Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What is So Wrong with Wheat?

I was recently asked this after posting a pic of my wheatless meal on Facebook (a yummy steak with bell peppers, both cooked on the grill). 

Remember that I started this 30 day experiment basically in the dark with the intention of doing my research at the same time.  So, being 10 days in I am by no means an expert.  But, here is what I've learned so far.

  • The wheat of today, is not the wheat of the past (way, way past).  Hybrids instigated by man have been created to be able to produce more.  (Instigated by man indicates not natural).  Modern strains of wheat would not be able to survive in the wild.
  •  Causes visceral fat which gathers around your middle.  "Unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body." - Wheat Belly
  • Causes high blood sugar. 
  • Wheat is an appetite stimulant.
These are just a few of the things that are "wrong with wheat", but they are the few that make sense to this normal person who is neither a doctor nor in the depths of years of research.  My favorite quote so far from Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis is, "Wheat is therefore the great disrupter.  It's the floozy girlfriend of the midlife crisis male, busting apart the entire happy family."  This quote was made in reference to what wheat does to our ph levels. 

I was also asked today if I'm a believer yet.  I originally said that I might be admitting to you that I am succumbing to the latest fad.  I will tell you that I believe in the benefits of giving up wheat, but I'm not willing to concede yet that it isn't a fad.  Only time will tell for that.  Here is why I believe in the benefits of giving it up.

  • Apparently, somewhere around Day 7 I stopped snoring.  This is according to my (very happy) boyfriend who used to hear me snoring from the bedroom while he watched movies or played video games in the living room.
  • I have lost approx. a pound a day without physical activity.  I'm getting started with the exercise so I'm excited to see the impact of combining the two.
  • I have been more productive after work.  I have not been known to be incredibly domestic and Pre-Wheat Belly I would come home and immediately go to the living room and sit till it was time to go to bed (of course while grazing ALL NIGHT).  Now I come home, do homework, clean, or cook.  And as mentioned before, now exercise. 
  • I've completed tasks that I've been saying for months I either needed or wanted to do.  I believe that is the lifting of the brain fog that they describe.
  • In the past couple of days I have not experienced the mid-day slump that I used to.
  • I am no longer thinking about food, other than when I need to in order to prepare.  I hardly even notice when my wheat-eating boyfriend is eating something that is a no-no for me. Emotional eating has vanished.
So, if the status quo remains I will be continuing past the 30 day mark.  I have seen only benefits and no adverse affects at this point. 

It is exciting to start seeing progress and feeling good.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Losing Weight = More Time In the Kitchen

Astonishingly, yes. 

Today is the last day of Week 1 of my Wheat Belly experiment.  I would say over all, it has been successful.  I'm not going to give you a number this week because I'm not 100% sure where I started.  I did get on the scale on Day 1, but it was actually quite a bit higher than it had been 2 days before so I'm not sure how accurate a number it was.  I will say that the scale has gone down every day.

But I'm finding it hilarious how much time I've spent in the kitchen.  What types of things have I been eating? 

  • eggs
  • chicken salad
  • summer sausage
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • pork
  • steak
  • bell peppers
  • cucumbers
  • nuts
  • fruit leather
  • bread
  • cheesecake
  • donuts

Did I just say bread, cheesecake, and donuts?  Isn't this a wheat-free diet?  Why, yes I did.  And, yes it is. 

I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen hard boiling eggs, preparing lunches and dinners for the next day, and trying out some wheat-free recipes to make some things that I might miss or add some fun things into the experiment.

I will not be sharing the actual recipes here for copyright reasons.   All of the recipes described in this post came from the Wheat Belly (30 minutes or less) Cookbook. 

First I made Sandwich Bread.  The cookbook has you start out making an All-Purpose Mix that you will be able to use in many recipes.  It consists of almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed.  It is the main ingredient in the Sandwich Bread.

The bread was pretty short because it did not have a rising agent in it.  At first I was thinking that I would buy a different kind of pan, but then decided against it because even wheat-less - who needs that much bread?  The bread was also dry.  Next time I'm going to try it with some applesauce in it to see if that moistens it up.

I also made mayonnaise from the cookbook.  I have been encouraged to try to make my own now for a while but resisted.  Since the cookbook's recipe had very few ingredients and promised quick results, I decided to try. 

The recipe calls for white wine vinegar to attempt to preserve it a little longer.  I did find my end result had a little bit of a vinegar smell.  However, the consistency was just like Hellman's mayonnaise.  The recipe was a little big for me.  Made way too much so I will be adjusting with the amount of oil I use in the future.  And my chicken salad was DELICIOUS!

