Junk In Your Trunk?

Where Does Weight Go When You Lose it?So, here is our burning question. When you lose weight where does it go?  The short answer is that the bulk of it is excreted from your body via urine, sweat, and exhaling.  Think about your car to make this easier.

You put gas in your car (making it heavier, though not fatter). The car uses up its food by moving and also loses some of the fuel through the exhaust pipe.  If you keep giving the car gas when it doesn’t need it, it will spill out of the car and onto the ground. The car can’t adapt to the more fuel concept because it has an inflexible system

As flexible humans, we all eat food and inhale; these are our sources of energy. If you continue filling your tank needlessly, your accommodating little body becomes…well…big and then bigger. Nothing spills out (unless you want to get into bulimia or diuretics and we don’t choose to go there, thank you very much) but your body will utilize that fuel when you make it move. You also lose some energy via your exhaust system (i.e., breathing), and will ditch some of your unexpended fuel via , well, you know. You even have an efficient fuel filtering system that extracts useless additives without having to go visit the body shop. Thank you, Mr. Colon.

Exercising, walking, and even aimless wandering count as times that you will use up some of your fuel. As your breathing becomes heavier, you will actually push some of your unneeded energy into the atmosphere. The more you move, the more you will also sweat and go to the bathroom. In fact if you ever want to watch your body become a mean, lean excretory machine, take up running. You will never be able to “hold it” when you need to go #2. Running to the bathroom will become a lifestyle habit. (Speaking of bathrooms, you women need to read this.)

We need to pause right here for a public service announcement. Yes, you technically add calories by inhaling. Do not, we repeat, do not stop inhaling in an effort to lose weight. It doesn’t turn out well; we already tried it for you.

Anyway, you have a couple of choices in your weight loss plan:

  • You can choose to increase your energy expenditure. Remember two things:               1)  freeway miles use more gas so rigorous exercise will do you more favors than that aimless wandering option (with the added benefit of people not wondering if you’re the Town Crazy); and 2) miles per gallon will vary between models – so don’t worry abut losing weight as quickly as your significant other or best friend if you’re trying to lose weight together. (We just called you a model – didn’t that feel good?)
  • You can drink more water. Increasing your water intake will help you excrete more unused energy and also work to keep you feeling fuller throughout the day. Your body converts everything you eat into a sugar and that sugar is your fuel.  If your body doesn’t have have the moisture it needs to excrete leftovers, they get stored and you get fat. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily is an efficient and effective way to ensure you ditch what you don’t need (your car doesn’t even have this option available – not even in the high end models).
  • You can do nothing. This option allows you to continue life as an adorable chubby person who knows how to lose weight but really doesn’t choose to do so at this time.

It really does boil down to choices and then applying knowledge. If you aren’t willing to do anything, don’t. Just buy bigger clothes and move (or don’t move, as the case may be) on. If you’re willing to do one or some of the above options, you’re on the road to weight loss.

Anyway, we are now pondering a new question. If your fat becomes external to your body as you lose weight, does someone else have to pick it up to keep the world balanced?  We’ll  ponder this one during our next aimless wander through the neighborhood.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Not Your Friend

high-fructose-corn-syrup is bad for youYou’ve had a bad day. You feel pretty terrible and your troubles seem insurmountable. You really need a pick-me-up. You head for the pantry the minute you get home and pull out a treat. It’s sweet, it’s gooey, and it’s most definitely over-processed food. You know it isn’t good for you but you really don’t care. It works. A few minutes later, you’re blissful, ready to get some dinner and happy to finish your evening. Sure, you still have all of those problems but they just don’t seem quite so terrible.

