Sunday, November 30, 2003

Day 6 & 7

I'm happy to report that the weekend did not totally kick my ass. This is actually the best weekend I've had in a while as far as food consumption goes.

I wasn't feeling that great this weekend so I did do any proper working out. I never feel badly about taking a weekend off from exercise because I do so well through the week. Anyway, we went out for dinner last night and had a really nice Chinese meal. I'd eaten breakfast late and skipped lunch so I kept things under control calorie wise. Today, we made a "big breakfast" at home. It was really delicious, filling and low in fat. We had "break free" eggs, turkey sausage and home made whole wheat bread. My hunny even made potatoes with lots of garlic and fresh dill. It's amazing how you don't miss the butter and fat when you have lots of good fresh herbs around. It was so good and filling that again, we didn't bother with lunch. We're neither of us all that hungry right now so we'll probably have a very light dinner tonight.

The first week went really well. My goal for this week was to not show a gain this weekend (because of TOM -- I always gain a couple of pounds and then lose it later on). This week, I met my goal and didn't show a gain at weigh-in yesterday! Also, I exercised Monday to Friday before work. I didn't do as well with my water intake as I'd have liked but I'm finding it harder to do this now that the colder weather is here. It's pretty chilly in my office so it's a struggle to get the extra water in. I'm working on it though, never fear. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how week one of my "Holiday Challenge" went. I'm sure that it will go even better next week. I know that I can lose the 10 pounds by Christmas day because I'm off to such a great start. Yay me!!

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Day 5

Yes, I did get through Day 5, never fear!! I just didn't post yesterday because I felt like hammered crap all day.

When I got up yesterday, I had a headache and just felt generally yucky. I did a really light workout when I got up and managed to get showered, dressed and into work. By 10 a.m. though, I was feeling really really bad and I went home. The rest of the day, I just sort of slept and wandered around the house. By late afternoon I was feeling much better and today I'm doing okay. It sort of felt like part flu, part allergies. I had a headache and my eyes were driving me crazy, like they do when the pollen is high.

I was quite proud of myself yesterday too, btw. Usually when I'm home sick, I get bored and I start to snack. Yesterday though, I had had my regular breakfast and coffee. About an hour after I was home, I got kind of hungry so I had what I would have had if I was at work, a banana. Around 1, I had lunch (a TGTB frozen meal) and an apple. I didn't snack for the rest of the day and even though we had pizza at dinner, I kept what I was eating in check and remained on plan.

So far, today is going well too. Weekends and days off from work are the toughest for me but I've been keeping busy today getting my Christmas decorations up. I'm keeping positive that I'll be able to remain on plan for the rest of the weekend. I weighed in this morning too by the way. I maintained this week which meant that I may have actually had a loss ...I always gain a little when it's TOM and that all started up today so...I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll actually be down a bit next weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2003

...Day 4

Woohoo...I've got day four behind me. It was another perfectly on plan day. I've been a bit crampy today and this afternoon, I felt like I was starving to death (for about 10 minutes -- don't know quite what it was but it passed!). Tonight I feel good, tired but good. The week's been busy at work and I'm pre-TOM right now so I'm kind of dragging my bum tonight.

This morning though, I got up and worked out. I love my morning workouts. I like getting up before the birds, getting into my exercise gear, watching the previous day's Dr Phil and just going. Work has been kind of stressful just recently and I know that I'm coping a lot better than I would have because of the exercise.

So, other than eating and exercising being on plan today (my what a good girl am I!), there's not much to report. Oh, wait, I reorganized the shelves in my kitchen above the washer and dryer tonight -- that's something I've been avoiding doing for ages and ages so I guess that could be considered 'newsworthy.' Demented and sad, but newsworthy!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Into the Groove...Day 3

Boy, what listening to Christmas music all day won't do for a girl!! That's right, I'll admit it, I've been listening to some of my all-time favourite Christmas tunes through my headset this week: "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues (with Kirsty MacColl), "I want an alien for Christmas" by the Fountains of Wayne, "Santa Claus Is Smoking Reefer" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.... It's made me chuckle and smile while I've been plugging away at my desk all week.

I think that it's helped to improve my mood slightly, or my continuing Holiday Challenge has anyway. I just feel gosh-darned good this week. Today was the third day of the challenge and I'm feeling great. I had a fabulous workout again this morning. Now that my body has adjusted to my new medication and I'm actually sleeping well again, I'm putting a lot more into my exercise sessions. I'm getting a lot more out of it too, I'm feeling very strong this week.

My food intake was right on track today as well. The one big thing that I could improve upon is my water consumption. I've been working at increasing it and today was a bit better than yesterday but still not where it should be, particularly with the PMS thing and all. I know that TOM is just around the corner and I'll be super happy if, on Saturday, I just don't see a water gain. If I can avoid a TOM induced gain this week, I'll know that the challenge is working.

By the way, Denise, thanks for the nice comment about the challenge. I'm so glad to hear that you'll be joining me in it!! If we can lose weight during the holidays, there isn't anything that we can't do!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

...Day 2

Fortunately, blogger is behaving tonight. I'm not sure if they were having server issues or if it was just my isp but things were definitely wonky last night.

Today was another great day. I got up at a decent time and had a terrific workout. I rode over 7 miles on my recumbent bike. The particular program that I ride on it is pretty gruelling, most of it is at 6 or 7 resistance. I try to maintain a constant speed through the whole ride and it's been really challenging, particularly on this longer program. Overall, I'm really pleased with my progress.

