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Weigh-In Wednesday #4: My Just Desserts

6 Jun
cell phone pic of chocolate bars and cakes

I can’t seem to get enough chocolate this week. I’ll re-weigh and re-measure next week to get an accurate reading. ;)

When it comes to weight loss, even anti-diet dieting, it really reap what you sow. This is the fourth month since we started our Diet Drop project to lose weight through healthy eating choices, fun exercise, friendship, and no self-sabotaging diet plans or unrealistic goals. So far, I’ve lost just a little bit of weight (read more in the previous Weigh-Ins entries) and I’ve had a lot of fun. But this past month–as the numbers show–I’ve slacked off:

Every number–overall weight, arms, waist, hips, thighs, etc.–is the same as last month!

I should just be happy I haven’t gained anything. Especially since this past week has been a particularly difficult week to resist indulging in anything chocolate. It is hard for women to get an accurate reading for their weight at specific times of the month, which is why I plan to re-weigh and measure myself next week just to be sure. Women should always rely on an average weight calculation rather than a specific day for an accurate reading, in my opinion. But the proof is in the pudding (chocolate pudding, of course): I haven’t lost anything most likely because the truth is I have not been exercising enough lately to burn off more calories than I’ve consumed. If I increase my activity level, as summer so wonderfully encourages us to do, I’m sure I’ll see my measurements and weight start to drop again.

What are your thoughts on regular weigh-ins and how do you mark your own progress? I can’t wait to fit into my old jeans and other cute clothes that are two sizes too small. As part of my summer plans, I’m going to dedicate one hour a day to listening to an album and doing some form of exercise at the same time. Today, it’s Robert Johnson Delta Blues music and Pilates and yoga moves on a mat in my living room with the sunlight shining in.

–Michelle

This Summer, Follow Your Gut

5 Jun
archway at Descanso Gardens

An archway of branches at Descanso Gardens in Southern California. It’s a beautiful place to explore. What’s keeping you from exploring new activities and places this summer?

Summertime, like New Year’s, can be a great launch point for new goals and adventures. It’s not only a clean slate, but also a season that enables you to be more active and that inspires happiness and fun. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve reached a plateau. I’m at a point, physically, where I need to amp up my weight loss methods in order to keep my metabolism high and lose more weight. I’m also at a point, emotionally, where I feel like if I don’t get up and run with some of my project ideas, I’ll miss out on some great opportunities. With all that in mind, I’m kicking off summer with a reinvigorated mindset. I have all the tools necessary to accomplish my weight loss goals. It’s time to kick myself into high gear. Here are some of the plans I’m making for summertime weight loss:

  • I will follow my gut, take more risks, and try things I’ve never tried before. Experience can only be gained by trying something new…and if you fail in the process, you’ve learned even more. I’d rather see what’s on the other side of trying than to sit on this plateau and not try.
  • I will give myself a mini-makeover. I have an extremely limited budget. I mean, money is really tight these days. So doing things that cost money is usually ruled out for the time being. However, there are small, inexpensive ways to boost your self-confidence and have some fun. Like my budget, my old jeans are still too tight. Instead of getting hung up on what I can’t wear, I’m pulling out all of my skirts and sundresses and mixing them up with other clothes to make new outfits. I’m also thinking I’ll dye my brown hair blonde for the summer. That kind of change gives your system a real jolt and can help give your attitude a new spin.
  • I will listen to a record or CD every day. Instead of sitting down for an hour to watch a TV show or read articles online, I will choose instead to dust off an old album or disc and keep moving–standing, stretching, dancing, anything but sitting!
  • I will explore new places. I will find as many places I can to walk to or drive to (if they have free admission) so that I can see more, hear more, and feel more. Sometimes a different bird call or view can tap into a sense or memory that leads to new inspiration. I will also take my sketch pad with me and start drawing again. It’s so much more relaxing than vegging out in front of the TV.
  • Speaking of vegging out, I will dedicate this summer to trying new veggies and new ways of cooking them. Summer is probably the best time of year to take advantage of local produce markets and farmers. I realized yesterday that I pretty much only boil my veggies unless I throw them in the baking pan with some chicken or fish. I want to break away from this habit and learn new ways to incorporate veggies into our meals (besides my love for making veggie dip). My first experiment will be using the indoor grill to make different types of veggie skewers.
  • I will use the longer daytime hours to my advantage. One of my favorite things about summer is the longer days. I feel like the extended daylight gives me extra energy and opportunity. Now that it’s still light out even after we have dinner, I’m going to start suggesting we go for evening walks. It’s time together; it’s good for digestion; and we may learn something new about our neighborhood.
  • I will indulge in more fun and games this summer, including but not limited to hula hoop, jump rope, beach fun, and dancing. Anytime there is a chance or invitation for fun and physical activity, I will do myself and my body a favor and say yes!

