Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Annie: Weigh-in week 7

Ack! Too busy to blog.

Still on program though - and at turns excited and terrified about the new WW program Mae wrote about.

A thought that occurred to me this morning: maybe this is why they haven't launched an app in Canada yet - because they'd just have to re-do it for the new program? Maybe we'll get one now?

We'd better, because iWatchr won't work anymore!

Hope to post more next week. Lots of thoughts, no time. :o(

Lost this week: 2.4
Lost so far: 22.4
Still remaining: 77.6
Activity points earned this week: 12
Weeks to go: 45

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mae: Big changes are afoot at WW?

I was going to put this in my "WTF file," but I know that WW changes up its programs fairly regularly. However, from what I'm reading, this is going to be a pretty drastic change. Oh no! I guess I'm going to have to join a meeting after all to get the new materials?

I found some more information about the program changes, and some unhappy folks in this Facebook group.

Annie!!! What do we do?

Mae: Align is (my) miracle

As you can probably tell, I have an interest in the health sciences, and I frequently scour the medical literature for the latest and greatest in weight loss. I have always embraced complementary medicine, and have seen natruapathic and homeopathic practitioners on and off throughout my life. This happened in part because I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in 1996 and given a prescription for Cholestyramine (even saying it in my head makes me urge a little; it was the most disgusting thing I've ever had to take). Think of Metamucil, only a gazillion times worse. I searched for an alternative, and through diet and homeopathic remedies, I was able to rid this pasty, orange medicine from my daily routine.

One lesson that I learned from every complementary medical practitioner that I've seen is that the importance of probiotics in our diets cannot be overstated. I remember one person told me that ... "it's not clean underwear that we need to be worried about in case we get hit by a bus, it's whether or not you've taken your probiotics!" Okay, he was kind of kooky.

I take probiotics daily, but I've started finding more and more literature questioning the link between probiotic intake and weight loss. Probiotics set up a healthy bacterial environment in your digestive system which can in turn aid in increased mineral absorption, lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and on and on. Probiotics have become popular lately, and you'll find it in a lot of fermented products like yogurt, but the levels are not high enough (for me, anyway). But the idea is that it helps keep the machinery down there in good working order, and as we all know, having good machinery that aids in the elimination of waste from our bodies is good stuff for weight loss. When things aren't in order, and I have an IBS attack, I can get so bloaty that I can't wear my rings. This is usually brought on by stress, and I have been like this for the last three weeks or so (this week feeling much better).

Enter: my own personal miracle. I discovered (by reading the aforementioned literature) that there is one specific strain of bifantis (a probiotic) that supposedly aids in weight loss and helps reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: B. infantis 35624. To my knowledge, this is only sold as Align, and only sold in the U.S. I have been taking it for almost two months now, and cannot tell you what a difference it has made to my life. There are days when I'm at work that I'm in so much pain that I almost feel like I need to go home, and this is usually brought on by eating (so around 2 p.m. it starts setting in). I have not had this happen ONCE in the last month and a half. If you're not convinced, read some of the comments at Amazon. Align has had a very real impact on my quality of life, and for that, I am so incredibly grateful. Maybe I should buy shares in this company . . . ; )

Mae: For the "WTF" file

Powdered peanut butter? WTF? But check out the nutrition information! This has the potential to rock my world, but sounds like space food, all the same.

From Amazon.com:

"Through a unique process created by Bell Plantation that does not involve the use of any chemicals; over 90% of the fat is removed from the peanut. Essentially the oil is squeezed out of roasted peanuts and what remains is a peanut powder. The resulting all-natural product is unbelievable!The possibilities for PB2 are limited only by the users imagination and creativity! An outstanding natural protein source sprinkle on shakes, yogurts, smoothies, great for outdoor sports. Excellent for ice cream as it will not seize while processing, ganaches, frostings, truffles, souffl├ęs, cakes, muffins, brownies. Dissolves easily for savory applications- Asian noodle sauces, breadings and crust especially for seafood. It is also wonderful for baking either reconstituted or as a powder."

And there's even a chocolate PB version! I sense another run to the border for groceries very very soon.

