Buy the box weight loss

Even though I am currently “doing” Weight Watchers, it took me a while to get keen on  the idea of paying money to do a program that had already been determined for me before nothing was known of my own personal condition. But since I can’t resist a good deal and I knew I needed some sort of extra pressure to help me… I signed up.  As you guys saw with my last update, I have actually been having some success over the past few months.  Whether or not I could have done that on my own, who knows.  I do know that I counted points for like 2 weeks and the rest of the time I have just been eating my typical “earth food” that comes from the ground rather than a box.

I’ve got this issue with boxes with more than just avoiding food from them.  I also have a big issue with companies that try to fit their potential customers or current customers into a box.  Specially, weight loss plans.  Ever since I started gaining weight as a teenager, I’ve had suggestions of weight loss programs that I should do.  Slimfast.  Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig.  Weight Watchers.  Atkins.  Now, as an adult blogger, the suggestions come on even stronger.

The past few months on Weight Watchers has really confirmed my disliking of programs that are designed to place certain people in certain boxes.  For example, my daily point allowance for WW was based on my age, height, weight, and my suggested activity level.  The spectrum for everything is pretty broad though.  According to this handy blog by LaaLoosh, age groups are clumped within ten years and people who fall between 5’1 and 5’10 are clumped together as well.  So that means a 27 year old female who is 5’9″ and 200 pounds who is sedentary will have similar point values to a 37 year old female who is 5’2″ and 160 pounds and walks often.  I would like to believe it is balanced accordingly per person, but I just doubt the specific attention each member receives when determining what they should eat every day.

Weight Watchers gripes aside, my point is this:  I believe there is no program that works for everyone.  The weight loss industry in the United States is driven by one thing: money.  Our country feeds into this multi-billion dollar industry by quickly latching on to whatever they feel is going to be the easiest solution to their weight loss.  I know when I signed up for Weight Watchers, it was and is because I still feel like I need the weekly meetings in order to feel accountable for myself.  I had a feeling that I probably wouldn’t actually track points and  even without it, I have still been able to have success.  Whether or not it is because I’m enrolled in the program and going to the meetings, who knows.  I do feel more determined that ever to get this weight off so whatever it is that I’m doing, it is working.

However, I can not just go and say that Weight Watchers works for everyone.  I think the only sort of program I can really advocate for is one that a trained dietitian and nutritionist creates specifically for YOU.  Anyone that I have talked to about their successful weight loss has been on a journey that has consisted of what they have crafted together by what works best for their bodies.  There is no simple, by the box, weight loss program that works for everyone. The trick is just finding what works for YOU.

Lots of love,





Low Carb Snack Ideas, A Guest Post by Tara at Media Remedial!

Good morning, friends! Today we have a very special guest post by a friend of mine, Miss Tara from Media Remedial! I met Tara at my first FitBloggin’, and we were both shyly twirling our hair and looking around for a kindred spirit that was heavy on media criticism and also loved cats. (Ok, maybe we weren’t twirling our hair, but it sounds cute, so you know.) We found each other and now I’m proud to have Tara as a friend. Given that I’m a week in to my lower carb eating per my PCOS diet, I asked Tara to share her favorite low-carb snacks. She’s lost a ton of weight on a low carb plan, and after reading her post, I have to say… I’m hungry! Enjoy!

Tara and Alyssa bond over their crazy cat lady status at FitBloggin’ 12.

Hello, Double Chin Diary readers!

My name is Tara, and Alyssa asked me to write a guest post on one of my favorite topics: LOW CARB SNACKING! I’ve been a low carb dieter (sometimes the lifestyle; often the desperation) for awhile now, and snacking is one of the tougher things as a low carber. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I slip into full-on carb-eating if snacks aren’t handy when I need them. Oh, and I want to say in advance: I haven’t been paid in money or goods by any of the companies listed. These are really the things I consume.

