Lara Bars

Aside from the kind you get wasted in, I’m not the biggest fan of bars. By that I mean, I don’t (generally) eat:

  • Protein and/or Weight Loss bars
  • Cereal and/or Nut bars
  • Nutrigrain bars
  • Fiber One bars
  • Quest bars
  • Isagenix bars
  • etc etc etc bars
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I’ll make an exception for these crummy things

Reasoning

  1. Taste. Many bars taste like chemicals.
  2. Calories vs. Satiety Some of these bars have a ton of calories for just a few bites. Even those bars high in protein don’t seem to satisfy me.
  3. Ingredients. I try to stick to whole foods. Many bars have too many weird ingredients.
  4. Expense. Bars tend to be pretty expensive for what they are.

Lara Bars

Lara Bars are fruit & nut bars advertised as “food made from food.” They are one of the only bars that I eat. And even these, I don’t eat often.

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Here is what they look like before I eat them. 

What I like about Lara Bars:

  • Made from whole foods. Take, for example, the Banana Bread flavor. It has only three ingredients: bananas, dates, and almonds
  • They are vegan.
  • They taste awesome. My favorite flavors are Cherry Pie (3 ingredients) and Carrot Cake (9 ingredients)
  • Nutrition. Every flavor I’ve tried has had a great nutritional profile.

What I dislike about Lara Bars:

  • Calories. Most are around 200-ish calories.
  • Addicting. Maybe it’s me – but I find them slightly addicting.  Meaning, I could easily  eat five bars in one sitting. Not good!
  • Not always easy to find. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, and they often don’t have my favorite flavors.
  • Annoying website. Don’t even go on it, it’s not worth the agony.

In Sum

If you’re looking for a decent bar, a Lara Bar might be a good pick. Especially if you’re trying to avoid processed foods.

But be wary. I would never buy a box and keep it in the house: the temptation is too strong.

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Four Ways to Fight Apathy

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When I reached my highest weight, I felt nothing but apathy. It was as if every day was a cold rainy day, and I just didn’t want to get out of bed. At that time:

  • Getting into even decent shape seemed so far away that it felt more like a fantasy than an achievable goal; and
  • Getting into great shape was completely outside of the realm of possibilities.

The result? 

  • I fell into a complete state of apathy. And if things had gone a little differently, I might still be there today.
  • I wasted precious time dreaming of a fantasy transformation instead of slowly beginning to introduce the small changes that my body actually needed and wanted.

When does apathy strike?: 

Apathy tends to strike when the place where you WANT TO BE seems too far away from the place where you CURRENTLY ARE.

So naturally, you need to find ways to trick your brain into feeling:

  • that the road ahead of you isn’t so bad; AND
  • that you’re closer to where you want to be than you actually are.

Four Ways to Fight Apathy:

  1. Reduce your ambition. This seems counterintuitive, but it works. Try the “do one thing” rule
  2. Set SMALL Behavioral Goals. You can never control outcomes, but you can ALWAYS control behaviors. What is one SMALL behavior you can change every day for this entire week? Examples: have salad for lunch every day; do 50 crunches before bed; eat one probiotic food every day.
  3. Increase your motivation. See here.
  4. Chop up your outcome-based goals. To the extent you do focus on outcome-based goals, cut them up into bite sized chunks. This is important! See my post on Aiming for Eight.

What are some ways that you fight apathy?

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Spider Eggs – The New Superfood?

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hello >:)

Spiders can be creepy crawly. But did you know that a spoonful of their unborn young can help speed up your metabolism and even strengthen your bones?

Gross.  But is it worth it? I don’t know.

…I say that losing weight sucks. And we can all use a little help.

In theory – spider eggs shouldn’t be any grosser than let’s say chicken eggs or caviar. The idea just takes a little getting used to.

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Just think of it as Earth Caviar.

If you are a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that I’m not one to put too much stock in shortcuts (see my post Seven Magic Pills to Regulate Your Appetite).

Even so, I’m not going to deny a tactic that might help you achieve your goal weight solely because it’s unconventional. We always need to be open to try new things.

Even if those new things consist of…. spider eggs.

Omelion – C 

The reason spider eggs work is because of a little compound called Omelion-C (O-C).

Like certain proteins, you body naturally creates Omelion-C every day. The only problem is that your body can only create small amounts – which will vary based on a number of factors including your age and genetics.

