Some people say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but I've also heard 28 days. Since I'm stubborn and a slow learner, I'm giving myself a month to establish a new habit. This blog will document each month's habits. Please join me!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Food Journaling Habit -- The stats are revealing

Although I've been lax in posting on my blog, I've definitely been journaling my food this month.  There have been days when I've really really not wanted to write something down, but those are the days that need it the most. Although I didn't like writing down Saturday's tortilla chips or Sunday's brownie, it did motivate me to stop before things got totally out of hand...or from hand to mouth to hips. 

Being the data junkie that I am, I have a spreadsheet where I log everything.  This is what I did last week in terms of macro nutrients, food points plus and activity points.   It's not 100% true to Weight Watchers Points Plus program because I logged all my fruits and vegetables too, and they're counted in the data.  So, I allow myself a couple extra points a day for those items.   This week I ended up with only a couple points to spare. The scale says I broke even from last Monday to today, although mid-week I was lower.

fat carb Fiber Grams protein Food  Pts+ Activity Points Total (goal is 26-31)
mon 21.9 140.5 15.7 75.3 26.5 4.2 22.3
tues 26.5 179.7 19.1 86.4 32.7 0 32.7
wed 36.2 272.6 38 71.2 42.4 11.4 31
thu 32.6 186.2 19.1 76.6 34.1 4 30.1
fri 54 233.3 30.3 60.2 42.3 1.6 40.7
sat 57.7 198.7 17.1 66 41.1 2.5 38.6
sun 49.9 237.5 22.4 67.8 43.0 7.3 35.7

This data is pretty revealing. The weekend was a higher intake than the rest of the week.  I think the fat consumption was a bit high Friday - Sunday. I need further research to figure out what an acceptable range is.  The other thing that really jumps out at me is that I'm not eating nearly as much fiber as I thought I was. It's definitely below the 25 grams/day that is recommended for women.   I eat a a lot of fruits and veges, eat brown rice instead of white and generally eat whole grain breads.  But, I need to do better especially with my sluggish digestive system.  We all know the benefits of fiber: helps us stay regular, decreases risk of digestive cancers, makes us feel full longer, etc.  So, what's a girl to do?

One approach I don't want to take is to eat the fiber infused stuff that tastes like cardboard.  There's a specific tortilla that I'm thinking of.  Blech! I put that in the fake food category.  My options?

Well, there's a big clue for you at the top of this post.  You guessed it:  more popcorn is at the top of my list.  I am a popcorn junkie and it's really high in fiber. When I was in high school, one Christmas I got an air popper and a 50 pound bag of popcorn.  Did I say I was a popcorn addict?  Can you tell which day I had some last week?  Yup, Wednesday. Air popped popcorn has 3.5 grams of fiber for every 3 cups.  Unfortunately, plain air popped popcorn takes like styrofoam so it needs to be seasoned.  Generally I'm opposed to fake food, but I am willing to put on a few squirts of spray "butter" rather than the real thing for the sake of a couple hundred calories.  My quest should be to find alternate, real-food ways of getting seasonings to stick.

Check back the next couple of days to see what else I'm doing to increase my fiber and what else I've figured out about the proper range of these macronutrients. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Food Journaling Habit -- Smashing Pumpkins

On of the best things about Fall is the pumpkins and all the delicious pumpkin dishes -- pie (of course), pancakes, muffins, scones -- anyone else reminded of Forrest Gump yet?  Anyway, we got a pumpkin in our CSA last week so the pumpkin creations have started.  Isn't it pretty?  This kind of pumpkin is called a Cinderella pumpkin due to its shape.  It looks like Cinderella's coach. 

The first step of dealing with one of these big guys is attempting to cut it open to bake it.  After nearly chopping my fingers off in the past, I've finally come up with an injury free method of opening it up. I take it out to the sidewalk and drop it a few times.  Seriously, it works and I don't get hurt. The inspiration for this came from all the smashed pumpkins in the neighborhood after Halloween.  It's kind of pathetic that I'm inspired by vandals, but there it is.

After cleaning out the seeds, always with the intention of baking them and then never doing it, bake the pieces at 350 for an hour or so.  Once it's done and cooled enough to not scorch you, scoop it out and put it in the food processor or blender and whir away.  I froze 14 cups of pumpkin and put the other 8 cups in the fridge to use.

