Monday, January 31, 2011

Emotional Eating

Emotions can really have an effect on the human body. It is said that 75% of over eating in Americans is caused by emotional eating. One common misconception though is that all emotional eating is caused my bad emotions and this simply isn't true. How many of you eat birthday cake?

The important thing is to try and think about how you are feeling when you reach for the fridge handle. I try and ask myself am I really hungry? When did I eat last? This has stopped me from over eating on numerous occasions.

There's several things you can do to try and avoid emotional eating:

1. Food Journal. I know I have mentioned this before, but even if you only keep track for a week or two this can tell you a lot. Try writing down how you felt before you ate, what you ate, and how hungry you were.

2. Think before you eat, ask yourself those questions. Am I hungry or just bored, sad, depressed, or even happy.

3. Find healthy outlets for your emotions. Make a list of things you could do instead of eat, and next time you think you are hungry try one of the things on your list. If you are still hungry afterwards, have a small snack.

4. Find a support group or therapy. No one likes to admit when they think they have a problem but there wouldn't be support groups out there if they weren't needed. Overeaters Anonymous has local chapters around the country.

5. Remove temptation. Try and stock your pantry or kitchen with healthy choices so that when you do find yourself eating it's something healthier.

6. Don't deprive yourself. Allow yourself that treat after dinner or whenever, but try and find a healthier version or just have a smaller portion.

7. Don't diet. Make changes to your everyday life. Don't think of this as something you can stop doing once you get down to the size you want. This is a life long commitment.

Remember emotional eating is something everyone struggles with. Trying to lose weight can be hard and if you get depressed every time you eat a brownie, you are just going to turn around and eat more. Pat yourself on the back for the little things you do accomplish every day and try and let go of the crap so to speak.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Portion Control Tips

We've all heard the portion control and serving size, but what do they really mean. Here's an easy break down, a portion is the amount you serve yourself, and a serving size is the amount of food that the nutritional facts are based on.

Example: Make your self a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich and that's the portion, however, it has 2 servings of bread, 1-2 servings of bacon, 1 servings of vegetables and if you add mayo there is anywhere from 1-2 servings of your fats and oils for the day. A lot of snack sized packs still contain 2-3 servings per container. This can be very misleading if you don't read the nutritional facts and labels.

Many people get these portion and serving size confused. Even more people are poorly informed on what a serving size is for most items. One serving of hard cheese is about the size of 3-4 dice. A muffin should be about the size of a hockey puck, not the size of a large man's fist.
WebMd's Portion Sized Plate is an on-line tool that offers great visual comparisons to help you understand and better control your portion and serving sizes. Portion Size Plate allows you to pick from the main food groups and shows you what a portion of each item should look like next to an everyday household items such as light bulbs, check books and poker chips.

Educating yourself about what you are putting in your body is a very important first step towards a healthier and fitter you. Here's some tips and suggestions I gathered on how to help control your portion size:

1.Read the Nutritional Label on products. Get an idea on what a serving size is for the foods you consume on a regular basis and compare them to the portions you have been serving yourself.

2.Don't eat from the container. Look at the Nutritional facts and put a servings worth in a bowl. This will keep you from reaching back in to the bag and eating more then you intended.

3.Drink a large glass of water before dinner. This will help you feel fuller and you will eat less.

4.Try eating small snacks through out the day as opposed to large meals. This will help keep your energy from peaking and crashing through out that day. I try to keep my snacks between 100-300 calories.

5.Switch to smaller plates, bowls and cups. This will keep you from putting more on your plate then you should eat, it will also seem more visually appealing as the little plate will looker fuller with less food on it.

6.Snack packs can be helpful as long as you read the label. I suggest buying large or bulk sizes and portion out servings in to Ziplock bags. I love this tip. I am much more likely to keep eating out of a bag till it's gone, but would I go back and eat all 10 Ziplock bags full? I doubt it!

7.Consider splitting dessert at restaurants. Also another way to cut calories when eating out is to split an entrée or order an appetizer instead.

8.Don't super size your meal. You can cut 300 calories out of your meal by getting a small fry instead of the large. Ordering the small soda saves 150 calories.

9.Halve the amount of condiments you use or use healthier toppings. Just one tablespoon of mayo has a whopping 90 calories, all of them from fat! That's 15% of your fat right there. A serving of Dijon mustard is a mere 5 calories, and none from fat.

10.Eat slower. You will feel like you are eating more food then you are. It takes up to twenty minutes AFTER you stop eating. Wait a half an hour, then if you are still hungry eat a small second helping.

11.Beverages can rack up the calories. Sodas and alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates, and we know carbs just break down into more sugar. One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to cut out these drinks. Drink water, or diet drinks if you want to cut some of the sugar and calories out.

