Saturday, January 22, 2011

Watch out for prepared foods at grocery stores

One of my favorite places to shop is Whole Foods.  It is expensive, but they sell a lot of foods that are high in flavor, but low in fat, low in sodium and high in fiber.

But there is a problem. Whole Foods has a prepared foods section featuring salad bars, a buffet and a deli that pre-makes dishes and sandwiches.  So what's the problem?

There is not a shred of nutrition information in sight. It's not on their website, it does not seem to be available at the store. Unless I am missing something.

This is a real problem. How can you eat something if you don't know what's in it?

Perhaps they don't want people to know what's in their food they make. Wake up, fellas....even McDonald's posts their nutrition information online.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Finding a good microwave popcorn

One of my bigger food challenges has been trying to find a popcorn that wasn't too high in fat and calories.

My friends, the wait is over.

For months, I have been eating Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop brand. 100 calories for the snack size.

Frankly, it tastes like cardboard. So I set out to find a new solution.

After much testing, I have settled on the Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop Butter. It tastes great and gives you just enough of the butter and salt to satisfy the craving.

Here's the comparison of the nutrition information between the two:

Pop Secret:

100 calories
3.5g Fat
1.5g Saturated Fat
300mg of Sodium
4g of fiber

Orville Redenbacher:

100 calories
2g fat
.05g Saturated Fat
320mg of Sodium
4g of fiber

The Pop Secret has a little more fat, but the same calories and doesn't taste like cardboard.

Monday, January 17, 2011

420.5, only one pound lost this week

A little frustrating this morning at the scale, but there is no reason to be upset.  I always knew this would happen. There will be weeks I lose, weeks I don't lose.

Mathematically, it doesn't seem possible to only have lost one pound this week. But I'll take it.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Salt, Salt and more Salt

Since I have high blood pressure and take medication for it, the doctors tell me to keep my sodium intake below 2,000mg per day.  This is often a challenge.

Far and away, most of the sodium you consume is in processed foods, dairy products, soda, etc. The salt shaker isn't even close to being the main culprit.

One thing I've also learned is this: sodium is sodium. Sea salt and Kosher salt will raise your blood pressure just as much as table salt. I love the fast food commercials that advertise the usage of sea salt as some kind of benefit.

The Mayo Clinic weighs in.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Joe writes in:

"Was there any particular weight-loss reason you stopped drinking caffeine?"

The answer:

No, there wasn't. I only quit drinking anything with caffeine in it because I was consuming large quantities of it and had trouble sleeping and had developed heart palpitations because of it.

But, quitting caffeine isn't necessary for weight loss, that's for sure.

Thanks Joe, and keep those questions coming!

Welcome Facebook Friends

After blogging about my weight-loss experiences for about 5 months, I've finally decided to tell people about it.

Hope you enjoy!

Feedback is always welcome:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time to show this to the world?

So I've been posting on this blog for months....without telling anyone. I suppose that means I've been blogging in secret. Is it time to start a little self-promotion and let everyone know it's here?

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Bio

I decided to write a bio.  If somebody were reading my blog for the first time, they might wonder who I was, where I came from, what this was all about.

So this is the bio.

I was born in 1972.  Growing up, I was always a heavy kid.  This came with the usual baggage of taunts, bullying, etc.  I remember always having to buy big clothes to wear and not always having them fit right.

When I graduated high school in 1991, I was huge.  400+ pounds for sure.

For most of the 90's, I yo-yo'd up and down between probably 350 and 450.

Then, toward the end of 1997, I decided I'd had enough. I went on a 14-month tear...losing 240 pounds and becoming skinny.

Except I did it the wrong way. I accomplished this goal in a relatively short period of time through extreme exercise, a very strict diet and almost starvation levels of nutrition.  What happened next was what always happens when somebody does what I did....I gained it all back.

By the year 2000, I was over 400 pounds again. So much for that. I tried over the next ten years or so to lose weight, but always failed.

By June of 2010, I was at 577 pounds. And that wasn't my heaviest....there were times I am sure I got to 600, but with no scale to weigh on, there was no way of knowing.

On June 20, 2010, I was stricken with a Pulmonary Embolism and was taken to the emergency room. After a week in the hospital, I decided enough was enough and I was going to lose weight once and for all. But this time, I was determined to adopt a more moderate approach. 

And "The Ganey Bypass" was born!

Things I used to do, but no longer do


I used to drink Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper like it was going out of style.  Hard to believe, but I never used to drink water. On any given day, I would easily drink a gallon (128 ounces) a day.

Some days, I would drink a whole 12 pack of cans (over a gallon.)

But, while I was in the hospital, I gave it up and switched to water and low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light.

Being hospitalized for a week gave me the environment I needed to kick my caffeine addiction.  I believe getting the proper amount of sleep is very key to successful weight loss.

Fast food

I used to eat fast food every day, sometimes twice a day.  I would go out to lunch from work to some place like Five Guys, Arby's or Burger King. Daily.