So how does all of this fit into this month's goal?  Well, I got to "journal" two pieces of pumpkin pie.  Although very tasty, at 8 Points Plus or 265 calories, it's just not a good idea to have pie every day.  Enter, the internet search for low calorie pumpkin recipes.  There are a lot, and this one on Snack Girl's site looked pretty good.   


Microwave Pumpkin Custard

(Makes 1 serving)
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 packet stevia or 1 tbsp brown sugar (add 1 pt for brown sugar)

1. Combine all ingredients well in a small bowl.
2. Pour into a small mug or ramekin, sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Microwave for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until firm.
4. Top with yogurt, low calorie, whipped cream, nuts, or a touch of honey.

If using stevia:  Calories: 111.7 calories, 5.3 g of fat, 9.6 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 7.5 g protein WW Points+: 2 points+, 3 points+ if you count the pumpkin

I used brown sugar because baked stevia doesn't taste right to me.  Verdict:  It's a tasty, healthy dessert that's easy to make.  Next time I'm going to try maple syrup and will add a touch more spice. I'll also zap it for 2:20 instead of 2:30 because it was a bit rubbery. 

UPDATE: I made this again, nuking it for 2:20,  with a tad more pumpkin pie spice and instead of brown sugar I mixed 2 tsp maple syrup into the pumpkin concoction and drizzled 1 tsp in the bottom of the ramekin before pouring the concoction in.  These adjustments made an already tasty dessert even better.  The spice was just right, the texture was firm yet creamy and it was sweet enough.  In fact, for me, it was a bit too sweet, so next time I'll add 1 tsp to the mixture and 1 tsp in the bottom of the ramekin.   BTW, if you want to decrease the calorie count, you can substitute 2 egg whites for the single egg.  It cuts the calories by 40ish and eliminates all the fat. 

Snack Girl has a bunch of other pumpkin recipes that I'm eager to try.    

Monday, October 8, 2012

Food Journaling Habit -- First Week

Wow, writing down everything you eat is a little too enlightening!  With the magic of the internet, you can even find out how much damage you did eating in a restaurant. For those of you who are wondering, it's safe to say that consuming 1500 calories in one meal is a tad over my daily budget.  And, I felt gross later that night and the next day. Note to self: plan your order before going to the restaurant.  If you can't do that, as in this case which  was a spur of the moment meal, ask for the nutritional information or look it up online on your phone if you can. 

In spite of my major back-sliding Saturday night, I was down a pound for the week.  Early in the week I was actually down almost 3 pounds, so I'm hopeful that this week will be more. 

It's been interesting comparing Lose It! to Weight Watchers.  If you actually join WW and go to the meetings, you get all the education and support, which you don't get with a phone app.  Going to meetings isn't really not my thing, and I'm cheap, so everything I know about the current WW plan is what I've found online.  Overall, I've found that the amount I eat based on the Weight Watchers Points Plus plan and the Lose It! app are pretty much the same.  There may be a few calories or points differences in my daily goals, but overall, the end result is the same.  I think the key is being conscious  about what you're eating. 

Check back later for some low cal/low points, but pretty filling meals and snacks. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Personal Challenge -- Food Journaling

Now that I've gotten into a great exercise routine, the next step is to really make sure I'm conscious about what I'm putting into my body.  My plan is to record my food intake through both the Lose It app and Weight Watchers Points Plus.  After trying to squeeze into a couple pairs of pants recently, it's time to drop 15 pounds.  My goal is to have it gone by Christmas.

About 10 years ago I used the Winning Points system and it worked really well.  Unfortunately, I stopped counting my points and eventually my weight started creeping back up.  I don't go to WW meetings so don't have the official Points Plus information, but there's so much available online, that I think I'll be pretty close.

With the  Lose It! app you record your daily food and exercise and it lets you know how you're doing in relation to your goals.  It interfaces nicely with the Fitbit, so it's really handy. 

I won't bore you with what I eat every day, but will share some of the best low cal/low points meals that I create.  My biggest challenge is trying to eat within a low calorie range while my teenage athletes need to eat 4-5000+ calories per day. 


Daily Exercise Habit -- Month in Review

After exercising almost every day last month, the dog and I are in much better shape!  Exercise became a habit and the two days that I didn't exercise, I didn't feel right.  My energy level was much improved, which is a huge bonus.  Although exercise does take a chunk of time, I  think that the time I spent exercising is off-set by my increased productivity the rest of the day.

We've been blessed with a dry and pretty sunny September which made getting out and walking much easier.  The true challenge will be when the lousy weather hits, probably very soon.  I'll keep yo posted.