Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning...

Although I do know where I'll be tomorrow I also know that life has become extremely busy over the last few weeks. Rather than be a slave to the blog every day I am going to post a few times a week and work on my recipe website a bit more.

So the way I am going to keep my progress completely up to date is to make one of my weekly updates my weigh in and to share what I am eating by linking to the tool I am using. The tool is which I have mentioned before and here is my page with all of my stats on it. There is a link to my diet calendar which shows exactly what I am eating with all of the nutritional info. I enter all my data daily (except sometimes during the weekend) but it will give you a perfect understanding of what I am eating.

Let me say again this diet (which I am starting to not think of as a diet) is transformative. Every diet I have attempted before this was about sacrifice and hunger vs. cravings and desire which is why I was bound to fail as a lazy human. This new way of thinking leaves me satisfied, fulfilled and happy with my choices, it is forgiving (unlike Atkins which is you fall of the train you have to start induction all over again to get that fat burning engine fired up) and most of all it has variety and flexibility. Without those last two I would be sure to succumb to my food cravings, now I can succumb to a food craving (popcorn at the movies) I just make sure I have a healthier version to back it up (SmartFood or Orville Redenbacher's new ready to eat flavored popcorn's or fruit instead of cake, pie or candy). Since I know that I have choices, I can always choose the smart path.

So here is my weigh in for the week. 406lbs. I am getting excited, if I keep on going at this pace by my next weigh in I could be under 400 lbs (gotta be careful it is a four day weekend for me) and I haven't been under 400 lbs in 3 years.

I am a gadget and tool nut, I think for every problem there is a tool or gadget to solve it and I have found the tools for losing weight sensibly and easily. Let me share them with you here"

  • The Full Plate Diet: This is a not for profit group that has no agenda other than to see you healthy. The book is free at their site, they have a blog, doctors and nutrition folks backing it up. The science seems sound and the seed they plant with their plan is a simple one to adapt to your life and likes.
  • This is my tool site, diet calendar, weigh in, forums, exercise log, journal, buddy lists and a food nutritional database to rival them all. I can literally look up any restaurant, food item or brand maker and get the nutritional details I need to make smart choices. They also have an app that synchronizes with the site so I can look things up while out and keep track of my activity everywhere I go.
  • A good resource to find recipe ideas, I just scale them back to feed one or two.
  • Google. I don't even need to link we all know it's there. I have been using Google to research the food I eat, compare nutritional info find places with recipes and more. Use it. Always.
So the wheel may keep on turning but with my tools and faith I know where I will be tomorrow.

New foods I have discovered and tested.

Pita Pal Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Fujisan Edamame Salad. I had both of these with diced cucumber in a La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Multigrain wrap for lunch 336 Calories and 18g of Fiber yum.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Busy Week... Weird Day

Weird day today. I never made it to work.

Just minding my own business and driving to work when my passenger door window exploded. No reason, it just exploded. Glass all over the place, in my hair and clothes :P turned right around and came home. Scratch one vacation day and $216.00... oof.

The past few days have felt that way, busy and no end in sight. My computer is finally healthy, not only did I replace all my ram but I also reinstalled all my software, formatted my drives and flushed out all my cloud drives. Never do anything small I say :)

The one thing i have made time for is my routine. I'm averaging, 1400 to 1500 calories a day and moving constantly. I just requested a sit stand station for my desk so that I can spend some time standing while I work... burn calories. burn. I programmed my tablet to get me moving every hour on the hour and I now eschew the elevator for the stairs whenever I have to go to a meeting, come in for the day or go visit someone at their desk.

I just checked out the Orville Redenbacher's ready to eat popcorn which has the same Calories, Fat and fiber as the Smartfood popcorn both of these are suitable replacements for movie popcorn or home oil popped popcorn. I love that there are a few choices in my diet that allow me to "enjoy" the occasion without eating unhealthy.

Menu for today:

Breakfast - Peanut Butter on Toast with a sliced banana Calories 500, Fiber 15g

Snack - Zesty Bean Dip and Multigrain Chips Calories 210, Fiber 7g

Lunch - Refried Bean and Avacado Torta, Calories 378, Fiber 12g

Snack - Orville Redenbacher's Natural Popcorn (uh yeah that's two servings of popcorn), Calories 340, Fiber 4g
Dinner - Grilled Zucchini, Corn and Polenta, Calories 265, Fiber 6g

Calories = 1685
Fiber = 42g

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crazy days...

