Overcoming Obesity

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Results are in - Menstrual Cycle & Weight

It's something that most of us had thought about, especially if you get the cravings... chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. I found this article on weightwathers.com and if anything, we should only increase 100-200 calories before our cycle actually begins, which will be offset by the increased matabolism during cycle. Anyhow, to learn more, read the article below. To access the link, go to:


Menstrual Cycle and Weight

Article By: The Weight Watchers Research Department

While there may be minor changes in metabolism, food intake and cravings throughout the menstrual cycle in addition to possible water retention, these will not impact weight-loss success.

Food cravings, overeating and weight gain are commonly reported during the one to two weeks before menstruation occurs. But what is the science to support these symptoms, and what is their impact on weight-loss success?

Food Intake and Metabolism
While overeating is the popular perception, research has shown that there are only minor changes in actual food intake throughout the menstrual cycle. Most studies suggest an increase in eating of around 100 to 200 calories in the days before bleeding occurs,1,2 but this appears to be offset by the small rise in metabolism (around 5 to 10 percent)3 that occurs during the same time period. In other words, the body tends to adjust the calories in/calories out on its own. Therefore, in a weight-stable state, no changes in weight will occur.

However, if actively losing weight by following a restricted-calorie food plan, the likely result would be a slight (but hardly noticeable) increase in weight loss due to the increased metabolism without the usual increase in calories. Alternatively, the result instead could be a slightly greater difficulty in following the food plan because of increased hunger during that period.

Food Cravings
Although food cravings are commonly reported during certain times of the menstrual cycle, the scientific evidence on the subjects is limited. Some smaller studies suggest a link, particularly a craving for high carbohydrate sweets.4,5 These studies also show that cravings tend to occur more often in women with premenstural syndrome (PMS) and that the cravings increase as symptoms worsen.6 While more research is needed to understand food cravings, the good news is that they do not appear to translate into large increases in calorie intake and subsequent weight gain.

Water Retention
The most likely reason for a weight gain is water retention. While this is a common symptom that can be particularly discouraging when following a structured food plan,7 the weight gain is usually minor and temporary (that is, any weight that is gained is lost around the time of menstruation). Furthermore, water retention can be lessened during this time period by making small dietary changes, like reducing sodium and increasing fluids.

Bottom Line: Major fluctuations in eating and weight during certain periods of the menstrual cycle are a common perception, but studies done in the area find that the changes are minor, temporary and will not impact weight-loss success.

This content is reviewed regularly. Last updated September 24, 2009, Article By: The Weight Watchers Research Department


1 Buffenstein R et al. Food intake and the menstrual cycle: a retrospective analysis, with implications for appetite research. Physiol Behav. 1995 Dec;58(6):1067-77.

2 Johnson WG et al. Energy regulation over the menstrual cycle. Physiol Behav. 1994 Sep;56(3):523-27.

3 Bisdee JT et l. Changes in energy expenditure during the menstrual cycle. Br J Nutr. 1989 Mar;61(2):187-99.

4 Dye L & Blundell JE. Menstrual cycle and appetite control: implications for weight regulation. Human Reprod. 1997 June;12(6):1142-51.

5 Bryant M et al. Modest changes in dietary intake across the menstrual cycle: implications for food intake research. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96(5):888-94.

6 Both-Orthman et al. Menstrual cycle phase-related changes in appetite in patients with premenstrual syndrome and in control subjects. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 May;145(5):628-31.

7 Ross C, Coleman G & Stojanovska C. Prospectively reported symptom change across the menstrual cycle in users and non-users of oral contraceptives. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 Mar;24(1):15-29.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lowfat Chicken Cordon Bleu only 235 Calories

Can someone say AMAZING and then say DELISH!!!! Fabulous and easy meal that will impress dinner guest.

