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Avoiding Emotional Eating: How to Distract Yourself from Unhealthy Snacking

10 May
loco at computer

Just me and my cat today, hard at work at my desk. As long as he lays on my arm, I can’t use it to snack. ;)

Today isn’t easy for me. I’m stressed about my freelance work, I’m applying for full-time work with no call-backs yet, I’m still too sore to exercise much, and my friends are busy so it’s just me and the cat. I’m so tempted to gorge on candy, Pop Tarts, nachos, ice cream, or chili-cheese fries. Fortunately, we don’t have any of that in the house right now. I’m about to go run some errands and I know I’m going to want to stop at a fast food drive-thru, which I also know I don’t really want to do (see this post: Dropping the Drive-Thru). To help myself not eat my way through this stressful day, I’m making this list of distractions and reasons to avoid temptation. I hope it helps you too. Continue reading

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How to Burn 2000 Calories in One Day at Home!

9 May
michelle's plants

Spring cleaning burns tons of calories. The only household task I can’t count is gardening because these are the only plants I have–one amaryllis and two black succulents.

Every little calorie burned helps me get one step closer to achieving my goal of losing 40 pounds. To keep me motivated, I decided to educate myself about how the little activities I do can add up.

Since I work from home, I structured my schedule this week to allow a day for taking care of household chores that have been piling up since my husband and I have been busy with work (spring cleaning!). All calorie-burning data is from the WebMD Fit-O-Meter (and all data is calculated based on my personal weight; you should enter your own weight to get the most accurate data for yourself). And, if you turn on some upbeat music while you’re doing stuff, it really helps your brain and body increase your activity level.

  • Make breakfast: Making breakfast takes about 10 minutes and burns 30 calories. Clearing breakfast dishes in 5 minutes burns 18 calories. In total, burns 48 calories.
  • Make the bed: Making the bed takes 5 minutes. Burns 15 calories.
  • Wash the dishes: Takes about 15 minutes. Burns 51 calories.
  • Go grocery shopping: Grocery shopping with a cart takes 20 minutes and burns 68 calories. Carrying a load of groceries to and from the car and the apartment takes about 15 minutes and burns 166 calories. Putting them all away takes about 10 minutes and burns 37 calories. Burns a total of 271 calories.
  • Dust the house: The entire house takes about half an hour to dust thoroughly (lots of bookshelves). Burns 111 calories.
  • Mop the kitchen floor: Takes 15 minutes to mop the kitchen. Burns 78 calories.
  • Vacuum the house: The whole apartment takes 30 minutes to vacuum. Burns 155 calories.
  • Scrub the bathtub: Cleaning the shower and bathtub well takes about 20 minutes of scrubbing and rinsing. Burns 112 calories.
  • Bathe and groom the cat: Takes about 20 minutes from the time I find the cat, scrub him with cat shampoo, rinse, dry, and brush. Burns 103 calories.
  • Reorganize the hall closet and file cabinet (includes some moderate lifting): Takes about 45 minutes. Burns 233 calories.
  • Fold the laundry: Standing while folding a couple loads of laundry takes 15 minutes. Burns 44 calories.
  • Make dinner: From prep to cooking to serving takes about an hour (standing and sitting). Burns 177 calories.
  • Do the dishes again: Takes about 15 minutes. Burns 51 calories.
  • Clean out the bedroom closets: Takes about an hour. Burns 310 calories.

TOTAL: Calories burned from all activities listed above: 1759 calories burned!

Add a stretch break! Whether you’re doing a lot of physical activity or just sitting around all day, your body can benefit in many ways from stretching. A total of 30 minutes of stretching burns 111 calories.

Count your walking! Light and moderate walking throughout the day between tasks counts too! Just one hour of general walking activity burns 266 calories.

Of course, no one wants or needs to do all of those chores in a single day on a regular basis. This was basically our spring cleaning. However, several of these daily tasks really do add up to make a difference in our daily dieting lives. Keeping these numbers in mind can help maintain a positive outlook toward daily weight loss activities. And don’t forget to drink lots of water and get a good night’s rest because both of those things help maintain your body’s metabolism.

