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!!!

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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
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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.

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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!

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(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.

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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!

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Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: Slow ‘n steady!

Whee! Here we go with yet another weekly weigh-in, and I don’t know about you but the tension ’round here is palpable!

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So I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Ready? Here goes:

187.6

Not too shabby! Almost a pound down from last week, and that’s just fine — more than fine, in fact.

Don’t know if I’ve expounded on this before (get it? I’m a dieter — ex-pounding — anybody?)…

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Um, anyway, IMHO, slow weight loss is really the way to go if you want to keep it off for the long haul!

First, the longer it takes you to lose the weight, the more likely you are to develop better eating and exercise habits which will help you maintain your loss.

Second, the less weight you’re aiming to lose per week, the more calories you can allow yourself per day. And in this long, hot summer of 2018, that means:

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Heck, they’re only 40 calories each and they sure are good! (And in case you’re wondering, I don’t get free Fudgsicles for mentioning them in my blog, but I’m 100% open to the possibility of delicious, icy cold bribery!)

Anyway — ahem! Back to the slow weight loss thingy! Another thing that’s nice about taking your sweet time to drop the fat is that it gives your body more time to adjust. If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, you’re gonna have a little bit of the “loose skin” problem no matter what, but the slower you go the less drastic it’s gonna look.

And eventually, if you stick to it, either the skin will tighten up, or science will finally find a way to convert those arm flaps to wings, and you can save on transportation costs. Either way, win-win!

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That’s all I got, folks! Have a great week, and I’ll see you Friday (or thereabouts)!

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 —

hamster

Weight Loss Plateau!

mr bill

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 —

broke

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!

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!”

sprinkles

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!

195.6
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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:

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!

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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: 5 ways to make calorie counting slightly easier

Howdy there, friends and neighborinos! If you’re counting your calories every day, perhaps you occasionally (like EVERY DAY) look for ideas to make the whole process a little easier. Here are a few ideas I came up with, all of which I’ve done (or at least imagined doing):

  1. Easiest: Just count ’em manually, using an app like MyFitnessPal or just jotting everything down on a piece of paper. I used to use MFP but then I decided to become an elderly hipster and got a flip phone. Yeah … it’s cool, man …
    independent_telephone_company_ad_seattle_1905
    BUT it ain’t got no apps! So, pen and paper it is. Which is actually super-easy. Just write the number of calories you’re allowing yourself for the day at the top of the page, and subtract as you use them.
  2. For Those Who Love To Plan: Divide your total daily calorie allowance by the number of meals and snacks you plan to have. This works best for people who are stuck in a food rut and know exactly what they’re going to eat all day, every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! However, if you tend towards the more spontaneous life, you may prefer to stick with #1.
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    (Seriously, this isn’t a bad strategy at all. In fact, when my husband and I first started dieting two years ago, we used a version of this called the “No S Diet,” which is basically three meals a day, no snacks, which pretty much ensures you’ll stick to your calorie allowance for the day. Give it a look – it might be just what you’re looking for!)
  3. For Those With Money: Pay someone to count everything for you. Hey, a lot of people do it. In fact, it’s big business — Jenny Craig, Medifast, etc. Heck, you can even get all your food delivered to your house in controlled portions so you don’t even have to read the labels for yourself. Wowza! Just make sure they know you’re trying to LOSE, not GAIN, the weight!
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    By Baker Art Gallery – Library of Congress Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8273366
  4. Call Them Something Else, like POINTS! Similar to #3, but involves a highly complicated formula that only a publicly traded company like Weight Watchers can decipher. The nice thing is they give you lots of “free” foods, which ensures you won’t lose weight too quickly (or at all), because there ARE no foods completely free of calories. (Sshhh – don’t tell! It’s proprietary!)
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  5. Hike The Appalachian Trail: This is the only one of the above I haven’t tried … yet! But I read a lot of books about it, and from what I understand, long-distance thru-hiking burns a TON of calories – so much so that hikers are notorious for their ravenous appetites. Of course, once you’re done with the hike, and you go back to your normal way of eating, you’ll have to start all over. But hey, there are lots of trails all over the world, so go for it!