Why did that sweet treat do the trick? The secret is most likely sugar – and, to narrow it down a bit, most likely sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is a super sweet concentration derived from corn; it’s cheap to make, easy to use, and (an added bonus) extends the shelf life of foods in which it is used.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?  Manufacturers think so. They know more about it than you do. First, they know it’s highly addictive. Canadian scientists equate the potential addiction to that of cocaine. Ridiculous, you think. We thought so, too. But HFCS has been shown (via MRI studies) to stimulate the pleasure centers in your brain and to elicit behavioral reactions similar to those elicited through cocaine use. No, this doesn’t mean HFCS is the same as cocaine; only that it is highly addictive. For food manufacturers, this equates into increased consumption which, of course, means increased profits.  Second, rats fed a diet of foods high in HFCS become nervous and anxious when the sweet stuff is removed from their diets. Think about your friends who go on No Sugar Diets.  We don’t know about yours, but our friends report headaches, bad moods, and general anxiety as they attempt to succeed at eliminating sugar from their diets. It’s okay to refer to it as an addiction. Professor Bart Hoebel, with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, has named it so and reports it makes you fat. In fact, he mentions the problems we’ve all experienced if we’ve successfully stifled our sugar addiction – cravings and relapse are part of the process.

What are the potential effects of fructose on your various organs and systems? That’s the bad news. The happy feelings you derive from HFCS foods come at a heavy price. Science News reported the effects of fructose in its June 2013 edition:

Brain: Unlike glucose (i.e., table sugar), fructose does not adequately curb the hunger signals in your brain. So you remain hungry – and you continue eating. Also, pleasure centers in your brain are stimulated – creating a dependency.

Liver: Fructose ends up in your liver when it’s consumed. Its chemical bond is different than that of table sugar – which does not break apart until it is in the intestine.  Fructose breaks apart in the liver and may be packaged short-term as glycogen to provide energy or as fat. This flood of energy overstimulates your mitochondria (i.e., the power plants of your cells) and the excess energy is turned into liver fat; increasing your risk of fatty liver disease (a liver disease that is usually associated with alcoholism and can cause cirrhosis).

Kidney: Fructose that seeps into the liver may increase uric acid increasing your risks of contracting gout, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Abdomen: Fructose is responsible for much of the fat that accumulates in your abdomen.

Pancreas:  Fructose increases insulin resistance which increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Bloodstream:  Triglycerides circulating in the blood can harm both your heart and your liver.  Additionally, it can cause rashes.

As we move toward our Cupcake Time Diet, we hope you are willing to move away from foods containing high fructose corn syrup. However, this does take somewhat of a commitment since HFCS is found in so many foods:

Bread: Some commercial bakeries use HFCS in their bread. To avoid it, you would need to carefully check labels or take the time to bake your own bread. Amazing that we often have to make our own food if we want to avoid all of the chemical additives.

Salad Dressings: Again, you would need to carefully check labels to avoid HFCS or make your own.

Tuna: Avoid purchasing Sunkist Tuna Lunch To Go as it contains HFCS.

Canned Goods:  HFCS can be found in canned fruits, vegetables, and even baked beans. Again, checking labels (or canning your own) can work to help you avoid it.

Mac & Cheese:  Making your macaroni and cheese from scratch is easy and it tastes better. Give it a try!

Cereal:  Check the labels of your cereal. Be wary of anything listed as a syrup or corn derivitive.

Crackers:  Even though we think of salty when we eat crackers, a quick check of boxes reveals tons of crackers that include HFCS on their labels.

Soup:  Campbell’s condensed vegetable soup contains HFCS. Is there nothing a mom can feed her kids that doesn’t contain this stuff?

Yogurt:  Danon and Yoplait list HFCS on their lists of ingredients. Trader Joe’s French Village yogurt does not.

Ketchup: Heinz ketchup lists both corn syrup and HFCS on the label. Check it out.

In short, read labels to find out the hidden ways HFCS is tucked into your diet. When you identify the products, walk away. Cooking from fresh, finding alternative labels, or avoiding certain foods altogether are ways you can eliminate HFCS from your diet. Don’t replace it with other sugars; work to only eat sugar when you intend to.

