Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: 100th Day

See how far I've gone in 100 days: My Life's Biggest Project: 100th Day: "Hello everyone! So as I said when I started this blog I was going to committ to writing one blog post everday about this journey in my life...."

100th Day

Hello everyone! So as I said when I started this blog I was going to committ to writing one blog post everday about this journey in my life. Well guess what? Today is the 100th day. It went by a lot quicker than I had antisipated and it also changed up a lot about what I was going to do. If you have been following this you know a lot of things have happened in my life during this time. My goals did not quite get met, but that does not mean that I am going to give up.

When starting this project I had not anticipated having to have surgery or having to have such a long recovery period. I also had not anticipated having problems with my surgery site later on. But that's life and things happen and when it comes right down to it we just have to go with the punches. I can tell you that I have learned so much during this 100 days that I had no idea about. It has made me open my eyes about things and want to stay committed to my goals. Not just for me, but also for those of you who have been reading this.

I have received a lot of commentary from people and I just want to let you know that for those of you who have been inspired to try to change your life to a healthier lifestyle, I am so very proud and I really think that it is important that you know that. This is not the end and I will continue to blog, but not as frequently. Just like I said a few days ago. I am currently in my last semester of graduate school and my project that I am doing in lue of my thesis needs pretty much all of my attention at this time. I also (as I've said before) am taking another course, working and needing to try to lock down a post-grad grad school job. As we all know these student loans don't pay themselves off...lol.

I have lost weight in this process, gained some back and lost some more. The gaining back hurts, but to be so much more knowledgeable about what to do and not do makes it easier to lose it again. The important thing to do is to keep it as steady of a process as possible. There may be a million fad diets going on out there, but really the most important of them all is the old school one. If you want to lose weight it is simple, you have to be aware of what it is that you are putting into your body. You need to watch your calorie intake and cut out all empty ones. Eat things that will be beneficial to you and not just things that you think will be yummy. When you are craving things, you will almost always be disapointed once you have them because it is never as good as you have worked it up in your head to be.

Allow yourself to have cheat days, but don't allow them to cheat you. Do not fall off the wagon. Believe in yourself and that you can do this. I think a good attitude goes far. Exercise is a bonus. It gives you motivation, energy and keeps you from being flabby. Our bodies were created to do great things so let yours live to its potential. Do this for the right reason's. Do it for you! In the last 100 days after all of the ups and downs I have managed to lose 17 pounds. That may not seem like a lot, but I am proud. I will continue to do my best to meet my ultimate goals and I hope that you do to.

If you have any questions you can contact me through this blog as I will continue to check it or through my Facebook or Twitter. I will also respond to any e-mail at cassandra.d.brubaker-1@ou.edu.

Thank you so much for following me at this point and I will continue to post things for you here and there. I appreciate all of the support and feedback (good or bad) that I have recieved. I am off to work now, but I hope you all have a wonderful week! Take care of yourselves and be supportive of those around you who are trying to lose weight. It is a struggle and the best thing you can do for someone is be there for them the way you would want them to be there for you. Be kind and supportive of one another and all in all it will make the world a better place! TTFN (Ta-Ta-For-Now)!!!!!!!!

-Love Always,

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Alright stop, collaborate and listen

My Life's Biggest Project: Alright stop, collaborate and listen: "I know my last post was only a few hours ago and as I said before if there is something in particular you would like me to blog about I'd be..."

Alright stop, collaborate and listen

I know my last post was only a few hours ago and as I said before if there is something in particular you would like me to blog about I'd be more than happy to do so. This morning was a little bit hard for me to get around. With all these snow days I've been waking up on my own without an alarm around 8 a.m. Today I had to wake up at 6 a.m., but I really just didn't want to get around. I've got a feeling that today is going to feel a little long...lol. Not so much because of work or class, but probably this afternoon when I need to catch up on homework. You know if I had been smart during all those snow days I would have worked ahead, instead I did a whole lot of nothing. I did however kick it old school and watch the first four seasons of Friends. You know it's the little things in life ;)

As you all know I get a newsletter from Beachbody, the company who sells the P90X program. I love to read the articles because often times they have some very insightful, inspirational and helpful stuff for me. So I felt the need to share the article with all of you and hopefully it will do a little something something for you. This article was written by Steve Edwards. Originally he called this his six week transition diet in 2001 and after revamping it a little bit in 2005 it went from six weeks to eight weeks. I'll break it down for you. Like I've said before one of the biggest parts of weight loss is eating more healthy, working out is great, but you need to get a healthy diet to get your best results. Here is a week by week breakdown according to (and in the words of) Edwards.