Spent much of my time at work today in a meeting, preparing for a meeting or preparing for the aftermath of a meeting :) I hate it when I'm at work and no work gets done. :P

Left work early... to go get my quarterly cleaning at the dentist. Run, run and run :P

I also started a new routine today to get some exercise often and always. I've been taking the stairs to get to the third floor when I come in each day. It was at first just to the second floor and then take the elevator. Now I go all the way and hit my desk out of breath but happy. I've also set the alarm on my tablet to go off every hour while I am at work. I call it the walk timer. When it goes off I get up. and take a fast (3.5, 4 mph) walk around the third floor. It takes me about 2.5 minutes and then I plop down and go back to work.

I just requested a sit/stand station for my cubical with the hope to work my way up to standing half my day while I work (you burn more calories standing than sitting) all in all I'm just trying to ramp up the go.

Got home and decided to weigh in a day early. 410 lbs. Down from 440 lbs I weighed back at the beginning of July. Some of that weight (about a third) I credit to my complete cold turkey on no more diet soda (about 40oz of Diet Mt. Dew a day) or diet candy no more sugar free, unnatural anything. The rest, just good old fashioned calories in vs. exercise out. According to my BMI and calories gadgets I am burning about 5500 - 6500 calories a day while only taking in about 1400 to 1600.

The cool part to all this is I am not hungry. Ever. Normally dieting = being hungry, sacrifice and lots of crappy diet substitute foods. Instead the majority of what I eat is just plain old natural foods and being satisfied when I'm done. Is there sacrifice? Yes. When i went out to dinner for my anniversary rather than getting a patty melt and fries, I had a mahi mahi fish taco, a salad and a few cheese sticks (a small rich item), Was I unhappy with the choice? No. It wasn't diet food by any means, it was just healthy food and a better choice.

So here are some good choices I made today :)


Breakfast - Kashi GoLean All Natural Hearty Cinnamon and Honey hot cereal, half a cup of 2% milk and a small banana. Calories 344, Fiber 7g

Snack - 1 cup of European grapes (green and black) Calories 182, Fiber 2.5

Lunch - Chili Torta (one cup of vegetarian chili, 1/4 cup of no-fat re fried beans, 1/4 cup minced red onion and a 1/4 of a french baguette, about 5") Cut the baguette and gut it (remove most of the soft inner bread) and then fill it with the other ingredients. Calories 397, Fiber 15g

Snack - none was at the dentist :P

Dinner - Zucchini Pizza - (1 small zucchini split and cored and mince the core, 1/2 cup of grape tomato's, 1/3 cup of mozzarella diced, 2tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar) marinade the tomato's, zucchini core and mozzarella in 1 tsp of olive oil and vinegar. brush the other olive oil on the zucchini halve and broil the zucchini under 500 degree heat until browned and a bit crispy. Then top with mixture and place under broiler again until it is all melty goodness. Calories 266, Fiber 3.9

Snack - Pink Lady Apple Calories 62, Fiber 4

Calories = 1189
Fiber = 32

Monday, August 20, 2012

Talk About The Passion

I've never been hungry in my life. Ever. Food in America for most of us is something we take for granted, in fact we've taken food for granted for such a long time that we, as a nation, are fat. I've started a blog about trying to NOT be fat and it struck me this weekend that my "problem" is very much an issue for those of us who "have".

I was listening to my music this weekend and "Talk About The Passion" popped up in my queue. The song was written by R.E.M. back in the early 80's about hunger and feeding the poor and I guess it just struck me at the right time, as I sat there planning my menu for the week, creating a shopping list and generally spending time thinking about food. Food I knew I could just run to the store and pull off the shelf at any time without a lot of care whether I could pay for it.

When I lost my job back in 2008 I figured I'd be back to work within weeks, 10 months later I took what I could get, it was less pay ($20K less a year) but it was a job. Even during that time off, when we shopped frugally and watched our bank account dwindle to nothing we were never hungry. Not once did my kids go to bed unfed or start the day without a full stomach. Funny part was I even remember donating to the local food bank that Christmas but the food bank donations have always been a once or twice a year thing for us only when we are in the "seasonal giving spirit" we just stop thinking about it otherwise.

