Lean Eating with Small Bowls

I really like this idea from Paul Akers, a guy I’ve been watching for years as he teaches Lean Manufacturing, here he has posted a couple of videos on how to eat lean with small bowls.  Really instructive, and intuitively it makes total sense!

I learned a couple of things in these videos. First, the benefit of portion control using a small bowl and second, that there is actually a healthy option at Panda Express. My family goes to Panda a lot and our normal item to get is a bowl of Orange Chicken with rice. Love the look of the healthy option, which sounds like Terriaki Chicken without the sauce, and vegetables. Wonder if they have to specially make it or if they always have the grilled chicken ready? I’ll have to check it out the next time I go.

I’m going out to run errands today and plan to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to see if I can buy a set of those small bowls.

Yesterday went OK – I ate well for breakfast and lunch, but ate too much for dinner and snacks and didn’t drink enough water throughout the day.

Giving It Another Go – Lose Weight in 2015

imageLast year on January 1st I had big plans to lose weight.  That lasted all of three days.  So here I am starting another New Year where I gained weight from the previous year, this time another 6 pounds, putting me at a high water mark of 312.6 pounds.  I’ve really got to do something and hopefully by blogging about it consistently I can stay on the straight and narrow of my diet plan.

Losing just 10% would be 31 pounds, and while 10% really doesn’t seem like much, 31 pounds does!  Time to start over and get serious, wish me luck.


Muscle Fatigue

WeightsOne of the things I need to start doing in order to win my weight loss challenge is to start lifting weights again. I’ve never been a big lifter, usually when I’ve done it I’ve focused more on reps than weight.

I have a spreadsheet that I used in the past to track my reps and weights, and I started a new one this morning for 2014. Using the old sheet as a template, I saw that the last time I had lifted was 2010! Not coincidentally, that is the last time I had a better than average run at losing weight.

So this morning I sucked it up and hit my upper body strength training exercises, which took me about 35 minutes and resulted in a wonderful feeling of muscle fatigue and even a little sweat. It’s -10 degrees outside and it felt real good to get a little sweat on indoors. As I am typing this my arms still feel a little fatigued.

I used my Bio Force home gym machine for some of the lifting, and then free weights for the rest.

One day does not a trend make but this is a good start to the year.


I’m Joining a Weight Loss Challenge!

Yesterday’s post It’s a New Year! Weight Loss Goal for 2014 was randomly linked to by a friendly-sounding blogger named Carolina who is starting a challenge called Sprint to May Challenge. Since I can use all the help I can get I decided to sign up.

The Challenge

The Sprint to May Challenge doesn’t have to be about weight loss, but it will be for me. Here is Carolina’s description:

Welcome to the new year! It’s a time for renewal and regained hopes. A few of us have personal goals we want to achieve this year and in the ones to come. This is not a new year’s resolution challenge, nor do we expect you to reach your ultimate goal(s) within the time frame of this challenge. We just know how hard it is to stay on track. We want to invite you to join us on this challenge and stay on course to reach any goal(s) you may have.

Read the full description for more, there looks to be a bunch of challenges and mini-challenges that I will have to learn about.

My Bio

To enter the contest you need to provide a bio, so here is mine. My name is John and I turn 48 this year. I started this blog last year as a tool to help achieve my goal of Getting Fit by Fifty. As usual, I started off well and ended poorly. It didn’t help that I was unemployed for the last 8 months or so (wouldn’t you think it would be easier to lose weight when not working?!?). I start this year at 306 pounds with about 2 1/2 years left to hit my ultimate goal of 200 pounds. My goal for 2014 is what should be a very attainable goal of getting to 269. It’s been about 6 years since I’ve been at that weight and it would mean a lot to me to get there.

Losing 37 pounds in 12 months is only a smidgen more than 3 pounds a month. The first pounds are the easiest, so I am shooting to lose 5 pounds a month, a total of 20 pounds, between now and the end of April. If I somehow manage to kick butt and take names I reserve the right to change my goal to even more weight loss!

Let the challenge begin!

