Thursday, May 3, 2007

Tips from

Greetings fellow losers.

Wednesday 7:15ers had another lively meeting last night. I was down 1.5 and Linda had a slight gain. I think hers was mostly water weight as (well ladies you know). I saw this article this morning and thought I'd steal it.

Start smart
Begin lunch and dinner with a veggie-rich salad or broth-based soup, says Pennsylvania State University satiety expert Barbara Rolls, author of "The Volumetrics Eating Plan." "That lets you fill up first on a big volume of low-calorie food and ends up displacing some of the foods you'll eat next -- the choices that are usually higher in calories."
Here's a good salad recipe: Mix 1½ cups of salad greens with ¾ cup of raw veggies like onions, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, or cucumbers; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of low-cal bottled dressing.

Sneak a snack
"Ten minutes before each meal, eat some healthy fat (around 70 calories or fewer): a handful of nuts, a few slices of avocado, or a spoonful of peanut butter, for example. That helps activate ghrelin, a hormone that lets you know you're full," says Michael Roizin, MD, co-author with Mehmet Oz, MD, of "You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management."
Try the 3-hour rule
"The secret to losing weight comes down to keeping your metabolism alive and active," according to fitness guru Jorge Cruise, author of "The 3-Hour Diet." How do you do that? By eating every 3 hours, give or take 10 to 20 minutes, he says, which translates to three moderate meals with three snacks (100 calories each) between meals.
Though other experts say there's nothing magic about 3-hour intervals, eating small, frequent, portion-controlled meals and snacks can keep your blood sugar level steady, your energy up, and keep you from overindulging.

Have liquid assets
"If you're going to drink anything with calories (i.e., fruit juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, or alcohol), you need to consciously adjust your diet to accommodate those extra calories," says Purdue University nutrition researcher Richard Mattes, PhD. His research shows that people typically make adjustments to eat fewer calories over the course of a day after eating a solid food like jelly beans, but not after drinking the same amount of calories in a glass of soda.
And if you want to replace sweetened drinks with their calorie-free counterparts, rethink it. Some research suggests that people who drink no- or low-calorie drinks might actually end up eating more, Mattes says. The best thirst quencher -- and a dieter's best friend -- is still plain old H2O.

Cut out this combo
Skip those munchies made with white flour and sugar, like white bread, cookies, and pretzels, says integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil, MD. They signal the body to produce more insulin and set the stage for turning calories to fat, fat, and more fat.
Choose your pals
Studies show that most of us base how much we eat on what others around us eat, says University of Toronto psychologist Peter Herman, PhD. So steer clear of the big eaters in your social circle, at least when food is around. Sashay over and make small talk at parties with the folks who aren't hovering near the food table.
"Marching to your own caloric drummer requires some independent thought and calculation," Herman says.

Pare portions
Everything from beverages to bagels is two to five times bigger today than in the 1970s, says New York University nutrition professor Lisa Young, PhD, author of "Portion Teller" and who has studied the servings dished up in restaurants and by food companies.
"So if you grab a bagel or eat out, chances are you'll be served double what you need," she says. Her advice: Start leaving just a little bit on your plate or, if you can, cut the amount you eat in half. She also suggests that you "use your hand as a portion guide -- 3 ounces of meat fits into your palm, 1 cup of potatoes looks like a fist."

Be an early bird
Eat the most food earlier in the day, says Elisabetta Politi, nutrition manager at Duke Diet and Fitness Center, Duke University's successful weight-management center.
"Many dieters try to trim calories from their break-fast and lunch and then get hungry," she says. "Research shows the calories you eat earlier in the day help you eat less at night" -- a good idea since you probably won't be active after an evening meal.

Step it up
"Get a pedometer and start walking," says University of Colorado obesity expert James Hill, author of "The Step Diet." To keep the weight off forever, the goal is to take 11,000 to 12,000 steps (around 90 minutes) a day.
"You don't need to do it all at once," Hill explains. Start with 2,000 steps a day, or about 15 minutes of walking. Add another 5 minutes (500 steps) each week. You can find supercheap pedometers at drugstores and big-box retailers to help you keep count. There are lots of other sneaky little ways to add more steps to your day, too: Use a cordless phone and walk while you talk, or get up and walk during TV commercials. (Strategies to rack up more steps)

Think thin
"Seeing is believing," says Janice Taylor, weight-loss coach and author of "Our Lady of Weight Loss." "You have to picture yourself thin if you want to become thin." Visualize what you're wearing, where you are, who you are with, and how you feel. "The more vivid the picture, the more real it will feel to you," Taylor says, "and the more likely it will take form."
Shula Lazarus, PhD, a psychotherapist at the North Carolina-based weight-management program Structure House, agrees, though the method isn't clinically proven. "We use it to help dieters visualize a healthy eating pattern and the right portions on their plate. It can't hurt, and it might help."

Fill up on fiber
Crowd out calorie-dense foods by ratcheting up on fruits and veggies. "Start by eating one more serving of fruit and one more vegetable a day," says Donald Hensrud, MD, a Mayo Clinic nutrition specialist. Hitting that midafternoon slump? Reach for carrots -- the carbs will give you a lift. Not only does munching on nature's bounty become a good habit, but it'll also help you tap into dozens of disease-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins. The biggest fiber bulker-upper: beans. Just a cup of black beans nets you nearly 15 grams of filling fiber.

Brush your teeth
Sometimes the best advice comes from your best friend or, in this case, a fellow Health magazine reader. Barbara Haug of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, says she brushes her teeth right after dinner instead of at bedtime. "I can be a compulsive snacker in the evening," she says, "but I don't like messing up freshly brushed teeth."

