Healthy Byte: The New unMcDonald’s

Lettuce Buns and Beetroot: Is It Now Possible to Eat a Healthy Burger at McDonalds?

McDonald’s new “Create Your Taste” kiosks allow you to build your own burger. But is it healthier? (Image: McDonalds)

Several fast food companies and chain restaurants have made very public moves recently to create more transparent, healthier options for consumers.

And now, McDonald’s is changing, too. The fast food giant, which announced last year that is will be eliminating eight items from its menus as well as getting rid of some ingredients, is rolling out a new feature that allows customers to build their own meal.

The program, dubbed “Create Your Taste,” is currently out in Australia and a few select McDonald’s in the U.S. This year, the chain plans to expand the program to 2,000 U.S. locations, a McDonald’s executive told USA Today.

“Create Your Taste” features touch-screen kiosks that allow customers to choose from 31 ingredients to build their own sandwich (you can check out the offerings here).

2015 8-28

Among the options: The ability to ditch the traditional bun and make a lettuce burger. Customers can also opt to add very un-McDonald’s-like ingredients to their sandwiches such as guacamole, grilled pineapple, and sliced beetroot.


You can use the new “Burger Builders” to create your own sandwich, and select from a host of healthier toppings. (Image: McDonalds)

“Create Your Taste” is a bit pricier than other McDonald’s options. A DIY quarter-pounder sandwich is about $5.99, theAssociated Press reports, and takes up to 10 minutes to prepare.

While McDonald’s hasn’t exactly been known as a health food vendor, experts say this is a step in the right direction.

“Offering more whole foods is never a bad idea,” registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food, tells Yahoo Health.

Of course, customers also have the ability to load up on unhealthy choices, such as opting for a larger bun and adding as much bacon, cheese, and fried egg as they want to a burger, which registered dietitian Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, is wary of.

“They’re offering more vegetables than they’ve ever offered but a person can still lay on too much cheese, mayo-based dressing, or a large bun — nobody needs to supersize their bun,” she tells Yahoo Health. “At the end of the day it’s going to come down to calories.”

But what about that lettuce wrap? While Gans says there’s nothing wrong with eating a bun, Warren says it’s a great option since, most likely, the buns used are not 100 percent whole grain (and therefore don’t contain a lot of valuable nutrients).

If you visit a “Create Your Own” kiosk, Warren recommends choosing the lettuce wrap with an egg for your protein source. Load it up with the vegetable options offered, sprinkle in jalapeno for an added kick, and use the guacamole for a dip.

“Skip the cheese, mayo-based dips, and the meat,” she says, adding that if you want a burger, take a pass on adding the egg.

While Warren doesn’t think health-conscious eaters will suddenly scramble to visit McDonald’s, she says this is a step in the right direction.

Gans says she’s “excited” about the healthier options, adding, “I’ll be curious to see if people get on board with it.”

Originally Posted HERE

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Wednesday Wisdom


“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

~ Jacob Riis

Bit of Fiction: Smart Story [1200 word limit] (Scofield – The Scene Book)

2015 8-24

The Mighty Little Ant

Numbness had fully settled in my toothpick legs. The full weight of the combat gear bore down on my lower extremities as if were clenched in the jaws of a rather ferocious vice. Standing at 5 feet tall and weighing 97 lbs, I was essentially carrying my own body weight’s worth in equipment. After some deliberation, the Blackhats collectively decided to give me a fake rucksack filled with sandbags to make sure that I ‘weigh enough to trigger the static line’ and deploy my parachute. Their collective thoughtfulness may have very well killed me right in the airplane hangar under the crushing 90 lbs. worth of equipment!

I sat there with the others under the strain of being tethered to the unimaginable physical burden of equipment, anticipating our first combat jump with great angst. The cavernous hangar was filled with the hush of uneasy tension. This was jump number three out of the required five in order to earn the honor of wearing the Airborne parachute badge on the uniform. A silent statement to say, ‘yea I maybe short, and I maybe a woman, but I’m a total badass!’

