The Girl Who Could (Formerly) Eat Anything

Getting fit and taking names

Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt: The Art of Fooling Onesself

“I like frozen yogurt because it’s a lot healthier than ice cream,” said Couch while eating Rocky Cupcake-flavored frozen yogurt. “I can even give it to my kids and not worry about them having too much sugar.”

“I think there’s a lot more (frozen yogurt) places in town because people prefer the taste. It’s not heavy and it’s guilt-free,” Couch said.

These are quotes from an article in yesterday’s Tallahassee Democrat about the trend of frozen yogurt businesses in the city. Apparently, there are more frozen yogurt businesses than ice cream.

I read the article with my eyeballs firmly affixed to the top of my head. Do people really believe those things? Are they really so delusional? I suppose this explains the vast number of people who tell me they just “can’t” lose weight, that programs like Weight Watchers or counting calories “don’t work.” These are many of the same people who think carbohydrates make them fat and vast amounts of protein will make them thin.

I hate to bring facts into the picture, but I’m going to have to. I looked up the nutritional information on for half a cup of vanilla frozen yogurt and half a cup of vanilla ice cream:

  • You would save 28 calories by eating the frozen yogurt (that’s about a three-minute run or a five-minute walk, give or take and depending on weight and fitness level).
  • The frozen yogurt has 17 grams of sugar. The ice cream has 15 grams.
  • They’re equal in protein and close to equal (by 1% difference) in calcium content.
  • Yogurt has half the fat of ice cream (4 grams versus 8 grams). But that only really matter if you honestly believe fat is the evil some tout it to be — a “fact” that’s been disproven time and again by those pesky nutrition scientists. The fat gram content accounts for the disparity in calories.

As a former journalist, I’m just a little disappointed that the article writer included those quotes without actually looking up and providing the facts. It took me about twenty seconds.



August 29, 2011 Posted by | Tips | 7 Comments

Oy! Work Parties!

This morning, it was a going away party for a coworker who is going to work in a different department in a different building. Any excuse to have food and get together, right? This afternoon is our monthly birthday party for anyone in the department who has a birthday this month.

It’s already been a somewhat not good week for me. I’m holding on, but just by a thread. I have an extra 174 calories to work with as of this morning. I skipped dance class last night (for various reasons, none of which have anything to do with what this blog is about). That’s about 400-plus calories I planned to burn and didn’t. I did swim and do yoga, though, which is why I’m not seriously in the hole. Thank goodness for my energy Saturday that allowed me to work off 1,150 calories or I’d be up a creek right now.

I’m tracking the food from these parties the best I can, but in the end, it’s mostly a guess. And it’s a lot of sugar. I managed to bypass the donuts, but only because I’d had so much sugar (even I’m capable of that!) that the idea of a donut made me want to puke.

Even so, I’m at fewer than 600 calories for that breakfast. I wish it’d been more nutritious, but it is what it is.

I have plans to walk with a friend tonight, so I have to go. It’s not as easy to get out of it when someone is counting on you to participate. I generally get my exercise in without needing a workout partner, but it can be an incredibly useful tool for those who need motivation.

I’m actually on track to meet my 3,500 calories burned for the week for the first time since I started back. I need just under 1,200 in three days, which is totally doable. So, exercise-wise, I feel pretty good right now. I just wish I was being better about the food.

I don’t think I’ll be buying swiss cheese again any time soon. I can’t stop eating it.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Nothing More Than Feelings, Tips | 6 Comments

Eat More to Lose More

I know, I know. It’s counterintuitive. I’ve been admonished by a particular blowhard on a message board that this is against the laws of thermodynamics.

The problem is, the human body isn’t a machine and every metabolism is individual.

When I was on Weight Watchers, I found that I lost larger amounts of weight in the weeks I ate all of my points (daily, weekly and activity) than the weeks I didn’t. I was informed by that same blowhard that I was a liar. Or possibly an idiot who didn’t know how to read a scale and subtract.

To be honest, I was at a loss as to how to explain why it was happening. All I knew was that it was.

Two weeks ago, I lost 1.5 pounds and had eaten almost every calorie allotted or burned. Last week, I barely ate at all and lost .5. So far this week, I’ve far out-eaten last week and as of this morning, my weight was down 1.5. This may or may not be the case come Saturday morning, but it is the case at this moment.

So, I’ve thought long and hard about this subject and I think I have a way to explain why it may be that makes sense. I’m no scientist. I’ve done no trials. I’m just using some common sense.

