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Digital Kitchen Scale was a Great Tool for Weight Loss in January.

Friday, February 04, 2011

One of my healthy living goals for January and now for February also, was to
"Stay within my Calorie Range" each day.

So I have been measuring and weighing my food each day.

I have to say that the new digital scale that my husband gave me for Christmas has been a wonderful tool to use.

While I usually use measuring cups for cereal, rice, veggies and frozen fruit...I was usually eye-balling my protein.

"Yeah, that looks like a deck of cards, more or less."
Not too accurate at times.

So in January I started using the "Escali Primo Digital Scale" with Kitchen and Multifunction. It has a capacity of 11 pounds or 5,000 grams. I use both settings as portions on packages are often listed in grams. The pound feature allows me to measure ounces also.

While it's not the only reason I was able to lose weight in January (7.3 pounds), it was a real aid in my efforts.

I hope that some day I will be able to 'eye-ball' my food. But for now, I will continue to use my digital kitchen scale. It really takes the guess work out of how much I am eating.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/2/2011 3:29AM

    I had been wondering if you got a scale for Christmas like you had wanted. Now I know! It sounds like your husband got you a good one too. What a wonderful tool for both weight loss and cooking and baking. I use one at work but still do not have one at home here in Norway. Congratulations on your weightloss success in Jan!

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REEDSKI 2/10/2011 2:39PM

    Great tool! Thanks for sharing!

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STREAKFREAK 2/5/2011 8:29PM

    I emoticon my kitchen scale too. I don't think I could track without it!

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1BEACHWALKER 2/5/2011 3:13PM

    I am trying to do better with that too. A digital scale would be great to have. Congrats on losing 7.3 pounds in one month! emoticon emoticon

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DARBOYMOM 2/5/2011 1:07PM

    I love my digital scale!! Mine only has a 5 pound capacity, but it works for my needs. I originally bought mine to use for baking, along with a recipe book filled with recipes for whole grain baked goods. Apparently, measuring by weight is better for baking. (I wouldn't know, I haven't even tried one recipe yet!) It came in handy for measuring food portions, though! Glad you found yours to be helpful!

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COOKWITHME65 2/5/2011 9:15AM

    I got a scale last month but the only problem is it's still in the box. Not doing me any good there now is it. Thanks for the reminder. If I could kick myself in the butt I would but instead I'm going to go wipe down my kitchen counters and assign my scale a spot out in clear view so I will use it daily. Along with my measuring cups.

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SHELLEY147 2/5/2011 8:23AM

    emoticonfor the loss of 7.3 lbs.!! :) Soooooo proud of you!

emoticonI love my scale too!! I don't know what I would do without it at times! My problem was always getting too little in what I thought was a portion compared to what I should have. :) Not now.

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SEDGEY 2/5/2011 12:53AM

    I love using a digital scale too! On that note, I LOVE the Sparkers who input their ingredients in 100 gram "servings" so it's easy to figure out exactly what you've got. The generic "1 serving" is *not* a useful measurement for anything but a piece of fruit! emoticon

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MEADSBAY 2/4/2011 7:46PM

    I love my scale
(the one in the kitchen- not the one in the bathroom!)
and use it every day.


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    I don't have a digital scale, but I do have a food scale that measures in ounce increments. Not as accurate, but it helps. I weigh and measure my food about two or three times a week to keep my perspective right and eyeball it the rest of the time. Eyeballing gets closer with time. Great job on the weight loss!

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WINFIELD28 2/4/2011 6:17PM

    Yes, the kitchen scale is keeping me honest!
I too, tended to 'expand' a serving of something like steak! LOL!
Thanks for your comments, friends!

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ROSEWCI 2/4/2011 6:11PM

    GREAT job Maria! I use a digital scale too! I do find it helps alleviate the temptation to "expand" the portions! Laughing.... I laugh because, well...

I've been known to "expand" a portion or two! emoticon

Have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy!

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BABYSOX 2/4/2011 6:10PM

    Congrats on your success in January. I keep my food scale on the counter beside the fridge and have found it to be very helpful too. I am learning to eyeball many things, but the scale keeps me honest. Good luck for your February goals.