12.Start your dinner with a healthy salad. This helps you fill up faster on more good foods and eat less of the heavier dinner courses. Just be cautious what you add to your salad. Do you remember how much a serving size of cheese is? One way I cut calories from my salads is using Wishbone salad spritzers. Each spray contains only one calorie so you can have a flavorful salad with out covering it in a fattening dressing.

13.Meat as a side dish. I'll admit this tip is new to me, but I like the idea. Many Americans center their meal around the meat portion of the meal making it much larger then it needs to be. Considering meet as a side dish may help lead to consuming less meat and hopefully, replace it with more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

14.Order the kids meal. This is a great idea for two reasons: First the portions are much smaller and secondly, the meals are much cheaper. I know several people that order the kids meal for both these reasons.
15.When eating out, ask for a to go container and put half your food in the box immediately. Save the other half of your meal for lunch tomorrow. Most restaurants serve portions that are 2-3 times the serving size recommended.

Keep this list of suggestions in mind the next time you grab that snack from the cupboard, or serve dinner to the family. Even just implementing one or two of these ideas in your life could save you countless calories.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goodbye Coffee!

There's been numerous studies done on the effects of coffee and caffeine on the human body. A lot of those studies ask the question what impact does coffee and or caffeine have when one tried to lose weight. So I spent several hours reading about studies, both positive and negative.

Most of the studies and articles I read suggested that coffee may help short term with weight loss , however it is NOT effective long term and can be damaging to your health.

A few of the reasons why:

  • Coffee is hard on your body. It can negatively affect numerous systems including: the digestive tract, adrenal glands, kidneys, liver, cardiovascular functions and causes your body to pump out extra insulin to combat the affects of the coffee.

  • Coffee stops your body's natural cleansing process. It is also a diuretic. Coffee actually keeps your body from flushing out the bad stuff and makes you flush out the good stuff you need like potassium.

  • Coffee beans are naturally high in oils that lead to higher cholesterol levels. Now add the sugar and cream that most people add and you can imagine it only gets worse.

I'm no doctor, and none of what is written in this blog should be considered medical advice, please consult your physician for that, but I read a lot and there may be some positive effects from drinking coffee, but do they outweigh the risks?

After having done this research I granted myself one last coffee today. So farewell, my good friend. This self proclaimed Java Junkie is calling it quits!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mmm Subway Sandwiches

So last night the significant other and I went out to grab dinner since grandma was going to have dinner with the kids before they came home. We recently bought a sheet of Subway Sandwiches coupons from a local fund raiser. The majority of our coupons are buy a foot long meal and get a free foot long sandwich, which works out great for the two of us.

I ordered my favorite: Roasted chicken breast. Yum! Since I am trying to eat healthier, I ordered my roasted chicken breast sandwich on Subway's 9 grain wheat bread. Toppings included American cheese ( I love it, I can't help it.), lettuce, onions, green bell peppers, spinach and one pass of Subway's Chipotle Southwestern Sauce.

Since the meal included a drink and bag of chips, I had a Lipton Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea and a bag of SunChips. When I came home and tallied my calories using Subways Nutritional information (provided on their website), I was pleased with what I saw.

For this 6” Subway Sandwich with my toppings was: 440 calories. 160 from fat, 18g fat, 4.5g saturated fats, 45mg of cholesterol, 1160mg sodium, 47g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, and 25g of protein. Link

Usually, when I go somewhere to eat and then come home and check out the nutritional information, I am shocked and a bit disappointed. Not last night, I ate and I ate well. Next time I will order it with out the Chipotle Southwestern Sauce, (it alone accounted for 100 calories and 10 grams of fat) and just add some Dijon mustard when I get home, as it's only 5 calories per serving.

So, Hats Off! to Subway for providing an easy, healthy fast food choice, and if you're listening Subway please bring back the Asiago Caeser sauce!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Right Tools

When I talked to my doctor about my weight, I asked her "What do you suggest for weight loss?" I realized this was a question I had never asked a doctor. What my doctor said was no surprise, "Eat a healthy diet and exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week." The same old thing we've been hearing all along right?

Then she kept going! She suggested I keep a food journal, utilize calorie counters, support programs, and try and get more exercise in everyday life if I can't afford a gym membership. She also pointed me in the direction of the MyPyramid which is the governments website on "Steps towards a healthier you."

So, here I was, for years throwing my hands up in the air, thinking I don't know how to lose weight. Well guess what? There's tools for that. The right tools for the right job. A carpenter needs a hammer, and I need a calorie counter! I checked out several different websites googling the phrase calorie counter and found that there's several to choose from.

