Tag Archives: tracking

Lessons Learned: Coffee Grinds

tea leaves? Who needs tea leaves? I can tell my fortune in coffee grinds thanks to the Polar Vortex making it too cold to walk to Dunkin’ daily. That, and I looked at my Mint figures and realized I spent $516.23 at coffee shops last year. That is INSANE and needs to stop, or at least be significantly curtailed because I won’t be giving up my iced coffee).

In the course of homemade mocha mint via my new toy, I also realized I was saving calories. I’d been trying to drink more Dunkin’ (Iced Peppermint Mocha, splash of skim 260 calories) vs. Starbucks (grande soy peppermint mocha, no whip, 330 calories). Homemade? The 40 calories in the Lactaid fat free milk. Win. Means more calories saved for lunch-and a bigger lunch which keeps me fuller longer and less snacky. Double win.

However, I am switching back to soy because I forgot just how vile Lactaid milk is.

and on the #GoTheDist front: 129, 827 steps, 55.8 miles walked (screw you polar vortex) and 69.3 miles biked. That means my Q1 goal (700,000 steps, 300 miles walked and 75 miles on the bike) is well within reach. It seems that I need a new bike goal-I’m very impressed with my gym habits and know the walking will increase when the weather improves and NYC withdraws from the Arctic circle.

Don’t think I’m going to win my DietBet, but I’ll have lost weight, which means it’s a win.

#GoTheDist 2013: Went

I did it, I did it.

Yes, you should read that in a complete sing-song voice since I am wearing a pink tiara.

Been a good #GoTheDist year, despite a rough start after which I revised my original goal of 750 miles down to 500. Then, in July, I realized my initial goal was doable and in September, vowed to beat it.

So how did I do?

I finished* 2013 on a high note:


  • 205,116 steps
  • 87.2 miles walked
  • 47.48 miles biked

Totals for 4Q

  • 641,913 steps
  • 269.41 miles walked
  • 55.16 miles on the bike

Totals for 2013

  • 1,889,696 steps **
  • 948.09 miles walked
  • 335.83 miles on the bike


I also hit my Q4 goal (barely, pathetically on the biking side) and with 87.2 miles walked, I hit my last ditch goal that I set Friday.

Inspired by that, I’m setting my walking goal at 1100 miles. 1,000 seems to little of a bump from ~950 even though I know that’s lower than real, but 1,200 seems too high. So 1100 it is. I still need to do some steps math, so I’m not sure which is primary yet.

ETA: 1100 miles, 2.5m steps is my goal.

More to come on 2014. For now I’m going to bounce, that burns calories, right?

* there will be more steps tonight but it’s too cold so I don’t expect them to amount to much

** since May, when I got my Jawbone

Chubster: where reading and weight loss intersect

Part of the reason for the increased number of book reviews here is simple, an increase in reading. It’s partially the iPad, partially more down time, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. It has led to this blog being a bit disjointed but, to be honest, it always has been at heart.

Anyway, Chubster, a “hipster” weight loss guide from a self-called hipster in Phoenix.  I’ve really lived here too long if I think his hipster habits are completely normal and anything super hipster-ish, except talking at length at how the Chubster non diet is better than every other diet out there. Oh, and everything is ironic. No one ever just does something, they do it….ironically.  That said, it was a fun, light, two-day read.


I really liked his start with calorie counting. As I mentioned, I decided to break from Weight Watchers this time and it’s always interesting to see others facing the same internal debate. I truly don’t understand the national fear of calorie counting, especially with the umpteen smart phone apps that will now do the math. I lost weight more quickly when I was doing WW, but I also had a lot more weight to lose then I do now. Of course I was going to lose more quickly. I also shared his issues with Points Plus. I don’t like it when weight loss methods change with the latest fads. If you stick with science* you understand what causes weight loss and how to “fix” it if you go off track.

You don’t have to worry about a company changing a formula or deciding that the old program (under which I actually lost 50 lbs) suddenly “wasn’t right” and needed blowing up to attract new members. Weight loss as a business is infuriating and, I believe, contributes to the nation’s inability to keep weight off. It’s OK to teach people about the current hot trend, but if they don’t understand the basics… the science, they’ll regain and spend more money on a company’s product.

