Making Good Choices At The Chinese Buffet

     Before our weight loss journey began a favorite “date night” activity for my hubby and I was to catch dinner at a favorite Chinese food fuffet. Since the restaurant is independently owned I had no idea what the calorie counts were for my favorite dishes. One of the advantages of chain restaurants is that you can usually get nutritional information with ease online. I try to avoid eating what I can’t count, so the Chinese buffet has been off the list of approved eating spots. I found a great article in a recent issue of the January 2012 issue of Shape magazine that helped me get a general idea of calorie counts for some of the foods frequently served at Chinese restaurants. Now I feel that I could go back and make some healthy low-cal choices. Information is power. I wanted to share in case any of you are missing your favorite Chinese dishes. Not only does this discuss the calories in some favorites, but also lists some suggestions for lower calorie options to choose if your “usual” isn’t weight loss friendly. Click on the article picture below to read a larger print copy of the information. Hope this info is as helpful to you as it was to me. A big thank you to Shape magazine for sharing.

All About Burning Calories

     I’ve mentioned frequently that I am a calorie counter. I lose weight by taking in fewer calories from food than I use during daily activity. My current daily intake goal is 1600 calories.  According to calculations at The Calorie Control Council in order to maintain my current weight I would need to consume approximately 2200 calories a day. In order to lose one pound I have to burn 3500 calories. Based on these calculations I should be losing a little over  one pound a week but have seen very little change on the scales this month at all. So what’s up with the math?

     The first questions I ask myself is, if you aren’t losing weight are you losing inches? I know that I am even though I don’t take tape measure measurements as I should. How do I know? Because I had to replace all of my jeans this month. Even my smallest size 14’s no longer fit. I am now sporting all 12’s and that feels good. My body is getting more toned, I am building muscle, and the muscle weighs more than the fat I am replacing. So part of the discrepancy is this composition change. However, I have a numbers goal I am determined to reach so what do I need to do to make the scales continue to move?

     If the inches aren’t dropping either, there are several things to consider. Evaluate whether the calculations on my activity level are accurate. If your calculations were done using a program that uses vague activity levels like modest, moderate, or heavy you might have chosen the wrong one. How many calories are you really burning in a week?

     For me, I have become rather active, but have lost 70 pounds and increased my endurance also so I may have to step it up a bit to burn the same number of calories as before. As the body becomes more efficient, it doesn’t take as much to make it go. Calculations on how many calories you are burning are estimated by many methods. Even when I am using my pedometer or treadmill those numbers are based on an average not my actual body’s responses to the exercise. In order to lose weight at the same pace as before I may need to up my game.

     The next thing  to look at is whether my caloric intake numbers are correct. Am I recording everything I eat and in honest amounts with accurate weights and measures? I am diligent in my food journaling and most days am on track with the calories. There have only been a handful of days in the entire three months of this year that the numbers were over by more than 100 calories. I work hard to consume foods that have clear and accurate calorie contents. This I have covered.

     The next piece to look at is whether you are consuming too few calories. If your body is deprived of the calories it needs it can go into starvation mode and start holding onto weight. If you are dieting on a highly restricted diet consider upping your calories. Never consume under 1000 calories a day. This isn’t my problem. I have a minimum intake of 1200 calories and a max of 1600. These numbers are not super restrictive.

     Below I have included a little chart with some great basic calorie info. I hope this is helpful for anyone new to calorie counting or who, like me, is dealing with a plateau.

Fitness Adventure – Hula Hoop Workout

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  We’ve officially entered spring and the sunshine and warmer weather put me in the mood to play outside. Earlier this week I saw a blurb from Wholeliving.com that said Hoola Hoop Workouts are great for abs and I said, “I’m in”! I went online to find a video with a little info and now, armed with hoola hoop techniques, I’m going to go out and play. Would you like to come out and play today? Grab your hoola hoop (or pick up one for around $1 – $5 at Dollar Tree, Walmart, or your favorite store) and lets play away our waistlines! If you decide you are serious about hooping for fitness there are “fitness hoops” available for a higher quality workout, but today, lets just play. Invite the kids! Have some fun in the sun!