The Power of Three

Triads are powerful. Avoid MSG, aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup.Have you noticed that power always seems to travel in threes? Hong Kong has its evil 14K Triad, television has Charmed, American government has its Iron Triangle, and Christians have their Trinity. Even music has a triad (have you ever heard the song by David Crosby about menage a trois called Triad?).  And did you know the triangle is the strongest shape? That’s why it’s so commonly used in bridge building. We don’t know why, but three seems to be the number that contains the power to both heal and hurt.

 

We have one more triad for you to add to you lists of three: high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and aspartame.  This isn’t just for the sake of diet, it’s for the sake of your good health.  You see, each of these chemically developed food additives mess with your metabolism, internal organ health, brain function, and eating. It sounds so dramatic, we know. But we’ve been researching these for the past couple of weeks and it just makes us sick to think of how the food industry makes us sick in an effort to sell more product. Recognizing how these three items can negatively impact your life and refusing to put them into your body will result in better health and a healthier weight. More later; but we wanted to be up front about this so you can work on cutting them out of your diet now rather than after we’ve provided the compelling evidence to do so.

Now go watch your Star Wars trilogy.

Body Tricks

sundial is like your circadian rhythms To those of you who are now following us via email, we did send out the tentative Cupcake Time Diet Plan on Wednesday night. If you didn’t get a copy of it, let us know and we’ll happily forward you one.

We have really learned a lot during our adventures with dieting. Failure is not always a bad thing because it can teach you lessons you never knew you needed to learn, even if it does keep you in your fat pants. This is one thing we did learn: if you eat late at night, you will gain weight.

When the kids were little, Sherry always gave them a Midnight Snack. This was a small snack that was part of their bedtime routine – first they would get into their jammies (bath time some nights but not always), then a snuggle in bed with Sherry while we read a book together (we read everything from Where the Red Fern Grows to The Black Cauldron Trilogy to Anna Karenina), and, lastly, a Midnight Snack before tuck ins.  We laughingly called it Midnight Snack because it always felt so late when  snack time rolled around (usually 9:30 p.m.).  In fact, Sherry played a pretty good April Fool’s joke on Brooke when she was around 6 years old (Brooke claims she is still in need of therapy because of this and says you should not try this at home).  You see, Brooke would often fall asleep early in the evening and wake up just in time for her bedtime routine.  So on the morning of April 1st, Sherry convinced Brooke it was nighttime as she woke her early in the morning. A sleepy little Brooke joined her sisters for a Midnight Snack of brownies and milk.  It was dark (just like it was at night when Brooke would wake up in time for her snack) and Brooke was still a little drowsy (typical) and pretty anxious to return to her warm bed for the night. As they finished the last bits of their brownies, the sun began to rise. Brooke was confused and panicked to think that the sun had forgotten it was night time and she would now be required to stay awake “all night” and wait for another night to show up.  For a long time, she could not be convinced that she had actually slept through the night – she is sure she was somehow cheated out of a full night’s sleep. 

Anyway, Midnight Snack time remains an endearing part of our bedtime routine.  However, during the past few years the midnight snack seems to have grown in direct proportion with our weight. And it no longer is part of our bedtime routine; it seems to have become a part of our stay up routine.  We found ourselves working late into the evening and then actually eating our Midnight Snack, well, at midnight to wake us up so we could stay awake even longer. Soon we were shocked to find our clothes telling us we were fat with every zip and every button. We shook our heads in disbelief because we were gaining weight while, at the same time, generally eating less and trying to lose weight. It wasn’t until we started trying different diets, that we realized that we were eating late at night to create enough energy to stay awake. Late night eating – when your body is ready for bed – increases weight because your body is converting those calories into fat. Just like poor Brooke watching the sun come up, your body can be confused and left to operate at less than optimum capacity when your activities don’t match the time of day.