Today my eating was good. At work this morning, we had a birthday thing for one of the girls in our office. We had a meeting scheduled and they had booked a coffee service for it. Unfortunately, a couple of the participants weren't able to make it so we postponed it. The food had already arrived and, as luck would have it, there was a birthday in the office. The service had coffee, tea, bottled water and juice and the most delicious smelling pastries: muffins, danish, croissants. Even though I'd had breakfast, my nose was trying to tell my stomach to have something, because the aroma was heavenly. I was strong though and I'm happy to report that I stuck to my black coffee (that I'd brought with me) and stayed away from the pastries. Most of the time, I find it really easy to be "strong" at work in situations like this. Perhaps because PMS is just around the corner, it was more of a struggle today. I'm just happy that I survived it.

After work tonight, we hit No Frills. We were out of almost everything. I was really happy to see that Source yogurt was on for $3.97 for the 16 pack. I just love that stuff and you absolutely cannot beat that price. We're all stocked up on healthy stuff again, lots of fruit and veg. Tomorrow we take our little old for his shopping and I'll get a few more things then. He likes to shop at Loblaws but I just will not pay their meat and produce prices. I do have to get a few staples there though, things that I just can't get at No Frills. On the way home, we stopped off for an unplanned dinner out. We ended up at Denny's and I'm happy to say that I did okay as far as my dinner goes. I avoided stuff with cheese or too much fat and my calories worked out just fine again today.

With two solid, good days under my belt, I'm feeling really good about this Christmas Challenge thing. I just feel so good right now, there is no way that I can't succeed!!
I'm not sure why but I couldn't get on Blogger last, here is Monday evening's post:

Holiday Challenge: Day 1

I’ve officially started my self-imposed challenge: to lose 10 pounds by Christmas Day. Given that it’s a month from Christmas, I don’t think that this is unreasonable. I’m confident that I can do it. I may even surpass my goal, I’m not getting a head of myself, just saying, ya know?

So, today I kept perfectly on plan all day with my eating. No stray cookies after dinner for this chickie! I carefully tracked each calorie, just like when I first started out back in January. It wasn’t difficult; in fact, it was easier than the way I’ve been tracking things lately. I feel pretty good about it right now. I’ve left myself enough calories for a snack after I’ve typed this up. I generally try not to snack in the evenings but this is a healthy snack and we had dinner pretty early tonight.

Also, I exercised this morning. I didn’t do it for a long time or, particularly well, truth be told. What happened was that I slept in a bit and was rushing a bit. I was actually up really early but fell back asleep. I should never do that because it’s always so much harder to get going once you’ve fallen back. If it happens again tomorrow, I’ll just get up at 4:30 and get moving then. Getting up at 5:45 is just too late!

I know it’s just one day but it’s been a good one and I feel happy that it’s behind me now!

Now, here is today’s Progress Prompt:

People say that losing weight too quickly can be damaging for your health and your long-term success, why? There are many merits to a slow and steady weight-loss, what are the biggest ones for you?

I think that there is a lot of truth to this. I think that losing weight too quickly can cause a shock to your system which is never good. Personally, I know that the slower I lose weight, the better shot I have at keeping it off. In the past, I’d lose a chunk of weight quickly and then gain it back twice as fast. I never gave myself the time to develop good habits; I’d just use short cuts (read slim fast, cabbage soup, etc.) instead of exercising and eating better.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to keep a significant amount of weight off. I’ve lost over 70 pounds since January and have kept it off. Sure, I would have liked to have lost a lot more than that by now but I know that I’m doing this in a healthy fashion. I see my doctor once a month so I have someone else keeping an eye on me and monitoring my health as I continue to lose weight. I’ve been stalled for a few weeks now but the big thing for me was that I didn’t gain everything back. I just stalled. I feel good about that, not great but good. Now, I’m ready to get back on my slow and steady ride. I want to move my body, everyday, and fuel it with healthy stuff. I’ve said this enough times that I know you’re all sick of reading it but this is not a “diet” that I’ll stop doing eventually, this is something that I’ll have to do for the rest of my life. I know that for me, the pace at which I’ve been losing weight is perfectly reasonable and safe and, most importantly, healthy.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

So, I ended up taking the whole weekend off from properly exercising. I feel great though. Lately, the weekend's have been a complete blow-out for me. I've been maintaining but just barely. This weekend, I had a few "treats" but didn't go nuts. I managed to keep pretty busy around the house. I mean, no doubt, we were vegging out but I puttered while I vegged. I sorted out piles of videos and CD's from around the stereo, packed up piles of knick-knacks that I've been wanting to chuck out, that sort of thing.

I'm treating tomorrow as if it were January 6 again. My goal is to remain perfectly on program from now until Christmas. I'd LOVE to lose 10 pounds before the end of the year and I don't think that it's an unreasonable goal. I'm feeling stronger and more energetic than I have felt in a good long while and I'm going to use that feeling to get my butt moving again!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I didn't end up working out today at all. What I did do though, was something I haven't done in a long long time, I slept in. Really late, well for me anyway...After 9 a.m. actually. It felt terrific. I think that all of the not-sleeping I did, combined with my work schedule over the past month, had kicked my ass. My focus for this weekend is to get my laundry done and to rest. So far, so good. The laundry is 1/2 done and I'm really resting up. Eating was pretty on track for today too. So, the weekend is basically going really well so far!! Yay!!

Friday, November 21, 2003

I totally kicked ass today!! I feel so good!!

I had a great day at work. It was busy but not as stressful as it has been recently. This morning I flew out of bed and had a terrific sweaty workout. I kept my eating on plan all day and am heading off to bed on a high note. I'm really pleased with myself this week.

Tomorrow is my regular break day as far as workouts go but I think I'll try to exercise anyway. I want to keep building on the good stuff that's been happening this week (and, if I exercise on the weekend, I'm less likely to munch out too much -- weekends can be just brutal!)!!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I'm actually feeling good today. I mean, really good. Yesterday was a brutal day at work and I felt really stressed and upset all day. Today, the atmosphere is a lot better and so is my mood.