Due to high winds on the DZ we had been prepped and distressingly sitting since 0230 and it is now just after lunch. I had to move my right leg, the gear was becoming a tourniquet causing my feet to perpetually tingle annoyingly. I moved a few centimeters at most, anything to avoid a second equipment check by the Blackhats. The Blackhats took a particular sadistic delight in equipment checks. You see it afforded them the opportunity to affectionately polish the process off with the hardest slap on the butt which they could conjure and administer. I was fortunate to be so short that my Blackhat tried three times and failed to aim low enough. What he managed was a handful of the back of my parachute and I hope it hurted his hand … a lot.

With great care I moved my leg just enough so that the dented metal rucksack frame was no longer drilling directly on top my kneecap. My hands awkwardly laid to either side of me, some rested theirs on top of their reserve but I didn’t dare. I had an insatiable fear that the button on the sleeve of my uniform would accidentally latch the pull pin and arbitrally deploy my reserve in the middle of the hangar. The reserve was tucked right beneath my breasts and wrapped tightly around my torso like a deranged man’s corset. So like a boy on his first date I stiffly fiddled with my arm placement finally deciding that the side was the safest.

Some heads had started to bob forcibly forward under the weight of the kevlar helmet. It was like watching a game of ‘whack a mole’ as one-by-one the soldiers nodded off. A crooked smile broke through my face with the amusing scene and as I was about to succumb to the ‘z’ monster myself “STAND UP, STAND UP, STAND UP!” over the loudspeaker jolted me back to reality. In unison, we all Geisha shuffled towards the hangar door onto the tarmac. The cumbersome rucksacks were in front of our legs posted against our shins; so all any of us could muster was to waddle like a string of ducklings following mama duck to the other side of the road.

I was oddly thankful for the extra weight passing the back of the C-130’s thunderous propeller engines. The engines generated gusts of fuel laden scorching air which would have most certainly knocked me over equipment free. With every step closer to the plane my heart quickened its apprehensive pace. My hands grew clamy with nervous sweat and the booming engines faded leaving me to hear nothing but the sound of my own labored breaths, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. It echoed obtrusively like being in an astronaut helmet and for a moment panic had set in where I half contemplated to make a run for it.

We were herded on to the plane like cattle and the Jumpmaster relieves us of our static line as we passed. With a sharp click and a tug our faith were locked. The air seem to accumulate more and more nervousness as more paratroopers filed in. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder, knees touching knees, thighs touching thighs, like sardines jammed into too small of a can. The tempestuous vibration of the engines made one eager to leave the plane before anyone got sick in such close quarters. The Blackhats and Jumpmasters briskly walked on top of soldiers’ laps doing one last static line check because the aisle are all now enveloped with endless pairs of legs.

The Air Force Lieutenant Colonel next to me leaned over and half shouted, “you know, the Air Force just isn’t quite as proficient with punishing ourselves like the Army” he said with a playful twinkle in his kind pale blue eyes.  

Stifling a laugh, “Oh really Sir?” I asked amused.

He nodded and explained, “If the jump was at 1 we would leisurely stroll on to the tarmac around … mmm let’s say 12ish. When we’re close to the DZ the co-pilot would come back to let us know. We put on chutes, check each other, doors open, jump – VALAH!”

I paused for a moment, thinking enviously ‘Dammit I joined the wrong service!’    

After regaining my composure I retorted gently with a wink, “ahhm yeaaa … the Army … we’re really good at making ourselves miserable. Self inflicted misery, it’s an acquired taste.”

Our shared laugh was a grateful distraction from the guy who just violently vomited his lunch on himself and his surrounding neighbors. The sound of the human diaphragm regurgitating sometimes is worst than the end product. A potent noxious stench of stomach acid and dehydrated food quickly infiltrated the air. And when there is one there will inadvertently always be another. Just as a second began to dry heave the obnoxiously jarring alarm rang rambunctiously to interrupt. The large round red light dropped to green followed by “STAND UP STAND UP STAND UP!” The side doors opened on both sides of the plane. The cross breeze of unsullied air enticed the paratroopers to fall into its bosom like mermaids luring sailors.