Week 1

Potato ChipsNo junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet. That's it, just junk. Other than this, you can eat whatever and whenever you like. Now, how hard can that be? Guess this depends on what I mean by "junk." But all I'm concerned with this week is the obvious stuff like potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you'd like, but for Week 1, don't be too hard on yourself. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.
Cheat Days: 2
Since no one's perfect, you get 2 days to cheat. That's right, 2 days where you can eat anything you want! A trick on these days (and, yes, this means there will be more) is to listen to your body. At first, it'll probably tell you it wants whatever you've been denying it. However, over time, it'll start to crave nutrients you're deficient in. Learn to read your body's subtleties. If you're craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. This way, you can make better food substitutions. It's a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.
Weekly focus: Water. Not swimming in it, though that's good too, but staying hydrated with it. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Diet sodas and such are no substitute, because they contain a passel of ingredients that live right at the bottom of the junk heap. Drinking a glass of water when you feel hunger pangs coming on will not only keep you hydrated, but will help stave off your hunger to some degree.
As for other drinks, juices and sugary sodas also (obviously) fall into the junk category. And alcohol should be kept to a minimum. We tend to forget (purposely or not) that alcohol has calories. A lot of them: 7 calories per gram. Mixers can be even worse—not only can they add calories, but sugary calories influence the way alcohol reacts with your body. When you do drink, red wine is the alcohol of choice, with natural beer running second.

Week 2

Small BitesEach week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember that this is a learning and conditioning process. It's like you're in a school and the subject is your own body.
Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day, and don't eat anything for about 3 hours before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don't need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less). The 3-hour-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs in your stomach at night are stored in adipose tissue (fat).
Cheat Days: 2
Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you and hard to overconsume. While you don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word "enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few random nutrients

Week 3

VegetablesEat some colorful, low-density food at every meal. These are foods that take up a lot of space without a lot of calories. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won't exceed 100 calories. By eating low-density foods like veggies and fruits, you'll keep your portions under control naturally, because they have very few calories for their size. Conversely, high-density foods, like chocolate and butter, are loaded with calories in even the smallest amounts. So beware of salad dressings and other things you add to salads and veggies. Only add enough for flavor; don't fill up on them. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a variety of colors in your diet. This simple and somewhat random act will help ensure that you're covering your bases, nutrient-wise.
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. This becomes even more important as you eat more low-density food, because protein tends to be high-density. Many veggies have a lot of protein, but the quantity you must consume starts to become prohibitive. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, or legumes—each time you eat, especially when you're working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue. Frequency of protein consumption is even more vital for women, who aren't able to digest as much protein at one time as men are. It's almost impossible to get all your necessary protein at one or two meals, so try to get 10 to 20 grams of protein each time you eat. Reading labels is a simple way to learn how to estimate your protein intake, but if you eat natural foods, most of which don't have labels, you can look at online nutritional information guides to determine the amount of protein each serving contains.

Week 4

Man CookingCook at home. One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which should have been gone in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients (most will be savvy enough to make a point of how healthy their food is). But avoid all fast food chains, even ones that claim to be "healthy." Restaurants need their food to taste good, so they'll often use compromised ingredients, even when they list low numbers on fats and/or calories. Fast food can contain many hidden evils in addition to calories. For example, next time you see one of those nutrition charts, check the sodium levels; most fast foods use ridiculously high amounts of salt. Avoiding fast food alone will often bring your body closer to homeostasis; its desired state of balance. This can be hard for many of us because we now have to plan our meals and prepare ahead of time, but try and treat it like vocational school—you don't learn new a new "job" without a little retraining.
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Remember that fat is a vital part of your diet, not just something that makes you fat. What is not vital is a lot of saturated or trans fats. Trans fats are mainly those that are artificial, and hopefully they've been eliminated from your diet by this point, since they're generally only found in junk. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meats, and you don't need too much. For cooking, try to use olive oil when possible. Also, the addition of either flaxseed or hempseed can have a pronounced effect on your health. These seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, omegas 3 and 6. Be careful about that amount of fat. It is dense and has 9 calories per gram, opposed to 4 for both carbs and protein. A tablespoon goes a long way!

Week 5

PotatoesReduce starchy carbohydrates. Starches include rice, bread, potatoes, corn, beans, and other legumes. While many of these are in no way bad foods, most people tend to consume far too many of them. So what you want to do this week is cut way down on them, if not cutting them out completely. Then add them back in when your body feels like it needs energy, which it will at some point if you're exercising (and why wouldn't you be?). But don't add a huge plate or bowl of pasta; instead, add a small single serving. Starches are great energy food, but if you eat too many, they turn the tables and make you sluggish!
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout. Your body doesn't need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can't avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the 1-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you've used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further. The best ratio is 1 part protein to 4 parts carbs, as in P90X® Results and Recovery Formula®. You should avoid fats during this immediate post-workout period, because they slow absorption—a good thing most of the time, just not during and immediately after working out.