OK – that’s it! Sorry this was late, but I’ll be back Monday, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, with what I HOPE will be “Milestone Monday At Last!” We’ll see … I still have to get through those church donuts …

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(unused WordPress Prompt of the Day: glimmer)

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in — Post-Holiday Edition!

Well, good morning, friends and neighbors! Don’t forget your booties, ’cause it’s COLD out there!
cold otu there

Anyway, let’s get to what you’ve been waiting for – the moment when I face the music and weigh in, following a holiday week of unbridled foodly exuberance! Ready? Here goes:

216.8
Wow … um … that’s actually great!!
scales

Not to mention completely unexpected. Especially when you consider that for the past four days, my conversation has consisted primarily of:

“Oh, all right, I’ll have some pie.”
“Sure, I’ll finish off that pumpkin pie.”
“Is that apple pie?”
“Oh, no, the alternator needs to be repaired? Rats. Well, let’s go sit in that diner while we wait. Maybe they’ll have some pie.”

pie

BUT — even though I definitely had more pie than originally planned, and even though I gave myself permission not to write down my calories on those days — guess what? In the back of my mind, I was still keeping a running total.

And even though I went past the daily calorie goal set for me by MyFitnessPal (1460), I didn’t go *much* past it. No giant bags of Doritos or boxes of Cheez-Its for the road trip out/back. (“We’ll get a box! That way we can make it last the whole trip!“)
cheezit

No “make your own waffles” plus two bowls of cereal plus a couple of those delicious chocolate muffins from the La Quinta’s continental breakfast room every morning.
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No, even though it wasn’t intentional, I kinda switched back to the good ol’ reliable “No S Diet” for the past four days. That’s where you only eat 3 meals a day, one plate per meal, and no snacks.
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“Hey, wait a minute!” I can hear you screaming, all the way from the other side of the screen. “Pie’s a snack! You cheated! You cheating cheater!! Unfollow!!!”

Calm down, pal. It’s OK. Want some ice? There, there. You’re quite right. Pie isn’t a snack. However, if you put it on your plate, along with the rest of your meal — guess what? It’s no longer a snack — it’s a vital part of your healthy meal!!
'Pumpkin pie isn't dessert. It's another vegetable.'

Well, technically, I think even the nice folks at the “No S” forums (a great place to get nutritional advice, btw) would argue, convincingly, that pie IS kinda sorta a snack-like food. Still, technically, if I had it on my plate and it filled up the plate … well, that’s the sort of argument that could go on for months, if not years.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my GIANT POST-HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS to throw in those pie-haters’ faces! Nyah nyah!! I ate pie and lost weight! How did YOU do, with your celery and your salad greens and your … your KALE??
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Whew! Sorry about that! Lost my temper there, for a moment. Nothing wrong with salad greens and kale! Celery is another matter — everyone knows celery is the Devil’s walking stick (and to get that all-important “pingback” in, two celery stalks could be the Devil’s knitting needles, I guess)  — but hey, if you like it, well, we’ll just agree to disagree.
devil

Anyway … hey, I lost weight over the holidays!! But I’ll tell you a secret — if I’d gained, it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit. Given the fact that we just spent four days in a row experiencing the joys of family togetherness and bliss, I’m amazed that I didn’t gain back every pound I’ve lost since last year.
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But now we’re home, and things can get back to (semi)normal. For a while, anyway. I understand there’s another holiday on the horizon.
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So — how about you? How’d YOU do over the long Thanksgiving weekend? Tell me, tell me —

What did you eat?
What did you do?
Where did you go?
What did you chew?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Time for the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in!, and Don’t Let The Numbers Get You Down!

“Aha!” I bet you’re thinking. “Based on that provocative title, I bet she’s got a weight GAIN to report this week!”

Well, let’s find out, shall we? Here we go:

218.6
Get the brownie mix!
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Down 0.4 pounds, baby! Although — let me tell you a li’l story.

