Monday, June 29, 2009

A Guide to Surviving the Office Ice Cream Social

I work a 9 to 5 job in a typical office. That means FOOD all the time! Donuts, chocolate, bagels, pastries, birthday cakes, cookies, a concoction of rice chex peanut butter, chocolate and powder sugar Erin's mom made called "puppy chow" we simply refer to it as Crack! Seriously, if its sugary, loaded with saturated fat or carbs, you can probably find it in our office ... and the latest temptation: Ice Cream!

There's no secret to finding the willpower to say no, you just need to learn to resist the temptation of snack food. Easier said than done I know, but it MUST be done!! Look the other way, carry healthy snacks with you like carrot sticks, drink a glass of water, physically remove yourself from the temptation...leave the room, go for a walk... do what ever it takes!! And do NOT give in to peer pressure from your co-workers. It's hard for them to all be understanding of the choices you are trying to make with your life style, so sometimes you might need to just physically remove yourself from the lunch room and take a step outside instead.

But what if you can't resist and really really want that ice cream? Take a look at your options and choose the healthiest. I re-vamped my diet and now I'm typically eating 1500 calories to keep the pounds falling off. I was good for breakfast and lunch. I had room for a small snack in my diet. (just a side note, I don't do fake sugar, I could eat a lot of crap that has fake sugar in it, but I will blog later about how fake sugar hurts your diet more than it helps it)

Well how the hell can you enjoy ice cream at low calories? Well, today I enjoyed a 105 calorie serving of ice cream WITH a toping.. here's how...


According to nutrition labels the typical serving size for ice cream is 1/2 cup or 4oz.

But the average serving of ice cream runs you 130 calories or more and provides little nutritional benefit... well you're eating ice cream so you gotta know you've thrown any thought of getting a few vitamins out the window when you dug the scooper in. But there's still hope for salvaging your diet. Edy's makes a type of ice cream that is part vanilla yogurt and about 100 calories a serving!

See the little note on the bottom there about checking the label? You should probably do that because the one I ate was the same product but it claimed to only be 90 Calories a serving. So anyway, I scooped out my 1/2 (assuming that it's 90 calories as the package said) I could go for a topping.

Reddi Wip offers a great line up of low cal whipped toppings!

I went with the fat free kind. A serving was typically 2 table spoons which is a nice little dollop on your 1/2 cup of frozen vanilla yogurt!

Now you're ready to eat a delicious frozen treat for around only 95-105 calories! Enjoy it very very slowly. When was the last time you savored your food and enjoyed every last bite? As everyone else in the office is shoveling down bowls of ice cream three times the size of yours (also three times the fat and calories)... you can just sit there and slowly savor your portion guilt free. Eat it slow enough you won't be waiting around for everyone to finish theirs, and you won't be tempted to grab seconds.

What if you're craving a ice cold sweet treat and you want something a little more substantial?

Try an edy's fruit bar. Most flavors are only 80 calories!!

What if you're away from home and want something cool and refreshing on a hot summer day?

Try to find a frozen yogurt shop! Frozen yogurt shops are popping up all over the country. They typically offer a small low-cal serving and fresh fruit topings, not "fruit" smothered in sugary corn syrup.



California/New York/Texas:



I found all of these by doing a google search of the city, and frozen yogurt. Personally I've tried Berryline in Boston and it was de-lic-oius! Since I live in Baltimore I'm going to have to give Mr. Yogato a try.

Anyway, so there you go! Dieting does not always = torture. If you do eat too much, it's ok you're human! Make sure you keep exercising especially if you have a bad day.

Get out there and get some exercise then hop back on the band wagon the next day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tools of the Trade: What got me started?

A year ago I thought diets were not only impossible, but expensive. I could never afford programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. I had even considered going to a legit doctor to get diet pills as a final resort, but my insurance didn't cover it. Then I also found out that the pills they put you on include anti-depressants... I might not have been happy because of my body but I wasn't about to go on a chemical substance to make the change. When I finally said enough is enough, I was (and still am) determined to reach my weight loss goal naturally and with out doing any crazy fad crash diets.