What are your weight loss plans for this summer? How are you going to keep motivated to stay active? Share your thoughts, struggles, questions, or achievements in the comments section. Good luck!

–Michelle

No Pain, No Gain

14 May

When you’re trying to lose weight, there are days when you’re hungry, cranky, and sore. I’m hungry and sore today…and I’d be cranky too if it weren’t so darn beautiful and sunny outside. Our perspective on healthy weight loss has been to not deprive ourselves of things we want but to instead focus on moderation and nutritious choices. But when you’re modifying your portion sizes and eating habits, inevitably there are days when you’re going to feel frustrated. To get through this mood without letting it sabotage my progress, I’m going to try this today: 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! :)

Getting a Leg Up

26 Apr

I’m having severe pain from plantar fasciitis and a subsequent cortisone shot in my heel. Since I can hardly walk, I’m stuck in bed or on the couch feeling lame. To make the best of it, I set up my computer in the living room and pillows to prop my leg up, and then I used my awkward positioning to help me stretch throughout the day. Injuries can be a real setback when you’re trying to lose weight because your physical activity is limited. But movement of any kind is better than no movement at all, and stretching is the easiest way to maintain mobility. It also just feels good.

As long as I kept weight off my foot and didn’t overextend the nerves in my leg, I didn’t feel pain so much as discomfort and tingling. If I did anything to tweak the nerve in my heel, I’d yelp and wince in pain, so I was very careful.

Stretch #1

I sat in the middle of the couch with the long coffee table parallel to it in front of me. My injured foot was propped up on a pillow on the table to my far left. My normal leg was positioned the same way to my right. Slowly, I’d lean toward each side with my arm outstretched in front of me, toward my foot, or over my head. I’d relax back to take a break, then tuck in my tummy, sit up, and repeat. It helped take the pressure off my lower spine and loosen my shoulders, in addition to stretching my legs and arms.

Stretch #2

With my legs comfortably relaxed in front of me and my feet flat on the floor, I scooted up so I was sitting on the front edge of the couch where there was the most support. Then I straightened up, sucking my stomach in toward my lower back, and maintaining good posture. I stretched my arms out and slowly rotated to each side and then raised my arms above my head before relaxing down and repeating.

Beyond that, I couldn’t do much, and I had to take a lot of breaks (the best was my lunch break to eat some of Vita’s borsch!). But it did make me feel like less of a lump. Sitting around all day with an injury can add a lot of pressure to your back. Stretching in any form really helps, even in its mildest form.

–Michelle :)

Playtime and Friends Improve Weight Loss

25 Apr
Window view before take-off of Southwest planes.

Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine's April 2012 issue included two articles--one about playtime and the other about weight loss camaraderie--that mirror our efforts with the Diet Drop project.

When my husband and I were flying back from New Jersey to LA, I couldn’t sleep or reach my book so I read the Southwest Airlines’ magazine, Spirit (April, 2012, issue). Two articles caught my attention and reflected some of the goals and philosophies we share on Diet Drop. The first article is, “It’s Called Play,” which, in a nutshell, states that playtime at any age is essential to a health and creative thinking; and the second is, “Dynamo, Mississippi,” which parallels our emphasis on companionship and how it can greatly increase long-term weight loss success. Read on for more insights and highlights from experts that mirror our efforts with Diet Drop.

Continue reading

Dropping the Jealousy

24 Apr

“What is she doing to look that good?” I asked myself. “And why don’t I look like that?”

It was a silly question asked only out of a twinge of jealousy.

green-eyed monster of jealousy

The green-eyed monster of jealousy can creep up on all of us sometime. (My cat as the jealousy monster, green with envy.)

There are a million reasons why she and I don’t look alike now, even if we did in college. We were both full-figured all through college and seemed like we always would be. Now, thanks to social networking, we keep in touch without staying close and I get to see all the reflection-in-the-mirror shots of how thin and smokin’ hot she looks now. And now I sound bitter. I am, of course, happy for her. And she really does look gorgeous and toned. But I want to lose that much weight too. And I don’t know what her diet or weight loss method has been. To be realistic though, whatever method she’s using may not work for me anyways. We all respond to different motivators and nutritional changes.

