THE FITBIT & EASY IS AS EASY DOES

I’m loving this thing! I admit, when they first came out I thought they were another pointless gimmicky gadget. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. In a matter of days I’ve fallen in love with a little device about the size of small watch that tells me everything from how long (and how well) I slept to how many steps and flights of stairs I’ve done for the day. It reminds me to move, it monitors my heart rate, and it’s a great little wondrous thing!

fitbit

I chose the CHARGE HR (pictured in purple above) which I consider the upper middle class of the available FitBit devices since it has five types “below” it and two “above” it when it comes to price and function. This device syncs up with Lose It (which is a major plus for me) and I find all of the associated apps and computer interfaces very user friendly.

Bottom line – Was it $149 dollars well spent?

I say yes. We live in a world where spending money on makeup, concert tickets, video games, happy hour, a sale at Macy’s and out to eat food is more acceptable than dropping some cash on something that helps you improve your health. Leaving something like this to be frowned upon, laughed at or both.stay well

The same people that were cool when I told them that I spent $300 on clothing last fall (because I had “outgrown” most of my wardrobe) blanched when I gave the price of this device… funny how that works. The same crowd that says they can’t afford a FitBit spend $40-$60 dollars a week on fast food that doesn’t even feed them all day.

Beware the saboteurs they live in every corner.

I say this because just as if you’d made a life change for the worst… like smoking crack, obsessive gambling or selling drugs your friends will alter and shift when you make a life change for the better as well. Change is change and not everybody is on board with that. By nature, most humans abhor change and rile against it. That’s one of the many reasons why making a positive change is so difficult, that and the fact that bad habits tend to be easier.

avoid tv foodsMicrowaving fish sticks and tater tots is infinitely more simple than chopping up veggies and roasting chicken.

But your easy will come. It will just come in a different form. It’ll become easier to show off those arms, it’ll be easier to find and wear a swimsuit, It’ll be easier to get fitted for a tux for that family members wedding, it’ll be easier to strut around in that cocktail dress, it’ll be easier to climb those stairs, it’ll be easier to keep up with that sporty friend that’s always hiking, biking, climbing, etc. (You know that one you’ve always secretly admired but never thought you could hang out much with… well now you can.) It’ll be easier to just exist.  Carrying extra weight is not the end all of end alls but it can make living life more difficult (airplane seats, roller-coaster rides, paying 2-3 extra dollars per shirt because of the larger size, pool parties, group photos…. the list goes on, but it ends at just the overall feeling of being uncomfortable in your own skin.)

Let’s all give positive change a chance so we can love the skin we’re in.

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What Does Work

Some information Taken from an article on BodyRock.tv

superfoods What  DOES  work for weight loss?

 Well, that is a bit of a complicated question, given that we are all different and enter our weight loss journeys from different starting points but there are a few things that tend to work across the board:

Portion control: Eating a healthy meal doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention to  how much you are eating. Invest in a food scale and be sure to measure your portions before serving. Once you get into this practice, you will be able to gauge what you are eating by sight, keeping your calorie intake under control. If you find it hard to get over the mental hurdle of smaller portions, try serving your meals on smaller plates, giving the illusion of more food and making it easier to feel satisfied.

Now I’m not much into weighing food on a scale but this makes a lot of sense. Just because you are eating grilled chicken and wholegrain pasta does not mean you can have three helpings. Yes, technically, you can but it’s not going to help you toward your goal. Don’t use healthy as a reason to gorge yourself.

Eat more fiber and protein: Fiber and protein are wonderful weight loss helpers. They fill you up quickly and both help you to stay feeling fuller, longer. They slow digestion which helps regulate your blood sugar levels, preventing the need/desire for those afternoon trips to the office vending machine.

This has been so very very true for me over the last two months and over 15 pounds lost. I took a lot of carbs out of my diet and replaced them with nutritionally dense sources of protein and fiber. (Think Black Beans, Broccoli, Lentils, Eggs, Salmon, Nuts and Brussels Sprouts) Also adding flaxseeds to your diet is a great thing as well. You can slip this tasteless additive into almost anything (sauces, stews, smoothies, etc.) and never know it… I do this to my family all the time. ^_^

Eat “real” food:  Try to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Refined and processed foods offer little in the way of nutritional value. Foods that are labelled as being “low-fat” or “low-calorie” are often loaded with added sugar and additives to make them taste better. Why should you put your body through all of that artificial stuff when you can get whole, fresh foods that taste even better? Stick to the outer aisles at the grocery store: that’s produce, meat and dairy.