Before we get started on the usual suspects, always be ready for hunger emergencies: I keep individual packs of peanuts around the house and in my car trunk. I’m allergic to tree nuts and seeds, but those would work, too–just make sure to eat them occasionally. You don’t want years-old peanuts. I usually have a chocolate chip cookie dough Atkins bar in my purse, too. It is usually smooshed, but it’s good when I need it!

Now, these are some of the snacks I eat on an occasional basis (most still have carbs, so too much of a good snack is simply too much):

  • The aforementioned peanuts
  • CarbMaster yogurts (made by Kroger, but look for similar items in other stores)
  • Kale chips (there’s a huge variety of brands)
  • Flax Snax (eat like a chip or use like a mini cracker or melba toast)
  • Cheese
  • Deli slices of meat (wrap up the cheese and deli meat together–with some dijon mustard)
  • Jerky (many varieties, but check the carbs; too much teriyaki can ruin a great snack)
  • Celery with peanut butter (Simply Jif seems to be on the lower carb end)
  • Cucumbers as chips or crackers–load ’em up with cheese, spinach dips, veggies, etc.
  • Low carb wraps/tortillas (I like Tumaro’s, but I’ve heard that some people like the Tortilla Factory) with peanut butter and sugar free jelly
  • Dill pickles
  • Sugar Free Oregon Chai with Hood Calorie Countdown (or some lower carb milk product like soy or almond)
  • Keep a bag of spinach around, and it’s easy to toss some spinach and a low carb dressing onto a plate for a quick salad with barely any prep. I also use pre-cut onions, mushrooms, and peppers when I make omelets, and those pre-cut things are easy to toss onto the spinach for that little salad, too!
  • Smoked salmon (you can even buy it wrapped up with cream cheese–check the fish area at your local grocery store
  • Breyers CarbSmart ice cream bars
  • Hard-boiled eggs – eat them plain with a good herb mix, deviled eggs, or the slacker approach: Pick up some ready-made guacamole from Chipotle, the produce section, etc. and put guacamole in the egg white section–the opposite of deviled eggs: Holy Guacamole eggs!
  • CRACKERS. Crackers made entirely of cheese! Pick up Kitchen Table Bakers crackers at Fresh Foods, or visit their website to find out more places where they’re sold (I see them often).

If there’s a sushi section at a grocery store near you, check their case or ask if there’s someone making it fresh: I recently found some spicy tuna rolls with no rice–just tuna and avocado–wrapped up with cucumber slices! It was pricey but for an occasional high-end treat, this can be awesome if you’re a sushi fan.

A snack of cheesy avocados reflects the amount of cooking I usually do, and the results are worth the effort:

  • Split and pit an avocado (I use the most awesome OXO tool), put it on a foil-wrapped tray of some sort, and spray (I use an olive oil cooking spray) or brush olive oil on both halves.
  • Generously sprinkle a great herb mixture over them. I use one I got at a farmer’s market. It contains lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano basil, sage, lemongrass, and sea salt. Look for a good mix like that. But watch the sodium! Most cheese is already fairly salty.
  • Heap the avocado hole with cheese cubes or crumbles (pick a cheese; any cheese). Maybe add some more herbs (or not), and pop them in the oven on broil.
  • Stick around, and in a few minutes, you’ll hear the cheese sizzling. Pull the tray out and take a cheese slice that you can tear to fit and layer it over the whole avocado. More herbs? Why not?
  • And back in the oven they go. Keep an eye and ear on them, but very shortly, after the cheese gets a little melty (but not runny), they’re done!
  • Pull them out, grab a fork and knife, and enjoy. You can cut to the avocado skin, and then you get a magical bite of avocado, herbs, and cheese. SO GOOD.

Something I’ve found helpful: I don’t always keep a log of my meals, which tend to be fairly consistent, but I always keep track of my snacks (and new meals) to see how they affect my weight loss. If I see the weight steady just as I’ve started with a new snack or more of a snack, I cut back.

