A Blustery Day

It is a crazy Blustery Day. I took Tank to get his nails clipped. We got all rained on.

Today my stomach feels bloated and gross.

I started SparkPeople again. I feel like I have gained 500 pounds in the last few weeks. I know it’s just eating out (even if its healthy) and being out of my routine. I want to get a gym membership, but with no car its kind of hard to get to the gym (it’s not within walking distance) so yah know, figured Id just eat less. I feel so much better when I’m down a few pounds and everything isn’t tight. I also want to get back into cooking, as it’s obviously healthier. Tonight is going to be my first night in my new house. Theres really no furniture except a mattress, I’ll probably borrow a few dishes from my mom so I can cook and function.

In the mean time I’m gonna try to be healthy, Be happy, and not miss these guys too much…

And although I’m not Catholic, I will be giving up “BAD FEELING” for Lent. Yay…being happy!

The Imperfect Art of Calorie Counting

Someone asked me to better explain how it is I go about tracking Calories on SparkPeople. First off for those who don’t know how it works I’ll show you around a bit.

When you log in, it looks a bit like this:

I don’t work out…lol…so I really only use the NUTRITION TRACKER and the blog. Every day I mentally keep tally of what I eat from 5:30 am (when I get up) to 3:00 pm (When I get home from work). When I first started doing this I would write down what I ate in my phone (you can even send yourself a text message if you wanted) now I just remember. Then the first thing I do when I get home is enter in what I ate.

Click on NUTRITION TRACKER —>ADD FOOD

Here is what I DISLIKE about SparkPeople. Their catalog of foods that you can enter SUCKS! When I was on Weight Watchers their online system had a HUGE catalog of foods (meals, restaurants, frozen dishes) all available for you to click on. SparkPeople not only has a very limited catalog, but they also have a really crappy search engine. Type in “String Cheese” and you get 500 things that ARENT String Cheese…its dumb.

That’s where IMPERFECTION comes in! I just GUESS.  All the time. I pick the item that is closest to what I think I ate. Usually I guess high, but its hit and miss. The only way I could ever survive counting calories is by making it low-stress. I don’t give a shit if I’m off by 50 or a 100 calorie…o- freaking-well.

However if there is NOTHING even close to what I ate in there, they do have a nifty tool to add in your own food. It’s also nice because when you add it in, it saves it for you to use another time. To do this go to ENTER A FOOD NOT LISTED (on the right hand side):

Which pulls up this screen:

This is where GOOGLE comes in! Yay google! For instance I like to eat Power Bar Smoothie Bars in Creamy Citrus. I just google “Power bar Smoothie Creamy Citrus Nutritional info” and it will bring me to one of those sites like Calorie Count or whatever. Then I pull whatever info I want over into my “Add Food” Usually I just do fat, protein and Calories, I don’t do all the vitamins and such. Then I save the food and add it my daily meals!

Now what about a home-made meal? How do you count that. There are two ways to do this. Mentally break down as many of the ingredients as you can (Pasta, Ground beef, Spaghetti Sauce) and enter in each one individually. Or you can try the search for “lasagna” or whatever and take a risk picking one that may or may not match what you actually ate. I do this sometimes, it’s no big deal. Again I am NOT trying to be perfect here.

And what about size? They always want to know your portion or “serving” size you ate. For this I OVER-GUESSTEMATE. I’m not dumb, Ive cooked enough that I can visualize a cup or a tablespoon. But if I’m not sure, I guess. Usually trying to over-estimate a little. Better to be safe than fat sorry. Here is an example on Cake:

You search “Cake” and the list pulls up “Chocolate Cake With Frosting” Sounds good to me! So you click on it, and the bottom screen asks you “HOW MUCH” (and you answer A SHIT TON because I have no self-control) Kidding:

The drop down screen gives you three options

1. OUNCES (who the heck knows this?)

2. PIECE (which is kind of up for debate)

3. GRAMS (Again…I cant eyeball a gram…I’m not a drug dealer)

So you pick PIECE because that seems easiest. Then you see it says “1/8th of an 18 oz cake” so maybe you google what an 18 oz cake looks like, but this just makes you hungry for more cake so you move on.  And you…GUESS! Yes that is what you do. And because no one ever eats one serving, you type in 1.75 “Pieces” of cake. That good.

