Life

Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love deeply, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Starch

Okay,

I've done some research for us.  Seriously, I wonder whether I am the best person to help, but I'll do everything I can. 

Here's what I have found so far:
Not all starches are bad (we know that) but some are.  If you want to eat bread, or pasta, or tortillas or whatever, it has to be WHOLE GRAIN.

Note:
"I recommend eating whole grains because they're a great source of important nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and, especially, carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index (GI), a ranking of carbohydrate foods on the basis of how they affect blood sugar (glucose). This is important for many people because eating a lot of foods that are high on the glycemic index will produce spikes in blood sugar that can lead over time to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Grains in their natural form have a low glycemic index, while processed carbohydrates, including those made with flour or puffed grains, have a high GI. The reason is that it takes longer for digestive enzymes to reach the starch inside whole grains or grains cracked into large pieces, slowing down the conversion of starch to sugar.

True whole grains include wild rice, barley, quinoa, millet and wheat berries. You can be pretty sure you're eating a natural grain with a low GI ranking if you have to chew it or can see grains or pieces of grains in food products. The more your jaw has to work, the better. But when grains are pulverized into flour, whether whole or not, their surface area expands dramatically, providing a huge, starchy surface area on which the enzymes can work. Consequently, the conversion to sugar happens very quickly."
Dr. Andrew Weil M.D.

He says at the end that he recommends cutting all foods made with FLOUR and consuming foods made in their natural state.

So this is why cutting out the breads, pasta's etc... is essential for losing weight ... ESPECIALLY for avoiding diabetes. 

If you are going to eat grain foods, pick the ones that are the most nutritious. Choose whole grains. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Reading labels is essential for this food group to make sure you are making the best choices. Every time you choose to eat a starchy food, make it count! Leave the processed white flour-based products, especially the ones with added sugar, on the shelves or use them only for special occasion treats.

So, here's the question:
What exactly IS "whole grain" verses "enriched whole grain"?  Because my WHEAT bread says "Enriched" and it LOOKS like wheat bread?!

A whole grain is the entire grain—which includes the bran, germ and endosperm (starchy part). The most popular grain in the US is wheat so that will be our example. To make 100% whole wheat flour, the entire wheat grain is ground up. "Refined" flours like white and enriched wheat flour include only part of the grain – the starchy part, and are not whole grain. They are missing many of the nutrients found in whole wheat flour. Examples of whole grain wheat products include 100% whole wheat bread, pasta, tortilla, and crackers.

"We have all seen it, 100% whole wheat bread that sits next to the white bread. It looks like white bread, but it says enriched. Enriched with what? Well, let me back up a little. When wheat is harvested the whole grain is taken to the refinery. REFINERY, did you see that! The wheat is heated to a point when the germ and the bran fall off. What is left is the starch, the white part, the not good for you part. The part that has a long shelf life and is bug resistant. Do you know why it is bug resistant? Bugs CANNOT sustain life in it. They will die if they only eat this refined grain. So why on earth, with the abundance of good life sustaining food do we eat white flour, which is the starch of the wheat grain ground up. Honestly do I need to answer that? Take a look around and you will see obesity on the rise, and now not only are adults overweight, but kids, little kids are getting more and more fat. Why? We are feeding ourselves all kinds of unhealthy food. Some do it because it is cheaper, some because of taste, and some just because they don't know any better.
So now that I explained what white bread is made of, let me continue to answer the question of "what exactly is enriched"? After the refinery takes the grains apart and makes white flour, which has no nutrition, they add some vitamins, some minerals, and some fiber, but not even a gram worth. The white bread is enriched with some of the very things they just worked so hard to take out. However, they do not add in as much of the grain they take away, otherwise it would be whole grain. Just enough to add some flavor and calories to it.

What is whole grain? It is the WHOLE grain used in the process of making bread, cereal and the building blocks of many other foods. For it to be truly healthy whole grain needs to be listed on your bread, cereal or other food in the number 1 or number 2 position on the ingredients list. No, whole wheat flour which is followed by (enriched white flour, niacin, and iron) is not healthy, it is a way of making people believe that they are getting a whole grain bread. They are not lying, it is whole wheat flour, but not whole grain. It did come from the wheat plant and it is all wheat, but not all grain. Whole is just another word like all. If you look a little farther down on the list you will see molasses, why molasses you ask? It colors the bread to make it look brown. Yup, white flour plus vitamins and minerals still does not bring the bran back into the bread. Bran is what helps to give the natural brown color to bread. So, they again, add something to it, to try and make it look like something it is not."
While there are a lot of options when it comes to starchy veggies, I personally avoid what I can.  The options for starchy veggies is very short in comparison to the list of non-starchy. 
Here's the list for starchy:
  • Parsnip
  • Plantain
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green Peas
  • Corn
  •  
Non-Starchy:
  • Amaranth or Chinese spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yard-long beans

The options are considerably higher.  Starchy veggies are higher in carbs and are counted as a "Whole Grain" because of it.  If you are trying to monitor your carbs, it's better to avoid the starch.

In our blood stream, starch turns to sugar, LOTS of sugar.  So if you eat a food that is high in starch, it is high in sugar, even if it is a veggie, like a potato.  As we explored in my post called "Math" we discovered how sugar raises the glucose, the glucose causes the release of insulin, insulin feeds our cells, when the cells are full the excess energy is stored in fat.

By consuming high starch foods, like breads, pastas etc... you might as well be eating a spoonful of sugar out of the sugar bowl.