Holding both hands up with all fingers extended “TEN MINUTES” the Jumpmaster bellowed.

A second seem to pass when the Jumpmaster barked “FIVE MINUTES!”

And before long “GO GO GO!” prompted our little dance into the open sky. The sheer momentum of everyone shuffling forward ensured that you were indeed exiting the plane. It was like a gentle but yet firm kick. I breached the door without a single thought; the static line became taut and after a slight rubber-band like jolt,  my chute deploys. One would never realize the peace that 12,000 feet in the open sky can yield. Falling at the rate of 115 mph, all the chaos of the day, all the noise, the smells, hastily dissolves, like sugar in a hot cup of tea, it all stayed with the plane.

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Healthy Byte: Day 960

Yes, that is the number of days I have obsessively logged every morsel which passed my lips and every mascara running session at the gym into MFP.

I recently celebrated my 2-year weight loss maintenance anniversary and I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount through many, many bouts with trial & error and just observations. I’d like to share this collective in hopes that it’d help others. So here goes nothing!

A recent MFP friend asked how do I stay motivated to stay active in maintenance. In my haste to publish my anniversary post I think I really missed the mark on addressing the question properly. What I initially stated was that regular exercise had simply became a mindless habit which is mostly true. However, in giving the question some additional thought, I feel that I can elaborate a bit more with more practical response. So I asked myself, ‘Self, when you are dog-tired & would much prefer to veg out in front of the computer, what does drive you to go to the gym?’ The answer is in two parts.

The first is that it is a habit for me because I absolutely thrive in routines and schedules. However, to say that is the sole driver is not 100% accurate. What keeps me going is that I continue to experience measurable progress towards my fitness goals. And this one is a bit of the chicken or the egg phenomena … let me explain.

My main mark of progress when I was losing weight, like many others, was the fickle frenemy the scale. No matter if it was 2 lbs or a mere fraction of a pound loss, every miniscule step closer to my goal, the more I was motivated to carry on with what I was doing. It is not that much different to be successful in maintenance. I shifted my focus from losing weight to fitness oriented ones, ie. gain muscle definition. Although I secretly dream of looking like this,

Day 960 JE

Photo of Jamie Eason: Former NFL cheerleader & Winner of the World’s Fittest Model Competition

I know that this is something I am unable to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s not a matter of whether I can physically accomplish it. Rather it’s a matter of being able to comply with the heavy demands necessary to achieve AND maintain which is something I am just not willing to invest the time & effort into for the-rest-of-my-life. So I opted to choose something which is more realistic for me and my lifestyle.

Enter the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Day 960 MO The First Lady’s toned shoulders and arms requires effort of course. But the ‘upkeep’ is a very sustainable amount of effort without becoming burdensome. So with a realistic goal set, an adjustment in exercise regimen, all it took was consistency and time (patience). The more muscle definition that I saw the more motivated I became. Everytime I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and see the budding toned legs, arms, or shoulders, my initial reaction was always ‘holy shit is that me?’ Immediately followed by ‘wow I never thought any part of me could ever look like that!’

So, that’s the chicken or the egg phenomena: I go to the gym and workout regularly because I am seeing positive results towards my fitness goals. And I am seeing positive results because I am going to the gym to workout regularly.

MFP Flex

6 mths Strength Training – still fairly doughy with bat wings & bra strap fat (Weights Exclusively)


12 mths Strength Training – starting to see some definition in certain positions – the progress keeps me motivated to carry on – tweaks exercises to get the most bang for the workout buck (Bodyweight Exercises Only)


18 mths Strength Training – muscle definition becoming more prominent – swapped out all my tshirts for tank tops & I always do my pushups in front of a mirror to check my body position but more importantly seeing my shoulder & arm muscles at work motivates me to really push myself to do ‘just one more’ (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

I mentioned previously how utterly ‘lost’ I felt initially in maintenance. The incremental progress during weight loss was suddenly POOF – gone. I felt as if my inner tube had been deflated leaving me in the middle of the ocean just floundering. Simply being intellectually aware that continued activity was ‘good for me’ was not enough of a motivator because to a certain extent, a part of me did have the ‘yay I’ve reached goal – I’ve crossed the proverbial finish line’ mentality. Embracing the reality that there is no finish line & that this is for the rest of my life sort of commitment, it was imperative that I set new goals to help me overcome a common transition pitfall from weight loss to maintenance.