Then you hit ADD FOOD—>CLOSE which takes you to your daily totals where you can THEN (and only then) see what 1.75 “Pieces of cake” is in Calories see:

GAH…235 calories!

And that my friends is how it work. At the bottom of your daily totals its looks like this:

This is where I look to see what kind of dinner I will be having. If at 3pm I am already at 1000 calories, then its gonna be a light dinner. I don’t care if I’m still hungry. I knew my limits and I chose to go over them, and I will suffer the consequences. And no it’s not starvation, because I DID eat, just because I made poor choices and didn’t spread my calories out enough doesn’t mean I will go hungry and die. You will not die! Yes your evening may suck and you may need to have 4 cups of hot tea to trick your tummy into thinking its full, but you will not die. In fact its BETTER, you will LOSE WEIGHT! Hey there’s a concept!

I have actually really enjoyed counting calories. I keep it low stress and don’t put any pressure on myself to be perfect. No matter what I probably eat about 500-600 calories LESS a day just by counting them, so if I’m off by 100 I don’t care. The most important thing is that every day you try! At the end of my day I go back and enter in dinner and do a short blog post that mostly says how I felt about that days eating.

So that’s how I do it. Id love to hear others opinions on how they do this. Im no doctor, so don’t listen to me…lol. Let me know if you have any other questions that I didn’t answer, or if you are already on SparkPeople, be my friend and read my Calorie Counting Blog (which I warn is way more bitchy, and way LESS informative than this blog) Username: MORGANMELIM

 

Day One in Pictures!

I wanted to share how my first day of Eating Like a Baby went! Just so you can see what exactly I will be eating, and also to give you a bit more information on my techniques.

First off I had someone ask me what the importance of cutting food up is. To help explain this I’m pulling a paragraph from this article:

Cut your food up into bite sized pieces. Cutting your food up into smaller bite sized pieces will ultimately make you ‘think’ you have more food.

You can ‘see’ it.

This optical perception is transmitted to your brain. If you see more food on your plate, your brain will acknowledge that and you’ll trick yourself into believing you’ve actually got more food on your plate. Your stomach will feel fuller from eating such a ‘large’ meal, when all you really did was cut your food up into smaller bite sized pieces.

You can lose weight, just by utilizing the perception that you have eaten more!

This is a ‘brain trick’ you can use often. Cut your food up into smaller pieces and you will ‘see’ why its one of the most terrific ways to lose weight that I know!

See totally worth it! i even cut my pizza up into small pieces tonight! Ok onto the meals (please note this is what pictures look like when taken in poor lighting with zero staging…lol!):

BREAKFAST (4:45 am):

1 Whole Wheat Low Fat Eggo Waffle (70 calories)

1/2 Cup Organic Unsweetened Applesauce (50 calories)

1/2 Pink Lady Apple Diced (40 calories)

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

I mixed the apples in with the apple sauce and cinnamon over night. No Butter, No Syrup.

MID MORNING SNACK (8:00 am)

1/2 Cup Honey Nut Cheerios (100 calories)

1 Cliff Bar (250 calories)

6 Raw Almonds (20 calories)

LUNCH (10:00 am)

1/2 Cup Pasta (110 calories)

1/2 cup Grilled Veggies (20 calories)

3 mozzarella Balls (10 calories)

1/2 mango Sausage (80)

1/4 Avocado (50)

1/2 cup watermelon(20 calories)

1/2 cup cantaloupe (30 calories)

LATE AFTERNOON SNACK (3:00 pm)

1 Slice Ezekiel Bread (80)

1 Slice Light Swiss Cheese (60)

1/4 Avocado (50)

DINNER (6:30 pm)

1/4 cup Pasta (50 calories)

1/4 cup Grilled Veggies (10 calories)

1/2 cup watermelon(20 calories)

1/2 cup cantaloupe (30 calories)

2 slices Caprese Pizza (recipe to come) (300 calories)

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In total I ate just under 1500 calories. Im not really concerned about calories, but every now and then I like to see where Im hitting in a day. 1500 is good for weight loss. I also did about 45 minutes of aquatic work out. 20 laps + aerobics. I feel really great about how the day went! Even now at 9:15 I could totally do a snack, but instead I brushed my teeth and put on my crest white strips…cant eat now! ha!

