Friday, September 27, 2013

Really? I burned 812 calories by standing?

Okay so I just recently changed my geometry classroom around so that I am standing at the document camera to present the notes instead of sitting in the back of the room.  I really like the new set-up and I had heard a lot about the benefits of standing versus sitting while working.  I also am a little close to my calorie threshold today before dinner (the student baked cupcake was too nice to resist!) so I was looking for ways I burnt calories today to maybe get me an extra 50 calories to keep me under.  By using the calorie counter at, I burnt an extra 187 calories by standing!  I was actually suprised how many calories you burn by sitting, but it takes energy to breath and move your fingers, so I guess that makes sense, but that makes me feel great!  A whole extra 187 calories!

Now comes the moral quandary of do I count these 187 calories?  It feels like cheating, but in my busy schedule it's cool to know that I am burning calories while I work.  I think I might reserve it for when I need a few extra calories to keep under goal.  Right now I haven't been logging any exercise from walking between my classrooms, or standing, or anything that could count.  It's just slightly overwhelming to think about every little bit of "exercise" that I did any given day.  I think if I got something like a fitbit to monitor my steps and it automatically downloaded my data for me then I would consider it,
but for right now, it just feels good to know that I have extra calories at my disposal should I need them!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My successes and failures during week one

Okay so I realize this is way late, but I been a bit busy between work and play rehearsals.  So As you can see from the graph I actually gained three pounds.  :( . This is why I don't weigh myself everyday, but instead had decided to weigh myself once a week.  I was hoping to avoid the daily up-shifts.  I had even weighed myself on the same scale at the same time of day as the first measurement.  Oh, well, I can't deny the data.

I was kinda surprised at the gain, because I honestly felt better all week.  It seemed that my pants weren't so tight, I wasn't super hungry and longing for ice-cream.   Besides I had been SO good during the week.  I was under my calorie goal EVERYDAY during the week.  So why did I gain weight?  Then I remembered I took a cheat weekend to host a friend's b-day party.  There was much food to be had AND I had McDonalds 10 piece chicken nuggets and fries.  I was not good at all on the weekends and my shame knows no bounds, and I am paying the consequences.  Also I know the graph looks very dramatic right now, but hopefully it'll look dramatic in the right way in a few weeks!

Instead of focusing on the frustrating weight gain, I am going to focus on what went right during week one.  Firstly, I was under calorie EVERYDAY during the week!!!  Huzzah!  This is a huge accomplishment for me considering I have NEVER been able to do this.  I also went out to dinner with my lovely husband and I was really jones-ing for something creamy and decadent, so I ordered the appetizer mac'n'cheese.  Because it was an appetizer, I also ordered a Chinese chicken salad (which has a depressing amount of calories for a salad, between 500-1000 cal depending on size and the accoutrements).  Let me just say that the appetizer was WAY more than an appetizer portion should be.  So before digging into the mac'n'cheese, I ate the salad first.  Since the salad was not small either, I boxed the mac'n'cheese up and managed to split it over two days.

So yeah, it's all about the slow steps and not reverting to emotional eating.  Because I don't want to continue gaining weight, I've reduced my calorie count to 1400/day.  I went over on monday by 20 cal, but I've managed to be under by a bit each day, so VICTORY!!!  Also I am forcing myself to put things into myfitnesspal app BEFORE I eat them.  Before I would do the nom noms and then put it in and regret my decisions or force me to run in place for an hour to burn those extra calories.  Now I am using my calorie limit to make better decisions.

I won't let three pounds ruin my resolve, if anything it has lit a fire under my butt to do better!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why I can't, no, why I won't do restricted diets.

I truly feel for people who have a food allergy or a condition like Coeliac's disease where they can't eat certain food.  I love food too much and mostly certain types of food to give them up. 
The no soda thing is about as restricted as I can get because it was causing a physical reaction that only happened when I drank them.  So scientifically they must be the cause.  I have thought about going vegetarian, but I love pho too much (seriously, it is my life blood).  Since Scott Pilgrim, I felt that maybe I could do vegan and get super powers, but see the previous sentence and I raise you brie.  I thought about doing the whole Atkin's / south beach diet, but that would mean no rice, so life just wouldn't be worth living.  Then I heard about the gluten-free diet which would allow me to eat rice, but no bread or pasta.

Of all the self imposed, meaning not for medical purposes, the gluten-free one seemed to be the most likely candidate.  I could still eat pho and rice and all the foods I love, just no pasta.  I went into this endeavor thinking it would be easy, but I was so surprised by how many foods had gluten or possible traces of gluten.  Luckily, my small intestine wouldn't explode if I accidentally had some cross-contamination, but still it was surprisingly hard to stick to it.  I did find some really good gluten-free brown rice pasta.  (I will link it once I have time to go grocery shopping.  It tasted like normal pasta and had great texture.  The only down side is that I had to cook it for 20 mins.  I guess I've been spoiled by quick cooking gluten-filled pasta.  I even managed to trick my husband into eating it!  I told him it was whole wheat hence the slightly different texture and he had seconds.  Of course the moment I told him it was gluten-free, he made the stink face, but continued eating :).

