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You say you don't know

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Okay, so the video is weird.

Anyway, the idea behind it is that I got some serious honkin' exercise yesterday.

We did a 2 1/2 mile walk! And a good third of it was uphill! What happened was, I had a package to return and so we walked to the Post Office which is partly uphill. Then it turned out the package was actually UPS so we ended up walking to the closest UPS place, which is by BC! That was even more uphill. The whole thing took about 1 1/2 hrs and we did stop for breaks hence I have listed it as 2.5 mph. It was a very good day and I feel fine albeit a little stiff this morning.

More importantly, I want to get in another walk today. I am enjoying them, particularly getting all that sunlight, which I really need. Can it be that I am starting to actually like exercising? Stay tuned.

PS Re the title: my scale is doing odd things. I am listed as a good 1.6 lbs. higher than yesterday, even after weighing myself at more or less the same time and wearing more or less the same stuff. I recognize that when you have as much exercise as I did, plus eat well (which I did), that kind of increase should not be happening. I do hope it's not breaking, or the battery dying. I'm not worried as I know I'm not bigger or, even if I am, it's muscle, therefore, so what? But I'm a measurements kinda gal so it sneaks into my consciousness as being something troubling even if I don't want it to be. Phooey!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/23/2008 3:35PM

    Good advice, thank you.

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KARBIE18 3/23/2008 2:47PM

    Ignore it - it means nothing. If you're being honest with yourself about eating, and you're doing all that exercise, I'm sure the gain is just one of those annoying daily fluctuations. Keep up with the good work, and continue your focus on measurements, and I guarantee you'll be losing again soon. So many of the people on here who have had HUGE losses have gone through the same thing, and, knowing this, I hope you'll tell your conciousness to chill out.

Comment edited on: 3/23/2008 2:46:53 PM

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Reason will not lead to solution

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's the Return of the Muffin Top {ominous chord sounds}

Sounds like a horror movie, eh?

Well, actually the muffin top is good news. The muffin top means I have the confidence to try on a smaller sized pair of pants. The term "muffin top" refers to the belly part that spills over the top of said jeans, for anyone who's not hip to the lingo.

I have a pair of jeans that have been bedeviling me for a good month or so. I had been fitting into others of that size but not, for whatever odd reason, this one. This morning, I weighed myself and I'm doing about 28 1/2 lbs. We'll see if that lasts until Monday's checkin, but I'm very pleased, of course.

This morning, wearing silk long underwear, no less, I stepped into the jeans.

And I got them on.

And I had to breathe in a bit to zip them, but I did that.

And I didn't turn blue.

In fact, I'm wearing them right now (with, uh, other clothes). They don't pinch but I can feel they are there, plus I am certain that I will get a bunch of lines on my belly from the jeans digging in. But that doesn't change the fact that I am wearing them.

Now, the 28 1/2 lb. deal is significant for a lot of reasons.
1) .2 more lbs. off (might or might not happen by Monday) and I'm down to last year's weight.
2) 1 more lb. off after that and I'll be lower than I've been in 5 years. Yes, YEARS!
3) 3 more lbs. after that and I will be at 35 lbs. down, AKA 10% off. This is also known as meeting my second mini-goal.

10% of original weight off, for a person as obese as I have been, is a phenomenal bit of good news in the health department.

And I can see it on the horizon.

One more thing. I've been ticked off lately because my size does not appear to be budging, no matter what I do. Muffin top jeans notwithstanding, I'd like to shed my dang size 26 (2x and 3x) clothes already. I am losing from somewhere, and I suspect it's either internal or just all over the place.

And all over is not a bad place to be losing from, despite my impatience.

Here's how it works:
* I'm 5'6", or 66" tall. But let's not count my head or my feet, which will lose some size but not as much as the rest of me.
* My widest point is about my butt or so, although my shoulders are somewhat wide, too. The butt is a little under 60". The shoulders are around 50, give or take. The waist is about 46" and is one of the narrowest parts of me until you get to the lower legs. So let's say that the average circumference is around 45".
* No need to factor in as the 45" is the circumference
* If I'm a big cylinder (bear with me here), then my cubic inch size is around 60 x 45, or 2700.

Therefore, every time I lose 1" from everywhere that I measure, let's say that the average is more like 1/2" for everywhere when you consider that the calves, etc. don't get measured, but the bicep, bust, band, waist, hip, thigh, belly and butt all do. Hence that's 1/2" x 60" (height of the cylinder, which is me!) or 30". Almost 3 feet!!!