Walk It Out

Mr. Gaunt and I have decided to take up walking! I know, not that thrilling but I gotta do something to lose 20 lbs by July! Plus lately I’ve been feeling kind..err…Fat. I havent gained wait, been the same for a while, but I’m sick of the size I am. Time to go down a bit. So because we live right next to the Highline Canal Trail there’s really no reason for us to not walk regularly. The weather is also a lot nicer and it stays light out later. Mr. Gaunt wants me to buy a bike so we can ride together, but I’m worried we wont actually do it. If we can walk at least 4 nights a week for the entire month of May, then I will consider buying a bike. I need to know we can stick to something.

So tonight was sort of a trial to see what route we wanted to take. Turned out we walked just over 3 miles, in just under an hour. I don’t have a pedometer to track my length, but I found this great website called Gmaps Pedometer. GMP lets you trace your route on Google Maps and tells you your exact distance. Here is our route (yes at one point we tried to take a shortcut and ended up just making a loop)

Then I wanted to see how many Calories I burned. Thanks to GMP I knew we had done 3 miles in 1 hour, so I used Health Status’Activity Calorie Calculator to determine I burned almost 400 calories! Not too bad.

Highline Canal Trail

Things Are Blooming!

Our Back Yard

Weekend Meals

POACHED EGGS & TOAST : Protein (22g) Fiber (4g) Calories (242) Fat (11)

MACARONI & CHEESE : Protein (18g) Fiber (10g) Calories (309) Fat (6g)

SALMON DINNER : Protein (47g) Fiber (11g) Calories (582) Fat (23)

DAILY NUTRITION CONSUMED: (please note I only counted the large food and did not count oils, seasonings, and drinks)

CALORIES: 1133  DAILY REQUIRED: 2000

PROTEIN: 87 grams  DAILY REQUIRED: 46

FIBER: 25 grams DAILY REQUIRED: 25-30

FAT: 40 grams DAILY REQUIREMENTS : 65

These werent actually eaten in one day, they are parts of two days meals. The above chart also does not include any snacks or beverages I consumed. This is just a good way to show you what kind of nutrition my main meals have.

Looking at this though, it shows that I am in fact lacking in FRUIT! Grrr I cant wait for summer! Today I am planning on getting a big bag of Grapefruit and peeling them all and putting them in Mason Jars to eat throughout the week. I love fruit, and I get sad when I don’t have it. Other than that each meals includes Whole Grains (the toast, the Orzo, The macaroni) and a healthy Protein (Organic Eggs, Low fat turkey Sausage, salmon) I also managed to get veggies in two of the dishes (Kale in the Mac-n-cheese and Asparagus).

Obviously all the meals do include carbs.  I usually do at least one meal a day without carbs, but the carbs were all whole wheat. The Mac-n-cheese is a “were too lazy to cook and we want comfort food” meal for Mr. Gaunt and I. I get the Back To Nature 100% Whole Wheat macaroni and White Cheddar at Sunflower market or Whole Foods. We almost always add a lean chicken sausage to give us a little protein, and yesterday I chopped up some kale and threw that in (I’m pretty much convinced you can throw Kale in anything). As soon as I did this (added the Kale) it got me thinking about Kids and feeding them vegetables. Teaching my children good nutrition is really important to me, and I plan on doing a post on this at a later date.

The Salmon is also a new thing. I have been purchasing Tilapia because its cheap and easy and lower in fat, but have recently heard poor reviews on its nutritional values. As a kid growing up in Washington I was always the odd man out because I hated Salmon and people cook a ton of it there. As I’ve gotten older my taste buds have changed greatly and now I really like Salmon. The cost is a lot higher (almost twice as much) for frozen Salmon Filets at Costco versus Tilapia, but investing in my health is what this year is all about! So Mr. Gaunt and I bought the Salmon and we attempted to grill it (on our cooktop grill) last night. Things started out well but then flipping the steaks caused them to break apart, so Mr. Gaunt just chopped them all up. It was actually quite yummy because it has a bunch of crispy parts. We put it on a bed of Orzo with some sesame asparagus, delish.