Grocery List:

-Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast
-Laughing Cow Low fat Swiss Spreadable Cheese Wheel (1 per ckn breast)
-John Morrell Off the Bone Home style Carved Honey Ham
-Plastic Wrap
-Wax Paper


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Place a piece of plastic wrap on counter, place chicken on plastic wrap & place another piece of plastic wrap on top of chicken. Using a meat hammer, flatten chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick by pounding slowly.

-Remove top layer of plastic, season top of flattened chicken breast with salt & pepper, now spread one laughing cow spreadable cheese wedge on top of flattened chicken breast.

-Put one to two slices of Ham on top of flattened chicken breast, roll chicken breast, insert toothpick to hold together.

-Place a piece of wax paper on baking sheet, place chicken on baking sheet. Repeat until done.

-Cover Chicken with foil

-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, remove foil, bake an additional 15 minutes to allow chicken to brown.

Now ENJOY!!! Again, this low fat dish is only 235 calories/9 grams of fat. This is a Hungry-Girl recipe that I found on a 2 minute demonstration on YouTube. The demonstration looked so easy and guess what, it really was. It was a nice twist and alternative to the same ol same ol chicken for dinner. Now get ready for this, the kiddos loved it!

I served the chicken with steamed carrots topped with parsley & smart squeeze non fat margarine spread along with steamed green beans. Our dinner was only 335 calories with 9.35 grams of fat... even the kiddos were amazed by those numbers.

If you'd like to watch the demonstration on YouTube, just copy and paste the following URL into another web browser:



Woke up with a terrible headache, probably because I didn't get up and devour the bag of chips in the Kitchen that howled my name all night! Why do I still have chips in the house, you ask? Great question... the kids usually eat lunch at school however they had early dismissal a few days this week and I bought the chips for them. Thankfully, I haven't ate one, but I have thought about them on several occasions.

I weighed this morning and went from 322 to 324 :( I am sure this is because we fluctuate a few pounds and the fact that my monthly friend decided to show up unannounced on Wednesday evening! Uggghhh, bloated and uncomfortable. The good news, that feeling has nothing to do with a binge (doing the happy dance) but it's that unstopable time of the month. I did notice that I ate a little more yesterday, I took in 1,620 calories (which is still pretty dang good in my eyes). I'm wondering, should I increase my caloric intake while I am on my cycle? Hmmmmmmm, I think it is time to do a little research! Stay tuned for the results...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

654,500 extra calories to go

Oh my goodness, that is right... I have 654,500 fat calories to go. GULP, can we say intimidation! Holy crap, is that even possible? Okay, wait a minute... just breathe... inhale, exhale... slowly now... iiiinnnnhhhhhhaaaaallllleeeee, eeeeexxxxxhhhhhhaaaaalllllleeeeee... nice calm thoughts.

Okay, considering I have already lost 28,000 ... it is okay. Your probably looking at these numbers wondering, what the heck is this girl smoking? What on earth is she talking about.

Let me break it down, I read that one pound, one measly pound of fat is made up of approximately 3,500 extra calories. To lose one pound of fat, you should create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. Sounds unbelievable, after I read it and picked my jaw off the floor I had to calculate... how many fat calories am I carrying on this body of mine? So I calculated it....

322 pounds - 135 pounds (goal weight) = 187 pounds
187 pounds (I am considering fat) x 3,500 extra calories = 654,500 extra calories

Of course, I am no DR and I in now way can give medical advise and this might not even be a real calculation but it blew me away. It made me realize that I had to eat 3,500 extra calories for every pound of weight I have gained. SCARY... I mean nightmare kind of scary. It sounds unfathomable but it wasn't for me. There were days that I could polish off 4500 - 6000 calories in a day, from eating a whole pizza, having burgers and fries for lunch and fast food breakfast... you better believe it is possible. The good new is, I am awake now. I am becoming more and more aware of the foods I am eating and the foods that are out there.