Your circadian rhythms create a continuous loop wherein your body knows when to store energy (i.e., bedtime) and when to prepare to use it (i.e., breakfast time). Your thyroid gland gives you a great big dose of thyroxin as your feet hit the ground each morning to prepare you to be awake and alert for your day. You need to treat yourself to a good breakfast (even if you hate breakfast) in order to keep your food intake aligned with your circadian rhythms so you enjoy can enjoy optimal health and energy.  Skipping breakfast can make you fat, too.

So, if you want to lose weight, don’t eat at night. Instead, go to bed and get a good night’s rest. Sure there are times when you’ll need to stay up late but if you find yourself staying up past 11:00 p.m. on a regular basis you’re doing yourself a disfavor.  Getting adequate sleep and eating only during the times when you are most likely to expend energy are two of the most important tips for being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. Doing otherwise will leave you exhausted and weighing more than you want. Who needs that?

The Story of nICE

Elizabeth Garden RosesToday has not been the day we planned.  At all. We got up early and prepared for a relaxing walk in Elizabeth Park. The weather was perfect, we felt great, and we were excited about our morning. And then we saw it….a little purple cell phone. It was sitting on some stone steps. Sherry picked it up and cursed her lack of forethought as she had not put in her contacts. She will often go walking with Brooke sans contacts and make Brooke do all the work of looking for cars and checking out the scary people (we do have to be able to pick them out  in a line-up just in case, you know).  But it was blind Sherry that spied (and subsequently picked up) the little purple cell phone. (Brooke claims she saw the phone first but was remiss to pick it up for fear of getting germs. Ha) After gazing, squinting, and cursing a bit Sherry handed the phone to Brooke for a closer examination.

Brooke confirmed it was an active phone and looked for an In Case of Emergency (ICE) person. By the way, if you don’t have an ICE person in your cell phone add one right now while you’re thinking about it. If you’re ever unconscious or killed and the emergency person picks up your phone, your ICE person will be the first person called. So make sure the person you entered really does like you. We think of everything when it comes to safety. One other safety tip, if a person approaches you with a gun and tells you to get in their car DON’T DO IT!!  Run away screaming! Bad guys are notoriously bad shots. And if the person shoots you, there will be people nearby who can get you to a hospital. If you get in the car – the person can shoot you anywhere and there may not be people to save you. (This is the sage advice Sherry would give Brooke and her sisters when they were, oh, 6 years old and Brooke is still traumatized to this day. BUT. She is alive , Sherry is quick to point out.)  This cell phone had no ICE person.

Brooke found a phone number labeled Dad and sent a text advising Dad that we had the cell phone. We figured that Dad would care about the lost cell phone if anyone did. After 2 trips around the rose garden, there was still no return text so we took the phone to the caretaker’s cottage to turn it in. The nice lady who received it was Karen the Executive Director for the Elizabeth Park Conservancy. She graciously received the phone and promised she would watch for Dad to send a return text. Then she slyly delivered a plug for volunteering at the park (which we believe is a noble thing to do if you live in the Hartford area) and sent us on our way. We meandered through the park and enjoyed the sights and smells of the abundant roses which are currently in bloom. Yes, that picture is one we took in the park this morning. And we began our trek back home. And Brooke mentioned with a half laugh that she didn’t have her phone and speculated whether she had lost it – but reassured Sherry it was probably at home. Deception!  Brooke’s phone was nowhere to be found.

We quickly made our way back to the Park, using Sherry’s phone to continuously dial Brooke’s phone along the way in hopes of hearing the lost lamb sounds of Brooke’s ringer (actually it’s Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult but whatever). No such luck. We could not find that phone anywhere. Brooke was upset. Sherry was upset. Sherry was worrying about a thief running up charges on her phone account and musing over whether the phone could be tracked through its internal GPS system. She was cursing Karma for not taking better care of us. We had just turned a lost cell phone in.  Come on! Brooke was trying to figure out what she was going to do for a phone, whether a stranger was going to go digging through her emails, and how she was going to make it through the day without the comfort of endless texting and Scramble activities. Dejected, we returned home with a plan of action in hand. Brooke sent a text from Sherry’s phone begging the finder to please contact Sherry’s number and return the lost phone. Next, we planned to transfer Sherry’s phone to Brooke’s number since Brooke uses the Smartphone stuff and Sherry pretty much sticks to the Dumbphone stuff. We would transfer Sherry’s number back to her old phone, since she kinda likes it better than her new phone anyway. And we would shut down access to Brooke’s old phone.

