Friday, May 29, 2009

Back at 128

This morning I stepped on the scale and I was back at 128 pounds. I had been under 128 for the past three days, seeing 127.2 pounds two days ago.

But this morning it was back at 128.0. I have no idea why. Yesterday I had a banana and a glass of freshly extracted watermelon/strawberry juice for breakfast, some raw snacks after my 2 1/2 hour Yoga Hike, salad for lunch and a pasta with a vegetable sauce for dinner (and the pasta was whole wheat Angel hair pasta).

Well, hopefully its just an aberration, and I'll start seeing a continued downward trend. I'm still gunning for 120 pounds.

128 pounds, however, does seem to be a bit of a sticking point for me. I seem to hit 128 and the scale just refuses to budge (unless to go up).

I don't want to give up, because gunning for 120 keeps my eating in check and motivates me to exercise.

We'll see what happens. Spring is here, and Summer is coming. Could this be the year I finally get to my pre-kids weight??? I have a pair of Bogner ski pants I wore in my 20's stashed under my bed. I haven't fit into them for over 15 years. Could this be the year???

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who the Hell Approves these Ads????

What is it with the ads Google posts on my blog???? Here I am trying to write a serious blog about how to actually, really lose weight and keep it off--emphasizing that quick weight loss gimmicks don't work.

So what kinds of ads does Google post here? Quick weight loss gimmicks.

I know the other day I had something from the Madrid tourist board (go figure that one out, maybe it was because of the Mango Salsa recipe I posted), but right now I just viewed ads touting "Lose 25 pounds in 30 days," "Lose 10 pounds in 20 days," and "Lose 25 pounds in 20 days."

On the positive side, I did see an ad for counting calories, and another offering services for Holistic weight loss.

Well, maybe they'll improve over time. I mean, if I'm writing about what a waste of time and money gimmick diets are, then why the hell would they want to see their ads posted here?

Find a Fitness Friend

This morning I went on a Yoga Hike. Two weeks ago, I'd saw an announcement that two local fitness/yoga instructors were offering a fitness hike with yoga breaks.

Intrigued, I called my hiking buddy, D, and asked if she wanted to go. I got a resounding "yes," so we signed up.

D and I met a few years ago and discovered a shared passion for yoga. However, we do different styles. While I love the intensity of Ashtanga, she finds it a bit overwhelming, while I find the contemplative nature of the Kripalu style classes she loves boring.

But we both love to hike, so every few weeks, Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, we'll take a long hike together for a few hours. We both love being in the woods and truly enjoy each other's company.

Having a "fitness friend" is important. Hiking may not be a my main exercise, but it's good to break up the routine and do something different. And, having a buddy who shares the passion will get you to do it more often and for a longer time.

Twenty years ago when I was single and living in Boston and New York City, I had a circle of biking buddies. We'd make dates to bike, choose a destination, then head out of the city for the day (or even overnight), and bike for hours.

I still have skiing buddies who I get together with every Winter.

And, I've taught my kids to be fitness friends as well. On weekends we'll go hiking together and in the Winter we'll alpine and cross country ski together.

What's good about having a buddy is that if you're socializing you'll tend to spend more time in the activity. You may only rack up 45 minutes to an hour alone at the gym, but spend two or three hours hiking or biking with a friend.

Not something you can probably do every day, but definitely an occasional "treat."

Today's Yoga Hike was a vigorous 2 hour hike broken up with sessions of standing yoga poses and breathing exercises. At the end, a nutritionist offered up "raw" snacks of crudities and humus and "raw" truffles made with maca and coconut (which were scrumptious).

I probably would not have signed up for the Yoga Hike, if D couldn't go, and although we did talk, I actually socialized with other women on the walk as well. So even if D couldn't go on the next Yoga Hike, I may go it alone and chat up with my new fitness friends.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finding Time to Exercise

This article,,0,660462.story, pretty much sums up what I originally wrote here:

If you want to lose weight (or just not gain weight) then you absolutely, positively have to exercise. You cannot diet alone and permanently lose weight.