Week 6

CheeseIf man makes it, don't eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole foods and eliminate all processed foods, even good ones, for the week. This includes breads, most salad dressings, all cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, poached eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn't be that big a shock to your system, but keeping in focus that you only have to do this for 7 days will make it easier. (Although each week's rules are cumulative in the plan, Week 6 is more of a "cleanse" or "reset" week where you avoid all processed food; after Week 6, you can go back to the occasional processed food, but chances are you'll take what you learned this week and tend to make healthier, smarter choices.)
Cheat Days: 1
The "cheat day" mentality isn't a bad one. Rewards like decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, or drinking with friends are good for you as long as you keep them in perspective. These are rewards for a life well lived and you should be able to feel good about doing them. Plus there's some method to this madness as well in that you still tend to crave nutrients you lack. So if you're cutting down on the calories to lose weight, allowing yourself a cheat day will give your body a chance to take in what it needs to avoid being malnourished.
Weekly focus: Nuts make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or cashews is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way. Don't be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, proteins, and fiber.

Week 7

Woman Sitting in Yoga PoseBe yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthily as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you'll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you've been eating over the last 6 weeks, but don't worry about what you should and shouldn't do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You'll be better at listening to your body because it'll tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed. Does it?

"Reward for a Life Well Lived" Days: 1

Weekly focus: If you're so hungry at night that you can't sleep, try a protein shake (like Beachbody Whey Protein Powder) before bed. When it's real, and not habitual, hunger means you lack nutrients your body needs to repair itself as you sleep. You want nothing but protein powder and water. No carbs or superfluous calories. But protein at night, especially whey, will help the body repair damaged tissue and enhance the natural growth-hormone spike that you get while you sleep.

Week 8

EggsEat a perfect diet. Now it's time for a real challenge—are you ready? The perfect diet is strictly individual, as there's no one diet that suits everybody. So who better to choose the perfect diet for you than you? Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last seven weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. Now it's up to you to put it to the test. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.
Reward Days: 1, of course!
Weekly Focus: Don't bonk. Bonking is a state where your body runs out of stored blood sugar for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backwards instead of forwards, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your workouts and not sluggish throughout the rest of the day you'll know you've found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as you body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat and as you gain muscle and lose fat you will shrink at the same weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So when you're working out hard, don't be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.
Have a happy Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Rule number 76: No excuses. Play like a champ

My Life's Biggest Project: Rule number 76: No excuses: "what does this picture have to do with anything? Refer to the title of today's post...hahahahahaha!!!! I know I know it's pretty late! But..."

Rule number 76: No excuses. Play like a champ

what does this picture have to do with anything? Refer to the title of today's post...hahahahahaha!!!!
I know I know it's pretty late! But I ended up hosting an impromtu Super Bowl party. My dear friend Kat text me and asked what my plans for the Super Bowl were today and I told her that I didn't have any and asked her what hers were. She does not have cable, but said that her boyfriend thought that they could probably stream it. I told her that was silly and that they were more than welcome to come over to my house and watch the game. So maybe I shouldn't call it a party, but instead maybe a small gathering of friends, as it was just Kat, her boyfriend Jason, my friend Chrystle and myself.

Anyway, I can't begin to tell you how much I did not care about who won this game, but as I said before the thing that kept me going was the comercials. The halftime show this year was quite a dissapointment though. So it was the comercials that I loved. My favorite I must say was the couple on a date and she is thinking in her head about how she wonders if he likes her, wants kids, wants to get married, basically planning their potential future. The guy on the other hand is thinking "I want to sleep with her, I want to sleep with her..." then the waiter comes down and sits down a Pepsi or Coke Zero, I don't even know what soda and then he starts thinking that he wants that drink. The woman says in her mind, don't you even think about it and then the guy with a sad and stunned look on his face reply's in thought, "no to which one". I laughed and laughed and laughed. What was your favorite commercial?

Well enough about the commercials and entertainment aspects of today, let's get down to something a little bit more serious. At the beginning of this blog project I told myself that I would blog about this particular journey for 100 days and it looks like we are just about there. February 8 to be exact will be the last of my daily blogs. Now that is not to say that I will not continue to blog, but it will probably be less frequent. As most of you know I am currently in my last semester of my masters program and I am having to put together my resume', try to find a job, take class, work and get my project together so that I am able to defend and hopefully pass that defense. This will be my life's biggest project at this current chapter in my life. It's crazy to think that in like three in a half months I will be done with this part of my life. Any of you feel that way.

Basically I am opening the floor to all of you. If there is something you want me to look into in particular or disucss in the next couple of days. Let me know and I will do so. What do you want to know? I'll tell you anything, or at least try to find the correct answers. My life is pretty much an open book at this time so I'd be more than happy to share it with you.