Mae: Week 7 weigh-in

Annie and I have chatted quite a bit about different things that can trip up a program, especially after my meltdown last week. One thing that she mentioned to me was sodium, and how much of it there is in things like pop (I think Annie has a pretty good grasp on all the not-so-great junky stuff that I consume).  I didn't do anything very different this week except add a bit more exercise and cut back on diet drinks. I have control over my sodium intake in most other respects because I would estimate that I make close to 70% of everything we eat at home (bread, soup, dinner every night, etc). Here's a pretty good article on the matter:

I have been feeling a little 'bloaty' lately (post coming on that), but much less so right now, so maybe that was part of my problem. In any case, I'm happier this week than last! 

Weigh-in: -3.4
Loss to date: 13

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mae: Scale obsessed?

I've been pretty nonplussed about my WW program these past two weeks because I haven't been seeing progress on the scale. As you know, I was even up this week (queue my day-long pity party on Monday).

However, even though I haven't seen the changes I want on the scale, there have been changes. Thursdays are my (Iyengar - by far my preferred style) yoga nights, and I stopped after class last night to talk to the teacher about what class I should take in the new year. I'm new-ish to this, but I want to do well and constantly improve my poses. Even though yoga is often available to all shapes and sizes, the fact is that if you've got some extra business goin' on in the front, you will likely need to modify or compensate because you can't touch your nose to your knees (for example). I don't know if I'm becoming more limber just from doing yoga regularly, but I'm finding that I have more 'mobility' and can fold myself up into increasingly complicated and sometimes bizarre (rock a baby, anyone?) configurations. Her advice was to move up because my poses are apparently already good. I was happier about that than you may imagine. 

So my point is this: we all, WW included, tend to obsess about the scale too much. In fact, I've always had a bit of a beef about this with WW, which does not really take measurements into account (some leaders encourage it, but the actual program does not). When I did Body for Life, I lost a relatively small amount of weight but dropped 4 sizes (I tend to build muscle pretty easily, which is heavy). I even stopped weighing altogether and had never been happier with my progress or more fit. Everyone loses weight differently, and I know from my previous attempts that a 2 pound loss per week is on the high end for me. I'm not abandoning the scale, as there's no denying that someone my size really does need (much) better numbers. However, I will also celebrate my yoga victory and decreased 'front matter' in spite of 1.2 pound gain this week. <grin>

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mae: Week 6 weigh-in

This will be short and to the point, as I don't know what to say or even how to explain this result. I knew it would happen at some point, but not this soon. Anyway, after two weeks of negligible loss, I am now up. I have not fallen off program, and the only thing that has changed is exercise: I've added lots of it. Whatever.

Weigh-in: +1.2
Loss to date: 9.6

Monday, November 22, 2010

Annie: Weigh-in week 6

I was expecting to be up or barely down this week, so am really happy with this result!

I feel like I'm really "in the zone" now - I'm not even tempted to go off program, even when things get stressful. This is a feeling I remember from 2002/2003, but honestly haven't felt again since.

What's the "zone" difference?

I have no idea, and honestly, if I did know I'd quit my job, bottle it and become a gazillionnaire.  But there are a few things I can point to that might be making a difference for me this time:

  • Child is now 4, and is at an age when kids start to get mean to each other. (I know this because a little girl greets me at daycare every morning to point out something she finds objectionable about Child's behaviour, outfit, choice of show-and-tell item, or whatever is on her list for that day.)  I am suddenly keenly aware that classmates might humiliate Child with "your mom is fat."
  • Child is also increasingly learning lifestyle lessons by watching what parents do. This was of course always the case - but because so much more of it is verbalized now, it's somehow more real to me, and I feel even more responsibility to set a good example.
  • I have drawn enormous inspiration from my sister's marathon last month, and from her determination to see such a difficult goal to the end. She has helped me believe I can do this - and is supporting me daily with messages, advice, phone calls, music mixes, shorter-term motivational goals (a 5K in May! stay tuned!), recipes... and treadmill technical support! 
  • I have a partner-in-arms in Mae. We've both been miserable about our weight for ages, and have gone on and off short-term plans a few times, but we are actually holding one another accountable, through this blog among other things. Like me, she struggles with motivation; she really understands how hard this is (not just in theory), and is a great sounding-board.
  • Husband is being incredibly supportive, which he always has been in the past - but somehow this time, even more so. It's like he can feel my stronger resolve this time, and wants to help nurture it. 