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Weigh In Wednesday – A look at 70 lbs

 

     This is another week where the “weigh-in” is not is not re-affirming. Two days ago I was 161.4 today 163.  So though there is progress, it’s not in the official numbers. Above are a couple of pic. One was taken at 232 the other at 162. These are my re-affirmation this week. This keeps me mindful that even if the scales aren’t where I’d like, the progress is being made. This week find ways to encourage yourself on the weeks that weigh-in isn’t fun. Make  a list of health changes, or fitness goals you’ve achieved. Take a pic or journal about the difference in the way you feel. Remember make effort what you measure with importance and results will follow.

Tea Time

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     For the “emotional eater” tea might just prove to be a great comfort food replacement. With decaf herbal teas offering warm comfort and relaxation and ice cold caffeinated concoctions providing energy there is a tea for every mood. There are endless flavors and aromas, something for any occasion and time of day.

     I’ve mentioned tea a couple of times previously. I like tea, both hot and cold. As I am trying to give up carbonated beverages, I find myself being even more often drawn to tea. I was already using chamomile tea as an evening treat, replacing the old habit of snacking in front of the tv. I use tea for comfort when tired or stresssed as well. The warmth and pleasing aromas of herbals are such a nice way to relax. For the greatest benefit make sure you are chosing a decaf tea for times of comfort, relaxation, and before bedtime.

     Tea is more than just a zero calorie beverage alternative. Several types of tea are directly beneficial for weight loss. I have previously mentioned that green tea raises the metabolism. Other teas are recommended for weight loss as well. Oolong is metabolism boosting and I am told has been a favorite weight loss supplement of celebrities. Yerba Mate suppresses appetite, boosts energy, and helps with mental clarity. Kombucha tea is reccomended for weight loss and improved cholesterol levels because of the way it balances the digestive system to promote overall better health. Use these caffeinated teas for morning or mid-day boosts to keep the metabolism revved and the appetite suppressed. I usually go for unsweetened varieties, but you could use honey or stevia for a more healthful sweet flavor. Even a spoon full of regular sugar would be far less caloric than a soda.

     In addition I would recommend instituting a “tea time” meal. In Great Brittan they have an extra meal time they observe that they refer to as “Tea Time”, this happens between lunch and dinner usually between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. If you aren’t already eating every two or three hours througout the day then add this snack time. Enjoy a cup of tea and a light snack. Substitute the traditional cake or cookies with a high protein treat. This can be perfect for getting you over the widely reported 3 p.m. energy slump.

     Eating  often throughout your day and enjoying “weight loss teas”  can help you keep your metabolism working to eliminate the extra weight. Eating less in the evenings and having a relaxing day’s end ritual that supports better rest will also help with weight loss, since sleep loss contributes to weight problems.

     I’m adding a new twist to my green tea this week. I’m going to try Dr. Oz’s Tangerine Weight-Orade,  He describes it as “a powerful metabolism-boosting drink containing green tea, shown to boost metabolism 12% by drinking just one cup; tangerine, with a chemical composition that increases sensitivity to insulin and stimulates genes that help to burn fat; and mint, a calorie-free flavor enhancer.”

Tangerine Weight-Orade

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In a large pitcher, combine:

  • 8 cups of brewed green tea
  • 1 tangerine, sliced
  • A handful of mint leaves

Stir this delicious concoction up at night so all the flavors fuse together. Drink 1 pitcher daily for maximum metabolism-boosting results.

     Happy Drinking!

Build Your Endurance – Start By Dumping The Soda

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     I am becoming excited about the ways my body is strengthening. My journey is about so much more than how I look, it’s also about how I feel and how I perform. I love that now when I do “butt kicks” I actually get my heels to my glutes. I love that I’m doing push ups 20 at  time, and not “girl” push ups either. I want to be strong, and capable, and powerful!

     If I can push harder, run further, and lift heavier weights, then I can burn more fat in less time as well. Let’s build our endurance. As for cutting out carbonated drinks, I am constantly reading articles that say they are just horrible for me. Read 9 Reasons To Stop Drinking Soda Now , no… seriously… actually click on the link and read it. Both sugar sweetened and sugar-free sodas not only contribute to weight gain, but other serious health problems including diabetes, osteoporosis, digestive system problems, cancer and more.  I’ve decided to make a real effort to eliminate them from my daily routine. I had previously moved from Nutra-Sweet to drinks with Splenda, but now I am feeling inclined to take it that next step. This week I plan to be completely “soda free”.

