Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I know I’ve said in previous posts that calories shouldn’t matter as long as you are eating healthy. That’s true, they shouldn’t. But they do.

I ate healthy and gymed it up for over 2 months with zero change on the scale and while I felt good, I was in need of some visible progress. I needed to change things up a bit.

I’ve been counting my calories since the beginning of March. I’m not doing it the way I did in college, where a calorie was a calorie (ie. Choosing to have 2 beers rather than dinner or eating one meal a day when that meal was In N Out). No, I’ve graduated, so I’m smarter now.

I very strictly plan out my breakfasts and lunches and leave a little wiggle room for dinner because (1) it’s my favorite meal and (2) crafting a meal that will be satisfying for myself and my boyfriend that’s under 500 calories is a big feat, that I’m just not always up for. These planned meals have a lot of protein, veggies and fruit and I allow myself bread (mostly because I can’t live without it), but I’ve greatly cut down on my cheese intake and I write down EVERYTHING I eat, down to the 3 M&M’s I took from the breakroom. Everything counts.

This has been working. Since early March, I’ve lost 4.5 lbs. It feels really good to finally have some visible progress. The only issue is that my energy seems to fluctuate a bit. Some days I have tons of energy and I find myself grocery shopping, doing dishes, cooking dinner, making crafts, going to the gym, and still feel vibrant and smiley. Other days (like today), I feel like I just want to sleep. The coffee and 3 cups of tea haven’t done anything. I’m still debating if this is a calorie related thing, a girl thing, a Wednesday thing, or if I’m just having an off day.

Anyway, if you are really trying to loose weight, it is a numbers game. You need to eat less and burn more. The exact amount of calories you intake will differ from one body to the next, but it is the only way that I have ever really been able to successfully (and healthily) lose poundage. If I start seeing a pattern with the mood swings, I’ll up the intake a tad (since my body Is telling me to), but for now, I think I’ll just chalk it up to hump day.

Here’s to half the week being over! Cheers!
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Salad Bar Drama

The 2 salads below are from the same salad bar and look very similar but they are not. The ingredients are almost the same except one has chicken while the other has avocado but there is 394-calorie difference between the two. The difference is mostly in the amount of ingredients added, so when you’re at the salad bar, be mindful of portions and take a look at some of the calories that you may be adding to your salad.

713 Calories
319 Calories

Just keep in mind that a normal person trying to maintain their current weight (someone NOT on a diet) should probably be eating roughly 2,000 calories per day. About 500 should come from Lunch. (Note: if you’re trying to lose weight, a 350-calorie lunch is a much happier choice). A normal salad bar salad will come out to about 500-1200 calories depending on what you put on it.

I won’t bore you with a list of calories for every item at the bar. You can do that on your own, if you’re so inclined. This is merely a snapshot of what you might find at the bar and something to keep in mind next time you’re filing up your plate.

(hint: mushrooms, cucumbers, baby corn, beets, olives, tomatoes, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, onions, and bell peppers are all under 30 calories per salad bar serving and great salad bar choices.)

If you have the option, Mixed greens is a better choice than Romaine or Iceberg. There are far more nutrients (and flavor) in Mixed greens. If you need the crunch that Romain lettuce provides, mix the two.

The Ad-Ons that you ACTUALLY want:
(I’ve calculated the calories in to servings that you would probably really use)

Sunflower Seeds = 110 calories for 2 scoops
Hardboiled Egg = 70 calories
Avocado ½  = 125 calories
Chickpeas = 143 calories for 3 scoops
Kidney Beans = 80 calories for 3 scoops
Raisins = 80 calories for1 scoop
Cheese (any variety) = 110 calories for 1 scoop
Bacon Bits = 30 calories in 1 scoop
Croutons = 80 in ½ cup
Pre-Cooked Chicken Breast = 110 calories for ½ breast (about 4 sliced pieces)

These are calculated from 2 tbsp., which is the general serving size and is about the size of a ping pong ball

Ranch = 148 calories
Creamy Balsamic Vinagarette = 90 calories
Light Balsamic Vinagarette = 45 calories
Blue Cheese = 145 calories
Thousand Island = 118 calories
Italian = 56 calories
Caesar = 140

For the record, not all calories are bad. Avocados will keep you full for hours, same with chickpeas and hardboiled eggs—just use in moderation and if you have to have cheese on your salad (as I do), just know that you’re adding 110 calories with a pretty small amount of cheese…so enjoy the hell out of it. As for dressings, if you can’t eat a salad without a creamy dressing (again, like me), then maybe see how little you can put on your salad and still enjoy it.

Don’t freak out and never go to the salad bar again, just be aware of what you’re doing once you’re there.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Probably the EASIEST Soup Recipe Ever

I just had a really rad lunch that I think you'd like to hear about. 

Recently, I’ve been on a quest for low calorie, good tasting, filling meals, that don’t contain “low-calorie” ingredients (ie. saccharin, aspartame, etc.). Well, it turns out they really do exist! This recipe was insanely simple and it’s been an hour and a half since I ate it and I’m still full. This was super easy and best part was that I didn’t have to cook anything, I threw it all in a Tupperware container, brought it to work and heated in the microwave. Dunzo.

