Friday, October 23, 2009
There was a great article in the New York Times the other day musing on the popularity of Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet and other "quick fix" weight loss plans: www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/fashion/2
In this article, one woman highlighted pays nearly $3,000 per year for this diet, which calls for you to eat six specially manufactured cookies per day and one "normal" meal. The diet is endorsed by fluffier celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, and Kelly Clarkson (Yes, KGRIMES526, Kelly was on this diet too!) and as noted in the article, the expected revenues from this diet are expected to gross $85-$92 million in 2009. Those on the cookie diet are eating approximately 800-1000 calories per day.
One telling quote: "The Cookie Diet is very appealing because it legalizes a food — the cookie — that is banned from most weight loss programs." Supposedly you are supposed to feel better about being on the diet because you are constantly eating these cookies. I agree that you shouldn't restrict your favorite foods from your eating plan, but what is the point in gorging on them? What is that teaching people about healthy living habits?
I'm writing this blog because I've seen people on here spending money on diets like the Cookie Diet, Slimfast, Jenny Craig, Medifast, and other diet plans where you are paying the "experts" to substitute a meal for you or provide ready-made meals. Now I ask my Sparkers, would you rather have a delicious homemade oatmeal cookie made with oats, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, baking soda and butter on occasion? Or would you rather have the cookies prescribed on this diet, several times per day, which contain:
WATER, GLYCERIN, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, CRISP RICE (RICE, SUGAR, SALT, MALT), OATS, SOYBEAN OIL, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, RAISINS, MILK PROTEIN, VINEGAR, MODIFIED PALM OIL, BROWN SUGAR, BEEF PROTEIN HYDROLYSATE, EGG WHITE SOLIDS, WHEY, CANE SUGAR, WHEAT FLOUR, LEAVENING (SODIUM BICARBONATE, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, CORNSTARCH, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM SULFATE), WHEAT BRAN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, CINNAMON, NUTMEG, FD & C YELLOW #5, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE).
Mmmm, I love my cookies with a little beef protein hydrosylate and microcrystalline cellulose! The microcystalline cellulose apparently acts as a thickening agent which makes you feel fuller. I don't know about you, but I like my feeling of fullness to come from actual nutrients, rather than the molecular equivalent of styrofoam! The Cookie Diet also comes with a vitamin kit, because while Dr. Siegal touts the nutritional content of his diet, the vitamins are there ... just in case.
I need to say it again. People who embark on this diet are spending $3,000 a year or $250 a month on these cookies! $3,000! Can you think of what you could buy with $3000? I have a few suggestions and I encourage others to add their own:
-Three annual mid-range-to-upscale gym memberships ($80 per month)
-Airfare to Europe for a family of four ($750 per person)
-A downpayment on a mid-range car ($3,000)
-Tiffany & Co. diamond and platinum pendant ($2,950)
-Vespa S50 scooter (MSRP $3,199)
Now, I've saved the best quote in this article for last: "I have heard experts say that very low calorie diets are unsafe,” [Dr. Siegal] said. “I have yet to see the first case where anyone suffered the ill effects of a low calorie diet.”
Really? Apparently Dr. Siegal has never seen the horrors that anorexia and bulimia can do to the human body? Not to mention that doctors regularly state that a diet below 1000 calories has numerous side effects such as dizziness, dehydration, depression, vitamin deficiency, etc.
My friend TRAVELNISTA posted a blog today about how people are looking for a quick fix to melt off those pounds. And nowhere is it more apparent than in the diet industry, which are begging to make a buck from your perceived inadeqacies. Well, here is my recommendation, which is coincidentally the same as of one of the public health experts in the article: “Keep a food diary, cut your portion sizes, cut out the junk and enlist support from family and friends. Start walking — daily. You’ll be better off.”
Sounds like Sparkpeople to me! And use that $3,000 for rewards for meeting your goals!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I promised photos of all the great things happening in my life: my new haircut, the old jean jacket fitting again, and my new running shoes. Well, I didn't get the new running shoes yet, so I added a couple of bonus pics at the end!
First of all, the haircut!
And then, the jean jacket!