So the gluten-free diet is really the only one that would work for me, but I was shocked to see that gluten-free pasta have MORE calories per serving than regular pasta!  I know that calories are not the end all and be all for "healthy", but why would I make a choice to eat something that it is not quite right and it'll take up more of my calorie count.

So in short,I will stick to portion control for now and do some research into the benefits of "healthy" alternatives like quinoa and gluten-free choices.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Counting Calories

So as I sit here nomming on my delicious lunch of white rice and cha lua I can't help but wonder how many calories I'm eating in one sitting.  Counting calories is a super important part of losing/managing weight but it is by far my lest favorite.  I try to input my calorie intake before I actually eat it to see if I'm allowed or if I want to make different choices, but for today, it's nom first, count later.

What drives me crazy about counting calories is that I can't believe how many calories are packed into such tiny things!  For example one serving of pasta is 2 oz dry and that equates to 200 calories (on average).  When I use my trusty electronic balance to measure out exactly 1 serving of pasta I find that it is two bites.  That's 100 calories per bite!  Ridiculous!  To combat this particular problem I tend to buy the smaller size pastas so I feel that I am getting more bang for my intake.  It's totally mental, but it keeps me from crying into my two forkfuls of spaghetti.
Another hard part of counting calories is estimating the amounts of food you are eating.  It is also SO easy to go low, so that way you have the satisfaction of being under your calorie limit.  If I'm at home, I actually break out the scale and measuring cups and get all scientific and measure out my food, but I will not do that at a restaurant.  It just going to take the home measurements to train my eye and my forgiveness of self to accept that yes, I did just eat 1000+ calories in one sitting.

I'm using the calorie counter from  What I love about it is the extensive (and sometimes confusing) database of foods and their breakdowns and their bar code scanner.  The break downs are really nice so if you are trying to cut out saturated fats or sodium, you can see that you might be at or under your calorie goal, but you have exceeded your sodium intake.  Thank god for the bar code scanner!  I don't think I would do calorie counting if it didn't have it.  It also has this cool feature that you can put in a recipe that you made, say how many servings from the recipe, and it'll tell you how many calories are in that serving.  I have been able to find most foods on there, some of my more obscure asian food stuffs aren't there.  A lot of stuff is user generated, so I tend to take it with a grain of salt.

Another benefit of myfitnesspal, is that you can set goals for yourself and it will adjust your calorie intake to match your goals.  It will also keep track of your weight and measurements.  So for example:  my current calorie intake level is 1,590 cal/day and my goal is to lose 1 pound a week.  As I lose weight, or if I have to push through a plateau I can adjust my goals and my calorie limit will change.

Lunch is done, and it turns out my lunch was a whopping 634 cals.  I didn't have breakfast, so that leaves me 956 cals for dinner and snacks.  My goodness that's nine whole forkfuls of spaghetti!  Oh happy day!

Monday, September 16, 2013

11 days without soda

So the first major thing I'm trying in my epic battle to lose weight is to cut out soda from my diet.  All the Internets say it is the best way to start losing weight.  Something about the high fructose syrup goes straight to fat.  Damn it Jim, I'm a physicist not a chemist!  We shall see.
No more, sweet, soothing nectar of the Gods that is Dr. Pepper!  No more will I turn to you Coke Zero for that little extra oomph.  I can do this...

If only soda wasn't so delicious and gave me blinding migranes when I drank too much of them.  No seriously, some diet drinks make me go blind in one eye.  It isn't just diet soda, any diet drink does it to me, probably a reaction to aspartame.  So that's the real reason I stopped drinking soda.

It took me a while to find my substitution, but I have found my pseudo-heavenly nectar in the form of Snapple's "Lightly sweetened" tea.  So far I have only found two flavors, Peach Passionfruit and Pomogranate Cherry, and I have only seen them in my local safeway.  I wouldn't recommend drinking them like they are going out of style as each bottle is 80 cal.  But one a day is enough to curb the craving for something sweet and not water.

Why I'm doing this

I had the most humbling experience the other weekend, and that was really my breaking point.  I have been struggling with losing weight and feeling good in my body.  I have tried many things with varying success but the weight is back on and I done.  It is time to stop saying, "I wish that I was skinny" and its time to start actually taking the steps.  I plan to use this blog as a way to talk about steps I'm taking towards getting healthy we'll see if it works.

So my current weight is 200 lbs and I really want to get to 150 lbs.  My goal is to lose 1 pound a week and keep it off.  That means at this time next year I should be where I want to be!