Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Problems

I was really surprised at the response I got from my last post.  If you haven't, you should go back and read all the comments.  I had some very opposing viewpoints on me rewarding myself with a phone.

I agree that I can't keep myself perpetually motivated by an endless stream of rewards.  When I earn a reward, what motivation do I have to keep going?  I've got to lose weight for real reward, my health.

There's a very good book out there called Punished by Rewards that makes the point that rewards are bad for intrinsic motivation.  The author sites a number of studies that all indicate decreases in performance when rewards are involved.

I almost decided not to follow through with this incentive, but I'm still going to move forward with it.  Agree or disagree, it's something I feel will keep me focused for a little while.  I'm going to show myself I can follow through with a goal.

Mr. Scott is helping me get started with a new exercise plan.  I'm still going to continue C25k, but on the other days I'm going to start lifting weights.  I'm excited to get started.

My last point tonight is that I'm starting to come to the realization that I'm terrible at eating healthy.  It has been by far the weakest part of my weight loss journey.  I know what to eat (sort of) but I need to be a lot more informed about how to consistently eat that way.

Does anyone know of a good book about eating right?  I know there are a ton of books out there, but there's also a lot of crap out there.  What have you read that's changed your way of thinking about nutrition?


  1. I think you'd benefit most from meeting with a dietitian. Having said that, maybe another good way to start is by getting inspired by cookbooks. Leafing through, seeing beautiful pictures of food, reading about the origins of a recipe or a specific ingredient can alter the way you approach food. Libraries have hundreds of cookbooks for the taking!

  2. I agree about meeting with a nutritionist. In the mean time, here is my advice.

    1. Avoid processed foods. Try not to buy things out of boxes, packages or cans. If you do, try to buy foods that have no more than 3 or 4 ingredients. Avoid "low fat" products like chips or cookies. Really learn to cook.

    2. Eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you can. Eat loads and loads of salad greens, cabbage, onions of every kind, beets, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chillis, pickles, zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli...eat large quantities at every meal and cook them in different ways...broiled, steamed, roasted, BBQ, raw... Use a small amount of butter or oil when cooking your veggies...it's good for you!

    3. Eat a medium portion of lean protein at every meal. This could be 2-3 eggs, a skinless chicken breast, a lean steak, a pork chop, a large fillet of fish, a large portion of shrimp, a small portion of cheese. Cook these things up any way you like em. Don't be afraid of dressings (although watch the sugar/fat content in them) or seasonings to make things interesting and tasty.

    4. When you are having starch, go for wholegrain. Eat brown rice, brown pasta, wholegrain breads (like pitta), and make your potatoes baby new potatoes where possible. Eat small to medium servings of this stuff. Remember that peas and corn are starches rather than vegetables!

    5. Snacking between meals is not bad for you. Try having a piece of fruit, or a natural yoghurt, or 10-15 raw nuts.

    6. Start the day well. Eat a good, nutritious breakfast, like an omelet packed with veggies, or some oats made with pumpkin, cinnamon and a little peanut butter.

    6. Eat until you are satisfied, then stop. Snack when you are hungry, but remember that a little hunger is good.

    7. Make your food varied and interesting. Make it stuff you really want to eat. Avoid foods you don't like, but be willing to try them and be adventurous. Your tastes will change, your appetite will reduce, and your enjoyment of food will increase! Have a treat once a week (pizza or whatever) but try to be moderate e.g...a treat is one scoop of B&J - not the whole tub! :D

  3. I read about someone who took a photo of everything he was going to eat. This made eating a more conscious activity.

    You love to dink around with your camera - maybe try this for a week?

  4. Way to stick to your guns on the Reward! In all honesty, sometimes in life we just need a reason to allow us to buy something we feel guilty about wanting. :)

    Good books....Jaimie Oliver's book about food is good. I haven't read it, but I've leafed through it. It has healthy, homemade recipes and other thoughts on eating better. His show 'Food Revolution' is pretty awesome too-it's on Friday nights.

    Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck is awesome. It talks about whole foods and their health benefits. For example: She says once she introduced dairy back into her life she didn't get sick as often and had more energy.

    Skinny Bitch embarked me on a vegetarian/vegan diet....It was interesting. I learned about how food really meshes with my body. But it's a tough diet to follow (and I don't think you want to become a skinny bitch... *wink*). It was still an interesting read. :)

    So really, the books I recommend don't tell you about a diet to follow, or what you shouldn't eat. It teaches you about healthy choices that are realistic and wholesome. Which is the best diet in the world! :)

  5. Hey Andrew, I would suggest a research on 'eating clean'. http://www.eatcleandiet.com/ just to get you started on the right path.