But we had an appointment with a mechanic (and you never miss those or ones with your hairdresser or you’re just screwed) so we had to be quick. We effortlessly moved Sherry’s number back to her old phone  (which, of course, was not charged) but could not move Brooke’s number to Sherry’s phone on-line. Still not sure why that change was prohibited: but we were instructed to call the phone company to make this change. However, this was problematic as Sherry’s phone was now disabled due to the transfer and the new/old phone was not charged. Sherry was standing in the corner blindly trying to stab the power cord into the phone but, minus her contacts, only succeeded in failure.  We had to go. We were sweaty, ill dressed, and late for the mechanic appointment.

As we headed for the mechanic’s, the disabled Sherry phone received a text. From Emma; who now joined our small drama. Brooke (who could not call Emma on the same phone on which we had received said text – yes, she tried) asked Emma to contact the phone company to report the now-believed-to-be-stolen phone as stolen to freeze the number until we could get the number transferred. Unbeknownst to us, Emma also sent a text to any would-be thief imploring them to do the right thing. She offered a reward “if you decide not to be a cruel person” and generously provided Brooke’s email address for any reward seeking activity. We arrived at the mechanic’s harried, disheveled, and seeking an outlet. And then Sherry’s disabled phone rang. It was a nice lady who had found Brooke’s phone in the park, hauled it home, and then called us to let us know she had it. The phone was returned and the phone company spent 40 minutes trying to put all the right phones back with the right numbers. No reward was sought and the lady was deemed to be “not a cruel person” by all. We are very grateful to her, to karma for coming through for us, to the mechanic who restored our air conditioning like a pro, and to Emma for cleverly guilt tripping/bribing any potential thief while calling the phone company to suspend the service.

Whenever we get stressed we eat. And this time we didn’t! Okay, maybe it was because we were short on time but maybe…just maybe…we have a little progress here. We did not buy the candy offered at the mechanic’s shop. Even after everything was said and done, we did not come home and eat. We found a healthy alternative – we took an angry nap.  The purple cell phone is still at the park waiting for its owner.

Read Tonight to Save Some Money on This Cool 5k!

Glow-in-the-Dark  5k runIf running 5Ks is something you enjoy, check this out. This non-traditional 5k is happening all over the nation and, lucky you, you can get in on the action!  Even better, if you sign up tonight before midnight (that’s only one hour for you East coast runners) you’ll save money!  After enjoying your glow-in-dark run, you can check out the dance scene that is provided for your enjoyment! This is a don’t miss opportunity!

Cheaters Never Prosper (They Just Win)

Elephant on ScalesYou’ve tried other diets before but they always failed you.  It’s not a mystery why they failed; you cheated.  Right?

Wrong! You did not cheat on your diets, your diets cheated you. The way America has dieted for the past few decades has been a set-up for failure. No one really understood it before but we do. And, we are going to help you see what was wrong with your past dieting. You only cheated because your body was telling you that what you were doing was all wrong.

In the next few days, we will be debuting our Cupcake Time Diet. You will soon be on the road to losing weight while eating cupcakes. This is not an exaggeration! We can’t wait to share it with you!

Want a sneak peek? We will be sending an advance copy of the Cupcake Time Diet to everyone who is on our mailing list by Wednesday, June 5th.   So add yourself to our mailing list today by entering your email address under Follow Blog Via Email in the right hand column and soon you’ll be on your way to the body you want with a diet that won’t cheat you!

