Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Recipes

Here are 2 recipes I prepared this weekend. I enjoyed both and they're fairly healthy. Any changed I made I have noted.

Company's Coming Salad
Taste of Home
8 servings

2 T sugar
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 pkg. (5 oz.) spring mix salad greens
6 cups torn romaine
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

3 T canola oil
2 T cider vinegar
5 t sugar *(I used 2 packets of splenda)
1 T minced fresh parsley
1/4 t salt

In a small heavy skillet, cook and stir the sugar over medium-low heat until melted. Stir in almonds and cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Spread onto foil coated with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, romaine, oranges, celery, and onions. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad; add almonds and toss to coat. Serve immediately. *(I tossed the dressing with the lettuce and then arranged the other stuff on top. I then topped the whole salad with the nuts)

Nutrition Facts:
1.25 cups per serving
134 calories
8 g fat
1 g saturated fat
0 cholesterol
98 mg sodium
14 g carbs
3 g fiber
3 g protein

*Using the splenda instead of the sugar will obviously change the nutrition facts, but I left it the same as the recipe indicated.

Raspberry-Topped Cream Tarts
Taste of Home
16 servings

1 T brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
4 flour tortillas (8 inch)
Warm water
1 pkg. (8 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened *(I used Fat Free)
3 T sugar *(I used 2 packets of Splenda)
1-2 T skim milk
1/2 t almond extract
1 cup fresh raspberries *(I used raspberries and blueberries)

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside. Cut tortillas with a 3.5" biscuit cutter; discard tortilla scraps. Brush both sides of tortillas with warm water. Spray tops with cooking spray; sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Press into ungreased muffin cups.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire rack.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, milk, and almond extract; mix well. Spoon into the cooled tortilla shells; top with the raspberries.

Nutrition Facts:

1 tart per serving
93 calories
3 g fat
2 g saturated fat
8 mg cholesterol
108 mg sodium
13 g carbs
1 g fiber
3 g protein

**Again, the substitution of Fat Free cream cheese and Splenda are NOT reflected in the nutrition facts. Also, I did not see the need to use the cooking spray, so I omitted it. The shells were really nice and crispy even without it. I would recommend that if you use the Fat Free cream cheese you omit the skim milk, as the FF cream cheese is softer than the reduced-fat and doesn't need as much liquid to smooth it out.

These tarts look beautiful on a serving plate. You could use a variety of fruits on the top. I did one plate with 2 raspberries and 1 blueberry on each tart...very nice presentation!

The Weekend....duh....dah....dnnnnnnn.....

OK, so weekends are just going to be hard when you're watching your calories, right? Well, the short easy answer is YES...but, with the Bugg, that answer is actually "kinda". I knew that our "dinner club" with friends was Saturday. I was careful about what I ate on Saturday because I knew that I was not in complete control of what was going to be served on Saturday night, and I also wanted to be able to have a drink (or two).

So, Saturday I ate my normal breakfast (Special K and skim milk). Then I had a protein shake post workout. Lunch was a spinach salad with ground chicken, so again, doing pretty well. I think I had a little over 1000 calories left for the day when I went to dinner.

I didn't feel like I was denying myself anything. I ate a few crackers with artichoke dip for appetizers. For dinner I tried a little of everything that I wanted to, (including a small spoonful of lobster thermidor, which was INCREDIBLE) but didn't over indulge in the caloric/high fat items. I had a lot of salad...I brought the salad, so I knew EXACTLY the caloric, nutritional breakdown of it. I also had a bigger portion of the roasted veggies because I liked them and they were really good! (And one of the healthier options).

I had dessert...yep, that's right folks...I had dessert! I had made these tarts so again, I knew what I was getting into, calorie wise. I also had 3 drinks. I had vodka with diet tonic and lime juice. The interesting thing is that if you use a short glass, by the time you have ice, some lime juice and the tonic, you just throw in a splash of vodka and it's a nice refreshing treat.