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Ten Percent Solution

Greetings from the Land of the Losers.

One of the major Weight Watchers milestones is dropping the first ten percent of your starting weight. For example if you started in the 220's, losing 22 pounds would qualify.

Congratulations to the Missus, she got her 10 % award last week Wednesday. Way to go sweetie! I was just under 15 pounds down, so combined we are over 36 pounds down and feeling great!

This weekend Linda scoured her collection of cookbooks and designed a great weekly menu with some new meal selections. On Saturday she made for the first time a dish called Eggplant cheese rolls. It is similar to mannicotti but instead of using pasta tubes, the cheese mixture is placed in baked eggplant and rolled up. Then she covered it in a meatless marinara sauce. 2 points per roll and it was sooooo delicious.

Later in the week I am looking forward to fajitas, with lots of veggies and peppers.

Losing is easy for me because all I have to do is eat a small breakfast, a sensible lunch, and then come home for a wonderful home-cooked healthy meal.

Thanks and congratulations to my wonderful wife Linda !

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Friday, March 16, 2007


Greetings. Much great news today. March Madness is in full swing. Duke got beat by VCU. SWEEEEEET !!!! The look on coach K's face was PRICELESS when the buzzer went off. We were all jumping around high-fiving and screaming. It's so much fun to be a hater.

Weight Watchers meeting this week was really good. I was down 2 pounds and Linda was down over 3. That put her over the 20 pounds lost so far milestone. I'm just over 10 down myself. You should see how great Linda looks. Really can see the difference in her face and all over. Plus she's cut her hair into a cute style, honestly she looks 10 years younger. I'm one lucky dude.

There were even more new folks this week. Our merry band keeps getting larger and larger. We have such a great group and the newcomers are fitting in nicely. There are several mom/daughter combos that are so fun to get to know. One of those pairs sits by us and they are so cute. The daughter is gettting married this summer and is getting in shape for a bikini wearing tropical honeymoon. Her momma just wanted to be able to tie her shoes easier. I can so relate to that one. The old spare tire was hindering that activity, not so much anymore.

We had a ton of milestones celebrated so our week's discussion topic did not have a bunch of time but we hit the high points of a very important lesson.

The topic was why do we eat when it's not for hunger / nutrition. Psychological food cravings come in many shapes and sizes. Eating because we are sad, happy, bored, etc. The trick is to step away from yourself and analyze the different motivations that cause that behavior.

For example craving food because we are bored means we are looking for stimulation. So the answer is to seek stimulation in a different manner besides stuffing the pie-hole with twinkies.

When we eat due to sadness we are seeking happiness. Yes a double cheeseburger does make me happy, but then the cycle becomes feeling guilty for eating poorly, which in turn means oh well lets just have some fries too. Then we have a gain and the wheel spins like a hamster in a cage.


Human beings are a bundle of complex emotions. Understanding feelings and motivations and behavior is a difficult process, but one that we can accomplish if we try. It really helps to have WW buddies to talk to and figure this kind of stuff out. The ladies came up with several examples of why a person eats for psychological satisfaction.

I said "The reason we do it is because it chemically releases endorphins into our brain". Our Leader Dori looked at the group like who let the rocket scientist in the room. It was freaking hilarious really.

But to sum it up, that is exactly the process. Endorphins are the "feel good" chemicals in our bodies. Have you ever heard of "runners high"? Yepper, caused by endorphins. So what we want to do is get the endorphin release from healthy activities and not Girl Scout cookies.

Ya know stuff like watching Duke get beat ! And seeing coach K's lemon sucking sour puss.

OOOOOOO BABEEEEE ! I got an endorphin rush just typing that sentence.

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday buzz

Greetings blog lovers near and far! Today has been a blur of work and caffeine. You know when it's like 4:30 p.m. and your heart rate is around oh let's say in the range of a hummingbird. That's what I'm talking about yes sir.

I feel like the little guy in the Zantac ads. Faster = Better. Of course it is.

Linda and I managed to make it to Weight Watchers meeting last week despite her sinus gunk. The Doc gave her some great meds and she is responding fast. Excellent.

So I was happy to see our merry band of WED 7:15'ers and get back in the meeting groove. Let me emphasize this point: WW MEETINGS ROCK !

The ice-storm basically wiped out the previous get-together except for a couple of snowmobiling eskimos and one lost homeless dude.

So this meeting was like 2 meetings wrapped up into one. We touched upon the food find topic (recipes coming in a future post) and then moved on to the topic of the week.

Dori, our leader is so cool. She reminds me of a combination of a Sunday school teacher mixed in with a motivational speaker. Always upbeat, smiling, fun, and NEVER judgemental. This week's topic was based on a chart that showed a picture of a ladder and steps going upwards toward success.

I'll try and re-create the ladder. At the bottom we have "I won't", followed by "I can't".

Above that we have "I might", "I should", "I want to", "I think I can", "I'll try", and onwards up to where you have "I'm doing it", and I've done it".

This is a VERY rough approximation of the exact steps on the chart but the idea is there. It's all about the mindset of the person interested in becoming a healthier person, both in body and spirit. At the bottom we have the typical couch potato, happy to munch Doritos all afternoon with no regard for anything health-wise. Then from there, we start to rise up the chart with positive changes. The process is the same for ANY GOAL that one sets out to achieve. Yes.

And it takes work. Think about the last time you did something really really special. Like learning how to ski, or learning a new song, or planting a great garden. The more effort that you put into the project, the better it turns out and the more rewarding the entire outcome is.

That's how Weight Watchers works. Finding great recipes and preparing great meals. Getting out there and earning activity points. Learning how to bypass junk food. Going to meetings and encouraging each other to become losers. All part of the equation.