It has to be tough to be the spouse of a lifetime yo-yo dieter. It's like having a good girlfriend who goes out with a guy you don't like: when they break up you tell her what a jerk you thought he was... and the next thing you know they're back together.  I'm sure he's always measuring his words - he wants me to know he supports me when I'm on program, but he never says anything to suggest that the loves me any less or thinks I'm any less beautiful when I'm not. 

If I ask him about it directly he tells me he knows I'm happier when I'm fitter, but most importantly he wants me to be healthy - beyond that, he claims to think I'm pretty no matter my size. Maybe he just looks at me with his heart rather than his eyes, maybe he's lying... but I have to say, for a guy who occasionally puts his foot in his mouth, he has managed a 15-year relationship with a yo-yoer remarkably well.

I have so many, many reasons to want to be around and healthy for a long time - these people are just the start of a long list.

Lost this week: 2.8
Lost so far: 20
Still remaining: 80
Activity points earned this week: 15
Weeks to go: 46

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Annie: Damn.

When I entered my 30 righteous minutes of cycling from this morning in my online points tracker, and awaited the reward of a "3" showing in my activity points log, I had a shocker.


Those 30 righteous minutes are now only 2/3 as righteous! 

I must have passed some magical milestone with my last loss, meaning the ride that was worth 3 points a few days ago is now only worth 2.

Of course, I experimented with different ride lengths to find out how long I'd have to go to get back up to 3: for now, it'll be 35 minutes.  Sneaky sneaky, Weight Watchers!

A note for the faithful Mo (aka DJ WeightWatcher)

I'm going to need playlists in 35 + 5 minute increments, please!  :o)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mae: Week 5 weigh-in

Blah. Meh. Hiss. Growl. I was in no state of mind to post my sucky results yesterday (I went home after a frustrating day at work on two hours sleep to cry for an hour). I won't lie, I'm pretty frustrated after two less than stellar weeks. I shouldn't be so complainy I suppose: at least I'm not up. But I need to be down more per week than this, otherwise, I'll need to rename this The 50 Year Project.

Weigh-in : -0.8
Loss to date: -10.8

Monday, November 15, 2010

Annie: Week 5 weigh-in

Aah, now that's better!

But I know it's only temporary vindication... next week will be water-weight hell again.

There were a couple of differentiating factors this week vs. last, which I'll have to track longer-term to see if they really made a difference.

1) The Flex points.

This week, I ate 15 of my Flex points, whereas in previous weeks I hadn't really been eating them. I wasn't opposed to eating them - I just wasn't eating enough during the day to need them, so it was either not use them or use them for the sake of it to eat crap.

This week, I ate more during the day, so had to dip into Flex points to have enough at supper/evening snack to keep me satisfied till bedtime.

2) The bananas.

Bananas are binding, and last week I ate too many of them (between the daily banana in the afternoon and the Hungry Girl Top Banana Bread I was eating most days for breakfast). As a result, when I weighed in last week, I was feeling a little, well, bound. Haha! This week, not... 'nuff said.

Lost this week: 5.6
Lost so far: 17.2
Still remaining: 82.8
Activity points earned this week: 15
Weeks to go: 47

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mae: Foods to live by (Canadian edition)

I posted an entry a while back about my favourite food finds, which were all available in the US but not in Canada. Grumble grumble grumble! So, in the spirit less curmudgeon and more Canadian-lovin', I offer you my must-have food finds from north of the border.

