Every Bite Counts
- POSTED ON: Mar 14, 2011

    As part of my dieting hobby, I visit many different online forums, and I sometimes receive inspiration from posts written by other forum members who are dealing with the same issues that I deal with.

While Blogging here, I will sometimes quote some or all of a post by another. In doing this, my intention is to give appropriate credit to the authors of copyrighted articles, while protecting the anonymity of other sources quoted.

I agree with this thoughtful post from a fellow forum member and think that it deserves special attention here.


Every Bite Counts.
I had a huge light bulb moment last night as I was reading about "cheat days," which is what some people call it when you plan a day to go off your eating plan and eat whatever you want.

The theory is that if you PLAN a day like that every so often, it makes it easier to stay on plan the rest of the time. Whenever you are craving something, you just tell yourself that you can have it on your cheat day, but you have to wait until then to have it.

The problem is that for some people (like me), a cheat day turns into a cheat week or a cheat month and it's really hard to get back on track. Or if you have problems with bingeing, it isn't any hardship to ingest upwards of 4 or 5 thousand calories on a cheat day (yes I have done that), and it really messes up all your hard work you did eating right all week.

Anyway, it hit me.
Every bite counts.

Now, maybe this sounds obvious, but how many times have I gotten up, started a healthy eating day, and then at lunch "slipped up" and had pizza? Then I would tell myself, "oh well, I ruined my day, so I may as well have candy bars and burgers and fries for dinner and start over fresh tomorrow." Isn't that something a LOT of people are in the habit of doing?

We look at our eating aka "diet" in terms of a UNIT.

One good day  (eating the right number of points or calories or whatever your plan is) is a Unit of Success,

and a Bad Day (eating over your limit, not counting calories, eating junk) is a Unit of Failure.

Sometimes we even try to string days together, as in "I will start on Monday" or the first of the month
or after Christmas or whatever, which is an excuse to eat badly and not count anything until we "start again" on that special date.

WHO came up with this idea???
Why is a "DAY" the unit of success or failure??

Who decided that if you eat badly for lunch, you can just eat whatever you want for the rest of the day and start over in the morning? It's as if we think that "one bad day" is a single unit of failure, whether we ate 2000 or 5000 calories, that it's the same because it is just ONE bad day. It makes no sense!!

EVERY BITE COUNTS, whether you eat a Hershey bar on a "bad" day because you are bingeing or eat it on a "good" day and add it into your calorie count, it is STILL 210 calories going into your body. You HAVE to stop looking at it as good and bad days.
It is your LIFE.

What I mean is this. Say you are aiming to eat 1500 calories per day to lose weight (substitute WW points or whatever other unit or plan you are using). Now, say your week looks like this:

Monday: 1500
Tuesday: 1470
Wednesday: 1460
Thursday: 1520
Friday: 1460
Saturday: 3200
Sunday: 2900

You slipped up on Saturday and told yourself you would start over on Monday. You had only 2 bad days. But now you have eaten 13,510 calories for the week which averages out to 1910 per day... way over your limit. And you wonder why you haven't lost weight.

Because every bite counts, and the unit is not a day, or even a week.
It is a lifetime.

When you eat something you shouldn't have, it's over. Stop, and eat right from that very moment on. Have a healthy dinner. Keep going. A bad meal is way better than a whole bad weekend.

You want a cheat day?
Every bite you take counts, because it still goes into your body, counted or not. Every bite either helps you get closer to your goal or slows you down from reaching it.

So the question becomes, how badly do you want it? Do you want to lose weight more than you want that cookie? Then put it down.

Every time you eat something unhealthy or go over your calorie limit, you are effectively putting a speed bump... or even a roadblock... in between you and your goal.  Every bite you take determines whether you will reach your goal weight in 6 months, 12 months, 3 years, or never.
What do you REALLY want?

Portion Control
- POSTED ON: Mar 13, 2011


The term “portion control” actually means:
“a precise amount of content to control usage”

That precise amount could be any amount,
and actually could consist of a portion…or precise amount…
of food far more than one might desire to eat.

This can be true of any food, presented in any way.
For example, bulk commodies (such as salt) can be divided
into individual packages that are a more suitable size for individual households,
however, this doesn’t mean that one must consume the entire package at any one sitting.