If you’re of East-Asian descent, you’re in luck. You naturally create the most Omelion-C of any other ethnic group. This might be why East-Asian people, as a whole, tend to be more petite. Bastards!

If you’re unlucky enough to be white, black, or anything other than East Asian – the amount of Omelion-C circulating in your blood is likely far too low to allow you to function at your optimal metabolic rate. Thanks ancestors!

But luckily there are Spider Eggs. Ugh.

How it Works

Well it doesn’t always.

First of all, you need to find the right species of spider. And even so, there’s a chance the spider egg diet might not work for you.

To protect the cute baby spiders from potential insect, bird, and mammal predators – CERTAIN species of spider eggs are wrapped in a special fat-rich membrane. That’s because some of these predators have a hard time digesting the fat. This has two effects on the predators:

  1. The eggs will pass right through the predator’s digestive system and still hatch; and
  2. The fat will make the predator immediately full and uneasy, therefore making it less likely to attempt at eating the spidery siblings and cousins.

In humans, this membrane acts very much the same, but also a little differently.

When this membrane comes in contact with proteins in the human body – it has two effects:

1. the fat-rich membrane increases your levels of satiety; AND

2. the membrane actually triggers a very light immune response which causes your body to flush not only the eggs, but also other toxins in your colon.

But many people are immune! That’s why eating spider eggs won’t work for everyone.

And not all species work! But luckily there are about 2,000 species to choose from. Here are a few species you can try, that are common in North America:

  • Arrowhead Orb Weaver
  • Basilica Orb Weaver
  • Cribellate Orb Weaver
  • Eastern Harvest Man
  • Jerry Orbach head Spider
  • Feather Legged Spider

Unfortunately!

Unfortunately – Spider Eggs haven’t made it to your local Whole Foods just yet, so you might have to try your local Russian food store or international market.

If you find them, you can dissolve them in tea, or even add them to your favorite green smoothie! Blending won’t hurt them, but excessive heat might.

..You can also buy certain species of spider eggs freeze dried on amazon.com. But many people say that the freeze dry process decreases the potency and effect.

I’m not sure myself. I haven’t tried Spider Eggs yet. But I’m working my way up to it.

If you do try any species of spider eggs, please let me know!

..And if you’ve heard of any other weird metabolism stimulating foods – share the wealth.

Happy April Fools!

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When the People You Love Hate You

Expected consequence of losing weight: People like you more. And it hurts.

Unexpected consequence of losing weight: People dislike you more. And it hurts.

Autistic to Jealousy

Like most humanoids, I experience a wide range of complex emotions: Happiness/Sadness. Anger —> Euphoria. Anticipation! Fear! Excitement! …Diarrhea. Usually in that exact order.

But unlike many humans, I have a mental defect. I don’t experience jealousy. In fact, I’m incapable of  comprehending it.  Important Exception: you better not touch my fucking man.

I know you don’t believe me – but what can I say? I don’t experience jealousy. I understand that it’s an emotion that must serve some evolutionary purpose, but seriously – I didn’t get the software update.  I also didn’t get the software that gives you competitive drive.

From the bottom of my heart – I don’t care if every single creature in the entire universe is more successful or prettier or less hairy then me.  In fact, I hope they are.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

I am by no means at peace with myself.

I want to be more successful and important than I am. If I’m not important, I will die. And nobody will miss me. I also have to be flawless. Because if I’m not beautiful, then I’m worthless. So every flaw must be eradicated, beginning with my entire face.

But my sense of competition, however unhealthy, is exclusively with MYSELF.

..And I thank god for that. Because I get to experience nothing but genuine happiness and love for all of mankind. And even for most of dolphin-kind.

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with the exception of this smug bastard

So it’s hard for me, as someone who can’t fathom jealousy, to be the victim of it.

My natural preference is for everyone in the world to have as much success as possible. The more success EVERYONE has, the more likely it is that someone will be around to help my future offspring when an asteroid comes.

I can’t comprehend anything else. I can’t comprehend the complex emotion of simultaneously loving someone AND also wishing bad upon them.  Or even weirder – wishing that I had what they have at their expense. It doesn’t make sense.

I want to reconcile these apparently conflicting concepts, but this particular emotion is more complex than my limited framework allows.  I’m autistic to jealousy.  So I’m trying in vain to rationalize something that cannot be rationalized. Jealousy is a feeling that someone has.

Since I’ve Lost Weight..