Now, logging in dinner was difficult. I overestimated everything. The main entree was crab cakes and ribs. I estimated that I ate 1 crab cake and 3 oz. of rib meat. I did NOT eat that much, but I think it's better to OVER estimate than UNDER. I also said I ate 3 tablespoons of the lobster thermidor....again, not even close. It was probably closer to 1-1.5, but better to go OVER. (Again, just my opinion and how I CHOOSE to do it!) I logged 3 drinks, each with a 1 oz. shot of vodka. I don't think I had 3 oz. of vodka over the course of the night...maybe but I really doubt it. One of my drinks I left the vodka out completely and honestly, it wasn't much different than with the splash.

Although, the little splashes of vodka did numb some of my muscular pain, so that was worth it! The group workout killed my quads!

So, at the end of the day, my body bugg showed a deficit of 681 calories. My target deficit is 850, so I did not meet my deficit. HOWEVER, I do not feel as though I've failed.

Number one, I overestimated. Sure, I may have eaten a little more of this and a little less of that, or forgotten a cracker, but all in all, I think the dinner log was close or over what it actually was. I'm OK with that.

Number two, I had a deficit...HELLO! It's not like I consumed 681 calories more than I burned....I still had a deficit.

And finally, number three....I've gone over my 850 deficit goal ever day since I got the bugg, so I think last night was a success!

I didn't feel deprived and sad that I couldn't participate in something I greatly look forward too. I didn't feel like anyone was looking at my plate and wondering why I wasn't eating anything. I ate, I enjoyed what I ate, and I left there quite full.....full of great food and full of fun with friends!

So, the moral of today's blog post is this. You don't have to deny yourself EVERYTHING when you're on a diet. If you are changing your eating habits in order to lose weight, make sure that CHANGE is what you strive for, not DENIAL. If I can NEVER have a piece of chocolate or enjoy some of the foods I really like, I will NOT stay with it. But, this weekend was a great reminder to me that I CAN take control of what I eat. I CAN eat a little sample taste of something highly caloric and rich and enjoy it, but not have to eat 3 cups of it! I can load up my plate with the healthy options and then enjoy a sample of the other stuff. And doing that makes me happy and keeps me on track.

Happily bugging along....

~ Lori ~

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PRINT your food log!

OK, first of all, to answer a quick question from a reader. Terry wants to know what I'm doing for workouts.

I go to an all-female gym. I have splurged on a Personal Trainer, whom I am known to refer to as Satan instead of her real name, Becky! All kidding aside, Becky and I have a great relationship. She is sarcastic and snarky like me, so she can take whatever I dish out, verbally! I work out with Becky one time per week. Now that I am in the gym's Biggest Loser competition, I will also see Becky an additional time each week for a GROUP workout. Our first one happens to be tonight.

When I work out with Becky, it's strength and cardio mixed. She has me doing strength and then a 5 minute burst of cardio (usually the Arc Trainer). If the Arc or Cross trainers are being used she will relent and let me go on the treadmill! We do a variety of strength exercises, depending on what I need. For example, one day I was really frustrated with life and mentally mad and grumpy. That time I was punching and was awesome!

The OTHER times I go to the gym I usually focus on cardio only. I am in this competition, and it's about LOSING weight, so I don't want to gain all of this muscle and end up messing myself up in the competition. It's $5 per pound gained, so I'm hitting the cardio HARD!

If I am at home and not going to the gym that day I will take the dog for a few extra walks, park WAY out when I go shopping, and make a few extra trips up and down the stairs. If we're getting to 7 or 8 pm and I'm looking at a pretty big gap between actual and target, I will do the wii fit. That will get me where I need to be. I have YET to miss my target burn for a day.

Hope that helps!

Now, on to today's findings. I was messing around with the BB program and thinking it would really be cool if Becky could see what I'm doing without me having to get on a computer at the gym and show her. She had me keeping a food log, but since I got the Bugg she knows that I'm doing it all on the BB program.