This sudden, fleeting feeling of jealousy is one of those inevitable things that can sabotage a weight loss plan.

Continue reading

Coffeeholism

15 Apr

I have mentioned my addiction passion for a coffee previously in the post “What Would You Like, an Ice Blended Yummy Drink or a New Car?”. And even though I did cut down on the coffee intake considerably, I know that I have to get rid of this habit once and for all. But it’s not as easy as it might feel like, I’ll tell you! There’s a reason why coffee is compared to such legalized drugs as tobacco and alcohol; it’s very addictive. I didn’t even know how addictive it is until I tried to cut it off completely. Three days later after itching and craving for a cup of coffee I grabbed one with my shaking hands and practically gulped it down. That’s when I knew that it’s not as innocent as a whole trend of countless coffee shops want it to look like.

Just the other day when I had to run some errands, it was a pouring stormy rain outside, and all I could think of is to get to the closest coffee shop and to get myself a hot cup of hazelnut latte. There’s something comforting and soothing about the whole feeling of holding it with your freezing fingers, inhaling the aroma and carefully tasting that first sip… Continue reading

Dropping the Drive-Thru

13 Apr

I’ve been working very hard to break a bad habit: I noticed that I tend to stop at a drive-thru for a snack or lunch when I’m out running errands. What’s worse though is that I realized that I order more when I’m alone (and somewhat anonymous) rolling through the drive-thru, whereas I tend to order less to eat when I actually go inside and face someone and others might hear what I’m ordering.

fast food logos

Fast food on the brain. Image credit: tswift4ever @ http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x228/tswift4ever/food-1.jpg

It sounds a little silly when I describe it at length like this. And it certainly isn’t a conscious binge or sneaky behavior. I’m not sure why I do it. But I’m starting to feel glad that I’ve become aware of it so that I can stop doing it. I’m dropping drive-thrus from my life completely. I have to if I really want to lose weight and do so more quickly. If I really want fast food or any restaurant food, I’m going to insist (to myself) that I go in and get it. Maybe that little extra trouble will help me control my desire and the amount I want to eat when I’m out. Or, better yet, maybe I’ll just go home and eat something healthier and cheaper.

I have to say, as much as I hope the media uproar regarding the beef industry’s “pink slime” is overblown, it is having an affect on me.

Continue reading

Vacation Eating: East Coast Edition

10 Apr

We only get to go to New Jersey to visit my husband’s family about once a year because it’s hard to budget for the airfare these days. But when we get there, it’s a whirlwind of house-hopping to see each of his FIVE brothers, his mother, his aunt and cousin, and our friends in the area, all set to the sounds of merengue, salsa, bachata, and hip hop, and the smells and tastes of Peru, Brazil, and Newark. It’s always an amazing time. I fell in love with Newark when I moved out there to go to college…and then I fell in love with my husband, whom I met there. His family moved to Newark when he was a little kid. Being from the west coast, it was a crazy culture shock at first

Newark bridge

A Newark bridge on a cold, overcast morning.

to move to Newark, but after the first week, I knew I’d found a new home. I spent nearly five years there before we decided to move to Los Angeles for a while. It’s an area that has a little bit of everything from nearly every part of the world…with a distinct New Jersey attitude about it. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute train ride from Manhattan, which is awesome, of course.

Newark sunny

Newark on a bright sunny day during our trip. Beautiful springtime.

I can imagine us moving back there someday, but LA is my home too, so we envision a life of living in several places in the future. As long as we’re together, home is where your heart is, right? Anyway, my point is that we have a blast when we go there. And a lot of the fun and visiting is centered around food, which is a terrific, bittersweet problem to have because everything tastes great but I’m trying not to eat too much. When you’re around family and on vacation, it can be extremely difficult to not over-indulge or even feel pressured by others to eat more, as I described in this previous post. For example, practically the first words out of my Peruvian mother-in-law’s mouth were, “Estas rellena. Toma, come,” which, loosely translated means she told me I looked like I had filled out (was a little heavier) than when she last saw me and then she told me to eat the huge plate of food she was handing me. She cracks me up. I love her to death and she’s an awesome M-I-L, but how am I supposed to eat after being told I look ready-to-have-babies heavy? Ha! Because she raised six boys, bless her heart, she typically overloads a plate for me–even if I tell her it’s too much, she insists I eat it–so sometimes, when my husband finishes his plate before me, I’ll switch my half-eaten plate with his empty plate when no one is looking. :) He happily eats more, I sit there happily stuffed.

I noticed a few general diet-saboteurs that occur when traveling:

Continue reading

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