Fitness goals doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or monumental in order to be effective. It can be a series of mini goals. ie. 2,000 steps in three months No matter what it is, it is a key factor to staying active in maintenance. Every now & again, when I hanker to skip the gym,  I ask myself, ‘is it really worth it?’ As one MFP friend very aptly described, muscle definition is a “herd-of-turtles-slow” process and so my answer 99% of the time is a resounding ‘NO.’ It’s just not worth it to me to undo all the time & effort already invested for one night of sitting on my duff at home for an extra hour or so. Hope this more in depth answer is helpful.


Need a Plan:

The key is that you need a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals and that allows you to follow through. The world’s greatest plan won’t work if it’s not right for you.

Key Behaviors of Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers:

Several key behavior changes that occurred over the year of follow-up also distinguished maintainers from regainers. Not surprisingly, those who regained weight reported significant decreases in their physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint. Thus, a large part of weight regain may be attributable to an inability to maintain healthy eating and exercise behaviors over time. The findings also underscore the importance of maintaining behavior changes in the long-term maintenance of weight loss.


Bread … oh how I love thee! It’s my standard go-to for lunch because it is easy, quick, and perfect for a busy morning rushing two kids out the door for school. But when I decided to get healthy, I needed to tweak it so that it is the healthiest version of my standard go-to. Instead of trying to force myself to eat new strange ‘healthy’ foods (ie. lettuce wrap in lieu of bread), I stuck with what I loved and simply swapped out components in order to make it healthier. As you can see below, simply by changing the bread, I saved 80 calories per sandwich, reduced carbs, & total fat/sugar intake. Which may not seem like a lot but multiply that by a week (400 calories) or a year (22,400 calories), it adds up really quickly in my favor.

2015 8-21 Incre Tip

Per 2 Slices Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Enriched Whole Grain  White Sara Lee 45 Calorie & Delightful Whole Grain Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain Difference per Sandwich
Calories 150 90 70 80
Total Calories from Fat 14 10 5 9
Total Fat 1.4 1 1 .4
Carbs 28 19 19 9
Sugar 4 2 1 3

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Healthy Byte: Mental Toughness

2015 8-21

Not all of us are naturally strong. Some have anxiety or are insecure, which easily puts cracks in your armor. So, how do you toughen up to gain the utmost confidence? Here are seven ways to mentally toughen you up!

1. They take control.

There are two types of people in the world: Those who believe in fate, and those who believe they have control over things. According to Inc, you should be the latter; stop worrying about things that happen to you and start making things happen for you.

2. They’re flexible.

Life doesn’t always go as planned. So, it’s better to be able to pivot when you need to! According to Forbes, being flexible means you’re open to the unexpected and won’t crumble when something inevitably changes.

3. They learn from their mistakes.

You can either choose to crumble from your mistakes, or make them tools for your future. Look at those slip ups as training and refrain from letting them define you. According to Inc, looking at these moments as training will toughen you up.

4. They create specific goals — then conquer them.

Sometimes, you’re mentally all over the places, because you have no direction. What are you doing? Why? When do you want to accomplish this? A Harvard study found that students who set goals tend to earn twice as much as those who had no goals. So, write down that goal, then reap the benefits.

5. They look for acceptance from themselves, not others.

Most of us want other people to like us, but strength comes from within. Ironically, many people don’t like you until you stop caring whether or not others like you. According toInc, that kind of strength is admirable, and your relationships become happier once you adopt that mindset.

6. They keep their stress in check.

Find out what helps you lower your stress level. Perhaps it’s tea, maybe it’s exercising, maybe it’s just setting aside alone time. But a study from New York University found that stress makes it harder for people to control their emotions. Want to lower your risk of bursting into tears at work? Get rid of that stress.