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    Congrats on the 7.3 pounds!! Awesome!! emoticon emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 2/4/2011 6:07PM

    Absolutely! The digital scale was essential for me to learn how big food should be. I remember the first time I weighed a 4oz steak - I was devastated! Seemed so small! But now it's normal, and I do a pretty good job eyeballing the right size.

I still use the scale for measuring a lot of my recipes. I've converted most of my recipes from by measure, to by weight. It's just a lot easier to scale portions of food that way, then by using measuring cups and spoons.

Comment edited on: 2/4/2011 6:08:37 PM

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~ My Favorite Weekday "Dessert" ~

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

~ My Favorite Weekday “Dessert” ~

For several months now I have been having a carton of Greek yogurt and a ½ cup of frozen mixed berries as part of my lunch. It satisfies my desire for something a little sweet. Plus it's a good and healthy way to get some protein and fruit into my noon meal.

I take a container of Dannon Greek Yogurt with Honey on the bottom and stick it into my freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. The yogurt gets nice and thick and cold and the honey almost turns to a caramel-like consistency. I then mix the chilled yogurt with ½ cup of frozen mixed berries. I have been using Great Value – No Sugar Added Berry Medley. This is a medley of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

The Dannon Greek Yogurt with Honey on the bottom has 140 calories in a 5.3 oz container.

The Great Value Berry Medley is 35 calories for ½ cup.

The Greek yogurt also contains 12 grams of protein.

It tastes so much richer than the 175 calories. And it's so satisfying.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COOKWITHME65 2/4/2011 7:48AM

    That sounds yummy. I'll have to give it a try.

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DARBOYMOM 2/3/2011 1:16PM

    Yumm-O!! Funny that as I am reading this, I am eating my lunch, which includes a carton of Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt (blueberry). I recently switched to Greek yogurt because it's more satisfying and has more protein than regular, even though it is more $. Worth it! Your idea of putting it in the freezer really sounds good -- I'll have to give it a try!

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VHALKYRIE 2/3/2011 12:13AM

    I love greek yogurt! Yum!

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ROSEWCI 2/2/2011 7:17PM

    YUMMY! I'm gonna try it! Woohoo! emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 2/2/2011 7:14PM

    That sounds like a great idea! I love Greek yogurt- I have it everyday! I add Wheat Germ, which gives it a kind of nutty consistency and more fiber. But, will go buy some fruit and try it in the freezer too! emoticon

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    Sounds great. I take a nonfat 6 oz. yogurt and stir in some grapes or dice up a nectarine and it tastes as good as dessert to me.

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SHELLEY147 2/2/2011 6:05PM

    WOW, that sounds delish! I haven't tried Greek yogurt yet...gonna have to pick some up! ~hugs~

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MEADSBAY 2/2/2011 6:03PM

    I used to do this with my old plain yogurt, and add splenda and a spoonful of cool whip (yummy) but since I've switched to plain Greek yogurt and don't buy cool whip anymore, I don't care for it with berries, for some reason.
I make a post workout smoothie with froz berries, Greek yogurt, pasteurized egg whites and lt cranberry juice. mmmmmmm....
Keep these ideas coming!


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ONEGREATCAT 2/2/2011 5:50PM

    While our stores carry Dannon, I have not see one containing honey...but I'll be on the lookout for it. If I can't find it, then I'll just add the honey. This DOES sound like a good alternative to ice cream.

Another yogurt treat that I like is the Dannon Light & Fit vanilla (yeah...I know it's not quite as healthy) and add thinly sliced apples (with skin), slivered almonds and cinnamon. I love this. Sometimes I change it up by adding strawberries, or blueberries or raspberries along with the former ingredients. It also satisfies my sweet tooth and is actually quite filling.

Thanks for a new idea!!! emoticon

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CARLA-216 2/2/2011 4:29PM

    I do something similar to that. I top my yogurt with frozen berries a few hours before I will be eating it. As the berries thaw they release their yummy juices and this provides a nice flavor to the yogurt. So good!

