Side-effects

Greetings from spring break, intraweb. No, I am not flashing dudes in Tijuana; instead, I am chillaxin’ while fully clothed in the homeland. It is nice.

I almost made it six weeks on plan as per my original goal, but my splurge day ended up coming a day early so I ultimately fell short a day. Still, in between now and my graduation I have an additional six weeks to lose any weight I gain over this week/get started on maintenance, so I am pretty pleased about that. And, seeing as how I kept my splurge day to, you know, only one day, I am hoping I’ll be back down to my maintenance weight by next Friday and able to take another shot at intuitive eating/maintenance. Yay! To be honest, though, this is my last shot at maintenance; if I can’t keep the weight off this time (give or take a few pounds—everyone’s weight fluctuates sometimes), I’ll just take it as a sign that 128 is too low a weight to maintain, and I’ll stop trying to stay at that point.

But, I’m much more confident in my ability to maintain my weight after this last splurge day: Like I already said, I kept it to one day and immediately got back on plan the day after the splurge, and—for having decided ahead of time I wouldn’t have to count calories that day—I didn’t do too terribly. Usually, I would be all up in my cupboards/the grocery store on a “no-calorie counting” day, but the only additional thing I purchased was a pint of ice cream, and the only thing I ate out of the cupboards was half a serving of tortilla chips. Everything else was Easter-oriented* and given to me or consisted of a restaurant meal with family. Anyway, I definitely feel like making an effort to break the bingeing habit over the past several weeks improved my overall self-control and made it so I didn’t want to binge on my splurge day, either (though I did definitely overeat; I’m up four pounds at the moment [Oops], but knowing how my body retains water, I’m not too concerned.)

Now, I’m off to enjoy this incredibly, laziness-inducing rainy day.

*Because spring break ends right after Easter, we decided to celebrate this weekend instead of next weekend.

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Product Review: Ben & Jerry’s Mud Pie Ice Cream

When Ben & Jerry’s discontinued their “Vermonty Python” flavor, I just about flipped my shit.

No more “coffee liqueur ice cream with a chocolate cookie crumb swirl and fudge cows?” Like hell! And so, every day for approximately a year, I sent a letter to the company DEMANDING that they bring back my tasty, tasty treat.

“ARE YOU MAD. VERMONTY PYTHON WAS YOUR BEST FLAVOR.”

“WHY DO YOU KEEP PUTTING OUT NEW FLAVORS WITH CARAMEL. ARE YOU IN CAHOOTS WITH THE CARAMEL COMPANY I AM ON TO YOU.”

“SERIOUSLY YOU HAVE NO OTHER COFFEE FLAVORS BRING BACK VERMONTY PYTHON.”

And, yes, they were in all caps. I really like ice cream. Also, I am 90% sure there is someone at Ben & Jerry’s who is now mentally scarred because of my demands. I am OK with this.

Anyway, when the company recently released “Mud Pie,” I was pretty FRICKIN’ EXCITED, since the product description strongly resembled that of “Vermonty Python”: “Mud Pie” is described as “chocolate and coffee liqueur ice creams swirled together with a chocolate cookie swirl,” which is pretty much just “Vermonty Python” but with chocolate ice cream instead of fudge cows (which I wasn’t too fond of, anyway).

Unfortunately, “Mud Pie” failed to achieve the same delicious heights as its fallen brethren. To begin, the mixed ice cream flavor falls victim to “flavor disproportion” syndrome, which entails having much more of one flavor of ice cream than the other. In the case of “Half Baked,” another Ben & Jerry’s flavor that features two types of ice cream, this means the pint is always predominately chocolate ice cream (rather than an equal mix of chocolate and vanilla), and with “Mud Pie” it’s the same deal: There’s way more chocolate ice cream than the coffee liqueur variety. This wouldn’t be a huge problem except a) I’m not a huge fan of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream (it’s kind of bland for my taste; not especially rich or creamy, but more like chocolate milk that has been made into ice cream) and b) I bought “Mud Pie” because I wanted coffee liquor ice cream—if I wanted chocolate ice cream, I would have bought one of the many other flavors that have chocolate ice cream as its base.