I've already lost just about 2 1/2" from my 8 measuring points (I measure my neck for Spark but don't count it here) so let's say that it's half of that all around, or 1 1/4". Multiply that by 60 and you get a staggering 75" lost. As in, 6 1/4 feet.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/25/2008 6:31PM

    I should add some technical jargon, really make it look good. :)

Actually I had my husband measure me yesterday and, except for hips, I'm within 1" of everything he found (and I was right on target for belly and thigh) so I figure I'm not such a measurements klutz after all.

This does not mean I'm not klutzy enough in other ways, though. :)

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SISNAMIL 3/25/2008 9:49AM

    Makes it sound like you are going about this scientifically, though.

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JESPAH 3/24/2008 6:49PM

    Heck, I have no idea if the math is even right; it's just another way I can gauge and measure everything.

I'm a lil obsessive. ;)

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SISNAMIL 3/24/2008 10:53AM

    you completely lost me with the math, but the translation came through loud and clear. you are doing fantastic! keep up the good work!

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JESPAH 3/23/2008 10:16AM

    Hey, thanks, Karen! :)

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KARBIE18 3/22/2008 8:12PM

    That's wonderful! You're doing great! It sounds like you must be making wise choices, and I'm glad they're paying off for you. Keep it up, and you'll be meeting those goals befoe you know it.


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The Low Fat/No Fat Trap (Cheese version)

Friday, March 21, 2008

I recognize that Spark People does these sorts of comparisons all the time, but I like the idea of stacking up a bunch of different cheeses at once, which they don't seem to do.

Now, I love cheese. Not just cheesy videos but also cheese itself. There's nothing like gooey mess of Brie or a hunk of crumbly Cheddar. I even love stuff like Gorgonzola, although the name makes me giggle a little.

Being that I am watching m'weight, I went for the low fat cheese and then quickly progressed to the nonfat cheese, almost as if the low fat varieties were some sort of oily gateway drug. But the more I read about them, the more I realize that the nonfat stuff in particular is a bad choice, even for a dieter.

It's because of salt. Personally, my pressure is just fine and I don't really need to watch the salt. But I do so anyway, as it's one of the things you watch while on alli, plus I know that it's a water retention issue and therefore I want to not retain water and thereby lose weight. But in the grand scheme of things, if I go over with salt a little, it's no big whoop.

The problem is that nonfat cheese is a salt mine. With fat out of the picture, apparently food companies need to replace it with something. So they ladle on the salt and, I suppose, hope you won't notice other things about fat free cheese, such as its less than optimal meltage pattern or its taste. Or, rather, lack of taste.

I went to and did some comparisons. Here's how the cheeses stack up.

*Cheddar*: Full-fat version, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 114 Calories from Fat 84
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9.4g 14%
Saturated Fat 6.0g 30%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.7g
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 176mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 0.4g 0%
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 7.0g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 20% Iron 1%

Low-fat, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 49 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.0g 3%
Saturated Fat 1.2g 6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6g
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 173mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 0.5g 0%
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 6.9g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 12% Iron 1%

Fat-free, 21 g. (about 90% of 1 oz.)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35 Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.3g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.2g 1%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 340mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 3.0g 1%
Sugars 2.0g
Protein 5.0g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% Iron 0%

For a difference of maybe 10 calories, probably all from fat (e. g. 1 gram of fat), having nonfat cheddar versus the low fat version means that you're also inhaling twice the salt! You also get more sugar! Here, the best choice is the low fat stuff, unless you are so pressed to cut fat (and you don't care one whit about sodium) that you absolutely must cut every gram of fat that you can.

Full fat variety, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85 Calories from Fat 57
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6.3g 10%
Saturated Fat 3.7g 19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9g
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 177mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 0.6g 0%
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 6.3g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 14% Iron 1%

Part skim, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85 Calories from Fat 51
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3.6g 18%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6g
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 149mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 1.1g 0%
Sugars 0.2g
Protein 7.3g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 21% Iron 0%

Fresh, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6.0g 9%
Saturated Fat 4.0g 20%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 80mg 3%
Protein 5.0g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% Iron 0%

Alpine Lace reduced fat, 1 slice (close to 1 oz.)
Calories 70 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.0g 8%
Saturated Fat 3.0g 15%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 200mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0%
Protein 6.0g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% Iron 0%

Polly-O fat free cheese (1 serving, about 1 oz.)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 40
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.0g 4%
Sugars 1.0g
Protein 8.0g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% Iron 0%

This time, the fat free is the best choice, except when it comes to the sodium blow out, but in all fairness, except for the fresh variety, they're all pretty similar when it comes to salt. The Polly-O also does well in other areas, such as protein content. Part-skim and reduced fat, on the other hand, are no better than full fat.

