Thursday, August 28, 2008

Did I ever tell you

how I cut down on chocolate??

I did my own aversion therapy experiment.

For a long, long time, I would CRAVE chocolate every afternoon. substituting that craving with something else never worked. I needed chocolate. I tried and tried to limit myself, but it wasn't working.

I finally curbed my daily cravings with very bitter dark chocolate.

You see, I am not a huge fan of very bitter dark chocolate. I can only handle a few bites.

I'm talking 85-90% cocoa, or cacao, depending on your language.

So I bought a bar, the one on the far right to be exact, and stuck it in my desk drawer. When I wanted chocolate, I took a nibble. A nibble was about 1/2 of one of the little rectangles that make up the bar, or less.

Well, that 1 bar of 85% cacao dark chocolate lasted about 3 1/2 weeks. 3 1/2 WEEKS!

That was not will power, that was pure bitter-faced disgust!

And it did prevent me from running off for a Hershey bar.

This experiment was done around the advent of the reported benefits of dark chocolate. That was good to know in case I started to enjoy dark chocolate- which was a risk of this study.

I also considered using white chocolate, which is also not my favorite.

Now I do not even have any chocolate, white or milk or dark or semi-sweet around my desk. I kicked the habit.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eat this not that!

I saw this book at Kinko's the other day:

You can see inside some of the book on Amazon.

I enjoyed flipping through the book because it basically breaks down how to eat at fast food chain restaurants and save some calories.

It is not a diet book, it is just a book saying "Actually, a plain hamburger has less fat than an overloaded grilled chicken sandwich, so consider that when you eat fast food."

What is great about the book is it has lots of pictures and fun facts and tips. Very visually stimulating.

The other thing that is great about the book is it is realistic: most of us eat fast food or go to a chain coffee shop sometimes, so we might as well learn how to order somewhat better.

The sad thing is, the cover of the book shows that a Whopper from Burger King has more fat than a Big Mac, so of course I craved a Whopper for the rest of the day!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Product review: Healthy Choice Paninis

Now I am not a big fan of microwave food, but in an effort to control my portions and my budget, I decided to try a couple Healthy Choice products.

I bought two flavors of the Healthy Choice Paninis, they were both great. I tried the Smoked BBQ Chicken and Smokehouse Apple and Chicken.

With a skeptical attitude, I followed the instructions to cook the panini. It looks like this when you cook it:

Then you squish the two sides together and enjoy.

They only cost $2.30 each on sale at SuperTarget. That is less than any sandwich that I could buy on campus and they were easy to grab and go in the morning. (Making my own lunch is a whole 'nother battle to win.)

They are about the size of a sandwich that I would make at home. They took 2.5 minutes to cook, fast!

I found them to be flavorful and satisfying. I had some yogurt as a snack later in the day after one of them, so I guess they did not pull me through until dinner. They cooked well; they were not soggy at all and the bread did not get all tough.

They have about 310 calories, 40 calories from fat. They use 6 weight watchers points. They have about 25% of your daily sodium, which is a drag, but again if I did not have one to eat today I probably would have bought a sandwich with more sodium.

My husband really likes some of the microwave meals, so I will have to try those next. Or maybe he can write a review?

Also, I found this site with other "diet food" reviews. called I ate a pie. Sounds like something I would do if no one was watching! They reviewed a third flavor of these sandwiches, which I did not try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good question, Jon!

From GarfieldminusGarfield:

This made me smile for two reasons:

It made me smile because somehow I can relate to this more than a perky diet product commercial asking/telling me the same thing. It makes me feel better to know that I am not alone in struggling with my weight.

Also, it makes me smile because I get a little defensive. I know that I do not need to let myself be down and frustrated. I can cherish that I am doing the best I can with what I've got and I have plenty of potential to be more active and get those endorphins flowing!

Like MNMom said, I can enjoy long walks in my neighborhood or with my loved ones. I can experiment with new foods and fun new gym clothes.

There is a lot of potential and progress going on here, no need to be down.

As I try to make healthier choices day to day, like choosing a walk around the park over reading another chapter in my book or choosing to walk to the next bus stop for some extra steps instead of sitting on a bench, I keep thinking of an inspirational book by Thich Nhat Hanh that I read and re-read.