Since I have become more aware of food (healthy vs. non-healthy) what I notice, of course this is just my opinion, is that advertisements for unhealthy food are everywhere. I mean seriously, every corner there is a huge billboard or commercial on that advertises food, cheap and unhealthy food at that, loaded with fat, unhealthy carbs and cholesterol. It just blows my mind to think what we are teaching our children. I am guilty of it for sure. I have gone to a fast food joint and ordered my son two hamburgers, an order of fries and a soda. Sure, my son is thin and he doesn't have to worry about weight but what he eats, what he puts in his body, that should be something I monitor and teach him how to eat healthy.

As I am cooking healthier and logging my food intake everyday, I talk to the kids. I tell them about how many calories each meal is and what foods seem so innocent but turn out to be an unbelievable amount of calories or fat. It makes me happy to know I am finally teaching a lesson that will impact my children for the rest of their lives, hopefully very healthy lives where weight never becomes an obsession or setback in their lives.

Oh, speaking of monitoring caloric intake... I found this awsome website, some of you may be familiar with it, it is called hungry girl. It has GREAT alternatives, recipes, snacks, tips and tricks to help make healthier choices. For those of you who follow weight watchers, it also gives the point value on all of it's items. If you get the chance, check it out: http://www.hungry-girl.com/

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Delicious Dinner & Healthy Too

I had a completely delicious dinner tonight and I think you will love it too! It is only 580 calories and 15.81 Fat Calories. That's right... you heard it here first!

Menu: Chicken Fajitas

Grocery List: 1-2 lbs Boneless, Skinnless Chicken Breast
Red, Yellow & Green Bell Pepper (1 ea)
Yellow Onion
Fajita Seasoning Packet (Kroger brand is good)
100% Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
Fat Free Sour Cream
2% Shredded Lowfat Mexican Cheese

Marinate Chicken breast in Fajita Seasoning (hold oil, use water)
Thinly slice Red, Green & Yellow Bell Pepper
Thinly slice yellow onion

-Place Bell Peppers & Onion in foil, close tightly and grill until done (15-20 min), drizzle on 2 tbls FF zesty italian dressing in place of oil.
-Grill Chicken Breast.
-Warm Wheat Tortilla on Grill

Once chicken done, slice thinly. Place chicken, bell peppers & onion, 2 tbls cheese, 1 tbls FF cream cheese in wheat tortilla.

You can enjoy two fajita taco's, trust me, it was plenty filling!

How did I get here...

People in general can be so cruel. At what point, did weight become a factor in defining who someone is? Does weight make you more or less adequate than the next? I hardly think so but could beg to differ. Have you ever came across someone who doesn't actually see you? Someone who looks right past you or through you, as if you don't exist? That person that wouldn't notice you even if you had your hand out to shake theirs? It's as if your invisible...

There are days that I feel invisible. I wonder what a healthy person sees when they look at the body or the face of a morbidly obese person? Some may feel pity, some can empathize with our pain, some might even want to help and others may genuinely be concerned for your health but there are those out there that are disgusted by overweight people, so shallow and caught up in image, that an overweight person literally disgust them. I can say this because at one point in my life, I was that person. The very shallow person who was annoyed by people severely overweight... just grossed out by the thought of that person looking at me, wanting to have my figure or imagining them as some self loathing animal that couldn't wait until their next meal. How cruel was I? It is terrible to admit that once in my life I looked through people like me as if they don't exist.

Today, the shoe is on the other foot. I am the one being looked through, I am invisible. Yes, there is irony in being invisible when you are 223 pounds. Besides the fact that your carrying a neon sign, that has no on/off switch, that just yells: overweight, watch it wideload coming through, need more room here people. How is it possible not to see another human, it is very impossible, people ignore the things that make them uncomfortable, people generally do not like confrontation and that is exactly how I ended up here. Overweight and almost unrecognizable.

I asked myself, when did this happen? How did I let myself go? I have been overweight for almost 11 years now. When I think back, I believe it all began with my pregnancy.