In reality 100 days is not that long of a time to make a full body transformation, but I was intrigued when I came across an article on CNN about people not seeing results. I decided to read "Why you're not seeing results" written by Madison Park, and this is what I found from the article. After talking to fitness experts these are the top four reasons the results aren't being seen and suggestions for the fix.

1) You're not changing what you eat.

"A lot of people hit the gym, but don't watch what they eat, said Jordan Yuam, who trains "Twilight" actor Taylor Lautner. They get impatient because they don't see dramatic changes in the first few weeks of working out."

"'When starting out an exercise program, if you want to see a successful outcome, you work on food first,' Yuam said."

"This means fewer calories, or at least better-quality nutrition. Eat foods like an apple or cottage cheese that take more energy for your body to digest, he suggested. There are too many junk foods packaged and marketed as health foods, Yuam said, so he recommends cutting back on processed foods."

"Fad diets don't work, especially the ones that require cutting out an entire food group like carbs or fats, Yuam said. Those don't work in the long run, because they're unsustainable."

"'You want long term,' he said, stressing a well-balanced diet."

"It doesn't have to be deprivation. If you really need that pizza slice or Chinese food, pick one meal in a week where you can have that guilty pleasure, and put it down on your calendar."

2) You're not having fun during your workout.

"'It has to be fun,' said Tracie Rogers, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. "If you're absolutely miserable and you dread going, you can find another option. There are too many options where you can find one to be fun and happy with."

"Rogers suggests asking friends and trying fitness options like Zumba, spin, kickboxing and sports leagues until you find what you like."

"'A lot of people think their only option is going to a giant gym,' Rogers said. "Some people are extremely overwhelmed and intimidated, so they never go. That's not the only option. There are boutiques doing all sorts of things. Shop around and see what feels right."

"Watching the clock during a fitness routine is a bad sign. It means your motivation isn't there."

"'It's about doing something for yourself,' said Rogers, a sports and exercise psychologist in Phoenix, Arizona. "A lot of us are busy with family, work and so many commitments. The workout time can be viewed as the one hour of the day you dedicate to yourself."

"Make exercise a social outing by participating in fitness classes and meeting with friends and trainers."

"If you take manageable steps and put the right people around you, you set yourself to be successful," Littrel said. "You have a better chance rather than going about it alone without guidance and support. There's much psychological support."

3) You're only doing cardio.

"Yuam said he hears complaints from people who say they don't see any changes after spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical machine."

"'For people who are sitting on exercise machines, they're not getting their heart rate up. They just are doing the motions. They're going to fail or leave the gym because why do something when you don't see results? They're not motivated anymore,' said Yuam, a fitness trainer and owner of Jordan's Virtual Fit Club in Valencia, California."

"'In the years of doing this, the most common error is, 'I have to do cardio. I have to do an hour of cardio,' " he said."

"Women tend to focus on cardio and neglect strength training, Yuam said."

"He suggests resistance training at least three times a week to his clients."

"The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week for kids and two or more for adults."

"Strength training helps decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass and more efficiently burn calories."

4) Your goal is unrealistic.

"Changing your fitness doesn't mean you have to vigorously work out seven days a week."

"'People don't have to conquer crazy goals all at one time,' Littrel said."

"Trying to go from a couch potato to an exercise warrior on a Spartan diet is unsustainable for most people. Once life gets busy or stressful, people drop all of these efforts and go back to unhealthy habits.Take the first step of working out even two days a week, and scale upward from there, Littrel said. Doing some physical exercise is better than nothing, with so many people battling obesity, he said."

"Set realistic goals and monitor your progress."

"Take a picture of yourself the first week, and then take another in the following weeks to track how you're doing, Yuam said."

This is the best advice I have been able to find for those known as "newbies". But also just remind yourself that this is something that you want and most importantly have faith in yourself. I'm off to bed, but I'll try to give you something good tomorrow. That is I am open to suggestion. Have a great night!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Cut out the gut

My Life's Biggest Project: Cut out the gut: "I know that I've talked a lot about surgery in my posts, but as Americans we want results fast and when we don't get them we just stop. Usin..."

Cut out the gut

I know that I've talked a lot about surgery in my posts, but as Americans we want results fast and when we don't get them we just stop. Using weight loss surgeries tends to be a default plan mmore and more all the time. Technology has us spoiled. We are so use to getting what we want when we want it so fast that my generation has a tendency to just not want to work hard for anything. If we weren't given good genes we just say eff it. That is why surgery seems to be more and more appealing all the time. I speak from personal experinece when I say that surgery (not that I've had cosmetic or weight loss surgery of any kind. I am strictly speaking about general surgery) is absolutely no fun and not something that should be considered lightly at all.