Oh. Linda and I were up just over a pound each at the weigh-in. No biggie considering all the factors of the previous week. Just more motivation to hydrate and eat just a tad better as well as get some walks in. Results in 3 days folks.....

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

C'mon Springtime (hurry please)

Bad bad blogger for not updating. 10 lashes with a piece of (insert favorite pasta here).

Anyway, last week Wednesday about 3:00 pm it started snowing. And then the temperature dropped 20 degrees in like a minute. So therefore the roads got packed with 3-4 inches of sheer ice. By the end of the work day, commuting times went from (in my case) 20 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. And not a single plow or sand truck in site. I think that the plow drivers are afraid of getting stuck like us mere mortals. Multiple accidents EVERYWHERE ! Roads were blocked that had any kind of steepness to them due to cars unable to make the hill. GRIDLOCK BABY. So when the missus and I got home, we stayed there. Whew.

Of course that meant we missed our WW meeting. Bumski. So no new weigh-in information from the 28th. However unofficially (home scale) I'm still on course.

Linda has been battling a cold/sinus infection for almost 2 weeks now also. It is really hard to stay focused on WW when you feel like crap. Yepper. And then I get to roam the kitchen alone and continue my love affair with peanut butter, milk, bread, etc, etc...and Oh yeah BEER.


But this week is sunny and mostly warm. I hope Linda is up to going to WW this week, but I'm thinking we will skip again. No sense in getting our Fellow 7:15'ers sick too.

The forecast is for nice weather for the next week also. The warm temps will allow us to Lysol the crap out of the house and then air that sucker out good. Good 'ol Rocky Mountain fresh air. Nothing better to get the sick out of the house. Well maybe napalm would be good also, but that sounds a bit extreme.

Also the warm weather gets my gardening itch going. After a long, cold winter, the gardens (we have approx. 21 seperate gardens (at last count), need a lot of tender loving care. Cleaning out the debris, turning over the soil, raking out to a nice smoothness and adding mulch / compost for richness. Yes my dirt is spoiled. But it's all worth it. Enjoy the pic of one of my sunflower blossoms from last summer.
Healthy Eating to all.
Dave and Linda

Thursday, February 22, 2007

27 and Counting

Seven weeks into our Weight Watchers experience, we have lost a total of 27 pounds, almost 28 actually. Linda is leading the charge, down over 17. I just cracked the magic 10 pound barrier. Pardon me, for the giant salad-eating grin !

Last night's meeting was one of if not THE BEST meeting so far. I wrote last week that we missed a meeting due to Valentine's Day. It was so good to get back in there and see everyone. We had a mostly full room, all the regulars and several new faces also. I'm really glad our merry band is expanding. And for the new folks, what a great night to get started.

Lots of milestones were celebrated, but of course Linda's 15 pound and my 10 pound drop were paramount in our minds. We also had a person go over the 45 pound mark. Nice work ! I feel like Linda and I have (as well as the rest of our group) so much positive momentum that the sky is literally the limit.

After we were done celebrating milestones we touched on the topics of the week. Dori, our leader, brought up some very important points to consider.

First and foremost was the statement that your attitude regarding any activity affects the outcome of that activity. Simply put, it means that if you think you are going to succeed, your chances of success are good. Conversely, if you feel that you are going to fail, YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. It's just that simple. So toss out the negativity, you can do it.

Secondly we discussed the "Pitfalls of Perfectionism". I admit freely that I am a perfectionist. I love order and stuff neatly placed in it's own designated cubby-hole. Before I met Linda, I lived alone in a neat 2-bedroom apartment that was always completely spotless. I knew where every thing was right down to the back-up container of Q-Tips. When Linda and I got our new place, all that went out the window in a matter of minutes. Not so much the cleanliness factor (I still scrub) but the OCDness of my organizational needs. Linda uses a system I have named "Controlled Chaos". Like a junkie on the 12 step program, I have learned to accept a new way of living. Much less organized, and yet still functional. I have my moments of dispair when I can't find the thing I'm looking for, but I would never trade my beautiful life with my lovely wife for knowing where (and exactly how many there are) spare AAA batteries in the kitchen.

But once again I digress.

Perfectionism in regards to Weight Watchers means that you DO NOT need to be perfect in every way every single day to succeed. If you had a challenging week and fell for the Girl Scout cookies it does not mean that all is lost. Do not give up because you exceeded your points for that day, or the week. Just know that it's totally OK. Don't feel guilty because you snagged that muffin at the staff meeting. Don't wig out if you put a pound back on or just stayed at the same level. It's OK.

The key to having this attitude is looking at the big picture. Weight Watchers is not a limited time engagement, it's a lifestyle transformation. Everyone is going to have peaks and valleys as we move toward our ultimate goal of improved health and fitness. Do not worry, just keep your eyes on the prize. If you feel badly, the best way to change that is do something positive for yourself. My fall-back activity is the brisk walk, find yours and use it.

I'm also excited about next week's meeting. We will be sharing "Food Finds", great recipes or other foods that fit the Weight Watchers guidelines and are yummy at the same time. I will encourage the group to email me their favorites and post them here next week. I will insist that Linda share her recipe for her "Magic Soup". Folks I'm not making this up, it's an awesome veggie soup that the more of it you eat, the more pounds melt away. That's how we did so well at weigh-in this week. Nice.

Also in closing, I visited the Doc yesterday to have a skin bump looked at. He decided to remove it just in case. Here in Colorado we have a lot of UV rays due to the high altitude so skin cancer is not to be messed with. Anyway, Doc really had high praise for the Weight Watchers program and he was pleased to see that I had dropped the 10 pounds. I had my cholesterol levels checked a few months ago and Doc said that they were a bit high. I told him yesterday that I will have them checked again in 60 days and we will compare the results. I would be shocked if the levels have not significantly improved by then.