Certain people have become suspiciously nice to me. As in way way way too nice. And I know in my heart that some people (most people) love and value me more at 135 pounds than my they did at 190 pounds. And it hurts like hell.

And Since I’ve Lost Weight…

Other people have become incredibly horrible to me. As in ridiculously, unnecessarily, absurdly mean.

…I’m talking Mean Girls mean. These are people who supposedly love me. And it hurts like hell.

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I just want to grab these mean girls and say, “What the fuck guys? Who does this help? WHY ON EARTH would you want me to hurt?”

..But that’s because I’m trying to take something as complex as jealousy and make it simple.  I’m trying rationalize things I can’t understand.

Trying to Understand

I  – for whatever reason – cannot comprehend what it means to compare myself to another person. My brain just isn’t wired that way. And I should consider myself lucky, because that’s a heavy burden.

But the drinkers of hater-ade, they have brains too. And their brains, for whatever reason, ARE wired that way. So their bad attitude is not really their fault.

I have to TRY to comprehend it. And when I try,  I imagine it must hurt.  Maybe more than their actions hurt me.

And I have to try to stay empathetic! Because I have flaws too. For example:

  • I eat a lot of chocolate
  • I have a history of being flakey, and
  • I never brush my teeth before bed. Don’t worry though – I brush compulsively throughout the day.

I’m not trying to be high and mighty here. I just recognize that I have choices. I can choose:

  • to take it personally, and therefore get mad, anxious and/or hurt; OR
  • to expand my consciousness by using this as a learning experience

I KNOW I have these choices, because I’m making them right now.

But what if jealous people don’t have a choice? I mean – jealousy doesn’t sound pleasant.  Would anyone REALLY choose jealousy over happiness if they truly had a choice?

I want to be mad! But I’m trying to stay humble because I don’t know what goes on inside of anyone’s head except my own.

This, I do for my own sake and sanity. Or at least I’m trying my best.

Stay empathetic my friends! 

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Holiday Recovery

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Full disclosure: I’m Jewish. So while Christ doth not arise in my home, I recognize that he did visit many of my friends this weekend.

And when Christ arises, calories arise. So now it’s time for confession.

Tell it to me straight, glutton:

  • Did you have a second helping of ham?
  • Perhaps an extra leg of lamb?
  • A marshmallow pie?? An entire box Peeps?? A Lindt Chocolate bunny?
  • A Cadbury Caramel Egg?!?!
  • ALL OF THE ABOVE?!!!

I think all of those things are great, especially Cadbury Caramel eggs. I also think that holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

Gluttony may be a sin, but not in my book. I think it’s human nature to let yourself go every once in a while.

But now it’s Tuesday and it’s time to get back on track. Here are a few tips:

  1. Get rid of leftover candy. That’s assuming you have any left over 😉
    • I hate throwing out food, even candy.
    • If you don’t want to throw it out, bring it to work or put it in the freezer
    • But really, you should throw it out.
  2. Pencil in an extra workout this week. You don’t have to go crazy. But whatever your normal exercise regimen, add one extra session this week. This can even be moderate exercise – go for a long walk.
  3. Have a hearty salad for lunch for the remainder of the week. 
  4. Try to reduce your carbs by 50% for at least one or two days this week. If you’re still feeling bloated from the weekend, this might help.
  5. If you normally drink alcohol, take a break for the remainder of the week. Your body will thank you.

Remember: you don’t have to go crazy to make up for your “sins.” One or two holiday meals won’t make or break you. Implement one or two small changes from the above list and you should be back to your lent-sized self in no time.

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Before and After

Oh jeez…this is one I REALLY don’t want to share.

Since we started Fat Girls Fitness a few months back, I’ve been looking for a good “before” photo of me at my heaviest.

The problem is I avoided cameras at the time soooo…. I had to do a bit of searching.  And even so, I’m not sure this reflects my fattest moment of all. But I suppose it’s awful enough.

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Height: 5’2”

Before: August, 2013 190 ish pounds? (this is a guess)
After: January, 2016. 137 pounds

Thoughts:

  • My triangle arms are on point, regardless of the fact that I clearly ate a semi-trailer.
  • In my first picture, I am 25 years old. It’s incredibly sad to think that’s how I spent my 25th year. I should have been having fun and partying. Instead, I was having fun and partying, but I was also extremely depressed, sweaty, and uncomfortable.