First, I’ll point out that there are people on Weight Watchers who absolutely cannot eat beyond their daily points and still lose. Some even gain. Some are like me and some fall somewhere in the middle. What’s true for me may not be true for you. But this is my theory:

We’ve all heard that a body is like a car. It needs fuel to function. Metabolism is what we call whatever the mechanism is that burns that fuel.

If we don’t give our bodies enough fuel, the metabolism will slow down to conserve calories. You shouldn’t stop losing weight in that case (or there would be a lot of fat anorexics out there), but you will lose more slowly and it will be that much more difficult to go back to regular eating without gaining back everything you lost.

If you eat too many calories, you’re going to either stall or gain weight.

Somewhere in the middle lies a person’s optimal calorie intake. I think that is what makes the difference in my losses. If I eat below my optimal fuel burning point, my losses slow. If I eat right at it, my losses speed up.

Last week, I just wasn’t hungry. That’s rarely a problem. But I’ve never been one to eat when not hungry. I am not a binge eater or an emotional eater. It just happens that when I was hungry in the past, I ate the wrong foods and wasn’t moving enough. So, not being hungry much last week, my calorie counts were very low. And I paid for that on Saturday.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Nothing More Than Feelings, Progress, Tips | 11 Comments

How to Handle a Sweet Tooth While Dieting

Waif supermodel Kate Moss. (Photo courtesy


My friend Christina, who I’ve known forever and ever, gave me the idea for this post in a comment she made on An Unexplored Wilderness

The key to losing weight in a healthy, manageable, sane way is to eat fewer calories than you burn. That’s it! I know it sounds too simple, but that’s really all it takes. Not that it’s easy to do that, mind you, or we’d all be the size of Kate Moss. But it works. 

So what do you do when you crave something that’s very high in calories, such as sweets? This has been a challenge for me, since I crave sugar. Specifically, I crave chocolate cheesecake and peanut butter cups. It doesn’t get any better than that! 

Before trying to lose weight, I regularly visited Barnes and Noble’s café and ate a slice of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. The day I started Weight Watchers, I was allowed 22 daily points and any of the extra 35 weekly points I wanted to use, plus the activity points one gains through exercise. But I’ll explain all that another time. Bottom line is, my minimum requirement per day was 22 and my maximum average per day, if I didn’t exercise, was 27. A slice of that cheesecake is 21 points. 

So you see my problem! And who wants to give up something he or she loves just for the sake of looking good? And is it really necessary? 

No. It’s not necessary. In fact, it’s OK to eat that slice of cheesecake every once in a while if you plan for it, but every day will mess you up. The key is to fight the craving by replacing the nutritionally devoid, high-calorie treats with something else that tastes as good and tricks one’s senses. I have a few go-tos for this: 

  1. Green & Black’s 85% cocoa dark chocolate. I eat six squares from a bar each day. It’s full of antioxidants, iron (important for a vegetarian!) and dark chocolate is an appetite suppressant. The Green & Black’s brand is the best chocolate I ever had (and I used to absolutely hate dark chocolate). It’s rich and satisfying and if you eat one square at a time, it lasts and lasts. So good! Some people may prefer a different brand, so try whatever you choose. (130 calories)
  2. Blue Diamond brown sugar and cinnamon almonds. The sugar and cinnamon satisfy the sweet tooth. Cinnamon is also an appetite suppressant and almonds have a lot of fiber and protein, plus heart-healthy fats. I tend to eat the almonds and chocolate at the same time. I highly recommend it! (160 calories for 1 ounce)
  3. A fruit smoothie. I’ll post my recipe, but a smoothie can be pretty much anything you want it to be, so experiment if you don’t think you’ll like my recipe or if you just want to try different things. A lot of people use milk, soy milk or yogurt in their smoothies or different juices. Some use spinach. I’ve tried spinach in mine. I couldn’t taste it, but it dulled the taste of the other ingredients, so I won’t do that again. My smoothie (310 calories):

1 banana, sliced
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries, thawed (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
1 T Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
Top with a dollop of light whipped cream

The smoothie has a ton of vitamin C (this helps strengthen the immune system, blocks UV rays from the sun and promotes the building of collagen in the body, which prevents wrinkles and visible cellulite), 12 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and 677 grams of potassium. And it will soothe the strongest sweet tooth. It’s a great dessert. 

So, don’t let a sweet tooth derail your efforts. Anything you once loved can be incorporated in a balanced, low(er)-calorie diet.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Tips | , , , | 4 Comments