Happy Holler-ween

As the sluttiest of all holidays, Halloween is a great time to enjoy those weight loss results.

Here is what I look like now:

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neanderthal

And here is what I used to look like just a few years ago:

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yikes!

Just in case you think I’m particularly strong in the willpower department, I can assure you that I’m not.

I’m also not particularly hard-working, never deny myself chocolate, and NEVER exercise unless I actually want to (that said, I enjoy walking).

I’ve struggled with weight for a long time, and it took me a lifetime to figure out what works for me. For me, it boils down to three things:

  1. Keeping bad stuff out of the house;
  2. Setting myself up for success (ie.. understanding the reality of willpower depletion, and knowing my own weaknesses);
  3. Eating mostly veg, and a little bit of everything else

This is not just about looks.  It’s about empowerment mental health, and also physical health.  It’s about being a version of yourself that you are genuinely proud of.

Living a lifestyle that allows you to feel and look your best is not easy, but it’s also not that hard.  Every person deserves to look as beautiful and vivacious on the outside as they feel on the inside.  You just need to figure out what works for you. And never give up on yourself.  Past results are NOT binding! 

If you find yourself in a bad place now, just know that I’ve been there, and so have my friends and co-contributors to this blog. I don’t mean to say you’re not good enough as you are, but rather that you should live the full life you want to live.

You don’t have to lose a billion pounds this week, and you don’t have to run a marathon today.  Just make one small change and stick to it this week.  Next week, try another.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it.  Put in the effort now, and make the small changes.  By next Halloween, you’ll be strutting your stuff with the best of them 🙂

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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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Feeding Herman Canine

Just as I’m suspicious of processed foods for humans, I am (almost) equally concerned about what I feed my doggie.

This isn’t to say I’m a complete crazy person. Yet.
But I am crazy enough that I regularly cook for my dog. #yikes

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Herman loves dress-up 🙂

Here are my three concerns:

  1. Nutrition. What nutrition does the dog food contain?
    • Some commercial dog food is messed up.  And by messed up, I mean messed up beyond belief.
  2. Health Concerns. My dog is tiny, and tiny dogs are prone to three issues specifically:
    • weight gain;
    • knee problems;
    • anal gland problems
  3. Supporting Animal Cruelty. If you think about the cruelty that goes into making human food, I can only IMAGINE the cruelty that goes into making dog food. I want to vote with my wallet. To whatever extent reasonably possible, I’d like to avoid supporting cruel practices.

A Resource!

DogFoodAdvisor.com  is an excellent resource.  They use a 1-5 star rating system to help you find the ideal food for your dog.

Whether your dog eats Wet Food, Dry Food, or Raw Food – you can easily find the top rated products. You can also use the search feature to look for more details on a specific food.

It’s very simple. Each category of food is broken down according to the site’s rating:

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a screenshot

What I LOVE about this site is the level of specificity that they apply to each analysis.

  • Their database is EXHAUSTIVE
  • They examine each and every ingredient of a given product
  • But they also offer a bottom line w/ regards to each product so that you don’t get bogged down in the details
  • They offer levels of confidence with regards to statements they make about the safety and/or nutrition of any particular ingredient
  • They even show a recall history for the brand you’re looking at

One of the foods I regularly feed Herman is Primal Freeze-Dried Raw Food.  Here is just a small part of their analysis on this product:

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More to Learn

Just as there is more to learn about human nutrition, there is also more to learn about the perfect doggy diet.

That said, we probably know what a perfect doggy diet ISN’T. It’s not a diet full of processed junk and filler.

Some dog foods can be prohibitively expensive, so we can only do the best we can. But this is great resource to figure out where to get started.

How does your dog food stack up? 

*EDIT* If anyone knows of a similar resource for cats (or other pets), please share the wealth. I’ve just found BestCatFoodAdvisor.net, but I don’t have any personal experience with it.

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Why Losing 2 Pounds/Week is a Bad Idea

Successful diet
“Yes! I can finally eat cheesecake again!”

I like goals, small & big.

But there is a certain type of goal I don’t like. And it’s one I hear often – “aim to lose 2 pounds a week.”