Well, guess what folks? You can PRINT your food log! Oh, yeah, you sure can! This may not be news to anyone but me, but I did not memorize the manual, and I was happy to find it there. That was one feature I was going to ask about next week when I do the phone coaching. Now I don't have to ask!

For those not in the know, like me, here's how you find it:

Under the TOP tabs, there is one called "My Resources". There is all kinds of stuff here, but right now I'm going to focus on this ONE item. I'll explore and then blog about the other features later! Under "My Resources" you're going to click on "Reports". On the right-hand side you will see "Create Printable Reports"..."Food Log Report".

You can choose a date range to print...either 7, 14, 21, or 30 days. Then you will click on "Go". You will be given a choice to either "Open" or "Save" the PDF.

I opened mine, checked it all out and then printed a copy to take to Becky tonight. Now I can deliver her a weekly food log with little work from me! SWEET! I like this feature VERY much!

I'm keeping a list of questions for the phone coaching because the features I'd like to see quite easily could be there, I just haven't found them yet! "Printable food log" is one that I can cross off the list now!

And, before I forget...I have NOT forgotten about the request for some screen shots. I just haven't had time to sit down with the hubby to figure it out. I was able to capture some, but unfortunately since I use dual monitors it captured what I had on both monitors, and I couldn't figure out how to split the image. Anyway....the point is, I will get that figured out and then entertain you folks with some screen shots from my bugg program.

Today is also a milestone for me...I can enter new "measurements" so tonight when I go for the group workout I will weigh and get my (hopefully) new body fat percentage. I can't wait to put those numbers in and see what the bugg program has to say!

Happily buggin' along....


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Question from a reader....

I received a question from a reader, so I thought it was best to answer it here. Other people may have the same question, so answering it this way gives everyone an opportunity to see the questions and answers.

If you have questions for me, please post them in the comments section after each post. I will answer questions a future blog post.


Hi Lori.
I just found your blog from Body and I wanted to get in touch with a fellow newbie to the most amazing contraption known to dieters! I'm on week two. I'm keeping to my calories, working out like crazy and I'm GAINING weight! Ugh! I decided to set my calories lower this week to see what happens. I'm also upping the water to help flush the fat off!

My question to you is.....what are you eating? I tend to stick with the same types of food every day...just don't want to get bored...AND I do want to loose the weight. Also, do you remove your bugg when you sleep? Do you have set hours it's on?

I go from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm and then I take it off at night. I just went from 1750 calories consumed to 1600. I thought I'd be more hungry with less calories, but I was able to spread it out throughout the day and the liquids helped trick my mind.


OK...First of all, THANKS for reading, Viki! It's awesome to know there are people out there reading my ramblings!

The first question Viki had was what am I eating. Well, I am a creature of habit, so my breakfast and lunch menus are pretty much the same 2 or 3 things in rotation. I eat either Special K, Cooked Oatmeal with blueberries, or an egg beater omelet for breakfast pretty much every day. Let me say, though, that I have never been a big fan of breakfast unless it's a big Sunday breakfast with bacon, eggs, pancakes....the whole 9 yards! But, I know it's important to eat breakfast so I stick with these few items.

For lunch I either have a salad, sandwich (or wrap), soup, or a frozen meal. I make my own salads. Sometimes I toss in leftover chicken from the previous night. One of my favorite salads (and pretty low cal) is romaine lettuce, black beans, chicken, and salsa. You could also toss in some corn for another tex-mex kinda feel. I make my own wraps...a tortilla, deli turkey, lettuce or fresh spinach, maybe some hummus or avocado....roll and eat! With a sandwich or wrap I'll also have fresh, raw baby carrots, or other veggie that I have cut up and ready to serve in the fridge. For frozen meals I have some Schwan's meals that I keep on hand and then normally eat that with a can of Progresso lite soup.

