Monday, March 19, 2012

The Final Weigh In

Well its over. Sorta, kinda over. The 60 day challenge has been completed and my final weigh in was on Tuesday. I was a bit nervous getting onto the scale. Had I plateau'd yet or would my progress continue. My wife has been going through some medical issues and that made eating on my regular routine impossible. Can you still lose weight without maintaining the same exercise and eating regimen? Well I'm happy to say yes, yes you can. I was down another 3 lbs. My total weightloss for the 60 days was just slightly more than 25lbs. It was actually a lot more than I thought it would be. If I were just dieting alone, my guess is that I would have lost probably only half that weight, but I'm not going to try and find out. Not exercising is partly the reason I ended up in such a mess to begin with. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to exercise. You don't need a gym or equipment either. If you are fat like me, your body becomes your equipment its that simple. All you have to do are the big 3 exercises. Pushups, squats and crunches. If you are only going to do one exercise, it has to be the pushup. I venture to say that most people do them wrong. I used to think oh if you put your arms out wider, you don't have to down as far and it will be easier. Its not. Its much easier for you to get in the plank position with your arms shoulder width apart. Keep your stomach tight, how tight. Imagine some is going to kick you in the stomach, brace it like you are about to be blasted. Keep your head up. Then lower yourself down to the ground until your chest almost touches, then push yourself up. That's one rep. Here is your challenge. It is a great one, given to me by Joshu Stephen Regman. He's an amateur kickboxing and Muay Thai champion. Here is his challenge. Do as many pushups as you can in one minute. The first time I did this, I could muster up about 8. After your minute has past, keep your position and hold for 1 minute rest. Then do half the amount you just did. The quicker you do them the more rest you get. When you complete your set, the rest of the minute you get to rest. When the new minute starts you do your next set. Do that for a total of 10 minutes, not including the initial set. You'll find yourself after a few weeks getting stronger and stronger. Joshu Regman does no weight training and I can tell you, that I hope to look as good as he does. Never get down on yourself. The first time I started doing pushups the right way, I could do maybe four or five before I gave out. Now I can 50-60 and pushing myself toward doing 100. Keep at it and it will get easier. There are modifications to the pushup, which you can look up online. There isn't much difference between the regular and modified pushup in terms of muscle usage, so its a good place to start. Keeping the plank position really helps the core. To fuel up for this endeavor, here is one of my favorite breakfasts. This can be done in a slowcooker, so its ready when you wake up.

Slow cooker Oatmeal

This is a great recipe because it doesn't require additional sweetner to be added.

2 cups steel cut oats or old fashioned oats (NOT QUICK COOKING)
6 cups water
a dash of salt (avoid tablesalt, use kosher or sea)
1/2 cup - 1 cup Assorted dried fruit - I love diced apricots, cranberries, cherries, dates etc. Whatever you like in a dried fruit add it in.

Okay so here is the tricky part. Combine everything in a slow cooker 4 quart size. If yours is larger you may want to add additional oats and water (3 to 1 ratio water to oats). Set on low heat for 5-6 hours. On high will cook in 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Serve warm. If its not sweet enough with the dried fruit add a scant teaspoon of brown sugar to the finished bowl. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Let Me Weigh In on this One

Last night was my second to last weigh in for the sixty day challenge. It went about as I expected. I was down about 6 tenths of a pound for the week. I'm not discouraged, but sometimes you feel like you do all the right things and you don't get results is aggravating to say the least. My first week I lost 10 pounds. My second week I gained back 4 pounds. My old self might have quit seeing that bounceback, but I continued on my path. One more week wouldn't hurt me. I lost 3 pounds. Ok, great I'm back on the right path again. I weighed in again, I gained a 1 pound. Ok, What the F%ck is going on. Still pushing myself hard physically, working out at Tiger Schulmann's MMA at least 3 times a week. That should be good for at least 1 pound a week. I feel better, I need to eat more frequently. I'm getting too hungry, waiting too long for my snacks. This is not a good thing. I have too many things in my fridge that are leftover from previous meals, yech. Don't want them, can't eat them again. OK, so what's your effin plan, Einstein. Brought in my leftovers to Tiger Schulmann. Who wants Moroccan Meatballs? Who wants Hot and Sour Soup? Who wants Chili? Great had a bunch of takers, now the fridge is clean. Cooking more meals and enjoy eating them. Next weigh in, down 4 pounds. Weigh in again down 4 more. Ok so 7 weeks in and I've lost almost 22 pounds. Thats well ahead of my personal goal of 1-2lbs per week. I figured it would take six months to lose all the weight that I had gained from not being able to workout. Its moving faster. Part of that is exercise. Bigger muscles means more calories burned resting. Building muscles revs up metabolism. Fueling that metabolism on a regular basis keeps the internal body combustion engine burning. Most people eat three times a day with some sort of snack in between. Its the way the three meals are constructed that is getting to be our downfall. Dinner portions are huge. Just go out to any restaurant and take a look. Case in point, TGI Friday's has a few calorie counts on their menu. These are for items that are less than 750 calories. Seriously, if its not marked its more! That's probably half your necessary daily intake of calories. Seeing stuff like that only proves that cooking dinners at home is the way to go. Here is a favorite of ours in this house.

