Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dieting is like Banking

I like to think of my body as a bank account and calories like money. Every day I receive a small allowance of calories to spend on food. This meets my basic needs for weight loss, but I also have the option to exercise to earn extra calories for more food. I can save up my calories and those go toward my deficit so I can lose weight faster.

This analogy really helps me stay on track every day. These are the things I think about every day.

Budget Wisely

Just as you would calculate a budget for your household expenses to make sure you are living within your means, you need to budget your calories to make sure you're not getting fat, but still getting everything your body needs. Calories Consumed - Calories Burned = Net Calories. It's a very simple formula, however figuring out the numbers to plop into the equation can be time consuming. It's worth it though! And it gets easier to do the more you do it, especially with all the sites out there you  can sign up to use for free.

Choosing The Right Investment Strategy

Now that you've got your budget under control, you need to think about your investment strategy. We know in the banking world that what works for one person, may not work for you and the true is same for dieting. Eating fewer calories than you burn is only half the battle. You need to eat the foods that are right for you.

Eating 2 Pop-Tarts for breakfast is not a good investment strategy for my body. I would much rather spend 400 calories on more nutrient dense foods that provide the many things Pop-Tarts are lacking. Maybe you really love Pop-Tarts though and are able to make it work for you.

No matter what type of diet you decide to follow, you need to find a ratio of protein to carbs to fat that works for you, keeps you feeling full and satisfied, and gives you energy for your day. Personally, I'm finding that my ratio of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat is working for me. It's a moderate approach and it makes me happy.

Stay Out of Debt

Just as you shouldn't make purchases with a credit card you know you can't pay back later, don't eat extra calories that you know you're not going to work off later. I always earn my calories first by exercising before spending them on food I can't afford to eat. Plus, it's so much more rewarding to take that first big bite and know you had to sweat hard to get it. Someone once told me it's easier to work toward a goal rather than work off the guilt. True words!

On that note, this week I need to work extra hard so I can take the long weekend off. I'm going up north to visit one of my best friends and I don't want to be consumed by calorie counting. I still want to make good choices, and I know there will be opportunities for exercise, but I don't want to obsess. I sometimes obsess.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Chili is not something I would ever order at a restaurant. The only chili I've ever really liked is my dad's recipe. He doesn't have the recipe written down and he's never told it to me, but I've spent some years trying to recreate it.

I'm not one of those chili purists either. I believe that "real" chili is for the foodie snobs who have nothing better to do than write food blogs and complain. All recipes are adaptations from other recipes and I think a little variation is always a good thing, especially in cooking!

With that being said, I put beans in my chili! Today I used black beans and pinto beans. I also used beer in my recipe. It made the chili smell so sweet! Chili powder, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, and lots of garlic too, very hot and spicy. I don't like stewed or diced tomatoes, so I just used crushed. I also added a bit of salsa and red onions. Then there's the corn, the ground beef and of course, dad's secret ingredient, peanut butter.

I let it simmer on the stove for 2 hours. I would have just used the crockpot, but it's not big enough. This huge pot of chili can feed 6 men! A cup and a half of my chili is 420 calories, 8.6g of fibre, 29.2g of protein, and 99% of your daily intake of iron. I consistently have low iron and I take supplements, so that is major for me!

I paired my bowl with some focaccia bread and a bit of butter. Boom 600 calories in total! What a delicious, filling, healthy meal that doesn't break the Calorie Bank. I don't think my chili will ever taste exactly like dad's, but this version here deserves an index card to be added to the recipe box.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Healthy Living

Food tastes so much better when you work for it! I'm back on Calorie Count and I'm really impressed with my progress so far. Since Friday I've lost 1 pound! I was really upset over the weekend because when I weighed myself on Friday, I hadn't made any progress and then I got drunk on Saturday and had drunken onion rings and a turnover from A&W.

But I also did a lot of walking on the weekend. We had 2 hour long walks as a family and I did watch what I ate very carefully on Saturday and Sunday, (minus the booze and fast food, which was well over 2000 calories just by itself.)

Today I've been having fun keeping track of what I eat and it's getting easier to live on less. Last night I was starving so bad, I made a box of Kraft dinner at midnight. I just had a single portion and put the rest in the fridge, but I was hungry enough to eat the whole box. It took a lot of will power.

I had a walking friends date and we walked for a solid 90 minutes and just chatted about our lives. It was so nice, but now my hips are so sore because I did 3 rounds of tabata this morning too. I love walking friend dates. Instead of sitting on our asses talking, we can work off our asses talking. It's a win win situation. In fact, I think all my friend dates are going to active from now on. Why spend $20 at a restaurant when we could spend $10 and go bowling instead! I'm on to something....

Anyway, when I got inside from walking and put Tesla down for her nap, I realized it was time for a snack. I had 4 low sodium Triscuit crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a container of low fat Greek yogourt. It was so delicious I actually said mmm more than once. I worked hard for that snack! I really savoured it.

I know 1 pound probably doesn't seem like much, but I'm really trying my hardest and I'm going to take this small victory and build on it. I have an end date in mind for when I want to reach my goal weight, but we'll talk about that later. Cheers, to healthy living!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elmo Singing With The Stars

I saw this DVD in the bargain bin at Superstore. It was $9 and I thought, this might be okay for the daycare kids. I've yet to meet a child that dislikes Elmo and there were some pretty famous artists singing on this DVD, so maybe I might like it too.