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ISHIIGIRL 2/2/2011 4:10PM

    I love Greek Yogurt. I eat it everyday for my mid-day snack.

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THINRONNA 2/2/2011 3:36PM

    It sounds wonderful! I do something like that with frozen berries whazzed up with strawberry yogurt and I love it too...I think I'll give your version a try as well now. Thanks!

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REEDSKI 2/2/2011 2:38PM

    I am an ice cream lover and since I started SP I had to say no to ice cream so I do something similar. It helps me with my ice cream cravings. Even when it is cold I like ice cream, well, now I love my ice cream substitutes.

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HOT4FITNESS 2/2/2011 2:35PM

    Love new ideas! This is one I will probably try. Thanks for sharing

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The OTHER Pam Anderson, the Cookbook Author

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The OTHER Pam Anderson, the Cookbook Author

I ordered and read best selling author, Pam Anderson’s book “The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great” in February of 2008. I already had several of her cookbooks in my collection. Why did I order this one? Because I saw a recent photo of Pam and she didn’t look the same anymore. She definitely had lost weight. How did a cookbook author, who was about my age, lose weight? Not just a little weight, a lot of weight. I had to find out. And since her new book was also another cookbook, that was just enough reason for me to place my order for it.

How did she lose almost 50 pounds? What did she DO? What did she EAT?
Those were my obvious questions.

Reading her book, it would reveal to me a lot about myself, too. Things I kind of knew. It was reassuring to hear that someone else dealt with some of the same issues I was dealing with. And that she was able to form a plan that worked for her. One that helped her become healthier and happier in the process.

First off, her desire to change her life began more than two years before she ever shed a pound.
She spent time planning to change. But how?

One thing she knew for sure was: She couldn’t lose weight by going on a diet.
So she sat down and figured out what foods and meals she needed and came up with a personal plan. For her it was the Big Three: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (those are my Big Three, too!). And since she was starting to take care of herself, she knew she wanted afternoon tea with a little sweet. She also wanted a glass of wine before dinner with a little nibble.

Her personal plan could only be successful if it included these “unique to her” elements.

She didn’t want to be tied down or restricted – nothing was off-limits, if she really wanted it.

Of course this wasn’t a license to eat whatever she wanted and she realized this. But rather than someone or some diet telling her what and when to eat, she took control. She figured out approximately how many calories she needed each day.

Her personal breakdown was: 400-500 for Breakfast; 400-500 for Lunch; 150 for Teatime, 250 for her Pre-Dinner Nibble; and 600 for Dinner.
She also committed to ‘getting physical.’ She started walking and eventually became a runner.

She walked briskly for a couple miles in the morning and then threw in an extra walk at the end of the day. Gradually she picked up her pace and began to alternate walking with bursts of running. Eventually, she was running two short runs a day. For her, this was both appetite-curbing and calorie burning.

The book also includes many recipes that are sectioned off: Quick breakfasts, Deep-bowl nearly instant lunches, Teatime bites, Before-dinner nibbles, Fast and faster dinners, Mini-prep desserts and “50 Ways to Lose It” – 50 helpful tips scattered throughout the book.

What did I learn by reading this book?

I wanted to form my own personalized plan – I didn’t want anyone or any diet telling me what to eat, and I didn’t want anything off-limits, either. I too, wanted a program that I could formulate and thus stick with. I also knew I needed to add MORE activity to my day. I wanted to choose what activities I would do. I knew that I needed to burn some more calories by being active.

Why did it take me over two years to start my journey to a healthier lifestyle? I had to be at that point mentally to do this. SparkPeople has helped me by offering these tools: The Nutrition Tracker, the Fitness Tracker and all the support of each of you.

I love the way and what I am eating. I like the way I feel while and after exercising.

Pam helped me realize that I can do this and SparkPeople is helping me to do this. Becoming the healthier and happier me!

I am finding balance and moderation at last!