Chicken with 40 cloves of Garlic

2 cups chopped onions
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 stalks celery, chopped large
6 bone in chicken thighs (skin removed)
6 drumsticks (skin removed)
1/2 cup white wine (do not use so called cooking wine, loaded with salt)
1 teaspoon of salt
fresh ground pepper
Dash of Nutmeg
40 cloves of garlic - unpeeled!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine first 4 ingredients in bottom of 4-6 quart casserole. Arrange chicken pieces over vegetable mix. Pour wine over chicken and sprinkle with salt, a good dose of pepper and the nutmeg. Place garlic cloves around chicken. Cover with foil and then top with the lid.

Bake for 1.5 hours or until chicken is done. Yields six servings one leg and one thigh. 1/3 cup vegetables and 6 clove garlic. I usually just cook thighs for this dish because I like them better than drumsticks. This recipe clocks in at 300 calories and about 10 grams of fat.

For a healthy side add a portion of Lemony Barley.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh ground pepper
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 lemon juiced and 1/2 teaspoon zest finely chopped

In a 2-3 quart pot gently heat oil (heating olive oil too high destroys its heart healthy properties) and saute garlic. 30-40 seconds should be enough. Add a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Now add barley, swirl in pan, then add broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to low and let simmer 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. When water has been mostly absorbed add lemon zest and cook about 10 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice. Start with half the juice and add to taste. You may or may not need the whole juice of the lemon.

1/6 of the recipe is approximately 145 calories, 2g fat and 7g fiber.

Add these two dishes together and you have 445 calories, 12g fat(3g saturated), 7g fiber, 38g protein.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Here's where the story ends

Here's where the story ends.  The story being my growing waistline and my inability to take responsibility for it happening.  That ended on January 3rd, the day I stepped on a scale for the first time in about 9 months.  My knees ached and having a torn meniscus wasn't helping matters.  They weren't going to get better by themselves either.  I finally pulled up my bootstraps and started to do things the right way.  I will be posting my before and after pictures so you can see that yes it is possible to shed pounds, eat great food and feel great everyday.  You need to take this day by day.  Small changes yield big results.  Case in point for people who feel its hopeless.  Simply cutting out 100 calories a day and you will lose 10lbs.  That's a small bag of potato chips.  Seriously, its that simple.  You have to exercise too.  If you are as big, meaning over 250lbs, as I was, then exercise won't necessarily be required for weightloss.  If you are obese, please see your physician before undertaking an exercise program.  I will also post what I eat and recipes and things that have helped me along the way.  If I can do this, you can too.  Belief in yourself is the most important element in achieving your goals.  Think small steps.  I take my weightloss in 10lb chunks.  I shoot for 1-2 pounds per week. I don't get discouraged if I don't see the number change on my weekly weigh in.  There are a lot of factors that can effect your weight throughout the day. When you ate, what you ate, how much you drank and when.  This can add 2-8lb swing in your weight.  The other important thing to do is to chronicle what you eat.  You probably don't realize how much you really eat until you are forced to keep track of it.  I use to help me.  A lot of the recipes that I will be posting have the calorie counts already listed on the site.  They also have a handy phone app that will allow you to scan in barcodes and put the calories into your diary of what you ate.  Anybody who wants to friend me there can do so by typing in my screenname, StuartFine.  Here are my first couple of tips as a recap:

1.  Get up off the couch. If you are watching TV for 3 hours, get up and stand 10 minutes of each hour.
2.  Journal what you eat and be honest.  Look for one way to cut 100 calories from your diet
3.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don't get discouraged by looking at your weight daily.  Think weekly progress, monthly progress and work towards those goals.
4.  Exercise.  Even just a few minutes a day can add up to big changes long term.  Don't be afraid if you can't do an exercise for a long time or exactly the most perfect way.
5.  Start eating real food.  Try and cook more meals.  If you are already cooking look to cook healthier.  I can help with improving your food through strategic swaps and techniques.  Healthy food doesn't have to taste like crap.  If anything it might even taste better to you.
6.  We all have bad days.  Make sure your bad day doesn't become a bad week, month, year or life.

I think thats enough preaching for the moment.  Here is one of my favorite recipes for a low cal satisying soup to help get things started.  If you are a fan of chinese food, this recipe will hit the spot.

Hot and Sour Soup

2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth (14.5oz each), I use a box of Pacific Natural Foods Free Range Low Sodium (320z).
2 Tablespoons Lite Soy Sauce (I use Kikkoman's)
1 tablespoon or to taste Thai Chile Paste
8 oz Shitake mushrooms, stemmed caps, sliced thinly
4 or more tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons Corn Starch
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 package firm tofu drained well, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger ( I use the tubes of pre-mashed Ginger)
3 scallions/green onions thinly sliced

In a 5 or 6 quart pot, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, chili paste and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once boiling add mushrooms, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.  While that is cooking, In a bowl whisk together cornstarch and vinegar. Add to pot and stir until soup thickens slightly.  Now take the beaten egg and slowly drizzle into soup while stirring.  This should form ribbons off egg within the soup.  Stir in tofu. Add ginger.  Shut off heat and stir.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and taste.  You will probably find you need to either add more heat or more vinegar to suit your tastes.  Ladle into a bowl and sprinkle with green onions.  Makes 4 servings.  Approximately 110 calories.