Math

Here is the low-down... I hate math.  I'm not a fan of numbers.  I LOVE words, all words.  But I've discovered that this lifestyle changing thing requires a knowledge of numbers, like the number of calories we eat everyday and the number of carbohydrates that are in the foods we are consuming.  NUMBERS.  But, thankfully, the numbers have words that have meanings which make the numbers more tolerable.  So, let's define the words that matter:

First lets re-define a "Calorie":  A calorie is one unit of energy.  Everything we eat has energy contained in it, and a calorie is one unit of that energy.  The reason we count calories is so that we know how many units of energy not only that we NEED, but that we eat and also that we burn.  The energy we're counting is the energy in the carbohydrates, proteins and fats etc... that eating.  (For a more detailed definition, you can check out my other post on Calories).

So, the body needs energy. Carbs are an ideal source of energy for the body. This is because they can be converted more readily into glucose (the form of sugar that's transported and used by the body) than proteins or fats can.

Even so, a diet too high in carbs can upset the balance of your body's blood sugar level, resulting in fluctuations in energy and mood which leave you feeling irritated and tired.

It is better to balance your intake of carbohydrates with protein, a little fat and fiber.

There are two types of carbohydrate: complex and simple.

Complex carbs are often referred to as starch or starchy foods. They are found both in natural foods and also refined in processed foods.

Complex carbs as natural starch come in the form of:
  • bananas
  • barley
  • beans
  • brown rice
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • oats
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • root vegetables
  • sweet corn
  • whole grain cereals
  • whole grain breads
  • whole grain cereals
  • whole grain flour
  • whole grain pasta
  • yams
Complex carbohydrates as refined starches are found in:
  • biscuits, pastries and cakes
  • pizzas
  • sugary processed breakfast cereals
  • white bread
  • white flour
  • white pasta
  • white rice
 Simple Carbohydrates are also known as Sugars.  They exist in natural or refined form.  Natural sugars are found in fruits and vegetables.

Refined sugars are found in:
  • biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • chocolate
  • honey and jams
  • jellies
  • brown and white cane sugar
  • pizzas
  • prepared foods and sauces
  • soft drinks
  • sweets and snack bars. 
THESE ARE BAD!

Alright, so let's review.  Carbs ARE good, but only COMPLEX carbs. Simple carbs burn fast and are what are basically called "empty calories".  An empty calorie is defined as a source that has little to no nutritional value.  Cake has no nutritional value.

Let's define, Glucose and why it is important. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides the body with its primary source of energy. This type of sugar comes from digesting carbs into a chemical that the body can easily convert to energy. When glucose levels in the bloodstream aren't properly regulated, a person can develop a serious condition, such as diabetes.

From Carbohydrates:

People get most of their glucose from digesting the sugar and starch in carbohydrates. The body's digestive system, using bile and enzymes, breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose. This functional form of energy then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. It is then carried throughout the body, providing energy for the person to perform all types of activities, such as simple movements, demanding physical exercises or even thinking.

Glycemic Index:

Foods can be rated according to the index, which indicates how quickly the carbohydrates are broken down by the body and the glucose is released into the bloodstream. White bread and most breakfast cereals have a high glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrates are broken down and the body's blood-sugar levels raised more quickly. Most fruits, vegetables and nuts have low glycemic indexes. Whole-wheat products and some types of potatoes have glycemic indexes in the middle.

So let's break that down.  Starchy foods are NOT bad.  Complex carbohydrates are food for you.  They are an essential part of  your diet and provide needed energy.  HOWEVER, refined starches will raise your glucose level.  Your glucose is the sugar in your blood.  When you have TOO MUCH SUGAR in your blood, your body secretes a chemical called insulin to counter the sugar.  Having too much sugar in your diet CAN cause a number of life altering, and threatening health problems.  The blood cells in your body are made up a complex system.  When you have fed your body sugar, the body naturally releases insulin.  The insulin then takes the sugar in your blood and feeds it to your cells. One of the most vital parts of your cells is called the "mitochondria". There is a large number of mitochondria found in your cells.  The mitochondria is responsible for converting sugar to energy. 

Here's the problem: When there is too much sugar, the body stops NEEDING to be fed, and that is when the body starts to STORE the sugar for use later. The way our body stores our excess "energy" is in this fabulous thing called FAT!!

Fat is NOT bad, it's helpful.  But, here's the thing about fat ... even too much of a good thing can be bad. 

Here's where the math comes into play.  Say an adult consumes 1800 calories a day and burns 1000. 800 calories were STORED.  Say an adult consumes 1800 calories and burns 2500 through exercise.  They're 700 calories short on what their body needs so one of two things will happen:  1) The body will go to the stores and say, oh we're good, we've got some to spare and uses stored energy.  2) The body starves and we find ourselves sluggish and tired because we haven't fed it enough to run. 

Here's what I always did: I wouldn't eat.  I'd eat (and note I said "eat") about 700 - 1000 calories a day.  I'd drink a thousand or so more.  My drink, Dr. Pepper, is a simple sugar so it would go IMMEDIATELY into my blood stream and raise up my glucose, my body would release insulin, my cells would get fed and report back as full and the rest off to the fat factory that is securely located anywhere between my rib cage and my knees.  So with ONE drink, ONE 44oz Dr. Pepper, I'd provide my body with enough sugar to convert to the amount of energy I would need to counter whatever energy I'd need through whatever exercise I'd do throughout the day.  Anything I ate or drank BEYOND that ONE consumption was EXTRA and got stored!! 