I know fish sticks are yummy (I personally used to go in for ten at a time and I love them

Mrs Pauls

Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks

with mac and cheese) but from a nutritional standpoint they are absolute garbage! It’s just high calorie, high salt, breaded

progressolabel

Progresso Bread Crumbs… That’s a lot of ingredients for bread crumbs… and 2 kinds of sugar. 

junk with sugar… yes there is sugar in your fish sticks (most processed foods are full of it even when you don’t “taste” it. This isn’t to say you can never have fish sticks just don’t make them a diet staple… and don’t eat them 10 at a time. Your waistline and your arteries will thank you.

Walk This Way

01-walking-for-exercise-stroll-with-friendsHere are 4 excellent reasons to walk taken from an article on Tesco Living

Walking helps you lose weight

You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.

I have found this to be very true. Will walking cause you to lose weight like you’re on a fad diet? Absolutely not, (you won’t find “shed 20lbs in thirty days” here) but it can help you lose a healthy amount of weight in a reasonable time frame. I’ve found that number to be up to 2lbs a week if you just make an effort to put one foot in front of the other more than you sit on your duff.

Walking makes you happy

It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must.

Nothing like getting one’s blood moving to boost a mood. You want to up that feel good feeling? Take your walk outside or to a place that makes you happy. Lakes, parks, streams, wooded hikes can all serve as an excellent backdrop for a mood boost!

walk-for-health-infographic_5253ffc140db3_w1500

Walking boosts vitamin D

We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.

Did I mention getting outside just a moment ago? Yes, I think I did and here’s yet another reason to ditch the desk for breaks and the couch for an evening. Our bodies need sunlight, it’s free, so go soak up your share (use sunscreen when needed… that is sage advice).

Walking strengthens your heart

Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.  nice tush butt-exercise-change-everything

Almost everyone struggling with more than 25 extra pounds is suffering from something walking can help prevent or ease. Be it high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, achy joints (yeah those suckers can get achy from lack of use too) or all of the above. Just taking the time to walk more often can improve all of that and as an added bonus, it makes for a nice looking set of legs and a tight tush if you keep it up. ^_^

Calories, Carbs and Sugar OH MY!

Me 2I’ve never been a big supporter of calorie counting (who has time, right?) But that’s exactly what I’m doing at the moment. Tracking my food is making me aware of just how indiscriminately that I ate food at times regardless of their nutritional value. I think most of us have done this at some point then sat and wondered where the ten extra pounds came from on top of wondering where your get up and go has gone.

Some food assumptions I’ve made in the past were off base…. WAY OFF BASE. Never in my rose colored world would I have thought that 2 small little boneless nuggets of chicken would be more calorie, fat and carb dense than a slice of pizza. But it is… it is BIG TIME! From Pizza Hut they come in an order of 8 and each one is 130 calories so once you eat two you’re over the 220 calories a slice of pepperoni hand tossed pizza would have given you.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that an order of 8 boneless wings would be over a 1000 calories. I stand corrected. Now I know what I’m getting myself into when ordering those things (which I don’t think I’ll do for a very long time to come. They are good but I don’t think they are 1000 calories and 72g of fat worth of good). Especially at 11pm when I’m going to do nothing more than finish my Netflix movie and go to bed.

Pizza Hut One  Pizza Hut Two

But that’s just one example of many where I would have never guessed that something was as calorie, carb or sugar dense as it really is. (See my previous ranting post about the soft bread pretzel) So tracking my food on Lose It is making me more aware of just how much I’m consuming as well as the quality (or lack thereof) of the food I’m eating. Once you see it in front of you in black and white, just how fast you can hit and exceed 2000 calories in a day on top of little to no exercise you can understand where the weight has come from as well as why your fitness and energy level is in the toilet.

When one can of soda, two slices of pizza and a small bag of chips has you at almost 700 in one meal and walking for half an hour is only going to burn 110 calories of that you can go ….”Ohhhhhh that’s what’s happening to me… this is where I’m going wrong.”  Armed with that knowledge, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Tracking your food and exercise and liquids on top of becoming a label reader gives you to tools to make the changes that will take you where you want to be.

And where do you want to be? The answer to that is a personal thing that varies from person to person but off the couch is a damn fine start for all of us.

BEWARE THE SOFT BREAD PRETZEL

Me 2So April is off to a decent start with getting in shape and getting off my duff more. I’ve been tracking my steps and logging my exercise and calories with Lose It! I am a much bigger fan of this application than My Fitness Pal. Cheaper (if you go in for the premium $30 a year versus $50 a year) it has more features in the free and paid versions in comparison to My Fitness Pal plus a more user friendly interface equals win, win, win in my book.

Soft PretzelNow let me tell you about yesterday… BEWARE THE SOFT BREAD PRETZEL and MARGARITA MONDAYS.

I know that sounds silly but these two things were my downfall yesterday.