With the state of our economy and the fact that real unemployment is hovering around 14% (remember the government approved number is hiding the fact that many have been moved off the roles and into disability or are off the roles altogether) it is time that I not only fix myself but start giving what I can to those around me who need help.

So each week that we go shopping we are going to buy one bag of groceries for our local food bank, mission or shelter and make shopping day also giving day. I'd like to encourage everyone else to do the same if you can.

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." James 2: 14-18

Menu for today:

Breakfast - 1 cup of Kashi GoLean, half a cup of 2% milk and a cup of mixed berries. Calories 371, Fiber 17g

Snack - 1 medium pear. Calories 96, Fiber 5.1

Lunch - My version of The Full Plate Diet's Vegetarian Chili (I'll print the recipe tonight) on two Mission Ancient Grains Tortillas and a carrot. Calories 402, Fiber 20.7

Snack - 1 medium orange. Calories 62, Fiber 3.1

Dinner - Tofu Noodle Soup - Calories 399, Fiber 12g

Optional snack - Smartfood White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn (this product tastes great and it is air popped so much lower in fat and calories) Calories 160, Fiber 2g

Calories = 1432
Fiber = 59g

Friday, August 17, 2012

There is a tool for any job...

...and I've got mine. I am a nut for tools, I need tools like some people need a cup of coffee in the morning. I feel no job is well done until you have every tool possible, in the world, at your finger tips.

I discovered a few tools over the past few weeks that have been helping me calculate my nutritional intake. I think last night I found the holy grail of weight loss tools. It is a one two punch combination of an app for my tablet and a website that stays synchronized with the app. So I can enter my data from the app or the web.

That app? Calorie Counter from the FatSecret website. How awesome is it you ask? It's AWESOME! And yes it is shout worthy here is a run down of what the app does.

  • Enter all your personal details, weight, height, age, sex (why do I always feel the need to chuckle when I see that word? Damn you Austin Powers)
  • Enter the food that you have eaten for the day:
    • You can scan bar codes in to do this and select serving sizes
    • You can search by category, alphabetical or brand
    • You can look up restaurants and choose menu items  to add to your daily food journal
    • You can manually enter the data
  • The food listings have complete nutritional information Calories, Fat, Fiber and the rest
  • It compares your intake to your personal details and lets you know how many calories you took in versus how many calories you burned.
    • This part is awesome. It lets you enter exercise activities, length of time and rate (fast - slow) and then calculates you calories burned for the day.
  • It lets you save a specific meal that you might use over and over again so you can just select that rather than build it every time you eat that meal.
  • It synchronizes with the website so you don't have to enter all this data on your tablet or phone.
  • It shows you a daily summary keeping you up to date on your progress.
  • You can export the data off the phone or the site into a spread sheet if you're like me and feel the need to crunch the numbers.
This app and website will make my recipe building so much easier and will provides enough info to help me track and plan my progress towards a healthier me.

Menu for today:

Breakfast - Kashi GoLean with a small banana and 1/2 cup of 2% milk. Calories 349, Fiber 10.6g (this number has changed a bit using the new tool seems to have refined my totals)

Snack - One medium pear, Calories 96, Fiber 5.1

Lunch - Mikes Bag Lunch, Calories 437, Fiber 18.5g

Snack - Hummus and Multigrain Cracker ( 2 tbs of hummus and 1oz/10 crackers) Calories 75, Fiber 3.5

Dinner - Chicken Tortilla Soup Calories 353, Fiber 6.5g

Calories = 1428
Fiber = 45

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Anniversary today. Married 25 years ago to the love of my life. That 25 years brought us two great kids, a ton of good times and some bad times (it wouldn't be life without both) but overall it's been a great 25 years.

Of all the things I love about my wife it is her patience with me as it pertains to my weight loss, she has never criticized nor made me feel less for the weight I carry. Her quite encouragement and willingness to listen to me wax poetic about my efforts to drop the weight forever has provided me with the impetus to "Keep Moving Forward".

Tonight we are going out to enjoy some quiet time without the kids and just relax in each others company.