Note: I only ever ATE 700 - 1000 calories.  I do not eat.  I do not like food.  Food is a necessary evil in my life.  Well, with some exceptions, there is some food I'd eat until I threw up.  But in general, I could completely do without eating.  So, a lot of the time, I DID. 

When I wasn't eating, and was only consuming a Dr. Pepper I would provide my body with just enough energy to run, but nothing more.  So when I would exercise, or go for a walk, or go on a long shopping trip that involved a lot of walking, made love to my husband, or anything that burned calories beyond those I would typically burn just by the process of breathing and being alive my body would panic because I hadn't fed it.  Of course I had plenty on reserve and that's fantastic.  However, the next time I ate the body said "OH! Energy, we better hang on to a lot of this because we're not sure when the next time is we're going to get fed!" and it would store, store, store.  That is why refined sugars are considered "empty calories" they run the number up but not for anything.

If you want to consume 2500 calories, or 3000 calories a day, that's fine, as long as you plan on USING THEM at the same time.  Otherwise, your body is going to store them. 

"Skinny" women, and by skinny I am NOT referring to the runway models who's elbows jut out of their skin and their collar bones look like outside accessories, DO HAVE FAT!! Every body has fat stores, they're necessary and healthy.  The vast difference between these HEALTHY men and women (I do not like the word skinny) is that they are consuming what their body needs and nothing more.  If they work out for 2 hours a day and burn that many calories, they put that much back into their body in protein shakes, fruits veggies, small snacks of nuts.  Sometimes, you'll even find one of these healthy people who indulges on CHOCOLATE, cake, ice cream, SODA!!! *GASP*  How is that possible?!  How could they possibly enjoy life and eat cake?!!  It's because they are burning equal to what they are eating. 

Chocolate cake is not our enemy; laziness is. 

So what have we learned?  1+1=2-1=1.  If you make those numbers larger:
700 calories in healthy proteins, starches, fruits veggies
+800 calories in Soda, cake, sugar, white bread, pasta
1500 calories consumed today
-500 calories burned because I breathe and nothing more.
1000 EXTRA calories to store for later in my fat bank. 

This is why MATH is important for our health (and it's the ONLY reason).

So in summary: Carbs are good, but only CERTAIN types of carbs are good.  If you're going to consume carbohydrates, your best bet is to stick with healthy carbs, the COMPLEX carbs.  Try to stay away from the simple carbs, refined sugars, pastas, etc... that raise up your number but give you nothing in return.  Simple carbohydrates do not require the body to work on it, they do not require the body to do anything to process them. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

To this day...





 To this day, a million years later, I think of her and wonder how she is. 



Allergies


Raw

A few days ago my husband was reading my blog, reading the conversations between a friend of mine during which I was trying my hardest to help her and motivate her.  He called me a hypocrite.  I am not "practicing what I preach".  Which isn't entirely true, or untrue. 

Here's the thing, I'm not "dieting". I am/was working on changing my lifestyle.  The reason I was working on changing my lifestyle is because I am hoping in a few months to be having weight loss surgery.  So, truth's out. 

That is the secret that I've been choking on all of this time.  I have been afraid to say it out loud for fear of judgement.  For fear of being called weak, or a quitter.  For fear of being judged.  For fear of being called lazy or being told I am taking the "easy" way out.  But, tonight ... I don't care about fear I care about being called a hypocrite, so there ya have it.

I have tried so many things to lose weight.  Spent so much money, so much energy, so much time.  The only really successful weight loss program I found was pregnancy.  I am not jumping into anything lightly.  Having my guts rearranged is not something I am doing just because I am "lazy" which I *KNOW* I'm going to be called.  Right now, it hurts too much to exercise.  We try a workout plan with the kids but my knees swell and are excruciating for days afterward.  My back makes it so I can't sit or stand comfortably and we won't even talk about how awful the pain is in my hips and my sciatica.  These are not excuses, these are my reality.  When I do push ups, my feel like my wrists are going to break.  I haven't found a way to do them that doesn't kill my wrists.  I am working on it, daily I am working on it. 

But, back to the hypocrisy.  Part of why I am not changing up my lifestyle completely and immediately is because soon I am going to be giving up EVERYTHING.  So I need to take my transition slowly.  I am afraid if I just cut myself off entirely that I will backslide when it is dangerous to do so.

So I am not trying to be a hypocrite, I am trying to help. I am trying to offer guidance for what worked for me, helped me ... trying to be a support, an accountability partner.  Never a hypocrite. 

Here is the most difficult thing I will ever do in my life.  Let me show you why I am going in for weight loss surgery ... Let me assure you, next to actually telling my secret, this is the most difficult thing I have ever done:

 
 
 
 

 The purpose of the bottom picture is twofold:  One, these boots are specially made for large women with extra elastic in the tops, I cannot zip them up.  Two, I love these boots and one of my goals is to wear them comfortably and be able to zip them up.

Here's the thing about these pictures. I've been considering them since my Sweetheart took them and since I posted them ... I had absolutely NO idea I looked like this.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I am NOT this big.  I am not this FAT.  I had no idea. 

