Friday 1 May 2015

MyFitnessPal Challenge re-cap and winner! #MFPChallenge

I forgot to update on the challenge at the end of the first month, but, since I started using the MyFitnessPal app on February 5th, I have lost 18.9 lbs. It might seem slow to some of you, but this weight loss is a re-loss which tends to be slower anyway. I'm happy as long as I'm still making progress in the right direction. using the app as my "food journal" and "exercise diary" had been very helpful at keeping me focused and on track with my goals.

I need to announce the winner of the prize for the challenge. Everyone who commented and participated in the MyFitnessPal Challenge event on Facebook was entered into the drawing. I chose a prize too. The winner of the drawing will get a copy of  "Making the Cut: The 30-day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You" by Jillian Michaels.

The winner (selected by a random number generator) is:

Lisa Shambrook

Congratulations, Lisa! e-mail me a mailing address to send you your prize.

Now, on to a little rant that I need to get out:

Living in the UK has really opened my eyes to the things that the US gets away with in the food it produces. I missed a lot of food from back home and found some web sites that sell them to people in the UK. I found out that the reason many of the food that I loved is not sold to us over here, even through these sites that import food from the US, is down to the additives and chemicals allowed in food in the US.

For example, one of my favorite drinks is Diet Mug Root Beer. I know that soda is not good for me, but it is one drink I hated to give up on, so, once a year, I would buy myself a case of it from or from Well, neither of those companies sell them anymore, or, for that matter, any root beer. Why? Because american root beer (and also many other sodas in the US) contain higher levels of certain harmful chemicals than is allowed in EU countries. Here is what one of the sites had to say about it:
"A&W (and some other sodas, more of that later), you see, contains a certain ingredient, sodium benzoate, that, under EU law, can only be there at very low levels. Sadly for us (and you), A&W is well over the limit. We’ve tried to fight this, we’ve had several batches tested, but there’s just no way round it. The level of this particular ingredient in A&W is simply too high for us to be able to import it anymore."

And this was true for most of the brands of root beer that they carried. What I don't understand is, if these chemicals are so bad for people that these levels are outlawed in Europe, then why is the US still allowing these levels in food and drink produced and sold there? This is not the first or only additive or chemical that the US allows in its food despite being outlawed nearly everywhere else.

Although my children and husband live here with me, my parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins and many of my friends all still live in the US. I worry about the things that are being allowed into their food supply.

Friday 6 February 2015

The MyFitnessPal challenge! #MFPchallenge

I have mentioned before that some of the 145 lbs I lost has returned, and I have been unable to shift it off again for more than a short while. One of the things I think is creating part of the problem is that I no longer keep a food journal. While I was losing the weight, I kept a food journal where I logged everything I ate and all of the exercise I did during the day. I haven't kept a food journal in years and it is showing in the fact that I have gained back some of the weight I lost.

But keeping a food journal is time consuming. I had to keep looking up the calories on things and then typing it all up. It took up a decent amount of my time, and I couldn't find the will to start back with it.

Yesterday evening, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app for my iphone. So far, I am noticing that it is making it super easy to log the food I have eaten and it even has a way to log my steps for the day. It tells me how many calories I should consume in a day, adjusting the number based on my exercise (which is great motivation for exercising). I got to input my weight, my goal weight and how many pounds I want to lose per week (although anything over 1 pound a week, it warns, is "too high." I still told it I wanted to lose 2 lbs a week.)

And it didn't cost me anything.

I downloaded the app at around 3:45pm yesterday. By that night, I found out that I was eating way too many carbs, a bit too much fat and not enough protein for the day. I thought, at first, that the app was counting my bus journey as walking, but after checking it today, I can see that it hasn't done so.

Today, I weighed myself for the first time in two weeks, only to find that I weigh 3.5 lbs more than I thought I weighed, which means I have gained 3.5 lbs in the past two weeks. This just confirms that I am doing the right thing in starting to log everything again.

I've already noticed that I am making better choices when it comes to my food because I know I will be logging it.

So, the plan for the challenge is this: Find an app for your phone (or, if you have some money, get a FitBit) which will help you log your food and exercise, as well as keep track of your weight and weight loss goals. MyFitnessPal is free for iphone users, but there are other programs too.

Check in weekly or daily on the Facebook EVENT page, and let us know how it is going. Has the app changed the way you eat or exercise? Is it helping with your fitness or weight loss goals? Have you lost any weight so far? If you are already using something like this, what do you think of it?

Every post made to this blog with the #MFPchallenge blog post is one you can comment on to be entered into a prize draw. (I have not worked out what the prize is, but it will probably be a healthy cooking recipe book of some sort.) You will be entered once (per blog post) for commenting on the blog post (as long as it is a post with the hashtag: #MFPchallenge). Joining the Facebook Event will get you five extra entries and being an active member of the event will gain you five more extra entries.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year! What are your plans for 2015?

There is an increasing trend for people to denigrate the idea of making New Year's resolutions. This makes no sense to me as I don't see anything wrong with taking stock in the new year and looking at what we have achieved and what we still want to achieve. "Resolutions" is just another word for "goals." What is wrong with making goals? 

Some of the nay-sayers point out that many people make these resolutions and then forget about them. While it's sad that they forget their resolutions and don't make any strides towards achieving them, that doesn't make resolution-making (or goal-setting) as a whole a bad thing. Some people are better at sticking to their goals and working towards their goals than others - It doesn't matter what time of the year you set your goals; this fact will still be true.

So if you are making new year's resolutions (and it doesn't matter if you call them resolutions, goals or a to-do list), just keep one thing in mind while you do; these goals you are making are meant to be worked towards throughout the year, not just set and then forgotten.

So here are my fitness, health and Skinny Dreaming-related goals for 2015:

1. Get back down to my goal weight. I've gone up a bit in the past year and struggled to get the weight off. It's not impossible to do though; I just need to keep my head in the right place. I will achieve this by managing to:

2. Get a grip on my sugar-cravings/binge eating. Yes, I have let my control slip way too much this year. Although I managed to drop a bit of weight over November and December this year, I am still not completely in control of my eating habits and I need to get them back under control.

3. Exercising daily. this is another thing I have let slip in the past year. While I don't want to go back to where I was - with over-exercising every day - I do need to fit in some everyday fitness.

4. Finish work on "The 28 Day Fitness Challenge" book and its accompanying food journal and get them published in 2015. I meant to have these completed in 2014, but I had some trouble with the interior illustrations/photographs. I was undecided about whether the book needed photographs or illustrations to show examples of some of the exercises. I have decided to include photographs which show some of the exercises being done.

5. Think up a new challenge to run in 2015. In 2012, I ran the 7-Days Sugar-Free Challenge. In 2013, I ran the 28 Day Fitness Challenge and in 2014 (on Facebook), I ran the Lose a Stone by Christmas Challenge. What will it be this year?

What are your goals for 2015?