, right? Throwing away food – almost sounds sinful!

    But she’s right – and after looking up the calorie info on the three pieces I’d bought, I kept the two drumsticks (which totaled about 300 calories) and tossed the big giant (yummy looking) breast without a second thought. (OK, without a third thought!!)

  4. And finally – there’s always EXERCISE! Even though I was reasonably sure I’d kept the calories down to a manageable level, I stopped on the way home at beautiful Griffith Park, and worked off about 100 calories on a leisurely stroll through Travel Town.

travel

So, it all worked out OK. But let me tell you, if that’s a preview of the kind of temptations I’m going to be dealing with, I’m either going to have to develop WAY better willpower – or find an oil change place closer to home!

blog-68-copy

Kate Curtis, “Clues to Life” (https://cluestolife.wordpress.com/)

 

Finally, some specifics!!

Heh … was just rereading my last two posts, and noticed I’d PROMISED, at the end of each one, that I’d delve into the specifics of my plan in the VERY NEXT POST!

Well, wait no more! A pleasure deferred is a pleasure increased, so this post should thrill you to your very marrow!

Here’s the plan (such as it is – I’m still working things out):

  1. I’m using MyFitnessPal to count my calories.
    • It’s definitely NOT perfect (I’ve had to turn off all the social media notifications, because they drive me nuts), but it’s easy to use, and it gives me a good ballpark idea of where I am.
  2. I’m exercising.
    • I’d been doing that, off and on, anyway — but THIS time, I’m not following up every walk or gym session with a visit to KFC or Popeye’s, just because “I earned it!”
  3. Speaking of which, I DO still go to fast food places from time to time. However, I make sure to check the calorie counts first, and make sure they fit in with my daily allowance.
    • For example: last week, I treated myself to one — just one! — piece of KFC Original Recipe chicken — a big, greasy breast, mmm!! — which clocked in at around 320 calories (and I rounded it up to 400 in the calorie counter, just to be safe!) Which sounds like a lot, and it is. But it’s WAY better than when I used to get the Two-Piece Breast and Wing with Mashed Potatoes and Macaroni & Cheese meal, several times a week — doncha think?)
  4. Finally, I’m NOT ditching the “No-S” plan completely.
    • See — it occurred to me that a lot of us treat our diets like religions: there’s only ONE that’s right, and we can never deviate from it or else!
    • But ya know what? I think it’s a great idea to have more than one diet you can use. They should be somewhat compatible, of course — it makes no sense to go from “all carbs” one day to “no carbs” the next, for example.
    • contrasting diets
    • So my “backup” diets are all some variation of calorie counting. The thing about No-S that’s great is, if you’re only having one plate of food at each meal, and only three meals per day, you can just divide your daily calorie allowance by three, and have some really nice meals. My husband is still doing No-S so I try to keep the meals at @500 calories, which gives me an outlet for cooking creatively!
  1. Finally — and this is the most important bullet point of all: DO NOT GET DISTRACTED/DISCOURAGED by diet/fitness advice/articles on the Internet!
    • I can’t stress this point enough. It’s SOOOO easy to find voices on the Net to tell you anything and everything you want to hear. “Dieting is BAD!” “Counting calories is passe!” “You need MORE fat!” etc., etc.
    • All of which may or may not be true, for some people, in other contexts. But for me, with my life experiences*, I know what works for me.

So there ya go — my multi-pronged War On Fat 2017-2018! Stick around, and I’ll let you know how things are working out!

diet

And just for some accountability, here are my starting stats:

As of today, I’m 5 foot 2, and weigh 240.2 pounds**.

(*code word for “I’M OLD DAGNABBIT!!”)

(**and since I’ve already started the diet, I’m pleased to report this is already 3 pounds lost in the past two weeks! Yay for moi!)