So then, I remembered that I posted a "before" photo of me hiking in Maine in my trackies and t-shirt. I figured I weighed around 280 pounds at that point. Since I was in dress up mode, I thought, why not? I put on the same outfit.
Soooooo.... that was fun! But there's more! I decided to bring out the black pants, the size 24 when I ballooned up to 286 pounds, my heaviest weight ever. I'm a size 18 now!
That's cool, but where's the fun in that?
Hope you enjoyed my photo blog. I guess the whole point of this is that I still have a long way to go, about 80 pounds until I'm at a "healthy" weight for my height and frame, but there are still concrete changes along the way that you can SEE. So have fun with the journey and reward yourself for all the progress that you make at every step of the way!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I loved my first Zumba class today. But it wasn't without its mishaps.
First, I woke up and went outside to my car only to find that the license plate on the front of my car was missing, probably stolen. I decided to go Zumba anyway.
On the second song, I fell down because I slipped on a wet patch on the floor (it's pouring buckets today) and it was super embarrassing. That kind of solidified myself as being the klutzy newbie in class even though I got right back on my feet and wasn't hurt.
I was determined to keep up with everyone, and there was this one older woman in the class who kept asking me if I was OK as I sipped water between songs, which I thought was laughable considering she skipped out on half of the dance moves (walked when we hopped, etc.). She of course was skinny, skinny, so of course it probably made her feel better to patronize the bigger girl in the class. There were only 6 of us.
But it was still a whole lot of fun. I could tell it was something I'd love to do every week or two. And then on one move on the last song, my ankle snapped. I heard it crack and that was it, I couldn't Zumba anymore. Also really embarrassing. So I walked around on it a little, but of course, I had made myself the center of attention again. I went to the bathroom and by the time I went back out, the class was over, and I was treated to another concerned diatribe by Older Lady.
Again, I really liked the class, and I will definitely Zumba again.
It's kind of amazing that in five months of exercise, I haven't been injured once, so it had to happen sometime. So as I sit with my ankle iced and propped up, I'm forced to relax. Which of course, means no shoe fitting AGAIN today!
ARGHHHHHH... Someone out there doesn't want me to get my shoes.
Oh, and I called the police and they made a police report, so of course, my plates are reported as stolen, so if I drive anywhere, I'm probably going to get pulled over by the cops. And that also means a great trip to the RMV, one of my least favorite places in the world.
I'm still going to try to post some photos tonight. I'm just in rest mode right now.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I'm a New Englander, which means you can't walk or drive two blocks without seeing the ubiquitous pink and orange Dunkin' Donuts logo. It's everywhere! I used to be a hardcore DD addict. It was my first job when I was 15 years old and we were allowed to drink and eat as much as we wanted during our shifts. I'd come home from work, shower, and I'd still smell like coffee and sugar 24/7. That made me crave more sugar, and so on and so on...
Since June, when I started at Sparkpeople, I have almost completely cut the DD out. One for nutritional reasons, because even though there are lower fat and calorie choices there, the sodium and sugar isn't the best for me. The other is for budgetary reasons. There's one guy at work who gets a large coffee and a bagel and cream cheese every morning from DD. That's $4 every morning and $20 a week! My husband and I agreed we'd rather forgo the DD, bring my own coffee and breakfast to work, and use the $40 to get a nice meal out on Saturday or save for our travel fund.
And then the coupon book came and eliminated one of our rationalizations...
Each week from now until Thanksgiving, we have 7 coupons each boasting DD items for 50-99 cents! What a deal, my husband proclaimed! So every day he's been getting two donuts, or an egg and cheese, or a coffee, or a muffin. Great.
Dunkin' Donuts recently introduced a DDSMARTmenu that supposedly has smarter choices for conscious eaters: https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus
/BreakfastChoices/dd_smart_menu.aspx . I knew from experience that they have an egg white flatbread sandwich that's very tasty and only 280 calories. It also has 820mg of sodium and fails to fill me up until lunchtime, so I've forgone that sandwich.