I also made Breakfast Cheesecake and Cinnamon Donuts this weekend.  I would say that my cheesecake has too much of a vanilla taste...I MAY have put one too many teaspoons of extract in the batter.  The Cinnamon Donuts were incredibly easy and tasted awesome out of the oven.  I'm anxious to see what my family thinks about them this afternoon.

UPDATE: I'm finishing this post after the family gathering and the donuts were a HIT.

The amount of baking that I'm doing will probably halt soon because I really don't need to be eating the carbs whether they are wheat-less or not. But, I am doing an experiment and part of it is to learn how you can eat sweets without wheat.  I have put the left-over donuts in the freezer so they are there when I need them.
Onward to Week 2!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wheat Belly????

Have you heard of it?

Let me start by saying that part of me is afraid that I'm about to tell you I'm falling into the latest diet fad.  This may be true.  I have no idea.  I'm just in the beginning stages of my research and decided that instead of waiting till I've made up my mind, I'm going to include experimentation as the main part of my research. 

Everyone knows that I'm a huge advocate for Weight Watchers.  That hasn't changed.  I believe that it is the best way for someone to lose weight with minimal deprivation. 

Part of the key here is "to lose weight."  I don't know if it is with age or the different type of people I surround myself with, including what fills my newsfeeds, but I've crossed the line from it being about losing weight to it being about a healthy lifestyle. 

Back to Wheat Belly possibly being a fad.  Its the same way that I have seen the Atkins diet up until now.  I did Atkins.  I was very successful on Atkins the first time I did it.  I lost 60 pounds.  But the minute I diverted, I gained it all back and then some.  And no one I knew that had done the diet had lost the weight for good.  They all had the same experience as me. 

First Reason I'm Willing To Try This Possible Fad:

What I've been doing hasn't been working.  I should rephrase this to say that what I had been doing from October 2011, until January 12, 2014, hadn't been working.  What happened as of January 12?  I gave up soda for good.  I have only had one since.  Then, on January 20th, I started a low carb diet.  I did not do this as strict as maybe I would have hoped I would.  But for the most part, at least throughout the week, I was pretty good at sticking to it.  The weekends were a little shakier, but I didn't gain weight through them, so I consider it a success. 

Since January 20th, I have lost 9 pounds. 

From what I've read so far, Wheat Belly is just taking my low carb eating to a new level.  I will be eliminating wheat and all forms of it from my diet.  When some read this, they will think this is just a matter of eliminating bread.  But what I'm learning is that it also means eliminating close to ALL processed food from my diet.  I will have to be very careful to read labels of the food that have them and make sure that there are no wheat ingredients the name wheat or any other name. 

Second Reason I'm Willing To Try This Possible Fad:

Sometimes, fads turn into something more.  I honestly believe that people are more health conscious than they were 10 or 15 years ago.  True, there are people that have already been leading healthy lifestyles.  But don't you agree that in the past 5 years, the number of people that you work with that run or workout on a regular basis has grown.  That there are more and more people in your life eating clean or, at the very least, cleaner?  Lets face it, if you are reading my blog, then more than likely this is the case. 

Even if you are the person that has always lived a healthier lifestyle, I'm sure that you can say that it has become easier for you to convince friends to come out and join you, whether it be run a race or do an aerobic class. 

Since the number of friends leading a healthy lifestyle has grown for me, I'm seeing more research on how what we eat affects us.  I believe that the chemistry of what we put in our bodies has an affect on us. 

Combine Reason 1 & 2:

Can you think of people in your life that you SEE go to the gym on a regular basis or walk every night that are still overweight or even obese?  Can you think of people that you really don't see eat exorbitant amounts and actually eat what looks like pretty healthy food, but are still overweight or even obese?  I would be shocked if you said you didn't know ANYONE like that.  There are a lot of athletes that are overweight. 

Atkins may have not been a fad if people were ready to listen.  At the time that the Atkins diet was popular, I believe people were only looking for a way to lose weight.  I know I was.  I don't remember ever thinking of getting healthy.  I never thought of lifestyle changes.  I thought of getting myself to the right size quickly so that I could then eat what I wanted. 


In the spirit of not continuing to do what's not working and hoping for a better result as well as the knowledge that some things look like fads when they first start and turn out to have longevity, I'm going to try out this Wheat Belly plan.

I am going to start a 30 Day Challenge tomorrow.  I have purchased the Wheat Belly book to read and help with motivation as well as do my research during the 30 days.  I have also purchased the Wheat Belly 30 Minute or Less Cookbook to aid in making sure I have the tools to plan ahead. 

I will be blogging about my experience and posting what I've learned as part of my research.