7. They let the little things roll off their back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. According to Inc, your mental strength is a finite supply. So, don’t wear yourself down. Although you should accept that you have control over your life, don’t turn into a control freak.

Originally Posted HERE

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Bit of Fiction: Elaborating Simple Concept [1 paragraph]

2015 8-17

Simple Sentence: He was afraid of the dark.

Elaborating Sentence:


My childhood bedroom was a converted oversized den and was rather oddly shaped. Not quite a rectangle and not quite a square. It had a rounded corner on one end and came to an abrupt acute triangle on the other, with the door offset off of the main corridor so that it was not bad feng shui. The adjoining wall to the master was a putrid pale lime green. It was comparable to various unmentionables in a newborn baby’s diaper, thankfully without the aroma. No matter – I’m certain it was very trendy or more likely, Father’s colorblindedness had bested his decorating efforts yet again. The local carpenter built a custom box bed to accommodate the odd space. The fresh smell of cut oak lingered in my room for weeks. My bed laid quietly under the large window and the the light was not bashful in flooding my room with all it’s magnificence. Even on gloomy rainy days, the light would sneak in to keep me company and bring me cheer. Right outside my window was a mountain canvassed with towering trees. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. The trees aligned themselves as if they were fans in a stadium; one taller than the other, competing for a touch from the sun. In the early mornings, I could hear the mountain run off trickling down the small waterfall. It was serene. It was peaceful. But then the night comes. And the light … the light betrays me, fails me, abandons me. The very same light which I embraced during the day turns menacing. It forsakens its obligatory shield from all things frightening. It relinquishes its welcoming glow. And in its place, dark shadows springs forth to plague my walls with their grimacing faceless forms. No two shadows were alike and they danced on my walls with such fervent wickedness. I’m not afraid of the dark, no. I’d much rather be completely submerged in darkness than be teased by the light. In complete darkness the shadows are banished from my eyes, from my mind but with the aide of the light it taunts my imagination cruelly and haunts me until I surrender to my dreams.

Healthy Byte: Planks for Every Occasion or Trouble Spots

12 Planks To Target Every Trouble Spot

(Photo by: Brook Benten)

In the realm of body contouring, planks reign supreme. After all, what other single exercise can challenge your abs, buns, thighs, shoulders, and triceps all at once? Boost their power even further—and target any trouble spot—with these fun (OK, challenging!) variations.

To turn on those total-body trembles…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: High or low plank
Lie facedown with hands underneath your shoulders. Curl your toes under to grip the floor, then straighten your arms to lift your torso off the floor. Tighten your buns and abs. From a side view, there should be a diagonal line from the lobe of the ear to the shoulder, hip, and ankle. If this is painful on your wrists, transition to low plank. Simply bend the elbows and drop the forearms down to the ground, parallel to one another. Create a fist with your hands. Low plank is every bit as challenging for the core muscles as high plank, but it alleviates pressure from the wrists. Aim to hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

To set your abs on fire…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: A stability ball variation
Place a stability ball underneath your shins, then assume plank position. Lift your hips high towards the ceiling, causing the ball to roll toward the tongue of your shoes. Hold momentarily, then slowly, resisting gravity, return to start. To make it a little easier, bend your knees and tuck the ball in towards your tummy. Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps.

To challenge your obliques…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Side plank with a twist
Assume plank position. Turn to one side and lift the top arm towards the ceiling, staggering your top leg in front of your bottom leg, coming into side plank. From there, sweep your top arm down and under your torso, as if weaving a piece of thread through the eye of a needle. Return to side plank. Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps on each side.

To pull in your waist even more…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank with cross-body tap
Assume high plank position. Lift the left foot slightly off the floor. Bring the left knee in to kiss the right triceps. Return to plank. Repeat, bringing the right knee to the left triceps. It’s OK if the knee doesn’t make it all the way in to touch the triceps! Just twist as deeply as you can, without lifting your hips to shorten the distance. Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps on each side.