I hope everyone can feel my energy and exitement in this post.

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Friday, February 16, 2007

Time (and not the magazine)

editors note.....Dave and Linda skipped their WW meeting this week to celebrate Valentine's Day, so no weigh-in information this week.

Today's topic is Time. A very large subject to explore. Physicists have been trying to define Time for centuries. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity explores the interaction of the Space-Time continuum as a traveller approaches the speed of light. The jist of his argument is that as a person approaches the speed of light, Time actually slows down for the traveller, relative to the person that is not travelling that fast.

Ok how does this relate to Weight Watchers you ask? Elementary my dear Watson.

We all know that society is moving faster and faster every day. That leaves less time in the day for health related activities such as working out, shopping for healthy foods, reading up on nutritional topics, meditating, or even getting enough sleep. As far as I know none of us has a rocket ship that approximates the speed of light.

So what are we to do?

First and foremost is value yourself. I touched upon this briefly in a previous post. What that means is TAKE THE TIME TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!

If you have dishes piled up in the sink and e-mails to answer what's the biggie ? Go ahead and take that walk around the block. Go ahead and read that article in Prevention Magazine. Go ahead and put on Enya and close your eyes for 15 minutes. Yes just do it.

And then when you are finished, your tasks will take less time to accomplish, you will feel better, and the world will not have stopped rotating. WOW ! Dude might be on to something here.

Another tip is making use of snippets of time to do mini-workouts. I'm famous for walking religiously during my breaks at work. Three ten minute walks adds up to 30 minutes of healthy exercise. I love to watch TV. Let's face it Survivor, 24, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune all rock. My newest addiction is the Fitness Ball! Doing crunches and stretches and all sorts of exercises while watching TV ! How cool is that? Linda, I must admit is getting a little tired of the living room work-outs so I might be banished to the basement but who cares, got a TV down there too.

As far as heathy meals go, a good idea is to make a larger amount than what is needed for that day and freeze the rest. Linda is known for making huge pots of soup or chili. Then she freezes the leftovers and has them ready to go at a moments notice. This prevents the time-challenged person from hitting the drive-thru or God forbid calling the pizza man. Sorry pizza man you know I still love you.

This just the tip of the proverbial iceburg when it comes to time. Bottom line is I never want to hear any fellow Weight Watchers say "I didn't have time". Sorry you do.

See ya in the produce section of King Soopers.

Dave and Linda

Friday, February 9, 2007


Ok I'm here to report continued loserness. I was down another pound and Linda is down 2 more pounds. Sweet huh ?

On the topic of sweetness it's almost Valentine's day. First Super Bowl Party and now Valentines day. Luckily there is no feasting observed with Presidents Day. Hey Abe, can ya chop down a T-Bone tree for your pal Dave ? Thanks buddy.

So we are faced with another round of temptation. Just like last night when we went to the grocery store. Oh shame on you King Soopers for the bakery department. Cakes and pies and crusty things with filling oozing out the sides. Run ! Run !

Made it home safe and sound after snagging a baked chicken for me and some diet snackie things for the Missus. I must admit I don't really have much of a sweet tooth most days. I prefer a late night snack of peanut butter and milk. Oh George Washington Carver you rock. But to meander back to todays topic, Temptation.

Weight Watchers is designed to be a flexible program. That is one of the strengths of the program, and an important reason participants can remain on the program over the long-haul. To NEVER be able to eat a favorite food (like chocolate for example) would be a form of torture. So under the guidelines of Weight Watchers it is totally OK to splurge once in a while. So every now and then go ahead and just snag a goodie, just count the points and feel good about yourself.

It is much easier over time that way. However use moderation, try to limit portion size, and really savor the goodie. If you love M&Ms get a snack size ziplock baggie and put a few of those yummy morsels in the bag. During the course of your week, if you want to have some M&Ms just pull out the baggie and go for it. That way you won't be tempted to eat the entire bag from the store. Cool.

Also one of our fellow WED 715'ers said this week don't eat the goodies if you are hungry. The logic behind this comment is that the goodie will become a meal, you will overconsume and then feel bad about it. So go ahead, eat your meal and then have a tasty treat. Oh yeah grab one of those crusty oozy pastries for me while you're at it !

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Five Weeks of Successes

Today marks the end of five weeks of Weight Watchers.

It's kinda hard to believe how quickly the time has flown by. I'm looking forward to tonight's weigh-in to see how much I've lost this week. The last 2 weeks have not shown a great deal of weight loss, but the walking and the workouts are definitely re-shaping the ol' pear body.

This past week, I've continued with the walking and the fitness ball. I did not make it to the gym because my right arm/elbow has been hurting. I think I might have pulled something digging ice off the sidewalk, or just slept funny.

Oh well, love that ibuprofen.

My lovely wife Linda is showing tremendous progress. Her jeans are practically falling off her butt, and she is feeling great. We have really gotten in to the routine of healthy eating, scarfing down huge amounts of veggies / fruits / and lots of water.

I am most proud of the fact that we are doing this together, in it to win it. A long-term gift to each other. Love you honey.

Using the fitness ball has not only tightened up my core muscles, but I have devised some exercises to strenghten my quads as well. Also I have been using it for some awesome stretches. Both are really important because I promised my son I'd take him skiing in the next few weeks and I'd like not to pull a groin or a hamstring.

After last week's weigh-in I must admit that I was disappointed that I did not lose more. However it took me many months to tack on all the extra pounds, so I must not be too anxious. One pound a week is a healthy, sustainable amount to lose, and definitely adds up over time.