Drinking on the Job

The Green Drink

You know the Green Drink? We decided to try it out and tell you what we thought.  We were thinking that liking it would be a good thing because it’s full of vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals and the ingredients were foods we would typically put in a salad – or whatever. A quick drink giving us all of our nutrients seemed like something we could get used to.  The promise is you will lose weight by drinking this drink and making no other changes in your diet.

Following the recipe, we mixed the drink in the blender.  If you decide to make this drink, mix the banana and orange in the mixer first and then add the greens. Dry greens don’t mix really well without any moisture and you’ll find yourself digging spinach greens out of your blender when they don’t do their thing.

The Green DrinkThe results will be a bright green mixture that looks exactly like the picture here. It looks healthy. But it smells kind of nasty.  It smells like crushed spinach with a high strawberry smell – as Brooke put it – “kinda like throw up, but not quite.”  Or kind of like old salad that you forgot to put in the fridge.  Slightly dreading the task at hand, we closed our eyes and took a drink.  Hmm.   It boasts a heavy spinach taste with a slightly citrus overtone enhanced by the flavor of strawberries.  With great effort we finished the drink and struggled to hold back the gag reflex the entire time.

We expected this extra boost of vitamins and minerals to keep us feeling full and satisfied until lunchtime. Unfortunately, we were hungry by 9:30. So it was good for about an hour. See, we were on our way to New York when the hunger hit and we don’t really eat while driving but we had many serious discussions about stopping for food along the way that day. Once we’d arrived at our destination, we tricked Emma and Jake into going to Toast for brunch, Westside Market for snacks because brunch left us still hungry, and then later for pizza.  Yes, we picked up cupcakes from Crumbs to continue our refining our cupcake diet.

In short, the Green Drink left us gagging, dissatisfied, and hungry. We made it one more time (masochists that we are) and added raw honey, cherry juice, cinnamon, and coconut oil to try to make it taste better. Well. That was a disaster.   Pouring it down the drain, was a gruesome task that left us thinking of, well, what the stomach flu can often look like.  Ew.  Never again for this drink. In the alternative, we would suggest a yummy Spinach and Strawberry Salad that has similar ingredients and would be a lot tastier.  It would be so much easier than trying to drink this glop.

The Wild Zombie

We know y’all are interested in nutritional drinks so we tried one more time. Sherry asked a dear friend, June,  for her health drink recipe and she was kind enough to lend it to us. June drinks it quite often so we were willing to give it a try.

To make this drink, you will need :

About ½ c of mixed berries (she uses Trader Joe’s  frozen berry mix because it contains cherries).
Two handfuls of your favorite greens (she uses spinach, kale, beet greens, chard, etc.)
1 T. Chia Seeds (you can also get these from Trader Joe’s in the cereal section)

To mix the drink:  blend the berries and add the chia seeds. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the chia seeds soften and expand. Add the greens and a little water (you control the thickness on this one) and blend well.

Wild ZombieThis drink was easier by far to make. It looked kind of like a deep blood red (not going to lie we were making a lot of vampire and zombie jokes – we have dubbed this drink the Wild Zombie as a result).  If you use your imagination (of which we have none) you could see it as a rich deep chocolate much like a red velvet cake (but blended – and  not cake-like—and better for you).  We skipped the spinach because of our hatred of the Green Drink as mentioned above. We used kale and cilantro in our drink just because we got to pick the greens and those were in the refrigerator.  This drink smelled a lot better – more like a fruit drink with deep veggie undertones.  Much more to our liking.  The taste was a lot like when you order a Jamba Juice and ask them to put lemon grass in it.  It is milder, fruitier, and very healthy for you.  Because you are using mixed fruits, expect to find some seeds but they confuse you a little because of the presence of the chia seeds.  Okay, we didn’t let the chia seeds soften because we have no patience. We just threw it all together and blended it. If we were to choose between the two drinks, this is the one we would make.  The Wild Zombie did not leave us hungry like the Green Drink – which made us happy.