A common definition of “portion control”
is understanding how much a serving size is.
If one is counting calories…this would include
how many calories a serving contains.
A serving size could be ANY amount,
therefore “portion control” does not automatically limit size of a substance.

 Nutritionists, and other “experts” like the USDA,
have devised simple formulas
to define a “portion” …or precise amount....of a specific food
for easy mental reference…and to provide a “common definition” for society.

Those common definitions are then easily used
by people to determine individually, what amount of specific foods
would be optimal for a person of that particular size
in order for that person to keep from gaining weight, or for weight-loss.
These simple formulas are used by many people to easily “eyeball” their food,
and consciously choose the proportions that will benefit them personally,

The existence of common portion definitions doesn’t necessarily limit food-intake.
It merely defines a specific size of food as a specific number of servings.
A definition doesn’t limit food-intake,
it merely provides a tool of knowledge.
One can still eat whatever amount of food they choose to eat,
but portion definitions bring Intellectual Awareness to the process.
The term “Control: merely means
to have power over, or to direct influence over…
So “portion control” is merely having power over
or directing influence over the specific amounts of food one eats.
EVERYONE necessarily does that every time they eat.

Assuming one has access to unlimited amounts of food,
one controls one’s food-intake portions
via the body’s physical reactions…such as discomfort, nausea etc,
or one can choose to control one’s food-intake portions
via their intellectual knowledge of what their body requires.
In modern civilization, most people use a combination of both methods.

For examples of the Definitions of common serving sizes:
According to the USDA, one serving equals:

  • one slice of whole-grain bread
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes
  • three to four small crackers
  • one small pancake or waffle
  • two medium-sized cookies
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup (four leaves) lettuce
  • one small baked potato
  • 3/4 cup vegetable juice
  • One medium apple
  • 1/2 grapefruit or mango
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 1 cup yogurt or milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • one chicken breast
  • one medium pork chop
  • 1/4 pound hamburger patty

 Other common definitions translate the abstract information of serving size
into visual images that can be easily remembered.
For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a compact disc.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).


Some Things Take Time
- POSTED ON: Mar 12, 2011


Some things just take time.
This is true for Weight-loss and Maintenance of that loss.

 There’s an old saying that goes something like :

“The years know what the days never will.”

Focused self-control over one’s eating Behavior,
… when sustained over long-periods of time,…
will Result in successful weight-loss.
When that focused self-control over one’s eating Behavior continues,
the Result will be successful maintenance of that weight-loss.

Call it an Obsession with Dieting.
Call it a Lifestyle Change.
Call it a Diet Hobby.

No matter what you call it,
the underlying Truth remains the same.
There is no quick and easy way….ever…..
for those of us who have bodies that want to be fat.

Being fat is hard,
Losing weight is hard,
Maintaining weight loss is hard.
Choose your hard.

I am sharing my "strength, experience, and hope" here with you,
and, as part of that, I've been telling you a lot about my involvement
with this site which is part of my dieting hobby.

My own Accountability
- POSTED ON: Mar 11, 2011


While it is true that many people get tired of calorie counting, and many people don't manage to continue calorie counting under stress, this is not ALWAYS the case.

For example, in my own case, for the past six and a half years I have continued to consistently log ALL of my food into my computer software food log, DietPower, EVERY SINGLE DAY, and this program counts the calories and other nutritional values of that food. That computer program says that today is the 2364th day without any missing data.

This does NOT mean that I never overate or never binged during the past six years, It merely means that I ALWAYS entered ALL of my food into the journal. It became, and is, a HABIT.

This is the principle of ACCOUNTABILITY.
I am accountable for every bite I eat.... even on vacation days, sick days, stress days.
This has provided me with long-term success.

My life has not been stress-free during this process. I have all of the ongoing NORMAL stresses of life, both good and bad, and I have also had some EXCEPTIONAL stressing circumstances. I'm going to list some of them below, not to show myself as a "victim", but as an example of the stress one can go through while successfully counting calories.

  For Example:

I have two unmarried adult children. During my weight-loss phase, my son was severely burned in a fire, and spent over a month in a hospital burn unit in severe pain, receiving skin graphs.