Dinners are the most difficult for me because I have a husband and 2 kids and they're NOT on a diet! They're not big fans of whole wheat pasta, but I'm trying. If I make pasta I will make regular for them and whole wheat for me. It's really not that much effort. When I make pasta sauce I get sneaky! I chop (really, really chop...or maybe pulverize is the word) a zucchini and a green pepper) and add that to ground chicken to cook. Once the chicken's all cooked and the veggies are soft, I add some Italian seasoning and a can of plain-old-off-the-grocery-shelf-cheap-marinara sauce. The kids love that over penne or with spaghetti.

Meat at dinner time can get me in trouble. I eat WAY more than a serving. So, what I've been doing is using a food scale to measure out what I'm tossing on the plate. I'll put 3, 6, or 9 oz. on my plate, depending on where I'm at with calories consumed for the day. I usually have some kind of veggies cleaned, cut, and ready to use in the fridge. I'll either saute those or steam them for an easy and healthy side dish for me.

For snacks, again, I have a few staples that I rotate between. I buy the lite Kroger yogurt. 80 calorie snack. I will make a smoothie and toss in the whey protein powder that my trainer urged me to start. I was craving meat and feeling very lethargic when I started working out, and the whey has helped a LOT! Fresh fruit is always on the bowl on the counter...apples and bananas and whatever else looked good at the store! That's a quick, grab-and-go snack. I like sweets....I really do! So, sometimes I will stir one scoop of the vanilla protein powder into the an apple pie one, or pina colada one....that is a seriously sweet treat! And, at 180 calories, it's not hard on the calories consumed.

Sorry that answer is a bit long....on to the next questions! Do I remove the bugg when I sleep? YES, I do. I wore it the first 2 nights and then decided I could go w/out it at night. I put it on first thing when I get out of bed and take it off when I climb in at night.

That's all of Viki's questions...I hope the answers help. Remember, if you have questions for me, just post them in the comments and I'll be happy to answer them in a post.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Day Three... A no gym day....

Day Three was Sunday, 2/21. This is the day I was nervous about the "burn" because I wasn't going to the gym. The big question was...Can I get to the target burn without going to the gym?

That answer is YES! And, honestly, it wasn't that hard. I just added some minor things to get in a few more steps...a little more activity...and I got there!

For example, when we ran errands, I parked WAYYYY out. Then when done, I took the cart back in. Instead of laying in bed and watching Desperate Housewives, I sat on the floor and organized 3 cluttered drawers. I also used my fitness ball and did some bicep curls and some crunches. Not many...just a few, 'cause I really hate crunches. But, in my opinion, 20 here and there have to help, right?

So, results from Day Three are:

Burn Actual/Target

Calories Consumed Actual/Target

Calorie Deficit Actual/Target

So, again, I'm pretty happy about this overall. I think that the bugg is going to be a very helpful tool to help me lose some serious weight. The only downside at this point is that my arm is a little sore. My skin somewhat adheres to the metal contacts, and if I'm not careful when removing it or even if I move wrong I end up pulling that skin and it's a bit irritated right now. I'm wearing the bugg high on my left triceps, which is what it said to do.

The strangest thing for me so far is how much I'm eating. Now, granted, I'm making pretty healthy choices. I am, after all, on a diet and trying to get Fit By Forty! But, it seems like a lot of food. I ate lunch and logged everything up to lunch today and I'm thinking that I had better have a snack this afternoon to get some more calories in me. That's a pretty sweet feeling on a diet, friends!

And, as they say, the proof is in the today when I went to the gym I weighed myself. I didn't believe the scale, so my trainer had me get on the scale that she uses, which measures weight and body fat. I was down an additional 3 pounds (from a week ago) and had reduced my body fat by 1%. The three pounds in itself is thrilling, but the body fat FINALLY going down has got me totally stoked! I have not seen that number move since I started and I was starting to get really irritated about that.

Perhaps this is going to work out after all!

~Happily bugging along.....