Someone I know is an inspiring individual who has lost huge amounts of weight the hard way. She's worked her butt off eating right, working out etc... But I noticed an up and down trend with her, she takes it off and puts it back on and takes it back off again.  I don't want that.  I do not want that roller coaster life.  She is an amazing self motivator and can keep herself on track and if/when the pounds creep back on, she has the fortitude and push to take it back off ... I don't.  I got down to 198 a couple of years ago, but over the last few years have gained it all back plus some ... and I can't go through what it took to lose it all again.  I do not want to spend my life focused on weight loss.  I do not want to spend my life counting calories and being miserable in my own skin.  So, there ya have it. 

Here I am ... completely raw.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

BMI?

So, what IS my BMI?  What does BMI really mean?
I know the numbers are really tiny, but I believe if you actually click on the picture it will bring you up a bigger shot.

Your BMI is your Body Mass Index.  The Body mass index (BMI), estimates the ideal weight of a person based on its size and weight. The Body mass index is valid for an adult man or woman (18 to 65 years).

Using myself as an example, I am 5'5" and I currently weigh 251.  My BMI on this chart is: 41.6.  That puts me quite deeply into the Morbidly Obese range for my height.  To be at optimal health I would have to weigh 140lbs. That is 110lbs, unfortunately, I do not look at that number and see reality.  I'm fairly set on the fact that I will never weigh that much no matter how hard I try.  That might be exactly why I plateau at 250. 

Anyway, BMI.  Why is this important?  This is important because it tells you how much of your mass is extra fat.  I question the validity of some of the numbers around the borders of healthy vs. overweight or underweight because of muscle mass and the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, but I digress.

Knowing that 41.6 percent of my body is fat means A LOT; not only to myself, but also to my health care provider.  Fat does not just accumulate on your butt, thighs, stomach or arms ... Those are just the places that SHOW.  Fat accumulates around your organs, limiting how well they can function. When you're losing weight, it is said that it takes 12 weeks for anyone else to notice a difference... I believe (and this is weight loss gospel according to me so it may or may not be true) that it is because you lose the bits on the inside long before you lose the stuff on the outside.  So all of those days of losing a pound here, a pound there but not noticing a difference right away in how your clothes fit ... trust me ... It matters. 

Here's one of the other reasons that I think knowing your BMI matters... If you, like myself, have over 100lbs to lose ... It is fairly reasonable to assume that losing that weight in 6 months to have a bikini body isn't a realistic goal and might lead you to a dead end and ultimate give up.  So figure out your BMI, figure out where you want to be, even if it's in the "yellow" area and then figure out if you lost weight healthily, losing up to 5-6lbs a week, what is a realistic end time for your goal? 

For me, my goal is a size 8.  I don't care if the scale says 180lbs, as long as I am in a size 8 I don't care.  8 is for some reason the number I am stuck on.  I also don't want my thighs to rub together anymore.

Interesting finds:  I was googling for images of "thighs that don't touch" ... You would be SHOCKED at the number of women feel exactly the same way ... I want thighs that don't touch.  I thought I was the only one ... But, here's the first image I found:
PROOF: That you can be adored by thousands of men, even when your thighs touch.

Here's something else I found ... someone else obsessed with their thighs not touching that lead them, at age 10 to eating disorders, the blog is called Living For Today ... She's very inspirational and honest.

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate both of my goals.  Take Marilyn Monroe for instance, she was a 12/14 her entire career.  She was voluptuous and beautiful.  Maybe my version of "beautiful and sexy" is based upon society rather than upon reality and true beauty.

Jim


Portions

That reads Portions, not POTIONS ... although I really wish I did have a magic potion, that'd be cool.

I suppose that losing weight is sort of a potion ... It's a mixture, a concoction of sorts, of a lot of different things. 

One of those "Main Ingredients" is portion control.  Portion control is a big thing for me.  When I was a single mom with 3 kids, I was very careful about how much I let my kids eat.  How much cereal was in their bowls, how big their cup of koolaide was etc...  When I married my husband and gained my other 6 kids I gained a new level of stress in trying to control portion sizes for them.  They'll eat 3-4 helpings of dinner if allowed.  The youngest, who is 5, will eat 3-4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if allowed.  If I limit them to one or possibly two helpings if there's a lot and I don't want it to go to waste, they spend the hour following dinner begging for food; complaining of hunger.  Our oldest daughter, who is 15, complains DAILY of how hungry she is.  On a previous post from about 18 months ago I was listing the things I was thankful for that day and the #1 thing on my list was "That Summer didn't ask me to stop and buy her food".  It hasn't changed.  When I pick her up to take her to therapy on Monday's she complains from the moment she gets into the car to therapy, the entire time we're at therapy she's stuffing her face with the therapists pretzels and all the way back she complains of just being so starving and begging me to stop and buy her something.  It is RIDICULOUS.  We have actually been turned into DCFS 3 times with complaints that we are starving the children. It's no freakin' wonder that their mother and grandparents think we're starving them to death if all 6 of them complain of crushing hunger the way Summer does.


Portion Sizes.  This isn't just a hot topic for my kids, it's a hot topic for me.  About a hundred years ago ... okay well, not an entire hundred, but a long time ago my mother had gastric bypass surgery.  I was a teenager at the time and very self-absorbed so her surgery seemed more like a massive inconvenience to my life than anything, but I recall her saying something along the lines of her stomach being like 3 liters.  3 liters!!  To put that into perspective here are some pictures:
The "normal" stomach that hasn't been stretched out by years of over-eating should only be about the size of one of your fists.

Oh, serving sizes, portion sizes ... fist sizes.