The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re fat…  It’s not a character flaw … But “happily fat” is not a sustainable…There was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship status intact.

This was the part that resonated the most with me. It wasn’t a slurpee that got me — or someone pointing out the calories in a slurpee, but rather thinking I’d gained 5 lbs in four days. It wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a realization that I didn’t like that me. I look back at my Whys? and realize how different that person was, yet I still see some of her in the current me. I see some of Shauna in me. That won’t change. It’s how to get past that part of me.  Oddly? when I refocused in January it was some of the same position — I felt horrible in my skin. I was done talking about finishing the weight loss and was ready to just do it.

Four doughnuts with coffee or one bagel with cream cheese and a skinny chai: your choice. Obviously I’m not saying that four doughnuts is a good breakfast for someone trying to lose weight; I’m just saying that a bagel and cream cheese isn’t any better.

The forbidden food thing he said he wasn’t going to do? I agree with him in the silliness around Weight Watchers’ “free” foods, but he’s doing the same thing here. Forget his silly gingerbread ban, but he’s saying avoid bagels because they’re high in calories — but go ahead and eat the frozen food that’s just as bad? It’s not that he (or WW) are right/wrong, but I think that in trying to prove himself “better” he also acknowledged the inexact science/”black magic” behind even calorie counting. He returns to his anti bagel quest later when picking the good/bad choices at a number of restaurants: No: The multigrain bagel is on the “DD Smart” menu, but it has 390 calories plain. Is a dry multigrain bagel really what you want for almost 400 calories? I doubt it. That’s the same as their eclair, and it isn’t anywhere near as delicious. Actually, I disagree, bagel > eclair any day, but also a bagel with peanut butter will actually keep you full longer than a sugar bomb of an eclair. Does a bagel compare to a more balanced breakfast? Maybe not, but to compare it to an eclair while arguing about the merits of Super Size Me? Come On.

One of the great things about the Chubster plan is that it lets you choose between Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi options, from the iPhone to an old-fashioned Moleskine notebook. Chances are, you cringed a little when reading either “iPhone” or “Moleskine.” That’s normal. Most of you will find one of those things indispensable (or at least desirable) and the other useless, annoying, and overpriced to the point of being

This is exactly why I don’t understand why people have such an aversion to calorie counting. You don’t need any tools, but if you are the type of person who prefers tools, there are a metric ton of apps for the various devices with which to do it. That’s part of why I don’t understand one of the primary criticisms of the Up. While an instant readout can be nice, syncing to phone isn’t really an issue and if you’re not the type of person who carries a phone regularly, these smart phone enabled devices probably aren’t the best fit.
One of the best thing about this book was his insight into the calorie counts for some foods. Some I knew, but for some I had the same challenge as he did in a) making healthy choices, b) finding the NI for non chain foods. For example, I still cannot find the calorie count for my occasional indulgence – a glass of Stella, so I was grateful for his type by type analysis.
  • the inability to eat 10 oz / 1500 calories of blue cheese dressing in one sitting vs. absent-mindedly consuming about the same as a dip is frightening, and eye opening. After a (tracked!) indulgence tonight it was horrifying to see how many calories are in so-called  “appetizers”. No wonder the country has an obesity issue.
  • On the Americanization of food: Rollatini isn’t actually a type of pasta. It’s not even an Italian word, but in the American version of Italian food it means something breaded and baked. This is also the case with sushi — which in Japan lacks things like cream cheese and fried chicken – takes otherwise healthy or semi-healthy food and turns it into complete rubbish. Which is why you have to read what you’re eating, or as close of an approximation as possible. And speaking of reading, and tracking.
  • People bash McDonald’s, but they’re the motherfucking Gandhi of chain restaurants compared to the Cheesecake Factory. Now, taking the Cheesecake Factory back to the woodshed is the bread and butter of the Eat This, Not That series … so I won’t rehash all that, but it’s absolutely true that they sell salads with close to 2, 000 calories in them and you should avoid eating there on the Chubster. People assume salads are safe and McDonald’s, evil. While I don’t blame Spurlock as much as Cizmor does, I do think the media has gone after fast food in a way they haven’t gone after family style restaurants — but maybe they should. 2,000 calories for a salad?!?! That’s ridiculous and irresponsible.
  • Maybe Pollan’s credo ””Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and avoiding anything his grandmother would not have recognized as food” would be an effective weight-loss plan, but I haven’t heard of anyone succeeding that … Instead, Chubster is all about taking advantage of every modern convenience afforded us. In my unapologetically innovationist view, technology got us into this mess by making it possible to consume so many cheap calories while being so sedentary, and it’ll somehow get us out of it. … I have very little interest in killing any animal myself or getting up early on Saturday morning to schlep down to a parking lot and pick out vegetables I can purchase for a similar price at a nearby grocery store, even if they do have the best arugula ever. Sorry, but that’s just not my scene. Maybe people like Pollan are right that the stuff we eat today isn’t even “food” and that it’ll eventually poison us; however, life expectancy seems to be on an upward trajectory even if the light sour cream we now eat doesn’t fit an organic dairy farmer’s definition. Maybe I’ll be proven a fool, but I’m putting my faith in common sense and scientific

