Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eat earlier and lose weight

Yesterday, there was an interesting segment on TV news. The main point was that eating earlier in the day does help you to lose weight. It seems that the body processes foods more efficiently earlier in the day than it would during afternoon (after 12 pm and later).

Certainly, more research is clearly needed on this claim.

Don't know if I could ever limit mealtimes to morning hours, though I suppose it can be done.Willpower and the ability to summon an appetite in the early hours are probably most important requisites.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Imperfections and weight loss

I think that many weight-loss and diet experts go wrong because a lot of them seem to operate on the assumption that everyone's body is exactly the same as everyone else's, with exactly the same needs and capabilities. But if you go to a gym or a sporting event, you notice right away that this assumption is false. And that operating on it leads to unnecessary misery and emptier wallets.

In an ideal perfect world, most, if not everyone, would be uniformly slim, tall and good-looking and tend to wear smaller sizes of clothing and eat like birds. But unfortunately, our world is imperfect, populations are imperfect and efforts to control imperfections and flaws will be likewise imperfect It is what it is. I'm also sure that such a perfect world would be frightening and downright boring. What would we do with and about all that perfection anyway?

Look for something to do and find it, for better or worse.

It's the little flaw here and the imperfection there that keep the world and us interesting. Before even thinking about losing weight, think about priorities and everything that matters to you. Make sure that you enjoy what the world has to offer and that includes food, which is meant to be enjoyed in the first place. It can always be worked off later on.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If you want to eat, forget the guilt and just eat!

I eat between meals plenty of times, figuring that as long as I'm hungry, I should eat. I'll opt for eating some peanut butter if nothing else, such as crackers, is available. I need and want food that I not enjoy eating, but which will fill me up. For that reason, I don't always opt for fresh fruit, as it isn't filling unless a lot of it is eaten.

Ultimately, it all comes down to, what do I feel like eating?

Not always an easy question to answer, especially when the desired food is unavailable and you're forced to "make do" until the next time.

At other times, I'll try to ignore the hunger pangs or find an alternate food to eat, such as frosted flakes, pudding, rice, pasta, or soup. Do I feel guilty? No. I was hungry and satisfied that hunger.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Anxiety and eating

I rarely eat when I feel anxious, but when I do, it's usually food like crackers or cookies.

Fruit doesn't seem to fill the bill, though there are enough apples and oranges in the kitchen. If there's nothing else, I still crave food, real food, to the point at which I give in and get a McDouble and fries at McDonald's.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Should you leave some food on your plate?

Leaving a little food on your plate is probably a good idea. At least one expert mentioned doing that and reaping the benefits, (weight loss), and it sounds ok. But somehow, doing that goes against the grain.

After all, leaving a smidgen of food on your dish doesn't really amount to a lot of calories. Does it? Please let me know if I'm wrong. And the other thing about this is that if you're at a restaurant and happen to leave some food on your plate, you're leaving money as well. The cost of food has gone up everywhere, even if you limit yourself to preparing meals at home, you already know this from first-hand experience and all the tricks the supermarkets play. Last week, for example, a regular-sized jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise was on sale at that supermarket for $2.99 and this week that same jar costs $3.99. A competitor is selling it for $2.99 though.

Ok, food is more expensive, that much is established. So what else does a little left-over food on your plate show? It may indicate that you just couldn't finish all of it or happened not to like it or gave up eating it because it was cold.

All good reasons. If I enjoy eating something, you can believe I'm going to eat it all. Leaving a few morsels of it on my plate isn't going to help me or my weight loss efforts. Plus, whatever works for me may not work for someone else. After all, none of us are carbon copies of each other. To each his own.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

feeling intimidated at the gym

I'd long been considering joining a gym. And everything seems so straightforward in that you show up, register, sign one or more forms, place your things in a locker provided for you, and start using the equipment.

I was told that the trainer who could answer my questions was unavailable at the moment and that I was on my own. Looking around, I've seen exercise bikes, balls, treadmills, and other devices that probably were better suited for torture rather than exercise. Amazing. Even the platforms holding the equipment were high, intimidating to amateurs who still don't have the needed answers.

Then out of curiosity, I walked up to one of the exercise bikes and noticed that each one contained a small computer-like device in which a user could program time, length of exercise, flow of exercise and so on. I would have loved to have hopped on and begin using the bike, but there was no one nearby to ask. Geez. At least at home, all I had to do was get myself in the proper gear, wheel the bike out of the house, and take a ride through one town after another. Nothing to program. Nothing to adjust. Just hop on and start pedaling!

Disappointed, I kind of roamed around, still hoping that someone would be free to answer my questions and get me started in using the equipmrnt. Unfortunately, none of that happened. I was left to fend for myself. Everyone looked rather busy and no one even noticed me slipping out the door and walking away. Like they all really cared.

A little peanut butter satisfied my hunger pangs

I had a jar of peanut butter that hadn't been opened for a little while.