Last night we took our little old guy out for dinner and we ended up at East Side Mario's. I did okay though, didn't pig out on that bread or anything. When we got home and I was changing into my knock-around-the-house clothes, I took a good look at the sweater I had worn all day. It was a pretty maroon cotton cardigan that I'd had for a while. I hadn't worn it yet this year and I remember last year, the buttons were almost popping on it. Yesterday, it fit me a little big. The sleeves seemed a bit long and I definitely had room to move in it. When I looked at the tag, I noticed that it was a 4x! Most of my tops are 5x, I hadn't even realized that this one was a size smaller than I had been wearing...and it was big on me!!

That felt so good...and it sort of kicked me in the butt. I've been struggling with a lot of things lately and I've gotten kind of lazy with my program. I know that the only reason I'm not gaining any weight right now is because of my workouts. I'm getting really tired of being stuck at the same weight and I want to see the scale move (not to mention see a 3x sweater be too big on me). I'm refocused now and I am going to really try hard to work my program and not let myself get lazy. I've got a long way to go to get to my goal and I want to keep that shrinking feeling going!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hump day, already. So far it's been a bit of a blur, and it's raining. Weirdness abounds today. On Sunday night, I started taking that medication my doctor gave me last week. On Monday and Tuesday mornings, I felt a little hungover. She told me that I might feel this way. I also had a dry mouth, another symptom that she said would likely happen. This morning though, I felt really good when I got up. I found that on Sunday and Monday nights I slept so hard that it was tough to get moving in the morning. I was physically very stiff, particularly my lower back. This morning though, I felt normal and refreshed. I hadn't felt that in the morning in a very long time. I still woke up a couple of times in the night, but just briefly. Long enough to look at the clock and see what time it was but not long enough to disrupt my sleep too much.

So far this week, I've done well with my water intake. Partly because I'm making an actual effort to drink it more and partly because of the dry mouth thing. My workouts haven't been fabulously glorious sweat-fests but I've been doing them so that counts for something. Eating has been okay. I'm still recovering from all the restaurant eating we did on the weekend. Overall, at mid-week, it's not going too badly.

Oh, by the way, did any of you watch Dr. Phil on Monday and/or Tuesday? This week, they were threatening to vote someone off of the weight-loss challenge. Fortunately they didn't in the end. It was sort of lame and anti-climatic but I was kind of happy to see everyone get to stay. One very cool thing did come out of the show though, this week's winning team got their choice of 3 different Precor machines. Apparently, at home participants can get in a draw to win one too (either a treadmill, elliptical or a bike). I may have to check it out and see if I can qualify for the draw. What a cool prize to win!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I didn't get around to posting on Sunday or Monday because the days were kind of foggy.

On Saturday, we went up to Toronto for this big event I was working at. I started the day by getting up around 4 a.m. and wasn't able to get back to sleep. We left here around 10:30 a.m. and got to the hotel at around 1 p.m. so we made very good time. Traffic was light, the day went along pretty smoothly. Everything at the event went fairly smoothly and I was pretty pleased with myself as far as my energy level and stamina went. There was a lot of walking and running and moving of furniture and boxes and I handled it all really well. I remember last year it was a real struggle to do what I had to do but this year, it was a snap. It's at times like that when I really notice the benefits of my workouts.

Eating was pretty okay even though we had lunch at Mr GreenJeans. My hunny had driven up to meet me and I had promised to take him out for soup after the event was over. He's originally from Toronto and really misses living in a city with a proper China Town. So, at 2 a.m., we traipsed over to the Gold Stone for some congee. It was SOOO good. It had been ages since I had some. You can't get it here where we live. It was a little late to be having dinner but I really didn't care. It was such good food and we really enjoyed it never mind that it was the middle of the night. We got back to the hotel at a little after 3 a.m. but didn't get much sleep. I was happy to get up and out in the morning and head back to town. We had originally thought about staying over an extra night to visit some friends and do some Christmas shopping but the Santa Claus Parade was on and we were totally exhausted and just wanted to get home.

I had decided at the beginning of the weekend that I wasn't going to worry too much about what I was eating that weekend. The main reason being that I didn't have a lot of control over most of the meals we would be eating. This morning, I tallied everything up and discovered that my portion control was pretty good, calorie-wise, and that I didn't actually go too far overboard.

Now, a day late, here's this week's Progress Prompt:

Have you ever been discriminated against because of your weight? What opportunities have you missed out on because of your size?

Oh for sure I have been. I'm sure that there were jobs that I didn't get because I was overweight. I know that when I was in school, there were things that I didn't do because of my weight. Although I loved swimming, I deliberately missed the swimming component of Grade 12 gym to avoid having to change into a swim suit in front of my average weight classmates. I could make a list of things as long as your arm of things that I didn't do back then, because I felt that I was too fat (or embarrassedembarassed by my fat) to do them.

As an adult, my attitude has changed and I try not to let my weight slow me down. It's definitely been easier this year, since I've become more active and have lost some of it. I no longer allow other people's prejudices about fat people make me feel bad about myself. I know who I am and what am I and if someone is going to judge me soley on how much I weigh or what size I wear, that is their problem, not mine.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I've been up for a while. I was completely exhausted when I went to bed last night but had a hard time falling asleep. I woke up ridiculously early this morning yet can't start getting packed ready to go away because my honey is still sleeping and I don't want to wake him up. I did get my list together though so packing will be a breeze. Luckily, I'm not one of those "takes everything but the kitchen sink" type of girls. Afterall, at the very most, we'll be gone 2 days.

