Visual Weight Loss Tools

I was recently flipping through a magazine of mine called Today’s Diet & Nutrition when I came across an ad for The Portion Plate.

I remembered seeing this plate a few years back while watching a morning news program and thought that it was a clever idea to put portion control right where you can see it – smack on your plate.

The website has the melamine plate for sale for $11.95 plus $5.95 shipping/handling, but I ended up not buying it. I have the visuals. I know the size of a deck of cards equals the size of the chicken breast I’m supposed to eat. But it’s a great gift idea for someone you know who is trying to lose weight or simply be more cognizant of what they are eating at meal time.

I did a little bit more reflection on motivators to help me lose weight. Remember when Oprah wheeled out her red wagon of fat that represented all the weight she lost? I recalled seeing a replica of one pound of fat that you could buy for yourself. I didn’t know that one pound of fat requires an additional mile of blood vessels. Who knew? I decided this would be more motivating for me to put this on my nightstand or next to the table in the living room where I usually overeat to remind me to take it easy. Hell, I could even stuff it in my purse so that when I found myself roaming the candy aisle at the local CVS all I would have to do is unzip my purse to remind me that those sour skittles aren’t worth it.

However, owning a one pound or five pound replica of fat is kind of expensive. The one pound model sells for $26.95 and the five pound model is $83.95. I wish it didn’t cost so much. It’s just a big ole glob of rubberized fat.

If you’re looking for tools to help you stay focused with your weight loss program, you may want to consider the portion control plate or the one pound fat replica if you need some visual motivators to keep you on the track to weight loss success.

I discovered that I’m not quite prepared to spend money to buy either, but I have added that pound of flesh to my Amazon.com wish list.

Bite Sized Mold

The LOST season finale was on last night at 9pm. I made plans with my friend Karen to come over to my house so we could watch it together. She showed up around 8:30pm in her post-workout Jazzercise gear and we were hanging out in the kitchen catching up before our favorite TV show began.She commented on how many 100-calorie snacks I had on my counter-tops. Ever since I began my diet back in February, I’ve become the queen of 100 calorie snacks. Love them! She happened to see my three boxes of the new Hostess 100 calorie Cup Cakes and decided to try to Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese filling variety. I really wasn’t paying too much attention because I was rooting around in my Lazy-Susan trying to find alcohol. (I recently received a recipe to make some sort of fancy ‘Crocodile’ mixed-drink that involved Midori, Lemon Juice, Vodka and Triple Sec) I thought it would be a fun way to kick off the season finale since we both like Midori.

As I was opening cabinets to find fancy glasses, Karen told me that the cupcakes really didn’t taste that good for 100 calories.

But as Karen popped the second cupcake in her mouth, I noticed a slight tinge to the frosting. I grabbed the package containing the last remaining cupcake and exclaimed, “Don’t eat anymore! It’s all moldy.” Karen pulled a face and we both ended up laughing so hard after she swallowed the last bite. I showed her the green fuzz and we both got appropriately grossed out.

But I was very surprised. Don’t Twinkies and the like last for decades? I would have assumed a Hostess cup cake would do the same, but then I realized the fuzz was all over the cream cheese frosting. I quickly inspected the other remaining varieties on my counter: chocolate cake with chocolate icing and golden cake with chocolate icing—both perfectly fine.

I’m not a person who is aware of expiration dates. A gallon of milk is really the only consumable in my fridge that catches my attention every day when I prepare my cup of morning coffee. I can’t tell you how many dozens of eggs or tubs of Cool Whip that have found a home in my trash months after their expiration date. I’ve also learned not to let myself get fooled into taking advantage of seemingly amazing sales for 20 cups of yogurt for five bucks because they too have expiration dates. Who knew? I thought those little tubs of yogurt had bacteria in them already-why would they expire?

Expiration dates are everywhere. Cans of Pepsi, bags of pre-packaged Dole salads and even medicines in your bathroom. The two moldy reduced calorie cupcakes Karen ate hopefully won’t make her too sick, but at least she was eating healthy.

Dedicate and Refocus

Things haven’t gone as well on this “diet” since I started back in February 2007. I’m nearly done with the Weight Watchers 17 week program and have hardly any progress to show for my lackluster efforts.

I started strong out the gate, but slowly lost my way. I lost interest in counting those annoying points, but continued to go to the weekly meetings. I stopped counting points about a month after I started the program because I felt like I was being cheated out of food. I started counting 1500 calories and was doing good-down about 9 pounds-when I lost interest again.

I’ve thought about some of the culprits to my lack of progress:

* too many celebratory lunches at work that left it difficult to count calories.
* lack of exercise due to the bunionectomy surgery on March 9th
* stopped drinking 64 ounces of water each day
* salads ended up being too much because I love to pour on the salad dressing
* late night eating in front of the television because of habit
* letting myself get too hungry and not snacking when I started getting hungry

Yesterday it was 90 degrees outside and it’s only Spring. I was thinking about what this summer is going to be like weighing as much as I do. There are so many beautiful clothes in the stores and nothing fits right because of this weight. Am I destined to have to order petite plus sizes in JC Penny catalogs? No way.

I made a promise to myself this morning. My short term goal is to lose 10 pounds by June 1st. I am going to count calories no matter what. I am not going to go out to eat for lunches at work because I can’t count calories doing it. I will only allow myself the once-a-week dinner with Spencer as a treat. I am going to drink my water every day with the help of my techie Hydracoach water bottle now that it’s all set up.