It’s a New Year! Weight Loss Goal for 2014

Well here I am joining the millions of people setting New Year’s resolutions that include losing weight.  Most of us will do well for a few weeks and then everything will fall apart.  Hate to be a Negative Ned, but the data bear this out as fact.

306 PoundsHere’s where I am starting the year out.  Just a pound less than when I started this weight loss blog last year.  My goal for the year is to get to 269 pounds, a loss of just a little over 10%, but a weight that would be a good milestone for me.  There is absolutely no reason why I can’t get this done, and I’m starting off the year steeled to make it so.

One thing that will be helpful to my efforts is that I start a new job next week.  You would think being unemployed would make it easier to exercise and eat well but I found the opposite to be true.  If I am ever in that position again, I will know how important it is to push yourself to exercise and eat well while not working because it truly was a missed opportunity.  But hopefully I won’t have that opportunity again.

I have an early challenge to my plan, a nice celebration dinner out tonight on New Year’s Day at a very nice restaurant that will have all sorts of fatty foods to eat.  I’m going to have a little of this and a little of that, and in doing so won’t deprive myself, but I am not going to pig out.

That would be a good start to the year, a year in which I plan to see the 260s for the first time in 6 years or so.

Good luck on your resolutions!




This is just not going in the right direction. I’m not doing anything to help myself so it’s not like I should get down because something isn’t working, I should get down on myself because I’m not even making the effort.

One Stair Step at a Time

Since the beginning of the year I have purposely parked at the top of the parking ramp at work and used the stairs instead of the elevator.  These stair steps are only 2 flights, however, so it doesn’t add all that much exercise in the day.  I’ll usually navigate them twice because I’ll go out for lunch.  I’m usually in this office 4 days a week and the way I figure it, every little bit counts.

Earlier this week I noticed someone in our office was using the stairs to get to our office floor instead of the elevator and it inspired me to do the same, which I have done the last couple of days.  We are on the 5th floor, and let me tell you I can really feel it when I go up those steps!  At this point I much prefer to go down. :-)

At my current level of inactive out-of-shapeness my legs are pretty dead and I am huffing and puffing at the top after navigating those five (well four, really) flights of stair steps.  I’m going to try to do it every day and we’ll see how long it takes before I don’t feel it.

On the progress front, things have been going slow but well, if I manage my eating today it looks like I will log another small loss for the week.  I’ve added a weight loss tracker page that is linked in the header of this website to track my weekly progress.  I’m not fooling myself about my early success – it’s not so much a factor of hard work but just simple adjustments in eating which shows weight loss in these early phases.  I know it will get a lot harder and I will have to do a lot more exercise than just climbing the stairs a few times a day.

But as long as I am losing I’ll be happy!

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Bucket of Food

Food BucketFood BucketI’ve had some ups and downs so far this week, although the downs haven’t been too bad – no major food binges, just a couple of nights when I know I needed to do better.

Daniel from needlespounds posted an interesting comment the other day about how he packs his “bucket o’ food” the night before for the next day’s meals.  I’m not so disciplined yet that I have been able to do that, but one day this week I did lay out my breakfast and lunch, which is pictured here.

My original plan for this post was to try to calculate the calories here, but it’s been awhile since I have done that and it looks like there have been some changes to the primary site I used to use for that.  When I looked across a couple of other calorie information sites I found wide ranges in listed calories for something as simple as an egg.  So I have some research to do here before I rely on any of them.  What do you use to count and track calories in food?

Anyway, I can still write about what I had, and this has been a pretty normal days eating up to dinner.

Breakfast was a 3-egg omelet with cheese, a clementine orange and a small can of v8.  The protein in the morning is essential to help get me through the day.  The sweet peppers in the middle of the picture are what I snack on at work.  No dip needed.

Lunch was “ants on a log” (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins), a couple of rollups with shaved turkey and thin-sliced cheese, some baby carrots, a clementine orange and a cheese stick.  I had the almonds as a later snack.

I guess it’s hard to know for sure until I do find a good way to add up the calories in this food but overall I think it’s not too bad of a “bucket” for the bulk of the day.  What;s missing, of course, is dinner, and based on some of my going off the wagon this week I know that it is going to be important for me to find a way to plan out my dinner meal and get that added to the bucket as well.