To firm and flatten your low belly…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank to squat jump
Assume plank position. Jump the feet in to position them in “sumo squat” position outside of the hands. Lift your torso up to “ready” stance. Place your hands back down on the ground, and jump back to plank position. Repeat! Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps.

To really target the triceps…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Triceps dip into an inverted plank
Assume a triceps dip position, with your arms straight and low back against a chair. Perform one dip, bending your elbows deeply, allowing your back to slide down the front of the chair, as if you’re using the chair to scratch an itch. Extend the elbows back to the top of the dip, then hoist your hips as high as you can towards the ceiling to assume “inverted plank” position. Return to starting position. Repeat! Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps. If this is too challenging, omit the dip and just go from starting position to an inverted plank.

To up the toning power for your shoulders…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Push plank
Assume high plank position. Bend your right elbow to drop your right forearm to the floor, then repeat with the left arm, coming into a low plank with forearms parallel. Now press back up to high plank: Press right palm into floor and straighten your arm, then repeat with the left. Continue, alternating your leading arm with each rep. To make it easier, drop your knees to the floor. Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps.

To super-tone your back…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank rows
Assume high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Without shifting your hips, bring the right dumbbell to meet your ribcage. Return it to the floor to return to plank position, then repeat on the left side. That’s 1 rep. Aim to do 2 sets of 12 reps. To make it easier, drop your knees to the floor or do the move without dumbbells.

Goodbye, stubborn fat! Get ready for flat abs and your best body ever when you try the Ultimate Flat Belly DVD.

To add a bonus challenge for the chest…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Push-up to plank shoulder tap
Assume plank position, then walk palms out so they are slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend at the elbows to lower torso, bringing the tip of your nose down to touch the ground. Powerfully press back up to plank and tap your right hand to your left shoulder. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, tapping your left hand to your right shoulder on the next rep. Alternate which hand taps across to the other shoulder with each successive plank. Aim for 2 sets of 12 reps. To make it easier, drop your knees to the floor or omit the push-up and do plank taps only.

To lift and burn your backside…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank hip abductor
Assume plank position. Lift your right leg up and then out to the right, away from the body (as you would if forming a snow angel). Pulse right leg out to the right 3 times, then lower the leg back to starting position. Repeat on the left leg. That’s 1 rep. Aim for 2 sets of 12 reps.

To super-slim your hips and waist…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank hip dips
Assume low plank position, forearms flat and parallel to one another. Roll and drop your hips to the right, touching the top of right thigh to the ground. Return to low plank. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s 1 rep. Aim for 2 sets of 12 reps. To make it easier, shorten the range. Just barely tilt each hip down, without dropping all the way to touch the floor. Make “micro-movements,” returning to low plank between each little shift. This option is especially useful if the full range of hip dips bothers your lower back.

To tighten and tone your inner thighs…


(Photo by: Brook Benten)

Try: Plank jumping jacks
Assume plank position. Step both legs out wider, where there’s about a 2-foot gap between your legs. Perform plank jumping jacks by jumping your legs in together (where your feet touch) then jumping back to wide plank position. Repeat. Aim for 2 sets of 12 reps. To make it easier, skip the jump. Simply step your feet in, in, out, out; alternate which leg leads first. You can do this easier variation in high or low plank position.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Forty Pounds to Freedom (Q & A)

2015 8-10 QnA

Now to answer some specific questions from one of my polls of what peeps would like to know:

Q: rayw89 Have you ever caught a few extra pounds coming back on and had to curb it? And do high calorie occasions throughout the year(if you do them) have any negative effects? Thanks. 🙂