Going all the way back to February 1st when I began this journey, I will have lost 14 pounds by June 1st. Once I accomplish this then I will set a new goal of ten more pounds. I’m through thinking about the big numbers and how far along I have to go to get to the magic healthy number.

I can and will do this.

Two Months and Counting

It’s been two months since I started my weight loss journey by joining Weight Watchers At Work. I stepped on the scale today and to date I’ve lost 9 pounds.

I’m partially disappointed that it’s not 15 pounds since I’ve been watching what I eat for two solid months and think I should have more weight loss to show for my efforts, but I have to be realistic about some of the things that have gotten in the way of progress.

I had a foot surgery on March 9th which hasn’t allowed for much physical activity other than hobbling around at a snails pace. But I’m happy to say these past two days have found me able to start participating in walks with the doggie and I’ve picked up the pace with my surgical bootie. I just know that as soon as I get the OK from my doctor, I’m going to be visiting the gym to walk on the treadmill or use the recumbent bike to kick start more weight loss.

We also have a tradition at work for birthdays. We take that person out to eat at a nice local restaurant and it’s a nice break from the daily grind. There were alot of birthdays in March which resulted in me going out to eat and not doing such a good job watching what goes in my mouth. I certainly wasn’t going crazy with piling in the food, but those days were much harder to keep track of points. However, the positive news is that I haven’t given up and I get right back on the program the next day.

I have also drastically cut down eating candy. I had set a goal of saying NO CANDY until June 1st because I figured that I had to completely cut it out of my diet because it was my trigger food. But every once in a while, I have popped a chocolate in my mouth and have been able to control it. I haven’t had any Skittles or sour candy since February 1st which is amazing because it’s my favorite thing to snack on.

I followed the points system for 1-1/2 months, but found that counting calories was a better way for me to stay on track. So around mid-March I started counting calories-1500 day- and I’m doing well. I still go to Weight Watchers on Wednesday and get weighed, but I am no longer using their points system.

Overall, I’m pleased that I’ve lost 9 pounds. I’m halfway through the Weight Watchers At Work program (another 8 weeks to go) and I’m hoping that by the end of May I can report that I’ve lost 20 pounds.

But I’ve got many more pounds to lose to get healthy and I’m looking forward to a fresh start this April 1st. I feel like I’m on my second leg of the journey and I can do this.

New Adventures

When you can only eat a limited amount of food because you’re counting points, you start to pick up on tricks from fellow Weight Watcher participants.

  • I’ve learned to put my salad dressing in a separate dish rather than pouring it over the salad. I end up using less this way.
  • Hummus-Delicious if done right. My sister-in-law made a home-made batch, but she admittedly put too much lemon in it and it was a bit too strong I bought a tub for $6.50 at Davidian Brothers Farms in Northboro and learned that I got ripped off because Hummus shouldn’t cost that much. So far the best Hummus I’ve tasted is at El Basha in Westborough, MA. I also discovered that Pita Bread is over near the deli at Stop & Shop and not in the bread aisle. Who knew?
  • Feta Cheese is yummy in salads. I never tried it before and I love it’s salty brine taste. I crumble it in my salads all the time now.

The Mail Is Not A Dieter’s Friend

I was sorting through our mail tonight after work when I came across a coupon booklet for Friendly’s. There was a big picture of a turkey sandwich adjacent to a overflowing bowl of hot piping clam chowder. The front read, “Good Things Are Happening” and “Over $50 in savings inside!” I found this kind of funny because who really spends that much money at Friendlys? (Although the price of their Banana Split costs nearly as much as admission to the movies.)

But then I flipped it over and lost all resolve. It said simply, “Friendly’s. Come for the food. Leave room for the ice cream.”

These are the temptations that I need to be vigilant to avoid. Potential diet slippage is ever present to me because I’ve chosen to limit my food intake and count points. I’ve peppered my 17 week program with the added bonus of not having any candy whatsoever until June. What was I thinking? Ice Cream…Ice Cream…Leave room for the ice cream.

I didn’t dare open the booklet to see the $50 worth of coupons because I I bet you there are some delicious visuals to accompany those thrifty coupons. Perhaps a red maraschino cherry nestled on top of a fluffy pillow of whipped cream out of a can and nestled underneath are scoops of butter crunch ice cream and drizzled hot fudge.

Screw it. I’m opening the booklet. Damn Friendlys and their clever marketing campaigns.

Dusting Myself Off

I joined Weight Watchers At Work for a 17-week program that will teach me portion control and encourage a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried Weight Watchers. I joined the program once before in my last job, but it didn’t work out and here’s my excuse: the gaggle of women always talking about acquiring KASHI in our weekly meetings.

I became so sick of hearing about Kashi products and where to buy them. They talked about Kashi non-stop. It was their obsession. I never really learned helpful tips like what to do when faced with the choice of buying a 75% post-holiday marked-down bag of M & M’s vs. a bag of oranges.

But this time it’s going to work and it’s all about my embracing attitude of better health and my supportive co-workers. In fact, one of my co-workers Jillian suffers from Celiac Disease which means that all her foods must be gluten free and she’s joined Weight Watchers with me. She loathes fruits and vegetables. She hearts chocolate. She has chocolate for breakfast. lunch and dinner. I’m seriously not kidding. She has an amazing tolerance for chocolate and an amazing biological sensitivity to wheat products.

Day 2 hasn’t gone well for Jillian. I was shopping in Target tonight when I received the following text message:

F this points thing – I wanna eat my cat!

That just about sums up how we’re doing on the diet right now.