 Your stomach is the same size as your fist ... seriously folks.  That's not that much food!! Check this next picture out called Portion Distortion.  The plate on the left is the one that my kids would eat if given half a chance, twice.  We don't need anywhere CLOSE to as much food as we are consuming each day. 

 
 I rarely eat on a "regular" dinner plate.  I have always used the salad plate.  Let me show you why I use our salad plate:
11 inches vs. 8.5 inches 
 
If you consider "portion sizes" when you look at those two plates, the dinner plate is nearly TWICE the amount of food space.  In my post "Food Log" I actually showed pictures of my food, as gross as that is.  Part of the reason I did that was to make mention of the actual portion size.  Did you know that your average cereal bowl, the one you use for your kids, gives room enough for TWICE the suggested serving size on the side of the box?  Did you know that on your gallon of milk, it says your suggested serving size is only 3/4 of a cup unless it's Skim Milk and then it's a full cup?  How much are we overfeeding ourselves and our families?


Let's go back to the calorie counting thing from my post called "Calories"? 

In one 20oz bottle of soda (this is pretty much universal) there are 2.5 servings.  In this bottle of my particular brand of death there are 250 calories PER SERVING.  So, because I am a lushy DP-aholic, I do not split up the servings in my 20oz because seriously, I don't even do that with a 44oz!!  In my one bottle of my liquid love I consumed 2.5 servings and 750 calories!!  And not just ANY calories, they actually have a special name .. they're called EMPTY calories.   Serving size matters because just because it says on the label "250 calories", if you double your portion size, or serving size ... you're also doubling your calories.


What would your dinner plate look like each night if you only used your salad plate and you only served yourself the suggested serving size of each item?   Even if your dinner is strawberry shortcake smothered in strawberries and whipped cream w/ a side of ice cream ... each of those things has a suggested serving size on the container ... start with ONLY eating the serving size.  If lowering your portion sizes leaves you hungry in a couple of hours, eat an apple or a banana.  I'm working on researching the 3 solid meals a day vs. 5-6 meals a day debate.  I struggle w/ getting 3 solid meals, let alone 6.

Portion size has never been my problem although w/ the amount of soda I drank it wouldn't surprise me if I've stretched my stomach out as large as my mothers who would drink 2-3 32/44oz Cokes every day.  I am not/wasn't, fortunately, that bad, I could be satisfied w/ 10oz a day because it satisfied the sugar craving, but I could also drink 88oz in a day and be just as happy (and awake all night!)  Carbonation is a very, very bad thing for an organ that is suppose to only be the size of your fist.  What happens when you shake up a bottle of soda?  It expands, and expands and expands.  It does that in your stomach too.  Carbonation is a GAS.  Whenever I drink Dr. Pepper, it physically HURTS.  It feels like I've swallowed razorblades and they're cutting their way through my intestines.  It's uber pleasant, I promise.  You'd think with as much pain I get from it, I'd of stopped a lot sooner.  Not so much, I have a weak personality and a propensity for fulfilling my desires despite the damage they cause. 

Myth or Fact: If you cut down on your food intake, you'll eventually shrink your stomach so you won't be as hungry.

Answer: Myth.  Eating less won't shrink your stomach but it can help to reset your "appetite thermostat" so you won't feel as hungry, and it may be easier to stick with an eating plan.

HOWEVER, eating MORE can stretch the organ and thus making it take longer for you to feel full or satisfied.  We should always eat to satisfaction, never to "full".  If we hit the full mark we've overeaten.

So, what does all of this mean?  This means, stick with a salad plate and PORTION sizes only for a week.   See how that works for you.  See if you end up hungry between meals.  See if you notice a difference. 

Here's another suggestion, it's one I have done for years.  Weirdly, I cannot tell you why I've done this, or why I started doing it ... but it always works.  How many times when you go out to eat at a restaurant do you overeat, or overindulge?  How often do you take home the "Doggy Bag" only to throw it away in a couple of days because nothing is ever as good as it is fresh?  Well, you can do one of two things if you happen to go out to dinner at a restaurant. 
  1. You can request only half a portion.  I would make sure they'll only bill you for half a portion.  More often than not, they will accommodate you and charge you only half a portion.  If they don't, go to suggestion #2. 
  2. Ask for half of the meal in a To-Go box.  SOME restaurants/servers will actually bring it to you already in a To-Go box.
Oh, and here is a good reference to a Portion Size Plate from WebMD, they have one you can stick up on your fridge and one you can carry with you.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mirror Mirror ...

I feel this way.  There's a store close by here called Tinderbox ... I love that store, but I hate to go there because I have absolutely no idea anymore how far out my backside hangs!!  I don't even like isles in Wal-Mart anymore.  I'm just simply too big anymore. 

5 women @ 150lbs

What would 150lbs look on you? 

"Calories"?

So, here's a real life conversation that took place today :

Person A: Ok...I need some help! I really want to have a "swim suit" body (or close to it...) by July at the latest. But I just can not keep myself from eating... and eating stuff I should not eat :( so...those of you out there that are "dieting", besides exercise... what else are you doing to help lose weight??

Friend 1 you probably don't believe this but I have a SUPER slow metabolism and stuff, but I'm also a health nut. It's about moderation and discipline thats the sucky thing...is having the strength to stare at a cookie in the face and not eat it. but if you can, limit your "cheat " days to weekends only. then during the week be really strict with yourself. and print signs EVERYWHERE in your house and bathroom that say, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." It helps some people.