1) Food for Life Ezekiel Organic Sprouted 100% Whole Grain English Muffins (2 points)
I'm an atheist, and to be frank, I kept on walking when I first spotted these products in the frozen section of a health food store years ago. I mean, come on! Ezekiel 4:9? Genesis 1:29? In my bread?! However, I saw the light one day while avoiding what I really should have been doing (writing my thesis) by twacking around town. I discovered Fred's Bread in Kingston, Ontario, which specializes in breads made from ancient grains and ancient recipes. "Bible bread" has been a part of  my life ever since, and though frozen products are no substitute for the wonderful fresh breads I used to buy at Fred's, these english muffins are good for you and very tasty. They are 2 points each, and that's not for half of one (watch out for that kind of trickery on food packaging by the way!) You can find these in the freezer section of most health food stores, and in the frozen section of select Superstore's that have the new health food store-like area.

2) Kashi Go Lean Crunch (4 points / cup)
Nine grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre - 'nuff said. This is the best, high quality cereal that I have found, and it is incredibly filling. I can eat this at 8 a.m. and not feel hungry until lunchtime: it's a breakfast-time warrior! This cereal is pretty expensive in a regular grocery store, but if you buy it at Costco, you'll get double the amount for the same price.

3) Ling Ling All Natural Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers (5 points / 5 pieces) 
This is the default din-din when the Mister and I have failed to plan ahead of time. I always have a bag of these in the freezer and will make a meal out of them in a pinch. They are so so so good, and the sauce that's included? Cracktacular! You can get the jumbo-sized bag at, you guessed it, Costco!

4) CP Shrimp Wonton Soup (2 points) 
At only 2 points per serving (they're frozen, individual soups), this is the best low-points snack ever. Excellent with potstickers (above) for dinner! Also available at Costco (in the frozen seafood area).

5) America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook 
Ok, so this isn't a food item, but I had to include it. If you want just one top-notch 'healthy' cookbook, get this. I'm a huge ATK fan and have two of their other 'light' cookbooks. What I love ATK is their whole approach to healthy eating: eat we about ll, eat quality food in reasonable portions, and don't sacrifice flavour. You will still find butter in a lot of these recipes, but it is reduced and used in ingenious ways that maximize its flavour. Love, love love. This cookbook is, to my mind, a kind of anti "Hungry Girl" approach, which I have never been a fan of (have all the books, never use them). I don't like mixing food that is completely devoid of nutrition or completely synthetic in order to come up with a bigger mass of, well, crap food.

So thank you, ATK, for having a sound, reasonable, and truly healthy and nutritious approach to food.

Annie: Why this HAS to work this time.

I have a little pocket "points" calculator I bought many years ago, which I keep in the kitchen. (I use the iWatchr app on my iPhone for points calculations in the supermarket.)

It's become a natural part of cooking again - calculating ingredient points and tracking them on a little slip of paper, to be entered later in my online journal at weightwatchers.ca.

This morning, Child came to me with my little calculator in hand, and said "Here Mom, I found your kakky-lator that tells you how much food you can have."

It's no longer something I can hide from Child - Mum doesn't have a normal relationship with food, and can't decide for herself what she can and can't eat.

I need to get my s**t together for good, now, so I can set a good example.

I mean, other than keeping Child alive, what other job do I have that's more important?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Annie: Shawty got low low low low low low low low

For me, the length of time I'm able to exercise (in an individual activity, like cycling or walking or - hopefully someday - running) depends largely on the music playing in my iPod.

I mentioned a while back that when I first started with the cycling in my basement (is that what the beautiful people call "spinning" or is that something else?), I was using the music in my iPhone - which is generally slower-beat music. I don't tend to listen to dance music "recreationally," so there isn't much of it in my usual music mix.

It helped to have the music (my very first cycling session lasted 15 minutes, and I think a big part of that was that I hadn't had any music at all), but it wasn't music that got me pumped up.

Enter the faithful Mo

The faithful Mo, our lone (so far) blog commenter other than each other, reminded me that she had given me a great little iPod last Christmas, to help me on my then-plan to start running. Of course I remembered the iPod, but I hadn't been thinking about how much more convenient it would be to use it on the bike than the iPhone, since she had also bought me an arm-band holder for it.

So I charged it up and brought it downstairs, got on the bike, fired it up - and found she had put a 30-minute dance mix on it to get me started! I had completely forgotten about that!