I'm leaving for Toronto in a few hours. I'll be working an event there tonight and should have slept in a bit this morning. I won't be getting to bed before 3 a.m. tonight, I know. I'll probably sleep tomorrow. My honey is driving up to Toronto this afternoon so we'll see each other after the event's over. We have stuff to do in TO tomorrow and might stay over another night. It'll depend on the weather.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend being over. I want my regular routine back and I want to be able to sleep, properly, again. I'm going to do my best to keep my eating on track this weekend as best as I can. My boss and I are taking ourselves out for a nice lunch when we get into town (because we'll be working through dinnertime and the only thing we'll be able to eat is pizza). I'm thinking that I'll be too busy for most of the weekend to do too much damage. I haven't jumped on the scales yet this morning but I'm being optimistic (I'm always optimistic).

Hope you all have a great weekend. I'll see you when I get home!

Friday, November 14, 2003

I'm taking a break for lunch right now, as I type this. This is the first time in a couple of days that I've actually remembered to stop and take a break. The event that we're working on is tomorrow so things are winding down as we tie up all the loose ends.

I feel pretty good about the fact that I've exercised every day this week. I realized this morning that the time I take in the morning to exercise, eat breakfast and get ready for work is the only time in the day that I have to myself. It relaxes me and fortifies me for my day.

Recently, we have had a lot of stressful stuff going on in our lives. Ordinarily, you have one or two areas that are stressful and the rest is smooth sailing, lately, it seems like family commitments, work stuff, finances...Everything's going to pot. Well not to pot exactly, we're sorting stuff out, we're just in a really messy transitional period at the moment. When I had my doctor's appointment on Wednesday, I sort of dumped on her and told her about all the stuff that has been going on recently. The result of all this stress stuff is that I've not been sleeping much and I've not lost any weight in the past month. I know that I've been eating too much in the evenings and the weekends are quite bad. She and I are both concerned that this stuff might cause me to undo my weight-loss. I know that the only reason I haven't gained a bunch of it back is because of the exercise.

She's prescribed a very mild anti-depressant for me. I haven't started taking it yet because she is suggesting that I try it and see if it helps me sleep. She recommended that I take it on a night that I don't have to be up the next morning, just in case. It wasn't something that I thought about talking to her about prior to my appointment but when I read up on the pill, and it's uses, I realized that it would be a good thing to try. We'll see how it goes! Once we get our plans sorted out as far as our extended family, finances and jobs go, things will sail much more smoothly for me. Getting decent sleep every night will help keep me strong until life gets less nutty.

My new years resolution for 2003 was about minimization. I wanted to clear out the clutter in our lives, in our homes, in our diet, everywhere. I see now that 2004 is going to be a continuation of what I started this year. I feel a lot better today than I have all week. I think that actually having made a plan is a big part of it. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and am really focused on my goals now. Not just for weight-loss but for everything. Perspective rocks!!

Now, 2 days late, here's the Wednesday Weigh-In for this week:

Where do you stand on weight related surgery? Are you in favor of it? Why or why not? Do you agree with it in certain circumstances and what are those circumstances? Would do you it if you had to?

I don't believe that WLS is a good thing, not at all. At my starting weight, I weighed a lot more than many people I hear about who have WLS. Surgery does not address the reason you got fat in the first place. I know that you have to be counselled before surgery but I don't know that they actually treat you for whatever is making you fat.

A good friend of mine had WLS several years ago. She lost a lot of weight very quickly and looked fabulous. Slowly though, the weight crept back on and her metabolism was a complete mess. Her meals must be really small because her stomach capacity is nill; she often eats 8 or 9 small meals a day and has had a tonne of health problems as a result of her surgery. I have read a tonne of horror stories about the health risks of the surgery.

I figure if I can start moving my body and eating healthy and lose weight, anyone can. Once you have the right motivation and figure out what got you fat, you can stop doing that stuff and lose the weight (and keep it off). I hate hearing WLS folks say, "oh I tried everything and nothing worked." Read, they tried a bunch of fad diets and got tired of waiting to be thin. I know that this is going to sound really harsh but I think that folks who resort to WLS are lazy. They don't want to lose the weight slowly so they jump into WLS just like they jumped into cabbage soup or dexatrim. There is no easy fix for weight-loss. It's hard, boring work. It's tedious and it takes a long time but eventually it happens. You'r thinner and healthier and you've done it in a way that isn't endangering your life. I would never consider WLS for myself and I would not support WLS for anyone, under any circumstances.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I'm totally neglecting my blog this week but I'm not neglecting myself too much. I had a terrific workout this morning before work. I was up pretty early because we had this horrible wind storm here all night and I couldn't sleep much. I've kept up with my workouts all week and am pretty pleased with myself about that. Despite all the other stuff that is going on, I'm at least exercising every day!

Today ended up being another crazy day at the office. I forgot to eat again because I was working full stop. I stopped to pee, like twice. I'm way too familiar with my cubicle these days. At around 3:30 p.m., I was feeling quite gross, had a banana and felt better. I'll be so glad when this week is over. YUCK!!! Fortunately, next week things will resume to as normal as they ever get.

Tonight I worked late and we went out for dinner afterwards. We went to EastSide Mario's and had salad and pasta. Not the healthiest thing in the world to do but I figured I was okay, what with skipping lunch and all. I haven't figured out my calories for the day but I'm pretty sure I'm within range.

Eventually, I'll write an interesting post and will finally get to this week's Wednesday Weigh-in. In the meantime, it's past my bedtime. 'night all!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I have had a really crazy day. I was so busy at work that I actually forgot to eat my lunch. I have stuff to write about, like my visit to the doctor's, but I'm way too pooped to piece together a coherent paragraph. I'll post stuff about that, and the Wednesday Weigh-in tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Sometimes fat free yogurt just doesn't cut it, you know? I'm under the gun at work right now and all I really want to do is dive into a barrel of chocolate bars. Instead, I'm drinking my water, eating my fat free yogurt and am doing my very best to just suck it up. In addition to boredom and lack of structure, please add stress to the list of things that will work against me.