As the Chicago Tribune article advises, schedule your daily exercise sessions just like you would any other appointment. Make it a priority, and, back up plan if your initial plan falls through.

During the week I like to walk at 5:30 am. By getting up early and getting my work-out in, I know nothing will interfer with it. I also "schedule" my yoga work-outs. They're in my calendar just like any other appointment. Doctor's appointments, volunteering at the school, work, coffee with the girls, etc., all have to work around my "yoga appointments."

And, when all else fails, I have the treadmill. I can always squeeze in 30 to 40 minutes somewhere in the day on the treadmill.

The Ultimate Cleanse

I started a new cleanse today. In the last few weeks I've had a hard time "getting things moving," and that's usually a sign that I need to cleanse.

I'm using a product called the Ultimate Cleanse from Nature's Secret ( It consists of two pills you take twice daily. The first is a "cleansing blend" with herbs. The secon is a "cleansing blend with fibers" (that's what gets things moving again.) I take the pills for 30 days, starting with one of each pill twice daily and moving up to two of each pill twice daily.

To support the cleanse, I also do the following:

  1. Avoid Cigarette smoke
  2. Minimize my alcohol intake
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Drink 8-10 glasses a water a day
  5. Eat lots of organic fruits and veggies
  6. Limit my intake of red meat
  7. Avoid processed foods

I've been following this cleansing routine 2 to 3 times a year for the last two years, and it's kept me pretty "regular." The last time I did it was right after Christmas (when we all need a good cleanse.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Want to Get the Latest Postings?

Want to keep up with my latest postings, but find getting to this blog a chore? Click on comments, and let me know your e-mail address, and I'll send you my latest postings to LosingWeight after 45 is a Bitch.

Eat A Little Raw with Every Meal

A friend of mine just asked for this recipe. Since I was writing it out anyway I thought I'd publish it here as well.

As I wrote here:, it helps weight loss efforts to try to eat raw foods at every meal. Even if the center piece of the meal is meat, fish, dairy or eggs, eating some raw fruits or veggies on the side is one way to reduce your caloric intake by increasing the amount of raw fruits and vegetables you eat.

Crispy skin Salmon with Roasted Tomatoes, Mixed Greens and Lime Vinaigrette

This recipe essentially combines fish and salad. If you cook it right, the skin on the salmon comes out so crispy, it's a treat in and of itself. And, while eating the tomatoes raw would be better, roasting them adds complexity which offsets the salmon perfectly (besides there's plenty of salad greens).
  • 1 pint grape cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 4 6 oz Salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 package mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 of a red onion, peeled and
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a cookie sheet (you’ll want to line it with foil first) and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix well. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.

Meanwhile, score the skin side of the salmon and salt and pepper both sides. Place salmon, skin side down in a cold, dry, non-stick pan (I use a well-seasoned, cast iron skillet). Do not use any oil! Put the pan on the stove over medium-low heat. When the salmon starts to sizzle turn the heat up to medium, and when it really starts to sizzle, turn it up to medium-high. The salmon will mostly cook on this side. When the skin is nicely browned and crispy looking flip the salmon and cook a minute or two longer until cooked through.

Mix salad greens and red onion on a large platter, and encircle with the roasted tomatoes. Top with the salmon (crispy skin up), and drizzle with lime vinaigrette.

Lime Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette works great over salads. Try it over a salad of Romaine lettuce, tomatoes and advocado. It's also a great marinade. Marinade swordfish and then grill.

  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (less if you like a less acidic dressing)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grape-seed oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives or Cilantro (optional)

Whisk together all the ingredients and serve.

Under 128!!

This morning I got on the scale and I was 127.8 pounds. I almost didn't step on because I thought for sure I gained weight over the weekend. It was Memorial Day weekend, and I went off my usual raw diet. I even went out for a heavy brunch Sunday morning with my family (my fritatta was scrumptious).

The only thing that can explain the weight loss was that I spent a lot of time gardening. You can expend over 300 calories an hour gardening, and I spent most of the day on both Saturday and Monday in the yard. The work paid off. My vegetable and herb gardens are just about set, the planters are finished, and I made good progress on the annuals.