During my pregnancy I gained a whopping 90 pounds. Before I delivered my son, I weighed 225 pounds. Yes, I did have a large child... 10 pounds, 5 ounces and 23 inches long... but come on people, I didn't give birth to a 12 year old. I gained 90 pounds by eating whatever my heart desired. Let me tell you, it was cookies, cakes and ice cream.... everyday. I remember getting up at 1 or 2 in the morning to bake cookies, before the oven was pre-heated, half the cookie dough was gone. I know, just terrible. That was the very beginning of my emotional eating. My son's father and I were not together and I believe that had a huge factor of me doing what I was doing.

Fortunately, I lost 30 pounds at delivery and it took about 6 months to lose the remaining weight. I never really lost all of it, I kept on about 15 extra pounds. By the time my son was 3, I had gained another 30 pounds. It didn't really bother me though, I had that hour glass shape and the weight looked good on me, I had big breast, a little waist and big hips and thighs. I looked good and no one ever believed I was 180 pounds, people thought I was about 140.

That year, something happened, in less that 10 month's, I gained 90 pounds. I remember walking in the hall at work and an older woman stopping me and asking "Have you gained weight? Your butt is spreading, you had a really cute figure, turned heads all the time, your never gonna lose it unless you change it now." I was so offended, can someone actually be saying this to me? I am glad she couldn't read my thought cloud but who would have known, she was telling the truth. 8 years later, I am still struggling.

I remember tittering and tottering back and forth between 221 to 240... then it changed from 240 to 270. I'd lose it and gain it, the closest I have been to 200 since 1999 is 221. At one point, I was up to 289 pounds. At that moment, I vowed to myself "NO MORE" and joined Curves and ate better. Once I under 250, I swore I would never be there again.

Today, I am 323 pounds. I remember when I was back up to 278 pounds, I told myself, if I just hit 300... that will be it, I will throw in the towel and make a change. 303 pounds came and nothing, I was not even upset. I got off the scale and had another cookie. It is what it is, I told myself. 310 pounds, nothing... except aching joints and sore feet (this has been getting progressively worse for about three or four years). 320 pounds, still no tears, no shame... it is what it is. I ignore the scale. I am so tired. I am grouchy, I am upset, I am pissed... all the time. There is something going on inside of me. I check my blood pressure and for the first time in my life, #1 my arm does not fit in the cuff and #2 if is high. 158/121 ... woooa... that's not good. No wonder I feel the way I do. I shove another cigarette in my mouth and continue to go about like nothing is wrong. My hands a feet are constantly swollen, my jeans I bought two weeks ago, don't fit any longer. I look down at my hands and my knuckles look like dimples, you can't even see them. I look in the mirror and I don't recognize my face. I get the scale out... 330 POUNDS! No tears, I can not cry. I did this to myself.

I have been obsessed with my weight for years, yet I do nothing. I have thought of everything, diet pills, weight loss surgery, wiring my mouth shut... but none of those things will work because it is not a life change, none of those things will change my relationship with food. Food is not a crutch it is a need for survival, a source of energy.

In the last 14 years, at anytime there has been a crisis, food has been my world. My friend, my lover, my enemy and my confidant. If there is a death...food, crisis...food, new job...food, no job...food, lonely...food, happy...food, confused...food, ecstatic...food, bored...food, worried...food, stressed...food, celebration...food. It goes on and on.

I can not live like this any longer. As I said before, I don't have health problems, I have never been medically diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol issues... but I know it is lurking. My Mother and Father both have diabetes, I am a walking time bomb. Not to mention, I feel something inside myself changing, my health is falling into this downward cycle that must stop.

I've tried to change this vicious cycle many times before and have always failed. It came to the point that I wouldn't even try because I knew I couldn't do it. I wasn't strong enough but NOT ANYMORE. I am changing my life, I will not hide behind food. I don't want to live in some fantasy, if I were only thin... how my life would be so different. Are you kidding me? Waiting to be thin for your life to begin? If that is the case, I have almost lost 14 years of my life.