Stress and frustration aside, I had a fabulous workout this morning. I rode almost 7 miles again this morning and felt great afterward. I actually had a great night's sleep last night so I was well rested when I got up this morning (yay!!). I'm really working at increasing the amount of exercise I do each week. I try to do this gradually and it's working. I feel a lot more "muscle-y" lately. My legs are starting to look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I read the following article on the weekend and thought it was pretty cool. It pretty much sums up what I've said all along, find something that works for you and stick to it. I get really distressed when folks get into a battle of what's "better," low fat or low carb. I always wonder, what difference does it make? If you don't find something that is manageable for you, you're not going to stick with it, no matter what it is. Anyway, if you didn't see the article on the weekend, here it is:

Four Popular Diets All Work Well, U.S. Study Shows
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - No matter what diet you are on, if you eat less and lose weight you also lower your risk of heart disease, doctors told a conference on Sunday.

Weight Watchers, the high-fat Atkins diet, the extremely low-fat Ornish diet and the high-protein, moderate carbohydrate Zone diet all help people lose weight and all reduce cholesterol, but in different ways, the researchers said.

"On average, participants in the study reduced their heart disease risk by 5 percent to 15 percent," Dr. Michael Dansinger of Tufts University in Boston told a meeting of the American Heart Association.

"Instead of saying there is one clear winner here, we are saying they are all winners."

And, as might be expected, the closer dieters followed the plans, the more weight they lost.

Those who stuck it out for a full year lost, on average, 5 percent of their body weight -- or about 10 to 12 pounds.

While the dieters reduced heart disease "risk factors" such as cholesterol levels, overall blood pressure did not drop much and the study did not last long enough to see if this translated into a lower long-term risk of heart disease.

Instead, the researchers used statistics that show lowering cholesterol by a certain amount, for instance, reduces the risk of heart disease overall.

Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado, who heads the Heart Association's nutrition committee, said the message is clear -- lose weight however you can to reduce your risk of heart disease.


"I think weight reduction trumps a lot of other stuff," Eckel said.

For the study Dansinger and colleagues chose 160 overweight people and randomly assigned 40 to each of four different diets. They weighed an average 220 pounds (100 kg) and needed to lose between 30 and 80 pounds.

All agreed to follow the diets to the best of their ability for two months, although none were enrolled in the full programs that Weight Watchers and Dr. Dean Ornish advocate.

They include exercise, group meetings and food diaries for Weight Watchers and stress reduction for the Ornish diet.

After two months 22 percent of the dieters had given up. After a year, 35 percent dropped out of Weight Watchers and the Zone diets and 50 percent had quit the Atkins and Ornish plans.

Dansinger and other researchers said the study suggested there is no one-size-fits-all diet best for everyone.

"The type of person who is going to go for a low-fat, vegetarian diet is not, in my experience, the kind of person who is going to go for a high-meat diet," Dansinger said.

But for people with high cholesterol levels, the Ornish diet might be the most beneficial, Dansinger said.

"The Ornish diet, low-fat vegetarian, was best for lowering the bad LDL cholesterol, while other diets were better at raising the good HDL cholesterol," Dansinger said. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol is the stuff that clogs arteries, while high density lipoprotein carries fat out of the blood.

"Atkins reduced LDL 8.6 percent, Zone 6.7 percent, Weight Watchers 7.7 percent and Ornish 16.7 percent," Dansinger said in a statement afterwards. He said the Atkins and Zone diets diet raised HDL by about 15 percent, Weight Watchers by 18.5 percent, and Ornish by 2.2 percent.

Ornish said doctors often place too high a value on high HDL levels. "If you reduce fat, there is less garbage, less saturated fat and cholesterol, so your body needs less garbage trucks," he said.

But Dansinger said his study was one of several that has suggested the high-fat Atkins diet, in the short-term, does not raise the risk of heart disease.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Happy Monday

Work is very busy this week. I'm feeling a little stressed and have had a headache all day. I just took an aleve and am going to eat my lunch soon. Hopefully that will get rid of it. I slept in pretty late this morning on top of it. I just could not get out of bed. I had a tough time sleeping on Saturday night for some reason. I lay in bed with my eyes wide open for the longest time. When I could sleep, I dreamt. It was odd. Last night, it took me a while to get to sleep and when I finally did, the weird dreams started up again. I'm not sure what it all meant but I'm pretty pooped today. On an up note, my ankle seems to be better. Other than the headache and the tired, I still feel better than I did last week, overall.

Over the past few weekends, I've been managing to not do any exercise at all. This past weekend, I actually did something on Saturday. Yesterday, for many reasons, was a write-off. I think it was the lack of sleep. My energy was just drained and I didn't really do much. I mean, I finished up my housework and got started on the Christmas craft projects but other than that, I didn't move. I had 5 weeks worth of new Will & Grace's on tape so we vegged out on the sofa and laughed our butts off in the afternoon.

I also will fess up to a fair bit of snacking over the weekend. I should keep busier, I should get more rest. Being tired and unoccupied make me wander through the kitchen more often than I should. Fortunately, next weekend, I'm working and I'm out of town so that will help keep me on track. During the week I do okay but the weekends are brutally difficult. Hopefully, once this week is out of the way, work will get back to a normal pace until the Christmas break. If I can keep myself on plan over the next 5 weeks, I should be in good shape for the actual holidays (crosses fingers), here's hoping anyway!

On a positive note, I did put more miles than normal on my bike last week AND I was able to increase my water intake last week so, go me!!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I read this morning and thought it was interesting. Personally, I'm trying to do an "all things in moderation" type of program that is low calorie and low fat. I know that I could never do a low-carb program. I hadn't realized though, the impact that low-carb programs were having on the market place until I saw that KFC commercial last week, and then read this article today:

Breadmakers Feel Pain From Atkins Diet
By DAVID SHARP, Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Maine - Some bakers around the country are seeing a similar drop in business: With millions of people trying the diet created by the late low-carb guru Dr. Robert Atkins, overall bread sales are flat or down slightly, while bread-bashing seems to be at an all-time high.