There's still work to do, but I managed to get a big proportion of it done. Needless to say, after spending five or six hours in the garden, I wasn't up for getting on the treadmill or going for a walk (although I did go to yoga first thing on both Saturday and Monday). The only thing that appealed to me at that point was to fill up my claw-foot tub with lavender scented Epsom salts and having a good soak (which I needed because I was caked in dirt both days!)

And, on Sunday, I went hiking with my family after brunch, and then took a second walk after we got home (when you're hiking with an eight year old, needless to say the hike isn't too strenuous).

So although I did "overindulge" this weekend, I managed to get in a enough physical activity to burn off the extra calories I indulged in. Additionally, the plan for this week is to go more "raw" to offset the extra non-raw food I enjoyed over the weekend. Salad for dinner tonight.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Off to the Spa

No not today (but one can wish). I actually did just book my annual weekend get away to the New Age Health Spa in Neversink, NY ( It's a Mother's Day gift from my husband. He watches the kids for the weekend, and I get to rejuvenate.

I go to New Age for two reasons. First, it's less than two hours from my house by car. Second, they have a fantastic juice fasting program.

You need a somewhat calm, relaxing atmosphere when you juice fast, and needless to say, calm and relaxing are in short supply when you're taking care of a husband and two kids.

So, for the last three years, I go to New Age and Juice Fast for the weekend. I start the fast Friday morning before I leave and break the fast Sunday morning, so that I get a full two days of fasting in.

New Age's newsletter which you can find here: has a great article on juice faster.

I'm sure that many of you out there think that I must be crazy to spend a chance to get away from the husband and kids fasting, but I actually feel so great afterwards that it makes up for the little bit of unpleasantness I feel during the fast. My only regret is that my current lifestyle prohibits me from doing longer juice fasts.

Let's also not forget that while I'm away, fasting, I'm also enjoying a massage, sauna time, a hot tub, and hours of just lying in a hammock reading a book.

New Age has a designated spot in its dining room for those fasting. It creates a festive atmosphere of comraderie amongst the fasters. We're all in it together, cheering each other on.

If you want to learn more about juice fasting, there are a number of fantastic books on the subject, including Steve Meyerwitz's, and it's not as difficult or daunting as it seems.

I actually started out replacing single meals with juice then moved to two meals a day prior to working myself up to a full day. It's really not difficult.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good Article on Detoxing

This is a really well researched informative piece which gives all the pros and the cons of detoxing:

As I wrote here:, although I was initially skeptical of detoxing's benefits, I was pleased with my weight loss results--both during and after the detox. So pleased that I repeated a shorter detox last summer, and I'm planning to do another one this year.

Make One Healthy Change At a Time

One of the primary reasons why dieting fails is that people go on radical diets, feel deprived, then go back to their old eating habits.

As I wrote here: you're going on a diet because your old eating habits got you to your present weight. If you go back to them, then guess what? Over time you'll put back on each and every pound you lost (and then some).

What you have to do is make permanent, life-time changes to your diet to reduce caloric intake. And, the best way to do that is to make one or two small incremental changes a month.

You won't lose 30 pounds in a month, but you will begin the lose weight and keep the weight off.

Craziest Diets of All Time

I hate to admit it, but I've tried more than one of these diets in the past. I may have seen some short term weight loss, but the pounds always came back as quickly (if not faster) than I lost them.

33 Of the Healthiest Foods on Earth

And, they all happen to be fruits and vegetables:

As he writes, Dole's chairman is 86 and in great health. He does an hour of cardio and strength training a day and eats mostly fruits and vegetables.

That's essentially what I do, and it has helped me manage my weight.

Still, people seem to think what I do is radical. I was just at a party on Saturday night, and, as usual, the topic turned to dieting. Two women asked how I managed to take off so much weight and keep it off.