Super Bowl party was a blast. I admit I probably overdid the cheese dip, but countered with lots of veggies from the veggie tray, and stuck to water for my beverage. (Being DD was a god-send).

My next milestone would be the 10 pound lost marker. I'd sure like to hit that tonight, but won't freak out if I have not quite gotten there. I'll fill y'all in tomorrow with a progress report on myself and Linda.

Health eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Feelin' great

No topic today just idle ramblings.

Lost a pound this week. Nice. However the ol' buddah belly is shrinking and my abs and legs and glutes are tightening up nicely. W00-Hoo. Work-outs are paying off.
The missus is happy so I'm happy.

Linda made eggrolls for us last weekend. Really, really good. You have to try this recipe.

Weight Watchers Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 head Chinese cabbage, outer leaves removed, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, fresh, minced or 1/2 tsp dried
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
8 average egg roll wrappers, about 1/2 oz each
4 serving olive oil cooking spray, or enough to coat egg rolls

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Place cabbage in a microwavable dish and cover. Microwave on high until wilted, about 4 minutes; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add carrots, garlic, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch and oil; mix well.Arrange egg roll wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Spoon cabbage mixture diagonally onto each wrapper. Fold over one corner to cover filling. Fold up both corners. Moisten edges of remaining flap with water and roll up wrapper jellyroll style until sealed. Transfer egg rolls to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
1 point per egg roll

I had a great time at this week's WED 715 Weight Watchers meeting. Lots of folks showed up, even some new faces were there (even though it was super cold). Excellent discussions and celebrations of weight loss milestones. Thanks fellow WED 715'ers. Looking forward to next week.

Super Bowl Party this weekend. Gonna be a challenge to stay on track. Just figure I'll eat a good healthy lunch beforehand and nibble on the goodies rather than show up hungry.

Excellent find at the grocery store. I love soda pop but the diet stuff gives me killer headaches. Look up aspertame (artificial sweetener/ aka NutraSweet) on the web and you might never touch the stuff again.

Anyway, I found a great substiute. Big K Lemon Lime Sparkling Water (King Soopers/Kroger).
Lots of fizz, no calories, and tastes really good. Just carbonated water with natural flavors.

Dusted off my rollerblades a couple of days ago. I used to be a regular skater and loved it. We have a rink right down the street from us and I've decided to check it out. Variety in working out is the key to not getting bored.

Bought a fitness ball and started working out with that. Amazing what you can do with it. Very low impact exercises with great effects on the body's core muscles. Check out this site, good info. Lots of fun too. Who needs an expensive gym membership ? Ball costs like 20 bucks. Neat.

Can't wait for Spring so I can get started on my gardens for this year. We have 21 seperate gardens at our house and each one we do differently. Might dig up a few more too. Excellent excercise and the fresh veggies are to die for.

That's all I got time for today. Take care.

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Today's topic is what I like to call stick-to-it-iveness. That is a word that I made up several years ago to describe a quality that most folks call perseverence. Last week's weigh-in was troubling for me because I actually gained a little. So this week I've been on a mission to get back on track and drop some weight.

Albert Einstein has been credited with saying "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". So I quickly decided that if I was going to reverse the results of last week's weigh-in I needed to do something different.

However, that does not mean straying off course completely, just tweaking the basic game plan.

So with that in mind, I'd like to examine my previous week's strategy.

1. Stick with the Flex Plan, count points and eat healthy all week.
2. Continue walking every day. I averaged 8,000 steps per day.
3. Joined the gym here at work. I went to the gym once and walked 30 minutes on the treadmill and stretched out before and after.
4. Started to work out with my newly purchased Fitness Ball. I did that 3 times. (More details on the Fitness Ball coming in a future post, that thing rocks).
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
6. Limit alcohol consumption to a bare minimum.
7. Maintain a positive attitude that this week's weigh-in will be much better.

And that is what I have done. My freshman year of high school (1969) I was on the wrestling team. Before every match we had to weigh in to make sure we were at or below the limits of our weight class. That was called "making weight". I have compared our weekly WED 715 meetings to "making weight" each week. I remember team members doing crazy stuff like skipping rope in the steam room for hours wearing a plastic suit to drop enough weight to reach their goals. Those practices have been eliminated due to the unfortunate side effect of death. YIKES.

Tonight I will see the results of my determination and stick-to-it-iveness.

Weight Watchers participants are "making weight" each week by sticking to the plan, remaining positive, and having determination that we will succeed in our personal weight loss goals.

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Thursday, January 25, 2007

No Worries Mate

Today I would like to talk about what some might call "setbacks". I gained a pound last week at the Wednesday 7:15 weigh in. I was surprised to see that number come up on the scale to be sure. I had a good week with my points and really upped my walking, so I figured I'd be down at least a couple of pounds. But it was not to be. At first I was really bummed, but some gentle encouragement from my lovely wife Linda brought me around quickly.

Then of course the analytical side of me kicked in. What caused the scale to read the way it did ? And how can I resume my downward trend ? Losing weight is a complex equation with many many variables. Counting points on the flex plan is only a base, a starting point for many other factors that we as humans must consider on our journey for better health and weight loss.

So lets begin the analysis.

I (as well as others) have noticed a big decrease in the circumference of my buddah belly. In fact, I have been able to pull my L golf shirts out of the closet where before I was restricted to XL. So that in itself is a huge success. Yeah ! and as I previously mentioned, I am walking a great deal more. So why did the weight not drop?

My take on this is two-fold. By walking (I got over 10,000 steps on Tuesday) I am increasing the muscle mass of my legs and glutes (butt muscles). And since muscle tissue is denser it will add pounds. That is not a bad thing at all. The greater muscle mass a person has over-all the more calories a body will burn at rest. And added muscle mass means greater strength. All good.