Now that I know how many calories can be burned doing each of these household tasks, I can use the information to my advantage. If I eat a heavy dinner, I’ll work it off at the grocery store the next day. If I want a 100-calorie snack, I’ll bathe the cat afterward to burn it off. The cat may not think it’s funny, but I have to keep a sense of humor when I’m dieting! :D

Let me know what you think in the comments section!

–Michelle

Special Order with a Smile

7 May
Sally special orders her food

In “When Harry Met Sally,” Sally special orders everything to suit her personal tastes without any hesitation when making the requests.

When you’re dieting, it can be tough to have fun going out with friends who aren’t dieting. Instead of staring at a restaurant menu feeling guilty, get creative. If you’re polite and kind, pretty much any restaurant will let you special order something to suit your needs. (Check out this great scene from “When Harry Met Sally” when Harry first hears how Sally special orders everything. Love it!) Here are some ideas to help you special order when you’re out so that you can keep losing weight:

  • Order a combination of small items from the appetizer and side dish sections of the menu. For example, you can get an appetizer of shrimp or small pieces of chicken and combine that with a small side of a favorite veggie. This way, you’re not getting the huge entree-size portion and you’re only eating one side dish instead of also having a roll, soup, potato with butter, etc. Continue reading

Updates On The Skipping Dinner Experiment

7 May

Not a long time ago I decided to make a little experiment and see whether I’d be able to go without dinner for a whole week. You can read all about how it started here. It seemed a relatively easy experiment, to have a full breakfast and late lunch, which theoretically should have lead to the skipped dinner. Well, I have to confess it wasn’t that easy, I broke down after the fourth night. However I have to admit even if I ate after six o’clock, it wasn’t anything heavy, a very light dinner. In fact, one of those nights was a raw vegan experience, which I posted about in this post.

Even though I failed this little experiment, I still have hope that I’ll be able to go though it again.

All the best,

– Vita :)

PS: If you haven’t voted yet on our little poll, we’d highly appreciate just a second of your time to answer one simple question, meat or seafood till the rest of your life? Thank you! :)

Diet Drop Updates (and a Sugary Sweet Playlist)

4 May

Happy Friday! We just wanted to say thank you to all of you readers for all of your likes, follows, and comments on WordPress and Twitter (@DietDrop). We love doing this project and we’re seeing some positive results that are keeping us motivated. We hope you all are having fun reading about it and that you’re having success with your own weight loss goals. Continue reading

Weigh-In Wednesday: Small Changes Work for Me

2 May

It’s time to check in with our progress again, which is always the least fun part of losing weight, in my opinion. Even if I see progress is made, doing the actual measurements is a painful process for me. I much prefer the cooking and other activities we do to make dieting and losing weight enjoyable.

I am seeing small differences in my body but not enough for my old jeans to fit yet, unfortunately. These small changes we’ve been making to our eating habits do seem to be helping but as soon as my foot is healed, I’m ready to ramp up my efforts. I am super excited that Vita got Zumba for Kinect for us to try. I think that now that we’ve incorporated so many little changes to help us lose weight–smaller portions, healthier food, buddy system, etc.–it’s time to really devote more attention to increasing my physical activity beyond daily stretching.

No more stalling. Here are the numbers for my third Diet Drop weigh-in: Continue reading

5 Reasons to Grill Everything!

30 Apr
teriyaki and pineapple chicken

Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce and pineapple slices. Delectable.

It’s mid-morning on Monday and I’m still full from all of the BBQ we ate this weekend at my folks’ house a little over an hour’s drive from our home. I didn’t overeat. Everything was cooked beautifully on the grill. And now I’m reminded that BBQ can be incredibly filling. I know it’s technically spring, not summer, but we’re having such beautiful weather lately that it feels like summer already…or maybe that’s my sunburn talking.