Then, on the way home, I would drive through either Burger King or McDonald's and eat fast food again. I'm sure I used to eat 10,000 calories a day.  No wonder I weighed 577 pounds.

Somehow, I have quit this cold turkey.  My last restaurant meal was June 19, 2010, the day before my collapse.  Where at? Moose's Famous Barbecue.

I'll eventually eat out again, but not for awhile.

Staying up all night

One  thing I used to do when I worked the evening shift was I would get off work at 11 or so, go home, then stay up all night. I usually went to bed around 5 or 6 in the morning.  I would eat all night long, right up until the point I went to sleep.

This self-destructive cycle continued when I would wake up, not eat breakfast and rush off to work.  Working nights promoted a starve/binge cycle where I would get really hungry and do dumb things like eat out of the vending machines, never pack my lunch and then eat fast food.

For at least the next year or so while I am losing weight, I will not work a night shift. I will stay on the morning shift, no matter what I do.

I blame that night-time lifestyle at least partially for my obesity.

Monday weigh-in: 421.5

I weighed today.  Last week was 425, this week was 421.5. I'll take it, a 3 1/2 pound loss in one week.

I didn't exercise as much as I wanted to this week, or it would've been less. That's OK. A loss is a loss. Onward and upward!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

If it's not forever, it's not worth doing

Since the calendar flipped over to 2011, I'm noticing people more and more are using this as the artificial beginning of their "diet."  They go out of their way to proclaim to the world all of the extreme tactics they are going to employ to reach some mythical goal or finish by some deadline.

I've ridden that rollercoaster.  Been there, done that. And from experience, I can tell you two things:

1.) You're never going to do it.

2.) It's not worth doing. Why put yourself through the stress of depriving yourself?

 I am convinced that unless you can develop some sort of plan for yourself that is moderate, not extreme and that you can live with....the weight will never be kept off long-term.

I hate the word "diet" anyway.  What you need is an eating plan.  Positive changes in your life, structure.  Go to bed earlier.  Eat breakfast regularly. Get off the caffeine.  Try to stay away from fast food.

Because if you can't do it for the rest of your life, it's a huge waste of time. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Frequenty Asked Questions

So by now, people are aware that I am losing weight (although for some, it took about 100 pounds before they noticed) and I've been getting a lot of questions. Here they are, in no particular order:

Q: Did you have weight-loss surgery?

A: I did not. I have nothing against the surgery.  This option was presented to me and my insurance would have paid for it, I just decided to try losing it myself one last time.

Q: So you had the lap band?

A: No, I did not. Again, this is a great option for many people, but I have not had any weight loss surgery.

Q: I don't believe you. 

A: You're welcome to look for a scar.  By appointment only, of course.

Q: So what are you doing? Weight Watchers? Atkins? South Beach Diet? NutriSystems? The weight-loss patch? 

A: None of the above. I'm just following the meal plan the Registered Dietitian in the hospital gave me. Nothing fancy.  I suppose it is something like Weight Watchers, but I count calories instead of points.  And I think the weight-loss patch only works if you put it over your mouth.

At the end of the day, if you eat less, you'll lose weight.  I eat 5 or 6 small meals a day totaling around 2,000-2,400 calories.  I do light exercise 2 to 3 times a week.  Pretty basic.

Q: How do I lose weight like you?  I can never seem to get motivated. 

A: I am the wrong person to ask about motivation.  Up until 7 months ago, I was as big as a house (maybe two houses) and had zero motivation.  It's only when I was confronted the idea of my life ending that I found the motivation I have now.  In the end, it wasn't worth it.  The good news is once you get started, it's not that difficult.

Q: Do you feel deprived? 

A: No. I eat plenty and often. But it takes dedication and follow-through to eat on a regular schedule.  I also don't eat out at restaurants and haven't for almost 7 months.  I will eventually, but not now.

Q: I'm trying to lose weight.  What advice do you have for me? 

A: Here's a few quick tips:

1.) Make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian.  Find one at the American Dietetic Association's website. Talk to your doctor.  Gather information from multiple sources.

2.) Don't be afraid to fail. You will figure out what works for you.

3.) Don't look for a quick fix. Think about the rest of your life, not some artificial deadline.

4.) Pack your lunch.  Prepare your own meals.  Measure your portions.  Stay out of the restaurants for awhile.

5.) Eat Breakfast. 

6.) Get a good night's sleep.

If you have any other questions, send me an e-mail!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 - weighing in

Just weighed in today for the first time in a month. The scale said 425. Some thoughts:

I'm happy with the number, it's about what I expected. That puts my loss at 152 pounds. Goals for this month:

I absolutely want to ramp up the physical activity to try and get as close to below the 400 mark as I can.

The eating is still about where I want it...I'm going to keep eating 2,400 calories.  I could cut it to 1,500 calories and lose weight faster, but why? I'm not ever going to eat 1,500 calories a day when I reach my goal weight.  Besides, losing the weight a little slower will allow my skin to stretch back a little better.

2011 is here...I survived the holidays. Look out world!