One more emergency/on the road tip: If I’m desperate for a snack when I’m out and about, I go to McDonald’s. And it ain’t for salad (though that’s a fine meal option). I usually get a double cheeseburger or a McDouble (the former has two slices of cheese; the latter only has one) with no bun and no ketchup. Done. It’s about $1, and they get that special order all the time. Sometimes, I’ll just get a cheeseburger, but if I’m desperate enough for the drive-thru, extra protein/fat is probably a good idea. Usually, they’ll add lettuce to it so you can pick it up, and it comes in a handy bowl. I admit, sometimes I just use the lettuce as my bun. It happens.

Something I don’t recommend: I LOVE sugar free candy, but even if it doesn’t mess with my digestive system (the sweeteners often will) I find that it usually messes with the scale. I do much better, weight loss-wise, if I skip these entirely.

I hope these snack ideas have been helpful. I am such a slacker and don’t REALLY cook, but I admire the folks who do. If you want more snack ideas and recipes, a woman named Vicki seems to run a great Pinterest page. I found it after I wrote this piece, but it already has me drooling over these new ideas to try when I’m feeling a little ambitious. Happy snacking!

You can find me (Tara Scherner de la Fuente) over at Media Remedial. It’s my business website (I’m a freelancer with a few different hats), and if you click on my blogs link, you’ll have access to my Health blog, where I talk about weight loss, body stuff, and fitness. I also tweet: @MediaRemedial

Low-Carb Check In

I’m nearing day 3 of being off all sugar and breads/starches AND RUN FOR YOUR LIFE IF YOU HAVE BREAD BECAUSE I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN. No, actually, I’m good. I’m just all about the dramatic entry! I’m on day three and I feel good. No headaches, no weird cravings, no “flu” like symptoms – but I do feel satisfied! I’m one of those people that gets uncontrollable around carbohydrates. Put a basket of warm sourdough in front of me, and it’s gone. Even worse – put a basket of hot tortilla chips. I’ll be on my third basket before you know it. Give me a choice between a slice of chocolate cake or a slice of hot sourdough with butter – I’m all about the bread.

I've been eating a lot of eggs.

On my honeymoon, I was making random chitchat with a hippydippy lady in the hot tub (We’ll call her Crazy Hot Tub Lady) drinking wine out of a plastic hotel room cup. As she got more loose, she confessed that she was a “medical intuitive”. According to her, I needed to switch to sea salt (I did, for the hell of it), and I also needed to avoid Gluten, as it causes all of my weight gain and storage. She also said I’d have two kids and magically lose all of my weight after being pregnant… and that my first pregnancy would be rough, and that I’d end up teaching elementary-aged children. (Yep – All this after meeting for the first time in a resort hot tub)

Talking to Crazy Hot Tub Lady was made much easier by previous consumption of these.

Given that she wasn’t 1) A doctor 2) A nutritionist, I took this advice with a grain of (sea) salt (heh), but it did make me wonder some things. I always have had problems with carbohydrates – they set me off on a wild, bingey, uncontrollable feeling. Natural carbohydrates like fruit I’ve never had a problem with (but really – who gets fat from eating fruit? exactly.), but I need a BB Anonymous Meeting to keep me on track. (BB = Bread Binger) So yes. Me and carbs are like that married couple we all know, that really hates each other, but when they’re together, it hurts so good that they stay in it. Things like Weight Watchers didn’t work for me because I’d eat all my daily points in one serving of potato chips.

Day three – so far, so good. I am satisfied and I’m eating way less. What did I eat today? 2 eggs, a cup of edamame, a piece of cheese, one salad with grilled chicken, a sugar free jello, and some almonds. None of that is like “Ima stuff my face with bacon and lard for six days cuz its LOW CARB BABY! WHEEE”

Leafy Greens - YUM

I’m not getting on the scale until Friday, because I need to give my body some time to adjust. I’m also flexing induction a little bit by having natural carbs like almonds and carrots – but in very small amounts. I mainly just want to get off sugar, breads and starches – almonds and carrots aren’t going to be the ruin of me.