I was even more disappointed, though, when I found that the “coffee liqueur” ice cream didn’t taste anything like the coffee liqueur ice cream that comprised “Vermonty Python.” Instead, it tasted more like the irish cream liqueur ice cream in Ben & Jerry’s “Dublin Mudslide” flavor, and when the coffee liqueur ice cream was eaten with a bit of the chocolate, “Mud Pie” essentially tasted JUST LIKE “Dublin Mudslide,” but without the latter flavor’s coffee fudge swirl.

I have to admit, the crisp, bittersweet chocolate cookie swirl in “Mud Pie” was quite tasty and plentiful, but I didn’t buy “Mud Pie” ice cream for the cookies and ultimately they weren’t enough to convince me that I should buy this flavor again. Indeed, I eventually put half the container in the trash, just because I didn’t feel like the remaining servings were worth the 270 calories a pop.

Ah, “Vermonty Python”—will no flavor be able to fill your delicious shoes?

Weigh-In Day: Week of March 19th

Oh, man, I had such the anticipation this morning. So much so, that when I woke up at 2:15 a.m. and decided I wanted a “sneak peak” of my weight for the week, I was so anxious before stepping on the scale that I couldn’t get back to sleep after weighing myself. Now here I am, writing a blog entry at 4:41 a.m., running on three hours of sleep on the first day of my spring break. Woo. Ah, well, I’m catching a bus home in a few hours (yay, home!), so I’m thinking I’ll just nap then. Though, I hate napping on buses … people around, just waiting for you to fall asleep so they can put you in weird positions and take pictures of you to put on the Intrawebs. Curses! Anyway, the moral of the story is I need to wait until it’s actually “getting up” time to weigh myself, because I can’t keep waking up on Fridays at 2 a.m. (by the way, this happened last week, too). It’s ridiculous, both the getting up so early and the being so jacked-up about my weight. Pah.

ONWARDS TO NUMBERS.

Last Week’s Weight: 131.3

This Week’s Weight: 128.4 (!)

Loss/Gain: 2.9 pounds

Average Daily Caloric Intake: 1,760

Excercise:
03/19: 5-mile run/40-minute weight lifting session (Upper Body)
03/20: Yoga
03/21: 2-mile run/30-minute elliptical session/1-hour weight lifting session
03/22: 7-mile run
03/23: 7-mile run
03/24: 7-mile run/20-minute weight lifting session (Upper Body)
03/25: 7-mile walk/30-minute elliptical session

This is hell of awesome, and not just because I’m at my goal weight. You see, the last time I began a diet in January at around the same weight as where I started this time, it took me until October to hit my goal weight, as you can see from the archives. That means it took me EIGHT MONTHS to lose about 10 pounds. This time, because I put my foot down about binge eating, it took me 10 WEEKS to lose the same quantity of weight. So, while I’m excited about being at my goal weight, I’m more excited to find that I have self-control and—should I put on a few pounds in the future—I’m capable of taking it off relatively quickly. Though, I hope for the most part that my binge eating days are now behind me, and a significant weight gain won’t be a problem again—or, at least it won’t be a problem again for a very long time.

That having been said, I would be more excited to be at my goal weight except that I had planned a splurge day for myself to celebrate Easter while I’m home (yes, I know I just said that I hoped my binge eating days were behind me, but I’m hoping it will be a SPLURGE day and not a BINGE day, but regardless I think I deserve a day to eat what I want. And, I know I can keep it to one day), and since I’ve been looking forward to it and I’m not really ready to jump into maintenance after having had a splurge day, I’m just going to stay on plan until I’m back down to my goal weight, which I imagine won’t take more than a week or two if I only take the one “day off” from healthy eating.

This post is probably riddled with spelling/grammatical errors. Ciao, internet! Wish me a harassment-free bus ride!

Do you have trouble sleeping? What do you do if you can’t fall back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night?

New Things Thursday: Oat Bran

I’ve always been a cold cereal kind of lady; I don’t know why, but there’s something about crunching through a bowl of the stuff in the morning that gets me ready to seize the day. Like, OM NOM NOM I AM CRUNCHING YOU CEREAL LIKE I AM GOING TO CRUNCH THE WORLD TODAY. Alright, perhaps not. Still, most mornings I opt for cold cereal rather than hot. However, when I started lifting weights on a regular basis, I started including oatmeal with protein powder more frequently in my breakfast rotation. I’m a big fan of novelty, though, so when Tina mentioned on her blog that she had recently swapped out oatmeal for oat bran, I decided to give it a try myself.

