Tag Archives: family

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

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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

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:

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Holiday Weekend — Easter Paella Lunch and Other Goodness

9 Apr

Our holiday weekend started with the Passover dinner at our friends’ house, which you can read about in the post “Holiday Weekend — Passover Dinner”. Even though we ate full for a whole week ahead, it was just the beginning.

In the middle of last week, I came up with an idea to make my grandma’s famous Kurnik pie. It’s a Russian chicken pie, which contains layers of rice, chicken, and eggs. I nurtured that idea for a few days and last Friday, having some spare time on my hands, I decided to put my cooking skills to an ultimate test. You see, to me Kurnik pie is the Everest of Russian cuisine, the top of the top, that I have never attempted because I knew in advance nothing would be able to match my grandma’s way of making it. Kurnik is considered a Russian traditional Easter pie, because after the long Great Fast people in old times wanted to indulge themselves with all the goodness they deprived themselves of for 40 days and have it all on one plate. And since my close friends are fasting right now, and Russian Orthodox Easter is coming up this Sunday (a week later than Catholic Easter), I have decided to practice to make sure it’d come out right for Russian Easter. To no surprise, it didn’t come out as moist as my grandma used to make it, but it was pretty good anyways. And that was on the menu for a Saturday.

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A Single Serving at a Holiday Feast

9 Apr

I hope you all had a lovely Passover and Easter weekend!

Easter lilly

An Easter lily at my mom's house where we had dinner.

Dishing out heaping spoonfuls of all my favorite things is my usual modus operandi at holiday gatherings (especially gravy-soaked Thanksgiving). I certainly did plenty of overeating while visiting my husband’s family in New Jersey last week (more on that tomorrow). This Easter at my mom’s house in Los Angeles, however, I think I kept myself pretty well under control…even if I did start the day with a Cadbury caramel chocolate egg. That’s better than no breakfast at all, right? It would have been rude to not partake of gifts from the Easter Bunny. ;)

After a prayer, my family celebrated with a typical American Easter meal: a ham drizzled with a mixture of pineapple juice and golden (not dark) brown sugar; creamy mashed potatoes with butter; great northern beans; and corn bread muffins. In years past, we’ve varied our veggie choice (usually we have green beans) but this is what sounded good this weekend. As difficult as it was–because the food was so yummy–I only took one normal-sized serving of each item. Taking only one serving of  a holiday dinner is a big step forward for me. Diet Drop is about empowering ourselves to make healthier choices in order to lose weight by freeing ourselves of strict diet plans and supporting each other through friendship. I’ve described in previous posts (like this one) how our friendship has helped me immensely. Now, I feel like I’ve taken another baby-step forward in terms of making better eating choices. Maybe it seems silly to make such a big deal about only taking one serving. But, to me, it is a big deal.

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Holiday Weekend — Passover Dinner

9 Apr

This wonderful weekend started for us with an invitation from my husband’s best friend to celebrate Passover this Friday at his family’s house, and knowing his mom’s amazing cooking in no way possible could we refuse it. Simi has such a strong personality, full of positive energy, that it seems like she’s filling everything around her with it, her beautiful bright home, people around her, and especially her cooking. I have never been at a Passover dinner before, thinking that it would be just a festive version of Sabbath, that they usually invite us to. If only I would have known just how exactly festive it would be, I wouldn’t have eaten for a whole week in advance. The holiday of Passover commemorates the freedom of Jewish people from the enslavement of Egyptians. It lasts for seven days, during which no food that contains leavening agents is allowed. A symbol of the Passover holiday is a Matzah, flat bread made solely from water and flour, that looks and tastes just like a big cracker.

Continue reading

Diet Drop Preview for Next Week

30 Mar

Dear readers,

Happy Friday! Here’s a quick update of some things you can look forward to from us next week:

–Michelle will return from a weekend trip of visiting with her in-laws in New Jersey and will post about vacation eating on the east coast with a bunch of Peruvians.

–Both of us will be posting our first Wednesday Weigh-In since we started Diet Drop. Yikes! The thought of stepping back on the scale makes us both a little nervous but it’s a necessary part of measuring how successful our efforts are as we move toward our weight loss goals.

–We also plan to go to the grocery store together again and pick out an ingredient to use in a dinner (separately) for a new Rashomon-style post.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @DietDrop! We’re posting little notes and tips throughout the day on Twitter along with links to the blog and retweets of health-related articles and recipes we like.

Have a great weekend!

Best always,

–Michelle & Vita

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