I popped it in today after lunch for the kids. I laughed hysterically through much of the video. The 3 year old kept asking what I was laughing about and I had tears in my eyes. I don't know what it was, but it was just so funny to me. I could be losing my mind.

Almost all the songs were parodies, but there was one song by Ricky Gervais that I laughed really hard at.

Just awesome! I also really enjoyed My Triangle by James Blunt.

And REM's Furry Happy Monsters was pretty good too.

Other artists I either enjoyed or laughed really hard at because I couldn't believe they were being parodied were Goo Goo Dolls, N'Sync, Destiny's Child, Fiest, and Alicia Keys. I was excited Adam Sandler was one of the artists, but his bit wasn't very good. And it ended kind of weird too, like he was trying to get away from Elmo.

This DVD was well worth the $9 and I'm so glad I bought it! It's so hard to find age appropriate music for kids that's complex sounding. So many kids tunes are just sort of simple and silly if you know what I mean. It's repetitive in an annoying way, or it's just boring to listen to. Sometimes when I put on the Galaxie Kids Stuff station I hear a good song or two, but most of it is just meh.

I'd be curious to find out if there are any children's music artists working in the rock, alternative, or indy genres. Most kids songs are too bubblegum pop for me. Is there a market for children's speed metal? The thought of it makes me giggle. I should send out fan letters to unsuspecting artists and ask them to write a children's song for me.

This blog is getting off topic now. I'll leave on that note.
To be continued....

Monday, July 8, 2013


Today I started a new exercise program. It's called Tabata and it was invented in Japan. I don't know for certain that it's a more efficient way to exercise or that you'd get faster results using the Tabata method, but I really liked what I've read about it and I've decided to give it a shot since it fits my lifestyle.

The basic flow of Tabata is that you do 8 exercise for 20 seconds each and then rest for 10 seconds in between for a grand total of 4 minutes of exercise. This is considered 1 Tabata.

The point is that it is a very high-intensity exercise. You're supposed to go your absolute hardest for the full 20 seconds. You can use any exercises you like, including aerobic and anaerobic. You could do 8 different exercises, or just use one exercise per Tabata. How many Tabatas you do in a row is up to you. The more you do the better, of course!

Today I did just one Tabata with 8 different exercises. I'm easing my way into it since it is pretty hard on the body. My goal is to do 3 Tabatas a day, 5 days a week by mid August and I'll adjust my Tabata design as I get in better shape. I'm also keeping track of of my progress by charting how many reps I can do in the 20 seconds to see if I'm improving at all.

Four minutes of exercise seems like a joke compared to those who go for 2 hour runs, but any exercise is better than no exercise. Once I reach my goal, I'll be meeting the minimum 1 hour of vigorous exercise a week that healthy adults need.

Next on the list... work on my diet!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oven-Baked Babies

A toddler in Edmonton died after being left alone in a hot car. He didn't actually die in the car, but later in hospital. The car was locked when police arrived and when they pulled him out the temperature outside was above 30 degrees Celsius. That blows my mind. How hot and stuffy do you think it was inside that car?

It's so easy for children to fatally overheat. They don't have the sweat glands adults do and can't cool down their bodies. A lot of times they can't even tell you that they're dehydrated. Leaving the window down a crack doesn't help pets or kids. It's just wrong and plain ignorant to leave them unattended in a car no matter what the weather and no matter what the errand!

Growing up, I spent lots of time waiting in the car while my mom or dad ran in to get something. My mom would do it when I was older, like 11, so there weren't as many risks there. Except maybe being abducted, but the chances of that happening are pretty low, especially if the doors are all locked.

My Dad however, is a different story. He'd drive over to the bar in Richer, buy a big bag of cherries from the BC Fruit stand and I would sit in the truck alone with the window rolled down to spit out the pits while Dad went in to buy a case of beer, (and also drink some beer and probably play pool.) It always seemed like he was gone a long time, but it couldn't have been more than hour. I was much younger... maybe 8 or 9, sometimes my little sister was with me. We could have been abducted for sure, but with the windows all the way down and the cherries to eat, I doubt we would have gotten heat stroke. It did get pretty hot in that truck and I remember feeling very thirsty!

I can't imagine doing that with Tesla. You'd think times have changed since when we were young, but when so many kids are dying while waiting for their parents in a locked car, it really makes you wonder if our society has learned anything at all. With all the improvements we've made to car seats, cribs, and laws regarding kids wearing proper helmets and safety gear, how is it that there are still kids today dying from being over heated? We have plenty of fresh water, air conditioning, fancy strollers, and yet children die in hot cars. Are the parents just too lazy to bring them into the supermarket with them?

Yes, it would be easier to leave Tesla in the car while I run into the bank quick, but you don't have children to make your life easier. If you feel safe enough to leave your kid alone in the car, maybe just leave your kid at home alone instead. (I don't think it's safe to leave a 3 year old home alone though.)

I'm just going to throw this out there, though I really shouldn't have to: If you have a kid or pet in your care... don't leave him or her in the car alone. If you are in a parking lot and you spot a dog or a child alone in the car, break the window and call police. It's not illegal if you're doing it to save a child or animal's life. You don't know how long it's going to take the police to come, that's why you always break the window first. Otherwise a forgotten child could die waiting for help.