I’ve read some of Pollan’s stuff and while I like the idea of eating cleaner, I also agree with Cizmar, there’s limited practicality to it today – or need. We’re not meant to subsist entirely on processed foods, but I think there’s a reason we’ve also evolved from hunter/gatherers.

That’s not to say I always agree with him, in some cases I think his premises, especially on what constitutes a “grown up” drink are ridiculously off base. Tequila shots are “the grownup way”? No, shots belong in the frat house along with the other wisdom he’s trying to throw up. Are sour apple martinis not ironic enough for him?

You can still enjoy everything that plumped you up, you just need to do it in moderation and mix in more activities. Hey, as it turns out, even an evening Slurpee isn’t off the table. Remember the Slurpee that changed my life? The one I had on the way from that awful Dave Matthews concert lo those many moons ago? The one that prompted the stern lecture from my girlfriend that, in turn, launched my weight-loss project? Turns out, that Slurpee was the last one I had for nearly two years. Not that I stopped wanting them. I’m a sucker for pretty much any frozen confection and have always had a soft spot for the sweet, slushy treat favored by Bart Simpson. Since losing 100 pounds, I had allowed myself occasional indulgences of most types on limited occasions (see above), but never a Slurpee. Then, one day, things came full. … On my stop home I was lured into a 7-Eleven for a giant diet fountain soda. Instead, I found something I hadn’t seen before: a Diet Slurpee. Now, the Crystal Light Slurpee isn’t calorie-free. There are actually 80 calories in a 16-ounce serving. But after hiking 7 long, steep miles, I was certainly willing to allow myself such a splurge.  …  This is what I’ve come to realize: There are two ways up the mountain. You can drive up with 600 calories of sugary ice in your hand, or you can walk up and drink the artificially sweetened version. One route is wide, paved, and busy; the other, narrow, a little rocky, and far less crowded. One will give you little tastes of life as we were meant to live it from time to time; the other will immerse you in it fully. We all choose a path, consciously or not.

But he redeemed himself… and ended the book on the strongest note. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can have the “diet Slurpee” (or, for me, diet Sour Patch Kids), but I understand the feeling the wanting to prove your dominance over food. I can do that now with chocolate chip cookies (but not dough). I can do that with Subway. One day I’ll do it with Sour Patch Kids… one day.

* speaking of which, Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories  and Why We Get Fat are on Mt. TBR. It’s not that I think he’s completely wrong, but there is something to be said for the basic math of calories in, calories out vs. trend hopping.

Weigh In: March 10 and 300

Weekly Loss: 2.6 lbs
Total Loss: 15.2 lbs
Honestly, I’m losing in the most bizarre places. Not remotely complaining, but it’s weird to lose in my face and legs first. Over all, thrilled with progress since I recommitted and this is the longest (42 days since January 28) that I’ve been focused since I started this journey. I have tracked every morsel I put in my mouth since then and it hasn’t felt like a chore at all. I will finish it this year. I am “All In”, no doubt inspired by this weekend’s reading. Speaking of this weekend …300 visits to the gym in less than three years

300 gym trips? 300, me?!?!?! I joined Boom on March 24, 2010.. so this is 300 trips to the gym in less than three years. WOW.  That’s definitely not the old me. I’m a bit off the pace that I was last year, but it’s still 100 visits in 13 months.  I’ll take it. Recently I’ve ramped back up to long visits, increased cardio. I need to build back in weight training but this is working for me and my health.