With that in mind you wouldn't believe how much thought and preparation I put into choosing our restaurant for the night. It had to be a great place she would enjoy but it also had to be a place I could get a handle on what the menu had to offer and the nutritional info that they posted. Here is a word to the wise for restaurants in general, menu's are great but in our new health conscious world it might be smart to post your nutritional data for those menu items. I ended up choosing a place I where I could find posted nutritional info and the rest will just have to wait.

I found a place where I can get a good healthy meal (although I have a feeling it will involve me bringing leftovers home) and stay true to my diet.

So here is my menu for today:

Breakfast - Oatmeal with fruit and a bit of 2% Calories 290, Fiber 5g

Snack - 1 cup of Cherries, Calories 74, Fiber 2.5

Lunch - Veggies and Turkey on Dave's Killer 21 Whole Grain Bread and a cup of Cherries, (This is essentially my Bag Lunch but without the avocado as I didn't have one ripe enough to cream up today, and my cherries were at their end eat em today or toss them) Calories  394, Fiber 13g

Snack - 1 medium carrot - Calories 35, Fiber 2

Dinner - Grilled Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos from BJ's Restaurant Calories 775, Fiber 11.5g and Sat Fat (because I didn't make it) 6g

Total (if I eat everything which I won't for dinner)

Calories = 1598
Fiber = 34g (not optimal but I'll figure it out)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

OK who turned up the heat

The last two weeks have been off and on warm with this week heading towards the mid 90's I thought I'd share what I do on hot evenings and yet still eat healthy. I used to just grab something quick (some forzen item and nuke it) and flee to the master bedroom (the only room in the house with an AC in the window) to eat.

I've been stocking my fridge with a variety of vegetables giving me many options for a healthy meal. The most time consuming part chopping, dicing and prep I try and do in the morning for whatever meal I plan for the evening. You just pop your prepped veggies in a bowl, cover and stick them in the fridge waiting for your return. I do this with polenta also, make a day or two before in the morning, set it, then cut into serving portions size, box it up and stick it in the fridge.

On hot nights I'll throw some polenta on a grill while I cook something else for the family and serve that up with a quick pickle of veggies or maybe a modified tzatziki (creamy cucumber side). Sometimes I'll whip up a quick 1/2 sandwhich and some salad, or stuff a pita pocket with my veggies with a little hummus. Basically anything that works and keeps me from slaving in a hot kitchen.

Here is my recipe for Tzatziki:

•1 tbsp. lemon juice
•1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
•2 cloves garlic, minced finely
•1/2 tsp. salt
•1/4 tsp. white pepper
•1 cup low fat Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%), strained
•1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (basically 2%)
•2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
•1 tsp. chopped fresh dill

Peel the cucumbers, slice them down the middle (long ways) scoop or cut the seeds out (I use a melon ball tool), slice lengthwise again turning each half into 3 long "spears". Dice these spears and place in a colander over a bowl sprinkle with the salt and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours (this removes all the liquid).

Take the Greek yogurt out of its container, place it in a piece of cheesecloth in a colander over a bowl and leave for at least 3 hours (this drains all of the liquid out).

When ready squeeze the yogurt in the cheesecloth once to remove any lingering moisture. Place in bowl and whisk together with sour cream, pepper, garlic, dill and lemon juice.

Add cucumber, stir and then refrigerate for 20 minutes to let flavors incorporate.

You can fill a pita pocket with this, use it as a dip, or even as a side. The calories for this only add up to 261 so it works perfectly with half a whole grain pita for a meal or part of a meal.

My Menu for today:

Breakfast - Peanut Butter and Banana Toast, 2 slices of Dave Killer Bread (21 Grain), 2 tbs peanut butter and one small banana sliced up. Calories 500, Fiber 14.6g

Snack - Carrot Sticks, 1 medium carrot sliced up (I was going to have hummus with this but ended up to close to lunch to want the extra calories) Calories 35, Fiber 2g

Lunch - Mediterranean Salad with a Pita Pocket, Calories 507, Fiber 17.6g

Snack - Orange, Calories 62, Fiber 3.1g

Dinner - Chicken Tortilla Soup, Calories 355.5, Fiber 8.5g

Calories = 1459.5
Fiber = 45.8