Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roundup, week of May 2nd

What Happened Last Week?

Change happens on many levels. The deeper in your brain the change occurs, the tougher it is. It's okay if old habits stick around to haunt you...don't give up! It takes a long time to recognize you're a Healthy Person now.

We celebrated 5% awards for Lynn, Valerie and Jackie this week. Celebrating with 5 pound stars was Erika (15), Christina (5), Tauni (30) and Ginger (40).

So What's Coming Up?

Eating in restaurants strikes fear in the heart of those who are trying to stick to a daily Points target. But should it? Can we dine and lose? Let's talk about how to do that this week.

Walk-It Update

I mentioned this past week that Weight Watchers is sponsoring some official Walk It Day 5K events in various cities, and it looked like San Diego was one of them. Now that the website is starting to publish actual information, it looks like San Diego is no longer on the list.

I'm not all that surprised, since June 6th is already host to the Rock and Roll marathon, half marathon and relay. Those events will draw tens of thousands, so I'm sure that any and all race infrastructure is spoken for that day.

But not to worry! There are still plenty of events around town to choose from, and they don't have to fall on June 6th.

Thought for the Week

Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.

Lou Holtz

Weekly Recipe: Healthy Snacks

Does it surprise you that I spend a lot of time on the internet? It probably shouldn't. If it does, Now You Know. In my surfing yesterday I stumbled across an article from Woman's Day of all places that has links to some pretty nifty snacks dreamed up by various food bloggers.

If you've got a hankering for an oatmeal cookie for example, you'll find a link here. It's got sweet snacks as well as savory, and my old standby of "take a box of spice cake mix and add a can of pumpkin" muffins even show up.

These will be lower Points valued than the originals, so you can indulge without guilt.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Roundup, week of April 25th

What Happened Last Week?

The weekends are a rough time for some of us. But it can be a great excuse to get a little bit more active, or to have time to plan for the upcoming week. Indulge, but do it in a controlled way, and the weekend won't be your enemy.

Celebrations this week included a five pound star for Eunice, and a ten pound star for Jalie. We also celebrated reaching 5% targets with Carol and Jalie.

So What's Coming Up?

Long-term weight loss and weight maintenance require healthy habits, not just quick stop-gap measures. You're not "on a diet" you're trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, right? Well that change process is slow and it can be frustrating. But if you stick with it and make the changes, you're golden. We'll discuss those changes and how best to get them to stick.

Walk-It Challenge

I mentioned in this week's meetings that Weight Watchers is going to be sponsoring some 5Ks in cities across the country. Stay tuned here for more information on where the one in San Diego will be!

Thought for the Week

The wonderful thing about the game of life is that winning and losing are only temporary...unless you quit. - Dr. Fred Mills

Weekly Recipe: Asparagus!

It's spring, so my mind turns to asparagus. I mean, I start thinking about asparagus. Not that my brain actually turns into spears of vegetables that make your pee stink. But I digress....

Cooking Light does me right once again by having a nice little spotlight on asparagus complete with links to recipes. I hope to delve into these soon. Asparagus cheddar pot pie? Don't mind if I do.

And just for giggles, a little bit about that pee comment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crunching the Numbers

I've been exercising regularly for a long time now. I started it when (surprise) I was on Weight Watchers back in the day losing my weight, and I've kept at it initially as a means to maintain my weight loss, but eventually because I got hooked on it and enjoyed it.

Over the years my routine has changed a lot, and it really started getting crazy when I was training for marathons. As some of you know for yourselves, that involves a lot of time, and you end up working out A LOT. For reasons that aren't important for the topic at hand, I stopped running marathons and am now what you'd call a gym rat. But longing for those days of endurance, I end up spending a few hours at the gym on the weekends cobbling together a mix of strength and endurance.

In all these years I've had a lot of gadgets, but never a heart rate monitor. Until today. I used a $50 Amazon gift certificate and finally bought one - a Polar F6 in case you're interested. Today was the first day I took it out for a spin.

I have a lot of information here. From my heart rate monitor I found out that:

Run - 61:00 (10K distance)
Calories burned - 626
Max HR - 174
Avg HR - 163

Bodyworks class - 60:00 (circuit training with free weights)
Calories burned - 424
Max HR - 172
Avg HR - 132

Kickbox - 60:00
Calories burned - 502
Max HR - 178
Avg HR - 149

Total calories burned - 1,552
Total exercise time - 3 hours, 1 minute

Now of course I have to log this stuff into eTools:

Jogging (oh how I hate that term) - 7 Points
Circuit training including some aerobic work with minimal rest - 7 Points
Kickboxing - 7 Points

Total Points Earned - 21

If I were to (ahem) log my activity on a free website that tracks calories, I might use their database to select activities, just like I would on eTools. Hypothetically if I were to do that at, oh I don't know, SparkPeople as an example, here's what it would tell me:

Running 10 min/mile (I was at 9:49 close enough) - 575 calories
Circuit Training - 460 calories
Kickboxing - 623 calories