Then my wife gave me the second reason. Happy Hour! Dang ! Yes I broke down Tuesday evening and located the MGDs. That in itself is bad enough, but added to that aspect is the fact that I failed to follow my own recommendation and consume enough water to avoid the water retention process (see Hydrate for Health post).

So badda-bing, there you have it ! A one-two punch that caused my "setback".

So this week I'm just a little upset with myself. However that only gives me motivation to stay the course even closer in the coming week. I cannot let my fellow WED 7:15ers down.

As we travel down the path to better health through improved nutrition, we ALL most likely will have trying weeks and suffer "setbacks". It is how we move forward that makes all the difference in the world. It would be way easy to just chuck it and say "This is not working, I'm heading off for a Big Mac!" Fortunately we have our built-in support structure, the WED 7:15ers to fall back on. Yes, gather strength and encouragement from our fellow Weight Watchers and move forward with resoluteness and courage.

And remember this is a journey not a destination.

Healthy eating to all.

Dave and Linda

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Little Help from our Friends

Today I would like to discuss a very enjoyable experience that occurred last night. My lovely wife Linda and I were invited over for dinner at my step daughter's house. Of course we were happy to come over and visit with her, her boyfriend, the 2 little ones, and enjoy a nice meal.

Since we have started Weight Watchers we have told everyone and anyone about our goals for losing weight as well as achieving better health through improved nutrition. I am proud of all our friends and family for being super supportive of our efforts. Every time we see or speak to them we get positive feedback.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this type of encouragement. That positive re-inforcement validates our efforts and goals. Wednesday at 7:15 we come together at our Weight Watchers meetings to do just that. I absolutely love the little rewards (stickers and stars) and the applause that accompany them. That is why it has been proven that meeting attendees lose on average three times as much weight as the solo participants.

But back to our dinner. Ganny is an excellent cook and is known for preparing wonderful meals ranging from to die for manicotti all the way to chinese feasts. This time however, she was preparing her famous fajitas. In order to accommodate our Weight Watchers guidelines, she made some simple adjustments to her recipe.

Low fat tortillas replaced standard tortillas. Broiled chicken replaced fried flank steak. Fat free refritos were served on the side. She also loaded up on the red peppers, which she sauteed in just a touch of olive oil. Fat-free sour cream and low-fat grated cheese were offered as condiments. My favorite salsa is a point free food. The entire meal was just as fantastic as usual and no-one felt like we were being denied our culinary treats. Thank you Ganny, it was wonderful.

As a side bonus, her boyfriend John is a diabetic, and our healthy lifestyle goals have motivated him also to start eating better. As we all know, diabetics really need to be careful with food selections to avoid long-term health issues. So it was a win-win situation for everyone.

The bottom line is don't be shy in trumpeting to the world what we are doing. You will be pleasantly surprised at the level of support you will receive. Also like a shining beacon, we can motivate and encourage others to start the healthy lifestyle journey.

So like the Beatles told us, "We get by with a little help from our friends" (and family) !!!!

Healthy eating to all...

Dave and Linda

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hydrate for Health

Todays topic is water. Simple H2O. Most Americans are in a constant state of dehydration. We are hooked on coffee, soda pop, and the latest craze, energy drinks like Red Bull. The problem is most of these drinks contain lots of caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretics cause the body to dehydrate by ridding the body of essential water. That is not good for overall health and even worse for folks trying to lose weight.

When your body is dehydrated, your cells attempt to rectify the situation by holding on to the water that they have. Like a camel in the desert, this is called "survival mode". That prevents flushing out the toxins that naturally accumulate in your body through normal metabolism.

We are lucky here in Colorado Springs to have excellent water straight from the tap. Out in California (and other places too), one of the most common stores you see is called "Water and Ice". When I saw that the first time I went "What ? ". It turns out that the liquid coming out of the tap is better suited to removing varnish from old furniture.

But I digress once again. So how do we get the cells to release excess water ? By downing at least eight glasses of water (8oz ea.) daily. I was confused at first how this works, but once you supply your body with a sufficient amount of water, the "survival mode" switch gets turned off. Then your cells release the accumulated waste laden water and accept the new fresh water through the process of osmosis. The waste products are then carried out of the body.

It's kinda like getting an oil change in your car. Out with the old dirty oil and replace it with new fresh oil.

The adequate consumption of water enables the kidneys to function at peak capacity and enables the liver to metabolize stored fat much more efficiently. And folks, that is how we lose weight right ? So it becomes imperative to hydrate adequately.

Then how does one accomplish this goal? The best way is to get a re-usable plastic container that holds 16-20 oz of water. First thing in the morning, fill it up with water and keep it handy. I must admit I cannot function in the morning without a couple of cups of coffee. However, right after I finish my joe, I down a bottle of water and re-fill the container. I heard a great tip a while back on how to easily keep track of your consumption. Let's say your bottle holds 16 oz of water. So therefore you would need to drink at least 4 bottles during the course of a day. Find 4 rubber bands and put them around the outside of the bottle. Then when you drain the bottle, take one of the rubber bands off. So when all the rubber bands are off, you have accomplished your goal !

In the dry climate of Colorado, it might be advisable to even try to drink a bit more than 8 glasses a day. Also you should add 8oz per day for every 25 pounds that you would like to lose. At first you will experience (as Linda and myself have) when you increase the water enough to turn off the "survival mode" switch, the path to the restroom will a well-worn one. However after a week or so, the excess water will have all been flushed out and potty breaks will return to normal.