And, I really like it. Oat bran is prepared the same way as oatmeal and tastes exactly the same as it’s breakfast-food brethren (i.e., it tastes kind of like nothing—oat bran is one of those “choose your own adventure/flavor” type of foods), but the texture is different and that’s what I’m really enjoying about it: Oat bran is chewier than oatmeal, and has smaller grains. It’s almost like eating quinoa or rice.

Anyway, here’s my evening snack of oat bran with milk and cinnamon/sugar:

… OK, this is a terrible picture and gives you no idea of the size/texture of oat bran. Just go look at Tina’s blog, she has a camera and photography skills.

ANYWAY, as and added bonus, a serving of oat bran has 30 fewer calories, two more grams of protein and two more grams of fiber than a serving of oatmeal that is the same size. Not a huge difference, but it adds up, ja? Also, I personally picked up the Hodgson’s Mill variety of oat bran, but I’m sure there are other tasty brans out there.

Ugh, weigh-in day tomorrow, and I really have my hopes up, which makes it worse; I’m really pulling for a number in my 120s, but we’ll see! I should really be focusing on non-scale victories, though, like not bingeing, rather than letting myself get wrapped up in a number. But, I just want to be DONE.

Ch-Ch-Changes!

So, one of the many reasons (and, perhaps, actually the worst reason) I wanted to stop bingeing is because I knew it would make losing/maintaining weight—both now and in the future (because, let’s face it, everyone gains a few pounds on occasion, though I would hope I don’t find myself staring down a 10-pound gain again)—much easier. And, it has. For the sake of accountability, here’s my weight from the pass 10 weeks in addition to how many calories I ate on average per day in the week leading up to that particular weigh-in day:

Date: Weight, Average Daily Caloric Intake (Notes, If Applicable)

1/15: 142, Calorie Count Not Available (I ate hell of terrible up to this point. Oops.)

1/22: 139.5, 1700

1/29: 136, 1700

2/05: N/A, 1850 (I started weighing myself ever other week around this time, something I’ll touch on in the anti-binge post. This is also the first week where I introduced the “Anti-Binge,” increased-calorie week [See Below])

2/12: 134.6, 1700

2/19: 137.6, C.C. Not Available (This is the week I slipped up and binged.)

2/26: 132.8, 1640

3/05: 132.2, 1700

3/12: 131.9, 1700 (At this point, I was a little frustrated, so I introduced a “Plateau Week.” [See Below])

3/19: 131.3, 1900 (The Plateau Week worked!)

So, yes. As you can, although my weight loss has slowed down a bit recently, it’s a big improvement over steady, big loss followed by a huge step back. What’s made for better progress?

a) Not bingeing, obviously.

b) “Plateau/Anti-Binge” Weeks. My mom actually came up with this idea when she noticed that, about every three weeks, the diet tended to go out the window. So, rather than just tossing it entirely, she decided to give herself a week—every three weeks—where she got extra calories. Not a ton, mind you (about, on average, 150 extra calories per day), but it was enough to keep her from falling off the wagon. And, it worked for me, too. Eventually, when I went a few weeks without bingeing, I decided I didn’t need the help, anymore, and got rid of the “higher calorie” week in the interest of losing weight more quickly. But, when I hit a plateau, I re-introduced it and ended up losing more that week than I did the week before, when I ate less. Neat! So, now I institute a “Plateau Week” whenever two weeks pass and I lose less than a pound.

c) A higher fat diet. Inspired by Susan‘s “Fatty February,” I made a conscious effort to start including foods with higher amounts of healthy fat. And, it knocked out my appetite. Now, this may not work for you, but getting rid of the “diet foods” in my diet (e.g., “Light” bread, products engineered to be fat free, etc.) and including more fat (and, consequently, more protein, as many sources of healthy fats are also goods sources of the p-stuff) helped me feel more satiated and, thus, less like bingeing. Also, my hair is super silky now. Seriously, it feels like I have a kitten on my head. Want to try a higher fat diet, yourself? Try having hard boiled eggs with miracle whip for lunch instead of a turkey sandwich, or introducing more tuna and nut butters/nuts into your diet. Good stuff, and good for you. HOWEVER, if you’re not counting calories/Points and you decide to switch to a higher fat diet, keep in mind that a lot of food with healthy fats are also higher in calories than their leaner counterparts. So, when you make a PB + J, make sure you aren’t putting as many ounces of P on your bread as you would have of turkey if you were making a turkey sandwich, otherwise you’ll be gaining teh weightz and wondering why.