The reason I bring up surgery again is because I see it in articles all the time. Just today there was an article in the Suntimes talking about it. I will copy bits and pieces of it so that you can read personal stories about it from different people. I think that it is something that should be researched and deeply thought out before making that kind of a decision. I also think that it should be a last resort after you have dedicated yourself to changing up your eating habits and good old exercise. So without further ado this is what the article had to say. You can make up your own mind about it.

Dr. Jeffrey Rosen: Surgery a tool, not a cure

"In some ways, Dr. Jeffrey Rosen sees the weight struggles of pop singer Carnie Wilson as a prime example of how tough such battles can be. In 1999, with her small frame carrying 300 pounds, Wilson was in the news for having gastric bypass surgery. While she got down to 150 pounds, she has gained a good portion of weight back, and her weight woes remained in the tabloids. Late last year, she was fired as a spokesperson for a diet plan after she didn’t stay on it and didn’t lose weight."

"As Rosen sees it, any successful fight to control weight means lifestyle changes. And a measure such as gastric bypass surgery is 'a tool to help improve someone’s health, not a cure,' he said." Rosen is the lead surgeon at LifeWeigh Bariatrics and LifeWeigh Health & Fitness, which has offices in Downers Grove and Merrillville, Ind. He’s been performing weight-loss surgeries for more than 12 years. While there are risks with any surgeries, Rosen said, statistics show that weight-loss procedures are as safe as gall bladder surgeries."

"Wilson helped draw attention to and popularize the gastric bypass procedure; and from 2000 to 2003, Rosen said, his office was quite busy. Insurance companies became more restrictive in allowing claims in 2003, Rosen said, and there was a significant drop in business. However, in the last three years, many companies have eased restraints for obtaining weight-loss surgery and related treatments, which Rosen said can run from $10,000 to $50,000. Rosen said insurance firms are realizing that allowing such procedures can have a return on investment in just two years, the savings coming from reduced medical bills related to health issues of being overweight."

"What Rosen’s office stresses is a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss that includes working with registered dietitians and setting up an exercise plan along with doctor visits. In fact, LifeWeigh works with people who seek to lose weight without surgery, too."

Becky Firszt: A teacher learns a new lifestyle

"Lifelong Elgin resident Becky Firszt, 33, has been married for eight years and is the mother of two young children, Emma, 7, and Drew, 4. It’s because of her family that Firszt, a fourth-grade teacher in Elgin School District U46, decided to have gastric bypass surgery."

'“I decided I wanted to be involved with my kids, and I couldn’t keep up with them,” Firszt said. “I was unhappy, and I was always tired.”'

"Her feelings were tied to her weight and the ensuing health issues brought on by it."

“I have always been thick, but when I was a kid, I was involved in cheerleading, basketball and marching band in high school, which helped to keep my weight down,” she said. “I really struggled with losing weight after I had my kids. I could not drop any weight, and I kept packing on the pounds.”

"At 5 feet 5 inches tall, Firszt reached 300 pounds. She says she “finally decided to go ahead with the process after I came to find out I had Type 2 diabetes. I was so disappointed with myself being 32 and having this disease. How could I have done this to myself?”

"In August, Firszt had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 75 pounds thus far.
“Insurance insurance did pay for 90 percent, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops,” she said. Getting used to the diet was the biggest challenge, Firszt said. “The eating process after surgery was hard,” she said. “The surgeon puts you on a slow, progressive six-week diet. Each few weeks, you slowly add more food to your diet. The first few weeks were hard. I was so sick of eating pudding and Jell-0. But now I can almost eat anything (in small portions), and I am happy.”

"She also has been walking to get fit and soon will be adding some weight training to her exercise routine. Since surgery, she said she now has the diabetes under control. “This process has shown me how much I missed and to seize every moment of the day. Carpe diem!” she said."

There are several more personal stories in the article and I suggest you read them. It is a good article and important to hear what others have gone through. I hope that if you are considering this as an option at all you talk to people and research hard. I have lots to do so I'll let you go for now. TTFN...Ta-Ta-For-Now :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Are you ready for some football

My Life's Biggest Project: Are you ready for some football: "Oh Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Some people wait and wait for this day to come. I love super bowl parties and activities, b..."

Are you ready for some football

Oh Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Some people wait and wait for this day to come. I love super bowl parties and activities, but unless the Minesota Vikings or the Dallas Cowboys are playing I really truly could care less. I say this because I'm a college football fan. I really just want my Sooners to win everything, especially games against the Texas Longhorns, beyond that I don't really care so much about football. I however do enjoy the super bowl game for the pop culture side of everything.

You know what I'm talking about. The thing I love the super bowl game for is the advertisements and the half time show. What would the world be like without Janet Jackson's ta-ta scandle? I need to see what the next big thing will be that goes down in NFL history. I doubt there will be any female flashing due to the fact that the half time show is supposed to be performed by Usher, Slash and the Black Eyed Peas, unless Fergie decides to get down with her Feralicious self. Maybe Er-sher will have his shirt off the whole time. He's good for that you know.