Anyway I just wanted to show some good healthy meals that are pretty damn easy if I do say so myself. Now Im off to get Grapefruit!

I LOVE YAHOO HEALTH!

I’m not a big online news reader, in fact I don’t read much news at all unless it’s from Perez Hilton...lol. My main email account is through Yahoo, so once a day I go to Yahoo.com and then log into my email. Well in the 2 seconds it takes me to hit the Email Log in button I often notice the main article Yahoo is promoting. I like these articles because they are usually short and in list form (I find I like reading lists way more than paragraphs) and simple to read. They often have really fascinating topics, especially on health!

Today when logging in I notice this headline:

4 Must-Know Restaurants Secrets!

and immediately I clicked! I actually thought it would be about restaurant cleanliness or how to save money, but it was actually about calories! You can click the headline above to go to the article, or I have taken the best part and copied it below. It’s crazy fascinating…really do read it! The bottom paragraph in bold is the best part!

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Secret #1: Don’t get “supersized”
Sure, it feels like you’re getting a bargain because you’re getting proportionately more food for proportionately less money. But a “value meal” is only a value for two sets of people: the corporations that make the food and the corporations that make liposuction machines and heart stents. Because food is so inexpensive for manufacturers to produce on a large scale, your average fast-food emporium makes a hefty profit whenever you supersize your meal—even though you’re getting an average of 73 percent more calories for only 17 percent more money. But you’re not actually buying more food. You’re buying more calories. And that’s not something you want more of.

Secret #2: Remember, the waiter is a salesperson
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services found that you’re more likely to order a side dish when the server verbally prompts you. (“Do you want fries with that?”) Restaurants know this, and now you know it, too. When the waiter makes a suggestion, remember his job is not to make you happy. His job is to extract money from your wallet and insert fat in its place.

Secret #3: Don’t get too excited
You eat out all the time. A 2008 study in the International Food Research Journal found that people are less likely to make healthy restaurant choices when they feel that they’re dining out for a “special occasion.” And as we said, dining out used to be special. But before you head out to your next meal, really take stock of how many times you’ve eaten out this week. If you’re eating every meal at home and dining out truly is a once-a-week splurge, then don’t worry about it so much. But if you’re like most of us, eating out is probably more like a once-a-day splurge. And if that’s the case, remember, there’s nothing special here. Eat smart today because you’ll have to do it again tomorrow.

Bonus tip: Download our free Eat This, Not That! guide to shopping once and eating for a week—and save calories, time, and money!

Secret #4: Start small
Here’s the good news: No one is going to stop you from ordering seconds. So be like any good businessperson, and start small. Here’s exactly how expensive it really is whenever you go for the “bargain”:

  • 7-Eleven: Gulp to Double Gulp Coca-Cola Classic: 37 cents extra buys 450 more calories.
  • Cinnabon: Minibon to Classic Cinnabon: 48 more cents buys 370 more calories.
  • Movie theater: Small to medium unbuttered popcorn: 71 additional cents buys you 500 more calories.
  • Convenience store: Regular to “The Big One” Snickers: 33 more cents packs on 230 more calories.
  • McDonald’s: Quarter Pounder with Cheese to Medium Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal: An additional $1.41 gets you 660 more calories.
  • Subway: 6-inch to 12-inch Tuna Sub: $1.53 more buys 420 more calories.
  • Wendy’s: Classic Double with Cheese to Classic Double with Cheese Old Fashioned Combo Meal: $1.57 extra buys you 600 more calories.
  • Baskin Robbins: Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Kids’ Scoop, to Double Scoop: For another $1.62, you’ve added 390 calories.

The bottom line on all this? For just a hair more than 8 bucks, you’ve bought yourself an additional 3,620 calories. If you ate each of these once a week, and you were to switch to the smaller size each time—again, still all your favorite foods, just in a more reasonable size—you’d save about $417 a year. It’s not going to buy you a new car, but it could put you on a plane to the Bahamas. But far more important than that is what it will mean to your waistline, because in saving that $417, you’ll also save 188,240 calories in a year—enough to shave a whopping 54 pounds of flab off your body! (Hey, take the 400 bucks and buy some new pants!)

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