A: You bet! I do have a set weight range for maintenance which I monitor quite regularly. My normal weight flux is 93 – 95 lbs → PLEASE remember that I am ‘fun size’ at 4’10” & petite frame … the average size of a 3rd or 4th grader so that # may seem borderline anorexic to some, my height & frame has to be taken into account. My ‘danger danger Robinson’ weight is 97 lbs. In my two year maint I have reached 96 about a half dozen times from my various little eating ‘experiments.’ HAHA For example, I went through a phase where I ate an entire BOWL of popcorn every night for an after dinner snack. I gained weight like nobody’s business! lol  What I learned is that I’m one of the unfortunate souls who do not process carbs very efficiently and had to resort to alternative tactics. ie. eat my dinner later, drink lots of water, leave the kitchen right after dinner so I don’t linger around and be tempted to eat something else just because it’s readily available etc. If I am really hankering for something else, I try to chose the most satisfying and healthy option. ie. PB&J on ½ of toasted whole wheat English muffin. For the second part of the question I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘high calorie occasions’ but I do live by my own variation of the 80/20 Rule. Therefore there are indeed occasions where I have gone as far as 1200 calories over my daily allotment → think bday, anniversary, graduation in the same week – YIKES. I usually am 2-3 lbs heavier for about 48 – 76 hours after, then I go back to my normal eating pattern and my weight goes back down within the normal flux range. No real permanent negative effect as long as it is truly a once in a rare occasion sort of deal → think 2-3 times a year … maybe. And let me just clarify that the 2-3 times a year is by choice. I don’t actively avoid indulgence. It’s just now that my body is SO use to eating well most of the time, when I do indulge in junk I just feel awful for the next couple of days. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m going to die! lol It’s kind of like my body has forgotten how to process junk so it rebels with GI issues. So like Pavlov dogs, the more I feel bad every time I indulge the more I don’t because I like feeling good. Seems silly and a little lame no? Regardless how many calories I consume, I log EVERYthing. If it passes my lips I log it. Instead of being seeing that blaring red number as a teacher wagging their finger at me, I see it as nothing more but data. It helps me to identify food items which make my weight flux more than others or feel more bloated than others. It’s a good tool for analysis & reflection. For example, by having the data to analyze I was able to delineate that it wasn’t so much the carbs that was making me feel sluggish & bloated but certain food groups (FODMAP sensitivity). I’d have never been able to figure that out if I didn’t habitually log everything.

Q: drmartz55 Read a good article on PsyBlog about the psychological secret to great exercise habits, so I’d like to know what prompts you to exercise regularly?

A: ahhhh great question! This goes back to being the tortoise nor the hare. Whenever I used to want to lose weight I’d would go full throttle, gungho and go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour and a half, sometimes two full hours. The first week was awesome – “YEA I feel great!’ The second week was less awesome – ‘This is okay.’ The third week I was starting to dread going to the gym – ‘hmmm, why the hell am I doing this?’ By the fourth week I’m like –  ‘pffft whatever I’m not seeing any results anyways – why bother!’ This time, since I know I am not a gym person by nature, so I started small. I asked myself what realistically can I consistently do without feeling like it is a chore? The answer was 15 minutes twice a week. I figure that anyone can spare 15 minutes twice a week so that is what I started with. For a few months I went to the gym religiously for 15 minutes twice a week. When that became second nature I increased the duration and frequency. I bumped it up to 30 minutes three times a week. And when that became this mindless autopilot mode that I just did without thinking (like automatically putting on a seatbelt in the car without thinking about it) I increased the duration and frequency again and so on. What I didn’t know was that by approaching exercise this way, I was fundamentally inscribing a new life habit. And now, honestly, even on days when I absolutely want to just crawl into my pjs & stay home, my auto pilot mode kicks in I mindlessly change into my gym clothes & I go. Once I am physically at the gym, even if I am just dog tired and say to myself, ‘I’m just going to dial it in tonight’, I never do because once I get going, my body takes over and my brain just goes along with it. Also, in my previous failures I did classes exclusively. This time I almost never went to classes but did my own thing because the classes was set to someone else’s schedule which often times meant a 2-3 hours lag time between getting off work until class started. That lag time was very dangerous for me because once I get settled in for the night it’s much more difficult to get myself motivated to go back out. Doing things on my own meant I can come home from work, dump my work stuff, change, go to the gym, knock out my little routine, then D-O-N-E Done! This has worked much better for me and when I get bored I just YouTube or Google something else to do. 🙂

Q: vmsolko I’m wondering about the transition from losing to maintenance. I recently switched from the setting to ose 1.5lbs/week to 1lb/week and I gained 4 lbs. :/ It’s only been 2 weeks, so I’m hoping it comes off eventually as my body gets used to the extra calories. Did you ever have issues getting your body to accept your “set point” of daily calories?