Peace is Every Step is a short and very approachable introduction to the idea of meditation and mindfulness in everyday life. Hanh discusses potential for brief meditative moments in things we do everyday, like relishing in the extra moments of time we have to ourselves while we wait at a stoplight instead of stressing out about missing the green light. My favorite is his idea to remember how fun it is to play in the water and enjoy a warm bath while we wash the dishes. Washing dishes is a chore, but bubbles are fun! Right?

Anyway, I suggest you read the book for a better idea, it is really thought provoking, even for a cynic like me.

I try to think this way about my choices with food and exercise day to day. My friends and my husband have been helping, which I truly value.

For example, will sitting and watching re-runs of Law & Order really make me feel as good a quick trip to the gym? Even a teeny tiny trip to the gym? That trip to the gym may not change my life, but I am always pretty proud of myself when I actually go to the gym!!

Also, when I stress about eating naughty foods, I can remind myself that I can balance that naughty food with some exercise (and if I don't think the naughty food is worth jogging then it is easier to turn down the naughty food! Ha!).

I am going to keep trying being more mindful of my choices.

The best part is, the more mindful you are about something the more of a habit that thinking becomes. suddenly you are mindful without even trying!

I hope this isn't too stream of consciousness; I wonder what you are thinking or if this gets you thinking?

Who knew Jon Arbuckle could be so thought provoking!?!?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting there first

I went to the YWCA last night with Todd. He was my only witness this time.

I am still ramping up the intensity of my workouts. I am mostly focusing on actually getting to the gym on a regular basis first.

Todd is encouraging me to keep a better record of what exercise I complete, as well as my heart rate and whatever-the-hell-else one is supposed to do to be a hardcore, productive gym goer.

He learned a lot, and found success in following methods in this book:

Right now I am totally overwhelmed by this sort of organized workout. I am not opposed to it; it just makes me want to run and hide in my bed is all. Give me time, I will come around.

Do you track bio-markers when you work out? Have you followed any useful exercise guides?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend eating in review

This weekend was especially fun and festive and I saw family and friends. I did not eat the best, but I tried. I know that I made conscious choices to say no to somethings.

For example:

>I worked at Rustica and I only had one danish, nothing else. No cookies or samples or anything. If you went to Rustica you would know this was a feat!

>I attended a lovely bridal shower that actually had a very healthy menu. The host was a former cook for Dayton's Downtown. They served Muddy Paws Cheesecake. I could not resist, it would not have been polite. I only took seconds on one of the salads, so I am proud of that!

> I went to Snuffy's Malt Shop with my parents and only had water. ONLY WATER! I think that is worthy of celebration!

>Husband and I were zonked on Saturday night, so we ordered pizza from Jakeeno's. I ordered a pizza with lots of vegetables, so that helps make it healthier...right?

>I did some walking in the park yesterday and some sleeping. While I was sleeping I didn't eat!

Looking into this week, I hope to get to the gym at least twice, and make my dinners and lunches.

The quest to abandon pop is going ok. I have craved caffeine, but not cherry pepsi.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stress and Special Occassion Eating

Today has been a stressful day so far, and I have some stress planned for this evening too. Tonight I am giving a talk for my Master's project, so it is stressful but an exciting night for closure on this part of my life.

Right now I just want a BBQ chicken burrito from Burrito Loco or perhaps a heavy salad from an area unhealthy salad with comforting ranch dressing and hard boiled eggs.

Stress Eating!

Look at her, she is not even enjoying her stress eating! She is just adding guilt to her stress!

But I want to make a better choice!

So does this guy!

I just found this little article that talks about chemicals in the brain that contribute to craving comfort food at times of stress. It is nice to be able to blame chemistry, but I know it is not a good longterm plan.