     Which of the 5suggestions abovee will you take to help increasse your endurance this week?

***Think Diet Soda helps you lose weight? Read WebMd’s article Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight? which states that “Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink”. Make sure to read both pages.

Click to view details of other ways soda negatively affects your health.

Stepping Stones Week 13 and Review of Week 12

     It’s been a good week. The scales are moving down again and I am anxious to keep seeing progress. I power-walked 9 miles and completed 3 combined cardio/toning sessions this week. My fitness adventure was learning the stretching workout for stronger backs. Tony and I did this together several evenings as kind of an end-of-day routine. My highest calorie day was 1665 calories and my lowest was 1335 calories. I used all three “Get Out of Diet Guilt Free Cards” but twice for only 1/2  a serving of a treat and always staying within calorie goal. It was a good week. I feel like everything is in line for success.

     There were a couple of yummy finds this week that I thought I would share with you. Progresso High Fiber Tomato Soup is completely yummy. It tastes like pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce and is only 135 calories per serving. It was great for lunch with either 1/2 an Amy’s Spinach Feta Pocket or 1/2 Ezekiel Bread and Swiss Cheese Sandwich. I will be purchasing more for sure.

     I also tried Laughing Cow Strawberries and Cream Spread for the first time this week. This is a very calorie friendly sweet treat. It is yummy, tasting much like strawberry flavored cream cheese and it is 45 calories per wedge. It is great on graham crackers or alone. It is almost like a really thick pudding or yogurt. You gotta try it.

     It’s been a very busy week and I did not get my reading done, so reading South Beach Diet remains on my to-do list for week 13.  I am very happy with the way this week went so I will leave the goal, to-do list, and “Stepping-Stones” as they were during my successful week 12. I hope you are well on your way to reaching your next goal. Remember to be diligent in reviewing progress and plans to make sure you are on track. I have included mine for reference. Lets have a great week 13!

 

 

Stepping Stones for Success – Week 13

 

 

Goal:  “To weigh 135 lbs by12/31/2012. (That is a loss of approximately 40 lb in 1 year).

Action Steps: I will continue to limit my daily caloric intake to 1600 calories, focusing on good nutrition in my choices. I will continue to speed walk no less than 8 miles during the week and include at least three combined toning and cardio exercise session.  I will also have 1 additional “fitness adventure” of 20 minutes or more.  I will officially weigh in once this week, marking my progress on the Weight Tracker tool.”

To-Do List:

1. Plan Weekly Menu (See Plan To Eat Fabulous Foods.)

2. Grocery Shop (See Stocking The “New Me” Pantry.)

3. Refill Snack Basket (See The Real Food Fight .)

4. Weigh In (See Weigh In Wednesday.)

5. Organize Outfits and Gear (See Get Your Rear In Gear.)

6. Speed Walk a Total of 8 Miles

7.  3 or More Toning/Cardio Sessions (10 Ways to Increase Your Metabolism)

8. A Random Fitness Adventure of 20 minutes or more.

9. Give myself 3 “Get Out Of Diet Guilt Free Cards”.

10. Enjoy a Rest Day. (See Balance.)

11. Grade Last Weeks Efforts (See A for Effort.)

12. Assess Past Week’s Efforts (See Assess for Success.)

13. Create next Stepping Stones Sheet

14. ReadSouthBeachDiet

Daily Log

Morning Weight: ______           Evening Weight: ______

Did You Take Your Omega 3? Yes / No       Consume Chia?  Yes / No

Servings Of Dairy:   ——–      Servings Of Grapefruit: ____

Did You Do Daily Affirmations? Yes / No

Did You Use Aromatherapy? Yes / No

Bedtime:  ——————               Wake Up Time:  ———————

Did You Eat Frequently (Approximately Every Two Hours Until After Dinner)? __________

Did You Complete Cardio In Miles or Minutes? ___________________________

Did You Complete Toning Exercises? _________________________________

Did You Drink at least 64 ounces of Water? ______________________________

Total Calories Consumed:_________

Foods Eaten

Breakfast:

 

Snack

 

Lunch

 

Snack

 

Dinner

 

Snack

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