Small steps, and as long as I am ever making progress forward I’ll be happy.


Meals from Monday – Salads Galore!

After posting a good weigh-in on Sunday I managed to follow it up with another decent day of eating yesterday.  Not a perfect day because I ended up spending a little more money on meals than I would like, but still I didn’t cheat at all and did a pretty good job on portion size and food quality.

Monday’s Meals

Breakfast bowl meals Breakfast bowl meal - cookedFor breakfast I tried something a little different.  I’m very comfortable making my own meals having been a cook in a past life, but I had a coupon for this Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl and gave it a try.  Contains egg whites, potatoes, turkey sausage and cheese – only 240 calories.  I really liked it!  Very simple to make (thanks Mr. Microwave) and cleanup was a breeze.  Protein-filled breakfast kept me satisfies until lunch.  I’ll be having this again, although certainly not every day.

Lunch meal - chopped saladI brought a container of small sweet peppers to work as a snack (bought a 2lb bag last week so I’ve been bringing these to work every day) and I went to Subway for another double chicken chopped salad.  Had them go lite on the dressing but they still put too much on.  Next time I need to say “tiny” amount of dressing instead of “little” and maybe that will make the difference.  I liked the salad and I like to have something fresh that someone else makes, but the bill was over $9.00 for this salad and a diet Coke, and that isn’t good for the budget.  Need to do better at packing meals.

Dinner meal - saladI guess I was in a salad mood yesterday because I also had a salad for dinner – herb greens, an english cucumber, cherry tomatoes, almonds, a little shredded cheese, cold poached chicken and a little blue cheese dressing.  I put more dressing on than I would like so I guess that was a trend for the day!

I snacked on some nut crackers made from almonds and brown rice flour (I really like these) and I had a jello for dessert.

As I am writing this the next morning before breakfast I feel good, not overly hungry and certainly not bloated like I might normally feel have a day of fast food crap.  So I know I’m on the right track.  Still looking at incorporating exercise into my plan, but I’m good with where I am at right now which is focusing on the meals and so far things are looking good.

Here’s to another good day!

Another Day, Another Success on my Eating Plan

Eating plan - OmeletHere is how I started my eating plan on Friday – with a simple 3-egg omelet, a Cutie tangerine and a small can of Spicy V8.  I know I’m not the first person to observe that the day starts off better with a little protein, and it was a good thing I did because my hectic day had me skipping lunch so I needed this breakfast to give me legs.

The first two days on my diet (eating plan, eating plan, remember John this is a lifestyle change not a diet!) I brought some sweet peppers to workEating plan - Peppers as a snack.  Love these things because they taste good enough themselves that I don’t feel I need to use any sort of a dip.  Just pure veggie.

Hate to say it, but this jerky was lunch.  I had plans to go to a health place with a couple of co-workers but a meeting went long, then a side conversation went long, then when I got back to my desk I found myself under crunch time to get my budget submitted, so Eating plan - JerkyI had to take a rain check on lunch.  But I knew I needed to get a little something in me so I hit the vending machine and got a little protein.  $1.50 for this tiny little bag, what a ripoff!  But it got me through the day.  Which is weird to think about because normally my lunch would be something bad at a fast food place that cost about $7.00 and probably had over 1,000 calories – so to think that 70 calories did it for me yesterday it makes me remember that I don’t need to eat as much as I want to.  But of course, 70 calorie lunches won’t be the norm.

Eating plan - SaladI got home from work at about 6 but then went on a wild-goose chase for volleyball knee-pads for my daughter (which was fruitless, I had to order online and she won’t have the new ones for her tournament today), so it wasn’t until after 7 that I thought about dinner.  I made a simple salad with herb greens, cucumber, radish, a few almonds and a little Caesar dressing.  I tried to go easy on the dressing.

I made a couple of other pit-stops at the fridge which included a little turkey and a pickle.  I didn’t cheat at all and for the second day in a row I feel good about what I ate.

Feels good to be eating healthy an sticking to me eating plan, but I haven’t done any exercise at all.  I’ll need to start getting in gear with that soon.