As what typically happens, when I explained I eat 60-70% raw over the course of a week, they seemed shocked. One questioned how I get enough protein, and the other thought I was putting myself at risk for osteoporosis.
I tried to explain how we've been led to believe that we need to eat unhealthy foods to be healthy. While entirely eliminating food groups probably isn't healthy (sorry vegans and vegetarians), we certainly do not need to be eating as much meat, fish, poultry and dairy as we've been led to believe.

For example, we all seem to believe we need dairy for healthy bones. But researchers at Harvard, Yale, Penn State and the National Institutes of Health have studied the effects of dairy intake on the bones. And, as pointed out in Skinny Bitch, not one of these studies found dairy to be a deterrent to osteoporosis. One study even found that diary actually leeches calcium from the body. Researchers at Yale found that the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis were those in which citizens consumed the most meat and dairy products.

Now I love cheese. I could live on nothing but cheese and be quite content. But, the raison d'etre of dairy is to put a lot of weight on baby animals quickly. An interesting factoid from Skinny Bitch is that cows' milk grows a 90 pound calf into a 2,000 pound cow over the course of two years. Another one is that cows' milk doubles a calf's birth weight in 47 days.

If cows milk can put that much weight on a calf so quickly, then what do you think it does to your weight?

Not that I could ever entirely give up cheese. I just eat it much more sparingly then I did prior to losing the weight. And, if I do eat cheese I eat really, really good cheese. No more generic hunks of Swiss. Another good tip, stick to goat's milk or sheep's milk cheeses which are lower in fat and less likely to pack as many pounds on as cows' milk cheeses.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pattabhi Jois-Rest in Peace

Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, died yesterday in India. I never met the man, but a number of my fellow practitioners at my local shala either went to Mysore, India to study with him, or did so here in the states when he travelled.
Pattabhi Jois was 94 when he died, and up until a couple of months ago, was still active and teaching yoga. We should all live such a long, healthy life.
Having practiced Ashtanga Yoga for six years now (only seriously in the last three), I have to say he can owe his long healthy life to yoga. Yoga, when part of an overall weight loss plan that includes eating well and cardio work-outs, can help you tone up, gain flexibility and lose weight.

Back under 130

I just stepped off the scale and I was 129 pounds. I was 128 a few weeks ago, but as I chronicled here:, after one weekend of indulging my weight shot up to 131 pounds. It only took one weekend to put on three pounds and a week and a half to take off 2 pounds.

And, I still have to lose one pound just to get back to where I was prior to Mother's Day. From there I still have eight pounds to go to get to my goal weight.

Thankfully, warmer weather is coming, so eating less and exercising more comes more naturally.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dieting Gadgets I love

I got the Chef'n Salad Dressing Emulsifier ( from Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago, and I already don't know how I ever lived without it.

Generally, I avoid bottled salad dressings which contain chemicals, sugars, bad fats, etc. which I don't need and which can hamper dieting efforts.

But, the thought of having to make a salad dressing every time I make salad is enough to keep me from making the salad. I started making a week's supply of dressing at a time some time ago. I'd make the dressing in a jar and store it in the refridgerator.

The problem is that Olive Oil tends to solidify in the fridge, so I always had to remember to pull the dressing out about half an hour before I could use it. With the Chef'n Salad Dressing Emulsifier, however, that step is eliminated. A few squeezes of the trigger, and the solidified olive oil is broken up and the dressing is ready to use.

Here's my favorite home-made, salad dessing:

Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette.

I like a very acidic salad dressing. If you don't you may want to add additional olive oil.

1/4 cup organic, extra virgin olive oil (or more)
Juice of three lemons
2 tablespoons Grey Poupon Mild and Creamy dijon
salt and pepper.

Put all the ingredients in a bottle or Chef'n Salad Dressing Emulsifier, shake or mix, and enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Happened to My Waistline???

I guess this explains that extra "roll" around my middle:

I've actually taken 4 1/2 inches off my waistline in the last 2 years, but my waist is still no where near what it used to be in my 20s. Besides menopause, I think child-birth has a lot to do with it. And, it's not just the tummy fat. I have these pads of fat along the sides and back of my waist-line as well. I guess 28 1/2 inches is a decent waist-line for a woman my age, but I'd love to be able to wear some of the belts I've kept from my 20's (which now fit around my thighs).