Have you ever gone low-carb – and if you have – flop or fantastic success?

New Noms, Day 1: Kale Chips

Hello bloggies! Hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful Sunday. I’m pooped from a crazy week, but looking forward to starting Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet tomorrow (Yeah, yeah, I know, spread all the controversy you like, but it works to get me back on track). I went to Costco today and loaded up on stuff like almonds, veggies, and cheese, and I’ll begin baking batches of my preferred foods tonight (like mini-fritatta for breakfast! yum!).

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a recipe for Kale chips. I pretty much turned my nose up at it and thought, “Phooey – why would I eat baked spinach when I could eat CORN CHIPS?!”. As fate would have it, I was perusing the aisles of Whole Foods when I found myself drawn to bunches of bubbly, rough textured leaves that looked like Dinosaur food – and sure enough, it was called Lacinato Kale. I picked up a bundle for $2.49 and made the recipe today.

First, wash the leaves and then remove the ribs and stems.

I must really love you guys - No Make Up on the world wide web?!

The recipe says to tear into 3 inch pieces, but I’m a rebel and made them into strips. Then, toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and paprika. I deferred because sometimes Paprika tastes like cigarettes, so I sprinkled with 1 tsp Garlic Salt with Parsley.

Bumpy green kale, tossed with EVOO and Garlic Salt

Bake at 350 on a sprayed cookie sheet for 12-15 mins (mine took 20 minutes since my oven is lazy). The end result? Slightly charred, bubbly, brown leaves – that are YUMMY! They’re very light and have a surprisingly satisfying crunch. They’re not very flavorful, but the seasoning takes care of that.

The Finished Product

I’ll be a honest – I was a total skeptic, because usually, substituting baked veggies for something delicious (like corn chips or potato chips) is foul. (Ever heard of mashed cauliflower that *supposedly* tastes like mashed potatoes? It doesn’t. It’s freaking disgusting, and it will make you cry.)

For a new noms experiment, this wasn’t bad! Got any other funky recipe ideas for me? I’m all for trying new things… especially in the next few days when I’ll be salivating at the thought of bread. (But I can eat CHEEEEESE!)

Watching my weight without weight watchers

Hello bloggies! Today was my last Weight Watchers meeting. While I know the program definitely works, I’ve faced the sad realization that for it to work, you have to be at least 90% committed to the program. As somebody who hasn’t tracked in over a month…. I’ve admitted to myself that there is no reason to continue to pay for a program I’m not following. It’s a bit of a tricky subject because we have Weight Watchers at work, which is a bit more expensive and requires at least 15 people to sign up for a new session to start.

I feel a little guilty because without my membership, they’re under the minimum people to join. Luckily I’m not the only dropout, but I just can’t part ways with $200 if I’m not REALLY gonna do it, you know? There’s a few other reasons I’m not joining too – the meetings were not inspiring to me anymore, and the meeting is scheduled at 12 pm (lunch). Since I work in the wild wild web, lunch happens when it happens… not always at noon.

I’m getting back into a steady gym habit and that seems to be helping, and I may go back to my old friend the Atkins diet for a few weeks to shed some excess flubber before my friend’s wedding. (I’m a bridesmaid!) I know the Atkins diet is crazy controversial…. but it really works for me, despite the first few days of intense, heroin withdrawal-type cravings for bread. Before my wedding, I took off a good 10-12 pounds in 3 weeks, where as Weight Watchers had taken me two months to shed that. (Again – I know which one is healthier, but let’s not get into the debates).

So – it’s with a little twinge of guilt and regret (that I lacked the commitment to give the program my all), but mostly, a happy wallet, that I step out of the Weight Watchers world and into the losing-it-on-my-own world – a less expensive, but way more personalized approach to the body I want to have. I lost 27 pounds in college just by going to the gym, cutting my carbs, and meeting with an on-campus nutritonist – so I’m feeling good about wingin’ it on my own. I’ve always been kind of a loner, anyways 😉