The difference has been huge.

There are almost no songs on that mix I would normally listen to (for example, in my car), since dance music isn't generally my thing.  But on my bike? I love it!

Come on, I dare you to sit still to this!

I don't know whether it was intentional, but the last song she put on the mix was Ricky Martin's "La Copa de la Vida" - which, as I get to the end of my workout, keeps asking me "Do you really want it? Do you really want it?"

Yes!  :o)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Annie: I illustrate my own point...

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the KFC Double Down and how, though it's pretty bad for you, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation might suggest.

I talked about how some foods (especially in restaurants) are worse than you might ever expect, and that you should be careful about ordering, because you can never be too sure.

Tonight, Husband took me to the local Joey restaurant for dinner, since Child is at Grandma's.

I examined and deconstructed the menu carefully, deciding and then re-deciding on various menu items. I had it down to the "Chinatown Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp" and the "Ahi Tuna Tacos" -- and, in the end, decided to go for the lettuce wraps, figuring food wrapped in lettuce has to be lower in points than food wrapped in a deep-fried shell.

And a later examination of the nutritional info on the Joey website proved I was wrong, though not by much; I could just as well have ordered the tacos, as the points values are pretty close.

Shock and awful revelation

First off, I have to say I have no excuse as to why I didn't look at the nutritional info online before we left. I thought "I'm a veteran at this, I co-write a blog."

Ha, ha.

Can you see what's coming?

My "Chinatown Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp" were TWENTY-ONE FREAKING POINTS.

Yes, you read that right.

Twenty-one. 21. Vingt et un.

Jesus, what would it have cost me if I'd had the "Hi-Rise Burger" -- fifty?



Sigh... I have so much yet to learn.  Boo.

PS: Mae: you can stop worrying about my Flex points now.

Mae: Week 4 weigh-in

Annie mentioned some weigh-in day rituals a few posts back, and I have to admit that if ever there were a day that I needed to whip one out, today would be it. Mr. P showed up yesterday, and it's one of the most effective ways to completely through off a weigh-in and leave you feeling defeated about your apparent lack of progress. 

The last time I did WW and lost a bunch of weight, I was living in Ottawa and took advantage of an express meeting that was available downtown and just a couple of minutes from where I was working. It was pretty convenient, but it was the first time that I had a mid-day weigh-in, which really freaked me out. I didn't eat or drink anything all morning, and drank dandelion tea (a known diuretic) the night before. I tend to not do any of these things anymore because in the end (i.e. next Thanksgiving) the loss will be what it will be. Sure, some of these measures may offer some relief for a week, but in my experience, it will catch up with you the next. I do remember one meeting where I went through all of my usual rituals but ended up bursting into tears upon learning that I had not only not lost anything, but was up about 4 pounds. How is that even possible (I bawled)?! This particular leader told me that it wasn't uncommon for women to gain up to 6 pounds of 'weight' due to water retention when having their periods. It made me feel a bit better, but I was down a lot the following week. Like I said, it all works out. 

Ten pounds down has a nice ring to it. If I were going to meetings, I think I'd get a ribbon for that. So - yay! Also, this is the first week that I haven't eaten every single bonus point; I think I had 14 left over. That's unusual for me, as I usually eat whatever I can (a future post to come on this topic, as I've learned that Annie and I approach this very differently). 

It's not like I haven't earned any activity points, but so far, it's been limited to yoga. Yoga is not exactly what I'd call strenuous exercise, but that's also not why I'm doing it. Anyway, The Mister is out of town this week, and I hope to get back on the horse and establish a routine while he's away. 

Weigh-in: -0.6
Loss to date: -10

Annie: Week 4 weigh-in.


Lost this week: 0.4
Lost so far: 11.6
Still remaining: 88.4
Activity points earned this week: 15
Weeks to go: 48

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Annie: Beating my addiction to Coke

I have a Coke problem.

Not the kind usually found among aging Hollywood child stars - an addiction to Coca-Cola. (It's actually an addiction to cola in general - it could be Coke, Pepsi, Royal Crown... if it's a cold, brown, fizzy chemistry experiment of a beverage, I'm all over it.)