Total calories burned - 1,658

Here's one last batch of data. My heart rate monitor tracks my exercise intensity level, since it knows my heart rate. Of the time I spent working out today, here's how it breaks down:

Low intensity - 41 minutes
Moderate intensity - 22 minutes
High intensity - 121 minutes

If I log these in eTools using the little calculator, here's what it comes up with:

Low - 1 Point
Moderate - 1 Point
High - 14 Points

Total Points earned - 16 Points

So. What did I learn from all of this? Databases with activities may not be the most accurate way to assess your calorie burn/effort expended/Points earned. While the SparkPeople database wasn't too far off, it still overestimates my calorie burn by about 100. If it does that today, presumably my totals for the week would be overstated as well. Using the database on eTools, I'm giving myself credit for 5 extra Activity Points - a big deal if I'm planning on swapping them for food later on tonight, less so if I'm not.

Basically, what eTools and SparkPeople (and the read out on the treadmill) can't tell me is just how much effort I'm expending. Let's take the run as an example. A lot of people think running is hard, and it is to some extent. But I found it interesting that in all of today's workouts, what spiked my heart rate the most wasn't the run, it was kickboxing. It was probably that 2 minute "Turbo Kick" portion where we're doing jumping jacks, burpies, and all sorts of high tempo stuff in quick succession. The run I did today was for endurance. To run an hour. Not to run balls to the wall fast.

I'll save that for the Iron Girl 10K on May 8th. We'll see what my heart rate is that day!

In short (too late!) I guess what my conclusion why didn't I get one of these sooner? It does my accountant's heart good to sift through the numbers.

By the way, it strikes me that this is all so appropriate given last week's topic of self monitoring. I told you to go out this week and maybe track something you never have before. And here I am doing the same thing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roundup, week of April 18th

What Happened Last Week?

Monitoring yourself can be an important source of feedback and information. Beyond food and activity you can monitor things like body measurements, feelings of hunger and fullness, fitness levels, you name it! Did you try and monitor something new this past week?

Celebrations this week included a 10% celebration for Sarah, a 5 pound star for Juanita, 10 pound stars for Marivel and Valarie, a 20 pound star for Maggie, and a 25 pound star for Monday Tauni.

And last, and NOT least, this week we celebrated Candy achieving Lifetime Membership! Monday folks know how hard she's worked and how great a transformation it's been, so we were happy to celebrate her end of weight loss and transition into weight maintenance. Yay!

So What's Coming Up?

As I post this, the weekend approaches. If you and I have anything in common, this is a tough time to keep eating healthy. But guess what? Weekends aren't going anywhere, so we're going to have to learn how to deal with them. Attend this week and find some new tricks to keep you on track.

Thought for the Week

Believe that problems do have answers, that they can be overcome, and that we can solve them. - Norman Vincent Peale

Weekly Recipe: Steak with Merlot and Mushrooms

One of the things about reading a blog by one person is that you tend to get that person's perspective. When it comes to recipes that I post, what that means is that you'll tend to not get recipes with red meat, fish or mushrooms, as those are foods I don't enjoy. So every once in a while I consciously post something not tried and true, and not in my culinary wheelhouse. Today is one of those days.

Steak with Merlot and Mushrooms
Serves 4

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 (1 1/4 lb) flank steak, trimmed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup red wine (such as merlot)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tsp olive oil
1 (8 oz) package cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 (8 oz) package white mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Spray broiler rack with nonstick spray. Preheat broiler.

Mix first four ingredients in a cup. Rub the mixture all over the steak. Transfer steak to broiler rack. Broil steak 5 inches from heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Scatter onion in bottom of slow cooker. Top with steak. Whisk broth, wine, and tomato paste in medium bowl until smooth. Pour broth mixture over steak. Cover and cook until steak and onion are fork tender, 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

About 35 minutes before cooking time is up, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir mushroom mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until mixture simmers and thickens, about 25 minutes.

Transfer steak to cutting board. Cut steak across grain into 12 slices. Serve with sauce.

Per serving (3 slices of steak with 2/3 cup sauce): 318 cal, 9g fat (2g sat fat), 496mg sodium, 2g fiber

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More on the Double Down

I think I might be slightly obsessed with this sandwich. But judging by all the chatter on the interwebs, I don't think I'm the only one.

So now the Double Down is officially available at KFC and people are starting to order it, eat it and write about it.

A paper in Virginia wrote an article that caught my eye, merely for this quote:

Comedian Patton Oswalt called the Famous Bowl a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Is the Double Down a gross sadness stack?

I don't know why, but that just makes me laugh and laugh. When I originally read this article yesterday, they referred to the bunless burger available at In-N-Out as "animal style" which is HORRIBLY INCORRECT, but I see they have since edited the article to refer to it as "protein style" which is of course its proper name.

Wikipedia already has an entry on the sandwich, and what I love is that it is categorized as "Bacon Dishes." It warms the cockles of my heart to know there is a category of articles with such a title. And don't think I won't explore those later. The article also uses the term "meat glorb." Double Down - making us create new words since 2010!