Full fat variety, 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 22 Calories from Fat 13
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.4g 2%
Saturated Fat 0.9g 4%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 76mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 0.2g 0%
Sugars 0.0g
Protein 1.9g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6% Iron 0%

Light, 1 Tablespoon
Serving Size 1 tbsp (15.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.5g 4%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 440mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0%
Protein 7.0g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 25% Iron 0%

The closest I could find to fat free was this, and it only came in one serving size:
Parmesan cheese topping, fat free
Serving Size Standardized to 100g (about 4 ounces)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 370 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.0g 8%
Saturated Fat 3.1g 16%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4g
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 1150mg 48%
Total Carbohydrates 40.0g 13%
Sugars 1.5g
Protein 40.0g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 80% Iron 28%

The protein content is good in the low fat and nonfat varities, but that's about it. Sodium is through the roof. Go with the full fat version. Just don't use too much of it.

*Feta (which is always a salty cheese anyway)*:Full fat variety, 1/4 c.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 90 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7.0g 11%
Saturated Fat 4.0g 20%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 380mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 2.0g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.0g 4%
Protein 5.0g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 8% Iron 0%

Reduced fat, 1/4 c.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70 Calories from Fat 41
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3.0g 15%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 470mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.0g 4%
Protein 7.0g
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10% Iron 0%

Fat free
Serving Size 1 oz (28.0 g) (double to get 1/4 c.)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 30
% Daily Value*
Sodium 450mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0%
Sugars 1.0g
Protein 6.0g
Vitamin A 20% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10% Iron 0%

The differences aren't terribly significant in any area. I tend to get the reduced fat these days but the comparison shows me that it doesn't matter too much. It proves, once again, don't assume anything. Just because it says it's light doesn't mean that it really is. Check labels carefully and weigh your desire for lowered fat and calories versus salt, vitamins, protein, cholesterol and taste.

I might do some more of these food smackdown comparisons. Or maybe not. I can't control my brain. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/21/2008 7:05AM

    Thank you!

I always wonder how such findings will be taken.

My husband and I went back to regular parmesan and we just grate whatever we need with a ribbon grater. It takes only a minute or so and then you have fresh cheese. We had leftover pasta primavera, added skinless chicken breast and a tablespoon of full fat parmesan. This was dinner two nights ago, and it was fabulous.

With the full fat stuff, a little dab'll do ya. I'm finding that out, remembering that with food being greedy about it is not a good thing.

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DRPILLETTE 3/21/2008 6:21AM

    great blog entry. I have given up on the fat free cheeses--they are ruined versions of cheese, esp cheddar. Melted, it's more like plastic than cheese. Surprised to see the mozzarella findings. And I think, given how much sodium is probably in the rest of our day's meals, we'd all do well to watch the sodium. Thanks!


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Feel the vibe from here to Asia

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yesterday, my new stability ball arrived. I duly pumped it up but underinflated it. Now I can't get the pin out in order to reinsert the pump. I'm such a klutz with equipment some times. I think I've fixed it. It's yellow.

But it looks like a fun toy and should help, particularly with core stuff. I figure that's what I'll mainly use it for, as I get arm work with the free weights and resistance bands, and leg work comes from calf raises and walking. Actually, I'm just looking for a way to mix things up, in the neverending quest to avoid a plateau. Every bit helps.

The video, BTW, is called "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)", and that's what brought on this entry. While I enjoy a chocolate cake or other dessert as much as the next person, I have to say that I truly enjoyed the cantaloupe we had last night. It was at a midsummer peak -- amazing for Boston in mid-March. We'll have the other half tonight.

Anyway, about the melon. It was marvelous. And it got me to thinking -- there are some foods that I just love so much that I can't have them any other way. One of those, oddly enough, is cheesecake. My mother makes the most fabulous cheesecake, and it's so good that I now refuse it whenever I can get it at a restaurant. Oh sure, I've tried many cheesecakes. But experience has shown that none of them are as wonderful as what my mother can turn out -- and she probably hasn't even made a cheesecake in years. Therefore I don't even bother trying anyone else's as I am certain and firm in my conviction that it will never be as good as my darling mother's.

Same thing with knishes, particularly potato. I will occasionally order them but they're never as wonderful as the ones my grandmother (my mother's mother) used to make. I can still taste them, and she died in the early 1970s.