Not long before I began this year-long (and I plan, this time, life-long) journey, I was drinking at least a litre of Coke/Pepsi a day, between what I was drinking at work and then at supper and in the evening. Easily 8-10 points a day, right there. I wonder how many pounds I'd have lost in a year, having made no change other than having dropped the cola; probably quite a few.

Diet Coke? Diet Pepsi? Coke Zero? Of the three Coke Zero is by far the best (to my palate), and I've turned to it in many a fit of jonesing. But here's a problem just as dangerous as the weight:


In the years since Child was born, I've juggled work and Child responsibilities, and have put just about everything before my health. That has meant:
  • sleeping way, way too little
  • using large volumes of soft, salty and/or sweet foods to soothe my time-crunch stress
  • not getting any exercise ("I don't have time")
  • drinking far, far too much tea and cola to keep myself moving. (I like the taste of mild coffee, but have pretty much always been a decaf drinker - so that hasn't been so bad.)
The result: a body that was overstressed, overfed, undernourished and exhausted.

As I took up this challenge with Mae, I made lots of plans to make changes to my lifestyle that would make me feel better (and, eventually, hopefully, look better). They were all about diet, and exercise, and getting more sleep, and prioritizing better, and learning when I have to say no (for example, I've recently resigned from a national Board I was on).

But I hadn't made a specific commitment about caffeine -- until, one day, I thought I was having a heart attack.

It was a couple of months ago, and my parents were visiting from out of town. I had ordered some delicious (caffeinated) coffee from Zabar's, and we were drinking it after breakfast and supper -- and in between, I was drinking my regular litre-ish of Coke a day.

One morning, I suddenly started to feel my heart pounding in my chest; I could hear every beat in my ears, and the beats were all over the place. Completely irregular -- there was no pattern at all to the irregularity. I asked my Mum, a nurse, to take my pulse, and she had a hard time counting it because the beats were so wild.

So I went to lie down for a while, and eventually, the feeling passed. (Though the terror didn't.) 

I suspected caffeine might be the culprit, so I stopped the coffee and the Coke for a day, and didn't have a recurrence. Over the next couple of weeks, though, while I stuck to decaf, I started drinking Coke/Coke Zero again -- and here and there, I'd get these flutterings in my chest... usually when I was sitting at my desk, or on the couch watching TV, or lying in bed trying to get to sleep (never when I was busy doing something or being active in any way).

So I went to see my family doctor, who listened to my heart and did an EKG just to be sure, and confirmed that my heartbeat was normal. Listening to my description of what and when my symptoms were, she said it was likely "extra beats" -- often the result of too much caffeine, and not enough sleep. I was only having symptoms when I had time to think about how much I had to do.

In short, exhaustion.

So I said goodbye to caffeine a month ago -- and I haven't really missed it yet. I am drinking litres of water, and not only sleep and feel better, my skin is clearer, too.

A clarification

Well, I've said goodbye to liquid caffeine.

I'm not ready to break up with chocolate quite yet... and may never be!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Annie: I was wrong.

Yesterday was Husband's birthday, so we went out as a family for dinner. 

He was feeling crummy about getting old (it was a "big" birthday, as they say), so we went to a place we used to go years ago when we were young and fancy-free; it was in our neighbourhood where we used to live, so we just don't get over there much anymore.

Back in the day (and, in fact, when I had my successful WW run), I used to order their cheeseburger with a tossed salad on the side (light ranch dressing).  It's a family-run place - no brought-in food - and the cheeseburgers are really, really tasty... and char-grilled as opposed to being fried, and on a whole wheat bun, which are nice things in a restaurant. I counted the whole meal for 15 points - the burger and the teaspoon or so of dressing in which I dipped my salad.

So that was my order last night, and it was delicious!  Then, still having a whack of points left on arriving home, I had a Hershey bar (my absolute fave - a real treat for me) and a glass of skim milk. I finished my day with 0.5 point left to spare, and went to bed at 10:30, feeling great, planning to get up at 6 to ride my bike.