So what's a girl to do that's determined to lose weight but doesn't know where or how to get started, and can't afford the expensive diet programs with meal plans?

Get the Advice for FREE!

Last April when I was lamenting the same concerns to my Dr. she told me about

Whats sparkpeople? It's awesome! Sparkpeople is a Completely FREE Website dedicated to weight loss and healthy lifestyle. Everything that you pay for on other sites is free! They have sponsors that allow them to run the site for free.

What does spark people have for free that other websites make you pay for?

  • Nutrition Tracker
  • Exercise Tracker
  • Meal Plans
  • Grocery Lists
  • Food database
  • Excercise pointers
  • Diet advice (written by certified nutritionists)
  • Daily emails on nutrition, motivation or excercise
  • Supportive Commuity
The website might seem a little overwhelming when you first sign up, but you'll quickly learn to navigate all that. Sparkpeople gave me the guidance I need to get my diet going in the right direction. They start you off with a basic Body Mass Index reading (if you want the most accurate reading you need to see a Dr. or Nutritionist). Your BMI determines how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight at a healthy pace that makes it easier for you to maintain and keep it off in the long run.

It's all about Portion Control

I don't think anyone is going to deny that our concept of a proper portion has become as bloated as our waist lines!

What's a healthy Portion??

let your hand guide you

Sparkpeople taught me portion control. The website set me at about 1500 calories a day starting off (they provide you a target range to stay in for calories, fat- only a percentage of which should be saturated, protein and carbohydrates). Then you take a look at your meal plan and you'll learn what portions you should be eating at each meal in different food groups to get a healthy balance.

But what if you don't like the food they provide in your meal plan?

It's all good baby! You can change it. I hate raw tomato's, and it was recommended that I eat them. I will not eat raw tomato's. Its as repulsive to me as meat is to a vegetarian. But on sparkpeople I can click on the tomato's and an entire list of vegetables in the correct portion and calorie range is provided for me. Carrots it is! yum! In fact you don't have to follow their meal plans to the tee, you can add your own food from their data base, OR if it's not on their database enter the food to your favorites and copy the information off the nutrition label. Sparkpeople's meal plans are there to provide you the guidelines of a balanced meal. They'll give you the correct portions and calorie range to stay in. If you don't like their food, choose something else in the same portion and calorie range and you can substitute it on the Nutrition Tracker.

You'll quickly learn using SP that eating two slices of whole grain bread (average 90-110 calories a slice) is going to fill you up a lot better than one chocolate chip cookie. So put the cookie down and pick up the bread, because if you eat the cookie you'll still be hungry later and guess what you'll probably just grab another cookie.

Or perhaps you really like ranch salad dressing, you'll quickly learn to switch to something like Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette and save the extra calories. 2 table spoons shaken well through out the salad is more than enough!

You could have a slice of whole wheat bread with the (almost) 100 calories you save by going with the healthier option and that will fill you up more!

You know what else is awesome about Everyone on the site is there for the same reasons, health, fitness and weight loss. You can easily find another member with common interests and form your own little support group.

If you can't find food in sparkpeople's data base another great resource is You can even download their tool bar to your browser for fast access to their food data base.

But you're used to large portions what do you do?

Nobody said weight loss was easy, if it was easy we'd all be fit! Our bodies are a reflection of our life styles some are luckier than others with genetics, but don't think about them it's time to think about YOU. No more if, and's or buts. It's going to be tough, I was constantly hungry at the beginning of my diet, but you know what it only lasted for 1 month. ONE MONTH and then I got used to eating less. I over ate my entire life, 26 years, but it only took one month for me to get used to eating the right way. Think about it, one month of your life trying to make a change or staying in the same rut for the next 26 years? Try for one month and see if that leads to two, and then three etc? It is possible!