A sign in Stephen Lanzalotta's bakery reads, "Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano." In Italian, that means, "Without bread everyone's an orphan."

But fewer customers are buying his European-style breads and pastries these days — thanks to the Atkins diet, many regulars are cutting back on carbohydrates. Lanzalotta says the low-carb diet has contributed to an estimated 40 percent drop in business at his shop, Sophia's.

Some customers have even stopped by to apologize.

"They'll say, 'I'm sorry. I haven't been in for six months because I'm on the Atkins diet,'" said Lanzalotta, whose muscular arms are a testament to long hours spent kneading dough.

The National Bread Leadership Council, which says 40 percent of Americans are eating less bread than a year ago, has scheduled what it calls a summit this month in Rhode Island focusing in part on low-carb diets and how to educate the public that breaking bread is still part of a healthy lifestyle.

"It's too bad that we just can't eat all foods in moderation. But no, we have to do something dramatic all the time," said Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council and a registered dietician, referring to the Atkins diet. "We have to look for this magic bullet."

Estimates of the number of Americans on low-carb diets vary widely, from 5 million to 50 million. Their boycott of bread has exacerbated a sluggish sales trend that was in place before low-carb diets became popular, said John McMillin, a food industry analyst with Prudential Equity Group Inc. in New York.

When Lanzalotta opened his bakery, bread accounted for 75 percent of sales. Now it accounts for just 15 percent. He boosted his dessert offerings and began offering sandwiches to try to make up the difference. He also adapted by selling artwork, including his own paintings.

At Standard Baking, co-owner Alison Pray said sales are nearly flat after previously growing 10 percent to 15 percent a year.

Pray sees plenty of couples stopping by, but often only one partner is eating. The other is cutting carbs.

She's a bit incredulous when customers ask if she produces anything consistent with the Atkins diet. "This one person asked me, 'Can you make a low-carbohydrate bread?' I said, 'I wouldn't know how to do it,'" she said.

Others are adapting. At Anthony's Italian Kitchen, owner Tony Barassa said his customers are ordering Syrian wraps without the wrap and panini sandwiches without the panini. They're also ordering meatballs without the spaghetti.

On Atkins, people can eat cheese, eggs and meat as long as they strictly limit carbohydrates and avoid refined carbs like white flour. White bread, pasta, potatoes and other carbo-loaded foods are blacklisted. The diet was once scorned by the medical establishment, but recent studies have shown that people lose weight without compromising their health.

The Wheat Food Council's Adams, who is based in Colorado, believes low-carb diets are just another fad. And she wonders if they're really helping.

She noted that the nation's obesity rate has continued to grow as flour consumption has declined. Wheat flour consumption has dropped by about 10 pounds a year per person since 1997, she said, calling Americans' tendency to eat too much of everything the real problem.

"We eat 300 more calories a day than we did in 1985," Adams said. "We supersize everything. We eat constantly."

Big Sky Baking Co. in Portland appears to have avoided the worst of the low-carb fallout because its whole wheat bread is the kind recommended for carb-cutters who can't resist a slice every now and again.

Owner Martha Elkus recognizes that times are changing. "The food pyramid has been turned upside down," she said.

Bread bakers aren't the only ones hurting. The pasta industry, the tortilla industry, bagel makers and even brewers of beer have taken their lumps for having too many carbohydrates.

The Tortilla Industry Association held a seminar last spring titled, "An Industry in Crisis: The High-protein, Low-carb Diet and Its Effects on the Tortilla Industry." The National Pasta Association has a "Diet Matters" section on its Web page that focuses on low-carb diets.

Joshua Sosland, executive editor of Milling and Baking News in St. Louis, said it's difficult for consumers to find good information amidst all of the hype that served to overshadow the science behind the diets. Often overlooked is the fact that bread and grains remain an important part of the federal government's diet guidelines.

"Here we have about the most healthy thing in the diet," Sosland said, "and it's being treated like it's poison."

Bakers are changing their products even as they seek to get out the message that bread remains part of a healthy lifestyle.

Flowers Foods' low-carb bread, "Nature's Own Wheat 'n Fiber," has proven to be the company's most successful new product launch to date, said Mary Krier, spokeswoman in Thomasville, Ga.

George Weston Bakeries Inc. has launched "Carb Counting" bread under its Arnold label that carries the Atkins seal. Maine-based Lepage Bakeries has introduced Country Kitchen "Lower Carb" wheat bread.

Panera Bread, a fast-growing chain that offers soups, salads and sandwiches in addition to bread, is also making changes to meet the evolving tastes of its customers. The company is testing three whole-grain breads with fewer grams of carbohydrates per slice.

"Our view of it is not to resist (the low-carb trend) but to recognize it as a real niche," CEO Ron Shaich said.

On the Net:
+ Atkins Web site
+ National Bread Leadership Council
+ Wheat Foods Council
+ National Pasta Association
+ Tortilla Industry Association

Saturday, November 08, 2003

happy weekend

The sun is shining and it's an absolutely gorgeous, late fall day here!

Despite the fact that I'm sort of limping around on my stupid ankle, I'm feeling good today. Funny thing about is that it only hurts when I put weight on it. I did ride my bike this morning though and it didn't hurt at all while I was riding. I did over 7 miles again this morning. Saturday's are traditionally break days for me but so far today, I've exercised and kept on plan.

