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“What 2,000 Calories Looks Like”

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This 2014 New York Times: Upshot article shows us what 2,000 calories (a daily recommended caloric intake for most healthy adults) looks like when it comes to an average meal at various fast food chains.

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Hating On Fat People Just Makes Them Fatter”

Logo used during 1970s

Logo used during 1970s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This July 26, 2013 article on the NPR Shots: Health news website, talks about the negative effect of discrimination based on a person’s weight.  Research has started to discover that judging people because of their weight doesn’t encourage them to lose weight, if anything it tends to cause those being judged to gain weight.

I know from personal experience that losing weight is a difficult task, but gaining it is super easy.  I have had to re-learn how to do all kinds of things starting with what I write on my shopping list, and including learning better ways to prepare food so it is healthier.  Cooking and organizing aren’t things that come naturally to me, so not only am I learning to make healthier choices, but I’m also learning new skills so I can benefit from those choices. for exercise, I started by walking to the store near my home 3 times per week, and over time worked to increase the distance and frequency of my walking.  Once I reached a point to where I could easily walk most places downtown, I got a bike, which is where I’m at now, and just like walking, I’ve had to start with short rides, but am pushing myself to increase my speed and distance when I ride.  I occasionally am able to borrow a vehicle from someone, or get a ride from them, and when I do use a car for transportation, I will purposely park further from the entrance than most people would typically choose to, because for me this extra distance I need to walk to get into the store gives me an opportunity to get a little extra walking and burn a few more calories.  I eat food prepared at home probably 99% of the time, but when I do opt to eat out some place I do the best I can to make the healthiest choice I can and since I enjoy salads, I will often get a chef salad or some other type of salad with lots of veggies in it and for a beverage, I love Mountain dew, but in all honesty I’m finding that having a glass of water with my meal not only gives me something to sip on while I’m waiting for my meal, but it also costs less, so I’m able to save a little cash by drinking water.

In January of 2012 when I decided I had enough of being overweight, I weighed about 256 pounds which put me deep into the class of obese, but by making small changes and learning new skills I have managed to get my weight down to 225 as of a couple of days ago.  I’m a former smoker, and to be honest, for me it was tough to quit smoking, but it’s been even more difficult to stay on track with losing weight.  Not only is food everywhere, but it is a necessity to survival, the problem I have is I enjoy food too much and many of my hobbies have been things like video games and blogging.  The first 6 months were brutal trying to convince myself to go for a walk as many days as I possibly could.  So I literally had to re-train myself in how I looked at getting up and moving around.  I discovered that cleaning can count towards my daily doctor recommended hour of exercise each day, so since I struggled with keeping up with housework also, I developed a cleaning schedule and purposely worked out the schedule so that at least half to 3/4 or the housework I did each day included actively moving around. I did this on top of my walks to the store.  Then I got a Nintendo Wii game system and started playing a game called “Walk it out” that combines a simple game with walking to the beat of music.  The pace might be slower or faster from song to song, so for me it keeps me from getting bored while I walk.  I got an iPod also that has helped when I’m walking outside listening to the music helps me work on keeping a faster pace, much like playing “Walk it out”, I try to walk to the beat of the music on my iPod.

So, why am I sharing all this with my readers?

Well, it’s to show that seeing someone who is obese and judging them based on what you see may not be fair to them.  I can’t look at someone else and know whether they are working on making healthier choices  in what they eat any more than someone can look at me and decide if I ate salad or a big mac for lunch.  I’ve heard people make comments about things I’ve purchased when I’ve shopped, and while they may be right that some things I have purchased aren’t all that healthy, but how does the person making that judgement know if the item is for me or someone else?  or if the item is a special treat or not?  often times when I’ve heard a lot of judgmental comments as I’m going through the store, I will begin to struggle with the idea of ‘fine, they are accusing me of eating unhealthy I may as well live up to their expectation’  and will end up grabbing a bag of chips I didn’t plan on buying, but now feel compelled to because someone made a judgmental comment.  So as I read the article about the research done in Florida on the subject, I didn’t have to think too hard to know that there was truth to what they discovered, because I had experienced it personally.

My bottom line for all this is that people need to actually get to know someone before they make assumptions about them based solely on appearances, it isn’t fair to the person being judged or to the person being judgemental, because the judgmental statements can mean that an opportunity to meet an awesome person will be forever gone all because of a snap judgement.

“Obese Patients May Be More Prone to ‘Doctor Shopping'”

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat stores than the mouse on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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This May 31, 2013 Health Day article on the Philly.com website talks about data indicating that people who are obese tend to shop around for new doctors more often then non-obese patients do.

 

 

“Serious Mental Illness No Barrier to Weight Loss Success”

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This March 21, 2013 article on the Science Daily website talks about a recent study that seems to show that folks with serious mental illnesses can successfully lose weight if they are given simple nutritional messages, counseling to support their efforts, and regular exercise to help them become more active.