I also think of what someone said to me once, a silly Russian man put it into perspective, "don't be a slave to your stomach," he said. He's right, we are slaves to our stomachs, we just eat and eat and eat, but are never satisfied, don't let your stomach control you.

To make sure I didn't slip up I bought a food scale for home, and an extra set of measuring cups & spoons for work.

This food scale only cost $20.95 on A small price to pay for such an invaluable tool. Can't figure out if your piece of chicken breast is too large this will let you know very quickly if you need to trim a little off.

If I didn't know how much pasta or rice to eat, these came in handy

If I thought I was using too much salad dressing these came in handy.

So what are you waiting for  you have the tools

Now get out there and get started!!!!

p.s. always remember to talk to your doctor first to find out what diet might be right for you, this one happens to work for me, but it might not work for everyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who am I? Who are you? Time to be Brutally Honest!

Name: Team Six Pack
Age: 27
Birthday: May 13th (That's right, I share a birthday with Stephen Colbert!)
Current Weight: 209lbs
Height: 5'9"

Weight on April 6, 2008 the day I decided to make a change: 275lbs.

Hello out there to whoever is reading.  I am writing this blog with the hope that if you're a follow dork like me and you've been struggling with your weight like I have my entire life you might be inspired or motivated to make a change as well.

It only takes one person to make a difference and it takes one step to start weight loss!!

Here's a little bit about me. I have been over weight my entire life. I don't remember a time when I was small. Genetics was not on my side, I was the only chubby child in my family. Growing up with two rail thin siblings was not easy. I was tipping the scales by the time I graduated high school close to 300 pounds. (5'9").

When I went to college my weight dropped drastically because my diet changed and being away from the large meals and junk food at my parents house helped. I transferred and went to a college in a large city and didn't have a car. So all that walking to get here and there brought my weight down even more. I think my smallest in college was 225.

Unfortunately, after I graduated I couldn't stay in that environment of constant walking and moved back into my parents house (in a suburb) to find a job and help get my feet back on the ground. I didn't even realize what I did to cause this, but in two years my weight jumped back up to 274lbs. None of my old "cool" jeans fit, and neither did my favorite shirt. I started buying knits that I could stretch out. I even said (out loud to a friend) at one point that I could never be skinny, I didn't think it was possible so I would just have to learn to be happy how I was. Looking back I have no idea why I was so self-defeating with out even trying, but I'm realizing now that negativity was just a very large part of my life and I hope to eliminate those feelings bit by bit.

This is me at a friends wedding in 2006 almost a year after I finished college.
I was a size 20-22. :(

I visited my doctor last April and shared my concerns about my weight and also my concerns for the future. If I didn't lose weight now what was going to happen to me? Would I always be like this? I was constantly reading articles about future health risks to myself if I remained the way I was. So that's what made me decide that I need to take control of my life and change my habits.

So I'm still in the middle of this crazy journey but I feel like I've made many steps to far. I feel better, healthier. I still doubt myself sometimes, but I will only look forward from now on. I won't ever revert back to how I used to be. My first goal was to lose 85 pounds and see how I look at that point and decide if I need more work. I've decided now after 65lbs of loss I can shoot for 100lbs or more. Wish me luck! I also want to live a healthier, natural and more active lifestyle.

This is me in June of 2009. I've lost 65lbs, and I'm a size 14-16!! :)

That's me rock climbing something I never dreamed of doing a year ago!
Never Stop Reaching for the Top!

This blog is going to be about what it takes to reach your fitness goals! I'm only halfway there, but I'll reach the top one day! I'm going to talk about what I've done so far with my diet and exercise to lose weight and what I'm going to continue doing to reach my full fitness potential. I hope maybe I can meet some folks with the same goals and we can all support each other!

So if you're reading this blog I want to hear from you... I want to know who you are! We can't kid ourselves about weight loss anymore, I did that for 26 years of my life. It's going to take hard work and determination, but I'm proof that it's not impossible!!