I happened to notice it during a shelf-cleaning session, which I tried ignore, as I was planning to eat something else for lunch. Still, I hadn't eaten peanut butter in a while. Temptation won and I finally opened the jar and scooped some out with a spoon.

Mmmm! Really good! Another scoop coming right up, and another.

After that, I was just dyng for a hot cup of tea and made some. Took time savoring the tea and found that my hunger pangs had disappeared.

I'm already tired of cookies, applesauce, cake and crackers. I've overdepended on them for the longest time and had enough of them for awhile.

I'm eating some peanut butter instead.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What might happen to processed foods in the future?

I have a few possible answers. Processed foods:

- Get recycled and sent to China.

- Get recycled and stored for "later"use.

- Get recycled and used in medicine.

- Get recycled into laughing gas.

- Get recycled into regular gasoline.

- Get placed in a garbage barge and get dumped near New Jersey. LOL!

- Get recycled into building materials.

- Get recycled as fertilizer.

- Get recycled into large islands and named as "paradises."

- Get recycled into space balls and are rocketed to outer space.

Microwaving an apple

I read somewhere that an apple can be microwaved as a treat.... Important details such as how long to microwave were not mentioned.

Still, this sounded interesting, especially since I love all things apple, including fresh McIntosh apples, apple pie, applesauce, candy apples and so on.  Just a quick side-note here. I know that there are different kinds of apples and having tried a few, I concluded that McIntosh apples had the best taste.

So today, I folded a paper napkin carefully in half, washed an apple and placed everything in the microwave for nearly four minutes. Had to keep reminding myself that this was an experiment. As the apple was being nuked, a fresh scent of applesauce soon wafted from the microwave. In the meantime, the apple itself had begun to come apart a little.

I stopped nuking it in roughly a little more than 3 minutes. It was time.

The apple was still hot to touch and taste, so I placed it on a dish, let it cool off for a minute or two, before probing it with a spoon. Believe it or not, the inside of the apple was rather warm, but I managed to scoop a little of it out and tasted it.

It tasted very much like unsweetened (commercial applesauce), yet naturally sweet. For me, however, its taste still needed some getting used to.

So in the end, I could say that the experiment was successful, though I might tweak it a little in the future, such as nuking an apple for about two or three minutes and seeing how that tastes.

Upcoming trend: vegetables for dessert!

And why not? For awhile, experts have argued that tomatoes, for example, are fruits to begin with. Want some dessert? Grab a tomato or two.

I like this trend, though right now, I'm having a problem embracing it fully.  Traditionally, I was taught that fruits and vegetables are separate items and to believe that stringbeans, for example, are strictly vegetables! That may be so. There may be a point in the future where it is no longer possible to specifically disregard fruits and veggies as belonging to separate groups or "classes."

Ultimately, salads will include both fruits and veggies, which doesn't sound like a bad idea. In fact, I am brainstorming ideas for various salad combinations!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A storm is coming, but no urge to panic shop

Generally, I tend to go panic shopping, especially close to the day for which a storm is predicted. There was a time when I did panic shop. Funny how when people were buying items like bread and milk, I bought things like crackers, cold cuts and maybe some bread and oranges. That was about it.

Then the storm arrived last fall and the power outages began. My power went out almost immediately. So of course there were casualties. The butter, mayonnaise, hot dogs and jelly all went bad and I had to discard them, which really hurt.

The power outage in my area lasted about two weeks, during which time, I ate a lot of fast food, crackers, bread and other junk food. Cooking was out of the question, as my microwave wasn't working (no power). So much for having a cup of tea.

I did buy some stuff before the storm arrived, like cheap batteries and containers and a few tomatoes.

I bought what I bought and was glad that I didn't buy anymore. I ate out a lot and never enjoyed coffee more, or hamburgers, for that matter. Diet? What diet? I was too busy panicking about the storm's consequences to even think about what I should eat for dinner.

"What's for lunch or dinner? Who knows?"

As much as I hate planning meals, I manage to do so at the last minute, usually when hunger pangs grow and I have to figure out (a) what to eat and (b) if I really want to eat it or not. Most of the time, I'll go ahead and make sure the necessary ingredients are already available at home and shop for the missing, necessary ones asap.

However, there are quite a few times when answering "a" and "b" is a challenge in that I have some idea of what I want to eat. For some reason, I'm not particularly fond of a given food at that moment or preparing it just seems to be too much trouble. At this point, I'll opt for what I really feel hungry for or a quick junk food snack such as potato chips which are easy to eat and filling if all the chips in a bag are eaten in a single go.

I can get away with minimum effort in planning meals, as I am single and don't live with anyone and don't have a family. My cats already have their canned and dry food, so it's just a matter of deciding which canned food flavor to offer them (and hope that they eat it). As for myself, I have a perennial choice of soup, pasta, frozen meal, sandwich, pizza, pie, cookie, applesauce, fresh orange, doughnut. I supplement those foods with fresh produce, different bread, salad, dessert, etc. But which food, when and why? That still has to be figured out and has for me become an aggravating factor in planning my next meal.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just walking.....