 

 

Tools I’m using to help me lose weight

I’ve been working on losing weight, but until recently really was going at it blindly (so to speak)  My first steps were to focus on portion sizes and look at what I was eating and see if I could find a healthier alternative.  An example of one such swap I made in what I eat was to replace ham with dry beans.  The beans have as much protein as meat, but without being packed full of salt like ham is.  The beans seem to go well with everything I was using ham for … well except for sandwiches something about a pile of beans on bread just didn’t seem to appetizing so for sandwiches I use Tuna that had been packed in water.

So what other tools am I using you ask?  Well, I found several that come in handy 🙂

Here’s a list of the tools …..

  • this site is maintained by the USDA and offers a way to find out how many calories are in foods that don’t have labels …. I was able to find out that a tangerine has about 37 calories, through this site which has decreased my frustration when it comes to fresh produce not having labels indicating their calories or serving size.  I should note that the site works great under MS Internet Explorer, but seems to be a nightmare using Mozilla Firefox.
  • Calculator
    • I find that using a calculator to add up the calories is helpful, since for me math is a weakness and trying to do it in my head offers less than accurate results.  I take my calculator with me to the grocery store already to help with comparing prices, so now I have started using it to also compare calories if I want to know how many calories the package has in it or even going the other way, to check and see how many calories a serving that fits my calorie limit would be … this helps to see if it would be worth getting something or not … something about eating 3 bites of something as opposed to being able to have something that looks more like a plate of food makes it easier to stay in my calorie limit.
  • packaging labels
    • with the exception of fresh produce, and deli type stuff, labels are pretty plentiful.  even without a calculator, simply reading the label on things can help me make a better informed decision about calories and in general what’s in the package.
  • Measuring tools
    • dry and liquid measuring cups, along with a set of measuring spoons can help immensely since they are more accurate than simply trying to eye up what is going on my plate.  I’m actually seriously considering getting a couple more sets of dry measuring cups and measuring spoons so I don’t run into a deal where I forgot to wash a measuring spoon only to need it for my next meal and not realize this until I go to prepare the meal.  it would give me a little more flexibility in that sense.
  • Exercise
    • I know exercise is a word that to some is as brutal as the “F” word in terms of its impact.  The reality is that I’m finding that exercise doesn’t have to be complicated and doesn’t need a gym membership which for me wouldn’t be all that practical because of my lack of a vehicle.
    • So my tools for exercising more
    • I purchased a Wii game system solely because of one game that really intrigued me.  The game is called “Walk It Out” made by Konami.  The game requires that the player walk in step to the beat of fast tempo music.  some of the songs include “Walking on Sunshine” or “Boom Boom Pow” which are some of the slower paced songs.  other songs that can be unlocked include those with latino type tempos and I’ve found a couple that I think might be an Asian version of hip hop or rock.  the Latino and Asian songs are among the fastest paced songs.  You earn chips or points for every step you take that is right on the beat of the music, and unless you turn off the penalty you will lose chips for missing a beat, the points are collected and used to pay for capsules you click on as you walk around rhythm Island.  some capsules cost as little as 20 chips while capsules need about 1000 chips.  I started playing and could only play for about 10 minutes, but have reached a point to where my average is closer to an hour or hour an a half … an off day is a half hour or less.  the game counts your steps calculates how many calories you burned and even tells you how many miles you walked while playing.  The graphics are in true Nintendo style being rather cartoonish in nature, but despite the cartoon nature of it, I find it to be a great way to get a workout in on days that the weather is bad or my anxiety is too high for me to be able to go out and walk around my neighborhood.
    • I’m also considering getting another game called “Step Up” which based on the description sounds like you step on and off either a basic aerobic step or a Wii balance board to the beat of music.  I thought it might be something that could offer some variety to my workouts.
  • Mapquest – http://mapquest.com
    • So how does mapquest help me with losing weight?  Simple  I use it to map out routes to walk and to find out how far I walked when I was out running errands on foot.  Mapquest offers a nice feature that includes walking directions, and it will adjust the travel time to fit with someone walking as opposed to other sites I’ve seen that only offer times based on driving.  The only downfall is that mapquest doesn’t understand shortcuts through parks at times, so it isn’t precise, but it does offer a decent estimate of the distance traveled.  and is kind of fun to play with different routes and see how much distance I will cover if I go different routes.

    I have spoken with my primary care physician about my weight loss goal, and found out what he recommended in the way of calorie intake and daily exercise.  I have arthritis in my lower spine, so talking to my doctors is something I felt was very important to do because they would be able to tell me if something I was considering trying would be good or bad for  my arthritis.  Not to mention it is good to have someone with more knowledge then me onboard when I’m working on a health issue, just to be sure I am doing things safely.

    I’ll try to do future updates to let folks know how this is going, but so far I’ve lost about 10 pounds since last September.  Progress is slow, but considering when I started I weighed a little more than twice what I weighed 10 years ago, I consider any progress towards my goal of weighing about what I weighed when I got my driver’s license 10 years ago to be a good thing.

     

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