DietBet Round 2: Official Winner

Congratulations, your final weight has been verified!

You are now an official winner in your dietbet game!

You will be splitting the pot with the other lucky winners of your game.

We’ll follow up shortly with details about your winnings once all player weights have been finalized. In the meantime, think about what you are going to splurge on!


I didn’t end up as far down as I thought I would because my scale has been all over the map and I did my final weigh in in the evening but. WOW!

The goal was 4% of my weight per Diet Bet guidelines, but I lost 5.4% if my excel calculations are right. 5.4% in one month. That’s awesome and I am proud of myself.

Perhaps the single most reason I was able to exceed this month’s goal? I tracked. Every single day of the last four weeks, I logged every morsel (down to one dorito one day) in LoseIt. I think that was even more crucial than the m&ms I ended up giving up.

I’m still not ready to set a Goal (and was glad to realize I’m not the only one who has a goal fear) but I’m going to follow Jess’ lead and set a few mini goals:

  • Lose another 4%. I know at some point my weight loss will slow down but it doesn’t need to be this month. I realized from my spread sheet that if I hit the 4%s I will hit one of my goals by mid June. I want to get another solid step in that direction
  • Track. That’s what I did this month, that’s what I did when I started this back in 2010. There is no excuse not to track because it’s all tracked on the scale anyway
  • More water, less soda. OK, at least more lemonade.

Maybe more tomorrow. In the mean time, I’m tucking into the peanut butter sandwich I’ve wanted for two days. #HappyCari


11 days back OP

11 days tracking

10 days ( 8 work days) without m & ms although I badly wanted some when I was still at work at 9p yesterday and I had no Cheerios or snacks.

Yep, this is all day by day.

It’s Week 2 so I don’t have the w1 losses, but I’m not using that as an excuse to say “oh fuck it” as in “I’m not losing so I might as well not try”. Even the day that I fell into the bag of candy, I didn’t let it turn into days… and I tracked it.

I’m also fiddling with calories day by day. When I started Weight Watchers in March 2010 it was pre Points Plus and my point total a few months in, without using weeklies and/or APs, was about 1000 calories. I didn’t realize that at the time, and by the time I did I was set in my eating routine. According to LoseIt, I should be eating about 1300 calories a day. So I’m keeping a close tab on my numbers and seeing what works the best for me.

I just know for sure I’ll keep working it each day.I’m 82% of the way to my DietBet goal. I will do this.

One Week

and not BNL’s One Week which is in my head for some inexplicable reason.

I have officially tracked everything for one week. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I’ve tracked about one week with a day or two missing because I didn’t want to face it or some other excuse, but not this time. I really think my head is finally back in the right place to finish this.

and maybe it’s no coincidence that I’m down 6.2 this week. Hello water weight but I’ll take it.

Huge thanks to Britt, Jess and Robby for kicking my ass and lots of advice. <3 you.

And now? I tuck into this salad that is roughly the size of my head.

“Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy. Like Kurosawa, I make mad films, ok I don’t make films, but if I did, they’d have a Samurai”

eating out, weekends and sick, oh my

As I mentioned, eating out is a stressor for me. Has been since 2010 and honestly, probably always will be.
I didn’t bail on lunch Friday because I needed to get out. I used a strategy that a couple of friends mentioned and I’ve used in the past – pre plan. Well, sort of. I was all set that I wanted salmon which a) I love b) I can’t cook. But when we got the menu the only salmon they had on it was char-grill Salmon, organic beets, potatoes, saffron yogurt. The salmon is fine – the other three, not so much. So it was time to re-think and also keep in mind a price point because I was being treated and I hate over spending when someone else is paying. So I went with the crab cakes. Specifically: Jumbo lump, olive oil cured, blackeyed peas (95% Maryland fresh crab). It came with some deliciously spicy sauce that wasn’t on the menu. It was similar to a remoulade in texture so I used that for my tracking. I will not use not knowing what it is as an excuse not to track. It was good lunch with good friends and despite restaurant portions the soup salt bomb I had for dinner, I was still down .4 this morning. Win.