*(I wrote this Blog on September 10, 2010 but didn't post it. I ran into it today and decided to post it because I still feel the same way as I did when I wrote this in September. It's 4 months later and I still am losing weight and getting healthier 'doing my own thing' with the help of SparkPeople Tools and of course the support and motivation I receive daily from my SparkFriends!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COOKWITHME65 2/1/2011 3:45PM

    Great blog. Thanks for posting. I'll have to look for that book. I read blog sometimes that she does with her daughters.

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1BEACHWALKER 1/30/2011 1:24AM

    Good Blog! I am the same way- I have to have certain foods on my menu everyday-that way it satisfies me and keeps me going. I even get those 100 calorie snacks of cheese it crackers or Pringles. As long as I get small helpings like this I am happy. Stay in my calorie range, too with these fave foods! I find the only way I lose the weight is when I walk! And I mean long walks! I do exercises and strength training, and that helps, but there is nothing like taking a walk outside in the fresh air and sunshine! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 1/29/2011 7:20PM

    It's so awesome that you've been able to find the balance you've longed for Maria! I LOVE your idea of formulating a food plan with your specific likes & needs! I think that's what I've done w/my eating every 2-3 hours. That's just what works for me!

You've doing an wonderful job & you're feeling so good! It doesn't get any better than that my friend!

emoticon Rose

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MRSBENNETT2 1/27/2011 10:26PM

    We were at the mall today having an early lunch - grilled chicken on salad greens with caesar dressing. Way too healthy! We were surrounded by lovely older Australian ladies having their "morning tea" which was coffe or tea with a big fat scone and a pile of butter, whipped cream and jam. My mouth was watering! Unfortuntely, scones are way off the menu for me due to wheat. Waaa! emoticon

Ok, the pity party is done.
I like your idea of planning out your "personal plan". I will look her up - she sounds very inspiring!

Comment edited on: 1/27/2011 10:27:05 PM

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MEADSBAY 1/27/2011 7:03PM

    Ooooh, I just went to write down the title and author and realized I have her 'Perfect Recipe' cookbook and love it- def. gonna look for this one, though!


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MEADSBAY 1/27/2011 7:00PM

Awesome blog and book review, my friend.
You both are so smart to have figured out your very own personal plan to lose weight without depriving yourself and going on a diet that you will go off of at the end.
Very smart!
You are doing so grrrrrrrrrrrreat!
thnx for sharing.

(I 'liked' this blog)

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REEDSKI 1/27/2011 2:31PM

    I like the calorie break down for meals and snacks.

Her personal breakdown was: 400-500 for Breakfast; 400-500 for Lunch; 150 for Teatime, 250 for her Pre-Dinner Nibble; and 600 for Dinner.

This is what I need to do. Except I don't have teatime! Ha. Is she British?

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ISHIIGIRL 1/27/2011 2:26PM

    great blog. Her book sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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Goals Re-Cap for January & 3/4th of the Way to My Goal!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Goals Re-Cap for January & 3/4th of the Way to My Goal!

I set some pretty simple goals for myself for the month of January.
1. Stay within calorie range.
2. Eat a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
3. Exercise 5 days a week for at least 50 minutes each day.
4. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.
5. Weigh In on Wednesdays.

Will I am happy to report, so far so good. The goals are simple and I am reaching them each day. I may have to challenge myself a little more. But, I really am happy with my results.

I am NOT obsessing about exercise. If some was good, more must be better. But not really…for me anyway. Fruits and vegetables are helping keep me full and satisfied, so I am able to stay in my calorie range with out much thought. I do need to think about drinking water. In the summer months it was very easy. Now, I don’t always feel thirsty, but I know I should still drink my water before I do.

And I moved my weigh-in day to Wednesdays. I originally had weighed myself on the Monday before I joined Spark People and just kept my weigh-in day as Monday. Well, I moved it to Wednesday as I started on a Wednesday and now my bi-weekly check ups are on Wednesdays.

From Wednesday, December 29th to today, Wednesday, January 19th (3 Weeks) my weight has dropped 7.1 pounds. I am thrilled. I reached & surpassed my 3/4th of the way there mark on my ticker today. (Sunday was my 7th Month SparkVersary!) So I am very happy and satisfied with where my simple, non-obsessing goals have carried me so far this month!