No more hiding behind food. I became so uncomfortable, nothing fit. Everything was tight, nothing flattered my figure, everything was such a chore. It is not easy walking around with so much extra weight. My dimpled hands, swollen feet and ankles, my extra chin, my skin stretching to it's limit. Just being in constant pain.

I am so glad that I have finally came to my senses, I am not punishing myself any longer. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to live life to the fullest. I can honestly say, it feels like someone has switched "ON" my on switch and it is so clear. I am doing this for me, no one else. I am doing this for my health, not to have men want me. I am doing this for a longer happier life. I let myself become 330 pounds and pretended I was happy. I am happy and I am changing my life one meal at a time, one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tired and Hungry

I am hungry, bottom of the pit, devour anything in sight hungry. I've eaten but it hasn't satisfied my hunger, this is a dangerous feeling. This is the feeling of a binge coming on. I have an interview scheduled for Thursday, possibly it is my nerves, I have used food as a pacifier for years... that could be it. I need to stay busy, I should pack up my food and get out of the house and away from the kitchen.

Another thing, I am tired. Honestly, I haven't felt tired like this in over a week. I was beginning to love my new energy levels. Last night I at a very small baked potato (no butter or margarine, just a few sprays of I can't believe its not butter and a spoon of fat free sour cream) I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

Honestly, right now I would love a stack of pancakes, covered in butter and syrup... hash browns covered in sauteed onions, peppers and cream gravy. Oh, this feeling is not good, I have a hollow feeling inside, which I don't believe is actually from hunger, I have eaten... is my body trying to trick me to eat something not healthy, that isn't possible is it? Or am I kidding myself because usually at this point I would have eaten a candy bar, fast food or something? Such a challenge, fighting the desire to eat what ever you want. Obviously the whatever you want falls into the moment on your lips but lifetime on your hips category.

I need to focus, I am going to think about the very little everyday things that have turned into a dreadful chore because of my weight:

1. Tying tennis shoes
2. Putting on undergarments (yes panties, it's terrible, for safety, I sit down)
3. Putting on toe nail polish (next to impossible)
4. Crossing my legs at knees (impossible)
5. Crossing my legs at ankles (uncomfortable)
6. Bending over and picking something up
7. Walking up a flight of stairs (must stop and recoup, get control of breathing)
8. Getting in and out of cars (worrying, will the seat belt fit?)
9. Sitting with hands crossed in lap (impossible, must lock fingers & hold together)

These are just a few... it is really embarrassing to admit these things. Something that most people do without even thinking, is a challenge for me. It makes me sad to know I have allowed, no not allowed, that I actually did this to myself. But you know what, I can't cry anymore. I can't complain anymore. I can't use it as an excuse to raid the refrigerator one more time. Those are the reasons I must face this challenge in 2010 and overcome my obesity. I will not, can not live another day trapped inside myself... I am taking control back. I deserve to be healthy and to live a long life, watch my son grow up and enjoy the little things.

Okay, feeling better... I'm gonna take it to the gym, go get in a good workout, focus my energy where it belongs!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week 1 results

Okay, one week down and I've lost 6 pounds. WOW, I did it (that's right, uh-huh, doing the happy dance)! Now if I could only fast forward 50 weeks with the same general progress, I'd be able to wear a nice little number of a dress on New Years Eve! That has been a little fantasy of mine for so long and for once, it feels realistic, it just feels so different this time.

I know I can't expect to lose 6 pounds every week, unless of course, I was on the set of Biggest Loser...and trust me, I've tried out before. I am just thrilled that in the last 7 days I have managed to shed 6 whole pounds, I haven't smoked in 6 days and you know what, I haven't hurt anyone! AMAZING! I guess working out really does manage stress.