Ladies another added benefit from hydration is much better looking skin. It's true ! Finally for those folks who like to exercise, hydration eases muscle contraction and enables lactic acid (the familiar burn) to more easily be removed from muscle tissue. If you are not a big fan of the taste of plain water, add a bit of lemon juice for guilt-free flavor.

There you have it. Another essential part of the healthy lifestyle puzzle.

So lets all raise our glasses and get healthy !


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let's Get Moving !

Only two weeks into the Weight Watchers program and I have lost almost 7 pounds. It has been a great experience for me so far, and I feel great things coming in the future. My buddah belly is shrinking daily and I have not felt this good about myself in a long time.

The next phase in my Weight Watcher experience is the week three "Move More" phase. I am looking forward to this phase. Historically I am a very active person, enjoying walking, gardening, roller blading, skiing, and hiking among other activites. I played soccer in high school and college (Texas Tech University) so I am very experienced in working out.

Unfortunately I have been unable to workout much over the past couple of years due to a string of injuries. I'm finally off the shelf and my "recovery" could not have come at a better time. Fitness experts all recommend starting out slowly with any new exercise program. Also it is a good idea to discuss your plans with your Doctor if you have any health-related concerns.

In this regard I recommend walking as a great starting point for your exercise program. In as little as 30 minutes a day you can do tremendous good by walking. If you have access to hilly (not super steep) roads or other terrain that will add to the benefits.

First and foremost I recommend investing in a decent pair of walking or cross-training shoes. Most cities have places like FootLocker or other sports stores that carry a good selection of shoes. Ask the salesperson to recommend a good brand and style for you. Make sure they have good support, and are comfortable. At the same time, get some good socks to wear with them.

I also recommend investing in a pedometer. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, a pedometer is simply a small device worn at the waist that counts your steps. The pedometer will run 10-20 dollars depending on the features included. The reason a pedometer is needed is to keep track of how much walking you have done in the course of a day. A common goal of walkers is to accumulate 10,000 steps each day. That sounds like quite a bit, but is actually not too difficult to achieve with a little effort.

Make a point to incorporate a walk (or walks) in to your daily routine. For myself, working in a cubicle all day, I look forward to my two daily 15 minute breaks. I go outside, (or use the halls during bad weather) and just go for it. The combination of fresh air and walking clear the mind as well as lift the spirits. For added benefit, make sure you breathe deeply and swing your arms. It might look dorky but hey, it works.

Having a partner to walk regularly with you is also fantastic. We all have our "blah" days when the couch looks like nirvana. A walking partner can get you up and motivated. I promise you this, I have never felt bad after a nice walk. Your blood gets moving, you get to smell the flowers on a spring day, and you'll see things you never knew existed in your neighborhood from the vantage point of your car.

So fellow Weight Watchers (and everyone else) let's get MOVING !


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Planning Menus for Success

Today I would like to discuss what I feel is a critical element for success in the Weight Watchers program. Menu planning. As we live our all-too-busy lives, dinner time arrives every night about the same time. How we approach the task of preparing our meals goes a long way in determining the outcome of our health and fitness goals.

In this regard I have to give all the kudos to my lovely wife Linda. Each week, she pores over her myriad of cookbooks, selects healthy meals and plans out the menu for the week. Then she carefully prepares a list of all the needed ingredients and makes a detailed shopping list. My job is to push the cart around the store !

Yes my friends, I have the easy part. But seriously it makes all the difference in the world. Last minute running into the kitchen and throwing together a healthy meal is next to impossible. In the past, that was our way of doing it. Open the cabinets, stare at the foods available and then just go for it. And of course lots of times, faced with little or no options in that regard, and not wanting to race off to the market, we'd just go the fast food route or call the pizza man.

Having a good plan for the week not only makes healthy meal preparation easy, but greatly reduces the stress of making last-minute meal decisions (Lord knows we all have enough stress in our lives already). Also I like to look up at the fridge and anticipate the good food that is coming my way. Flexibility comes in the fact that the days are interchangeable also. Let's say you have A. written down for Monday, but instead B. for Tuesday sounds better. So just switch meals around.

It does require some extra work initially each week but reduces the daily work each night. And once you get in the habit of doing it, it becomes easier over time, as we all have favorites that can be a once a week items or a couple of times a month items. As far as Linda and myself are concerned we absolutely love the following recipe that Linda developed and serves often.

Happy and healthy eating to all.

Baked Orange Roughy

1 Package fresh or frozen Orange Roughy (approx 4 oz per serving needed)
1 Tsp. Tarragon
1/2 Tsp. Lemon Pepper
1 Lemon (sliced)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking dish with Pam. Place fish in backing dish and lightly spray with I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Sprinkle tarragon and lemon pepper on fish and cover with lemon slices. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes or until fish flakes apart with fork.

Serve with steamed vegetable and steamed rice.

Point Value: Fish & veggies alone only 3 pts. per serving. Add 3 pts. for steamed whole grain rice.

Dave and Linda

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Weekend Challenge

Today we will look at the challenge of staying the WeightWatchers course over the weekend. This past weekend demonstrated fully the challenges of being consistently nutritionally healthy. Freezing cold temperatures kept us inside the house, NFL Football was on all day Saturday and Sunday, and to top it off, we had friends over on Friday night for a small party.

I think the Friday night party was the toughest segment of the weekend. My wife Linda and I enjoy having company over occasionally, and in the past we would put out a large spread of food. Chips, bean dip, melted cheese dip, BBQ of all kinds, chili dogs, you name it, especially on football days. And oh yeah, beer, lots of beer.