The aforementioned salt soup bomb? Yeah, that’s because I’m sick with my semi-annual cold. I have no voice and badly wanted the soother that is soup. However it was 9p when I got home and there is no good soup spot between my bus stop and apartment. The only thing I really miss about my old place is the diner on the corner. I could have had delivery but I wanted my soup and to go to bed so Progresso Italian Wedding it was. For canned soup it’s not terrible, but it’s also not as good as homemade soup. But it hit the spot. Didn’t use the cold as an excuse not to go to the gym and had a nice if not high intensity workout. Better than sitting on the couch – which its what I did after finishing errands & setting up my new humidifier. It is the little engine that could and I love it. Couldn’t believe how much drier this apartment is – such is the side effect of actually having working heat.

What do errands mean? Oh yeah, weekends. aka Saturdays spend running around so that I can watch football, or soon, baseball on Sundays. The biggest change from my 2010 loss – cannot stomach Subway. The bread literally makes me gag. Have no idea why but I’ve had it once in the last few months and it still happened, so that’s gone. I still haven’t found the perfect lunch, but I did have a good sandwich today that I could almost taste. The biggest challenge for me has been avoiding snacks. The m&ms sit next to my desk at work but they’ve become a personal challenge to avoid. I don’t keep sweets in the house, but sweets are always a temptation while running errands. Today I avoided the siren song of sour patch kids. So good, but so bad since I can’t have only a handful. They are my potato chips. Good eating so far today. Aforementioned sandwich, a brief stop at Fairway’s olive oil bar (tracked!) with a handful of chips and guacamole. Nice cup of cinnamon tea and will likely have a smoothie before bed.

Will be nicely under LoseIt’s weekly budget and on track for DietBet. Life is good

LoseIt while eating out

Had “coffee” scheduled with a colleague in the industry tonight and I was anxious. Not about seeing her as she’s good fun, but smart choices at dinner. I know there are healthier options at Starbucks but I can’t stand the taste of “skinny” drinks as I much prefer soy milk. Well coffee turned into “drinks” and I relaxed when I had an idea of their menu. Or so I thought. At least I could get an idea of the choices from Yelp.

Turns out we were both “watching what we’re eating” (aka every other woman in NYC) and we split an appetizer. I should have stayed away from the bread but… I tracked it. And it was good.

Speaking of tracking. I am in love with LoseIt after a few friends recommended it. When I first started this journey in 2009, I was on Weight Watchers. When I got tired of paying for WW meetings I wasn’t going to and an online tool that wasn’t working for me once they switched to Points Plus, I switched to SparkPeople. Spark was ok. It never worked for me in the way WW did but that could have been because I wasn’t working it the way I worked WW. I hated the app and I found the website clunky. Enter LoseIt and I feel like I’m in love. It graphs, provides a calorie budget (I’m also a Mint-aholic) and best of all supports daily WI so I don’t need to also keep my up Excel doc.

I’m not going to make excuses – but one of the main challenges I faced in tracking was trying to track in too many places: the excel spread sheet (weigh ins and factors that might have affected the numbers), SparkPeople for nutrition and MapMyFitness for exercise. Now It’s down to LoseIt and MMF with a check in on DietBet. I think that’s infinitely more manageable. I’m in the honeymoon phase since I even tracked a single dorito – but I have a good feeling.

Now on to two work lunches to round out the week. Wish me luck!

Day 2

If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up.

If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

No, blogging isn’t going to be a daily thing. But this is really resonating with me today. I made a promise to my Hivers that I’m not going to have anymore Day 1s. Today is Day 2. Both tracked, including when I fell into the Cheerios. And the can of soup that was completely vile. Loathe to say I’ve lost “weight” as it’s really just water from adventures in a chili dip and Russian coffee cake this weekend, but it’s a lower number.

And eating better. Even if it did take me an hour the past two nights to find peanut butter and bananas. Yep, smoothies a go. And something I forgot last night – no candy. I’ve proved to myself I cannot be trusted in moderation so it’s banned. Oh, and I stayed away from the evil m&ms today. Not even one.

A final thought on tracking. There’s no reason to fear it. The scale tracks anyway.

Your body keeps an accurate journal

Your body keeps an accurate journal