1:00 a.m.



I'll spare you, dear reader, the gory details, but suffice it to say that my intestines did not appreciate the sudden influx of fat. Either that, or I caught a terrible 2-hour flu.

6:00 a.m.

Alarm goes off for biking.

I feel awful, and don't want to get up.

I think about the picture on my sister's marathon blog of the bright blue porta-potties she had to use along the route of her marathon because she had what she delicately called a "bad tummy," and then I think how easy it would have been for a bad tummy to be a reason to stop running. (Quite honestly, I think of a bad tummy as a good reason to stop sitting upright.)

So I dragged myself out of bed, thinking "this half-hour ride will be nothing compared to a 4+ hour run - and then the endorphins will kick in, and I'll feel better for the rest of the day."

I was wrong; I still feel like crap.

But I have 3 new activity points in the bank!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Annie: Double Down.

(Photo from KFC website)

Haha, panic not! I didn't eat one!

Mainstream media and Twitter alike have been a-twitter with accounts of ordinary Canadians' encounters with KFC's new, sodium-and-fat-laced "sandwich" featuring bacon and cheese between two deep-fried pieces of chicken. College kids are making trips to KFC and positioning the meal as a test of strength and endurance. It's a lot of hype, all centered around how bad this thing is for you.

But how bad is it, really? It depends on what you count.

KFC Canada's nutritional information site gives the following stats for the Double Down:

Calories: 540
Total Fat (g): 30
Fibre: 0

... which puts it at 13 points -- or the same as a Big Mac.  So, bad, for sure, but not suicide in a paper wrapper. At least, not immediate suicide.

Not to defend the Double Down, but it did get me thinking. Does it deserve the super-bad rap? A recent story in the London Free Press talked about how a single egg yolk has more cholesterol than a KFC Double Down - a fact that surprised me.

So I spent a little time on my beloved Dotti's app (which I posted about here, in case you missed it), and found some restaurant food points values that surprised me... and maybe put the Double Down in a bit of perspective. According to Dotti:

Tim Hortons: wheat carrot muffin - 9

[Really? A wheat carrot muffin is almost 3/4 of the way, points-wise, to a Double-Down? What else could surprise me?]

Things which you'd think were better than a KFC Double Down but are, in fact, worse (according to Dotti's calculations, at least)

Roasted chicken quesadilla - 16.5
Hunan Kung Pao with shrimp - 26
Hot chicken caesar salad - 28

Boston Pizza
Ciabatta chicken sandwich with garden greens - 21.5
Pad Thai with chicken - 42

Now, this is just counting calories, fat and fibre to calculate points: KFC's Original Recipe Double Down also contains 1380 mg of sodium. (Hello, blood pressure meds!)

If you want to go the "healthy" route, you can order the Grilled Double Down instead, for only 11 points... but it has even more sodium, at 1430 mg.

Ahem, to be clear.

I'm not suggesting by any means that the KFC Double Down is a reasonable food choice (incidentally, and fortunately for me, I find the idea repulsive. Who'd want a sandwich without the bread, for goodness sakes, haha!).

But I do think it's a good argument for paying very close attention to nutritional guides, ingredient lists, and measurements wherever you can, because clearly the "bad guys" on the menu can be in disguise.

Imagine turning down a 16-point slice of pizza (or two!) in favour of the more dietarily righteous Pad Thai, only to discover later that you'd blown your day's points, the flex bank was empty, and you owed 90 minutes on the bike before you were allowed to go to bed!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Mae: To run or not to run

A big "congratulations" to Annie's sister, who just completed a marathon and a major milestone. This is an amazing accomplishment by any standard, but even more so for someone like me who cannot even fathom what it must involve. And while I am in awe of this feat, I also have a cringe-y look on my face just thinking about it.

I'll admit it. I've never liked running and all of it's accoutrements: shin splints, sore arches, wrecked knees, achey lower back, etc. Yes, sure, there are many health benefits, and who am I, of all (out of shape) people, to dis it? I've never had a runner's um, structure and composition, and always found it very taxing. It's possible that I'd feel differently if I were actually capable of running without feeling like I'm going to die. I've scoured the medical literature on this and there are plenty of qualified professionals who say that the human body (and not just one type of body) is designed to run. Period. So, fat people, get over yourselves and quit yer whinin'! Right?