Why don’t I like this goal? Because it predisposes you to failure. Instead:

  • aim for 8-10 pounds in a month; or
  • aim for 4 – 5 pounds every 14 days

But wait – isn’t that the same thing as losing 2 pounds a week? 

No! It’s not. Especially not for women.

I’m not trying to mince words here, I swear.  There are psychological aspects to weight loss. And aiming to lose 2 pounds a week simply isn’t a smart goal.

Reasons

  • Weight doesn’t directly correlate to fat. You already know this.
    • So you CAN gain weight while losing fat.
    • When you’re working with such a small number as “2 pounds,” there is so much room for error that you are bound to get mixed up.
    • This makes it tricky for you to track what’s working and what’s not working in terms of reaching your goal.
  • A week is a LONG time. And yet it’s a short time.
    • When you diet all week long, and then you step on the scale to no results, or even to a higher weight than you started out, it can be deflating. Which is stupid, because if you’ve been doing the right things, then you probably ARE making strides towards your goal, even if those strides aren’t reflected by your weight this very minute.
    • On the other hand, if you go two weeks without losing any weight (and CERTAINLY if you go a full month without losing any weight) – then it’s likely there is either:
      • a problem with your plan (i.e., your numbers are wrong); or
      • a problem in the EXECUTION of your plan (ie..you’re eating more than you realize)
  • It’s not how weight loss works. When I was losing weight, some weeks I lost 3-4 pounds, and some weeks I lost none.
    • If I was a fool, I might have listened to people who said “losing 4 pounds in a week! that’s dangerous!” Or, I might have listened to someone who said “if you’re doing things right, but not losing weight, then you’ve probably hit a plateau.”
    • The truth is most likely this: as long as I stayed consistent, I WAS losing FAT steadily. I just wasn’t losing WEIGHT steadily. There is a difference! As long as I averaged out to 8-10 pounds a month, I was losing fat at a healthy pace. Even though my weight loss was staggered.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions on the right way to lose weight, the right pace to lose weight etc. Some of these people have advanced degrees. So what? Advanced degrees never stopped anyone from saying “Fat is bad! Eat more carbs!”

I say, don’t listen to anyone! Don’t even listen to me.

Losing 4 pounds some weeks, and zero pounds other weeks might make sense for you. Unless you’re doing a body fat analysis every week, then there is no reason to think this reflects anything other than a steady fat loss.

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Snack Attack!

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We are reaching the finish line, guys! It is almost 5pm. We are 1 hour and 12 minutes away from the weekend. We made it! Another week, another dollar! We all make such a good team.

Just a few moments ago I was craving a snack. I hate snacking. Snacking = empty calories. But I wanted something…. something sweet. My immediate thought was to have a Mission clean protein bar . I like these bars because they are high fiber, low carb, and 0g sugar alcohol. My favorite flavor is the chocolate brownie (190 cal and 20g protein). Grab one at your local GNC.

This got me thinking, we are always on the run, spend a lot of time commuting, and sitting at our desks… what do you keep in your desk, bag, or car?

Currently, I have a Mission bar and Emerald Nuts- 100 cal pack in my desk drawer. I usually keep a bag of jerky in my gym bag (quick protein post work out). I live about 1.5 hours away from my Parents so for those long car rides I’ll pack some fruit and nuts and cheese if we crave something to munch on.

Like I said, I am not a huge fan of snacking but I understand that with this “always on the go” routine we have, we need to have something to eat! If I am going to snack, it is going to be something healthy that will keep me full for a long time.

I used to be the kind of person who would get fast food during my car rides home. Something about eating fries in traffic used to be so comforting but it was taking a toll on my health and it was always sooooooooooooo embarrassing when someone was like “what did you eat?” “were you eating fast food?” or how about all the wrinkled oily bags in the back seat. OMG, so gross! We’ve replaced fast food bags with protein bar wrappers and empty water bottles… which reminds me, I need to clean the back of my car ASAP.

Snack food that you will most likely find in my work space:

  • Protein bars
  • Nuts
  • Jerky
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Dried edamame
  • Hummus   (Click link for coupon)
  • Tuna snack pack
  • In the work fridge: oranges, apples, and cheese

What about you? What is your go-to snack food? What do you keep at your desk or on the run? If you have any more ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

 

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