Friend 2: Calorie counting and walking 30 min a day. Drinking lots of hot green tea lost 7lbs in 2 weeks. It is working for me and I have Hashimotos (under active Thyroid)

Friend 3: eat more vegies, stay away from fat and sugar, including soda. Decrease food intake little by little without starving yourself. make sure u r well hydrated, stay away from bread and meat, fish and some chicken are good, baked only, and of course exercise! we are designed to run, so run three times a week or walk 2x20 mins each day. others exercises u like are great too. like swimming! hope this helps...good luck! Ahhh...absolutely NO needs for medication! !!!! 

Friend 4: I just do little things...I eat whatever I want (within my celiac diet of course), I just watch my portions, that way I don't always crave what I "shouldn't have." For me, when I tell myself I can't eat certain foods, I just want them that much more, so I watch my portions. I also do things like take the stairs instead of an elevator and park my car in the furthest parking spot at the grocery store so I have to walk further....things like that. I also walk a lot during the day at work, so maybe take some time every day to walk around the block (I know it's cold right now), or if you have stairs in your house you could jog up and down those for so many minutes, etc. Just my two cents! You will find what works best for you and your body!

Person A: thanks guys!! i really appreciate all your comments:) i will try my best...im not a very strong person when it comes to food, and exercise....but i have to do something!!

Friend 5 I've found it helps to go off sugar and starches for a week or 2 to get your cravings under control. South Beach diet ( check it out at the library ) has a great 2 week diet to get you started plus it jump starts your weight loss to get you motivated.

.... Uhhhh ... WHAT?!!  South Beach Diet, Water with Lemon, 2 week diet, sugar and starches,"stay away from bread and meat, fish and some chicken are good, baked only" ... maybe it's just the punctuation but am I suppose to be staying away from Bread and meat, fish and some chicken?  Or am I staying away from bread?  Fish and chicken ARE meat ... baked or otherwise ... and what's the matter with grilled chicken??   It's about discipline and moderation, calorie counting, having the strength to turn down a cookie. "We are designed to run" ... WHAT?! 

Okay ... This was not my conversation and these were not my friends.  Here's the conversation I had with Person A, in part:

Me:
I was wondering if I could talk to you a moment about your post earlier?
The one about dieting
...
Person A: I just need someone to kick my butt in gear. I really need to lose some weight, I'm just not very good at motivating myself  

...
Me: I'll also mention myfitnesspal.com Do you know anything about how calories work? 

Person A: No I, have no idea how they work... at least I don't think I do..

So,  here's what went through my head when I read Person A's post: I really need/want to lose weight but I have absolutely NO IDEA where to start.  Can someone help me know what steps to take?  And Sweet Person A got bombarded by GREEK.  Person A is brilliant, and sweet and loving and barely needs to lose a pound (at least to ME, but I don't look at her naked in the mirror like she does) ... But brilliant, sweet and loving doesn't mean that you "get" how to lose weight.  I am the SAME way.  When people say, "read the labels", "Count your calories!" I think to myself ... I do not understand what you're even saying!  I DO read the labels, but I don't have any idea what I am looking for.  I can count my calories, I mean, of course I can count my calories, I do know how to add.  But now what?  What does "counting your calories" even mean.  What in the hell IS a Calorie and WHY am I counting it?!!  So, I end up saying, "Forget it, it's too complicated, it's too overwhelming" and I crack open a Dr. Pepper and whatever my high sugar food is for that moment and I quit.  I do it ALL the time, sometimes on a weekly basis. 

 So, where exactly DO we start?  I think we should start with defining a Calorie and why we need to count it: 

What exactly is a calorie? A calorie, as commonly referred to on food nutrition labels, is a unit of energy. 

What does a calorie do?  "When you eat food, you are consuming the energy that is stored within the protein, carbohydrate, and fat molecules of that food. The total amount of the energy stored in the food you are eating is represented by the calorie content of the food as indicated on its nutritional label."  

Say what, now? 

Everything on the earth has energy.  The energy is harnessed in different ways.  We are made up of energy.  The food we eat, is also made up of energy.  So when we eat, "we are consuming the energy that is stored within" the food.  So if I eat, say a 100 calorie candy bar, (that would be barely enough of a bite to make my mouth water), then the contents of the candy bar equal 100 "units" of energy.  (More specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 litre of water by 1 degree Celsius.)  Does that make sense?  When I eat, I am eating energy, I need energy to run by body, to walk, eat, breathe, have a heartbeat and thoughts ... It all requires energy, which is what I need to eat.  The big question is: Do I eat as much energy as my body uses ... or do I eat more?

Your body is capable of doing only two things with the calorie energy that it absorbs; it must either burn it or store it. When we eat food the calories that are in it can never disappear or be destroyed, they can only change form.  When we eat them, calories do not disappear but rather are eventually transformed, or "burned," into the different types of energy that your body utilizes or produces each day, like heat energy, electrical energy, sound energy, and kinetic (movement) energy, OR, if they aren't burned, they are stored again as more chemical energy. "Therefore, according to the first law of thermodynamics, any calories that you consume and do not burn must be stored on your body." And, unfortunately, the primary storage mechanism for the excess calories you consume is fat, rather than muscle.