Well not exactly. I caught a news item on Daily Planet last week that discussed the results of a study from Quebec on the condition of marathon runners' hearts.  The study was provoked by the untimely deaths of a few marathon runners during their runs, and it turns out that not all runners are necessarily 'fit' to run these gruelling events. Marathon runners who train properly and who are in good health may experience some temporary and reversible tissue damage in the heart, but those who are not in good shape and who do not follow a proper training regime may not fare as well. Basically, running long distances when you're not ready/fit/prepared can have some pretty serious consequences. The Daily Planet host commented that an unfit person is physically capable of running 45 km (I must have heard that wrong, right?), but that doesn't necessarily mean that because they can, that it's not without risk to their cardiovascular health.

So the lesson in all of this is that if you're on your way to a healthier weight and improved overall health, incorporating exercise/running into your daily routine is important, but it's essential to do it right. I mentioned in a previous post that I'm getting a book on a walk-to-run training regime and I am doubling the weeks it suggests (16 instead of 8). At the end of 16 weeks, I won't be running marathons, but maybe 5 km. I suspect I'll be at that level for a while until I work up to the kind of stamina and hard-work required to run around Greece ; )

Mae: Week 3 weigh-in

I think that this week is the tipping point for me. I've now had three consecutive weeks of loss, and that has not happened with all the dieting fits and starts of late. I think I finally believe that I am capable of losing this weight.  I've dithered between "this is just how I'm built and how I'm going to look - just look at my mother for evidence of that; genetics are a bitch" and "I've lost this weight before and it's harder now that I'm older, but it can be done." I'm more on side with the latter now. 

I'm now entering week four, and that means that I have stuck with this for longer than all recent attempts. Two things have facilitated this: the TGP blog and The Mister. Annie gets all the credit for the blog idea, and even though no more than two people are likely reading it, there is still a sense of anonymous accountability. Finally, The Mister continues to adhere to the WW guidelines with military-like precision, and seeing him go through it for the first time reminds me of my first successful WW attempt. 

The exercise part remains at a virtual standstill. However, I have book ready for pickup at the public library that outlines a very reasonable walk-to-run program for beginners. I will be picking it up today after work and will hopefully start my new 16 week program. Annie - on a bike and blogging at 5 am?! This arse <--- needs to get in gear!

- 3

Loss to date
- 9.4

Annie: Week 3 weigh-in

Well, it was an emotional and inspiring end to a tough week. My sister finished the marathon in a good time (I couldn't believe it - it was her first marathon, and she finished in the top half of the runners in her age group. To me: mind-boggling.), and was, as she put it on Facebook a couple of hours later, "Mostly upright, and definitely smiling."  I guess!

For my part, the big challenge of the weekend, I expected, would be a bit less lofty: to avoid eating any of Child's Hallowe'en candies. As it turned out, it wasn't hard: maybe it's because I have so many points due to my current weight, or maybe it's just that my palette is slowly changing... not sure. But either way, I didn't really want them, so it wasn't too bad.

Of course, not really wanting them would have been no obstacle a month ago. It's funny - this program is forcing me to admit to things I knew about myself and my relationship with food; one of them is that I don't have to be particularly hungry, or stressed, or upset, or happy, or anything else to want to eat. The food just has to be there, and that's been good enough for me.

When I say "there," I don't mean right in front of me, either; I mean reachable from where I am - even if it means a detour through a drive-thru or a convenience store. Hmmm... realizing things, but not sure yet what they mean.

With that said, Hallowe'en chocolate bars are so little that they're great treats for after supper - maybe I should actually go out and buy some of the discounted leftovers and chuck them in the freezer for treats in the months to come!

Must go now; have been writing this post waiting to cool down after the morning "bike ride" in my basement, and I think I smell like hockey equipment.   :o)

Lost this week: 4
Lost so far: 11
Still remaining: 89
Weeks to go: 49