Other changes:

d) Fewer miles per day. When I stopped writing in January, I was working towards running 10 miles in one set. But, I’ve found I really don’t enjoy long runs (packing snacks for excercise? Water coolers on your back to stay hydrated? No, thanks; too lazy). So, now I do a maximum of seven miles in one session, but my total mileage for the week is the same.

e) More strength training. I used to have my Cardio/Weights/Yoga weeks, but now I lift weights three times a week every week, and I really feel like it’s helped me maintain muscle mass and that, now, I’m losing more fat than muscle. NEAT.

Yep! Of course, the basic structure of my diet is pretty much the same (1,500 calories per day and 1,400 bonus calories per week, unless it’s a Plateau Week, in which case I get between 2,450 and 2,800 bonus calories for the week), and I hope it keeps workin’ for me. Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll be in my 120s by this Friday (Eeeeee!)  Last time I started a diet post-holiday season, it took me until September to reach the point I’m at now, so I’m pretty pleased, regardless. But, I’m also going home on Friday and will be celebrating Easter in that time, so hopefully I can keep it together while splurging in moderation. Woot.

ANYWAY … any questions?

Product Review: Kashi’s Sweet and Sour Chicken

Product Description: “Sliced chicken with roasted green beans and yellow pepper, red pepper, crimini mushrooms, onions and edamame (soybeans), served over Kashi® 7 Whole Grains Pilaf, and topped with a light, tangy sweet and sour sauce.”

(Source)

As a college student, approximately 90% of what I consume probably contains chemicals.

Diet Coke/Aspartame for an afternoon pick-me-up? Yes, please!

Sucralose-laced yogurt for dinner, because you are too lazy to actually cook something? OK!

Gum with Sorbitol for those days when brushing your teeth is just too hard? Sure!

OK, no, not that last part, really. I always brush my teeth, do I look like a hobo to you? … Don’t answer that.

… OK, do I look like I want to spend money on fillings when I could spend it on candy, instead? THAT’S RIGHT.

But, in all seriousness, most foods peddled by my school’s convenience store aren’t exactly all natural. Hell, even the Tums the store sells have fake sugar in them. So, when the opportunity to purchase a vaguely healthy, chemical-reduced meal arises, I generally snag it due to the suspicion that—even though science hasn’t confirmed it, yet—all those unpronounceable ingredients are going to leave me with no organs, one day. They’ll just have … evaporated.

Anyway, I recently had the opportunity to buy such a meal, that being Kashi’s Sweet and Sour Chicken. I picked this one off the shelf mostly due to the meal’s low sodium content (380 mg., which is pretty damn low for a frozen meal), since my college chemicals usually come with a bounty of salt, too. Plus, the rest of the nutritional statistics on this dish are impressive, too: 320 calories, 3.5 g. of fat, 6 g. of fiber and 18 g. of protein. Not too shabby, no? Also, the vegetables were pretty colors:


(In case you are wondering, no, you will never see a more beautiful picture of a Kashi frozen meal taken with Photobooth, so stop looking.)

As you can see from my lovely picture, not only were the vegetables pretty vibrant, but there was a decent amount of chicken and other goodies in there, too. For reference, though, I took out the green beans and mushrooms (as they are foods of Satan, which wouldn’t really stop me from eating them except they also feel weird in my mouth), but these ingredients were present, and in a decent quantity, too; it took me a good MINUTE AT LEAST to pick them out, goddamn them.

However, how did this dish taste?

The vegetables and the chicken had a texture akin to something that had just been prepared; there was no odd, crumbly feel, and instead the meat was tender and the vegetables had a nice crisp bite to them. The grains were pleasantly chewy, too, and the whole meal seemed very fresh. My only qualms, really, were with the sauce. For, although the chicken/veggies had a nice flavor, themselves, the sauce was a bit lacking and so the meal was ultimately somewhat plain. Not bad at all, really, but the sauce didn’t really taste like a well-developed “Sweet and Sour” sauce so much as it did a less-tangy, thinner version of the stuff they give you at Wendy’s to go with your chicken nuggets.

Regardless, this meal also had great staying power: I ate it for dinner at around 6:30 with some carrot sticks/hummus, and I was still full at 8:30. Nice job, Kashi, and thanks for helping to keep my organs in my body!