What we've learned so far leads us to some very simple rules about calories by which weight loss and weight gain can be explained. These rules are absolutely fundamental to determining how much you weigh, and it is impossible to contravene them. They are the following:
  1. If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight.
  2. If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.
  3. If you eat the same amount of calories that you burn your weight will not change.
To keep itself alive your body is always burning at least some minimum amount of calories that are used to support the function of vital organs like your heart, brain, nervous system, lungs, kidneys, liver, muscles, and skin. This rate of calorie burn is called your "basal metabolic rate". If you want to accomplish anything beyond simply staying alive, such as moving your body for example, you will have to burn extra calories to do it. "Therefore, on any given day the total number of calories you burn is the sum of your basal metabolic rate plus all the additional calories burned from the activities you do."

As an example, let's pretend that you've determined you burn 2,000 calories a day and eat 2,500 calories a day. Therefore, you are eating 500 calories more each day than you burn and you are gaining weight.

For another example, let's pretend that you've calculated that you burn 2,000 calories a day and eat 1,800 calories a day. Therefore, you are burning 200 calories more each day than you eat and you are losing weight.

If you want to lose weight, all you need to do is make sure that you consume fewer calories each day than you burn and you will be GUARANTEED to lose weight. Of course, that being said, you want to make sure that you lose weight in a healthy manner. 

Okay, THAT is why we count calories.  But counting calories doesn't mean jack if you don't know what exactly you're counting them for.  I can count up to a trillion, but that doesn't do me any good now does it?  I need to know what my caloric intake should be before counting them will do anything for me. 

How do I know what my caloric intake should be everyday?  The best way I have found is myfitnesspal.com  but a calorie calculator works too.  Your calorie intake depends on your lifestyle as well.  Are you sedentary, do you do a lot of walking or standing, are you a workout fiend?  All of that determines how many calories you need to take in each day.  If you do very little moving around, like me for instance, then my caloric intake should be very low vs. if I work out for two hours a day and I burn 5,000 calories, I'd best eat at least 4,500 or I'm going to pass out. 

So ... let's start there.  How many calories should I be eating every day? According to myfitnesspal.com, my calorie intake should be 1780.  

What's yours?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bravery

This is my son Kydrun & his best friend Payton.  Both beautiful & both the strongest & most courageous people I know. 


Awake

Oh I need to sleep!

I love my children, all 9 germ infested one of them.  I've been lying here trying to pretend I'm on my deathbed for the last couple of days, it's been awesome fun.  To prevent my nose from running and the constant wiping and sore nose that inevitably follows, I've taken to shoving toilet paper up my nose.  Between that and the "sicky smell", the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, whining etc... It's a wonder my Sweetheart hasn't moved out. I'm sick of me, I can't imagine how he isn't. 

It's been a long couple of weeks.  Since my Sweethearts fantastic ex got her visitation suspended, we haven't had our every other weekend "re-coup" time.  It's been hard.  I am completely in love with my kids though.  Normally, well, not normally, but historically when I couldn't sleep like this I'd clean.  I'd do laundry, dishes, vacuum the ceiling ... all sorts of things.  But as I laid here contemplating what I could do in these unwanted waken moments at 3:30am, I have absolutely nothing to do.  The kids are so good about doing their chores, helping out with dinner, doing their own laundry.  They're just an amazing bunch of little people and I am sure proud of them. 

So this being sick thing has wreaked havoc in my "diet".  I don't feel good enough to eat anything, so I've gone several meals without eating.  I had McDonalds breakfast today though.  I weighed myself, at some point I can't remember exactly when it was in the last couple of days, it's all been fairly hazy.  I gained a pound this week.  Not too shabby given the number of times I've not eaten or shoved donuts down my gullet.  Not sure what my thing is with the donuts ... weird choice of cheat foods.  It's all good.  I'm on the mend and tomorrow is another day. 
I am still not ready to tell my "truth".  I told the one person whose opinion means just about as much as my Sweethearts.  She took it well, as I knew in my heart she would.  She was supportive and helpful and cheerleaderish as always.  I sure love that woman and am grateful everyday for her.  She's my most favoritest red-head alive ... and I have a lot of favorite red-heads so that is saying something. 

I've sort of lost steam for my new "lifestyle" the last week or so.  It just seems that my life is so busy that it's just easier to eat out of a box than focus on what I am serving.  I think what's got me frustrated is that I am preparing one food for me and another for my family.  I don't like knowing that I am feeding them foods that might potentially lead them down the same path that I took.  My poor Jade is shaped just like her Mama ... she's not heavy by any stretch, but she is extremely curvy and if she's not careful, those curves will just get curvier.  My 13 year old is also unfortunate on the genetic scale.  She's 5'9"and nothing but legs and a fantastic curvy body.  Other than her height, she is shaped like I imagine her mother is (I've only ever seen her mother once standing up and she is quite heavy at this point).  Aurora has a fantastic set of hips and is shapely and gorgeous, but that fantastic set of hips can be her undoing if she's not careful.  The rest of the kids all seem to have a genetic predisposition to being thin w/ high metabolisms.  It just takes planning.  For instance, last week I made sloppy joes.  Easy enough, I bought 95/5 ground beef, multigrain thin sandwich things (it's too early in the morning for me to recall what they are actually called) for the buns and then... whammo... the sloppy joe mix.  One of the first ingredients on it was high fructose corn syrup, ERK.  I hate feeding that crap to my kids.  With better planning I could have made my own sloppy joe mix.  I really need to just stop being lazy and plan.