To think, I used to stand in front of the mirror when I was 25 and think I looked "fat." I'd be thrilled to have that old body back. I guess its all relative.

You Want to Know what's Frustrating???

So here's the thing, in the last few months I went from 135 pounds to 128. Then my weight loss efforts stagnated. I increased my exercise intensity and cut back again on calories, and the scale wouldn't budge. I took my measurements to see if I was losing inches, but the tape measure didn't budge as well.

Well last weekend was Mother's Day. In celebration I indulged a little bit. We had gone to a beautiful restaurant for brunch. But I was good. Although I really wanted the crispy duck crepe for the appetizer, I ordered the field greens with Champagne dressing. And, for my main course, I ordered the trout, and then left the potatoes behind on the plate.

But dessert did come with the meal, and it was Mother's day, so I ordered Strawberry shortcake--two luscious biscuits with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I enjoyed every bite, but was careful not to touch one of the biscuits (although I really wanted to eat that one too.)

So after weeks of the scale not budging, it finally moved--up. This morning I was 130.4 pounds!!! It was 131 yesterday. And, did I mention that I was eating extremely lightly and doing extra exercising all week to make up for my indulgence?

At first I hoped that the weight gain was due primarily to water retention. But for the last few days I've been drinking a glass of water with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar (a natural diuretic) daily. Sometimes when I've had a quick weight gain, a couple of days of drinking apple cider vinegar manages to remove it.

Not so this time. It goes to show, that once you hit a certain age, any indulgence will show up on the scale.

Not that I won't indulge. You do have to live, but knowing what it will do weight wise, just means you have to account for it later. I'll continue to eat less and exercise more to get back down to 128 again, and hopefully I'll finally be able to break the cycle and get down to 120.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Information on Various Diets

Here's a good round up of various diets you can embark on:

Included in the summaries is a raw food diet which is here:

When I tell people I lost weight eating raw food, they immediately jump to the conclusion that I live on nothing but sprouts and salad. But, as detailed in the article, and as I've written, being a raw foodist just means that you aim for the majority of your food to be raw.

By eating fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and only raw snacks you're easily up to 66%-70% of your food intake being raw. Add a salad with dinner and you've probably hit the 75% mark.

I generally eat cooked food every day, but the majority of the foods I eat are fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables.

Yesterday, for example, I had bananas for breakfast, and a salad with lettuce, red onion, advocado, almonds and a lemon vinaigrette for lunch. For dinner, however, I had roasted red snapper with tomatoes, olives, red onions and zucchini. It's really not that difficult to stay on this diet.

Every so often I do manage to "fall off the wagon," particularly in the Winter when I just crave warm food. But I always manage to get back on.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's All About the Portions

Check this out:

Yes, portions sizes have gotten much bigger over the last 20 years putting the lbs on all of us. It's time to think about reducing our portion sizes to slim ourselves down.

Recently a store near me started selling "mini" bagels which I swear to God are the size bagels were when I was a kid. The calorie difference between the new "mini" (which was once the regular size) and the "regular" (a size which never existed 30 years ago) is a whopping 210 calories.

Needless to say, if I need a bagel with cream cheese and lox fix (which from time to time I do), I always go for the mini version. I'd probably have an easier time managing my weight if I avoid it altogether, but between the extra calories in the bagel, cream cheese and lox I'm probably saving 300 calories by going the mini route.

Now, I think it's best to avoid things like french fries, burgers and fast-food sandwiches all together. But, if you do indulge (and we all need to treat ourselves from time to time), go for the "mini" versions if they exist and NEVER "supersize."

Get your junk food fix, but remember that by controlling portion size, you control overall calories (and maybe you may want to do a bit more exercise to work off your indulgence.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

There's No Going Back

When you want to lose weight and keep it off, there is really no such thing as a diet--only a commitment to lifetime changes in eating habits.