Keeping it Simple and Do-able…all part of my plan for creating B-A-L-A-N-C-E!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEISENUF 1/27/2011 12:17AM

    Sounds like a winning plan to me!

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SHELLEY147 1/25/2011 10:36AM

    emoticonfor your success so far for January!! :) I'm so proud of you!! You set attainable goals that would still challenge you! You are doing great and getting healthier every day!! ~hugs~

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MRSBENNETT2 1/24/2011 10:11PM

    You are doing fabulously! I agree that it's hard to drink enough water in the winter. I had to break a bad hot drink habit - made myself have one mug of water each time I fixed a mug of tea. Definitely easier in the summer!

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1BEACHWALKER 1/24/2011 4:29AM

    Great goals and emoticon on the weight loss! emoticon

Happy belated Sparkversary!!! emoticon emoticon

Keep going and never give up!! emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 1/22/2011 12:20PM

    Way to go my Sparkfriend!! Way to stay on top of those goals and stay in BALANCE,(nice word of the year by the way). Keep up the good work. I look forward to more postings.

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REEDSKI 1/20/2011 2:34PM

    You should be a Spark Coach!
Hey, I have a pain in my lower middle back.
I sure hope it goes away by tomorrow.
I went to get my teeth cleaned yesterday and the dental hygenist was telling me about this pain she was having and it was a kidney stone. I was so glad I've never had a kidney stone and now today this pain. I thought of you immediately. I'm going to go reread what you said your doctor said. I remember something about not having surgery.

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BIGMAMAT 1/19/2011 11:24PM

    Oh my goodness honey! You are blasting through those pounds!!! Woohooo!!!! So proud of you my beautiful emoticon!!!! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 1/19/2011 9:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Maria!

What AWESOME progress! 7.1 lbs in 3 weeks is AMAZING! And keeping it simple is EXCELLENT strategy! And so is keeping the BALANCE! I know you're going to meet your goals easily in 2011!

You go girl! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NPDSLEUTH 1/19/2011 6:35PM

    WOW!!!! You are doing a fantastic job! CONGRATULATIONS! You'll meet your goal before you know it!



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MEADSBAY 1/19/2011 5:36PM

    And I am thrilled for you!
You are rockin' it, my friend!

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Well, HELLO Skinny! I Love My Doctor!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Love My Doctor!

Yesterday I needed to make an appointment to see my primary care physician. I was very fortunate to get a ‘same day’ appointment to see him. Our medical center has a call line where if you call right at 7:00 a.m. a person may get an appointment with their physician that day.

I was very nervous about seeing my doctor. I had been having some health issues that needed to be checked out...and I was afraid that the treatment might include surgery. I was just making myself sick from worry.

I had been having issues with my back, etc. since an acute back spasm in December. I was diagnosed with three herniated discs in 1999 and have been very fortunate that Physical Therapy and self-care measures have helped with those.

I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to see my doctor until my annual physical in June, 2011.

I also had hoped to be at my (primary or maybe it will be my permanent) weight goal by then. I had a medical student come in and talk to me, do the initial exam, etc. I mentioned that I had lost some weight (36 pounds) since I was last here in June, 2010…as discussed with my doctor.

So, when he came into the exam room, I was greeted with a big smile and hand shake and his exclamation: “Well, H-E-L-L-O Skinny!”

While I am not skinny by any means…I do feel proud of what I have accomplished since I last saw Dr. N. He asked what I was doing.
I told him after our conversation in June, I started Spark People. That I have been tracking my food intake. That my diet has improved to include way more fruits and vegetables than I have ever eaten before. That exercise is almost a daily part of my life. He asked what I was doing for exercise. I told him mainly walking with intervals of jogging and some Yoga again. (He’s a biker and said he’s doing some type of dance.) We talked about both of us needing to do some upper body strengthening. I need to do more core strengthening for my back, too.

I was relieved and happy to get a referral to Physical Therapy (and not a referral to a neurosurgeon again). This time for some additional help with core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises.