Salsa Shrimp Soup
1/3 cup of Trader Joes Creamy Tomato Soup
1/4 cup of Trader Joes Mild Salsa
about 15 Frozen Fully Cooked Medium Shrimp
½ an avocado, diced

Add these all to a Tupperware Container, then heat in the Microwave on high for approximately 1:30-2 mins. (Note: I mixed everything the night before I heated it in the microwave which gave the shrimp plenty of time to defrost, if you are heating this straight from frozen, you’ll probably need to add some cook time)

This recipe makes one serving that comes out to roughly 200 calories (most of which come from the avocado--which provide your body with the "good" fat that it needs daily).  

Sorry I don’t have a picture, it was so thrown together that I didn’t imagine it would be good enough to blog about—I’ll try to add a pic later.  3/19/12 Update: I had this for lunch again today and was able to snap a quick pic before devouring. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Please Don't Ever Eat This

This is why America is fat. I won't drone on and on about why this is so terrible--except to mention that I calculated roughly 1000 calories per serving, not including the soda that will undoubtedly accompany this "meal." I also won't link to the original blog that I found it on--due to the blogger's code that I assume is probably a real thing and has similar rules to say "bro code." I will, however, mention that this was re-pinned on Pinterest at least 4 times that I could see, so you KNOW people are eating this crap. 

I guess there is no real point to this post except to say PLEASE DON'T EVER EAT THIS. 

If you want Doritos, eat Doritos--just understand that they are a treat and have virtually no nutritional value (unless you live life by Encino Man's food groups). If you want tacos, eat tacos. If you want a baked casserole, eat a casserole. But you really shouldn't ever want (or make) a Doritos Taco Bake.  Ever.

I'm not saying that if you find this appetizing you're a disgusting, gluttonous, probably smelly, weirdo (I would never SAY that)-- just have some self control. I've never been a huge fan of Doritos anyway, but I'll equate this to my love of cheese. I would LOVE to eat a whole baguette and wheel of brie cheese in one sitting but I won't because its just not right. This "meal" is just not right. 

Venting is now complete. 

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fat Kids and Disney

Let me preface this with, I get it. Parents are mad because these new characters are making their children feel shameful about their weight and eating habits. No one wants a child to have low self-esteem, we can all agree there.

As and adult, if you want grilled cheese, hot dogs and milkshakes every single day, that’s your prerogative. A child doesn’t have that freedom. Just like math or reading or sharing, they have to be taught that some food is good and some food is bad and while cartoons might be awesome (and they are), so is playing basketball or riding a bike or swimming or going on a nature hike.

I go to Disneyland a lot. I love it there but one thing that always makes me sad is seeing all the overweight kids. There are the kids that have a little chub—they get McDonalds or Jack in the Box sometimes as a treat. Then there are the BIG kids, the ones who get everything they want—which is pretty clearly ice cream for dinner and hamburgers for breakfast. You know you’ve seen them on Jerry Springer, but these kids are all over the place at Disneyland. I know that weight is genetic and some people are predisposed to blah blah blah… I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the kids of the parents who are outraged by Disney trying to create villains of gluttonous proportions.

I have a few gripes with this article (and the parents who are all pissy about the project). 
Here they are:

1. “Dr. Yoni Freedhoff says: ‘I just can't believe somebody out there thought it was a good idea to pick up where the school bullies left off and shame kids on their vacation.’”
I get that you don’t want the kid to be all depressed and angsty about their weight but I also really don’t think that Disney creating a few new characters is “picking up where bullies left off.” Also kind of worries me that this is a doctor’s stance. He probably should spend less time combating Disney and more time explaining good health habits to his patients.

2. “In question are the over-exaggerated body types of the villains and their association with being bad.”
No. Unfortunately, these are not over exaggerated. I’ve seen these people at Disneyland.

3. “The intention is to inspire kids to live healthier, but the message, says Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams, is that "fat people are bad.’”
Perception is key. When I look at the “villains” I don’t think “fat people are bad,” I think what they are doing is bad. If I don’t exercise enough I may end up like Lead Bottom…. Well, hot damn, I’m going to the gym.

4. "Our goal with Habit Heroes is to make sure it conveys a positive message about healthy lifestyles in a fun way."
Ok, ok. Maybe the villains aren’t the BEST way to show that healthy is fun, but its better than whatever the parents of these obese children are doing. Eh? And to be honest, scare tactics worked for me as a kid. I didn’t go outside for 6 weeks after the ’89 earthquake because I was scared shitless. One day, my grandma came to me and said “you know, little kids who don’t go outside and play can die.” What scared me more than earthquakes? Death. I went outside.

5. "'You want to promote good heath? Start by looking at your own sugar and animal fat-laden menus," writes Salon's Williams. It's hard to practice healthy eating in the happiest place on earth.”
Outrage! Yes, I can get a hamburger at Disneyland, or a clam chowder bread bowl (drool), but in recent years I have noticed a huge change in the food sold at the parks. There are (at least) 4 fruit stands throughout Disneyland with fresh apples, oranges, bananas, juice, pineapple, mangoes, milk, water, trail mix, etc, and they offer apples and milk with kid’s meals in all the restaurants. Even with that, they also let you bring whatever food you want into the park. Bring your own lunch! It’s actually not hard at all to “practice healthy eating in the happiest place on earth,” all you have to have is a bit of self control, the healthy options are there, it’s up to you to choose them.

My point: At least Disney is trying. Maybe it could be done in a more sensitive way, but also maybe its tough love that these kids need to get their life and bodies back on track. With a 17% child obesity rate in the US, someone needs to do something and I think its pretty appalling that parents and doctors are up in arms about Disney’s attempt at making kids lives healthier.
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