The other thing that goes with football is of course snacks and beer. Allow me to tell you first how many calories you take in from normal football party favorites. Then I will offer some healthy options. I don't really know how hopping your parties will be on Sunday, but if you can get some peeps over this is some food for thought.

Normally people have things like Tortilla chips and guacomole (one of my favorites), well this little snack will cost you about 172 calories for about a one ounce serving of torilla chips and 21 grams of serving of guac. Buffalo wings are normally a thing seen at the parties and one wing with bleu cheese (which I think I would substitute for ranch) will cost you a total of 220 calories. One slice of cheese pizza will pack on about 240 calories. Those cute little pigs in a blanket add up to about 470 calories for only five of them. What is a football game without getting to throw one back, well one 12 oz can of Bud Light is going to add up to be about 110 calories and if you don't want any alcohol and decide to have a soda instead that will cost you approximently 140 calories for just one 12 oz can. So basically what I'm telling you is that if you have one of each of these things your entire caloric intake will be 1,352.

I found the answer to all of your problems in an article that gives you recipes for zucchini blossom quesidilla with guacomole dipping sauce, chile-baked fries and a sour cream dressing. First you need to collect you some ingredients which I will tell you what of and how much. Then we will discuss the directions word for word from the article. Here it goes.

You will need to go to the store and get the following:
 5 avocados, cubed
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 head garlic
5 zucchini with squash-blossoms, grated or cut into slices
1 block cheese of your choice, grated
2 poblano peppers, de-veined and seeded, sliced lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, de-veined and seeded, sliced lengthwise
2 green bell peppers, de-veined and seeded, sliced lengthwise
2 yellow or orange bell peppers, de-veined and seeded, sliced lengthwise
2 jalepeno peppers, de-veined and seeded, sliced lengthwise
5 eggs, beaten
3 lemons, sliced
5 limes, 2 juiced for guacamole, 3 sliced for bubbly water
3 oranges, sliced
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped
Farmer’s Market (if possible) bought chips and salsa

1 bag of tortillas
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more if you like it spicy
2 liters of your favorite bubbly water: Soda, tonic, or sparkling
Salt/pepper to taste

Now here are the directions:
Zucchini Squash-Blossom Quesadillas: Slice the zucchini and squash-blossoms as thin as possible, or grate them into large, thin slices. Grate cheese. Add a little butter to a saute pan and allow the tortilla to slightly brown on one side. Add cheese and squash-blossoms to the quesadilla on one side. Fold the tortilla and brown on both sides. Repeat for the number of guests attending. Slice quesadillas into triangles. Serve with guacamole.

Guacamole: Cube five avocados. In a bowl, combine with Farmer’s Market bought salsa and chopped cilantro. Add one teaspoon of chili pepper and cumin, or match to your taste. Mash ingredients together with a fork or large spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste and the juice of two limes. Combine, refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve. Bonus Tip: pick up some chips from the Farmer’s Market too, in order to help finish off this yummy guacamole.

Chile Fries: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Your breading station will consist of three dishes. The cup of flour is the first station. You beaten eggs, milk, two tablespoons of flour and spicy mustard will be combined for the second station. In the third station, add the Parmesan or Romano cheese to the bread crumbs, with salt and pepper to taste. Drag your sliced peppers through station one, two and three: coat each slice first in flour, second in egg mixture, and third in bread crumb topping. Roast your coated chile fries on a nonstick baking pan for about 18 minutes; shake and toss them once during cooking time so as not to burn them. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and serve with the sour cream dipping sauce. For more ideas on the big game day, see more Rachael Ray recipes here.

Sour Cream Dipping Sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine two cloves of grated garlic with one cup of sour cream. Loosen with a splash of milk. Add in the white wine vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Mix in finely chopped fresh herbs: parsley, dill and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside you chile fries for extra dunking and dipping pleasure!

Instead of beer and soda you may just decide that you want something besides high quality H2O. Here is a healthy option:

Fruit-Infused Bubbly Water: In a large pitcher, combine your water with slices of lime, orange and lemon. You can separate the fruits into three different pitchers or combine them all in one, whichever you prefer. Test the taste: if it’s not sweet enough, add two tablespoons of sugar. Refrigerate and allow the mixture to combine the flavors for 30 minutes. Enjoy this super special drank...lol.

No matter who you are rooting for, I hope you are looking out for yourself. Try this out and let me know how you like it. I myself don't really care who wins. May the best team win :) If you have any other suggestions for good fooseball snacks let me know! Until then...bye bye bye!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

My Life's Biggest Project: Healthy, Wealthy & Wise: "I went to my doctors appointment today and even though my incision site has come open the doctor said that it was alright and that I should ..."