While my mom’s husband grilled–he’s extremely talented at the grill–my mom, my husband, and I spent most of our time in the pool working up an appetite. When the weather turns warm like this, it’s impossible to not be outside running around, gardening, swimming, or just enjoying the sunshine. All of those activities require good food to keep you going and lots of water to keep you hydrated…between these gorgeous strawberry daiquiris, that is.

robert strawberry daiquiris

My mom's husband made these perfect strawberry daiquiris for us while we were lounging in the pool. Life is good these days!

[Side note: Most, if not all, diets and nutritionists will tell you to not drink alcohol when you want to lose weight because it’s nothing but “empty calories.” This is one of those diet rules I’m dropping–and I think it’s safe to say that Vita is with me on this one. First of all, pretty much anything in moderation isn’t going to affect long-term weight loss. Secondly, diet-related restrictions tend to bring out the rebel in us; and I want my diet choices to be things that I can maintain in the long-term (I know I’m not going to give up all alcohol forever). Thirdly, you can choose to have an alcoholic drink instead of a high-calorie snack and still be within a healthy daily calorie-intake amount. And finally, I know I was burning calories while swimming around so I’m not worried about the calories in a drink.]

Grilling is an excellent cooking method for several reasons, especially if you’re trying to lose weight without boring your taste buds. Here are my five reasons to grill everything:

1. Food tastes better outside. Haven’t you ever noticed how great food tastes at a picnic or in the backyard on a summer evening? Maybe it’s because all of the senses are heightened and stimulated by the outdoor environment. Whatever the reason, I know that those meals are special and worth repeating as often as possible.

2. Fat drains off. Regardless of how you like your meat cooked, grilling offers a way to drain off excess fat that other cooking methods can’t match. Think off all the fat that sits in your broiler or the oil that you put in a frying pan when you cook on the stove or even in the oven. Now think of how wonderful the grill smells as the fat burns off and your meal comes to the table perfectly cooked with those grill marks.

3. Total control. When you cook at home, you are in total control of what goes into the meal and into your body. When you grill, you are assured that your meat is cooked exactly the way you want it (I like mine extra well done) and that any sauces or marinades you use are in line with your personal tastes. I’ve had teriyaki chicken at restaurants that was just awful because they used a crappy marinade. Grilling also provides such a unique flavor on its own that you don’t need to rely on a lot of oil, salty seasonings, or additives because the right taste is seared in by the flames.

4. You can grill almost anything. Our weekend was filled with burgers, steaks, chicken, corn on the cob, and more, all cooked on the grill. It was so efficient and tasty. My mom and her husband use their grill all the time and we were more than happy to help this weekend. It kept us all outside enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Corn grilled in its husk is so delicious. My mom’s husband does a great job balancing and cooking everything to perfection. He even toasted the burger buns on the grill, which is an amazing flavor-enhancing touch! The only things we didn’t grill that we ate this weekend were the baked beans, veggie toppings for the burgers, and popcorn. (My mom’s husband even reheated some leftover pizza on the grill because it was efficient and made the crust nice and crispy without burning it.)

5. It’s budget-friendly. We felt so spoiled eating all those delectable, grilled meals because the cost of eating steak, giant burgers, and teriyaki chicken like that in a restaurant day and night would be way beyond our budget. Think of the cost of steak dinners for four people at your favorite steak restaurant (plus the gas to get there, the wait time, sales tax, and tip). Now, think of the four pack of steaks you can get at the grocery store, some potatoes, corn, and salad fixin’s, and the fun of grilling with the family. It’s an easy choice, in my opinion. Plus, clean up is easy too. There are no oily pans to scrub. Take care of your grill and it’ll take care of you.

The only non-healthy foods we ate were the macaroni salad, potato salad, and BBQ potato chips. However, I was so content and full with dinner that I didn’t have seconds and I didn’t have any dessert. I think that those choices, combined with the physical activity, balances out pretty well in my favor. I’m not worried about it. By the way, a perfect low-cal snack for a summery evening after BBQ is homemade popcorn! My mom pops the yummiest popcorn on the stove with just a little oil and some salt and it tastes better than anything you can get at the store (and it’s not bad for you).

Have a wonderful grilling season, everyone! What’s your favorite thing to grill? Let us know in the comments section.

–Michelle

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