During my maintenance-phase, my daughter was in the hospital in a coma, and upon physical recovery spent long periods in mental health facilities, which resulted in long-term disability SSI, making her mother (me) the one responsible for handling her ongoing income.

During my weight-loss phase, I was responsible for my aging mother, who had Alzheimer's, and was the one who had to place her in a facility, visit her daily, advocate for her, and witness her death.

During my maintenance phase, my father-in-law died; we were forced to place my disabled mother-in-law into a nursing home, where she was visited frequently until her death, about 6 months ago.

During my maintenance phase, the nephew with whom I had a close relationship, became a Marine, and spent a tour in Iraq, and after coming home safely, spent another tour in Afghanistan, which resulted in his receiving two purple hearts.

During the past 5 years of my maintenance phase, my husband has had eye surgery twice, as well as another unrelated surgery. My best friend for the past 25 years, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and I spent time with her almost every day until she died 5 months later.Other beloved family members have also dealt with severe illness.

During my maintenance phase, three years ago, I developed a life-threatening medical condition, which resulted in emergency surgery and hospitalization for 10 days. During this time I lived on IV's, and was unable to log my food, but as soon as I was released from the hospital and returned home, I logged in estimates of the amounts of all the liquid food I received, during that past 10 days, and continued with my ongoing food entries.

During the past 6 years, I have also had numerous vacations, holidays, and celebrations...all involving food. I overate during many of those occasions,but NO MATTER HOW MUCH I ATE, I LOGGED IT ALL.

And So Life Goes.
During that time, I also brushed my teeth, combed my hair, got dressed daily, and used the toilet when necessary. I prioritize entering my food into my computer journal as equal to, or more important than, those activities.

I know for a fact that one CAN develop a HABIT of counting calories; and I know for a fact that one CAN continue counting calories under stress; and the truth is, IT ISN'T ALL THAT DIFFICULT.
Except to my family and friends, I'm not all that Special, and I think that there is a very good chance that this is something ANYONE can do, IF THEY DECIDE TO.

- POSTED ON: Mar 10, 2011

The term, “Character” refers to the traits, the distinguishing qualities,

that make up and distinguish an individual.

Each of us has many personal character traits, both positive and negative.
One of my own character traits is Determination,
a fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

Determined and Stubborn, are two words that describe a similar trait.
The word ‘Determined; has positive implications,
while the word ‘Stubborn’…sounds a bit negative.
Those who approve of my behavior would say that I’m Determined.
Those who don’t, would say that I’m Stubborn.
My daddy used to call it “Bullheaded”.

There are many areas in my life demonstrating this character trait.
The events of yesterday provide an example.

 My son-the-web-genius persuaded me to make videos a part of my site,
and to cooperate with him by letting him film a few videos of me cooking.
He believed that I would enjoy the process and therefore want to learn
how to make videos so I could post them here. He was right.

My first contact with a camcorder, and with the Mac computer
was last Friday afternoon, and I’m writing this early on Thursday morning.
Yesterday was my first attempt at making a video totally alone.
….well…except for instructions by telephone when I got totally stuck.

I wound up shooting that cooking video five separate times….
thank God that I’m doing very simple, easy recipes…
and I can’t even begin to describe my many technical difficulties with the Mac,
I-Movie, Safari, and YouTube…..all of which are quite new to me.
But I’ll tell you about my first error with the camcorder.
 To me, red means stop, and green means go.
So, I thought the green light on my camera meant that it was recording,
and the red light meant that it had stopped recording.

My camcorder’s instruction book didn’t correct this fundamental error.
So, the first time I shot the video, I filmed my set-up,
stopped the camera during my actual “shoot”,
and turned the camera back on after I ended cooking.
I first discovered my error when reviewing the film in I-Movie.
When I realized this, I recalled that my DVR uses a red dot for recordings,
and understood that this is probably basic knowledge for (almost) everyone.

As I write this article on my desktop windows computer,
my new MacBook Air is uploading that video to YouTube.
When that has been successfully done, I plan to put it here on this page.

So…what is the point?
That same characteristic of determination needs to be applied
to the Behavior processes that result in weight-loss Results.
I’ve discovered that successful weight-loss takes a great deal of
personal determination, and maintenance of that weight-loss takes even more.

Below is that Cooking Video.

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