My favorite is My Calorie Counter by Everyday Health, it has so many different features, tools, and calculators for tracking all kinds of things, not just your calories! My Calorie Counters' food journal lets you start off by entering your weight and height, from there you can set your target weight goal, and the date you'd like to complete it in. You can track these and your measurements in a nice graph as you go along.

Inputting your caloric intake for the day is very easy. Select which meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack etc.) and click the add food button. You'll be prompted to search foods, select recently added foods, search favorites, or create you own custom foods where you can enter the data from the nutritional facts yourself.

The food journal tallies all calories you enter into a field in the bottom of the page, and tells you when you are over or under in calories, fat, carbs, sodium, cholesterol and more. It will also deduct any calories burned for the day that you enter in to the exercise log at the bottom of the page.

LinkMy Calorie Counter offers many more features than the food journal. In addition to their community peer support system, they also offer you a place to blog about your progress, share photos or comments with others if you choose. They also offer calorie management tips, recipes, a meal planner, shopping list generator, BMR and BMI calculators and even a glucose trackers for those who are diabetic.

Now I will admit that I don't use my calorie tracker daily. I set my daily limits to 1500-1800 calories a day and started entering foods for the first week with out making any changes to my diet. This was a very BIG eye opener, and honestly this was game changer for me. I learned a lot about what and how much I eat. Now I keep these guidelines I set for myself in mind when I read labels. I keep a mental tally of how many calories I eat. Once a week though I will generally log in, track my calories for the day and see how I'm doing.

Another great website I found was Calorie King, they offer a vast database of nutritional information on tons of different foods. I have bookmarked their website so I can easily look up foods easily.Link
Well I hope these tools can help someone else out there. Counting calories is not fun and can be a little time consuming, but I guarantee it will provide you with important information about your diet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wii Fit Plus + Balance Board for the Nintendo Wii

So I mentioned that I got a Wii Fit Plus for Christmas this year and I'd like to talk a little bit more about that. I LOVE my Wii Fit Plus. I have never been very big on working out, and I'm a bit of a couch potato in the evening hours after the kids go to bed. I have found though, that the Wii Fit Plus is easy to use and fun. I have been using it 2-3 times a week for at least 20 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour, and boy do you work up a sweat!

There's 5 main segments to the game: training plus, yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. Each segment offers numerous activities, or you can enter the My Wii Fit Plus area where you can create and/or combine exercise to customize your workout.

The Wii Fit body test not only weighs you and tells you where your center of balance lies, but it will give you your Body Mass Index or BMI. The program lets you set a weight loss goal and the time you'd like to complete it in. You get a stamp everyday on your calendar that you perform a body test and a graph to show your progress. You'll earn coins for every minute of exercise you do in a day, this will unlock new exercises as you go along. It also has a calorie counter that lets you know how many calories you burned per exercise or for your whole workout.

Another really cool feature is the lock function you can add to your Mii character in the Wii Fit game, your 4 digit pin allows you to hide your weight and stats from prying eyes. For those of you unfamiliar with the Wii gaming system the Mii is the character you create to represent yourself as a player.

I highly recommend buying the Wii Fit Plus system for the Wii, it's just amazing. I'd like to get the "Step It Up Wii Fit Aerobics Step Platform" which sits under your Wii Fit Balance Board to bring it to the standard aerobics height of 4". This version includes a drawer for organizing your Wii accessories. Anything that can help me lose more weight and stay organized is a winner in my book! Maybe I can get the significant other to get it for me when my birthday rolls around here in 2 months :)

My weight loss plan

I'm a woman in my late 20's whose been overweight since I was 10. Not just a little chunky but out right fat. This past year I found out that my cholesterol level is 200, for those of you who don't know that's the very first number in the BAD level. This scared me to be honest.

So, for the last few months I have been trying to eat better, read nutrition facts, and try to incorporate more exercise. I have yet to have my cholesterol levels re-checked, but I plan on waiting a few months till my birthday to get re-checked.

However, I am now exercising. I got the Wii Fit Plus for Christmas this year from the significant other. I've had it for a month, and while I had a bit of a shaky start, I am proud to say that for the first time in my life I am working out at least 2-3 times a week for at least 20 minutes to an hour.

I have big goals for my human transformation, but health is my main goal. I'd like to lower my cholesterol, improve my muscle strength and coordination. I'd also like to lose about 80 pounds. It's a lot, but I've given myself a nice roomy goal of Christmas of 2011, to obtain it.

This blog is basically going to be my weight loss plan and journal, and maybe help offer suggestions that will help others in their human transformation.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a physician, nor do I have any medical training. The information contained in this blog should not be in any way considered medical advice. PLEASE consult your physician before beginning any kind of diet or workout plan.