March 29, 2014

Week 10: Weight Watchers' Zero Point Foods & Healthy Low Cal Snacks

Early on in my current journey I explained that I was using an app to track my food which is based on Weight Watchers Points Plus system.  Since I have only ever used their online program (many years ago) and have never been to a meeting I thought I should investigate how their new system works.

I quickly picked up on the basics such as zero points foods.  These foods are designated as zero points in the Points Plus system.  Simply stated most all fruits and vegetables are zero points with the exception of avocados, olives, potatoes, corn and peas.   Yes bananas are zero points, but obviously if you go hog wild they could overtake the built in 5 servings they plan for in this program.  It would seem that their goal on the surface is to encourage eating healthier. My wife and I agree that providing these zero point foods is a good way not to make folks choose between nutritious whole foods and processed junk.

Not everyone is using a point system so just to emphasize my point here is a list I found online of 100 calorie snacks using whole foods.  Ok not exactly snacks because some are quite large, but this list will give you an idea of exactly how much more food you could be eating if you choose right.

100 Calorie Examples

1/4 of an avocado
1.75 cups apple slices
1 medium banana
1 cup grapes
2 cups berries
1.5 cups sliced peaches
1.25 cups orange sections
1.25 cups blueberries
2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup sliced pears
1.33 cup diced pineapple
1.5 cups raspberries
1 cup cherries
2 large kiwifruit
3 clementines
4 cups cherry tomatoes or 10 plum tomatoes or 3 large beefsteak tomatoes
1 medium baked sweet potato
1 small baked white potato
2 cups carrot strips or slices
12 cups torn lettuce
10 large broccoli spears
8 cups sliced cucumbers
5.5 cups sliced bell or sweet peppers
5 cups whole raw mushrooms
32 spears cooked asparagus
2.5 cups cooked green beans
80 snow or sugar snap pea pods
4.5 cups mixed vegetable salad (without dressing)
1/2 cup cooked grain/rice/pasta (most, bulgur is 3/4s cup)
1 jumbo hardboiled egg
20 large boiled or steamed shrimp
2 oz chicken breast meat (a little more than 2 oz)
2 oz sirloin steak (a little less than 2 oz)
0.75 cup plain fat free yogurt
3 cups air popped popcorn

I think you get my point.  Here are some links to 100 calorie snacks that may be easier than 12 cups of lettuce.

100-Calorie Snacks That Actually Satisfy Your Hunger 

88 Unexpected Snacks Under 100 Calories

18 Low-Calorie Snacks That Satisfy

Weigh-in: I lost 2 lbs this week for a running total of 22.4 lbs lost.  See you all next week.

March 22, 2014

Week 9: 20% of the way there

This week sees me breaking through my second ten pound goal.  To date I am down 20.4lbs.  This means I am 20.4% of my way to losing 100lbs.  Two 10lb losses down and 8 more left to go.

I know you are all wondering exactly what is the secret to my success, well I'll tell you.  I owe all of my success to staying out of the drive-thru window.  This week marks 2 months with-out once stopping for fast food.
At 280lbs I had to consume around 3000 calories a day to maintain or slightly grow my weight and a 2 cheeseburger meal (2 Cheeseburgers, Fries & Diet Coke) from McDonald's was part of that equation.  This wonderful meal clocked in between 800 and 1000 calories depending on whether I got a medium or large fries.  My only saving grace was that my caffeine addiction is sugar free in the form of diet coke or I would have tacked on another 280 calories to the meal.

So besides coming up with a plan to avoid the honor bar of snacks at work I had to ensure I ate dinner prior to heading off to work or that I had healthy alternatives waiting for me at work in the freezer.

That's my big secret thus far, don't eat junk.  This week I weighed in at 259.8 for a loss this week of 1.6lbs and a running total weight loss of 20.4lbs. See you again next week.

March 15, 2014

Week 8: Body Mass Index and Me

I set my initial weight loss goal of 180 lbs because it seemed to me that 100 lbs was a nice round number.  I also recall back in 1979 thinking to myself for the first (and last) time that I was starting to look fat, at the time I weighed 183 lbs.  As it goes 183 lbs is just within the normal weight range for my height as outlined by the Body Mass Index commonly referred to as the BMI.

BMI is a guideline on body fatness based on height and weight.  It is a fairly good guideline when dealing with large populations, but on occasion fails miserably when dealing with individuals.

Let me give you some examples where this guideline may fail.

1. If an extremely fit Body builder were to enter his numbers in a BMI calculator it is quite possible for this individual to come up with a BMI indicating that he is obese.  The algorithm does not account for the fact that this individual has a body fat percentage of 7% and has more muscle then is normally found on a person. The bottom line is that it may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.

2. If a 70 year old were to enter their data they may register as normal weight, but in fact be overweight because they no longer have the muscle mass they once did.  To say it differently BMI may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

3. Kids need a calculator aimed at kids and even then they all grow at their own pace so using a child BMI calculator to judge an individual child may be problematic.  Further info on BMI for children and teens.

BMI limitations aside setting an initial goal weight equal to a BMI around 25 is a good target for most folks.  After you reach that goal then you might want to fine tune your goal for a specific body fat percentage or fitness level.

The reason I am talking about this today is because every time I enter in my weight into my app it lists my BMI next to my inputted weight and then states in simple terms Obese Class II.  Well today when I entered in my weekly weight it changed to Obese Class I. I am celebrating that milestone and looking forward to hitting my next goal of losing my second ten pounds.

I estimate I'll have to get down to around 224 lbs before it stops referring to me as Obese and starts referring to me as simply overweight.  I can hardly wait.

So as you can see my current weight is 261.4 lbs making my weekly weight loss 2.2 lbs and my running total is now 18.8 lbs.  Talk to you all in another week.