Decisions, Decisions

So! I have done some blog-oriented thinking, and here is what you can expect to see in the future:

1) More reviews. I love to judge things. It’s true! I am a horrible person in this way, but it is to your advantage, as it means I am going to try and post more opinion-type deals on this blog. And, not just on food items, but movies, video games, books, etc. Which also means …

2) This is going to be more of a “lifestyle” blog, now. More media/journalism centric, but still “healthy living.” I may also share weight loss advice/details on occasion (though, hopefully it’ll be more “maintenance” advice/details, soon), but I’m not really ever going to do a “this is what I eat in a day!” post, again; there are enough people out there who share pictures of the apples they eat every day, at the moment.*

Also, I’ve kind of come to terms with writing about the details about my diet, seeing as how a) I advocate losing weight in a healthy way, and eat more calories than most people do while losing weight and b) I think it’s helpful to people to know that others struggle with binge eating/dieting. So, maybe I’m making excuses for myself just so I can write about losing/maintaining weight, but whatever. Anyway, I’ll make a “Beating the Binge” post and a post detailing what changes I’ve made to my diet/excercise program in my absence sometime in the near future.

c) Theme days, maybe? In addition to doing reviews, I may do something like “New Things Thursday” where I share some kind of new product/food/Web site that may not necessarily be brand new, but new to me.

d) MAYBE I’LL ALSO WRITE ABOUT SOME STUFF YOU LIKE BUT I’M NOT A PSYCHIC YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHY CAN’T WE COMMUNICATE WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

*That was kind of harsh, sorry.

Celebrate (Non-Bingeing) Times, Come On!

As of today, I have gone five weeks without bingeing!

/confetti

It is a pretty good feeling; I am 90% sure this is the longest I have gone without bingeing in several years, I think.

Still pondering what to do with this blog.

Readers, come back! TELL ME WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

New Beginnings

Hey, baby … It’s been awhile.

What? No, it wasn’t another blog, I … OK, could you just let me finish a sentence?

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS

OK, yes, I did say I was going to update you, then I didn’t, but …

OK, if you’re going to be like this, I’m not even going to talk to you right now.

Alright, that’s enough of that.

AHEM.

a) My apologies for dropping off the earth. After my last post, I stumbled into my final semester of college, and between job hunting, considering a job in the military and temporarily training for one, and classes, I just didn’t have time to maintain a blog. But, now I have some time, kind of! Alright, I still have no time, but I am procrastinating right now, so … yes.

b) I got a job for after I graduate! AND IT’S IN MY FIELD, surprisingly, what with the economy how it is right now; the majority of my graduating class is taking internships/jobs not in their field do to the lack of options, so I am eternally grateful. Basically, I am going to be a radio anchor/reporter. Neat, no? First step to AIRWAVE DOMINATION.

c) I haven’t binged in five weeks, as of this Sunday (Of course, this is my cue to binge and RUIN EVERYTHING). And, in the last ten weeks, I’ve binged only once. I’m still counting calories and trying to take off those last holiday pounds, but I’ve gotten some good momentum going and it feels great to know I am capable of self-control. At some point, I may write a post about how I beat bingeing, which leads me to my next point …

d) I’m not sure what to do with this blog. I like to write, but I feel like a food/diet is unhealthy for certain internet perusers, which is also why I stopped writing for a bit. Now, I know I’m not the Web Nanny, but I wonder if writing about what I eat/how much weight I’m losing/etc. is encouraging disordered thinking among readers. Sure, there are those just looking for tips about how to lose weight, but what about the people obsessed with dieting, size and the whatnot? I feel like I’m just feeding into the mentality that “Dieting = Life” by writing about losing weight, sometimes, rather than how I feel great after working out and beating the binge and whatnot. So, I’ll kind of leave it to a vote (Not that there’s really anyone left to vote, anymore, but still, I’ll check back after a week and the consensus): Is it helpful to have someone detailing their diet plan? Is my writing too diet centric? Should this just be a food review blog? I do love to foist my opinions on the world. Should I write a “How I Stopped Bingeing” post? Should I write about another thing, here? The journalism realm, for instance?

LET ME KNOW. LET US JOURNEY FORTH, TOGETHER. Or “sally” forth. Whichever you prefer.