It's nearly 4am.  I have to get up in a couple of hours because we're going to go have a meeting w/ a woman at a place called Autism Journeys.  We suspect Jade has aspergers (sp).  If not, we need to do some further work to find out exactly what her deal is.  It's going to be a very long day.  I guess I better go get some sleep. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blank

So, I'm in a better place today. 

I've been steadily weeding the sugar back out of my diet that I allowed to slip back in because I'm lazy, glutinous and have no self-control.  For breakfast I had Kashi Go Lean (which STILL tastes like cardboard) w/ strawberries. It was pretty good. I skipped lunch because I was out being overly busy as a mom and just didn't have time for anything but fast food so I decided nothing was better than that.  Dinner was KFC because I was gone from 11am to 8pm today and just simply didn't have time to prepare anything.  I was careful on portion sizes, which I swear is half this countries problem and is 100% of my children's problem.  I haven't checked in on myfitnesspal all weekend.  As my previous posts have shown, I've been sort of "off" lately and just couldn't bring myself to care enough to even check in.  I'm working on getting back on that wagon and will try to log today's stuff, if I remember as it's already 12:30 and I am totally sacked.

I'd like to rattle on about something unrelated to weight, too.  So if you are only checking in for that, now's a good time to bail. 

In May 1998 I left my home & flew to Columbus Ohio to serve an 18 month long mission for my church.  I served around a whole lot of missionaries, I served with some amazing and fantastic sisters.  But I honestly feel like it was a wasted 18 months of my life.  I truly do not feel like I made an impact on anybody in Ohio.  I made some good friends, that I am very thankful to ... But I just didn't exist in Ohio. 

Well, I just deleted most of everything I was going to say because earlier today my father informed me that I expect the world to revolve around me and the way that post read it certainly did seem that way, although that's not how I feel. 

I'll find some more motivating weight loss stuff to post about tomorrow and try to avoid the personal stuff. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Binge

So when I am angry I eat.  When I am stressed I craved sugar, or my "alcohol", Dr. Pepper.  Today, my kids are stressing me out equally as bad as they are pissing me off.  So, to get back at them ... Because I'm smart like this, I drove down to the store, bought not one, but SIX donuts and a 20oz Dr. Pepper. 

I haven't eaten yet today, it's 5:15pm.  I didn't eat yesterday that I can recall except 4 pieces of pizza for dinner.

Clearly I am not thinking.  After one and a half donuts and 10oz of my 20oz Dr. Pepper my stomach is turning.  Serves me right.

I just can't quite get my head in the right place lately.  Nothing is working right.  I am just not happy.  I don't want to diet anymore because it doesn't matter.  Why should I?  I'm always going to be fat, I am always going to hate my body, I am always going to be unhappy ... So why try? 

And whoever said that "alcohol" and donuts makes everything better lied. 

Oh, and I bought my little Dragon a pepperoni meat stick thingy too because a 7lb dog needs to binge eat too. 

Why am I in such a bad place?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Truth

The Truth is... very difficult to say out loud.  I fear judgement & ridicule.

Here's what I am willing to say right now;  I am afraid of success with this lifestyle change.  I am afraid that I will find "one-derland" only for the weight to creep back on.  I am afraid to lose the weight because of all of my excess skin that has stretched out to accommodate the fat.  I am afraid that if I am successful and I do lose the weight that I will still find myself repugnant and repulsive.  I am afraid that I will lose the weight and my husband will no longer find me attractive.  He told me once (and I am sure I'll be in trouble for saying this on the internet), that he likes my large round bottom. He likes that there is something to hold onto.  I am afraid that if I lose the weight he won't want to anymore.  I am afraid that I will never actually find success on this lifestyle change no matter how hard I try.  I am afraid that I will never find the strength mentally, or physically (especially physically) to be able to exercise without pain (and not the good kind of pain).  I secretly feel like I am in a competition with my ex-husbands wife because she is so incredibly motivated and so hugely successful and I feel like such a failure & I don't want her to think I am just the fat, lazy person who her husband left.  I feel like I am in competition with my husbands ex-wife because I want to be prettier, thinner, better than her (which at this point given her behavior I am afraid is not difficult to do).  I am trying to get my head around a lifestyle change to lose weight that doesn't include pregnancy.  I lost so much weight when I was pregnant it was easy.  After my 1st pregnancy I got into a size 12 dress.  I was as thin as I was in high school.  I am afraid that this will take more of me than there is to give.  I am afraid that if I do finally get to where I want to be that I will still never look like I want to. I'm afraid to admit that I am the one that did this but that I am unable to undo it.

The truth is that I am morbidly obese.  I have tried everything I could think of to lose the weight.  I've joined gym's, had personal trainers, tried protein shakes, slim fast, no fat, veggie, only fruit, only grapefruit diets, I've tried a diet that consisted of eating only rice.  I've tried HCG.  I've tried Weight Watchers, I've tried Curves. I've tried Hoodia, Ali, Phen/Fen, the over the counter version of phen/fen that started with an S I can't for the life of me remember.  I've tried books. I've tried working out with my sister, having her give me a work out regiment that I followed but never lost. I've tried biking, walking, swimming, working out at the gym at the apartments where I lived.  I've tried video's, Wii fit, walking my kids to school and home.  I've tried biking to the grocery store.  I've tried infomercial promises like 6 week body make over.  I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to lose this weight. Only for the scale to fall slightly and then creep higher. 

 The truth is ... I'm not ready to tell the entire truth out loud yet.