Through my research and experiment, maybe we will learn whether we should consider this a fad or something to start living by. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

So Open About Failure/12 POUNDS!

Yesterday I wrote my first blog post since August.  I've written less than 15 posts in 2013.  In 2011 I wrote 77 blog posts.

Before writing the post yesterday, I considered not doing it.  I thought to myself that maybe I should get started and if things really take off, then I'll start blogging again.

Some people think it's odd that I am so open about my weight loss journey.  I also think that there are some people that may have saw my post yesterday and thought at least 1 of a few things:

  1. Here we go again.
  2. She hasn't done anything in months, what can she have to write about?
  3. How can she be so open about failure?

I know that my actions haven't been behind my words of the desire to be healthier.  Unfortunately, the only thing I was putting where my mouth is was the food.

But I don't consider any of this failure.  A wall, yes.  Stumbling block, yes.  Hurdle, yes.  But failure, no.

The mistake we have all made in the past is to not take the steps to get where we need to be.  And having set backs is one of the steps....for some of us, 5 of the steps - maybe even more. 

Others I think wonder why I put this all out there because surely it is embarrassing to be at the stage I am now and need so desperately to get healthier.  Well, the answer to that is.....maybe a little bit. 

But, then I get an email like this one and I'm no longer embarrassed...I'm motivated. 

Hey Jennifer! I saw your posts today and wanted to say how happy I am for you. I KNOW that it is very emotional to hit that point and feel like you have to start over and that it needs to be done. I hit that point back in September at a doctor's visit. I knew that I had let my weight sneak back up and that I was always feeling miserable, but for someone else to see how much I weighed floored me. I came home and cried my eyes out and then made some decisions. I decided that I was tired of my body hurting, of being so tired, of not enjoying activities with my kids, of hating my clothes not to mention how uncomfortable they were, and the list goes on. But I was also tired of feeling like I had always failed. There is so much emotion behind everything we do. I had to face that I am definitely an emotional eater. "Having a bad day, let's bake brownies!" Lol! I had never thought if myself as someone that avoids things until I took a hard look at that. Anyway... my whole point of all of this is that I understand the emotional ups and downs and want you to know that you have my support! Find what works for YOU! I realized that I need someone to TELL me what to do. So I asked my doctor for help. I also know that I am a person that enjoys organization, so I made myself my own binder full of everything for my weight loss journey. And I decorated Cheezy I know, but it works for me! I plastered motivational quotes that I love all over it! And I have sections for measurements, food planning and recipes, spiritual wellness, papers from doctor visits, anything that is important to me regarding this. Be happy for yourself for making this decision! I am happy for you because I know how good it feels to start feeling proud of myself again. I want that for you as well.

What an awesome email.  I can't tell you how much it meant to me.  And it really points to the reason why I don't let embarrassment stop me from posting about my journey.  Because almost all of us have been on the same journey.  We've all thought we were ready and then made choices that said otherwise.  People hit THAT POINT at different time frames.  And like me, a lot of people had made great progress, just to slide backwards like they were on a steep rollercoaster.  But the only thing that says is that we know what to do to be successful. 

So, with that being said....I'm going to tell the world an embarrassing fact I discovered this morning...

Since I've started my new job, I've gained TWELVE POUNDS.  I haven't been in this new job for 3 full months!  If I wasn't serious yesterday when I said I was getting this thing started, sh&t got real today. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12 Faces of Jennifer

I have been on vacation for the past week and I've gotten so much done.  I have said before that I kind of run on beginnings and endings.  One of the things that I did on this vacation is finish my last assignment for my Philosophy class, my first semester back to school. 

The other thing I did was prepare for the beginning of my next phase in my fitness journey.  Technically, that phase is starting tomorrow when I also return to work. 

I would like to make a list why it is important to make the change that I'm seeking.  This way when I start to sway from my goal, I can look back at this post for a reminder of what I'm looking to accomplish.
  1. No more acid reflux (this goes as #1 simply because I am in so much pain RIGHT NOW because of it)
  2. Move better
  3. Better mood
  4. Lessen the chance of Diabetes
  5. Cuter clothes
  6. Less expensive clothes
  7. Feel accomplished
  8. Spend more time with my friends
  9. Not have to take so much medicine
  10. Just feel better overall
  11. Some other reasons that even this open book isn't willing to put in print
Today I'm starting a monthly tradition.  On the first of every month, I'm going to take a face picture.  Looking forward to seeing the progress.  I took it kind of spur of the moment today, so it isn't a great one.  But, that wasn't suppose to be the point anyway.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Changes & Slow Progress

Tonight I attended my 9th Weight Watcher's meeting in a row.