In the last week I can honestly say I feel a difference in my energy level, I don't feel as sluggish and I am not waking up feeling exhausted in the mornings. I'd like to work on being more active this week. I worked out at Curves 3 times last week, I want to do that 5 times this week and do some type of workout video at home, I've got several to choose from. So there it folks, goals for this week: be more active and stop eating by 8PM.

I wasn't successful yesterday with the 8PM goal... I ate a piece of whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter around 10pm. Looking for that late night snack again(one mountain at a time). The treat was great but man, I consumed the most of my fat calories right before I went to bed, ughh... sound familiar? Yes, yes... one meal at a time.

Okay, gotta snack tip for the coffee lovers out there, you gotta try this:

1 cup chopped ice
1 tsp decaffeinated instant coffee
1 or 2 packets of Stevia
1/2 cup skim milk
Blend it all together and you have this great, frothy frozen coffee treat that is only 47 calories. To kick it up a notch, add your favorite protein powder and it could become your breakfast to go!

Let me know if you try it and what protein powder you have, I haven't bought any yet but I am going to this coming weekend, I really want to increase my protein intake in the morning.

Goals for the coming week: Increase activity & no eating after 8PM

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hating yourself in the morning

It's a terrible feeling, waking up and hating yourself in the morning. Not that you exactly hate yourself, hate is such a strong word but you are so disgusted and ashamed...humiliated...embarrassed. To wake up and look around yourself, scope out the surroundings, look in the bed next to you and there it is.... quietly you get of bed, begin picking up wrappers on the floor, in the bed... quick walk of shame to the restroom, take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Ughhhh... I did it again. What would people think of me, I am so embarrassed of myself. No, it's not what your thinking, there wasn't an unfamiliar man in my bed, it was food. Sometimes it might be an entire bag chocolate, a bag of Doritos, possibly the whole box of Little Debbie snack cakes... yes, eating to the extreme! It's simply terrible to wake in the morning and to be so full and bloated, it might be difficult to move, your so bloated and probably sick to your stomach. Not to remember everything that happened, did someone give me Food Ruffies??? No, it was just me, being self destructive. It is terrible to wake in the morning and be so full from the night before, your not naturally hungry until dinner that day. Fortunately, that didn't happen last night but it easily could have.

Before I went to bed last night, I found myself standing at the fridge in desperate search of something to eat... one bite of low fat cottage cheese, one piece of 99% fat free turkey lunch meat, one bite of a grilled chicken breast... still searching for that comfort, looking on every shelf. Open the freezer, nothing... back to the fridge... another bite of cottage cheese, hmmmm... what to eat, what to eat? As I am standing there, I look at myself in the microwave, all though it was only 4 bites of food... I was scavenging. Something very familiar to me, I've done it many times before. Trying to fill a void, seeking some type of comfort. I am not sure why I was doing it but I told myself to stop it, get a hold of yourself. I decided to wash my face, brush my teeth and force myself to bed.

I think the main reason that I eat at night is for companionship. Isn't that crazy, who in the world can find companionship in food? It doesn't talk back (not that I talk to food, I haven't gone that far), it doesn't hug you (unless you can consider the endless pounds wrapped around my hips and belly.. okay, thighs, arms, chin, back... you get the point) and it certainly doesn't keep you warm at night... well that could be debatable... being so overweight, I can honestly say that I am ready for a famine.... but let's be realistic here, when was the last time our country has seen a famine? I doubt it is coming anytime soon. Anyhow, for whatever crazy reason, I actually do find comfort eating right before bed, I actually prefer to be in bed while I am eating, it's like a safety net... my Lionel's Blanket. It really has been difficult for me to fight and resist this urge this week. Now, I haven't been successful every night but I have made better choices choices when I've gone to the fridge.

I want to overcome this habit, this addiction that I have getting up at night eating. This sick way I pacify something buried deep within. When you are sleeping your body is in idle mode, it should not be digesting food and taking in calories. My goal for the upcoming week is not to eat after 7 pm... maybe it should be 8pm.... baby steps, baby steps.

One Meal at a Time!