One reason why we gain weight as we age, is because as we age the fewer calories we can consume to maintain the same weight. As I wrote here:, for a 48 year old female to maintain her weight at 130 pounds, she has to limit her overall calories (calories consumed minus calories burned) to 1,787 a day. However, a typical 130 pound 25 year old female can have an overall caloric intake of 1895 daily to maintain her weight at 130 pounds--108 calories more.

So, as we get older, we have to constantly cut back on the calories we eat, or increase calories burned, just to maintain our current weight.

If you managed to put on 18 pounds over three years (6 pounds a year) eating bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and fast food for dinner, then even if you diet and lose 18 pounds, you will gain them back the minute you return to your old eating habits.

The reason you put on weight and had to diet was because of what you were eating. If you only make temporary changes to your eating habits your weight loss will only be temporary.

So never diet. Instead, make permanent changes to your diet. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, replace that mid-afternoon bag of chips with a piece of fruit and the sandwich for lunch with a salad consisting of only raw ingredients.

Toning Up To Lose Weight

Cardio work-outs are a critical part of any weight loss regime (and weight maintenance for that matter unless you want to live on nothing but raw carrots for the rest of your life.) How you get your daily cardio in is less important than making sure you find a way to fit it in every day. I run, hike, follow work-out DVDs, or walk every day.

But its just as important to find a strength and toning regime. Lifting weights is probably the most efficient form of toning, but to be perfectly honest, I find lifting weights boring as hell. Instead, what works for me is yoga. I found a yoga practice that is both challenging and incredibly toning.

Ashtanga yoga, sometimes called yoga for type A personalities, is a vigorous form of Vinyasa yoga which is not for the exercise-phobic. The first time I attended a beginner's class I was sore for four days afterwards. You can learn about Ashtanga yoga here:, and here:

Six years later I'm practicing four days a week. I originally only went to one or two classes every week, but when I made the commitment to myself to lose weight I moved my practice schedule up to three then four times a week.

I use Ashtanga yoga as my strengthening and toning work-out because I'm very goal oriented, and the practice sets up specific goals to be reached. I also get a real sense of satisfaction when, after four or five years of practice I can finally get my body into specific positions, such a sitting in Lotus.

But, as with cardio, it's not as important what you do, but that you do find a strength and toning work-out that you like and you stick with. Maybe there's a class at a local gym, or check out the numerous work-out DVDs available, or, if you like weights, get some for your house and work-out that way.

Finding a work-out that you like and stick with is the goal.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We're All Addicts

I just read about a great new book I have got to buy. It's called The End of Overeating and its by Dr. David Kessler the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. You can read about the book here:

In the book, Dr. Kessler describes how humans become addicted to sugar, fat and salt, and how the food industry happily feeds that addiction to make its profits. As Kessler explains:

"Fifty years ago, the tobacco industry, confronted with the evidence that smoking causes cancer, decided to deny the science and deceive the American public. Now, we know that highly palatable foods—sugar, fat, salt—are highly reinforcing and can activate the reward center of the brain. For many people, that activation is sustained when they're cued. They have such a hard time controlling their eating because they're constantly being bombarded—their brain is constantly being activated.

For decades the food industry was able to argue, "We're just giving consumers what they want." Now we know that giving them highly salient stimuli is activating their brains. The question becomes what do they do now?

If a bear walked in here right now, you would stop listening to me and you'd focus on that bear. We're all wired to focus on the most highly salient stimuli. For a lot of people, that highly salient stimulus is food. It could be alcohol, it could be drugs, it could be gambling, but for many people, it's food. It's not just people who are obese, or overweight. Even for people that
are healthy weight, food activates the neural circuits of their brains, and they have this conditioned and driven behavior we call conditioned hypereating. "

Maybe its time to re-evaluate why we all claim to love processed foods to much to give them up. Do you really love that daily bag of potato chips or are you just addicted to potato chips? And, if its an addiction that's unhealthy for us then how is processed food any different than cigarettes?

The reason why Americans are over-weight is that our food industry has turned us all into over-eating food addicts. But, we can break the addiction and lose weight.