In those 9 weeks I've lost exactly 2.8 pounds.

Some would be upset by this.  Discouraged.

A lot of people would probably quit.

Very few would put it in writing on a blog to be published out on the internet, where nothing can ever really be deleted.

I would be lying if I said that I didn't wish that number was bigger.  Obviously, I am doing this, paying for this because I would like to see a difference.

And anyone that knows me, knows that I've been analyzing this.  Analyzing my progress.

First off, here is what I can say.  I'm no heavier than I was 10 weeks ago.  If I had not been going to Weight Watcher meetings for the past 9 weeks, I am most certain that I would not be able to say that.  Before I walked back through the WW doors, I was on a very fast track to creating a new "heaviest I've ever been."

While my weight loss number is not big, I definitely have created better habits.  Some that I don't even believe I'm aware of.  Before I stepped on the scale this evening, I said to Kelly (the gal weighing me), "I don't know how this is going to turn out; I've been on vacation."  Not only have I been on vacation, but I've been on vacation by myself.  Time spent alone is some of the most dangerous time for me.  I have a much easier time exercising will power when there is someone around to hold me accountable.

Kelly's response, "Well.  You stayed exactly the same, so you are doing something right."

I think most people would agree that to be on vacation and to not gain, even an ounce, is a great accomplishment.  Which means, while I feel like I've over done it, somewhere I've subconsciously recognized what my limits should be.

I am not upset by my slow progress.

I feel like to be upset by my progress would happen only if I am comparing myself to others and their progress.  And I'm just not going to do that to myself.

Weight Watchers puts a lot of focus on routines, and I agree that it is a huge part of my failure or success. 24 months ago, I had lost 50 pounds.  I attribute that to two things:

  • Planning (meals)
  • Regular and rigorous activity
A change 21 months ago created a lack of stability and I never got control over it.

It was 9 weeks ago that I finally got enough stability that I felt I could start attending the weekly meetings. But, I still have been undergoing A LOT of change.

A little over a month ago I moved from the account I had spent the last 20 months on (and that had me running ragged - not in the good activity kind of way) to a temporary assignment for myself.  This change was greatly welcome.  But, it was a new wrench in the stability of my routine.

This change was easier to get used to than the original account.  However, it was temporary.  For most of the month of July, I had no idea of how long this temp assignment would be.  That in itself creates some unease and stress.

I am now getting ready to start my next new assignment.  This one is considered permanent.  On Wednesday, when I return from my vacation, I will be reporting to my new team as a Team Leader.  It is a job I'm familiar with on an account that I've actually taken phone calls for (I work in a call center).

There is stability on the horizon!

I will be joining the gym again this week, as it is right next door to the building I will be working in.  I know that having my own place at work with my own team and my own tasks, control over my own habits (I know you would think that I always had this...but if you only new...), and then adding the activity that I have soooooo loved is going to make the difference to start pushing the needle towards great improvement.

I am adding school to the agenda which will be a challenge for me, but I am sure that the positive effects of finally feeling back at home at work and the physical activity will make me successful in my classes as well.

And finally, I know that right now I don't have the most active blog or fitness page...and I apologize to those who follow me that are looking for more.  I do believe that is another change that is coming on real soon within the coming weeks.  But for right now, I've decided to be happy with posting as I feel inspired and I hope that everyone feels that when I do post, I have something good to say.  :o)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

About Weight Watchers

I've been surprised this week how many people aren't familiar with Weight Watchers. This is not to say that I'm surprised by how many people haven't ever tried it, but that actually have no idea (I don't mean that to sound judgmental) what it's about.  I decided that before I go any further....I simply MUST explain.

Let me start off by saying, there are a lot of methods out there for people to try and they are going to work differently based on the person trying it.

I work in a phone center as a trainer.  In almost every customer service driven conversation I bring up the point that not all of our customers are going to call us with the same level of frustration - so the type of customer service technique we use will be different depending on the call.

I believe the same goes for weight loss.  What's going to work for me might not work for you and vise versa.

That being said, in my own experience....even despite my falling off the wagon...I believe that for a large portion of the general public, Weight Watchers is the best choice.

So, here is how Weight Watchers works.

The Plan

I am going to tell this slightly out of what I would consider order.  I want to give you a full idea of the experience, but I also know that what you really want to know is, "What can you eat on Weight Watchers!!!!!????!!!!"

I get asked this question a lot, "Can you really eat that on Weight Watchers?"

And the answer is......YES!!!!

Now, you might be thinking right now, "But haven't told us what "that" is," and you are exactly right.  I haven't.  Because it doesn't matter what is on the plate; if it's edible you CAN eat it while on Weight Watchers.