I will appreciate getting the guidance of a Physical I know what exactly I can and can't do. I have been a bit fearful to try it too much on my own. I will definately ask about Kettle bells too. As I keep hearing such great things about Kettle Bell workouts from my Spark Friends.

So strength training is finally on my exercise menu!
Another key component in my healthy living plan equation.

B-A-L-A-N-C-E - my focus word for 2011!
(Moderation isn't too far behind it!)

May your day be one full of healthy choices and happy outcomes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 2/2/2011 3:32PM

    I know I am a bit late on this one but "Way to go!" doctor sounds great and it is lovely that he could make you feel so good. Also nice that you do not need surgery and will be working with a physical therapist on your core. I have back problems too and they are always so much better when I have a strong core.

I love this blog!

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SNARDEESNIFF 1/27/2011 12:34PM

    WAY TO GO, Maria! This is really great. I am very proud of you. You have made wonderful progress, and it obviously show!

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COOKWITHME65 1/24/2011 12:50PM

    Glad to hear surgery wasn't on the agenda. Physical therapy will help but they may need to adjust your home workout for the time being until things are all straightened out. Bye for now you skinny girl!

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BIGMAMAT 1/19/2011 11:27PM

    Wow maria! I love your Dr.!!! And he is a biker too? wow. He sounds like quite the character. emoticon

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PETUNIAPIG 1/19/2011 11:02AM

    Haha!! What a flirt!
It's so good to hear of a doctor that actually takes the time to TALK with you and listen to what you have to say. So many of my doctors are just so overloaded and busy... they barely know my name. I think that's one of the many benefits of being in a smaller community.

Keep up the great work SKINNY!!

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SEDGEY 1/18/2011 11:08PM

    Well, your doctor obviously has good "bedside" manner. That's the kind of prescription more of them should be giving. Congrats on the progress!!

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NPDSLEUTH 1/18/2011 10:47PM

    I know I keep saying this but I am SO PROUD of you!!! You are doing so well and that's really saying a lot considering the back problems you've had (is there anything worse? Seriously. I think not).

Please do let us know what you're going to do for the upper body strength. I do free weights, kettlebells and resistance bands (but don't have bad back issues at this point in my life). Love to hear what will work for you though.

So, SKINNY, thanks for posting.

Much Love, Nikki

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REEDSKI 1/18/2011 5:49PM

    Now that's what we like to hear! When I went in for my well woman check this past summer I was laying down on the thing you lay on and the doctor started pushing in my abdomen. And she said, "Wow, so skinny!" I, too, was not skinny by any means but when I lay down my stomach isn't so big.

Oh, I wonder...why do doctor's push on our abdomens? I should ask sometime. Are they trying to feel how big our livers are?

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CHALLENGER15 1/18/2011 2:43PM

    That's fantastic! I am excited [not sure that's the right word] to see my primary care physician in early will have been 6 months! I am curious about what she will say.

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MEADSBAY 1/18/2011 2:36PM

What a happy blog!
Good news all around.
I sure hope you get the ok for kettlebells- I'm a huge fan of this awesome workout.

emoticon= emoticon

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/18/2011 1:15PM

    Well "Skinny", you have a great doctor. What a lovely blog. Good luck with physical therapy. It has really helped me.

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SHELLEY147 1/18/2011 12:23PM

    what an awesome way to greet you!! Sounds like you have a fantastic doctor! ;) Glad you got into PT instead of needing surgery. ~hugs~ my dear friend!!

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ROSEWCI 1/18/2011 12:19PM

    So emoticon to hear! "HELLO SKINNY"!

What a GREAT compliment & what GREAT validation for all your hard work Maria! You've evolved into quite the athlete, my friend! Look at you, discussing exercise options w/your physician! That's AMAZING! And shows you just how far you've come! And you're gonna LOVE strength training! Once you tone & define those muscles...weight is gonna just DROP, you'll see!

emoticon to you! Keep up the GREAT work!

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    Woo hoo Maria, that is amazing to hear! You are such a positive spirit, i love reading your blogs!!

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CARLUCCI67 1/18/2011 12:06PM

  Awesome story ! Keep up the great work !

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