  6. Hey Andrew! I am right with you on the not eating right thing. For the past two months I have been going to the gym 5 times a week but my eating habits have only changed a bit. I don't do fast food anymore which is good, but I am having a hard time with portion control.

    There are some great suggestions here that I will follow as well, but a wise person once told me "You can't out train your diet". So all this work we are doing at the gym will just go to waste if we can't commit to eating right.

    Good luck Andrew and if you need another partner in this weight loss thing, stop over at my blog. I'm new at this but we might be able to help each other out.


  7. "Eat this not that" and 'Cook this not that' are Great books. Eat this not that basically gives you healthier options at restaurants and at the grocery store. Cook this not that gives you healthy recipes for usually unhealthy foods (like chicken parmesan).

    I too am awful at eating right. It is also my weak point.

  8. WOW. There is some REALLY great advice in your comments here. Thanks Blimpy Christian and Mr Scott and Liza!

  9. Glad you're doing the reward. And who knows--maybe once you hit your goal, you'll find that the result is all the success you need. That happened with me.

    Blimpy CHristian had some great suggestions! I'd say, also, to try not to deprive yourself too much. And if you trip up and have something you "shouldn't" have had, don't beat yourself up too much.

  10. I just hope you don't go for that belly button piercing that Mr. Scott suggested! ha.

    I'll be interested to see what you end up doing with the plan. keep it up.

  11. Hey Andrew!
    I'm getting excited to see you guys this summer/Thanksgiving. I really have no tips for you, but I harnessed the power of gchat to ask my most in-shape friend for his advice:

    bryanlbenson: oaky no but seriously
    common sense should prevail here
    bryanlbenson: lots of green leafy vegetables are good
    coffee is good- it's an antioxidant and also increases your metabolic rate, so it will help you lose weight
    drink it black or you won't get the first benefit
    limit intake of dairy products and red meats
    both of these have lots of saturated fat which isn't really good
    if you're craving saturated fat, nuts are a good alternative
    eat whole grains
    oats are excellent and very versatile
    you don't have to have them in oatmeal (yuck)
    you can make oatmeal and honey stuff quickly and easily and it's healthy
    pasta is good (whole grain)
    but the important thing to remember is
    all the healthy eating in the world won't help if you eat the same number of calories and expend the same number
    there was an enormous study done, with thousands of people
    they found a mild health benefit for eating less saturated fat
    and otherwise, no difference in weight loss that wasn't explained by calories in vs. calories out
    me: what about like eating a certain number of times during the day or whatever?
    bryanlbenson: it's better for you
    but impractical
    eat when you're hungry
    not before
    and eat enough so you're not hungry
    not more
    bryanlbenson: exercise is the key here
    I'd start with moderate length runs
    and then a variety of other activities
    just running is a pain in the ass
    pick up an active hobby like frisbee or something
    ithen it doesn't seem like work
    and then you can look at running as a way to get better at doing something else
    rather than torture
    if you do the math, exercise by itself doesn't lead to a big change in calories out
    but it increases your metabolism
    bryanlbenson: if he doesn't want to run or do the elliptical
    life is too long to make suck
    especially if you exercise
    then it's even longer
    bryanlbenson: intervals are wonderful
    I did more reading into the interval literature
    and they need to be incredibly painful to be really effective
    they have a high potential for injury
    because of the force you're putting out
    so it's wisest to build a base first
    the great thing is, you can do intervals with anything
    bryanlbenson: worthwile exercise is painful
    bryanlbenson: and don't be a pussy
    those are the two tips I can give that will help the most

    Hopefully there's something useful in there. The idea of exercise being painful is something I need to be especially mindful of. Being at the gym for an hour (while better than not going) doesn't automatically count as worthwhile exercise.

    Happy Wednesday!

  12. I second Jake's food photography suggestion. Writing down what you eat in a day is good, but it can start to just look like meaningless numbers after a while. If you start taking pictures of what you eat, too, you might be able to better judge what you're putting into your body and how it affects your weight loss.

    That being said, I'd be terrified to take pictures of everything I ate. I'd be even more terrified to show it to everyone else. (But you should totally post them. That would be awesome.)

  13. Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. Skip the first half of the book and get right to the whys and hows of food. It was an eye-opening read for me.

  14. Eat less. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Suck it up. Get out and do it.

  15. I still think the cell phone reward is bullshit.

    Why not try LARP to drop some extra lbs?

  16. @Mr. Scott I don't need your approval. Think whatever you want about my methods, it's my choice in the end. And if you keep criticizing me I'll blast you with a lightning bolt.