I've been getting into trouble on the weekends lately. I'm not "binging" per se but I am snacking a lot more than I should. It's the lack of routine and I know it. If I keep myself busy, I am less like to eat mindlessly. This morning, in an effort to keep on track, I tore half the house apart and have been cleaning and tidying. I got the downstairs sorted out, the office/computer room de-cluttered and the bedroom dusted (and the bed changed). The washer is humming with load 2 of 4 and I found some Christmas craft type things to work on. I'm forever buying little kits and those ceramic ornaments, the ones you paint, but never do them. I have now pulled them out and have put them on the dining room table. I can sit at the table, work on the ornaments and watch DVD's or TLC instead of mindless snacking. The mindless snacking shall end. The scale will move down next week.

I feel fit and thinner, I just want to see those numbers reflect how great I'm feeling these days!

Friday, November 07, 2003

scale whore-esque

I've been jumping on the scale a lot this week (a la Trish). I shouldn't do it, I know, but I have been. It's not moving and it's pissing me off. It shouldn't piss me off, I know this. My "official" weigh-in day is Saturday but I wanted to see some movement this week. I think I'm expecting to see movement because I feel thinner this week. I think that when I see myself in the mirror, I look thinner. My clothes certainly feel bigger.

I'm feeling much better today than I have all week. I had a fabulous workout this morning and actually got up over 7 miles on my bike (just barely) this morning. I feel strong and healthier than I have in a while. It's a good feeling.

I almost sprained my ankle and wrist this morning at work. I was running down our back staircase on my way to the water cooler to refill my bottle. As I hit the bottom of the stairs, my right foot turned over slightly and I fell into the edge of open door. I scraped my knuckles and my wrist and ankle are a little sore right now but other than that I'm okay. I came very close to totally wiping out though, it could have been nasty (but it wasn't!). It woke me up though, wow, I don't want to do that too often!

Oh, by the way, the "best before" date on my yogurt is now December 13. How disgustingly close to Christmas is that?!??

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I'm still feeling like crap. I almost slept in again this morning. When I did get up, I was moving really slowly as my head was pounding and I was stuffed up. I managed to get some exercise in before work but it wasn't a great workout. I was sweating a lot but I know that the sweat was from the cold rather than the exercise. Oh well, sweat is sweat right?

Our little old guy was feeling yucky last night too so we did his shopping for him and took Swiss Chalet take out to his place for dinner. I had a great salad and some chicken for dinner so my eating for yesterday wasn't totally horrible. I haven't lost any weight over the past couple of weeks but I haven't gained any either. I've been working at keeping on program but the weekends and evenings have been a struggle lately. Either one or both of us feels like crap so we don't eat the best. I carefully plan out breakfast and lunch though so they're on track. It's not a total washout, I have more on plan days than not but I'd like to be more consistent and see the scale moving again. At least I'm still exercising, right?

a day late and a dollar short

Better late than never right? Here's this week's Wednesday Weigh-In:

How do you feel about weight and fitness in regards to your lovelife? Would be involved with a person who weighed the same or more than you?

In the past, when I was single, I dated guys who were smaller, larger and basically the same size as me. I can say that it was who they were and not what kind of body they had that attracted me to them.

My hunny is a big guy and we've been doing this together. There is no way that I would have been able to stick with this lifestyle change if he hadn't been along for the ride. We were both big people when we met. For the first 3.5 years that we were together, we were so happy that we didn't we care (or notice) that we'd both packed on about 50 pounds. This time last year, he was diagnosed with high cholesterol. That diagnosis coupled with the deaths of two people we both loved and respected (from heart attacks, in their 50's -- my hunny is 51) shocked us into cleaning up our acts and getting healthy, together. We want to have a really long, active, healthy life together.

I can not imagine how difficult it would be do try to change your lifestyle without your partner being supportive of you. I can also understand how and why someone who has changed their lifestyle around, become fit and healthier, would not want to date someone who does not share that. I'd be really frightened of falling back into my bad habits if I was with someone who didn't respect my lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


For the first time in several days, I did not have a difficult time getting up this morning. I woke up, sat up and then got up. No problems. I’m not sure why it’s been such a struggle over the past few days but I’m hoping that it’s not going to happen any more this week.

Yesterday I dragged my ass around. I had a dull headache all day and felt like I was getting sick. You know that burning eyes, aching sinus feeling that usually preludes a cold? Add some major aches and pains in my joints and that’s what I had yesterday. I resisted taking anything during the day but I had an ibuprofen at dinner and at bedtime and I slept well. Felt rested this morning although some of the ache is there.

We went for our groceries last night, in the cold and rain, because I was convinced that I’d be sick in bed today. We were out of most of our staples so we really stocked up last night. The nice thing is that I’m not totally bed-ridden and now our groceries are done. Either tonight or tomorrow night, we have to take our little old guy for his groceries. I prefer to get out separately from his. I help him with his shopping and it goes a lot faster if I don’t have to get stuff too. We usually shop at No Frills but he prefers Loblaws. I find it a little expensive but he doesn’t buy as much stuff as we do and he really likes the variety. He’ll probably want to go for dinner afterwards. Hopefully he’ll want to do Swiss Chalet. Last week we ended up at Denny’s after his shopping trip. It’s much easier to make good choices at Swiss Chalet than it is at Denny’s (for me anyway).

Because I wasn’t rushing this morning, I had a fabulous workout. I rode almost 7 miles on my recumbent bike and did a great upper body workout with my weights. I felt pretty good when it was over. About 30 minutes later, I was feeling the soreness in my joints and muscles return. Not fun. My boss went home at 9:30 or so, feeling crummy. It’s in the building I’m guessing. I keep eating my fruit and veg, drinking lots of water and taking my vitamins. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep it at bay. I don’t want to get sick. I thought I was over with that a couple of weeks ago when my back flaked out on me. Maybe that wasn’t a cold, maybe this is…whatever the case, work is really really busy right now and I’m working in Toronto next weekend and cannot get sick right now. So there nasty cold germs!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

...rainy days and Tuesdays?