Stop eating processed, manufactured food. Begin replacing snacks like M & Ms with dried fruit and nuts, and instead of a meal that comes out of a box or a can, buy real vegetables, lean flesh and whole grains and cook them yourself with no sugar, no salt and a minimum of fat.

By breaking your addictions you'll eat less and lose weight. Besides, who really wants to be an addict?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Taking Measure

One good habit to get into is keeping track of your weight and your measurements. It's simple. Just buy a cheap spiral bond notebook, a tape measure and a pen. Keep all three near where you weigh yourself and every few weeks note your weight and your measurements.

I've actually been doing this since 1999, prior to getting pregnant for my second child. I take measurements of my bust, right under my bust (to measure my back), my waist, my hips and each thigh.

Over time, you'll collect some interesting data on yourself. For instance, although I now weigh about ten pounds more than I did in 1999, my underbust, waist and hip measurements are exactly the same. My thighs are actually thinner, and my bust is a little bigger.

I credit the extra ten pounds to my work-out routine. Muscle weighs more than fat does, and since I now have so much more muscle, I weigh more even though my measurements are essentially the same as they were prior to getting pregnant the second time.

That's the reason for taking measurements. You also want to take measure because you may not see direct results to your dieting and exercise efforts on the scale because you are replacing fat with muscle. The only way to see if you are indeed "slimming down" (and see that the plan is working) is to take your measurements.

And, keeping measurements is a surer way to make sure you are maintaining your figure over time then trusting clothing sizes. One thing I found when I lost weight was that I began fitting into older clothes I kept that were size 6. When I went out to buy new clothes, however, I was a size 4 or a 2.

There's a simple explanation for the difference in sizes. The fashion industry engages in "size deflation" to induce women to buy clothes. The theory is simple, a woman is more likely to buy an item if it's a smaller size--by "increasing" the sizing, so that you fit into a smaller size, they've made a sale.

So only way to make sure that you are indeed fitting into your old sizes (besides holding on to them) is to take measurements, and keep track of those measurements.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Upping the Ante

This morning I increased the intensity of my morning treadmill work-out. I had been walking at 3.2 miles an hour at a 7 incline for an hour. I increased the incline to 7.5 this morning.

I increased the intensity because my weight has been stagnating at around 128 pounds for the last few weeks, and I want to get down to 120.

When your weight stagnates that's a sign that you have to increase calories burned or decrease calories ingested.

The reason is simple. Suppose you are a 5 foot 5 inch, 45 year old woman who weighs 170 pounds. If you use the calculator here:, you will see that you need to consume 2189 calories a day to maintain your weight.

Now lets say you lose 30 pounds to get to 140 pounds. Then you need only 1903 calories a day to maintain your weight. In other words, to maintain your weight at 140 pounds you have to consume 286 fewer calories a day then you did at 170 pounds.

It also means that if you want to continue to lose weight, e.g., to get to 125 pounds, you have to further cut back on your caloric intake and increase the calories burned through exercise.

So if you hit a wall in your dieting where you are losing no weight, it's because you've reached a caloric equilibrium. What you consume in calories minus was you burn through exercise is just what you need to maintain your current weight. If you want to continue to lose weight, you have to further cut back on caloric intake and increase the amount of calories burned through exercise.

When I started my treadmill workouts I weighed 155 pounds. I started at at 2 incline at 2.5 miles an hour for 40 minutes a day. Since then I've steadily increased the pace, length of the workout and incline as I've dropped weight. I also increased my strength and toning sessions (which I'll write about another time).

My weight stagnating was a sign I needed to further increase the intensity, and that's what I'm doing. Maybe after a week at 7.5 I'll increase the incline to 8 and then I'll try to increase the pace as well.

So the bottom line is that as you drop weight, you have to eat less and exercise more, because the less you weigh the fewer calories you can ingest to maintain that new weight. Furthermore, as you age, you also have to cut back on calories because as you age, you need fewer calories to maintain a given weight. I write about that here:

Yes, losing and keeping weight off is a bitch. There are no easy roads. Just eat less and exercise more.