A: hmmmm okay – my first question to you is have you reran your TDEE#? For example,  if someone is 5’5” at 200 lbs the BMR will be more than if the person is 5’5” at 130 lbs. Why? Simply because there is less of you → the body overall will need less calories (fuel) to function & support – the exception of course if someone is training for bodybuilding contest or Iron Man or some extraordinary physical activity. Make sense?

SO to answer your question … I actually changed very, very little from losing to maintenance – calories wise. For example, when I was losing, my daily caloric allotment was 1200 + whatever I earned from exercise, let’s say it’s 300 for a total of 1500. No matter what my total calories was for the day I would leave 200-300 to create that deficit. SO 1200 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1500 (total) – 1300 (actual consumption) = 200 deficit

In maintenance, the first thing I did was reran my TDEE. There will be a difference between 43 years old at 4’10” 136 lbs with zero and 45 years old at 4’10” 95 lbs going to the gym 6 times a week. Secondly, I didn’t really ‘increase’ my calories per say because I was never starving on 1250 – 1300 calories a day while losing. So what I did was I tried to eat more of what I earned from my exercise calories.

Using the same example above this is what a typical day would look like for me now: 1300 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1600 (total) – 1400 (actual consumption TDEE) = 200 deficit

I basically ignore MFP base calories and concentrate the daily total. And even though MFP may reward me the 300 exercise calories bringing my daily total to 1600, I would never consistently eat the full allotted 1600 because my TDEE is below that.  So to think about this logically –  if my body ONLY need 498 to support my current level of activities then it would make no sense to go over that.  To the last part of your question, no not really. I did not forcibly up my calories I just gradually ate more towards my new TDEE which was not a huge difference from losing.

That’s why I always strongly encourage people to have some idea of where one should be eating and not just blindly upping calories according to MFP because that’s what we’re suppose to do in maintenance. Just try to remember that MFP algorithms are for the average person, of the average age (36.8), and of the average height (men: 5’10” women: 5’4”) so it’s not something to put a lot of stock in if someone falls out of the ‘average’ spectrum … like me. The important thing I try to remember in maint especially is to eat based on my height,  current age & weight, and level of activities. I rerun my TDEE annually on my birthday because our calorie needs decreases as we get older. Although our actual appetite may not reflect that. haha The other thing I have really focus on in maint are macronutrients. Primarily because my fitness routine & goals are different. Since I am doing less cardio & more strength trng, I do feel more satisfied longer with more protein. SO I have upped my protein, lower my fat and maintain the carbs. This tweaking helped me a lot. Hope all that makes sense.

Q: blc1971 Transition tips would be great! Also, weight fluctuations, your set-point (if you have one), weight range, etc. Plus anything you want to share!!

A: hmmmm … my weight flux is about 1-2 lbs on any given day. Maybe up to three during that lovely time of the month. lol My typical weight range is 93 – 95 lbs & my danger weight is 97 lbs. I really had no official transition because I made incremental changes throughout losing so once it was time for maint I just pretty much carried on just like any other day with some tweaking here & there as my goals change from losing weight to fitness oriented ones. ie. muscle definition SO SORRY …  that was probably an incredibly lame answer but by the time maint came around, all the new habits have taken root so it was more a matter of continuing to get the most ‘bang for my buck’ approach.

Overall I think maint should be more about balance and allowances for ‘life’ happens. For example, during the months when the hubs & I were running into the four winds with kiddos spring sports I didn’t get to work out regularly. The old me would have had a complete melt down of how I’m was going to gain weight and be fat again – a thought which horrifies me. But the new me understood that and I control what I could control … which was my eating. So during spring, I ate pretty much on plan near 100% of the time to compensate for the lack of exercise. Maint is about incorporating everything we’ve learned from losing weight and being flexible. Otherwise we’re going to drive ourselves completely mad! lol

HB Sig