1/15/2009 265 lbs.
2/22/2009 256 lbs. and counting!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Few Comments

I have some numbers from days one and two. I also have a couple of lessons learned.

Day One
Burn Actual/Target
Calories Consumed Actual/Target
Deficit Actual = 1429
Deficit goal = 850

Day Two
Burn Actual/Target
Calories Consumed Actual/Target
Deficit Actual = 1163
Deficit goal = 850

Now, here is what I've learned.

Today I entered breakfast and then after I was done I realized I forgot to put in the toast that I had eaten. This is TOTALLY easy once you know how to edit! So, remember, the situation is this:

You have already logged a meal and gone on to other things in the program or even gotten out of the program totally. Then you realize you forgot to log something in on a past meal. Look at the LEFT SIDEBAR. The choices are:

Calories Burned
Calorie Balance
Physical Activity

Click on NUTRITION. This is going to bring up what you have already entered. You can click on the "EDIT" box and that will allow you to enter in that food item that you forgot to enter before!

Another feature I'm figuring out and REALLY like is that very same "NUTRITION" section on the LEFT SIDEBAR. If you click on this it's going to give you what you logged in for your meals. At the bottom of this is your nutrition breakdown. So, for example, I can see that I'm not eating as many carbs as they recommend. I am eating more fat than they recommend. I think this might be a key for my actual POUND loss...I know I'm going to lose easier if I eat fewer carbs, but I'm going to have to really watch my FAT intake. Looks like I have some adjustments to make. Now, I will say that I THINK the fat I eat is fairly healthy....EVOO instead of veg oil, avocado, and fish. However, I can look back on those days and see the other things that I ate that had fat in them and see where I can make some small changes and eliminate some of the bad fat.

Isn't that what this bugg is really all about? Isn't it about an education and awareness? It is for me...I want it to help me see with NUMBERS and actual MATH what I'm doing wrong. Right now I'm doing the burn....I'm hitting that target number and then some. And I'm hitting the calories consumed goal and not going over by TOO much. However, sometimes the weight just isn't coming off....looks like for me, the fat intake might be a problem. I need to look for ways to reduce that bad fat in what I'm eating. Maybe switch to fat free products or reduced fat. That is probably the easiest quick fix.

OK, so that's it for now. Today will be a challenge. I am NOT going to the gym today. That's heard it here first...I am NOT going to the gym. The burn will be a challenge for me today, but I have the digital display and I'm determined to make small changes to get that burn target completed even without a trip to the gym. When we go running errands today, I'm going to park WAY out, like I'm driving a brand new Rolls Royce that I don't want anyone to scratch! I might also run downstairs to "check" on the laundry progress a few times more than normal. And, if all else fails, I'll challenge the 8-year old to some Wii Fit competitions!

Check back later to see how easy (or not so much) it is to hit the target burn without a trip to the gym!

I'm also adding numbers to my sign-off signature. I think it's important for readers to know I'm not some 150 pound woman that is trying to lose that last 15 pounds. I am seriously overweight and have a LONG WAY to go. This is a long-term committment for me, and the bugg is a tool to help me reach those goals and perhaps reach them a bit sooner than later!

1/15/2009 265 lbs.
2/21/2009 259 lbs. and counting!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 2 recap....

Day one was pretty simple. I was able to hit my calorie target almost dead on and I went over on my calories burned by almost 500. I honestly felt like I ate a LOT. I am somewhat skeptical about eating that much and losing weight, but I am trying to follow what it's saying. Now, one thing to consider is that I did go to the gym twice yesterday. I went and did cardio in the am and then went back in the afternoon to meet a friend to do some strength exercises together. This obviously helped get my burn number up, and going to the gym twice per day is NOT a typical day for me.

Today was much of the same...gym and logging food. I logged my breakfast and am snack before we took off for the day. I ate lunch at home, but had already logged in food so I decided to enter the rest of the days food this evening.