One of my favorite responses I've heard to this very annoying question of can you really eat that on Weight Watchers is this:

"I can eat whatever I want on Weight Watchers.  I just chose to not do it with a shovel any longer."

Weight Watchers is not about telling you what you can and can't eat.  And I believe that is why it works, at least for me.  Weight Watchers is about learning moderation and making choices.

Every member, regardless of type of membership, is given a Daily Points Allowance.  This allowance is based on gender, age, weight, and some other medical questions such as "are you pregnant".

All foods have a points value.  Most fruits and vegetables are zero points.  The points of all other foods are based on it's nutritional value.  The factors that  play in are fat, carbs, fiber, and protein.

There is no counting calories on Weight Watchers, because not all calories are the same.  Let's look at two products and what their points values are going to be.  I'm going to figure up Lays Honey BBQ Potato Chips first.

Fat:  10g

Carbs:  15g

Fiber:  1g

Protein:  2g

Points Value:  4 points per serving

Serving Size:  @ 15 chips

Then lets take a look at a similar snack I had this evening.

Fat:  3g

Carbs:  23g

Fiber:  3g

Protein:  2g

Points Value:  4 points

Serving Size:  27 chips

I took these nutritional facts off the website.  For the Special K Cracker Chips, the information on the box indicated once I figured them up that they were 3 points per serving.  I am going to touch back on this again pretty soon.

Put you can see here...that they are fairly similar in both nutritional facts and points (for the most part).  However, one of them lets you eat considerably more (almost double) and are more filling so would be the better choice.

You can use your Daily Points anyway that you would like.  The only rule is:

If you bite it - write it!

The key is to track.  As long as you stay within your points and track everything you eat, you can eat whatever you want.  If you would like to eat cake for dinner, okay (is it recommended...not often, but the point is that you shouldn't feel restricted in your lifestyle).

Okay...back to my point above about the difference in the Special K Cracker Chips points from online versus the box.  They key isn't to be perfect, the key is to make sure you track everything you eat.  It's about being conscious of what you are putting in your mouth.  As long as you are tracking, are honest, and stay within your will lose weight, even if you are off a point or two here or there.

Every person, regardless of gender, age, weight, etc...also gets 49 Weekly Points to be used however they want.  They don't have to be used at all, but because Weight Watchers recognizes that we have special occasions or just simply harder days than others, there are some extra points there to buffer.  And you can still lose weight even if you eat them every week.

Then, on top of your Daily Points and your Weekly Points, there are Activity Points. These are earned based on how active you are in the day.  I wear a device that monitors my activity level and then tells me how many points I earned.  

I have the choice to use those points and eat more or not to.  If I do, I will still lose weight.  

Types of Membership

Nowadays, there are many different membership options.  However, I am most familiar with these two:

  • Online
  • Monthly Pass (Unlimited Monthly Meetings)

Up until now, my experience has been with the online version and I was successful.  It was the same as a meeting in regards to the plan.  The only difference was that I weighed myself at home and put it into the computer and I didn't have an audience once a week that was there simply to give and receive praise based on pounds lost.  ***There are other differences, but at the stage that I was in, these were the only ones that directly affected me at the time.***

My understanding is that there is sometimes a "start-up fee" at the beginning of your memberships that meetings are included, but I've honestly never seen this in place. Very often they have a "sign up free" incentive going on.  I believe on the door this week I saw that you can sign up $1.00.  Then you just pay a monthly fee.

The Weigh-in

When I go into weigh-in, it is almost as private as a polling booth.  Not quite, but I assure you...nobody knows your business.  You have a booklet that you give the person weighing you in and they put a little sticker in it that tells your new weight, how much you lost or gained, and what your daily points target is.  The weight does not show up on the scale like yours at home.  It is on a computer facing away from you and everyone else around except the Weight Watchers Leader.  I do occasionally hear them say how much a person lost...but I haven't heard the gain...and I have never known how much someone weighs.


There are a lot of tools to assist you in your lifestyle change.  There is the online tool where you can get tons of information.  You can track, build recipes, and chat with people about your experiences.  There is a calculator that you can take with you grocery shopping, or really have with you at all times, so that you can figure up the points value of foods.  There is the Weight Watchers app.  Of course, they also have cookbooks, a magazine, and exercise videos.

I hope that I've done a good job at describing what Weight Watchers is about.  I know that I have left a lot is just such a huge topic.  However, it is the easiest method I have found to be successful.  Not that this lifestyle change should be easy, but the more comfortable you are with a program, the more likely you are going to follow it.  This approach is so incredibly comfortable, you will wonder why you didn't do it before.