Knowing that I can easily fit in size 12 jeans has given me a huge lift and more motivation to walk even more. Of course, I'm still paying attention to diet, with an eye toward eating more vegetables. I'm back to eating more fruits, such as fresh oranges. Last week, I priced small containers of blueberries and was disappointed to find that they are still rather expensive, like $3.99 per container.

But now, as far as exercise goes, I'm really "into" walking. This morning's single-digit temperatures didn't faze me. After all, if garbagemen can collect garbage in subfreezing temperatures at 5:30 in the morning, I'm sure that I can survive a 6-minute walk to the bus stop and wait at least 5 minutes for the bus to arrive.

In the meantime, my goal is getting down to a size 10, which is my sister's size. I know, her frame is smaller and more delicate than mine, and she walks her dogs a lot, but that's her. I'm following the beat of my own drummer, which is walking and finding more ways to have fun walking. Taking large steps, skipping, jogging in between steps will keep me active and ultimately, help me to drop a few more pounds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How I went from a size 14 to size 12 in about three months

If you live in or near a big city like New York, you can forget about buying and using exercise equipment, signing up at a gym, or even taking up a new sport ---- yet lose weight fairly quickly. And none of what I'm saying is a scam. In fact, I proved it to myself.

Ok, here's what happened.

Late last September, I was accepted as a student at the Crime Fiction Academy in New York, with workshops beginning on October1st. Every Monday, I rode the bus from my town in New Jersey to the Port Authority, then walked from the Port Authority to the Academy.

At first, the walk seemed to be rather lengthy and time-consuming. Plus, I noticed that a lot of other people tended to walk rapidly, expertly weaving in and out of crowds without losing a beat. A lot of those rapid walkers were slim. I surmised that those slim people walked a lot every day of the week in all types of weather and survived.

Little by little, my walking pace picked up and I reached a point at which I could easily keep up or even surpass the rapid walkers. So I did, from November right through December, especially later on, in order to avoid missing the bus back home.

And it all paid off. I dropped a size from 14 to 12 in a few short months of constantly walking.

Monday, January 21, 2013

After losing weight, now what?

An interesting question occurred to me early this morning, and it was, "Suppose that you lost all of the weight necessary and you look and feel good. You've conquered the weight-loss battle and now what? Are you going to look for new fields to conquer or simply hang in and continue battling your weight?"

In other words, is there life after successful weight loss?

I never really thought about that one very much, mainly because I'm so focused on dropping a few more pounds here and there. But suppose I've accomplished all of that and am technically finished with the battle. What next?

I've started turning to the goodies, lots of goodies, including potato chips, marshmallows, cookies, hamburgers, cake, pie, ice cream....and you know what?
It feels good! The Big Mac I devoured today was particularly satisfying. I ate it, actually two of them, one of them free, and still feel full.

The best part is that I don't feel a tinge of guilt for eating any of that. Haven't given up on walking or eating stuff I haven't eaten for years, such as the tootsie-roll center lollipops.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Plain-Vanilla Wallking

When advised to walk more for exercise, many people tend to nod and agree, thinking, yes, I can stand to walk more, but don't --- and probably won't. After all, I really don't have reasons to walk around at home. And I'm not really motivated to walk a few blocks in the neighborhood, since I have no excuse!

And for awhile, that's exactly I thought about walking. Walking couldn't be more boring!

But that's not entirely true. You sort of have to be creative and invent excuses for walking.

One of the better excuses is getting and using a walking stick!  These sticks look like canes, but they expand possibilities for varying walking, including bending, stepping and moving. If you can't or won't use a walking stick, you can probably substitute a regular umbrella, not the fold-up kind).

Another way to motivate yourself to walk is planning a reward. For example, you can walk to the bank, take care of business there, and continue walking to a local pizza shop or bakery.

Still another way is to pretend that your local bus isn't running for some reason. Since the distance you ride isn't really all that lengthy, consider walking that distance instead, knowing that you can always board a bus and ride back home.

And as you walk, vary your pace. Walk really fast for a few blocks or a given time, say ten minutes. Another way to vary it is by stepping over each crack or stepping on each crack. Or see how slowly you can walk.

At home, set records for walking up and down stairs. For example,, how many times can you walk up and down the stairs of your home in five minutes?  Ten minutes?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Processed foods = weight gain

Having a ready-made frozen dinner, opening up a can of veggies, spaghetti and/or soup are quick ways to prepare a meal, but they all have one thing in common.

They can all make you gain weight.

Why? They're filled with chemicals and preservatives that add empty calories and cancer-causing chemicals. At the same time, they're hard to resist because they make food tastier, increasing cravings for that food and costing you money. Hard to believe? All you have to do is read the labels, where you'll readily find a number of chemicals with unfamiliar names that are hard to pronounce.

But even more important is that these convenience foods are not cheap. And have you also noticed that as their packages and contents decrease, their costs tend to increase or at least remain the same? They're literally killing your budget and worsening your weight-loss efforts!

The problem is that those foods are hard to resist when you're very hungry.