Here are some tips for curbing stress-inspired eating:

Curbing Your Appetite for Stress-Inspired Eating

Similar, but a different format

Good tips for special occasions and stress!:

  • Take small portions of your favorites.
  • Eat slowly and savor the taste. Experience the food; don't just go for the quantity.
  • If you're headed for the buffet table, go to the table once and then stay away.
  • At buffets, survey the entire spread before making your selection. Discriminate. If you have chip and dips all the time at home, pass it up and go for the more interesting salmon roll.
  • If you drink, limit alcoholic beverages, which are high in calories. The guidelines are no more than one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men. Have something nonalcoholic first, so you don't reach for an alcoholic beverage when you're thirsty. Or, try a refreshing alternative to alcohol, such as club soda with lime or cranberry juice with seltzer.
  • Don't arrive at parties hungry, and don't skip meals before parties.
  • If you are the host or hostess of a party, provide foods that are healthy, not just fat-laden, to-die-for dishes.
  • Step up your exercise to burn off some calories.
I suppose what I may do right now is walk to a food location not near the burrito place or the salad bar and see if I can't modify my cravings to something else. In the very least I will get some walking in!

How do you try to manage stress eating??


In case you wondered, I ended up getting a grilled chicken salad at Chik-Fil-A with fat free honey mustard dressing. I also got some key lime pie Whips yogurt.

Writing about my stress eating moment really helped me account for my actions. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I pity da foo

who had to stand next to me at the video store right after I left the GYM!!!

Todd came to the gym too, and we ran into K. there, so I have 2 witnesses!

A Fatty Weighs In!

Hello, I'm Mnmom, and I'm fat.
I'm also here to get healthy, and that means losing about 40-50lbs and getting some real exercise. Yesterday my doctor told me I have a fatty liver. After an internet search, I'm now sufficiently scared and ready to get it lean and mean.
These things I will miss:
Half and half in my decaf coffee
Big Macs
Lots of cheese - MAN I love cheese!!

These things I'm looking forward to:
More long walks
Zumba anyone?
More salad - I DO make a good salad and excellent dressing.

Saying goodbye

This week I made the decision to give up pop and let caffeine hang around a little longer.

I had been basically caffeine free for 5 years until I got hot and heavy into my school work. I am not a coffee or tea fan and diet pop tastes icky to me, so regular pop was my caffeine vessel.

Look at how much sugar is in pop!

Now that I am done with school it is time let pop go.

Goodbye old friend!

(By the way, I am not sure that pop helped me at all through my awkward teen years...did it help you?)

Now I have gained a somewhat better appreciation for coffee, so I am hanging on to the caffeine for now. I refrained from it for 3 days last week and awoke with a headache each day. I am not ready for that pain yet. Give me time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Heavy Hit

So I know I am out of shape and that I need to make better choices for my body...that is why I am here, right?

Well, I honestly do not obsess about my body type, except my struggle to find decent tops to wear. I do not get down about my body and I do not stress about my diet (hence why I feel I need support to improve it!).

Today I was at the doctor and the physician called me "heavy".

First I was furious, and thought, "Oh no you didn't!"

Then I was sad and discouraged:

I feel hopeless and humongous.

That kind of honest and direct acknowledgment of my body type makes me feel so hopeless that all I want is:

It does not make me want to:

Well done, Kettle Chips.

I discovered these lovelies at lunch today:
You see, I have been craving a naughty burrito Loco BBQ Chicken Burrito for days, but I have been fighting it. Today I went to Coffman Union in search of something light with vegetables.

I found these babies to go along with my little 1/2 sandwich and curb my BBQ craving.

They are crisp and flavorful. They even have 15% of my daily value of vitamin C!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Eat your vegetables!

Zumba party up in here!

There is an article in the Strib today about a new cardio workout called Zumba that is sweeping the gyms across town.

Do you think they are just smiling for the camera?

Supportive friend C invited me to join her at a class last week, but I had class. Now that I am done with school I can start to go!

Have you done Zumba?

I also enjoy the "low impact" aerobics class C and I used to take and yoga. I hope to add those too. They have a new pilates class at my gym too, I want to try that.

Meanwhile, I would run out the door if a camera of any kind came in to my class at the gym...or anywhere near me on the YWCA property for that matter!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I suppose it is bad that

I am eating some delicious cake while I update my Traineo profile, huh?

The Franklin Street Bakery makes a nice cake, by the way, not too sweet, not too dry.