Category Archives: Weight Goals

Sad but true food facts

pizzaHow many times have you said it, “Yum, it makes me hungry just to look at that?”  Well, it turns out that’s actually true according to this story in the LA Times:

An interesting idea to help us stay (or get) thin

“When you see or smell food, you have an insulin surge, which drops your blood glucose,” she said. “Your stomach relaxes, so it gets bigger and you need more food just to feel full.”

It’s thought (according to this story) that the increase in food advertising is responsible for the fact that Americans eat an average of 500 more calories a day than they did a generation or two ago.  Now the people interviewed here skip over the “need more food just to feel full” bit to talk about how to get restaurants to reduce portion sizes.  And that’s certainly a worthy goal.

But, what about the part where a relaxed stomach makes you want to eat more to feel full?

Maybe we should dig those skinny jeans out of the closet — if only at dinner time.  That’ll tighten up the tummy!

Calorie Labeling and your weekend dinner plans

I am constantly struggling with my weight. If I don’t walk about 5 miles a day I gain weight — and if I eat out with any regularity at all I gain weight. The switch that makes my brain relate what I’m eating to my weight and health just shuts off when I’m at a restaurant. And without that switch — I’m out of control.

Ezra Klein is discussing that experience in his post, Calorie Labeling In Action, today

All quite delicious. When I got back to the office, though, I decided to see what it added up to. First, I looked up the cookie. A solid 450 calories, with 19 grams of fat. Yikes. But what might have actually changed my purchase was knowing the content of my sandwich: According to the nutrition calculator, 525 calories.

The calories in the cookie weren’t startling. But their calories relative to my sandwich proved a bit off-putting. I could pretty much have ordered a second sandwich for the caloric cost. Buying them without the information, it was easy enough to just consider them a side dish. As it happened, the cookie was more like a second lunch. I wouldn’t have ordered a second lunch. Good to know.

I had that EXACT experience with a Subway sandwich and a cookie a few years ago. Their cookies are only in the 200 calorie range but, they’re puny. I got two that day (440 calories) and NEVER did it again.

When it comes to calories knowledge isn’t just power — it’s control. And it’s not just me:

The following table comes from a Health Impact Assessment prepared by the County of Los Angeles on calorie labeling laws. It shows how much of the whole county’s projected weight gain would be averted if calorie labeling got X percent of restaurant patrons to make average decisions that were Y calories smaller

Follow the links and take a look (Ezra has a link to a graph) — it’s pretty impressive! And since it’s likely you won’t find the label on the menu at your favorite restaurant, spend a couple of minutes looking at the nutrition information on their website before you go.

Oh, go HACK yourself!

I don’t remember anymore how I discovered it but, my favorite diet is The Hacker’s Diet. Invented by John Walker, The Hacker’s Diet is an on-line (free) book that includes both a realistic weight loss plan, guidelines for keeping it off forever AND tools to help you do all this.

John Walker, like me, spent most of his life fat. An engineer, he could debug computer programs with ease but, he couldn’t get a grip on his own body’s system:

The absurdity of my situation finally struck home in 1987. “Look,” I said to myself, “you founded one of the five biggest software companies in the world, Autodesk. You wrote large pieces of AutoCAD, the world standard for computer aided design. You’ve made in excess of fifty million dollars without dropping dead, going crazy, or winding up in jail. You’ve succeeded at some pretty difficult things, and you can’t control your flippin’ weight?” Continue reading »

The 3415 Club: What it is, How it works

Walk 3 times a day for 15 minutes each time and with hardly any effort we’ll be walking 3 miles a day.

Here’s my original post from February 2007 (wow!)

3415, Walk 3 times for 15 minutes

I’ve come up with a cheap memory aid — the 3415 logo you see near the center of the screen.

We all know that walking regularly is a great way to get exercise. I’ve found that the more often I walk, the less I eat. I start thinking that I don’t want to “waste my walk” on a high-calorie snack. And sometimes I even take another walk to distract myself from my distructive craving. In fact, that was the first “thing” on my list of 6 things you can do to avoid snacking for the rest of the day!

Keep it short

I think the trick is to keep the walks to as close to 15 minutes as you can. We expanded them a little yesterday so we actually walked for over 1/2 hour each time. And it did seem to take a lot of the day. It was a holiday, the weather was good and we had fun — but if I was doing that on a work day, I probably would have felt guilty. The point of the 15 minutes is to make it something that can fit into your break or lunch hour.

Hey! Look at the time — I’d better take my first walk. Can you join me?

The effects of travel and deep emotion on Diet Expectations

Weight fluctuates, but it’s a lot more fun when it fluctuates down than up

While I was out of town, I didn’t eat that much but barely went to the bathroom at all. And I tried to drink water when I could, but things were pretty confused & I’m pretty sure I didn’t drink 2 liters in any one day while I was out of town. I’m sure this isn’t uncommon for travelers and people under deep emotional stress.

We’re natural walkers in our family, so I walked several miles every day. But, my routine was definitely out of wack. And I thought it interesting to see the immediate effects displayed graphically. My Chart from the past week illustrates The Hacker’s Diet Rubber Bag theory AND the way Moving Weighted Averages work. Take a look:


My weight these past few days shows what happened. Because I didn’t post my weight for a week, the increased weight REALLY had an effect on my moving weighted average. And for the first time it’s above my projected weight for my Diet Plan.

But (and I hope this makes Bombshell feel a little better,) didn’t take long for the Rubber Bag to deflate. As you can see from the chart, my actual weight is back to where it was before I went to California.

But what happens when travel and stress last longer than just a couple of days?


Edited to Add a photo from one of my walks. This was taken on a path not far from my aunts apartment.