February 22, 2014

Week 5: New Hampshire Whoopie Pies and Self Sabotage

Photo by Flickr Artist F_A (CC)
This week I got tripped up by 2 things.

The first thing was my wife's best friend in New Hampshire mailed us a care package of goodies.  This included a bunch of her home made Whoopie Pies.  Now in case someone is unfamiliar with these concoctions I included a picture to the right. There is a fascinating history of the Whoopie Pie over on Wikipedia.  All I know for sure is that I hunted down and consumed 2 of these bad boys.

The whoopie pies in and of themselves wouldn't be that bad, but as fate would have it I accidentally sabotaged myself this week.  When shopping I came across some low fat no sugar added ice cream sandwiches.  I thought I could sub these in for the 1 point Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Fudge Lites that I had at work the week before.  Unfortunately the ice cream sandwiches were 4 points each.  The good news is I only bought a 6 pack and not a 12 pack.  Still those 4 point wonders were at work and the only way to remove the temptation was to eat them.

When all was said and done I weighed-in this week at 267.2 lbs for a weight loss of .8 lbs, giving me a running weight loss of 13 lbs.  Bottom line, even with the unforced errors I was still able to drop my total a little this week.  I don't know about you, but I'm going to call that a win.

February 15, 2014

Week 4: Sweet & Salty

This was a good week.  I'm still experimenting with items at work to keep me from snacking.  This week in addition to last weeks list I added:
  • Pimento stuffed olives - 1 serving 5 olives - 1 point
  • Blue Bunny - No Sugar Added Sweet Freedom Fudge Lites - 1 Bar - 1 point
  • Utz Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets - 10 pretzels - 2 points
These items satisfy my sweet and salt desires and keep me out of the junk that fills my work space.

At home my wife made some great dishes and figuring out proper portion size was a little bit of a challenge.  But I did my best and thoroughly enjoyed her cooking.

Additionally I added some new things to help me manage at home. 
  • Egg, Hard Boiled - 1 egg - 2 points
  • Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt - 5.3 oz. - 3 points
  • Apples - 0 points
  • Bananas - 0 points
  • Tangelos - 0 points
  • Salads - 0 points
  • Milk, skim - 2 points per cup
These items are easy go-to items that help keep me on track with decent nutrition.
It is still early on, but so far I have been achieving my small goals such as sticking to recording everything in my food journal via my Android app.  Week 4 is complete and definitely a success.  My weight loss this week was 2 lbs. for a running total of 12.2 lbs lost.

February 8, 2014

Week 3: Have a plan & death to Shortbread

This week went well enough.  I have been experimenting with items to keep me out of the honor bar at work.  If you recall less than 10 feet from my desk is a small book shelf packed with tons of cheap goodies.  All I have to do is stand up and drop some money in the honesty pig and it is all mine.  To prevent my down fall I have been ensuring that I have items on hand to eat during my 12 hour shift.

This week I have placed in the freezer at work various Healthy Choice items to try.  This is what I have on hand this week to combat the honor bar.
  • Apples - 0 points
  • Bananas - 0 points
  • Tangelos - 0 points
  • Yoplait Light Blackberry Pomegranate yogurt - 2 points
  • Snyder Pretzel Rods - 1 point each rod
  • Healthy Choice - Cafe Steamers Ravioli And Chicken Marinara - 6 points
  • Healthy Choice - Cafe Steamers Pineapple Chicken - 8 points
  • Healthy Choice Chicken Enchilada Bake - 8 points
  • Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken and Potatoes - 4 points
  • Milk, skim - 2 points per cup
You can see that Weight Watchers is planting the seeds of clean eating by putting zero points on all fruits and vegetables except corn, peas, potatoes, avocados, and olives.  At least I think that represents their position.  Choosing from this list instead of grabbing a bag of chips or a Snickers bar is definitely a step in the right direction.

At home though there is an entirely different set of problems.  First off my wife is an excellent cook so when she makes Spaghetti with hot Italian sausages or Meatloaf with mash potatoes I have to do 3 things.
  1. I have to be honest with myself about exactly how many points make up these dishes.
  2. I have to understand exactly the portion size allotted for any given point value.
  3. Stick to the portion size I identified in step 2.
As long as I am honest with myself, do a fair job determining the points per serving and do not gorge myself then I can thoroughly enjoy my wife's cooking.

Finally there was one box of Girl Scout cookies staring at me all week.  And it never blinked.  I did though.  I put the cookies to the test and this time there was no transfat (nor any Partially Hydrogenated oils).  The saturated fat and sugar were about 40% of the Thin Mints from last week.  The results were 3 points four 4 cookies.

I had 20 of them.

Live and learn, acknowledge your short comings, pick yourself back up and move on.  There are always going to be bumps in the road but as long as you manage the bumps and look forward, placing yourself back on the proper path, you should be fine.