And finally, I don't know about you, but I was actually surprised by the nutritional statistics on this sandwich. Less than 600 calories? Well, there's an article in the Daily Mail (UK) that suggests the real calorie count is near 1,200 calories. Having never seen this sandwich in the wild, I don't know how big or small it really is. But it would not surprise me if this was one of those food products that has its calorie count adjusted upward after awhile.

Anyone tried one yet? Will you?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Double Down - a Health Gamble

I don't eat at KFC regularly, so I wasn't up on the latest goings on until I read this article today.

The Double Down sandwich. And by sandwich they don't mean "things encased between to slices of bread" - they mean "things encased between two fried chicken fillets." See for yourself.

What I love is that there are two versions. One with the fried chicken, and one with the grilled chicken. Presumably the latter option is for "when you feel like eating healthy" or something like that.

This really isn't something I'm likely to ever try - it's just not my thing. It might even taste good for all I know. But the concept in general seems like something you'd discover here. That link, for all its excess, pictures things I'd totally eat the hell out of, by the way. Which is why I need to remain with Weight Watchers until I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Roundup, week of April 11th

What Happened Last Week?

An activity goal can help you be more consistent with exercising, it can help you lose weight, and it can take your fitness to the next level. So why not set one if you don't already have one?

We also introduced the 2nd annual Walk-It Challenge, which you might use as your activity goal. If you do, you might be looking for local walking or running events. Here are a few good online resources:

Raceplace Online - this is also good for other sports!


On the weight loss front, we celebrated a 10 pound star for Erika, Monday Tauni reached her 10% target, and Wednesday Tauni received her 25 pound weight loss award. (By the way, it tickles me when both Taunis receive an award in the same week, which I think has happened before. It sounds like there's one gal running around losing weight at different amounts all over the city.)

So What's Coming Up?

Did you know that people tend to underestimate how much they eat? Probably not shocking. But did you know that it can be 30-50% that we underestimate? Crazy! We'll discuss self-monitoring, and what I'd like to focus on is what we can monitor other than our food intake - we already know that's a slam dunk habit!

Thought for the Week

Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it! - Ram Dass

Weekly Recipe: Southern Fried Chicken

It's baseball season again, and around here at Outsmart the Fat, that's the sport we really love. (I have a mouse in my pocket, apparently.) So I thought a good way to honor one of America's greatest past-times would be to highlight one of America's favorite foods as well.

Straight from eTools so you can log it in your tracker quick as a wink, I present to you Southern Style Oven-Fried Chicken.

Play ball!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Roundup, week of April 4th

What Happened Last Week?

We had a good time discussing the merits of having buddies to help us on the road to healthier weights and healthier lifestyles. If you have a buddy that would like to join our meetings, please bring them along! They can always check out a meeting for free.

Celebrations this week included a 5% celebration for Cheryl, a 5 pound star for Mona, and a 20 pound star for Sarah.

So What's Coming Up?

If you're disappointed that you're not making the celebrations list more often, this might be the week for you. We've already discussed how it's important to have goals. But this week we're going to relate that specifically to exercise. Having an activity goal can help you be more consistent, which is why...The Walk-It Challenge is back!

Once again you'll have the chance to join other Weight Watcher members in completing a 5K or other walking/running event. I'll give you the details in the meetings this week.


This past week has found me saving all sorts of links that are health-related that I want to pass along as food for thought.

New Health Bill - You Must Post Calorie Counts!

All right, let's just be CRYSTAL CLEAR here. I am not posting this to become a forum for political debate. But did you know that one of the little things included in the healthcare bill was mandatory calorie labeling for chain restaurants?

I feel like this could be a blog entry of its own - no matter how I feel politically, I find it hard to be emotionally distant from calorie labeling. I hate that it has to be legislated, but I can't tell you how much I love having easy access to it. In the last few months I've already used nutrition information that's popped up around town because of California's regulations. Once again, no matter how you feel about the politics of it all, if we have this information out there, we can certainly benefit from it...provided we pay attention to it.

Time Magazine: Overcoming Obesity

It looks like the folks at Time have done a whole spread on the topic. There are several articles, and I haven't had a chance to read all of them yet....

How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

I saw a lot of headlines related to this study. Basically what they're finding is that to maintain weight, you've really got to spend a lot of time being active. That's not necessarily something to get discouraged about, just know that it will be an important part of your life...for the rest of your life. So make sure you love what you do. You'll need it!

92% of the Padres Roster - OVERWEIGHT!

Okay, this last one is a fun one. BMI is what Weight Watchers uses to determine their weight ranges. For most of us it works out as a good rule of thumb, but for professional athletes, it just doesn't really take into account the full picture. Having said that, I loudly proclaim any member of the Padres staff to be heartily welcome in my meeting rooms. I'll keep your weigh-ins 100% discreet, boys.

Thought for the Week

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose. - Lyndon B. Johnson