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

I went to my doctors appointment today and even though my incision site has come open the doctor said that it was alright and that I should be all healed up in about three weeks. That was completely agitating news to me. The doctor probably thought that I was being a drama queen, but correct me if I'm wrong is it not abnormal to have a hole in one's back. I don't feel like having an open incision is the most healthy thing in the world, but then again I'm not a doctor. So who knows he may know what he's talking about.

After getting this news I decided to go to the mall and walk around because I am sick of being cooped up in the house. My friend Chrystle and I walked around the mall for a while, then we went to Hobby Lobby and probably spent like four hours there, no lie. I found all kind of knick knacks to put in my house, but the problem is that I no longer have any wall space so I'm kind of limited on what it is that I can purchase in terms of house decor.

The ride home was interesting because there was ice all over the roads and more people felt like coming out of their houses later in the day. Once Chrystle and I got back to my house we watched the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy and then I figured it was dinner time. After heating up some grilled chicken on my George Forman grill we decided that a side of some kind would have been good, so I found one that would be great to have. The important thing to remember in a busy day we still need to make good choices. Rachel Ray posted one of her 30 minute meals that I figured I'd share with you. Read it, try it and tell me what you think.

Kale and Portobello Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: 30 Minute MealsEpisode: Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
Rated: 4 stars out of 5Rate itRead users' reviews (26)
Filed under: Vegetables, Kale, Vegetables, Mushroom, more
Cook Time:12 minLevel: EasyYield: 4 servings
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3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 portobello mushroom caps, sliced
1 1/4 pounds kale, stemmed and chopped
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup dry Italian red wine
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add mushrooms and cook until dark and tender. Add kale and turn with tongs to wilt. Season the mixture of mushrooms and greens with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook greens 5 minutes longer then serve

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Snow Day Part Deux

My Life's Biggest Project: Snow Day Part Deux: "This weather is insane! So OU has canceled campus again for tomorrow and that would make it three days in a row as of now. We started back t..."

Snow Day Part Deux

This weather is insane! So OU has canceled campus again for tomorrow and that would make it three days in a row as of now. We started back to school on January 18 and tomorrow will mark our fourth snow day of the semester. Insane right? Well I am pretty sure that is a record for the University of Oklahoma. Sadly however the campus will probably be open on Friday which normally for me would not matter because I don't have class on Friday, but this Friday is going to be a little different. Allow me to explain. I am currently enrolled in a race gender and the media course, which is right up my ally because I really enjoy things about the media and race and gender studies. However this is a cross listed course which means it is comprised of both graduate students (three to be exact) and undergraduate students. The graduate students have some extra assignments so that it is fair for us to get credit for the course. That too is fine. We meet with the professor of the course every Wednesday after class, by we I mean the three graduate students, but due to a conflict in schedules this week we have to meet on Friday at 10 a.m.

Normally this would not be a problem, but I was really hoping to leave town tomorrow after my post op appointment and go spend time with my besty for his birthday. It can still be done, but it will just be later and I am just whining...lol. Now on the topic of whining, let me whine to you about something else. The weather...so today I made my friend Chrystle go with me to the OU men's basketball game. We played Baylor and won! This is amazing because OU's men have not been having their best season. I like to think they won because I was there. Never in my life have I attended an OU game where we lost. Football I guess is a little unfair for me to have this theory since OU just does not lose at home, but basketball that's another story all together. So yay! My sooner's won!

After the game we went to Chrystle's house so she could grab some essentials and get snowed in with me for the remainder of the snow days. It was like Alaska trying to get into her house. I now know what Sarah Palin feels like trying to get from the car to the house. Insane I tell you. Also word to the wise do not wear ankle socks when it is snowy outside, because if you step in the snow you want something higher up your leg instead of giving it a perfect place to rest. I now know this.

So yesterday I told you about my fear of snacking and it's a pretty fair fear. Well because boredom makes you think you need to be doing something and eating seems like a better option than I don't know lets say reading for class. So Tiffani messaged me some suggestions and I will share them with you. I will copy and paste her message to me. Here it is. Suggestions from Tiff:

"Almonds!- even a handful makes you feel like you ate something substantial, and they are full of good fats, go for natural unsalted ones though."

"Liquid egg whites- this has become a regular thing I buy at the grocery store, why? because it is soo easy to use and low in sodium, and calories. high in protein. you can mix in some bell pepper and onion and throw it on a whole wheat english muffin or whole wheat bread."

"Bananas and/or apples- both give you a satisfying "full" feeling. also since bananas are high in potassium they are great for post workout snack."
"I've started eating 1 tsp of Smart balance Creamy peanut butter, 1/2 banana sliced on 1 piece of whole wheat bread along with 1 cup of fat free milk."