But today, armed with my 50 cent muffin coupon I figured I could find a muffin on the DDSMART Menu. I've seen low-fat muffins in stores before and usually they are around 300 calories, which is a lot, but if you're craving a muffin, it's doable. So I got what looked like the most promising one: the Low Fat Apple Caramel Muffin.
I knew it was a bad choice when I saw that the top of it was encrusted with a thick layer of sugar! Got to work and checked what the damage would be:
EEK. I can eat a slice of chocolate cake with frosting and have less sugar and calories than this supposedly "smart" treat. The other DDSMART muffin, the Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin is even worse:
How can Dunkin' Donuts claim these are "smart choices"? Really? Then I checked the other muffins not on the DDSMART menu, and lo and behold they ranged from 500-660 calories apiece. Wow.
So I cut my "smart" muffin in half, scraped the sugar off the top, and had a 215 calorie muffin treat for breakfast.
And it's 10:30am. I'm hungry. My teeth hurt. And I feel really dumb.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Whew, that title is a mouthful, innit? I have so many different thoughts I want to share!
1. Though it's so much tougher running outside than on the treadmill, it's a lot more rewarding. While I've pretty much finished C25K on the 'mill, it'll take a lot longer to do it outside, and that's OK. I might have to push my next 5K race back to Thanksgiving. I was originally planning on doing the Superhero 5K on November 1, but it's a costumed race and my husband is still out of commission due to his knee injury and I wasn't able to convince any of my friends to do it with me. So basically, I don't want to run alone in costume and feel like a loser that everyone else is there in groups. So I might find a local Turkey Trot instead, which will give me more time to train outside.
Soooo, that being said, I made the C25K Group Challenge an outdoors running challenge, and I hope people give it a shot!
I want to spread my love of running, but I don't want to feel like I'm pressuring my friends either. But it's hard to hear excuses like "oh, my knees aren't made for running" from people who have never had knee problems and weigh 130 pounds soaking wet. Of course, my goals aren't everyone else's, and I just need to accept that.
2. Yesterday, I did a two mile run in my neighborhood and ended up running down a street I'd never been on before only to find a Curves there advertising walk-in Zumba classes. Which is awesome because I belong to Planet Fitness, an amazing and super inexpensive gym ($10 a month, plentiful machines with TVs, and lots of people of various shapes and sizes!) but one that doesn't offer any group classes. I've been wanting to try Zumba for ages, and these classes are offered EVERY DAY and are only $8, so now I really have no excuse not to try it. So it was super providential that I happened to run past!
3. I bought a new workout shirt yesterday from Reebok and you know how they have the international sizes on them? Well this was an XL in US and Europe, and it on the smaller side if you ask me... In China? 4XL! In Japan? 5XL! It brought back memories of my time in Japan and how thankfully I had enough clothes to last me for the six months I was there, because I wasn't getting any there! Or shoes... The largest size I saw there was a US 8.
That small reminder along with my SP friend LITTLEFREEZE's blog entries brought me back to the memory of a "big girl" in Japan, who was probably about a US 12 or 14 sitting on the train with her classmates and how sorrowful she looked, sitting with her eyes averted and finally catching my eye and giving me a half smile in solidarity. It must be so tough to be a "big girl" in a culture like Japan. Putting that into perspective, we North Americans and Europeans might face prejudice for being overweight, but it is nothing compared to not being extra tiny in Asian countries.
4. Last night I had Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" in my head because I am now halfway to my first goal of ONEDERLAND. "Whooooooooooa, we're halfway there!" 40 pounds gone forever! I haven't been in my 230s for 10 years (Age 18)!
Now onto rewards. I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN NEW RUNNING SHOES. And that was my reward 10 pounds ago. I know, it's an awesome problem to have, but I just can't manage to pull myself away from my computer during the day to go to the running store and have the gait analysis and get the new kicks. Instead, I'm using my lunch hour to catch up on clients and making phone calls. I really need new shoes though, so I gotta remind myself to go this week. Not today though... it's downpouring!
But for the most recent reward, we are going to a spa in Cornwall, England in February for three nights and I'm going to start a fund to save money to get THE WORKS of a spa treatment for then. Massage, facial, seaweed wrap, EVERYTHING! And I'm going to get a haircut soon too!
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