It's raining again. It's also freaking cold! There are freezing rain warnings out for areas north of here. Last night, when I was out with the girls, there was a freezing rain warning in effect too. Fortunately we didn't get it! Last night was a lot of fun. I was able to avoid the nachos and dessert. I had my diet coke with lime, a small salad and a club wrap. Very yummy. The company was excellent too, we laughed a lot. It wasn't too late a night either. I was home just before 9 p.m.

I had really tough time getting up this morning and had a splitting headache. I did exercise but my performance was lack-luster to say the least. The headache has subsided a bit but I feel a cold coming on. I'm hoping that my head is just fuzzy because of the weird weather systems that are happening here.

Anyway, I'm a day late but here it is now... This week's Progress Prompt:

How do you measure success? Has your idea of success changed since you made the decision to become healthier?

I measure success in many ways. It's not just numbers on the scale for me. I use an actual measuring tape to measure success. Some weeks, the numbers on the scale don't change but the measuring tape does (or vice versa). I've measured my success with smaller dress sizes, with increased energy, with greater flexibility in my body.

I don't know that my idea of success has changed since I started this. I think that I have found more things to celebrate since I've been on my program. When I look at how I am living now (more exercise, healthy eating, etc.) compared to 12 months ago, that's a huge success. That I have been able to do this for almost 10 months and have lost a significant amount of weight in that time is a success!

Monday, November 03, 2003

rainy days and Mondays...

It's another rainy day and it's Monday. Yuck! At least it's mild. That's what everyone is saying. I'd almost rather that it were cold and sunny. This weather can really get you down.

It made me sleep in again this morning. You would have thought that I would have been well-rested after a Sunday of sleeping in and napping. I guess I wasn't. Maybe it was that old, "the more you get the more you want" type of thing too. I ended up not exercising last night during premiere night. I did run around, cleaning up, doing even more laundry (yay, it's caught up again!) but I did not properly exercise yesterday. I'm pretty okay with that too. As long as I do it every morning through the work week, I'm happy to let myself off on Saturday and Sunday.

This morning was a rush though, because I overslept a bit. I got the whole workout in but I was rushed as I got ready for work. I figured that I'd feel better afterwards if I took the time to do my whole workout and then hurried myself to get showered and dressed than if I hurried my workout and took a leisurely shower. I was correct in my thinking and I felt pretty good afterwards.

So far today, eating has been perfectly on plan. Can't say the same for the weekend but I'm not beating myself up about it. Tonight we're having a girls' night out for my co-worker who was fired last month. We're going to the local Kelsey's restaurant because it's central to where all of us live. I'm not exactly sure about what I'm having yet but I'll figure it out. I'll be driving so I'm not going to be drinking, that's a calorie savings right there. I know too that I'll not have dessert either. I'll probably go the salad route and try to be sensible. I must say that it's easier to be sensible when I'm out with my just my hunny then with the girls. Cross your fingers for me. I managed to avoid the timbits on Friday, I'll try really hard to avoid the nachos tonight!

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I had the biggest laugh last night. We were watching "That 70's Show" (we'd taped the season premiere on Wednesday night) and I was whizzing through the commercials. A new KFC ad caught my eye and I had to go back, have any of you seen it? KFC is promoting their bad old, fried chicken as a good "low carb option" because, a piece of their chicken has only 11 g of carbs. The commercial shows some redneck guy eating chicken and a buddy of his says, "wow, you're looking good." I'm so sure! I think I could actually hear Dr Atkins spinning in his grave while we watched the spot. It's pretty sick, keep an eye out for it!

We had a very lazy day today. We actually slept in until almost 8 a.m. This is practically unheard of for us. We also had a nap this afternoon. It felt great. We must have been pooped or we wouldn't have slept like that. I feel really rested and am looking forward to the week. Work's going to be pretty busy this week and I'm really feeling motivated to stay on track this week. I'm so relieved that Halloween is over. I really didn't like having all those little bags of cheetos and doritos in the house.

I haven't properly exercised yet today but suspect that I will in a little while, when the season premiere of the Simpsons is on. It's been a long old summer and I'm so happy that we have a new episode tonight. One more quick note before I head off to watch tv, I went through the closet in our spare room this afternoon and found 2 old trench coats and a really nice hooded pullover that I haven't been able to wear in, oh, forever. One of the coats and the pullover fit me perfectly!! The other coat, a practically brand new black trench coat, will fit me soon. I'm so happy. I had totally forgotten that I had even hung onto these things and they actually fit!! It's been so long since I wore the pullover that it has a Inbreds button on it from around the time that Kombinator came out, almost 10 years ago. It's true what they say about nothing tasting as good as fitting into stuff that used to be too small for you feels.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

I survived

Well it's over for another year. We had a tonne of kids at our place last night. It was really warm here and the rain managed to hold off. We ran out of stuff at around 7:30, we had over 100 kids last night. It was good fun and thankfully, we don't have a million little chocolate bars floating around here today. I don't know how those of you with kids can do it, have all that stuff in the house the morning after. From what I saw, the kids around here took in a shitload of stuff. One kid in particular, had a whole hockey bag full of stuff, insane!

Today was my regular day off. I was a little crampy and blah today so I basically did laundry, vegged out and then cleaned the bathroom. Fun huh? We just got home from Walmart. I picked up some REALLY cheap Halloween coloured (ie orange and purple) mini lights. I've tucked them away for next year. I don't normally workout on Saturdays but we're getting ready to settle in for an evening of television (stuff we've taped this week) and I may just hit the bike when I get downstairs.

I noticed when we were in Walmart that the Christmas candies and goodies are already on the shelves. I can't believe that it's starting already. I shouldn't be surprised but it's going to be a long couple of months. I may try to avoid shopping as much as I possibly can. I just melt for those green and red holiday M&M's....If I can get through the holiday season without giving in to M&M's, I'll be just fine!