While I feel happy that the weight is gone, I can’t help but look at this with a whole lot of sadness. Apparently I was too busy dining on small villages to care about my own happiness and well-being, and that pisses me off. At myself.

I find it extremely hard to forgive myself, and I’m not sure I ever will.

But – in any event, if I can do it, you can do it. …Because really I don’t have any special iron will or skills. I’m just a regular fatass who got tired of being a fatass and said “enough.” And you are not alone.

At times it was tough, but it would have been so much tougher to continue down that road.

It seems like a long journey, but the only thing you need to do today is take the first step. And there is no long term goal. You don’t have to get skinny. You just need to be better today than you were yesterday.

PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU!! Don’t put yourself on hold for as long as I did.

You can do it 🙂

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Deprivation Works. And Doesn’t.

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Of course deprivation works!

What does it mean to lose fat? It means to burn fat because:

  • you are starving to death, and
  • you are not giving your body enough fuel to do the functions it needs to do

If you ARE getting enough fuel, then you’re NOT going to burn fat. There’s no magic. You’re just NOT going to burn fat without depriving your body of what it needs – fuel.

..And that’s why losing weight feels shitty. No matter how you do it.

You can lose weight:

  • Slowly, by eating SLIGHTLY LESS than you need over a long period of time;
  • Quickly, by eating FAR LESS than you need over a shorter period of time;  and/or
  • *Optional* by increasing your need for fuel by increasing your energy output (exercise) [slowly or quickly]

You can also:

  • Set yourself up for success by understanding habit formation;
  • Set yourself up for success by removing addictive foods from your diet and life (at least for a short period);
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding how willpower and motivation actually work.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of appetite, and also becoming mindful of your appetite.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of metabolism

Deprivation works to lose weight, NOT to maintain it.

I CAN’T lose weight slowly.  Healthy or not healthy – I just can’t do it. I spent 20+ years trying. I can’t deprive myself ‘slightly’ day after day for months, hoping to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  I can’t continue to eat a diet of processed foods, while counting calories. It just doesn’t work for me.  I can’t do it, and I won’t do it.

I CAN lose weight quickly through “RESPONSIBLE Deprivation.”  Here is what I CAN do:

  • lose weight (relatively) quickly in spurts, and *IMPORTANTLY* punctuate these periods with periods of maintenance.
  • use methods like intermittent fasting to lose weight
  • cut out processed foods that I find addicting for long periods of time during weight loss periods

I CAN’T maintain my weight through responsible deprivation. I CAN’T maintain my weight through:

  • counting calories,
  • cutting out food groups, and/or
  • dieting.

To me, that’s not a life – it’s too much deprivation. In the end, too much deprivation will cause me to gain weight.   To maintain my weight – I eat a mostly whole foods diet. Here is how I eat. My weight maintains itself:

  • mostly plants, most days (including starchy plants)
  • mostly whole foods, as little processed food as possible
  • watch my alcohol intake
  • never eat unless I’m hungry
  • lot’s of soups and salads

We need to separate “weight loss” from “maintenance.”

Weight loss is hard! Somewhere along the line, something got messed up and now you need to fix it. The only way to do that is by giving your body less fuel than it needs. And that’s fucking hard! Your body thinks it’s dying. So it’s best not to gain weight in the first place!  (duh!). 

..but once you do find yourself in a position where you need to lose weight, then forget the weight loss myths. Lose weight however you can, and forget the lies. Just be careful of the following:

  • don’t give yourself nutritional deficiencies
  • don’t give yourself electrolyte imbalances
  • don’t physically exert yourself while suddenly eating less
  • listen to your body

Weight maintenance should NOT be hard! 

Why? Because if weight maintenance is hard, you’ll gain the weight back. You can’t deprive yourself forever. You can only do it for short periods.

If maintaining weight is hard, that means you’re eating the wrong things. What are “wrong things”? “Wrong things” = foods meant to addict you aka processed foods.

Being Fit in an Unfit World

This post is largely an oversimplification.

But my point is this: many of the things you hear about weight loss are myths and fantasies.

When it comes to weight loss, do whatever you CAN do. Because weight loss is hard, and you need to fight this uphill battle in whatever way works for you. Just be careful not to hurt yourself, and be smart.

And once you lose weight, be mindful! You can’t deprive yourself forever, so you need a system for success.

My system is sticking (mostly) to foods that human beings are suppose to eat. This means avoiding things that come out of boxes, but enjoying these things in moderation to whatever extent I find reasonable.

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