My mother also makes a great chocolate cake. I don't normally treat chocolate cake the way I treat cheesecake, but now I think I will. It's the cantaloupe (and things like it) that I'm going to go to restaurants and markets and the like and try and try and try to duplicate the experience (meanwhile, of course, eating something yummy and nourishing). But for those fatty foods I've mentioned above -- the cheesecake, the knish and the chocolate cake -- my memories taste so much better than anything I could possibly order.

Scribble scrabble
on the microphone I babble
As I flip the
funky words, into a puzzle

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SISNAMIL 3/21/2008 11:23AM

    I know what you mean. My granny made the world's best peanut butter fudge. I made some a few years ago that was pretty good, but it was just not the same.

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You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2 month recap - I'm turning into a shadow of my former self

It's been 80 days since I started exercising, 70 since I started portion control and 60 since I started alli. There's a long way to go, to be sure, but a lot of great accomplishments.

* Weight and Measurements *

* Current weight: 318.6. DOWN 27.4 LBS (down about 14 since last month)
* Bicep: 18.75" DOWN 1/4"
* Bust: 52.5" DOWN 2 1/4"
* Band: 46.5" DOWN 1"
* Waist: 46" DOWN 3"
* Belly: 52" UP 1"
* Hips: 50.5" DOWN 9" [this may just be my bad measuring skills]
* Rear: 59.75" DOWN about 4 1/4" [w00p!]
* Thigh: 31" DOWN 1/4"

* Sizes *

I started at a 26/28. Now, all of my 28s are gone. I wear size 26 jeans with cotton long underwear underneath and without discomfort or any sort of muffin top. 2x shirts fit me, and size 24 tops aren't too short. Bras fit better and are second or even first (tightest) hook for the most part. I fit into the white jacquard bra though not into a Bali bra. My size 28 teal winter jacket (The Teal Monstrosity) was given to Goodwill, as were my size 28 stretch jeans. I bought size 22 stretch pants and fit into them, even while wearing cotton long underwear, though they are a tad snug. I fit into size 26 chinos (no stretch) and they aren't snug.

* Fitness *

I went from maybe 2 or 3 reps in a day to 40 (it was 30 reps last month). Use of resistance bands went from 0 reps to 100 (it was 60 reps last month). Walking went from 2.5 mph to 4.0 mph (it was 3.5 mph last month). Weekend walking is getting to be a habit. We generally do one day/weekend; should do two but one is still good. Walking is also more than just the one block; we now do more like four or five blocks, including some uphill. Calf bounces are up to 100 - 200/day from 0.

* Food and hunger *

The weekday routine is pretty easy. Not too hard to roll with the punches re whatever we eat at home. Water intake is 64 oz/day every day. Fat can sometimes be a challenge to get in. Guacamole and nuts help with that. All junk is out of the house.

Weekend eating is harder but we have six restaurants in the plan and now only go or order once per weekend. My husband's Sunday omelet is really good as it is a lot less cheesy and loaded with a lot more vegs. We eat fish every other weekend and bean soup every other week (the opposing weeks are for pasta primavera so that every week is nearly completely vegan, except for Mondays when we have skinless fried chicken as a "cheat night"). We also eat veg pizza (homemade with almost no cheese) although we do sometimes eat roast chicken.

Hunger is okay, even during TOM weeks. I can almost always just roll with it. Work food is brought from home and I buy it in bulk. The sandwiches, etc. at work meetings no longer appeal to me and just seem cheap and unappetizing.

* Noticeability *

While I do have a lot of inch loss in my hips, it's less noticeable because I've still got a gut. I suspect that a lot of my weight loss is occurring internally (e. g. I'm becoming less densely packed, most likely it's fat loss from around my intestines -- sorry, was that TMI?), therefore I haven't seen a lot of size changes yet. That will all change soon, though, in maybe 5 - 25 lbs., I figure. My office is still pretty much in the dark about my mission although a guy who knows I am losing weight says it can be seen. I suspect that's because he knows what to look for. Otherwise, they're oblivious and in fact I was just offered M & Ms (which I turned down).

I cannot wait for Spring when I will really start to shed the old clothes and the old look. Watch out, world. This shadow is going to come center stage.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/19/2008 7:12PM

    Thank ya, Miss Skinny Mini Bekah. :)

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BEKAH082 3/19/2008 5:47PM

    Our former selves have been left in the dust!

Congratulations Jes! You've come so far! You go girl!

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