5:30pm comes around and I still have 1,100 calories left out of my 1722 allotted for the day. Feeling good and feeling spry, I decided to try this soft bread pretzel of uber tasty goodness one of my fellow foodie friends was raving about. In the car I go with the hubby and off to our local watering hole we drove. An order of these things consists of two pretzels roughly the size of my fist and a half cup of beer cheese.

Now the pretzel may have been an issue in and of itself at 388 caloriesfriday-the-13th-reboot-planned-for-2015-149618-a-1385536466-470-75 *ouch* but if the pretzel was a stalker then the drink was killer. *insert Friday the 13th music here* I tend to drink a vodka cranberry (clocks in about 175 calories) or beer or (About 145 calories) so this is where my mind was when the waitress told us about Margarita Monday… margarita mix is loaded with sugar… it was a bad d
ecision.

A Margarita breaks down like this – 10 oz Margarita – 550 Calories (4 oz. tequila, 4 oz. margarita/sour mix, 2 oz. triple sec, lime juice, 1 tsp. sugar) YIKES!!!

So between the Pretzel, the drink and the beer cheese (yeah that’s stuffs about 150 calories in 4 tablespoons) I was sunk. One hour long pit stop later and I had 147 calories left and hadn’t had dinner yet >.< Let’s just say dinner was really light and I took a 45 minute walk before bed and was still 200+ over.

Lessoned learned but it was a wakeup call. It also shed some light on my past eating habits. There was a time when I’d have went in for both of those pretzels and a couple of drinks without much thought… this explains a lot. It explains about 30 lbs ^_^

Food Quality and Gizmos and Gadgets

Me 2Eating healthy. We all know we need to do it, we all want to do it…. until it comes time to actually do it. LOL When it comes to fueling your body with healthy things there is no way around cooking and preparing your own food. At the end of the day, it’s just what you have to do whether you are battling the bulge (like yours truly) or if you have health issues like, high blood pressure (prepackaged and fast foods have a crap-ton of sodium), diabetes (good luck finding something that doesn’t taste like cardboard that’s not carb heavy or full of sugar).

It’s a horrible truth.

Most things packaged and prepared for you is robbing Peter to pay Paul. What I mean by this is: If they cut the calories, they dump in chemicals and salt. If they cut the salt they dump in sugar… you can’t win.

So… there is definitely a consensus among these organizations that we should aim for less than 1500 mg of sodium per day, and definitely not more than 2300 mg.

Let’s take the middle of the road and say no more than 1900mgs a day. (This number might need to be less if you have high blood pressure) If you eat pre-packaged food or fast food aimed at selling you on lower calories you might trip and fall face first into 1/3 or HALF of your daily sodium intake in a single meal.

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

Cool Wrap Boxes

I actually ate the Café Steamers for a long time and I couldn’t figure out why the weight stopped coming off. I looked at the label….really looked at it and saw the carb and sodium count and was like “Oh, that might be why.” Companies use the blue area in the photos above to sell their products to us and they hope and pray we won’t look past that to see the stuff outlined in red. 600mg and 40g of carbs for one “Healthy” Steamer. 900mg of sodium and 30g of carbs in one “lite and fit” cool chicken wrap. (Yes I’m picking on you little Miss Donna, don’t kill me *hugs* ^_^) This is somewhat false advertising in my opinion. To shove low calorie, high fiber information at people front and center all while failing to mention that it’s full of salt and carbs is a little shady.

Anywho… moving on to some solutions for this.

“To lose one pound a week you would have to put yourself in a 500-calorie deficit every day.”

One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, you need to tip your personal energy balance so you’re burning 3,500 more calories than you are eating.

The bottom line: You need to exercise and you need to eat better. To lose weight you are just going to have to suck it up, get moving and purchase fresh food and cook it.

The latter fact has several problems for those of us with a busy schedule. Cooking can be time consuming. I know I was constantly forgetting to thaw out whatever meat I wanted for dinner. Some of the things I wanted to have for lunch just weren’t conducive to having in the office… rinse and repeat. It was just so much easier to go out for lunch or to have a frozen meal…. but most things worth having are seldom easy.

right now                        easy 2

But I have found some gadgets that make cooking food quite a bit easier… and faster.

The Sharper Image Super Wave Halogen Oven! I’m sure you have seen the NuWave oven on infomercials. This is the same thing but instead of being 150 bucks I got it for $45. I love this device and it really does cook food from frozen to fabulous in next to no time at all. It also makes cooking almost anything (frozen or not) super quick and easy. It makes pork chops and fish “feel and taste” fried with 70696__36219_zoomnext to no oil and zero breading. Next to no oil means that I usually brush a little olive or ginger oil on whatever I’m cooking before I add the seasonings. (Yes, ginger oil is a thing and yes its “Asian” because Tena loves all things from the East.)