It becomes a giant issue when you slip up and decide that it is no use that this week you failed so you may as well throw the food journal aside and treat yourself to a binge.  After-all we can always start again next week.  Starting again next week is how many of us got to the point where we are currently.  How many times have you said, I'll start on Monday?

Twenty Shortbread cookies, no big deal.  I listed them in my journal acknowledged that it wasn't the best food choice and choose to eat healthier the next day.

This is the end of Week 3 and I lost 2.6 lbs. for a total to date of 10.2 lbs.  This means that I have hit my first goal of 10 lbs.  Now I just have to do this 9 more times.
Woohoo! 1st 10lb Goal Completed!

February 1, 2014

Week 2: Girl Scouts versus the Food Journal

Well the end of week 2.  There have been many things that have tempted me this week and yes I gave in to a few, but more on that later.  I said last week that I would be talking about how I plan on losing weight.  Let's get started.

Keep a food Journal. Seems simple enough but so many folks over look the obvious.  This one little item is critical to changing your old habits and creating new habits.

You can use a notebook a scrap of paper or if you have a smartphone use any of a zillion available apps.  The important thing is that whatever you choose to use is convenient to you.  If it isn't convenient it will be easy to dismiss the idea entirely.

Additionally there are web sites that you can log onto to track all of your food. My Fitness Pal is one that comes to mind.  The only problem with web sites is the the old adage “out of sight out of mind."  So if you choose to use a web site carry around a small notebook so you can track items as you consume them.  If you don't log the items at the time of consumption it will be that much harder later in the evening when you go to log your items on the site.  The odds are strong that you will forget items and fail to make the most out of the online tool you chose to use.  Shortly you'll wonder why you aren't losing weight and your food journal may not help if it isn't accurate.

Personally I chose to use the Ultimate Food Value Diary Plus app on my Android tablet.  This app is available for both Android and IOS platforms.  This app seems to be based on the current version of Weight Watchers Points Plus system and during setup allows you to choose from the USA, UK or Australia versions of this system.

Years ago when I experimented with Weight Watchers Online the point system was different so I am going to have to do more research to fully understand this system.

The App is easy enough, simply enter your info and it tells you how many points per day you are allotted. When I played with this app a few months back I found the total points allowed per day to be too many so when I set up the app I chose to check the boost option which automatically drops your allotted points.  To start off I am allowed 43 points a day with an additional 49 points allotted for the week in case the mood strikes me.  As I lose weight my daily number of points will be slowly reduced since I will no longer require the same minimum calories to survive.

The app has many features to help you track your food including the ability to scan the barcode and enter your item quickly.  I also take advantage of the ability to add Favorites, this keeps those items I eat regularly on hand for quick entry.  For more details on this app read the info on their site.
Image from CollegeHumor.com

My second week of using my food journal, attempting to lose weight and what should appear magically in the house?  You guessed it, the enemy of every person trying to lose weight.  Girl Scout cookies.  By the way did I mention that my wife is currently not trying to bring her weight back in line with historical standards.  Who am I kidding even if she was attempting to lose weight too buying cookies from our neighbors little girls is the neighborly thing to do.

The good news is I logged every single cookie in my food journal.  Over the week the grand total was 22 Thin Mints, 12 Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, and 5 Caramel deLites.  Fortunately I only drink skim milk because there was a lot of milk to go with those cookies.

As I pointed out I do have a lot of points to play with because I'm still a large guy although I managed to only use 10 of the extra 49 points I was allotted for the week.  The nice app I am using allowed me to scan the barcode and easily add and account for the points from the Girl Scout cookies.  Looking back on the week the app has ONE huge drawback.  Since I simply scanned in the barcode I didn't have to manually enter the Fat, Protein, Carbohydrates or Fiber which means I didn't have to look at the Nutrition Facts label.

Still what did I miss.  It couldn't have been too bad, could it?  Well if I had actually taken the time to read the label of the Thin Mints this is what I would have seen.  So what was the damage from the 22 Thin Mints?
  • Saturated Fat - 27.5g
  • Sodium - 687.5mg
  • Carbohydrates - 121g
  • Sugar - 55g
  • Protein - 5.5g
Roughly the same amount of saturated fat as found in 4 tablespoons of butter with almost 14 teaspoons of sugar.  To top it off the other 66g of carbohydrates that weren't sugar were processed flour and essentially would have metabolized as easily as the sugar.

Are there any pluses in all of this?  Well the label does say Transfat 0g, but if it was 0.49g or lower per serving they would have qualified to list it as 0g.  From looking at the list of ingredients I know there were transfats because they are right there in plain sight.  Ok not in plain sight because they are listed by a different name, in this case the key phrase under Vegetable oil is "Partially Hydrogenated." The bottom line is that I may have consumed approximately 5g of transfats on top of everything else that I listed.

Maybe next year I'll choose differently.

Even with all of that junk I weighed in 4.4lbs lower this week.  At 7.6lbs lost I am only 2.4lbs away from my initial goal of losing 10lbs.  On to Week 3.