Monthly Archives: July 2012

Favorite Healthy Snacks…or “Mini Meals”

I’ve been working hard to eat less at each meal, and then have healthy snacks, or mini meals, in between meals. I’ve been trying to come up with good snacks that have protein and usually some vegetable or fruit. Here’s some I’ve come up with so far:

  • Carrots & hummus
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with salsa verde (I love the one from Trader Joe’s), cucumber cut into “chips” to dip
  • Nuts – my current favorites are almonds and pistachios. Need to be really careful with portion control on these though, so I almost always weigh them
  • String cheese stick and fruit
  • Spinach bolanigarlic mint cheese, cilantro pesto, sliced tomato – these might be hard to find in other areas, they are from a local Afghan food maker

Anyone have any other suggestions?


Weight Loss Forums Will Make You Crazy

This is what I have decided. They will make you completely and totally crazy, until you don’t know if you are eating too little, too much, the wrong foods, not enough protein, not enough carbs, and on and on and on. Crazy-making, seriously.

I’ve been reading the forums on My Fitness Pal (MFP), and I think maybe that’s why I haven’t posted in a few days, because I was slowly going nutso. I think I have found my sanity again. The thing I was trying to figure out, and getting so crazy about, was the right amount of calories I should be eating. The way MFP works is that it tells you how many calories you can eat in a day in order to lose a certain amount of weight per week. Then if you exercise, it adds those calories to your total, so in theory you can “eat back your exercise calories” and still lose the amount of weight you wanted to that week. It makes perfect sense. However, I was getting impatient, and thinking that if I didn’t eat back those exercise calories I would lose weight even faster. The thing a lot of people are saying on MFP is that if you don’t eat enough, you can go into “starvation mode.” People seem to interpret that in very different ways. And some people don’t seem to believe it at all. However, I think there is some truth to it, that if you don’t give your body enough food, it may slow down your metabolism in order to compensate. I went a few days not eating back any of my exercise calories, so having pretty low intake vs. expenditure days, and my weight loss slowed down. I was also pretty hungry, so that really should have been enough of a clue.

The conclusion I have come to is to listen to my body…what I’ve been trying to do this whole time, I think I just forgot. I’ll eat when I am hungry–and try to only eat when I’m hungry–and eat healthy food as much as possible. I’ll try to not go over my MFP calories + exercise calories goal, but otherwise not worry about it too much. Most days, that seems to mean eating some of my exercise calories back, but not all of them. It’s been working the past few days, the scale has been going down again, so I’ll consider it working…until it’s not. Then I’ll start slowly going crazy all over again.

On another note, I’ve completed Couch to 5K Week 2, Day 1. It was 6 iterations of 90 seconds of runnings followed by 2 minutes of walking. Not too bad, though I ended up running up hill twice, so that wasn’t much fun. I also found out that Jog Log is not using the heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned, which is disappointing, since that is the reason I bought it. The count was way off, saying I burned 580 calories in 30 minutes, I think because of the way they are using elevation to calculate calories burned. Their customer service was very nice about it, and they might add it in a future release, so I’ll keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I downloaded a Couch to 5K podcast which I’ll use with MapMyRun tomorrow and see how it goes.

Housework? No, It’s Exercise!

Okay, not really, but I once read an article about not sitting on  your butt so much, and that even getting up and doing housework was burning some calories. So now I feel like I’m doing something good for my health when I do the dishes and laundry. I’m certainly doing something good for the running of my household.

We had some people over for the 4th of July yesterday, so I have had a lot of opportunity to do dishes today. And after eating a little bit outside my usual calorie count yesterday–someone brought homemade pie, so I am forgiving myself for it–I need to burn all the extra calories I can. The scale hasn’t moved in a couple of days, but when I look at my past history I can see that I’ve lost 2 pounds since one week ago today, so I’m definitely not going to worry about it yet.

I did do a lot of real exercise today. I did the Couch to 5K workout, Week 1, Day 2, which is the same as Day 1. This time, I did it in my own neighborhood, which means a lot of hills. I also did it faster than last time. Even with both of those factors, I was surprised that the Jog Log app said I burned about twice the amount of calories as I did on Day 1, 606 compared to 293. Not sure I trust it, but I don’t base how much I eat in a day on how many calories I burn anyway, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. When I got home, I also did the Zumba Toning DVD, to work my arms. I can definitely feel the jogging in my legs, mostly in my thighs. I definitely don’t enjoy jogging as much as I do Zumba, but it is fun to have the goal of getting through the program.

Tonight I’m going to see a movie, Magic Mike, with a couple of girlfriends. First, we’re going to get some sushi, so it should be pretty easy to eat a healthy dinner. As I’ve said in a previous post, I like to have popcorn with a movie, but movie theater popcorn is apparently terrible for you. So this time, I made my own popcorn at home, put on a little bit of olive oil and salt, and I’ll hide it in my purse. Shhh, don’t tell.

Couch to 5K

I’ve had this feeling in the past couple of weeks that I would like to try jogging. I have no idea why, it is never something I wanted to do in the past. I think partly, it is so I can run with my kids at a park without feeling stupid. Also, people talk so highly about it, I want to see if I can figure out what all the buzz is about. I have heard that I should be concerned about my knees, or my ankles, but I figure if something starts hurting, I’ll stop…or at least take a break, and just go back to doing Zumba every day.

As I was doing some research, I found out about the Couch to 5K program. It starts you off gradually, combination of walking and running, and eventually you can run a 5K (3 miles). There are a bunch of iPhone apps that will coach you–i.e., tell you when to start and stop running–but I only found one that would also keep track of my heart rate and calorie burn. It is called Jog Log, I used it today and it worked great. You can make your own play list of music to play during your jog/walk, it does GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, calorie burn, and a very nice voice prompts you to run or walk.

I also found a nice place for my inaugural jog, as I didn’t want to start in my neighborhood. I live on a bit of a hill, and didn’t want to add the ups and downs when I am just getting started. I went to the Redwood Shores section of the SF Bay Trail. It was lovely, right along a marshy part of the bay.

So, the first day went great, it was a really easy start. Five minutes of warm up, then 8 repeats of jogging for 1 minute and walking for 1 1/2 minutes, then 5 minutes of cool down. Do I love jogging? Not yet, but maybe I could, who knows. The first day of the program is only about 25 minutes, and mostly walking, so I still came home and did Zumba for 45 minutes.

Down another pound this morning, which now puts me officially 1/4 of the way to my goal! Woohoo! It is all going great so far, I’m realizing exercise can be fun, which is just weird. I went out shopping yesterday because some of my pants were falling off of me, and bought a pair of pants 3 sizes smaller than when I started, which was pretty awesome. And I feel really good, which is the most important part.

Veggie Omelet = Yum!

Made a veggie omelet with an egg, a bit of milk, a slice of havarti, the leftover mushrooms and summer squash from last night’s dinner, and a tomato. It was so good, the perfect lunch for a cloudy day.


So, yesterday I posted that I hadn’t gained any weight from my splurge on Friday night. Last night I was wondering out loud with my husband whether it would show up that fast, since food takes a while to get broken down and used by your body. Was there a chance that all that food hadn’t gotten “processed” yet? I think I got my answer today, as the scale went up 1/2 pound when I weighed in this morning.  Since I had a great day yesterday, I can only think that it is from Friday night. I am more intrigued by that than demotivated. I’ll just keep on keeping on, and I know I’ll be losing again soon. That confidence in myself is a new, and great, feeling.