Oven CaptureA Halogen Oven is the epitome of set it and forget it. I can season the food, put it in the Halogen Oven, turn it on, and walk away. It cooks food evenly, all the way around so there is no flipping, basting, turning or stirring required. It’s not difficult to clean in my opinion, but you will have to take care with the lid. It houses the electrical parts so it cannot but submerged in water.

The other little gizmo I love is my egg steamer. It cooks up to seven eggs at a time and it’s as easy to operate as it come (add water then put on lid… lol simple) I had originally gotten this little gadget with the intention of taking it to work because I am not a fan of cold boiled eggs and there just isn’t a way to cook them in the office. The only reason I haven’t taken the steamer into work is due to the noise it makes. It’s dead quiet when it’s cooking but once it’s done it lets out a screech any fire alarm or smoke detector would be proud of… and there’s no way to make it NOT wail like a scalded banshee once it’s done. It has no on off switch which means it’s on as soon as you plug it in and the only way to turn it off is to unplug it.

This is not a problem at home when my time is my own, but at work I could see a project manager needing me as soon as I start cooking my egg and I can also see this thing wailing like a wounded Egg genie Redharpy as it sat unattended until I could get back to it… my coworkers reaction to this noise would not be pretty. It may have to live across the street in our break room. This would mean no eggs for breakfast, but it would open up the possibility of them chopped up in a salad during lunch ^_^.

The other gadget I adore is my little no name food processor I got from Big Lots for 10 dollars. It chops, dices and smashes things into tasty scoops of healthy yumminess.

Matt and I generally make our own hummus with it because hummus is a good thing but the price and salt content of some of the store brands – not so much. Making your own hummus is not only cheap and easy, it’s also kind of fun. We experiment with adding all kinds of spices and stuff to the chick peas to come up with various flavor combinations. I highly recommend adding cilantro and/or dill to your hummus. You won’t regret it. One of our hummus recipes can be found HERE.

There are a number of things that can be done to make cooking easier you just have to figure out what works best for you. Just don’t give up, give in and hop back on the fast food train. It may have taken you over a month to lose five pounds in a healthy way. It would be sad to make bad food choices and gain that weight back and lose that progress in less than 2 weeks. It’s not worth it.

Just remember – nothing tastes as good as being confident and healthy feels.

The Trade Off

Me 237lbs. I have lost 37 pounds… that’s the equivalent of a four year old child. So I’ve basically lost a person… it’s a small person, but I’ve lost one all the same. I think back on those weeks or months where I “only” lost a pound (or less) and how discouraging that felt and smile now. Losing weight is a lot like saving money. Two dollars feels like so little by itself and at the time, but if you make enough of those two dollar deposits in your savings account you eventually have a hundred.

The road to this result was an interesting one, many things had to change in my own headspace before results happened.

I had to give up being lazy.

This is not in regards to exercise either (we’ll get into that in another post) this is about food.Lazy garfield-fb-1358549977

Fish sticks out of the freezer, macaroni and cheese out of a box, green beans out of a can and biscuits from a tube are easy… it’s also almost complete garbage from a nutritional standpoint (thank the gods for those green beans right?)

I had to say, “Tena get off your duff, buy some lean protein, some whole grains, fresh produce and cook it. It won’t kill you… but continuing to eat like crap just might.”

potential-copy 2

I had to give up instant gratification.

I had the worst habit of whining about being overweight as I continued to stuff processed foods and out to eat crud in my face… man I’d love to lose ten pounds… grab me a loaded omelet biscuit from Hardee’s on your way in.  Boy I’m sick of being tired all the time… *pours second bowl of Honeycombs*.
Food is tasty. Bad food is REALLY tasty and it makes you “happy” for all of 20 minutes while you are stuffing your face. Bliss can be found in a in a Krispy crème donut with an iced mocha latte from Star-schmucks… but it’s a short lived bliss that will have you falling into a food coma at your desk within the hour.

I had to give up following the crowd.

I had to be willing to be the lone soldier. When everyone was piling in a car or two, to go consume Crowd controlmass quantities at a local fast food eatery for the second or third time in a work week and I let them go. When you do things like this you’ll get looks, snide remarks and a whole host of other things but it’ll be okay. If you think about it, lunch is almost forgotten the instant you return to work. How many times have you seriously thought about lunch after 3 o’clock? Or any meal for that matter, later in the day? You really don’t, so when you decide not to eat crap you only “miss it” for a few minutes and life goes on. Which means any feelings you might have about not getting the latest in greasy calorie laden goodness will disappear in short order.

People always say “wow you’ve given up a lot.” It may seem that way but it’s not a lot, and even if it was, it’s always a nice feeling and its hella productive to give up a bad habit.

All of my clothes are baggy on me, I can get back into several of my “cute” outfits and I have energy to live life, no more feeling like I have to sit and “rest” all day… it was a good trade off.now most