"Skinny Cow Ice cream cups- Not to be had everyday but a GREAT alternative to regular ice cream and it taste great! :)"

"Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Cereal- 180 calories per 28 biscuits and absolutly NO sodium :) I LOVE Kashi! lol .. It has a great taste without adding sugar, however a little sweetner goes a long way if you need it to be sweeter. So the only sodium you add to this is whats in a cup of fat free milk.. usually around 150 MG. overall since its whole grain it fills you up for a while."

"Bran flakes- Lower in calories than Kashi but higher in sodium. Bran however keeps digestive stuff working right so its good to alternate."

"If your looking for something yummy to share with someone, try once of Kashi;s new pizzas. They are great. They have a veggie pizza and its my fav. Sodium is kinda high about 630MG per 1/3 of a pizza. But calories aren't bad."

"Yogurt!- Ive come to love yogurt, weight watchers has a cheesecake yogurt that is great! only 100 calories per cup, 110 MG sodium. Yoplait Whips orange cream is 140 calories per serv and only 70 mg of sodium. I love both of these."

"Salad- good ol salad ..lol,"

"String cheese and apple slices- Ive come to love this as a snack. the cheese has a lot of sodium but its a low calorie snack :)"

"Hope this gives you some ideas!! :)"

I hope you take some of Tiff's suggestions. I know I will. Enjoy your break from work or school if you get one too. Stay warm and I'll post more stuff for you tomorrow after my doctor's appointment. Maybe he can find out why he didn't fix me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Snack Attack

My Life's Biggest Project: Snack Attack: "How about that severe winter weather we are having here in the Sooner state. They were so sure that the weather was going to be this bad yes..."

Snack Attack

How about that severe winter weather we are having here in the Sooner state. They were so sure that the weather was going to be this bad yesterday the university sent me a text message, a voicemessge and not one, but two e-mails around 4:30 letting me know that the campus would be closed today. The messages also let me know that if they decide to close campus tomorrow due to the weather they will let me know by 4 p.m. today. How very nice of them to keep me in the know.

I am not ever one to complain about having a day off, but people are crazy. I haven't really been grocery shopping since I've been home from Christmas break so I figured now would be a good time right, uh no wrong. Everyone was acting like the Y2K scare all over again. The isles were almost completely bare at Wal-mart and to be honest with you I didn't want to deal with the lines reaching almost all the way back to the electronics department. So what did I do? Well I bought Jurassic Park for $5 and my bff Eric's birthday present then went on my merry little way.

What about my grocery situation you may be wondering. Well once I left I ran up to campus with my friend Chrystle and thought very seriously about what I was going to live off of while I was snowed in. I decided that food was going to have to happen, so I ran to Homeland and got some milk because I have lots of Special K at the house. Everything was too picked over to be able to really shop. I try to avoid grocery shopping at two times, one pending ice storms and two the first of the month when everyone gets their food stamps. These are not good times to try to fill your pantry.

The problem with getting snowed in is boredom. It makes you want to really do nothing but lay around. I don't know about you, but when I lay around and watch TV for some reason I think that I need to snack and that is when I catch myself in what I like to call bombarded with the snack attack. Chrystle brought pretzels over and I'm pretty sure between she and I were ate about half of the bag last night. So since I was thinking about snacking I figured I would look up health araticles about it.

My friend Tiffani told me about a Web site that I should look at called http://www.livestrong.com/ so I did. One of the things I came across was an article about snacking and if done right not only will it help you maintain your weight, but if you're dieting it will also help you lose weight. By choosing the right snacks like fruits and vegetables you are giving your body some of the nutrients that it really needs. In fact according to this article, a study that was published in the Health and Education Journal in 2005 it was found that teenagers, especially teenage boys had a boost in their intake of needed nutrients such as zinc, iron and calcium. All of this just because they snacked smart during the day.

Some people, especially those who are elderly tend to have this problem called early satiety. This is where they feel full before they have met their nutritional and coloric needs. I know this is a real thing because my Papa Gene is always full pretty quick these days and it barely looks like he's touched his plate. This is odd because he's always had a pretty good appetite. Well a fix to this problem would be to eat smaller meals and snack throughout the day. Not just old people benefit from this, people who suffer from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) also tend to suffer less severe "flareups" while eating this way.

So basically what we have learned from this article is that it is OK to snack, if you snack smart. So what I suggest to you all is that you enjoy this break of a day and feel free to snack around, but make smart decisions while doing it. I don't really feel like cooking or having to clean up on my day off so I'm probably going to snack on my Special K...lol. Enjoy your snow day and tell me what you're doing today. I need some suggestions. It's only 1 p.m. and I've been up since like 7 a.m. I'm seriously running out of things to do...lol. More to come tomorrow. I let you know what I end up doing to fill my time. Also I would like to take this moment to thank Tiffani for showing me this awesome Web site. I also encourage you all to look at it too!