This morning, I got up at about 5:45 a.m. to let the cats out. (Yes, we let our cats go out. They come back. They sleep for the rest of the day. Don’t hate me.) I held the door open for them for about five minutes, as I shivered in the subzero Arctic temperatures (46° F, brr!!), till they finally sauntered out.

On the way back to my warm warm bed, I stepped on the digital scales and weighed myself, for the first time.

212.5
Man alive!

Needless to say, I was stoked! Almost 7 pounds lost since last week? What a killer blog I was gonna have today! The late, great Huell Howser would arise from the sludge of his eternal resting place (Palm Springs, I believe), to proclaim my awesomeness!

huell

But guess what? After lying in bed for about an hour, dreaming of my frabjillious weight loss, I finally got up (the cats again — this time, they wanted FOOD, ferkryinoutlowd), and weighed myself again.

And guess what? I’d gained back 6 of those magical 7 pounds!! All in the space of a little more than an hour!

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So — if you’re one of those people who lives and dies by the numbers on the scale, maybe you need to rethink your philosophy of life, the universe, and weight loss. Those numbers can drive you nuts, if you think too much about them. Numbers suck, really.

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And I for one am thrilled that I’ve lost as much weight as I have already. If anyone who tells you “calories don’t count,” you have my permission to punish them, severely!

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Have a super-awesome week, everyone, and a happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Friday Five: 4 Food Ideas for your Hotel Fridge, and One to Avoid

Hey, everyone – this’ll be my first Friday Five written entirely on my smartphone, with my travel-weary thumbs, so yay for me! I assume you’ll forgive the occasional, inevitable tpyo.

Anyhoo, if you do any travelling, and you’re counting calories, you might want to stock up on these. Each has less than 100 calories, and are really good for when you don’t feel like putting $5 worth of change in the hotel vending machine for some salty chips that have 400 calories per bag and aren’t good for you anyway.

1. Buddig Deli Slices – prepackaged turkey, beef, ham, or chicken. 9 slices per package, 90 calories per bag. Sure, they’re frowned on by health & wellness gurus, but since I’m not one of those, who cares?

2. String cheese. Lots of different brands to choose from here, some better than others. My personal fave is Frigos Light CheeseHeads. They’re only 50 calories each, and they’re super stringy, which makes them load of fun to nosh on while reading a good book by the pool.

3. Next in line is good ol’ reliable Yoplait Light Yogurt. There are lots of good flavors to choose from, and grocery stores often give great discounts if you buy in bulk. My personal fave flavors are Cherry, Vanilla, and Key Lime, mmm! Nice for breakfast in the room when you don’t feel like trudging down to the flimsy hotel continental breakfast.

4. Diet soda. Oh yeah, it’s bad for you. Pure poison. Dieters beware, am I right? Well, tough turkeys. I know I’m going to want some at some point, and again, why pay extra at the vending machine which doesn’t even work half the time? Buy your own and savor the illicit fizz.

5. Here’s one thing I DON’T recommend you stock up on, or at least don’t buy more than one: frozen dinners, like this:

Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice to keep a few on hand just in case you don’t feel like leaving the room at all? (Because who doesn’t love staying in hotel rooms for days on end, right?) Here’s the problem: where do you PUT ’em? Check out the fridge in my room:

Notice anything missing? Yeah, that’s right: no freezer compartment. And the thing is, I’ve stayed at this particular hotel about a thousand million times over the last 20 years, and you just can’t predict whether a fridge will have a freezer or not. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It’s the luck of the draw.

And even when they do, it’s just that tiny little shelfie thing that you can’t fit more than one  frozen dinner into, and don’t even think about trying to shove any ice cream in there too. 

Let’s face it: Hotel fridges kinda suck. So take my advice, and stick to the little refrigerator-type snacks. They’ll keep better, and they’re better for you.

And the whole experience will just make you that much happier to get home, so it’s all good.

How about you? What are some of your favorite – or not-so-favorite – road foods?

(And today’s unused pingback is: Orange!)