So this weekend we were faced with the challenge of enjoying ourselves sensibly, and I feel we did a pretty good job. Instead of going for the giant food spread, we ordered BBQ brisket sandwiches from a BBQ house. No fries, just the BBQ itself. I cut mine in half and saved the rest in the fridge. That was still satisfying and kept me inside my point range food-wise easily.

As far as the cold ones were concerned, 3 MGD's counted for 9 points, and the dancing burned off a few points for sure. Linda's recommendation is to drink one glass of water for each brewski to counter balance the water retention action of the alcohol. That is an excellent idea, and very effective.

The two following days, we both made sure we were under our points to "make up", and concentrated on the water intake to make sure we got enough.

That brings up another point, the habit of munching on food while glued to the TV. We both love NFL Football, the Denver Broncos in particular. On days when we are not at the stadium, we are sure to catch the game or games on TV. This weekend I was enjoying the games going on, but at the same time my hands felt like they needed to be doing something else, like stuffing nachos into the old pie-hole.

I suppose it's similar to quitting smoking, the cravings to eat that one gets are associated with certain activities, like smoking is associated with after dinner converstion. This situation is handled fairly easily however. The famous veggie tray, and light ranch dressing to the rescue. I love fresh veggies and it's hard to eat too much celery, carrots, and broccoli.

Also, the WeightWatchers program allows 35 "flex" points that you can use over the course of the week. Those points can be allocated like in this example, on one night (party) or over the course of the entire week. Or not used at all if you don't need them.

That is part of the beauty of the WeightWatchers program. Flexibility makes it easier to stick with the plan long-term. Plus the guilty "Oh my gosh, I've blown the entire week" feeling that often is associated with other "diets" is not a factor.

So bottom line is it's Ok to party once in a while if you keep your eyes on the prize (Good health) and don't over do it.

Dave and Linda

Friday, January 12, 2007

Diet versus Lifestyle

Today I would like to discuss semantics. At the Wednesday 7:15 Weight Watchers meetings some people refer to WW as a "diet". I do not prefer to use that term "diet". When I hear the word "diet" I think of crazy, temporary changes in eating patterns. Grapefruit diet, cabbage diet, kumquat diet, etc. I prefer to think of what we are doing at Weight Watchers as a lifestyle.

Healthy eating is something that is not only easy to do, but like a snowball rolling downhill, it gains momentum and becomes even easier to do over time. All that is required is some basic guidelines (as published in our WW materials) and a little motivation. Add to that the positive feedback and support of our fellow Wednesday 7:15 'ers and poof we are on the way.

My wife Linda and I are thinking long-term with our health and fitness goals. Rome was not built in a day, so we are not expecting overnight miracles. It seems to me that the quick-fix mentality of most Americans is what prevents them from sticking to anything long-term.

Instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant news on cable, instant this and instant that. Waiting 2 minutes for the light to change is a major inconvenience. What ever happened to patience as a virtue? I have to admit, I'm guilty of this attitude at times also. However as a society, we would be well served just to take a breath and chill. When you are stuck at the light or behind a long line at Wal-Mart, what is wrong with looking at the sunset, or just taking a quiet moment in your mind to thank God for all your blessings ?

But I digress from my topic of the day.

WW as a lifestyle means embracing the entire concept, believing in the program as well as yourself, and having fun with it. When an individual says to a friend "I'm on a diet", the immediate connotation is that the dieter is doing something unusual and temporary.

When we say to our friends "I'm on Weight Watchers" the same connotation should not apply. Most folks have heard of WW, but few really understand the holistic aspects of what we are doing. By this I mean it's not counting points only, it's all about thinking in a new way, understanding all the components of a healthy lifestyle, and putting the pieces together on a daily basis to create a brand-new paradigm.

Every day we wake up and make choices. Once we have placed our old, poor decisions regarding healthy eating in the dustbin and replaced them with new, better decisions, that is the success that we are all striving for. I would call this the virture of selfishness. Selfishness in this regard means that it's OK to put my health and fitness considerations first. It's so easy to say, I can't do A. or B. because of family, job, or other outside pressures. In this case, denying yourself the healthy choices, not only robs the individual, but at the same time robs their family and friends of the wholesome, energetic person that emerges when we make the good health decisions EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And that's it in a nutshell. Embrace the program, value yourself, take time to enjoy life, and always have a positive attitude that today is going to be the greatest day ever.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Week One recap

Our Wednesday 7:15 Weight Watchers group is great group of folks, all with a common goal, lose weight, and become healthier individuals. We have an assortment of new people and some that have been in the program for a while. My wife Linda and I started January 3rd, 2007. There were quite a few other brand new members that started at the same time as us so it's kinda cool like we are in the same boat, learning new habits in regards to health and nutrition, and at the same time, discarding our old, unhealthy habits.

Linda has had success in the past with Weight Watchers as is very enthusiastic in regards to the program overall. I, being a natural skeptic, had some reservations initially but those have evaporated in the space of just a few days. I have lost 4 pounds in just one week, and I can feel the positive changes in my energy level, and overall attitude towards myself.

I have been wanting to get started with a health improvement program for some time now, but always kept putting it off. That led to kind of a depression regarding my unhappiness with being overweight and not having the motivation to actually put down the pizza and soda pop and actually do something about it.

However, thanks to my lovely wife and life partner, we decided to give each other the gift of improved health and fitness in order to be able to live our wonderful life together for a long-long time.

I love my wife so very much and I know she feels the same about me. So it's only natural that we should embark on this journey together.

The Mission of this blog is to chronicle our daily pursuits in our health improvement goal. We will post recipes that we have tried and like, and the comments portion of the Blog will be an open discussion forum for feedback from 7:15 people as well as anyone else that might be willing to participate.

Good Eating and Good Health to all.

Dave and Linda