I just entered all of my food for the day. I am over by about 200 calories. OOPS! The thing that really did me in was that HUGE chicken breast at dinner. Guess I'm gonna have to start cutting those babies in half. It was really HUGE.

Looking at my digital display I see that I'm a little over 2700 for my burn. This means that I need to burn an additional 200 to get to my target burn and another 200 to cover the overage on dinner. I guess I'll go do some laundry and climb up the steps a few hundred times! Ha ha!

Now, on to my views on the Bugg....this is what you've been waiting for, right? Well, I really do like it. As far as how difficult it is to use, I think it's pretty easy. I think it's important to log your food several times per day in order to really know where you're at. I like logging everything up to and including lunch so that you have a good idea of how many calories you can consume for snack and dinner.

Another helpful thing is that logging the food really makes you aware of what a serving really is. For example, that chicken breast was 3 servings. Obviously I should've cut it in half and had 1.5 servings. I could've lived with that, too.

I think entering your own stuff is really helpful. I entered my salad dressing...crackers...yogurt...protein powder. The things that I eat often I like to know that they're really accurately entered. Once you enter it's so simple to relocate it.

I'm not sure what the point is of wearing the bugg while you sleep, honestly. I suppose wearing it for a few days is good so that the bugg can accurately know what you're burning at rest. However, I really think I'm going to have to take it off at night. My arm is getting sore. I'm keeping it dry, but I have pretty sensitive skin, so that piece of metal next to my skin all day is starting to make a mark. I think the break at night is a good idea for me.

Another idea I had, and it's possible that this feature exists, is that it would be nice if you could give your trainer (or whomever) a username and password so they could access your account but not make any changes to it. I have to keep a food log for my trainer and I'd like to just tell her to access my account and have a look. Unfortunately she could make changes. I don't think she WOULD, but I don't like the idea of someone having my name and password and complete access to my account. I think I read somewhere that you can print out your food log, so that may be what I do.

Well, it's 7 pm here so I guess I should get moving. I have a couple hundred calories to burn!

Happily bugging along.....


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Bugg Has Landed...

FINALLY! I have been obsessively tracking the UPS progress of my Body Bugg and it's finally here! The bugg was delivered yesterday to my anxiously awaiting hands. I had already done much of the initial set up and was stalled at the point where you activate the armband.

The initial set up was really easy. I opened the package and located all of the items. I logged into my account and plugged the bugg into the USB. Follow the prompts and voila...we're ready to go. Unfortunately, the bugg needs to charge, but that was OK for me! I had plans that evening and I REALLY needed to get ready and quit playing with my new toy. So, I left the bugg plugged in to charge and went about my evening.

Once I got home I was happy to see that magical green light indicating that my bugg was charged and ready to roll! I did the sync with my digital display and put everything on. Now, a note to new users have to be WEARING the bugg for the digital display to sync. If it's in the literature I missed it and it took me a while to figure that part out. I also was getting very impatient and not sitting down and reading the manual cover to cover, so that could account for some of my troubles!

When you put the bugg on your arm it's going to play a little tune to tell you that it's on your arm and has recognized that it's there and is now on and logging your activity. Once you hear that little tune, push the buttons on the digital display and they will sync easily.

At this point in my day it was almost 10:30 pm, so I headed to bed with both manuals to give them a quick once over before going to sleep. Friday, February 19th would be my first official day with the Body Bugg! I must admit...several times during the night when I awoke I would hit the light on the digital display to see if I was still burning calories! Now I understand why they give you instructions to turn the beep off! My husband kept wondering what was beeping every couple hours (it was me checking my digital display!!!).

So today is the first official day. I have eaten my breakfast and logged it in. In order to get as accurate as possible on the food I entered my protein powder from the information on the canister instead of using one of the preset items. I was able to find my Quaker Oats oatmeal, but I did double check it to make sure all of the information was correct.

So far, so good...I am heading to the gym in a little while and I will update soon!

new bugger ~ Lori